Posted by: Oklahoma Sun | March 12, 2010

The Prospector.

The Prospector.

C.C. Goodwin. History of Salt Lake City, 1886.


HOW strangely to-night my memory flings
From the face of the past its shadowy wings.
And I see far back through the mist and tears
Which make the record of twenty years;
From the beautiful days in the Golden State.
When Life seemed taking a lease of Fate;
From the wond’rous visions of “long ago”
To the naked shade that we call “now.”
Those halcyon days; there were four with me then—
Ernest and Ned; wild Tom and Ben.
Now all are gone; Tom was first to die;
I held his hands, closed his glazed eye;
And many a tear o’er his grave we shed.
As we tenderly pillowed his curly head
In the shadows deep of the pines that stand
Forever solemn, forever fanned
By the winds that steal through the Golden Gate,
And spread their balm o’er the Golden State.

And the others, too, they all are dead;
By the turbid Gila perished Ned;
Brave, noble Ernest, he was lost
Amid Montana’s ice and frost;
And Bennie’s life went out in gloom
Deep in the Comstock’s vaults of doom.
And I am left, the last of all.
And as to-night the cold snows fall,
And barbarous winds around me roar,
I think the long past o’er and o’er—
What I have hoped and suffered, all,
From the twenty years roll back the pall
From the dusty, thorny, weary track,
As the tortuous path I follow back.

In my childhood’s home they think me, there
A failure, or lost, till my name in the prayer
At eve is forgot. Well, they cannot know
That my toil through heat, through tempest and snow.
While it seemed for naught but a portion of pelf.
Was more for them, far more than myself.

Ah well, as my hair turns slowly to snow,
The places of childhood more far-away grow;
And my dreams are changing; ‘tis home no more
But shadowy hands from the other shore
Stretch nightly down, and it seems as when
I lived with Tom, Ned, Ernest and Ben.

And the mountains of earth seem dwindling down:
And the hills of Eden, of golden crown
Rise up, and I think in the last great day,
Will my claims above bear a fire assay?
From the slag of earth and the baser stains
Will the cupel of Death show of precious grains
Enough to ensure me a welcome above,
In the temples of Peace, in the mansions of Love?