The Gold-Seekers

I SAW these dreamers of dreams go by,
I trod in their footsteps a space;
Each marched with his eyes on the sky,
Each passed with a light on his face.

They came from the hopeless and sad,
They faced the future and gold;
Some the tooth of want’s wolf had made mad,
And some at the forge had grown old.

Behind them these serfs of the tool
The rags of their service had flung;
No longer of fortune the fool,
This word from each bearded lip rung:

“Once more I ’m a man, I am free!
No man is my master, I say;
To-morrow I fail, it may be,—
No matter, I ’m freeman to-day.”

They go to a toil that is sure,
To despair and hunger and cold;
Their sickness no warning can cure,
They are mad with a longing for gold.

The light will fade from each eye,
The smile from each face;
They will curse the impassable sky,
And the earth when the snow torrents race.

Some will sink by the way and be laid
In the frost of the desolate earth;
And some will return to a maid,
Empty of hand as at birth.

But this out of all will remain,
They have lived and have tossed;
So much in the game will be gain,
Though the gold of the dice has been lost.

by Hamlin Garland

Comments (7)

I think that Sylvia Plath was talking about the reality of a child in this poem. When she says 'Your clear eye is the one absolutely beautiful thing' I feel like she is talking about the minds eye of a child, and how it is pure and innocent and untainted by the problems and darkness of the world. She wants to maintain this purity by filling it with things like 'color and ducks' which is all a child should be thinking of. She wants to fill the child's mind with playful, youthful images. Plath then goes to say that a child is a 'Stalk without wrinkle'. A child's mind is innocent and naive to the rough world that we live in. It is without prejudice or contempt for any certain thing. It is perfect and pure in every way. When Plath writes '... Pool in which images/Should be grand and classical' she starts getting into the reality of a childs situation. A child's mind should be filled with things that are pure and innocent just like the child. It SHOULD be filled with these things but it is not because that is simply the reality of this world. Children grow up to quickly and we taint their minds with all the war, destruction, and prejudice that we harbor. So the mind becomes '... this dark/Ceiling without a star.' Their is no hope in this mind anymore. There is no fun and games. There is no frolicking and laughing. It is dark, and the ceiling keeps the mind trapped in utter nothingness. And, if you think about it, that is the reality of a child. Their innocence is roughly taken away with the realization that the world isn't as simple and perfect as they had always known it was. That world that they used to see was snatched away from them to fast to even comprehend what was happening.
This poem is blend of hope and depression. The problem is that by knowing Sylvia's misarable life we become prejudice while reading her poems.
How about.... read it... enjoy it.... interpret it...... forget the 6th form stuff.... some of us don't give a hoot about academia! Roger X.
In your opinion, is this a hopeful or depressing poem? Explain answer by referring to the poem.
Decribe two things that Sylvia wishes to teach her child. Support your answer by reference to the poem.
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