The Fools of Forty-Nine, When gold was found
When gold was found in forty-eight the people thought 'twas gas,
And some were fools enough to think the lumps were only brass.
But soon they all were satisfied and started off to mine;
They bought their ships, came round the Horn, in the days of forty-nine.
Then they thought of what they'd been told
When they started after gold,—
That they never in the world would make a pile.
The people all were crazy then, they didn't know what to do.
They sold their farms for just enough to pay their passage through.
They bid their friends a long farewell, said, "Dear wife, don't you cry,
I'll send you home the yellow lumps a piano for to buy."
The poor, the old, and the rotten scows were advertised to sail
From New Orleans with passengers, but they must pump and bail.
The ships were crowded more than full, and some hung on behind,
And others dived off from the wharf and swam till they were blind.
With rusty pork and stinking beef and rotten, wormy bread!
The captains, too, that never were up as high as the main mast head!
The steerage passengers would rave and swear that they'd paid their passage
And wanted something more to eat beside bologna sausage.
They then began to cross the plain with oxen, hollowing "haw."
And steamers then began to run as far as Panama.
And there for months the people staid, that started after gold,
And some returned disgusted with the lies that had been told.
The people died on every route, they sickened and died like sheep;
And those at sea before they died were launched into the deep;
And those that died while crossing the plains fared not so well as that,
For a hole was dug and they thrown in along the miserable Platte.
The ships at last began to arrive and the people began to inquire.
They say that flour is a dollar a pound, do you think it will be any higher?
And to carry their blankets and sleep outdoors, it seemed so very droll!
Both tired and mad, without a cent, they damned the lousy hole.