Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!
Bright and yellow, hard and cold;
Molten, graven, hammered and rolled;
Heavy to get and light to hold;
Hoarded, bartered, bought, and sold;
Stolen, borrowed, squandered, doled;
Spurned by the young, but hugged by the old
To the very verge of the churchyard mould;
Price of many a crime untold!
Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!
Good or bad a thousand fold!
This poem by Thomas Hood, part of a series of verses, “Rhymes of the
Times, and Reason for the Season,” was printed in the New Monthly
Magazine and Humorist published in London in 1841.
This week I continue my column on gold and gold coins, now with time out for some
mentions of this precious metal in literature, phrases, and economics.
Gold more than any other metal has become synonymous with the
concepts of quality and value, as noted last week in the title to this column.
We have the Golden Rule, gilt-edge securities, the goose that laid the
golden egg, golden opportunity, gold at the end of the rainbow, gold
standard, worth its weight in gold, as good as gold, heart of gold,
The hymn, “It Came upon the Midnight Clear,” has the lines,
With the ever circling years
Comes round the age of gold
Not all comments about gold are good.
A gold digger can be a miner or it can be negative — an opportunist,
especially using romance as an entrée, who seeks your money.
Fool’s gold or pyrite might look like gold but isn’t. And, of
course, all that glitters is not gold.
I’m not sure if this is good or bad: Silence is golden.
A “gold bug” is a person who believes that gold is the be-all and
end-all of value. They write articles, run advertisements, hold
seminars, and make predictions.
A few years ago at an American Numismatic Association convention,
there was a program on gold. “All those who think gold will reach five
thousand dollars per ounce raise your hands.” Nearly everyone did.
The term derives from “The Gold-Bug,” a still entertainingly
readable 1843 tale by Edgar Allan Poe. Set on Sullivan’s Island off
the coast of Charleston, S.C., a bite from a gold-colored bug leads to
a cryptic message with a clue to buried pirate treasure.
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