“Rough Ben” was first published in The Regina Leader on 24 July 1888 under the little-known pseudonym “Elaine.” (Interestingly, Susannah Moodie’s 1852 Roughing It In The Bush was being serialized at this time in The Leader as well: “Brian, the Still Hunter,” for example, appeared on 6 November 1888.) Hayes apparently contributed five pieces to The Leader in 1888 under the pseudonym “Elaine”: the poem “Rough Ben” (24 July 1888); the poem “The Sea Song” and the article “The Early Days” (4 September 1888); the poem “An Angel” (30 October 1888); and “The Short Handler” (27 November 1888). Other pieces in The Leader (1888-1900) appeared under Hayes’s usual pseudonym, “Mary Markwell.”

“Rough Ben” was subsequently published in WD Lighthall’s Songs of the Great Dominion (1889), the version I have posted earlier. Other than the changing of the spelling of “wagon” to “waggon,” and a few punctuation edits, there was only one difference between The Leader’s and the anthologized versions of the poem: the final verse from The Leader version was removed for publication in Lighthall’s collection. This is how the poem originally ended:

Brave Rough Ben then turned him westward,
Leaving the lover and death alone.
Where in his grave, the simple hero?
Who lived unnoticed and died unknown.
Where has he gone? Where does he rest?
God will reward: He rewardeth best.

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