Others
Lays of Canada and Other Poems
21st Oct 2013Posted in: Others, The Confederation Poets 0

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LAYS OF CANADA
AND
OTHER POEMS
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LAYS OF CANADA
— AND —
OTHER POEMS
— BY —
THE REV. DUNCAN ANDERSON, M.A.


MONYMUSK.


“QUOD SPIRO, ET OLACEO, SO PLACEO,
TUUM EST.”


Montreal:
PRINTED BY JOHN LOVELL & SON.
1890.

[unnumbered page]


Entered according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year one
thousand eighty hundred and ninety, by DUNCAN ANDERSON, in the
office of the Minister of Agriculture. [unnumbered page]


TO
The Most Honorable
Sir John Douglas Sutherland Campbell,
K.G., C.C.M.G., etc.,
Marquis of Lorne

AND TO
Her Royal Highness, The Princess Louise.
These Lays are respectfully dedicated by special permission.

From the example and influence of the gifted Daughter of our Gracious Queen, our Schools of Art received an impulse that has borne good fruit, and the seed sown by her fostering hand may soon yield the increase of a hundred fold.

To the Descendant of Men who “spared neither limb nor life, in the brave days of old,” our Royal Society will, year by year, with eloquent tongue and pen, pay due respect, and Poet, Historian and Sage will unite to wave for its Founder a chaplet, fairer than the laurels of the mightiest Conqueror.

And to both on this humble page in remembrance of many pleasing reminiscences associated with their brief stay in Canada, most kindly greetings are presented by

THE AUTHOR,
MONYMUSK, December, 1890. [unnumbered page]

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LAYS OF CANADA


THE QUEEN’S JUBILEE.
May 24, 1887.

Build high a temple that shall rise
O’er every dome that greets the skies,
 And load each niche from argosies
                               Of every shore,
Wherever Britain’s standard flies
                               Her children o’er.
Let priceless gems that starlike, shine,
And diamonds delved from Afric mine,
With orient pearls and gold combine
                             In glorious sheen,
To crown, in Jubilee sublime,
                             Our Empress Queen. [unnumbered page]
Far Ind’, with fair and jewelled hand,
Unfolds the treasures of her land;
Nor could famed Sheba’s Queen command
                                  Off rings more meet
To lay, nor with a nobler band,
                                  At Monarch’s feet.
Ceylon’s fair Isle with her ivory brings,
And glossy furs, meet spoils for kings:
Cashmere her airy texture flings
                              O’er beauty’s form,
With birds of bright and golden wings
                               These halls adorn.
And spices from a hundred isles,
The riches gleaned from Southern soils;
Ripe sunny fruits, and Arctic spoils
                          Commingling form
A monument ; — of noble toils
                           And manhood born.
But mark the nobler pageant night;
With matchless form, with dauntless eye,
Her helm on brow, her spear on high,
                                 In regal car,
   Britannia passes proudly by,
                                  All armed for war. [page 8]
A thousand horsemen round her wheel;
A thousand blades of glitt’ring steel:
While rank on rank the arm reveal
                        Of England’s might;
And land and sea uphold one shield,
                         To guard her right.
Hail! stalwart sons of Austral sires,
Whose bosoms glow with martial fires;
No new-born zeal your soul inspires
                        With love of fame;
Your  “Egypt battle-flag” aspires
                         To nobler name.
The Ghoorka wields his tulwar bright;
The Sikh spurs on like errant knight;
The swarthy Sepoy — lithe and light—
                         Speeds swiftly by;
And countless Hillmen shout with might
                          Their battle cry.
But hark! I hear a choral song,
Oft heard Canadian woods among;
So heard her foes, nor waited long,
                         To meet her steel,
Cursed be the hand would work thee wrong,
                          Or mar thy weal! [page 9]
A varied host,— they hurry past,
Calm as the breeze,— fierce as the blast,
That hurls below the shivered mast,
                              When tempests roar;
To quell the foe, alike they grasp
                             The sword or oar.
The lurid heavens like furnace glow;
The Arctic blizzards round them blow,
And pile on high the drifting snow,
                             Till mountains form;
The woodmen fear not mortal foe,
                              Nor sun nor storm.
And with that dauntless, noble band,
Marshalled from many a distant strand,
Sons of her soil join hand in hand
                             In proud array,
And flaunt the trophies, won by brand
                              On battle day.

Light-hearted sons of Erin’s Isle
March on, nor dream of fear or toil;
Their ringing jests dull cares beguile,
                             Or gloomy speech;
No braver hearts the foe to foil,
                             Or mount the breach. [page 10]
The loud huzza and manly cheer
Proclaim the Saxon warrior near;
His is no soul for doubt or fear, 
                     When honor calls;
Nor cannon’s roar nor flashing spear
                             His heart appalls.
And where the pibroch proudly swells,
Thrilling each heart where Scotia dwells,
The nodding plume the story tells
                     Of love supreme.
And blood that flowed like mountain wells
                           For Scotland’s Queen.
Our broadsides thund’ring o’er the deep,
Where England’s navies proudly sweep,
And belching guns from lofty steep,
                             Flash forth her fame,
And British hearts shall sacred keep
                              Victoria’s name.
But as the lyre Anacreon strung
Left grand heroic deeds unsung,
And still to love’s sweet murmurs clung,
                             With echoing string;
The pageant past — the pæans rung —
                             “Sweet home” we sing. [page 11]
A simple maiden She, nor gem,
Nor sceptre hers, nor diadem;
And by her side, of noble name
                             And manly art,
Stands one, love’s harvesting to claim,
                             And hand and heart.
As loving wife,—as mother dear,—
Through many a bright revolving year
She plucked life’s fruits, — nor care, nor fear,
                                Nor aught befell,
To wake a sigh or draw one tear
                                 From sorrow’s well.
But as in brightest, purest sky,
And cloudless to the clearest eye,
The gath’ring tempest hovers nigh,
                              To spend its might,
So may the light pass swiftly by,
                               And come dark night.

And came night when her loved, her own,
Sharing all joys save but the throne,
His eyelids closed and found a home,
                                 Changeless and pure;
While her’s the task— widowed and lone—
                                  Still to endure. [page 12]
As warrior dies on battle day,
Where duty placed him in the fray,
So noble Alice lowly lay
                             Where crowns are rust;
And stricken babe and mother’s clay
                              Are “dust to dust.”
And he a mother loved so well,
On whom a father’s mantle fell
And gave the wisdom that could tell
                             The course to steer,
Lay down where Canne’s blue waters swell
                              On strangers’ bier.
Still, tho’ that heart be sad and lone;
Tho’ hopes have died and joys have flown
And like th’unmated dove’s sad moan,
                             Her grief shall last,
A nation’s cares she makes her own,
                             As in the past.
May blessings cheer thee on thy way,
And coming years brush tears away,
Till shadows flee, and nightless day
                              At length be seen.
Our heart of hearts till then shall pray
          “GOD SAVE OUR QUEEN!” [page 13]
.

THE TRAPPER’S CHRISTMAS

              And this is Christmas morn!
Yet I alone my vigils keep,
And woo in vain the toiler’s sleep;
               For thoughts, conceived and born
Of scenes long fled, thro’ mem’ry sweep,
Till the lone heart must either break or weep.

               ‘Tis twenty years today
Since Mary took my hand and ring
And promised light and joy to bring;
                And I can truly say,
Our golden bells still blithely ring,
And Love has dropped no feather from his wing.

               Sweet twenty years of bliss!
And olive branches came, as flowers
Come to adorn our springtide bowers;
               Or fair Aurora’s kiss
That cheers the morn like summers showers,
And blends sweet music with our waking hours. [page 14]

              Then why this throbbing heart?
Why dim my eyes with blinding tears?
Why hands shake, as if gath’ring years,
               And all that cares impart
Had bent me down with age’s fears,
Till every fond desire their malice sears?

               No! No! Not age I ween
Has touched, to mar or hand or eye.
My stanch canoe I paddle by, 
               Where Red Men scarce have been;
And dauntless thro’ these wilds I hie,
Nor aught I fear save Him to whom I cry.

               This hand is true as steel,
And never flinched when danger pressed.
That glossy hide once clutched his breast,
               Till I could almost feel
No human strength could stand such test.
One knife-thrust given, and low lay Bruin’s crest.

                Alone I face the storm,
When fierce winds o’er the mountains sweep;
When bird and beast to shelter creep;
              When trees are bent and torn;
And deer cower down like frightened sheep,
And only men still onwards bravely keep. [page 15]

             And in the wintry night,
When piercing cold the pine tree rends,
As when the mutt’ring thunder sends
             Us heralds of its might ;
When the crisp snow its mantle lends,
And thus from cruel death the partridge fends,

              Ah! then my cabin holds
The trapper safe from every foe,
Tho’ axe-hewn door sways to and fro,
              And slumber deep enfolds
This form and tho’ a tempest blow,
Nor ear nor eyes the wild commotion know.

              Not thus they feel who lie
With shingled roof above their head,
And court coy sleep on downy bed,
              While bolt and bar defy
Aught that might o’er the threshold tread,
To break such rest as still to ease is wed.

             And yet ‘tis strange to think
That months have passed, and not one sound
From human lips my ear has found;
             Yet glows each golden link
That heart to heart has firmly bound,
Till severed souls feel one the world round. [page 16]

              A hundred leagues of snow,
Where human foot has left no trace,
Stretch us between, and yet efface
              No gleam of genial glow,
That lends a charm to heart and face,
And thro’ each vein spurs on like headlong race.

             Ah! would I were today
Where round loved ones my arms I’d fling;
Could see my home with welcomes ring;
             Could hear my children say,
“Oh! leave no more, even gold to bring;
Well may you rest, well fold the weary wing.”

              Peace! beating heart be still.
Two moons must wax and wane before
I leave this lone lake’s placid shore,
              Leave this bold rocky hill, 
And on my light toboggan store
Such spoils as mink and silver fox once wore.

              Yet time may come when I
May lay this knife and gun aside;
Content in pleasing home to bide,
              Without one longing sigh
To dare the rapids’ foaming tide,
Or tent once more upon this mountain’s side. [page 17]

              And then I’d drive afield
My sturdy team to stir the soil,
And aid my sons in springtide toil.
              Or reap fair autumn’s yield.
‘Twere better thus for age to moil
Than search thro’ land and sea for hunter’s spoil.

             And when the darg is done,
How sweet to rest beneath the tree;
To list the soft wind’s melody,
             And mark the setting sun
Paint o’er with gold the waveless sea,
Till heaven seems near and earthly shadows flee.

              But hark! yon dolesome owl
Has launched his plaint upon the air,
That echoes back, as in despair,
              Some wild, weird, wolfish howl,
That springs the red deer from his lair,
And almost human hearts his larum share.

              So flits this passing gleam,
So fades my house beside the shore;
And still-born thoughts that fancy bore
               Prove but a waking dream.
My hundred leagues are yet in store;
I drop my wings, and bend me to my chore. [page 18]

              And this Christmas morn!
And I will bow the willing knee,
And pray for them who pray for me,
              Till joy of hope be born;—
Hope now that tells of mirth and glee,
When I shall reach “Sweet Home” beside the sea. [page 19]
.

ODE TO THE PRINCE OF WALES.

(on his arrival in Quebec, August, 1860.)

Son of a race whose thrice-illustrious name
Fills many a niche within the “House of Fame.”
And gilds the page where history unfolds
Time’s storied treasures on its Cloth of Gold,
And from oblivion forth as willing brings
The deeds of peasant as the acts of the kings;
Son of a race that Fortune’s hand has crowned
With every glory that one earth is found,
And yet whose proudest glory ‘tis to own
Not the mere fading tinsel of the throne,
But noblest virtues, that alike command
The love of high and lowliest of the land;
Hope of each British Heart we welcome thee,
Safe from the perils of the raging sea,
That stilled its angry waves and threatening roar
To waft thee safely to our Western shore.
Welcome! uncounted voices mingling cry,
Loud as the thunder peal that rends the sky,
Till from the dwellers of our mighty land,
From Huron’s wave to Labrador’s bleak strand,
The swelling chorus of a nation’s voice
Proclaims high holiday, and bids each heart rejoice.
Nor do we greet thee as a hero come [page 20]
To claim proud laurels that his sword has won.
No battle war-cry mingles with thy name,
To speak thy valour through the trump of fame;
No heart shall bleed anew, no orphan’s tear
Shall flow suggestive when thy steps are near;
But, binding on thy brow her stainless bays,
Sweet heaven-born peace shall loudly sing thy praise.
For nobler mission’s thine than warrior brand,
To bear us greetings from our native land,
And teach our children that nor time nor space
May from our breasts the love of home efface.
Nor shall thy words of peace be breathed in vain,
Nor fail due homage from our hearts to gain;
For, mark the varied hosts that throng the shore,
And rival well the cannon’s deafening roar,—
Sons of New France stand brothers side by side,
And close their ranks with England’s flower and pride,
The waving tartans of the stalwart Gael,
The gay green banner of fair Erin’s Isle,
And nodding war plumes of the Huron brave,
Together mingle free, together peaceful wave.
No war paint now begrimes the red man’s cheek,
His tomahawk lies buried lone and deep,
His wampum tells of feuds that rage no more,
And pipe of peace succeeds the battle’s roar.
Sons too of sires that met in dread array,
To plush fresh laurels on each battle day,
The weapons of a nobler warfare wield,
And wage new battles on a bloodless field [page 21]
The hands that laid the train or sprung the mine,
Now mallets grasp and guide the plummet line
Till far on high yon noble column rose,
That tells as well the praise of friends and foes;
Nor cheek with shame may burn nor bosom rage,
to read the story of its sculptured page;
While Abraham’s plain shall yield the noblest shrine
Of hero worship to the end of time,
And France and England point with mutual pride
Where fell the great Montcalm, and Wolfe victorious died.
Go! Scion of a race whose fostering care
Matures those peaceful arts that millions share,
And mark the blessings that a peaceful hand
Has scattered broadcast o’er this beauteous land;
Go, where stern nature rears her rugged throne,
Or claims each grace and beauty as her own;
Go, where man’s hand and wondrous skill combined
Embalm the triumphs of the noblest mind;
Go, where midst stately halls the festive throng
Thread the gay fane or raise the choral song;
Or go, where ‘neath the mighty forest shade
The log-built cabin lifts its lowly head, 
Alike ‘neath lordly roof and forest tree,
One mighty shout of joy shall welcome thee.
And when, returning to thy world-famed isle,
Again to meet a mother’s joyous smile,
Tell of that love that patriot bosom fills
On Western plains as well as Scottish hills; [page 22]
Tell of those brawny arms that, trained to wield
The woodman’s axe, shall grasp the warrior’s shield,
To guard those rights that emanate from heaven,
And sire to son as holiest heritage has given.
Tell of those earnest prayers that heavenward rise,
Sweet as the incense of pure sacrifice, 
To ask for her who wields a sceptre o’er
The varied sons of many a clime and shore,
Years many as those virtues that shall yield
More lasting praise than deeds on tented field.
And thou, loved Prince, so live that when thy hand
Shall gold the sceptre of our fatherland,
Thy life may meet the praise of mother’s eyes
Bending upon thee from their native skies.
May time thy youthful blossoming unfold;
May mercy claim thee, and may tyrants dear,
They age to honor and thy name revere,
‘Till praise of thee be borne o’er land and sea,
And Albert Edward’s name still live while time shall be. [page 23]
.

DOMINION DAY IDYLL.

Time was when man to man we stood in strife;
   Sword clashed on sword, crimsoned with ghastly gore,
And orphans mourned, and widows wailed their dead,
   While weeping earth strewed leaves her slaughtered children o’er.
And old men joyed to tell where for met foe;
   Where death or glory claimed the dauntless brave
And boyhood loved to list the stirring tale,
   Or seek the grassy mound that marked the soldier’s grave.
Long years have passed and smoothed those furrows down
   That rugged hands once raised to hide the slain;
But now we battle on a bloodless field,
   And strive to build one mighty land from main to main. [page 24]
Our fathers built those monuments of stone,
    To tell what France had lost and England won;
Their children we— let us a nobler raise,
    Founded on land and sea,— the fairest ‘neath the sun.
From Labrador to fair Vancouver’s Isle,
   Form Erie’s shore, far as the Arctic seas,
One banner’s folds wave o’er Canadian homes,
   One arm defends our right and guards our liberties.
No broader stream than ours— no purer skies,—
    No richer soil, to yield the yellow grain, —
No statelier trees to crown the mountain’s brow,—
   No richer golden robes to clothe the furrowed plain.
The snarling wolf that prowls around the door,
   Where squalid hunger dwells, we know not here;
Our ready fields await but willing hands,
   And he that toils in spring shall reap rich autumn’s cheer.
Our seas— our boundless lakes— our crystal streams,
    Each yields the ransom of a mighty king;
And countless argosies bear wealth away,
    The luxuries of distant lands to homeward bring. [page 25]
Strong hands have we to sow our fertile plains,—
   Strong arms to reap the grain, or delve the mine,—
To draw forth treasures from the yielding deep,
   Or midst the forest shades to fell the costly pine.
Who till and reap the glebe can also fight;
   The hand that guides the plough may train the gun;
And arms that swing the axe shall wield the sword,
   To guard and keep our sacred gifts from sire to son.
‘Tis sweet, in springtide hours, to sow the seed
   That hope assures shall yield a hundred fold;
‘Tis sweet to drive your lowing herds afield,
   Or glean the valued treasures of your bleating fold.
‘Tis sweet, on summer morn, e’er dews have fled,
   To pluck the luscious fruit from bush or tree;
To breathe the fragrance of the opening flowers,
 And list the “wood-notes-wild” of bird-life melody.
When Autumn paints the land with living gold,
   When gorgeous hues adorn the maple leaves,
Our harvest songs resound from hill to date,
   Our ample barns groan with the weight of teeming sheaves. [page 26]
Has sport its charms? A thousand streams invite
   To ply the rod and line with “Walton” skill;
The soft winds sigh—fast leap the speckled Trout,
   With glitt’ring gems, the angler’s heart and creel to fill.
Hid in the slimy depths of sedgy pool,
   Watching his prey, the Maskilongé lies;
While Lake St. John’s broad waters woo us there,
   With lure of far-framed Ouinaniche, a lordly prize.
Would’st thou meet foe more worthy of thy steel?
   Go where the Cascapedia frets and boils;
Some “Salmo Salar,” fresh from briny waves,
   That missed a Princess’ barb, may swell thy princely spoils.
‘Tis Spring! Sweet Spring! and weary hearts are glad,
   Once more the fragrance of the woods to greet;
Age, joyous at the change, the sunbeam seeks,
   And by the hawthorn tree the youthful lovers meet.
Hark! the masked waterfall now bursts its chains’
   As lower sink the fields of melting snow;
All nature wakes from winter’s icy sleep,
   And where swept biting hail, the south winds gently blow. [page 27]
And land and sea, alive with new-born life,
   Their absent welcome back with open arms;
The fields are clothed anew with glorious green,
   And budding flower and tree display their rival charms.
And if swift-whirring wings your fancy please,
   A Sportsman’s Paradise awaits you here;
Who gleans our game, regrets not Scottish hills,
   Nor longs his skill once more to try on English mere.
Ah! list the music of the whistling wings,
   As westward sweeps the long-extended corps;
Our own Outarde revisits well-known haunts,
   And the loud quack rings out anew from sea to shore.
The Canvas-back a double zest affords,
   And yields a dish to “set before a king ;”
And where the north shore streams rush to the sea,
   Here the rare Harlequin shoots past on rapid wing.
To Grondine’s flats the Ibis yet returns ;
   The snowy Goose loves well the sedgy shore;
Loud booms the Bittern ‘midst the clust’ring reeds,
   And the famed Heron nests on pine top as of yore. [page 28]
If shapely form and splendour charm the eye,
   The graceful Wood Duck claims fair beauty’s prize;
No gorgeous plumes like his adorn the rest;
   No lovelier shades could feathers yield or sparkling eye.
The shady copse the wary Woodcock haunts;
   From Château Richer’s swamps the Snipe upsprings;
Ontario’s fields know well the scurrying Quail,
   And o’er the glassy lake the Loon’s weird laughter rings.
Afar ‘midst forest glades, where Red Men lie;
   On mossy log the Ruffed Grouse strut and drum;
The plump Tetrao courts the spruce tree’s shade;
   And spotless Ptarmigan with boreal tempests come.
Resplendent thro’ the grove the Turkey roams,
   And lends a deeper grace to Christmas cheer;
Our silvery lakes still claim the graceful Swan;
   And o’er the uplands shrill the Plover’s pipe we hear.
Or come, where on rolling Western plains
   Beneath the brushwood Sagefowl snugly lie;
And Prairie Hens rush boldly at the foe,
   Their cow’ring brood to shield, as swoops the Falcon by. [page 29]
A hunter thou? The grim Bear courts thy skill,
   And fearless roams ere yet he seeks his den;
His glossy robes might grace triumphal car,—
   His pearly spoils proclaim the rank of dusky men.
The Wolf, still tireless, track his victim’s trail;
   The prowling Lynx, like sleuth-hound, wends his way;
And by the well-worn path the Carcajou
   Drops, from his hidden perch, upon th’unwary prey.
Sly Reynard follows where the startled Hare
   Darts thro’ the matted elders like a gleam;
And the sleep Otter on his titbits dines,
   Nor dreads the Hound’s loud bark upon his lonely stream.
Far from men’s haunts the Beaver builds his dam
   And pond’rous mound, to keep him safe from harm
His larder filled with choicest winter stores,—
   Cold winds may bite and blow, his lair is soft and warm.
Thro’ rushing chute and pool the Fisher swims;
   And Mink and Martin sport right merrily;
While overhead the angry Squirrel chides,
   And warns the rude intruder from his nut-stored tree.  [page 30]
And when the maple trees are stripped and bare,—
   When land and stream with snow are mantled o’er,—
When light toboggans down the mountains sweep,
   And the bold skater skims the lake from shore to shore,
Then don thy snowshoes, grasp they rifle true;
   The timid Red Deer thro’ the forest bounds,—
The wary Caribou rests on the frozen lake,
   And browse the mighty Moose upon their endless rounds.
These all and more await the hunter’s skill;
   Such trophies are well antlered halls adorn;
Their shining coats may win a golden prize.
   Or keep us snug and warm amid the winter storm.
But yet, possessed of aught that hands could win,
   Or all that pleasure puts within our ken,
We joy to know a nobler gift is ours,—
   We own the heaven-sent heritage of freeborn men.
No tyrant will shall filch one right away,
   Or break one tie that makes our land “Sweet Home;”
No nobler flag than ours floats o’er the free;
   No happier spot we greet, where’er our footsteps roam. [page 31]
Prepared to guard those rights, we fear no foe;
   True patriot arms are freedom’s strongest shields;
No rebel hordes we brook within our bounds,
   No hostile foot shall touch unscathed our peaceful fields.
Cursed be the hand would sow rude discord here!
   Cursed by the heart would kindle hostile fires!
One Queen —one home—one kindred tie we own,
   And we will guard these well, as did our noble sires.
Joy ever be to him who lives to pour
   On troubled, angry waves the peaceful oil!
Joy to that man who loves to foster peace,
   And deep the hatchet buries in the kindly soil!
Then, on this day, as brothers brethren meet,—
   As mothers wish God-speed to gallant boy,—
Our fair Dominion we with gladness greet,
   Till Halifax’s cheer awakes Vancouver’s joy! [page 32]

 

 

FREDERICK THE NOBLE.

Thy royal robes, unworn, lie on the throne;—
    Thy jewelled sword awaits thy knightly hand;—
Up, Kaiser! gird thy brows with diadem,
    And grasp the sceptre of thy Fatherland.
That eye unquailed has met the flashing steel;—
    That voice has risen above the battle’s roar;—
And Woerth’s proud field a double chaplet wove,
    Where France still mourns her mould’ring warriors o’er.
Enough! thy battle flags are blazoned well;—
    Enough of trophies decorate thy breast;—
Fiercely thy eagles swooped upon their prey,
    Sheathe then thy sword and bid thy soldiers rest! [page 33]
Too long the reeking earth has drunk men’s blood;—
    Yon charnel fields scarce hide the bleaching slain;—
The ear’s aweary with that ceaseless tramp,
    While countless horsemen scour the quiv’ring plain.
As when the Great Redeemer came to earth,
    When “Idle spear and shield were high uphung,”
So bind the olive branch upon thy crest,
    Bid carnage cease, and songs of peace be sung,
And say, “Our trumpets hand ‘mid hunters’ spoils;”—
    His neck, to peaceful yoke, the warhorse yields;—
Women learn woman-craft once more,— And joy!
    ‘Tis stalwart men that till and reap our fields.
Krupp’s forges glow, but glow not now to weld
    The pond’rous gun or mould the deadly shell;—
And joyous voices, as the ploughshare rings
    A merry “Anvil Chorus,” heavenward swell.
And village youths and maids, when ev’ning comes,
    Now trip it lightly o’er the flowery sod,
While Rinckart’s gentle spirit hovers near,
    To raise the hymn, “Now thank we all our God.” [page 34]
And such would’st thou have said and done, but ah!
    Blind are we to that will that works on high;—
Earth’s worthless weeds outlive the fiercest storm,
    While beauteous flowers but pine and droop and die.
Thou sleepest well. Oh! God can this be death?
    Cold is thy brow, and still the living tide.
Alas! thy wingéd day has closed in night;—
    And sire and son now slumber side by side.
Yet brief altho’ thy day, a halo bright
    Of glory rests upon thy honored name,
And “Unser Fritz,” while still the Rhine shall flow,
    Must claim a year and fill the trump of fame.
And while thy form shall crown the hallowed spot,
    Where shot and shell and sabre swept the field,
Yet o’er thy people’s hearts, while hearts shall beat,
    A deathless reign thy countless virtues yield.
When thund’ring broadsides down the tempest’s roar;—
    When furious squadrons shout their battle cry;—
And rings the charge above the battle’s din;—
    ‘Tis sweet for hearth and home to strike or die. [page 35]
But when remorseless fate, with deadly aim,
    Has sped the shaft that soon must lay thee low;—
And beauty fades, and manhood’s glories die,
    ‘Tis hard to kiss the hand that deals the blow.
And yet such kiss was thine when sorrow came,
    And Hope fled weeping that her task was done.
No shadow backward o’er thy dial crept,
    While all around bewailed thy setting sun;—
All save thyself.   No plaint escaped thy lips;—
    Meek was thy prayer,— “Thy servant Frederick waits,”—
Nor glittering gold, nor empire’s garish sheen
    Could hide the glory of the pearly gates.
Tho’ woman’s deathless love adorned thy home;—
    Tho’ round thy couch the children watched and wept;
And millions waited at each morning’s dawn,
    To ask if he they loved still lived or slept,
Yet vain was all, and vain man’s highest skill,
    Nearer its goal death spurred with quickening pace,
Nor rank, nor gold, nor power, could stand between,
    Or snatch even Kaiser from his cold embrace. [page 36]
Thou sleepest well! for well thy work was done;—
    Thy country boasts no prouder name than thine;—
Name that shall live in cot and princely hall,
    While yet the watchfires light the German Rhine.
Lady, weep not,— thy faithful watch is o’er;
    Still duty calls, but calls to other field;
Leave here thy dead, his ashes sleep in peace,
    Whom hearts encircle with a living shield.
Leave here thy dead, but midst those flowers that spend
    Their perfume sweet around his slumb’ring clay,
Lay thou that heather sprig that breathed fond hopes
    Ere yet the lips had framed what love should say,—
Love that awoke response within thy breast,
    Sweet as the Melrose to the wand’ring bee,
And faithful to the close, as when first pledged,
    Amidst the murmurs of the crystal Dee.
Nor was that love for earth alone; but when	
    Earth’s crumbling kings and kingdoms pass away,
And life devoid of pain, or care, or fear,
    Shall animate this now but mortal clay, [page 37]
Then faith will yield those scenes we now but dream,
    When deathless life may to God’s sons be given,
And where the Gold of love shall dwell, our love
    Will burn with yet a deeper glow in heaven.
Who trust as children trust, and while on earth
    Both strive to pray to bring God’s blessing down,
When dust shall wake to life, will claim from Him
    Who wore the crown of thorns a heavenly crown.
Kaiser, farewell! we know thy name shall live
    In countless hearts, ev’n while time’s ages run;
And when the Judgment morning breaks, thy Lord
    Shall greet thee as a son, “Well done! Well done!” [page 38]

 

Extract from the Log of J. D. Gilmour’s Yacht “Muriel,” homeward bound from Trinity Bay, July, 1887.

FAREWELL TO TRINITY

 

Farewell to Trinity,— a long farewell!
    We may not soon forget thy many charms;—
For myriad pests have deep engraved thy name,
    From head to heel, on front, and rear, and arms.
Farewell to Trinity,—and as a smile
    Plays o’er thy waters as we heave this sigh,
We’ll heave our anchor with responsive jest,
    And drown our grumbles in a bright good-by.
Nor would we part, good Trinity, in strife;
    You dealt us wounds, and we have gleaned some joys
The well mixed cup we drain to very dregs;
    If nectar pure we sip, it ever cloys. [page 39]
And when the breeze, that fills the Muriel’s sails,
    Shall bear us hence, and leave thee on the lee,
And other scenes shall claim our hands and brains,
    We still will harbor pleasing thoughts of thee.
When Boreal winds come fowling round our door;
    When maple faggots blaze right merrily;
And toasted slippers warm both heart and soles,
    And children frolic round with mirth and glee,
And climb around the father’s easy chair,
    With youthful wit and winning infant smile,
To claim the boon that’s never asked in vain—
     The old man’s tales that wintry hours beguile.
  “Our swift toboggans now must rest till morn;
    The ringing steel has ceased its merry tune;
Our weary snowshoes hang upon the wall,
    And curly heads must press the eider soon.
Then come, dear father, ere we say ‘Good-night,’—
    And tell how herons fell,— how hawks were flown;
Why Reynard’s brush was deemed a noble prize,
    How staghounds pulled the lordly red-deer down.” [page 40]
And then we’ll tell of Scottish lake and stream,
    Where first we learned the gentle art to ply;
Where o’er the dizzy crags the eagles scream,
    And mid eternal snow the struck game die.
But should the “Chestnut Bells” a warning give,
    That tiny ears have heard those tales before,
Then drop we, with good grace, our boyhood days,
    To hail, good Trinity thy genial shore.
And Gilmour, once again, shall prove his skill,
    To win fresh trophies from the yielding stream,
His “Doctor’s” fast!   On tears the noble fish,
    Till David lands him like a lightning gleam.
Macnaughton’s tireless rod now ceaseless plays
    O’er every spot where lurks the finny prize.
Whirr! goes the reel.   It strains the quiv’ring line,
    Then turns upon its side and gasping dies.
Mighty in form and deed, the stalwart Fitch,
    For peaceful gaff, his dripping sword has given;
His matchless spoils adorn our rustic walls,
    His toothsome chowders scent both earth and heaven. [page 41]
And genial Hamilton, when ev’ning comes,
    When Gideon trims each lamp with cunning hand,
And joke and laughter claim the festive hour,
    He, “facile pinceps,” alone shall stand.
“And you?” you slily ask?   The modest Scot
    Scarce airs his virtues in the midday sun;
Yet brass may shine like burnished gold,— and I,—
    I filled my creel with fish,— our hut with fun.
And should they meet those lines who taught me there
    The winning card; pray, let no laughter ring;—
Mistakes were mine; yet many do as I,
    And play the knave, when they should play the king.
But, ah! why dream of days that ne’er may dawn?
    Why weave a legend we may never tell?
But, hark! our guns ring out a loud good-by;
    “Steady! North west!”  Good Trinity, farewell. [page 42]

 

                                       

ODE— THE DISAPPOINTMENTS OF HOPE.

Eccles.ix. II: “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.”

Warrior! in vain thy mail— the shepherd’s sling
    May lay thee low upon the blood-stained sod;
Or arrow, sped from random now, may bring
    Thro’ armour joints, dread message from thy God.
Swift as an Asahel, or startled roe,
    The goal may gleam before thy straining eyes—
But gleam in vain, spoils deck less gifted foe,
    And other head than thine shall wear the prize.
To Baal, five hundred prophets bent the knee,
    From morn to eve, and yet no answer came;
Elijah, all alone, prays Heaven, and see!
    Heaven’s fires down come, and comes the needed rain. [page 43]
Far o’er a conquered world Rome’s eagle flew,
    Nor saw one neck unbent beneath her tread.
Christ’s sons marched forth—unarmed—yea—two by two—
    Her legions passed—and Rome lay with the dead.
Would’st thou have manly grace? To-day this steals
    A nation’s heart, to fade ere setting sun;
And, ah! for him, how many a mourner feels
    Who wailed— “O Absolom, my son, my son!”
Has wisdom charms?  Let wisest monarch tell
    Of loftiest temple reared— of purest fane—
And noblest shrine, where God was pleased to dwell;
    And yet he mourned— “All human things are vain.”
And what of love! Ah! Mariamne, thou
    And more have won a sceptre and a tomb.
Thy Herod worships at thy foot-stool now—
    Now, sated with thy charms, he seals thy doom.
The noblest diadem that rank could bring,
    And empire’s boundless sway await thee soon.
Alas! low lies thy head, for here death’s king,
    And nations mingle tears around thy tomb. [page 44]
Thy gold speeds homeward from a hundred shore,
    And all that wealth can give is thine to-day;
But, hark! the billows rise—the tempest roars,
    And all, save beggars’ rags, is swept away.
Adorned with every grace that genius flings
    Around her sons— Fool! bread is yet to gain;
Some worm may yet outstrip thy dazzling wings,
    To seize the food thy nestlings crave in vain.
Yet, tho’ earth’s choicest gifts have often failed,
    For noblest brows, to win the highest prize;
And Hope, like smiling morn, our boyhood hailed,
    To cower, ere even came, ‘neath wintry skies;
Still he that fights with weapons God has given
    Shall conqu’ror prove o’er each besetting stain;
And he that runs the race, from earth to heaven,
    The crown shall win— the victory shall gain. [page 45]

 

FISHING SONG.

Written at Trinity Bay. July, 1887.

When I was a fisher o’ troot.
    I aye got alang fairly weel;
But noo, since for salmon I’m oot,
    Fint a fin will ye find in my creel.

CHORUS.

Sae hey for the rod and the reel,
    That charm half life’s troubles away,
And hey for the leal-hearted chiel
    That lives to baith to work and to play.
Sae sang I but only yestreen,
    Wi’ a grane like a grizzly bear,
But fortune has gien me a gleam
    O’ sunshine to lighten my care. [page 46]

 

CHORUS.

Sae hey for the rod and the reel, etc.

My “Fairy” had scarce reached its flight,
    When my pirn went a spinnin’ wi’ glee,
And my gaffer, half crazed wi’ delight,
    Laid a beauty o’ twelve on the lea.

 

CHORUS.

Sae hey for the rod and the reel, etc.

My auld basket I’ll fling in the flames,
    I’d fling it altho’ it were new,
For it wadna haud ane o’ the gems
    That lie in my bonnie canoe.

 

CHORUS.

Sae hey for the rod and the reel, etc. [page 47] 

 

TO AN APPLE TREE BLOSSOMING IN OCTOBER.

            Fair apple tree!
Why flaunt you blossoms here,
When leaves— now dead and sere—
            Lie on the lea?

           Sweet apple tree!
Too late those petals spread,
For summer warmth has fled
           From land and sea.

           Oh! foolish tree!
The germs that springtide moulds’
Alone shall yield those folds
           That hundreds be.

           But, kindred tree!
Ev’n man, with reason’s power,
Forgets the short-lived hour
           That soon must flee, [page 48]

           And wantonly
Leaves fields untilled in spring,
That no return will bring,
           While time may be.

           For th’almond tree
Fast spreads its wintry bloom,
Precursor of the tomb,
           Where all shall be.

           Who toil can dree,
When spring its garlands weaves,
Shall bring his golden sheaves
           All home with glee. [page 49]

 

HYMN.

St. John viii. 2:  “Go, and sin no more.”

Continuously down pour
    My burning tears, while I
    Still wait for Christ’s reply,
“Sinner, go, sin no more.”

Robes, deemed all pure, I wore,
    But yet besetting sin
    Sprung from the heart within
To make me sin the more.

Fain I would I probe each sore,
    But yet no healing came;
    Wounds still unclosed remain,
While I but sin the more.

Faith shall to us restore
    A love that shall endure
    But ah! What heart is pure?
What heart here sins no more? [page 50]

He who our burden bore,
    He only can replace
    What sin did once deface,
And bid men sin no more.

Oh! spread thy bright robes o’er
    This heart, where earthly stain,
    While time is, must remain,
Till I shall sin no more.

And when we reach heaven’s shore,
    Pure as the angels there,
    And free from guile and care,
We sin shall nevermore. [page 51]

 

 

THE WELL OF BETHLEHEM

II. Samuel xxii. 15: “Oh that one would give me the drink of the water
of the well of Bethlehem!”

 

Red rose the sun o’er Judah’s hills;
    Red glowed the lurid sky;
And, as the hart for cooling rills,
    So mailéd warriors sigh.

Not youths sent from their mother’s side,
    To flesh their maiden sword,
But vet’rans grim who long defied
    The foes of Israel’s Lord.

And he, the first in rank and fame,
    Good Jesse’s warlike son,
Who, when brave Saul had thousands slain,
    Ten thousand triumphs won; [page 52]

Like hunted partridge that the snare
    Of fowler gives no rest;
Or outcast bent with carking care,
    And ceaseless fears oppressed,

So David longs as when we tell
    To mother’s ear each sigh,—
“Oh for one draught of Bethlehem’s well!
    Enough to drink and die!”

Three of the bravest of him band
    Had heard their Chief’s complaint.
Heard but to act,— then sword in hand,
    Like lions forth they went.

The foe lie round on every side; 
    Their tents their thousands tell,
And woe to him shall sure betide,
    Who seeks fair Bethlehem’s well.

The foe lie round, but ripe as grain
    Prone falls, by sickle reaped,
So glean their crimsoned swords the slain,
    Till high the dead are heaped. [page 53]

Back come the three, and back they bring,
    As trophy of the fight,
A gen’rous draught,— while plaudits ring
    To greet these men of might.

As blush o’erspreads the maiden’s cheek,
    Or teardrop dims her eye,
When knightly deed would humbly seek
    To wake her praise or sigh,

So glows the youthful leader’s face,—
    Strange thoughts his bosom swell,
As in his fevered hands they place
    That draught from Bethlehem’s well.

Once more his father’s flock he tends
    And plies his shepherd’s sling
With hand that bear or lion rends,
    Or strikes the harp’s loud string.

Low sinks the sun behind the hill,
    Soft sleeps the silent fold:
In dreams he quaffs faire Bethlehem’s rill,
    More prized than shining gold. [page 54]

But these were days ere martial fame
    Had spurred his boyish pride;
Ere singing maidens blazed his name
    Who ruled the battle’s tide.

Oh! these were days ere princely halls
    Their doors had open flung
To him whose deeds, along with Saul’s,
    A thousand voices sung.

Nor dark intrigue, nor courtly care,
    Had touched that youthful brow
With broils that drove him forth to lair
    In wood or cave, as now.

And as the water-cruse he took,
    That brave men to him bore,
His speak became the shepherd’s crook,
    Himself a boy once more.

And clouds that come like stormy night,
    As morning mists roll by,
Till gruesome thoughts dissolve in light,
    And hearts with hope beat high. [page 55]

Hope, born of faith the He who gave
    His arm its strength and might
To work brave deeds, from toils would save,
    And give his own their right.

High overhead the fierce sun shone,
    The tempting draught was near,
But weakly longings past had gone,—
    Passed fainting heart or fear.

And changed again became the scene,
    As bright a sceptre rose,
Mid power and sway and princely sheen,
    And death to Israel’s foes.

And Jesse’s son shall sceptre wield;
    The shepherd wear the crown;
When Saul shall lie on bloody field,
    By foremen stricken down.

And David’s voice rose clear and high,
    O’er rock, and hill, and fen,—
“Great God, forbid that drink should I
    The blood of valiant men.” [page 56]

Down flows that draught like crystal stream,
    Down to the thirsty sod;
While parchéd lips with praises teem
    And pay their vows to God.

Ah! had each future hour of life
    Been pure as on that day,
His reign had known no troublous strife,—
    Unlisped the scoffer’s say.

And he who Zion’s harp had strung,
    To aid his heavenly song,
Through ages all his praise had rung,
    Unstained by blame or wrong.

Speak kindly then if wrongs were done,
    Nor gloat o’er faults to dwell;—
But gen’rous be as Jesse’s son,
    And think of Bethlehem’s well. [page 57]

 

HYMN.
1st Cor. xiii. 12: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then
face to face.”

 

Dark were the night, were there no light
    The wand’ring step to cheer,
And lone the stream without a gleam,
    To tell the course to steer.

But darker far, had we no star
    To woo the doubting heart
To wend its way, where wisdom’s ray
    Can heavenly lore impart.

And praise to Him, who o’er the dim
    Dark waters gave command,
For night’s sweet calm, and morning’s dawn,
    And light o’er sea and land. [page 58]

And praise as well, that while we dwell
    Where troubles shade the soul,
Yet healing streams and cloudless beams
    Speed on from pole to pole.

‘Tis true we know that here below
    Some spots still cloud earth’s sun;
Nor can we pray each weight away,
    While Christian race we run.

Our darkest night may blaze in light,
    Our gold may prove but brass;
Nor can we know life’s ebb or flow
    Who see as through a glass.

But when our feet the golden street
    Shall tread, no earthly stain
to souls shall cling where angels sing,
    And saints join in the strain.

And when we climb to heaven sublime,
    Away time’s shades then flee;
For grown in grace as face to face,
    The dread “I Am” we see. [page 59]

God grant us then, frail sons of men,
    A firmer, purer trust,
That we may wear our white robes there
    When life’s re-wed to dust. [page 60]

 

CANADA.
To President Harrison, 1st April, 1890.

Dear President, it grieves me sore
To think that, for a year and more,
Just ham and eggs, tho’ that galore,
                        Has been your dish,
To sink to hunger’s gnawing sore,
                        Without one fish.

But after all, it may be true
That, as you sport the old Kirk blue,
You do not care one single sou
                         For Friday grub,
Except for, say, an oyster stew
                         The flesh to snub.

Vivendi modus we have tried;—
On treaties, old and new, relied;—
Bold Sailors swore, suave Statesmen lied,
                         And Lawyers jigged,
While honest Hayseed simply sighed, —
                         Yet bait was prigged. [page 61]

But let me quote the “Golden Rule”
Your teacher taught in Sunday School,
Or should have taught to Wit or Fool:—
                          “Tho’ scant your meal,
And thin your garb thro’ want and doole,
                          Thou shalt not steal.”

Tho’ seals on far Alaska’s shore,
Or herrings packed round Labrador,
Would fill the purse, and give men store
                           Of shining tin,
Yet “ covet not” was wont of yore
                            To guard from sin.

But come, let’s “heel” the hounds of war!
Unhitch the steeds from “Glory’s Car!”
To prune with spears is sweeter far
                             Than shot and shell,—
And, go! teach those who brethren are,
                              In peace to dwell.

‘Tis first of April morn I know,
But heart and fin together go;—
So, here’s to brimming friendship’s flow,
                              On brine or sod;
Friend Tupper! hand your creel just so,
                              And give the C.O.D. [page 62]

 

IN MEMORIAM

JOHN ROSS, ESQ.

Died at Kirkvilla, Cacouna, P.Q., 10th Sept., 1887.
Rom. xii. 2 : “ Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.”

 

Mourn not — his work was done;
    Forbid those falling tears;
Nobly his race was run,
    Through days and months and years.

Not his, on glory’s car,
    The victor’s palm to wear,
Or slip the hounds of war,
    To work death’s carnage there.

For him it were no charm
    On gory deck to stand,
And smile to wield an arm
    Might rival Azrail’s brand. [page 63]

He proved, if men would do,
    As they might wish were done,
Then all were leal and true
    And great beneath the sun.

Gold came—he freely gave,
    To drive want’s wolves away.
Gold went—the steward prayed,
    “Thy will be done alway.”

His faith might not deceive
    With boast o’er death, o’er grief;
His—only, “I believe;
    Lord, help mine unbelief.”

And should doubt cloud our skies,
    While hope’s unseen—not sight,
We know a light shall rise
    To chase away dark night.

We faintly know the past;
    The future’s ail unknown;
And we may stem the blast,
    Or fade as a flower, half-blown. [page 64]

But why, we cannot tell;
    ‘Tis God’s to take or give,
And we should know ‘til well
    For us to die or live.

Then mourn no more for him,
    We yet shall meet again,
And though our eyes be dim,
    Our hearts still breathe Amen. [page 65]

 

QUEBEC’S BURDENS.

   The great Quebec landslide occurred on the evening of the 19th September, 1889. About forty-five persons perished on the occasion. One old man, after 110 hours of painful imprisonment, was rescued only to bewail piteously the apathy that had left him so long a prisoner; was rescued only to die; while infants were removed uninjured from the breasts of mothers, now cold and still in death. The writer of Quebec’s Burdens heard the story of the disaster on the spot, while the bodies of the dead were being found and removed. The narrator was now alone in the world; wife, children and all were gone. The scene of utter desolation, the dismal work of anxious and painful search, the sorrowing crowd waiting for another evidence of the terrible tragedy, and the choking voice and haggard looks of that lonely man, made an impression that will not soon be forgotten. Got grant that this part of Quebec’s history may never again be repeated.

 

Go! count my dead, nor ask why grief is mine,—
    Half mast each pennon droops, as if it knew
Why floods of tears now scald the pallid cheek,
    Or felt the jagged sword that pierced my bosom through. [page 66]

Thro’ the dim vista of long parted years,
    Roma! I press thine with a sister’s hand;
Thou too didst weep, nor wouldst thou bate one tear,
    While Rachel mourned o’er babes slain by a tyrant’s brand.

Gaze from those heights, across earth’s noblest stream,
    Where countless sails speed o’er its furrowed breast,
But not for me;— and argosies pass by,
    To yield their wealth of tribute to the golden West.

There navies poured forth thousands on my shores,
    To spend their gold or ploughshares on my soil;—
These all now hurry by, as if they saw
But barren fields, where slaves or loathsome lepers toil.

Pass thro’ those streets where commerce built her home,
    Now calm and still— here maidens count their beads;
The erewhile teeming storehouse crumbles down;
    Decay ascends her throne, and broadcast sows her weeds. [page 67]

Pass thro’ those streets, and mark the ashes there,
    As if its showers some dire volcano sent;—
And as you go, tread softly as you may,
    For human dust is there with crumbling ruins blent.

Strong men are sobbing now that nevermore
    Shall press those lips that death itself has kissed,
And women wait above the bloody biers
    Of stricken ones, whose hands and hearts shall long be missed.

Lift that sweet babe from off its mother’s breast,—
    The warmth that nursed its tender life has fled;
And feed those little mouths that “lack their food,”
    Who watched this morn o’er them, now slumber with the dead.

Great God! and can it be that some may lie
    Beneath those walls that form a living tomb;—
That strength shall wane;— and feebler, day by day,
    Shall strong men grow, till comes at last the midnight gloom? [page 68]

Ah! Why should boast or pride thrill lip or heart?
    What love we most, the deadliest wound has given,—
“Is not this Babylon, that I have built?”
    He said,— and fell, alike from throne and reason driven!

Proud of that noble rock whose form might fling
    Defiance back upon a world in arms,
I smiled to think what foe might breach those heights,—
    What city’s proudest walk could match my Terrace-charms.

Vain thought! for as the avalanche sweeps down
    From Alpine hills to work death’s work around,
So fell the idol that I loved so well,
    And hearts and homes lie crushed beneath the mighty mound.

Had duty called, this hand had armed my sons,
    To win or die, as men, on honour’s field,
Without one sigh, for Spartan mothers smiled
    Ev’n while their slain passed homeward on their blood-stained shield. [page 69]

But oh! how deep the pang, when traitor hearts
    Betray the trust that kindred claims bestow,—
Well might proud Cæsar seek his mantle’s folds,
    When friendly Brutus’ hand could deal the dagger’s blow.

Nay! let no cannon’s boom proclaim my grief,
    The yawning earth another host might claim;
Soft music’s numbers better hide the wail
    That tells our children’s sorrows and our country’s shame.

We joy to mark the ears of bending grain,
    To day by day assume the golden blade,
“Till ripe for harvest,” now the gath’rers come,
    And in the garner safe the ripened sheaves are laid.

But, ah! the reaper’s hand failed here to wait,
    And green and yellow fields alike went down;—
Fair downy cheeks lie pressed on cruel earth,
    And, side by side with these, lies low the hoary crown. [page 70]

The plumes go by, midst peals of fun’ral chimes;
    Our sobbing thousands crowd the gloomy streets;—
Still lower droops that flag upon the mast,—
    And Stadacona now, like Niobe, but weeps. [page 71]

 

IN MEMORIAM.

MAJOR SHORT.
Died in the performance of duty, at the St. Sauveur fire, Quebec, 16th May, 1889.)

 

Died, as a soldier should!
    When duty have command;—
Altho’ thy guns were mute,—
    No sabre in thy hand.

Oft had the leaden hail
    Around thy squadron swept;
Oft had the dusky foe
    Around thy tent-couch crept.

The fire-fiend spread its wings,
    As if earth’s doom was near.
But thine was, and we mourn
    Around thy blood-stained bier. [page 72]

No manlier form than thine,
    Where rose the battle cry;
Than thine, no braver heart,
    For Crown and Queen to die.

They’ll miss thee, should a foot
    E’er touch, in strife, our soil.
They’ll miss thee, when our hands
    Relax from sterner toil.

They’ll miss that art that erst
    Could o’er our heart-strings sweep;
But ah! they’ll miss thee most
    Where loved ones wail and weep.

Vain may the bugle call,—
    Short wakes not at its blast
Vain may thy charger wait,—
    Short’s last parade is past

Sleep well! thy land shall guard
    Where’er thy ashes lie,
And mothers tell their sons
    How nobly thou didst die. [page 73]

 

THE ARCTIC OWL;

 

OR,

 

A NATURALIST’S DREAM.

 

Dedicated to James M. LeMoine, Esq., Spencer Grange, Quebec, and
Thomas McIlwraith, Esq., Cairnbrae, Hamilton, Ont.

 

‘ What! from the icy Pole? Now draw it mild;
    And on plain travellers, pray, play no tricks.
I feel as haughty as Minerva’s self,
    And if you ruffle me, as cross as twice two sticks.”

“Just in by special,” and his owlship winked;
     “ ‘Twas somewhat slow, and took a good few hours, 
     on those ‘high latitudes’ that Dufferin knew,
     Till I could rest my pinions in Canadian bowers.  [page 74]

“ But then I dropped in at a Station North,
    To pay a visit to a friendly Auk;
Some time was lost, but what’s that to an owl
    Who longs to see his friends, and have a social talk?

“ Perhaps, tho’, you may think it somewhat strange
    To hear my speech, but let that wonder pass;—
Some human owls speak too, and why not I,
    When words of wisdom came so glib from Balaam’s ass?”

And then he talked of strange things— new and old—
    Of Greenland’s snowy plains, and ice-ribbed shore;
Of mighty Pachyderms that once roamed there,
    And of their pond’rous bones that now lie bleached and hoar.

“ Ah! could you see those placid seas that bathe
    The Sphinx-like Pole, and bright as mirror gleam
Thro’ the long Arctic night, while stars shine down,
    Till like a double sky their twinkling shadows seem. [page 75]

‘ ‘No sound then breaks the awful stillness there;—
    The ear the throbbings of the heart might sum;—
Life plants no footstep on those silent shores;—
    Time there seems past— eternity’s long morn has come.

“ Sweet Arctic night! that owls alone enjoy,
    When human hearts beat cold, and lone and sad;
When bears reluctant leave their icy den,
    And canines whine for sun-lit homes, and then go mad.

“Now bursts the light upon some spring-tide morn;
    Higher and higher climbs the orb of day;
The curtain rises from the wak’ning earth,
    And the huge iceberg breaks its bonds and floats away.

“ Hark! the loud thunder of the mighty whale;
   The walrus sports, like lambkin on the lea;
Fearless the seal basks on his rocky isle,
    Nor dreads a human foe within that tranquil sea. [page 76]

“Tranquil— but for the rushing wings that bring,
    From sunnier climes, a bright and joyous throng;
The cav’rn’d rock flings back the sea gull’s scream.
    While hill and date ring with the warblers’ nuptial song.

“Nor wings alone bring visitants from far,
    As wheel fresh squadrons from the trackless sky;
The shaggy musk-ox o’er the meadow roams,
   And wary reindeer browse where lowly lichens lie.

‘ And those cold waves that once kissed torrid shores
    Their trophies northward bear with favouring breeze,
And the tall pine that graced some southern hill
    Now lies, all chafed and worn, on sands of polar seas.

“Seas— where the paddle’s stroke has never stirred
    The mimic wave to tuneful melody;
Unknown the spreading sail and bending oar;
    And eye of man has never gazed upon that sea.

“No living eye—for mark yon battered wreck,
    That sparless, cordless, floats like phantom by!
Want-wasted forms crouch on its mouldy deck,
    And glaring, sightless orbs stare upwards to the sky. [page 77]

“ Onwards his helpless prey the ice-fiend bore,
    And trebly locked them in their frozen cell,
Till biting cold and gnawing hunger told
    A tale of want and woe no human tongue may tell.

“ And wives will wait to welcome husbands home;—
    And long in mothers’ hearts hope’s lamp will burn;—
And maidens sigh to press the plighted hand,
    But, ah! these shrivelled forms will never more return.

“ And wind and tide will steer that creaking helm,
    Till the worn keel rests still on ocean bed,
But the loved port that crew will never hail
    Till He shall give command, ‘ Yield up thy hidden dead!’

“ But pray excuse what Lachrymarys fill;
    My nicitator is a better plan;
And we may weep or whistle on the brakes;
    Strange that an owl in aught should beat the nobler man!

“ But, to the point; I fear I’ve wandered far
    And left unspoken what yet brought me here;
Please think not, if our latitude exceeds
    The ‘eighties,” that we have no daily ‘Gazetteer.’ [page 78]

“ But why, or how, we know it matters not.
    All things of sublunary strain beguile
An owl’s lone hours, and little birds may tell
    Your own Canadian tales on far Jan Meyen’s Isle.

“ And so it came to pass that whispers said
    That Cairnbrae, famed Spencer Grange and you
Had won your spurs, but here I mean no joke,
    But speak as if I’d graduated at the ‘Zoo.’

“ And thus, in conclave grace of learnéd owls,
    The Strix Cinerca and Nyctia swore,
And all the rest gave out responsive hoots,
    That these thrice-honoured names be added to our corps.

“Adopted by our tribe without one nay,
    Pray, here accept this decorated scroll,
And Dr. Stewart’s facile pen will give
    To wondering ears its tale, when I am at the Pole.”

I woke,—the dream was past; nor mystic scroll,
    Nor Arctic Owl, my blinking eyes could see;—
But all was phonographed on mem’ry’s page,
    And I to others tell what then was told to me. [page 79]

.

THE DEATH OF WOLFE.

Behind Jacques Cartier’s hills the sun sinks low;
    Low burn the beacon fires along the shore;
The drowsy watch dreams of his Norman home,
    And dusky warriors sleep, and deem their toils are o’er.

Beneath the raven wing of sable night,
    A little band, with martial fire aglow,
Sweeps down, while he who nobly leads them on
    Chides every tardy hour that parts him from the foe.

Not glory’s star allures that dauntless breast,
    Nor lust of conquest fires that eagle eye;
For hearth and home, for King and Crown, his brand
    Unsheathes at duty’s call and Wolfe will win or die. [page 80]

And while no ghostly form unveils the fate
    That, ere to-morrow’s eve, awaits the brave,—
Love’s gifts all laid aside,—he grasps his sword.
    And sighs, “ The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”

Adown the stream, past watch and ward they glide;
    And as the keel grates on the rocky shore,
Silent and stern, and lithe as roe, each Gael
    Upsprings o’er crag and fell, to meet the battle’s roar.

And had New France no arm to rule the fight,
    Or guard her oriflamme with dauntless breast?
Had the great Marquis wearied of the strife,
    His war-worn blade to sheathe, and claim a soldier’s rest?

Deserted by a ribald court and king,—
    Ruled by a shameless minion’s reckless hand,—
A thousand vampires battening on her blood,—
    And knaves, or boastful fools deemed noblest of the land;— [page 81]

Cape Breton’s Capital laid with the ground,—
    Acadia lost,—of Western Empire shorn,—
No friendly fleet to shield her smould’ring homes,
    And Stadacona’s walls crumbling in sun and storm.

Such was New France;— but in her bosom glowed
    That patriot fire that burned while life was there;
Not Vaudreuil’s iron rule could cool her love,
    Not Bigot’s vile Friponne hound her to mad despair.

To arms! Grandsire and striplings seek the field;
    To Censitaires obey their Seigneurs call;
Both high and low together ply the spade,
    And dainty hands weave gabions for the battered wall.

And on that morn, when like their mountain mist
    The Highland plumed waved o’er the beetling height,
One sentinel stood faithful at his post,—
    One watchful eye gazed wond’ring at the sight. [page 82]

But e’er the warning shot could tell the tale,
    The Scottish steel found sheath within his breast;—
Long may his mother wait to greet her boy;—
    He sleeps with kindred brave on Abraham’s lofty crest.

One cheer above! one answering shout below!
    Swift ply the boats across the ebbing tide;
Victors of Louisbourg press proudly on,
    And cheerily the gun toils up the mountain side.

The pass is won, and as grey morning breaks,
    The living rolls o’er the grassy plain,—
Grass that ere noon shall reek with human blood
    From heaps of dead, like weeds upheaved by storm-tossed main.

Hark! the loud larum thro’ the welkin rings;—
    Down drop the sere leaves with the cannon’s roar;—
The red line forms;—revenge in every eye,
    For comrades slain on Montmorenci’s blood-stained shore. [page 83]

Firm as yon stalwart pines, that phalanx stands,
    Waiting the Chief’s command to deal the blow,—
And silent all, save but the mountain pipe
    Yelling forth fierce defiance to the gath’ring foe.

And on yon ridge Guienne’s fair banners claim
    The spot where empire’s sway will prove the prize,
And where, from hostile ashes kindly blent,
    A nobler form, like wak’ning Phoenix will arise.

In fiery haste, from Beauport’s battered shore;
    From feint, and bloodless field, now hurry by
La Sarrè, Roussilon, Languedoc, Béarn, and all
    Burning from baffled foe to wrest fresh victory.

No braver sons, to bear her banners well,
    Or laurels fresh to win, far France might yield;
Oswego won,—Fort William Henry theirs,—
    And nobles still, Ticonderoga’s hard-fought field. [page 84]

On sweeps that band beneath the rampart wall;—
    On thro’ the crowded streets and teeming gates;—
On, where Guienne has watched since morn the lines,
    Where calm, as coming storm, the proud invader waits.

Silent and stern, Montcalm rides on that morn,
    Heedless of warlike shouts, or battle songs;
Victor of Carillion! thy palms may fade,
    And Abraham’s plains avenge Fort William Henry’s wrongs.

Rank forms on rank, and as the managed hawk
    Strains on its leash to swoop upon the prey,
So curbs the ardent chief his champing steed,
    And longs to bid his warriors mingle in the fray.

What stays the heart that panted for the strife?
    Why lags the bold Vaudreuil, when battle calls?
Why guard a thousand men our peaceful lines?
    Why linger Ramesay’s guns behind the shelt’ring walls? [page 85]

“On with the charge!” he cries, and waves his sword;—
    One rolling cheer five thousand voices swell;—
The levelled guns pour forth their leaden shower,
    While thund’ring cannons’ roar half drowns the Huron yell.

“On with the charge!” with shout and cheer they come;—
    No laggard there upon that field of fame.
The lurid plain gleams like a seething hell,
    And every rock and tree send forth their bolts of flame.

On! On! they sweep. Uprise the waiting ranks—
    Still as the grave—unmoved as granite wall;—
The foe before—the dizzy crags behind—
    They fight, the day to win, or like true warriors fall.

Forward they sternly move, then halt to wait
    That raging sea of human life now near;—
Fire! rings from right to left,—each musket rings,
    As if a thunder peal had struck the startled ear. [page 86]

Again, and yet again that volley flies,—
    With deadly aim the grapeshot sweeps the field;—
All levelled for the charge, the bayonets gleam,
    And brawny arms a thousand claymores fiercely wield.

And down the line swells high the British cheer,
    That on a future day woke Minden’s plain,
And the loud Slogan that fair Scotland’s foes
    Have often heard with dread, and oft shall hear again.

And the shrill pipe its coronach that wailed
    On dark Culloden moo o’er trampled dead,
Now sounds the “Onset” that each Clansman knows,
    Still leads the foremost rank, where nobles blood is shed.

And on that day no nobler stained the sod,
    Than his, who for his country laid life down;
Who, for a mighty Empire battled there,
    And strove from rival’s brow to wrest the laurel crown. [page 87]

Twice struck,—he recks not, but still heads the charge,
    But, ah! fate guides the marksman’s fatal ball:—
With bleeding breast, he claims a comrade’s aid,—
    “We win,—let not my soldiers see their Leader fall.”

Full well he feels life’s tide is ebbing fast,—
    When hark! “They run; see how they run!” they cry.
“ Who run?” “The foe.” His eyes flash forth one gleam,
    Then murm’ring low he sighs, “Praise God, in peace I die.”

Far rolls the battle’s din, and leave its dead,
    As when a cyclone thro’ the forest cleaves;—
And the dread claymore heaps the path with slain,
    As strews the biting cold the earth with autumn leaves.

The “Fleur de Lys” lies trodden on the ground,—
    The slain Montcalm rests in his warrior grave,—
“ All’s well” resounds from tower and battlement,
    And England’s banner proudly o’er the ramparts wave. [page 88]

Slowly the mighty war ships sail away,
    To tell their country of an empire won;
But, ah! they bear the death roll of the slain,
    And all that mortal is of Britain’s noblest son.

With bowéd head they lay their Hero down,
    And pomp and pageant crown the deathless brave;—
Loud salvoes sing the soldier’s lullaby,
    And weeping millions bathe with tears his honoured grave.

Then bright the bonfires ablaze on Albion’s hills,—
     And rends the very sky a people’s joy;—
And even when grief broods o’er the vacant chair,
    The mother’s heart still noble gives her gallant boy.

And while broad England gleams with glorious light,
    And merry peals from every belfry ring;—
One little village lies all dark and still,
    No fires are lighted there—No battle songs they sing. [page 89]

There in her lonely cot, in widow’s weeds,
    A mother mourns—the silent tear-drops fall;—
She too had given to swell proud England’s fame,
    But, ah! she gave the widow’s mite—she gave her all! [page 90]

 

JOSEPHINE

TO HER CHARDONNERET (GOLDFINCH)

(Dedicated to J. M. LeMoine, Esq., Author of Les Oiseaux Du Canada.)

 

       Now this June—sweet June,	
And all the birds have found a home,
And youths and maidens love to roam,
      And deem night comes too soon.

      Thy kindred, robed in gold,
Now hurry here from sunnier lands,
And join our little twitt’ring bands,
      With song we knew of old:—

      No sweeter song than this!
And thro’ the long, cold winter’s rage,
Such strains came from that little cage,
      With sun’s first morning kiss. [page 91]

      And while the east winds blew,
And blinding snow swept like a sea
Its billows deep o’er bush and tree,
      Thy strains but louder grew.

       Ah! tell, fair bird, to me,
Didst thou know then that spring was near,
When bud, and bloom, and leaves would cheer
      Thy tuneful melody?

      Couldst thou, beneath that snow,
See fields adorned with leaf and flower:—
Hear music in yon shady bower,
      And feel the soft winds blow?

      Or didst thou mean to tell
Of days spent in far sunny lands,
Where streamlets washed their golden sands
      And knew no winter’s spell; [page 92]

      Where thro’ the orange bowers,
Or where the sweet azalias bloom,
Flit burnished wings, and rare perfume
      Distils like summer showers?

      Perhaps too, as birds sing,
They give poor Josephine some blame,
That thou art here—a wild bird tame,—
      That cage birds know no spring.

      Fair bird, recall that day,
When wintry storms began to blow,
And ‘neath a winding sheet of snow,
      Thy form all pulseless lay.

      I warmed thee in my breast,
I smoothed away each speck and stain,
Till life and beauty came back again,
      And laid thee in that nest. [page 93]

      And thou wert happy too,
And lov’dst to nestle near my cheek,
And sweetly sing, as if to speak
      Of love so leal and true.

      Can birds be false like men,
And breathe soft tales to willing ear,
Too prone the flatt’rer’s words to hear,
      That may not come again?

      Go! me thou lov’st no more;
See door and window open wide,
And clothed in nuptial robes, thy bride
      Waits by yon lakelet’s shore.

      And what’s for Josephine?
The mem’ries of a maid—now sage;
A vacant perch—a songless cage,
       Where music once had been. [page 94]

      Then fly! love guides thy wing,
God gives us leafy June again,
And I have snapped thy captive chain;—
      Go, then, in peace and sing! [page 95]

 

TO A.D.A

Died 9th August, 1873.

                                                     “Leaves have their time to fall,
                                                           And flowers to with at the north wind’s breath,
                                                      And stars to set—but all,
                                                           Thou hast all seasons for thine own, O Death!”

Mrs. Hemans.

We would not call thee back, Annie,
    If this to us were given;
We would not call thee back, love
    For thou hast gone to heaven.

The little hands so meekly clasped,
    Now grasp an angel’s lyre;
Those lips that helped our feeble hymn,
    Now swell the seraph choir. [page 96]

The light of heaven around thee shine,
    Such light earth may not know;
They spirit saw the pearly gates,
    And left a smile below.

Sweet prattling lips   Now closed in Death—
    That smile now lingers there,
To tell to us of homes where thou
    Hast neither grief nor care.

And yet we mourn for thee as if
    All this we did not know,
Our tears might fill they little grave,
    And still would overflow.

We fain would say, “God’s will be done,”
    As breathed a Saviour’s prayer,
But ah! our breaking hearts rebel,
    And mourn as in despair. [page 97]

I gaze around and mark the tear
    That dims thy mother’s eye,
Thy sisters droop like weary flowers,
    I hear thy brothers’ sigh.

We miss thee now when Autumn’s tints
    Spread o’er yon maple tree,
For never, never more these hands
   Will weave a wreath for me.

Our Christmas tree again may bear
    For us fruits rich and fair,
And pattering feet around it dance,
    But Annie is not there.

And when adown our hill the sleighs
    Shall sweep in mirthful glee,
And joyous laughter burst around,
    We may not look for thee. [page 98]

The Spring shall come with flowers anew;
    And birds on every spray
Shall carol loud with glorious song,
    To hail the new-born day.

But not to mossy nook nor bower,
    Nor pool nor winding stream,
Shall bird or blossom woo thee back,
    Where thou so oft has been.

Child of our love! Child of our tears!
    Go join thy sisters fair;
We would not keep thee in a world
    Where we have only care.
And we shall give that form to dust,
    In hope which God has given,
The casket now alone is left
    Our gem is set in heaven. [page 99]
And toil will claim our hands anew,
    And time will ease our woe,
While throbbing hearts will throb the less,
    And tears less often flow:
The sombre weeds that we may wear,
    To others may give place:
Thy name, tho’ carved on sculptured stone,
    May sun and storm deface.
But in our heart of hearts that name
    A place will ever fill;
Thy looks and words and winning ways
    Shall live there changeless still.
May these, like guardian angels, keep
    Our footsteps on that road,
Where thou before us on hast sped
    From earth up to thy God. [page 100]
And may we live so that when we
    Must yield us to the foe,
Our Annie then may welcome us,
    Where tears no longer flow.
Then shall this wound at last be healed,
    Where ransomed spirits sing,
O Grave! where is thy triumph now?
    And where, O Death! thy sting?
We would not call thee back, Annie,
    Since hopes like these are given;
We would not call thee back, love,
    We yet shall meet in heaven. [page 101]

 

TRANSLATION FROM HORACE.

My self-erected monument now rears
Its lofty vertex to the heavenly spheres,
Lasting as brass.  A shadow far is made,
And pyramids are clouded by its mighty shade.
The wasting rain may beat, and Boreal hail
And years innumerable in vain assail;
Hot summers glow, and angry winters mourn,
It stands uninjured still, alike by sun and storm.
I shall not wholly die, great part shall bloom,
And ‘scape the dark oblivion of the tomb,
And new-born praise posterity shall lend,
While Priest and vestal to the Capitol ascend. [page 102]
I, where King Daunus once his sceptre swayed,
And rustic subjects his commands obeyed,
Where raging Aufidus’s waters glide,
And thro’ the dry Apulia sweep their rapid tide,—
I, lowly born, now raised to high degree,
There shall be mentioned, there be sung as he,
The first who taught the pure Æolian song
To breathe its fervour thro’ the ruder lyre of Rome.
Melpomeme! who alone my song inspired,
Assume the pride thy merits have acquired,
And oh! with willing hand, no more delay
To crown thy Poet’s tresses with the Delphic bay. [page 103]

 

THE BARD’S APOLOGY.

The oak may spread its arms until
    A thousand men lodge ‘neath the tree
And yet the heath on northern hill
    Still safely shields the wand’ring bee.
The Lyre-Bird mid Palmetto shades
    May glow in beauty’s splendid sheen,
And yet plain warblers in our glades,
    To spring-struck eyes, more lovely seem.
Tho’ Milton sung a glorious song,
    Might charm the ear of heavenly choir,
A thousand humbler songsters long
    To touch with trembling hands the lyre. [page 104]
Why ask then how I dare to sing,
    When mightier ones have sung before?
The wren’s love plaint may pleasure bring,
    As dread, the lordly Lion’s roar.
Each in its way a chasm fills,
    As God designed when life began,
The grubbing worm its pasture tills
    While higher soars the nobler man.
Then question not the poet’s toil,
    Nor ask what bent his pathway makes;
This harp, astrung on Scottish soil,
    Canadian echoes fondly wakes.
I saw fair Scotland’s woods and lakes,
    Her hills adorned with purple bell;—
Her crystal streams, her fens, her brakes,
    And fields that freedom’s story tell. [page 105]
Her banks and braes I loved to lymn,
    Or scale her hills of rock and snow,—
The Curlew’s scream my vesper hymn,
    The morn’s tattoo, the heath cock’s crow.
The graceful form of “ Nut-brown maid”,—
    Soft murmured tones—the love-lit eye; —
Sweet wand’rings ‘neath the leafy shade,
    And dance and song when storms swept by.
All these woke thoughts that sometimes sleep,
    Like bleaching bones of Judah’s slain;—
Till living tides thro’ flood-gates sweep,
    And lo! an army fills the plain.
And all have passed like fleeting years,
    And changed alike are sea and sky;—
Farewells are whispered thro’ our tears,
    And New World wonders meet the eye. [page 106]
Hail! Canada; full well I own
    Such claims as charm the heart like thine;—
Where pleasure’s seeds are broadcast sown,
    Mid winter’s storm, or summer’s shine.
I love the lake,— the stream,—the glade,—
    I love each beauteous flower that springs;—
Each tree that yields its grateful shade;—
    I love each bird that sweetly sings.
Oft have I spent fair leafy June
    To lure the salmon from the stream;
To list the rapid’s murm’ring tune,
    And deem such life a glorious dream.
The Guglue woke the morning hours,
    The twitt’ring warblers thronged the trees;
The Blue-jay roamed thro’ bush and bowers,
    And music filled  the evening breeze. [page 107]
And when the autumn tints had fled,—
    When wasting winds had stripped the plain,—
When leafy screens were earthward shed,
    As battle’s strife lays low the slain,—
And snow wreaths o’er the mountains swept,
    As if to hide the parted dead,
Till squirrels to their shelter crept,
    And pressed the bear his wintry bed,—
O’er lake and stream we gaily sped,
    The wary Caribou to track;—
To find where shaggy Moose Deer fed,
    And bring the hunter’s trophies back.
The grelots chime a merry tone,
    As glides the graceful sleigh along,—
And down famed Montmorenci’s cone
    Come tuque, capote, and choral song. [page 108]
And tho’ the cold winds bite and blow,
    And verglas clothe both turf and tree,
Nor chills our hearts the drifting snow,
    Nor Boreal hail can mar our glee.
Its own sweet song all nature sings,
    As thunder roars, or zephyrs sigh;
And soul-heard music rapture brings
    From sea and shore, from earth and sky.
And shall the lips of man refuse
    To echo back the soft refrain;
Or curb those gifts God gave to use,
    That pulse and thrill thro’ heart and brain?
Nor wander I along a way
    Untrodden by the sons of song,
For “Northern Birds” have trilled their lay,
    Till grand acclaim rose loud and long. [page 109]
And I have sung since from the lea
    To mine smiled up the daisy’s face;
And song shall prove a joy to me,
    While heart and hand the lines may trace.
If I one winning tale have told;
    If I have cheered one dreary hour;
Then I have found—more prized than gold—
    And claim as mine the Poet’s dower.
Let highest praise for others be,
    On whom a loftier genius smiled.
Give each his own—enough for me,
    to lisp content as a little child. [page  110]

                                                     

NOTES TO THE DEATH OF WOLFE.

Note 1. The material upon which the death of Wolfe is founded is taken chiefly from Parkman, Le Moine, and Hawkins’ picture of Quebec. The events narrated in verse took place as history has told the tale, and The Death of Wolfe, owing but little to the imagination of the Author, might almost form a chapter of a Historical Text Book.

 

Note 2. Stanza I. Vaudreuil says: The breaking up of the camp at Montmorenci, and the abandonment of the intrenchments there, the re-embarkation on board the vessels above Quebec or the troops who had encamped on the South bank, the movements of these vessels, the removal of the heaviest pieces of artillery from the batteries of Point Levi,—these and the lateness of the season all combined to announce the speedy departure of the fleet, several vessels of which had even sailed down the river already.  The prisoners and the deserters who daily came in and told us that this way the common report in their army.

 

Note 3. When Bougainville saw Holmes’s vessels drift down the stream, he did not tax his weary troops to follow them.

 

Note 4. Stanza 2: Towards 2 o’clock, 13th Sept., 1759, the tide began to ebb; the boats cast off and fell down with the current. [page 111]

 

Note 5. Stanza 3. Wolfe was far from despising fame; but the controlling principles of his life were duty to his country and his profession, loyalty to the King, and fidelity to his own ideal of the perfect soldier.

 

Note 6. Stanza 4. Wolfe told John Jervis, afterwards Earl St. Vincent, that he expected to die in the battle of the next day; and taking from his bosom a miniature of Miss Lowther, his betrothed, he gave it to him with a request that he would return it to her if the presentiment should prove true.

 

Note 7. Wolfe with a low voice repeated Gray’s Elegy in a Country Churchyard to the officers about him. Among the rest was the verse which his own fate was soon to illustrate,— “ The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”

 

Note 8. Stanza 6. Montcalm in a letter to Bourlamaque says: “ Pauvre Roi, pauvre France, cara patria! Oh, when shall we get out of this country? I think I would give half that I have to go home. When shall I see my Château of Candiac, my plantations, my chestnut grove, my oil mill, my mulberry trees?”

 

Note 9. Stanza 7. Canada was the prey of official jackals. A legion of indigenous and imported scoundrels fattened on the general distress. La Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV., was said to be the special protectress of the “ Grand Company of Associates,” as their charter named them— “The Grand Company of Thieves,” as the people in their plain Norman called them. [page 112]

 

Note 10. Stanza 8. Night after night the garrison of Quebec could see the light of burning houses as far down as the mountain of Cape Tourmente.

 

Note 11. Louisbourg capitulated to the British in 1758.

 

Note 12. Stanza 9. This establishment was popularly known as La Friponne, or the Château Vaudreuil.

 

Note 13. Vaudreuil, on his return to France, was seized and thrown into the Bastille. He was afterwards acquitted. Bigot was banished from France for life, his property was confiscated, and he was condemned to pay fifteen hundred thousand francs by way of restitution.

 

Note  14. Stanza 10. Such was the ardour of the people that boys of fifteen and men of eighty were to be seen in the camp.

 

Note 15. Stanza 13. About 8o’clock, some sailors had succeeded in dragging up the precipice a light six-pounder.

 

Note 16. Stanza 15. The Grenadiers burned to revenge their defeat at Montmorenci.

 

Note 17. Stanza 16. Full in sight before him stretched the lines of Wolfe; the close ranks of the English infantry, a silent wall of red, and the wild array of the Highlanders, with their waving tartans and bagpipes, screaming defiance.

 

Note 18. Stanza 17. This ridge was suddenly thronged with white uniforms. It was the battalion of Guienne. [page 113]

 

Note 19. Stanzas 18 and 19. La Sarre, Languedoc, Rouissillon, Bearn,—victors of Oswego, William Henry, and Ticonderoga.

 

Note 20. It was agreed between Wolfe and Admiral Saunders that while the General made the real attack, the Admiral should engage Montcalm’s attention by a pretended one. As night approached, the fleet ranged itself along the Beauport shore; the boats were lowered and filled with sailors, marines, and the few troops that had been left behind; while ship signalled to ship, cannon flashed and thundered, and shot ploughed the beach, as if to clear a way for assailants to land.

 

Note 21. Stanza 20. The army followed-crossed the bridge in hot haste, passed under the northern rampart of Quebec, entered at the Palace Gate, and pressed on in headlong march along the quaint narrow streets of the warlike town.

 

Note 22. Stanza 21. Montcalm rode with a fixed look, uttering not a word.

 

Note 23. Stanza 23. Vaudreuil was courageous, except in the immediate presence of danger, and failed only when the crisis came.

 

Note 24. Montcalm waited long for the forces he had ordered to join him from the left wing of the army. It is said that the Governor (Vaudreuil) had detained them lest the English should attack the Beauport shore. Neither did the garrison of Quebec come to the aid of Montcalm. He sent to[page 114] Ramesay, its commander, for twenty-five field pieces which were on the Palace battery. Ramesay would give him only three, saying that he wanted them for his own defence.

 

Note 25. Stanza 25. Over all the plain, from behind the bushes and knolls and the edge of cornfields, puffs of smoke sprang incessantly from the guns of these hidden marksmen.

 

Note 26. Stanza 26. The English waited the result with a composure which, if not quite real, was at least well-feigned.

 

Note 27. Stanza 27. The British advanced a few rods, then halted and stood still.

 

Note 28. Stanza 29. In 1758 the second battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers was formed into a distinct regiment— the 67th—which on its formation was commanded by Lieut.-Col. Wolfe, the gallant officer who a year later fell at Quebec. In the same year the old 20th was again on the continent, and gained bright laurels in the heavy fighting with the French at Minden.

 

Note 29. Then over the field rose the British cheer, mixed with the fierce yell of the Highland Slogan.

 

Note 30. Stanza 34. Such was the impetuosity with which the Highlanders, supported by the 58th Regiment, pressed the read of the fugitives, having thrown away their muskets and taken to their broad swords, that, had the distance been greater from the field of battle to the walls, the whole French army would inevitably have been destroyed. [page 115]

 

Note 31. Stanzas 39 and 40. England blazed with bonfires. In one spot alone was all dark and silent; for here a widowed mother mourned for a loving and devoted son, and the people forbore to profane her grief with the clamour of their rejoicings. [page 116]

 

 

CONTENTS

 


PAGE

The Queen’s Jubilee

7

The Trapper’s Christmas

14

Ode to the Prince of Wales

20

Dominion Day Idyl

24

Frederick the Noble

33

Farewell to Trinity

39

Ode.— The Disappointments of Hope

43

Fishing Song

46

To an Apple Tree Blossoming in October

48

Hymn

50

The Well of Bethlehem

52

Hymn

58

Canada

61

In Memorial—John Ross, Esq.

63

Quebec’s Burdens

66

In Memoriam—Major Short

72

The Arctic Owl; or, A Naturalist’s Dream

74

The Death of Wolfe

80

Josephine, to her Chardonneret ( Goldfinch)

91

To A.D.A.

96

Translation from Horace

102

The Bard’s Apology

104

Notes to the Death of Wolfe

111

[unnumbered page]


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