Others
Canada, a Satire
28th Apr 2014Posted in: Others, The Confederation Poets 0

CANADA,


A SATIRE.


BY ONE OF HER SONS


“There’s something rotten in the state of Denmark.”

—Hamlet

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CANADA,—A SATIRE


Hail Canada! much govern’d, nigh undone,
By heavy debts and railways, just begun,
To tie thy scattered provinces together
Like an interminable iron tether,
Of thee I sing! nay rather let me mourn,
Thy ruined prospects, and thy plight forlorn,
No theme, alas! far echoing in thy praise,
Inspires my numbers or invites my lays.
A sterner, nobler aim my muse exalts
To chide they follies and condemn thy faults.

If patriotism not alone consist
The invading foeman’s inroads to resist,
Not with base flatt’ry our lands hopes to raise
Or gild her follies with our fulsome praise,
But with an honest freedom to proclaim
The truth, and that in no uncertain name
Of her condition that she may, tho’ great,
Correct her errors ere it be too late,
Then am I right, may venture to be bold,
I seize my weapon with a firmer hold,
No sword I use but wield thee, mightier pen,
Thou  noblest implement of warring men,
And as I traverse o’er each furious page
With senates, commons, mayhap crown engage,
True be thine aim and sharpened be thy steel,
Fair every blow to make the foeman feel,
I’m in the lists, the enemy to meet,
Prepared for rancour, ridicule, defeat,
My country’s self-appointed champion, I, 
“Right, Truth and Liberty” my battle-cry. [unnumbered page]

Hail constitution! marvel of the earth!
Last son of Liberty! prodigious birth!
Heads, bodies, many like that beast of old
In pious John’s Apocalypse foretold,
As good St. George the fabled dragon slew;
As noble Jack the giant overthrew;
So I shall thee; my country shall be free
From thy dread thrall, thou dire deformity!
On to the charge, thy cumbrous form shall rock,
Or else my lance fall shivered in the shock. 

Few nations rescued from despotic thrall
Can glory in a parliament at all,
But Canada, the favoured child of fate,
Despising one may boast no less than eight;
And statesmens—Phoebus!—it would seem indeed
The three of liberty had run to seed,
And shed its seedlings broadcast o’er the land,
Such myriad statesmen rise on every hand.
But while our talent (all too doubtful boast!)
Throngs to the capital (illustrious host!)
By strange perversion of all social rules
The provinces monopolize the fools.

The local houses thus before our view,
Ye sons of Cincinnatus, hail to you!
Fresh from the plough-share called to rule the state,
What must our future be? a glorious fate!
To instinct true still to the earth you turn.
And drainage acts engage your chief concern,
But guarding all things ne’er neglecting ought
Our ruined laws own many a heavy thought
Till ‘property and civil rights’ I swear,
If aught shall hurt ‘twill be your over care,
And thus protected who shall suffer harm,
You even teach the bumble bee to swarm,
Enacting too, weak nature set to naught, [page 4]

Thistles sha’n’t grow and plum trees shall not rot.
What tho’ some doubt your rule is not the best,
How much you rule our statute books attest,
And oft, too oft, so earnest is your zeal,
Exceed your powers for the common weal.
Then nobly conscious of a work well done,
(Two hundred pounds with patient labour won)
In mild contempt from civic life you turn
To seek those fields you never cease to yearn,
Over your kindred clods in peace to reign,
Till called upon to legislate again. 

‘Tis said, that to her legislative halls
Her worthiest sons each freeborn nation calls,
And every measure with enlightened zeal,
Planned and adjusted to the common weal,
A vain conceit, my country! or if true
The Lord forbid! it should apply to you;
For all who judge you by such austere rules
Must think Canadians are a face of fools.
Think’st thou I’m hard? think’st thou I speak untrue?
Ontario the banner province view,
The house is met, come! tickets we’ll procure
And sit as long as patience may endure.
First see those seated on the farther rows,
Their stupid features in a blank repose,
Their brains perchance once to high fever wrought
In vain attempt to formulate a thought,
Escaped from that “adventurous flight” with pain,
I swear they’ll never try to think again.
Slowly they rouse them at their party’s call,
Their pledged assent in drowsy tones they bawl,
Then pleased to hear the discord of their song,
In snoring slumbers they the strain prolong.

Next those who hold the foremost benches view;
A less discreet because a noisier crew, [page 5]
Who vainly strive their interests to promote
By learning long orations off by rote,
Or more adventurous, braving every frown,
Say “Mr. Speaker”—stammer—and sit down,
While those ambitious or to thieving prone,
Like parrots, garble speeches not their own.

With thoughts too big for utt’rance spluttering fast,
Hear stuttering Mowat, listeners all aghast
Stare in a vain attempt some thoughts to glean,
And wonder what the devil he can mean.
Next on his right see snivelling Crooks arise,
While sense scarce glimmers in his half-shut eyes,
Who letteth drop the dribblings of a mind
In thoughts that better far had been confined.
But who comes here, loud venting, thunderous ‘zounds?’
‘Tis pompous Hardy—damme!—how he bounds!
Stand back! stand back! or be forever curst,
He’ll frown on you—or—heavens! he may burst,
Then would be shewn each wondering “gosoon”
How truly gas may swell a big balloon.
With hat that seems both sense and sight to bound,
See Fraser vainly strive to look profound;
Now Wood arisewith fear of failure fraught,
Till prudent Pardee aids him to a thought.
Like Caesar great in council or in field,
Skilled or a senate or a scythe to wield,
See Rosevear rise and wave a three pronged spear,
While slaughtered English marks his mad career.
The hour grown late, and all the wakeful gone,
Ye “Ancient Mariner” meanders on,
The impulse on, out falls the helpless prose
O’er members hush’d, unmindful that they doze.
The oft told tale, on, on, he drones away
What wrongs the thistles, do his kindred Hay,
And should a pitying Lord no mercy shew,
Dread doom! his drive! must forever flow. [page 6]

Like his great prototype in scripture hear
Miller loud bray, nor know, nor thought, nor fear,
Who, if nought else he proves at least we see
From his example miracles may be,
For who that heard him bray but once, could pass
In doubt the tale of Balaam’s speaking ass.
With gentle arts and soft persuasive talk
Mild Meredith controls his little flock,
By wolves sore ravaged on that fatal day
When N.P. visions vanished far away—
But let them pass in pity, not disdain,
Nor to such sufferers cause uneeded pain.

E’en such they are, row packed on row they sit,
Tho’ strong in numbers yet how weak in wit,
Endowed with every power to legislate
Save that thin layer that underlies the pate,
Noisy and confident, but blest, alas!
With scarce the understanding of an ass.
As she of whom some haply in the word
Have read devoutly or from pulpit heard
Who many a virtue, many a grace possessed,
But lacked one thing the noblest and the best,
So they altho’ by ‘greatest good’ impelled,
Yet brain the one thing needful is withheld.

Arcadian simpletons! yet more of praise,
The grateful bard must still prolong his lays.
Conservators of virtue! few alas!
Not ev’n the Mail thy efforts can surpass,
To stir corruption with a vigorous hand
And make for vice, one cess pool in the [x],
Shocked, as our streets you nightly prowled about
All innocent— “Star gazing” — I’ve no doubt)
To be by ‘dollies’ jostled, ogled, stared,
God grant! they left your morals unimpaired
Homeward you turned our wickedness deploring, [page 7]
Bent on the days of innocence restoring.
With sinners gold (how well applied!) you rear,
A costly harem for the fallen fair,
Where circled by your all-embracing arm
Guarded from danger, shielded from all harm,
Orphans may fathers, homeless find a home
The wand’rer shelter never more to roam;
Even virtue’s self in virtue shall be shamed
By trail humanity from vice reclaimed.
Still, still, I’d warn you, prithee have a care
Instead your virtue be not tempted there,
For should our rulers fall from virtue’s path,
Bitter the cup and deep the vials of wrath. 

But did it never strike you in your zeal
For public morals and the common weal,
In sleeping or in duller waking hour,
That to imprison you have not the power?
But no, for thought too great for sense, too deep,
O’er grovelling technicalities you sweep;
By law unchecked, by reason unconfined
Soar on in airy emptiness of mind.

Industrious swains! improve each shining hour
In local houses there’s no end of power,
Send bounteous crops, proclaim when rain shall fall,
Decree the greatest happiness to all;’
Or since the social system seems in vain
Resolve us to our elements again. 

With all things else attended to, t’were hard
If public learning met with no regard,
Trainers of youth! what efforts have you made
To bring down learning to the lowest grade,
And since you cannot all profoundly teach
Contrive to give a smattering to each,
By scattering colleges o’er all the land [page 8]
Whose stately structures rise on every hand!
Why should Toronto our sole college own?
An equal right has every country town;
If godless colleges may grant degree,
In godly ones an equal power should be;
And if the church may, as alas! they do,
Why may not Romanists and Ranters too?
For Heaven’s sake! don’t leave your work half done,
This spreading system you have scarce begun,
Of schools of learning we have still too few,
Let every township have a college too.
Then might your sons, blest swains! or rich or poor,
Have higher education at their door;
Might tend at lectures and then tend the plough,
Might feed on logic and then feed the cow,
With horny hands clean out the horses stalls,
With open mouths catch wisdom as it falls,
By ever varying toils their heads relieve
Till indue time a fool’s cap each receive.
Then would degreemen stalk throughout the land,
While slaughtered Latin fell on every hand,
A string of letters lack of lore supply,
You be a B.A.—but in faith not I.

But lo! raised by some all-creating power,
What dark winged objects flit from bower to bower,
Robed in black silk, a red bag in each hand,
They seem to be the foremost of Hell’s band, 
And yet, me thinks, no mere domoniac spell
Could raise a crowd that dress and look so well,
So much of learning, such display of wit,
And coats and gowns of such a lovely fit,
No slight “consideration” could bestow it
Ye gods! it was Attorney-General Mowat,
But stay! don’t don that hideous sackcloth stuff,
Nor doff your flowing silk robes in a huff;
Inspired by silk, a copious stream you pour [page 9]
Of seeming learning you could not before,
And those who might perchance have deemed you clowns,
Will trust your learning for your rustling gowns.
What tho’ her gracious majesty disown you,
Be sure the devil in the end will “bone” you,
And he who holds all queens within his sway,
Will bear you from this chilling world away,
To regions where by his Satanic grace,
Lawyers will ever have the foremost place.

Fountain of honour! praises still are due!
Although indeed your gifts have not been few,
To raise Q.C’s has been your loftiest aim,
Make dukedoms now, perpetuate your fame!
Nor care tho’ scoffers say in language coarse
The fount of honour has a muddy source.
See! on each farm baronial castles rise,
While blazing ‘scutcheons shall bedim the skies,
A shield of mud, heraldic arms a plough,
And for a crest a live fat littering sow, 
While for a motto on a fluttering rag,
“Potatoes ever ninety cents a bag.”
O! what a glorious sight will then be seen,
In new tweed suits and flannel shirts quite clean,
Our peers at court, stars, ribbons, all displayed,
And wondering why the devil they were made;
In turn presented, each one make his bow
As when his form bends graceful o’er the plough,
With bovine tales engage the listening fair,
While earthy odours shall perfume the air.
With dubious tread see! lordly swains advance
And stumble mid the mazes of the dance,
In gallop, waltz, maintain an equal pace,
While Gov’rnment House shall tremble to its base.

Like persevering alchemists of old,
Who tried to turn all metals into gold, [page 10]
With equal zeal our patriots strive to turn
Laws to perfection in a simmering urn.
See o’er the seething crucible they sit,
Our fusing laws evanish bit by bit,
Till they at last, like metals when refined,
Reflect the image of each muddled mind.

Officious fools! for heaven’s sake forbear!
Stop! Stop! no further depredations dare!
Dig if you must innumerable drains
To give a free vent to your clogged-up brains,
Raise Q.C’s., knights, dukes, by your mighty arm,
Exceed your powers, for that can do no harm;
Our blushing land’s morality defend,
But cease to meddle where you fail to mend.
What! must those laws, the worth of ages reared,
That sages honoured, willing despots feared,
That knew Coke’s, Mansfield’s, Eldon’s fostering care,
Be now uprooted by a blundering share?
Shall stupid farmers, blest with scarce more skill
To legislate, than are the clods they till?
Shall country storemen, whose life’s daily round,
Is selling green tea by the quarter pound?
Shall lawyers, barely fit to draw a deed,
That swarm our halls, and swell the spurious breed?
Shall these, I say, be deemed our chosen lights?
These frame our laws? these guard our civil rights?
In God’s name, no! send, send the meddlers back,
Off to their homes the grov’lling hirelings pack,
To hatch low plots, relieve their wives from toil,
Or vegetate on their congenial soil.

It is a gala day, and Canada’s
Fair daughters fondling coax their dear papas
To cheat their creditors, that they may grace,
In proper manner their becoming place.
And now, behold! in haste the anxious throng, [page 11]
Driv’n by impulse of loyalty along,
Press to the Senate House with eager feet,
In rich array, prepared their lord to meet.
Full many a waddling, new-made knight is there,
Gallantly guarding his fat ladye faire;
Supreme Court judges make a dazzling show,
In scarlet robes all seated in a row;
The sombre Senators set off the glare.
And all made lovely by the radiant fair.
And now, drawn on by fiery chargers prancing,
The unwashed see our governor advancing,
A gallant guard attend him as he goes,
Fit to repel imaginary goes,
That ever hanker after lives of kings,
Princes and popes, and such like useless things.
Now boom the cannon to the nineteenth gun,
(For royalty’s reserved full twenty-one).
The echoing thunders thro’ the halls resound,
The country members tremble at the sound.
Now mouths gape wide, now heads are reared on high,
Now expectation lightens every eye,
Till in new splendour bursting on the sight,
We gaze on majesty’s reflected light.
The commons summoned, then the speech is read,
And all things done, and all things being said,
He leaves the throne and goes the way he came,
And all things notwithstanding seem the same, –
But no, without yon mummery we see,
Kings were unknown, and empires could not be!

First to the commons let us turn our eyes,
But whew! from thence what noisome odours rise!
All know the smell, the cause none need to ask,
Our statesmen warm at their congenial task.
With party instinct, and with zeal of bee,
With hoggish relish, and with tadpole’s glee,
Wherever dunghill with its grateful grime, [page 12]
Wherever cesspool with its slanderous slime,
Or greet their scent or gratify their view,
They sport thro’ having nothing else to do,
Splashed in the filth their loathsome forms they drench,
Till every air is putrid with the stench.

From slough of scandals as Pacific deep,
Where he had sunk, all hoped for aye to sleep.
See John A: rise, all oozing o’er with slime,
Wriggle his frame and rear his head sublime.
Reposed in filth, a season dark he lay,
Absorbing vigour from congenial clay,
He wakens now, his form appears once more,
He spurns the envious mire and mounts the shore.
From his foul frame the dripping ordures run,
Form into pools and quicken in the sun.
New forms arise the creatures of his power, 
Share with their chief, the fortune of the hour.
By dubious ways they wander, till elate,
Like maggots swarm the carcase of the state,
With ill got grains reward precarious toil,
Feed while they may, and fatten on the spoil.

And now the great Sir Leonard Tilley see!
The knightly champion of the great N.P.,
He mounts his barb, hurls at his foes disdain,
Poises his lance and scours along the plain
But stay, my muse!—from levity forbear
Respectful be, for honesty is there;
Besides, he roused him at his country’s need,
And tho’ he failed his wish was to be succeed,
And surely justice will, to mercy bent,
Tho’ weak the effort, laud the good intent, 

With sleepless eyelids, and with features wan,
See sad McDougall rise at early dawn,
Mourning the vanity of earthly care, [page 13]
And the dashed hopes that drive us to despair.
His high ambition in a fatal hour,
Had wakened longings for the sweets of power,
Which, like the rainbow with its bag of gold,
Allured his vision, but elude his hold.

Now view Mackenzie, he with rusty coat,
With hair unkempt and features like a goat,
Born, neath a lucky star, nor great nor rich,
But driven by a Scotch ambitious itch,
He overcame by persevering pains,
His lack of wealth and greater lack of brains.
Blush, Tilley! blush, blush if you can, Sir John!
For ye had something small to build upon;
But he proud Alec., Wizard of the North,
From nothing, managed to bring something forth,
And showed the world, despite of reasons laws,
Statesmen may grow from no efficient cause.

But whose is yonder form so tall and stout,
Of aspect dread, who frets and fumes about,
As if in soaring mightiness, his mind
Chafed in this narrow land to be confined?
Ah! ‘tis mighty Blake, his name revere,
Address him humbly, and approach with fear,
He nods, his minions all obey his will,
He frowns, and quaking senators are still,
He speaks, and listening courts are overawed,
He feels almighty, and at least a god.
Seek not to know the wonders of his brain,
Nor the vast schemes that haunt its wide domain,
Too great! enough he hath vouchsafed to show
Such as it doth concern our state to know;
These few he hath revealed to erring men,
The rest are kindly hid from mortal ken;
He means that Parliament’s adjusted force
Shall move and regulate the universe; [page 14]
Designs to change the catechism’s plan
By making voting the chief end of man,
And deems that lands, tho’ trackless seas divide,
May be connected by his mighty stride.

Illustrious Blake! consistent to the last,
Your future schemes are worthy of your past.
Who shall forget that sad, eventful day,
When Green and Orange met in dread array.
And Hacket fell, made famous by his fate,
A bloody offering to their mutual hate;
How statesmen trembled, terror seized the land;
Old women feared the Fenians were at hand,
Till Blake arose, in danger’s hour supreme,
Breathed o’er protection, and dispelled their dream,
And by a deep, yet seeming silly plan,
That each man should arrest his fellow man,
Allayed the tumult that too fiercely raged,
Subdued their hate, their fiery wrath assuaged,
Till those, who late had met in hostile bands,
Now touched their enemies with “gentle hands”

Hail, blest Perfection! the enthusiasts dream,
That quick’nest all men with thine equal beam.
Till Reason’s heav’n-born laws our thoughts control,
And Right and Equity instruct the soul.
To thee we owe, and Blake’s almighty hand,
The Court Supreme, protector of our land!
Whose envious judges wrong conclusions draw;
Where French untaught, decide on English law,
And, creatures of the centralizing force,
Adjust with equal equity (of course)
All claims the provinces may make, and frame
New laws and rules to regulate the same.
May heaven help you with your task sub’ime! 
Condemn the feeble provinces each time;
Repeal their statutes, abrogate their rules, [page 15]
Decree them nothing and declare them fools,
Strip them of everything, till ten years hence,
Nought may be left of them—save their expense;
While should your consciences require you screens,
Be sure the end will sanctify the means.

Arouse the Blake! equip the for thee fight!
Let airy visions vanish from thy sight;
Herculean labours all thy strength demand,
Purge the Augean Stables of the land.
Mackenzie struggled, but Mackenzie failed,
Vice still is rampant and to be assailed;
Slay foul Corruption and let Folly quake,
Quell bold Extravagance, Frauds meshes break.
Use local houses as the French do kings,
Still hunt down Senators as useless things,
These tasks performed, these noble labours done,
Then Brutus-like, destroy thy favorite son.
Reforms like these, the crying people need,
These be thine aim, all honor be thy meed.
If not, then for thy country’s sake withdraw,
Abandon politics and stick to law. 

Our hope is yet in Nature, not in men,
(And Nature sure is mightier than the pen.)
Tho’ bold th’ attempt of paltry, puny man
To legislate away the eternal plan,
Unheeding yet, she wends her endless way,
Subduing all things to her boundless sway,
Breaks every barrier, covers every flaw,
Moves unresisted and proclaims her law. 

And now with reverence meet, behold the great,
The noble Senators, the new Estate,
Who add their pageant to the public show,
But what their use the Lord may, I don’t, know.
Composed of men for everything unfit. [page 16]

Whose wealth supplies the place of sense or wit,
And played out politicians, whom long life
Hath rendered useless for the active strife,
And who, (and sure it otherwise were hard),
Are now at rest and gone to their reward.
Hour after hour, O melancholy sight!
They drone and drivel thro’ the tedious night,
Some talk and soothe the others to repose
Till silent tongue gives place to vocal nose.
But there they are and there they shall remain,
The butt of jest and merited disdain,
Till heavy, stupid, slow and sluggish still,
They drone unconscious of the people’s will,
Then dreading lest the land should constipate
We’ll purge the clogging matter from the state. 

But wherefore should we vaunt in strains like these,
Our right to act and govern as we please?
While strangers may forbid the laws we frame,
Our boasted freedom’s but an empty name.
What though our statesmen, moved by right or fear,
Proclaim each measure to the people dear?
What though it, thro’ the sluggish senate pass’d,
Should haply reach our governor at last?
He acting on instructions sent from “home”
(Or mayhap burdened with some leaden poem)
Transfers these seeming liberties of ours
To reckless foreigners, when lo! ye powers!
An oligarchy met at Downing Street,
Proclaims its mandates from its safe retreat,
And saves distracted Canada, too true!
Alike from danger and from freedom too!

And now we to the demigodhead come,
But here awhile our reverence holds us dumb;
Our governor when in his splendour seen,
Reflects the sacred glory of our queen. [page 17]

As the wan moon unto the sable night
Gives but a glimmering of the hidden light, 
So he, I hope, in his pale presence brings
But a faint semblance of the might of kings.
But after all—these kings—and what are they?
A sort of men who every faith betray,
Who in their persons every vice combine,
And compass evil by a right divine.
Their wants in brains are few, yes, and I swear
But little brains are ever wasted there,
And honesty and virtue!—these are things
We never look for in the breasts of kings;
While if a human instinct one betray
We’re lost in rapture, wonder and dismay.
The king has pity, all the world applauds,
He gives, and is exalted to the gods,
And could we find one with no moral taint,
He’d be embalmed and canonized a saint.
Tis well celestial halos round them shine,
What power could save them but the power divine?

His leisure hours on learning are bestowed,
‘Tis thought by some he took the royal road,
Both from his writings and because through life,
He chose to travel with a royal wife.
What worth or erudition they display,
Let those who may have read his speeches say,
I dare not judge, yet could not wish them worse,
Than are the feeble fancies of his verse.
Tho’ some more sweetly sing, these on my word
Are marvels for a royal-married lord;
But like great Milton’s heavy works, tis said,
Though all pretend, yet none have ever read.
Reposed mid embryo poems strewn around,
Guido and Leta lie in sleep profound,
While on a shelf, a skin of calf, embalms
A mortified edition of the psalms. [page 18]

Blest courtly fashion, with its pampered train
Of well-bred follies, that corrupt the brain,
Whose fevered fancies, wanton thoughts inspire,
And fan the gentle flame of soft desire.
Long did our land in doubt and darkness grope,
Of truth no glimmer, scarce a ray of hope.
That even Littleton our shores should greet,
To teach the manners of the true elite;
But like the heathen, who with erring mind,
Strive to do right but ne’er salvation find,
None to direct, no Fanning for our guide,
We blindly floundered mid the truths of pride,
And royal pomp so miserably shammed,
That to democracy we nigh were damned.
In vain our capital reared its court
Mid waving pines, the vulgar did resort,
Low lucky tradesmen thronged, (the Lord knows why)
Their daughters too, our ladies dressed too high,
And blush! to dine none knew the order due,
But like lost sheep we erred the courses thro’. 

But lo! who braves the dark Atlantic’s flood?
A princess comes! a princess of the blood!
Let the glad tidings ring throughout the land,
Rejoice! the snobs millenium is at hand!
Of a long line by venal laureates sung,
From the rich loins of the great Georges sprung,
Where royal blood and sinning flesh combine,
An incarnation of the right divine!
She comes, she comes, of mild and gentle mien!
A princess comes, the daughter of our queen!
A princess comes, with fitting reverence greet,
Fall, lick the dust, and grovel at her feet!
She comes, the grain from dust and chaff to glean,
To purgeour halls and make the foul lists clean;
O’er the lost land she pours her purple flood,
The court must own the cleansing power of blood. [page 19]

No more shall commerce foul, her halls disgrace,
But merchants’ daughters be a banished race,
Then shall the needless mask be laid away,
And budding bosoms all their joys display,
And fair Louise in beauty brooding o’er,
Order come forth where Chaos ruled before.
For lo! where late confusion held her sway,
The courtiers form in well defined array,
In order due majestic move along,
And march to dinner to the sound of gong.
Our governor in glory leads the way,
A general guards him lest he go astray.
In bright attire four lesser lights appear,
While holy fathers waddle in their rear;
Our rulers next—a speaker fills the flaw,
Now looms the mighty majesty of law,
Then silent councillors—in red and blue
See doughty warriors pass in long review.
Now nodding senates, stammering speakers stream,
And law and order seem to reign supreme,
When in the rear, rejoicing in their din,
The noisy commoners come stumbling in.

But ah! what forms that haunt the festive scene,
With hungry eyes and features wan and lean,
As if they longed to join, yet shunned the throng,
And flit more mournful as the feast prolong.
Whether they had no fitting garments on,
(As he who was to outer darkness thrown)
And for that crime this evil have sustained,
‘Twere impious to inquire,—’tis so ordained.

She teaches too, the gentle arts of peace,
The furore raging as the daubs increase,
To noble Art they consecrate a fane,
Mid sacred groves, with princely gifts sustain.
Their royal priestess leads the mystic rites, [page 20]

Invokes the goddess, by her acts incites;
Bids blushing peaches on the canvas bloom,
Makes portraits pine for their congenial gloom,
And seized with rage divine, her mallet grasps,
Till breathing marble ’neath her chisel gasps.
Alas! for man, too prone to imitate!
Too apt to ape the follies of the great!
Too well they learn the ritual of the shrine!
Too well they emulate that touch divine!
See ladies, dandies, civil clerks and all,
Learn to do daubing or at least to scrawl.
See willing votaries to the temple come,
Pay the tithes due and bring their offerings dumb.
Now saints appear, whose strange unearthly scowl
Might fright the devil on a midnight prowl;
Pale faces, unlike aught of mortal clay,
That bear the dark but shun the light of day,
And shuddering landscapes whose unbounded seas,
Threaten each moment to o’erwhelm the leas.
While distant mountains mid the western flare,
Defy the deluge as they float in air.
Now thousands throng and join the general craze,
On senseless scenes bestow unmeaning praise.
Now simpering dilettanti drop their hints
On softening smears and gently fading tints,
Till ev’n Minerva looks with aspect sad,
To see her luckless votaries run mad.

As light, whose power in nature never ceases,
But glows more brightly as the space decreases,
So shed the beams from royalty’s rare brow,
Hail Ottawa! the chief of sinners thou!
Great was the dread with which thy town was filled,
When royalty was almost nearly killed,
When furious horses fled with impious haste,
Her highness hurled upon the snowy waste,
Her right ear scratched, the cuticle cut thro’, [page 21]
(I wonder if her blood be really blue)
Loud mourned thy press, reechoed all the land,
Addresses, odes, poured in on every hand,
DeWinten flew obedient to her will, 
And at his word the quivering wire was still.

But soon shall be eclipsed such scenes as these,
A pampered princess if perchance to please,
Rich gilded lordlings to her halls resort
And bring the gay corruptions of a court.
New dangling stars shall greet the courtly lop,
Sweet morsels these—and Cerberus gulp the sop,
Fresh sops be thrown and other morsels sweet,
Till Beaconfield’s Imperium be complete.

But cease this strain, a sterner is more meet,
To cope with wrong if haply to defeat.
Beware nor let these sly insidious arts,
Delude your fancies or deceive your hearts;
Subtle the scheme, deep, deep the plot is laid,
Look to your interests, men! nor be betrayed.
What mean these loans (would I could call them few)
Of sums our modest country never knew?
Why build long lines that seem infinitude,
The stern decrees of nature to elude,
To extend an empire thro’ remotest seas,
And bring in union the antipodes?
This waste of ice, with strip of fertile zone
Scarce wide enough to build a railway on,
Was hardly meant to rival ancient Rome,
Or lend much glory to Imperial Home.
What mean our statesmen then?—is reason gone?
Or reason granted, are none honest?—none? 
Will no one champion our imperilled state,
And save from ruin ere it to be too late?
Base slaves to party, do all meekly bend?
Obsequious all, and fearful to offend? [page 22]

Or do all look, with gaze intent, afar,
To hail the appearing of the wished for star?
What use are stars if we’ve no coats to wear?
What use are garters if our legs are bare?
Why hang to England if our forms grow thin?
Loyalty dies when hunger gnaws wlthin. 

And even if, as Dufferin seem’d to see,
Our land a glorious nation e’er should be,
Why should we blend our lot with Albion’s fate,
And build our hopes on a tottering state.?
The plant shall flourish and the plant decay,
Creeds have their turn but creeds must pass away,
Nations shall rise and nations have their fall,
One common law controls the fate of all.
E’en so with Albion, as the setting sun,
A glorious course, her race is nearly run.
She rose, and shed her glory o’er the earth,
Quick with her light, new nations had their birth,
But now she sinks, her far-extending sway,
Saps as it grows, too soon she must decay;
The common doom seems written in fate’s tome,
Britain shall fall as fell Imperial Rome!
But we are young, our glory if to be,
Dawns with the future—if we would be free,
Why let our land sink helpless in the thrall,
Of leagues and wars that presage Albion’s fall?
In vain, then, may we raise our feeble voice,
Yes, we may speak, but ours is not the choice,
Too late, our land in hopeless ruin hurled,
Lost in a fall that must convulse the world!
E’en now we feel the poor dependent’s fate,
Inheritors of Albion’s jealous hate,
At enmity where nature bids—unite;
Barred, though a nation, of a nation’s right,
Betrayed our welfare to each selfish aim, [page 23]

Our commerce hampered and ignored our name,
Poor, feeble, helpless, though in seeming free,
The question but remains—Shall these things be?
Canadians, no! to these a glad adieu,
A nobler prospect dawns upon our view.
Behold! far stretching o’er the fertile earth,
In freedom’s cause, a nation has its birth!
A land, whose deeds in commerce, not the sword,
Make History pause and wonder to record!
Columbia beckons, shall we keep away?
’Tis nature bids us, shall we not obey?
What though our country’s, Canada’s fair name,
Ne’er ’lume the scroll or fill the trump of fame.
Yet we shall share in glory and in might,
Our cares be common, all our aims unite;
Our nations one, our joyful people be
From petty jealousies forever free,
And be in feeling, as they are in blood,
One glorious, universal brotherhood. [page 24]

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[unnumbered page]

 

 

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