Others
Gems from Canadian Authors
30th Apr 2014Posted in: Others, The Confederation Poets 0

Gems from Canadian Authors

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T’is Christmas Day!—
   To one another
I hear men say—
   Alas! my Brother,
Its winds blow bitter,
   Our Christmas suns
No longer glitter
   As former ones!—
If this be so,
   Then let us borrow
From long ago
   Surcease of sorrow:
Let dead Yules lend
   Their bright reflections
Let fond friends blend 
   Their recollections—
Let Love revive
   Joy’s ashen embers,
For Love is Life
   Since Love remembers.

                                 —Earl of Dufferin.[unnumbered page]

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Down the St. Lawrence winter storms begin, 
Deep, deep the snows and hard the frost sets in; 
The smaller streamlets first to cease to flow,
And often buried in the drifting snow.
The “habitant” with capote snug and warm,
Drive his rude sleigh and battles with the storm;
His smart, small palfreys gallop gaily by
The well-fitted barns that near the road may lie;
He pours his patois French in ditties gay,
And love or war beguiles the whitened way.

                                                           —J. K. Liston.

And here a mighty people shall arise, 
A people nurtured in full liberty; 
Yet, not forgetful of the Mother land
Who scans with kindly eye her child’s career,
Wafting a blessing o’er the mighty sea.
••••••••
Such may thy future be—not great and lone
In never-sated commerce—rather great 
In all the welds a people heart to heart;
Among thy sons may many a leader spring,
By whom the ship of state well piloted,
Thy haven of wide Empire thou may’st reach,—
An empire stretching from the western wave
To where the rosy down enflames the seas.

                                                           —J. H. Bowes.[unnumbered page]

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To improve the world we live in, 
   Folded arms will never do;
He who hopeth all from Heaven 
   Wrongs himself and Heaven too.

He who prayeth less than toileth
   For the good time long delayed,
Never faileth Heaven to smile on
   All who thus its advent aid.

                                           —Evan MacColl.

Hesper appear when flowing gales 
Have filled the sunset’s fervid sails, 
   When down the low, dim orient hills
   The purple gloaming soft distills
To nestle in the crooning vales.

To fretted hearts whom want assails, 
Whom youth, nor hope, nor love avails
   To loose their wearying load of ills,
Hesper appears.

                                  —Chas. G. D. Roberts.[unnumbered page]

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Mother England, you would scarce believe The things we do and say for love of you! The sprig of holly that we kiss and kiss, And deck our Christmas table with—three leaves, Two berries, and a plentitude of stem— Is far the dearer portion of the feast. A pot of wallflower or a primrose root, A linnet or a lark within a cage,— How carefully we cherish them, and seem To see though them the dear and distant land, The ancient churches and the ivied lanes, The baby bridges and the tiny streams, The crowded gables and the diamond panes, Arthur’s Tintagel, Shakspere’s native strand! —Seranus. Wolfe and Montcalm! two nobler names ne’er graced The page of history or the hostile plain; No braver souls the storm of battle faced, Regardless of the danger or the pain. They passed into their rest without a stain Upon their nature or their generous hearts; One graceful column to the noble twain Speaks of a nation’s gratitude, and starts The tear that valour claims and feeling’s self imparts. —Chas. Sangster.[unnumbered page]

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Though other skies may be as bright, And other lands as fair; Though charms of other climes invite My wandering footsteps there, Yet there is one, the peer of all, Beneath bright heaven’s dome: Of thee I sing, O happy land, My own Canadian home. A noble heritage is ours, So grand and fair and free; A fertile land, where he who toils Shall well rewarded be, And he who joys in nature’s charms, Exulting, here may view Scenes of enchantment, strangely fair, Sublime in form and hue. Did kindly heaven afford to me The choice where I would dwell, Fair Canada that choice should be- - The land I love so well. I love thy hills and valleys wide, Thy waters’ flash and foam; May God in love o’er thee preside, My own Canadian home! —E. G. Nelson.[unnumbered page]

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What can I do that others have not done? What can I think that others have not thought? What can I teach that others have not taught? What can I win that others have not won? What is there left for me beneath the sun? My labour seems so useless, all I try I weary of before ‘tis well begun; I scorn to grovel, and I cannot fly. [eye Hush! hush! repining heart! there's One whose Esteems each honest thought, and act, and word, Noble as poet’s songs or patriot’s sword. Be true to Him, He will not pass thee by; He may not ask thee ‘mid His stars to shine, And yet He needeth thee. His work is thine! —John Reade. Said the voice of Evil to the ear of Good, “Clasp thou my strong right hand, Not shall our clasp be known or understood By any in our land. “I, the dark giant, rule strongly on the earth, Yet thou, bright one, and I Sprang from the one great mystery—at one birth We looked upon the sky!” —Isabella V. Crawford.[unnumbered page]

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Land with the inland seas, Swept by the mighty breeze Fair Canada; Here many nations dwell, Loving their freedom well, Reaping where forests fell, Fair Canada! Land of the praries wide, Stretching like ocean’s tide, Fair Canada; Land of green hill and dale, Mountain and pleasant vale, Here worth shall never fail, Fair Canada! Come, then, from many lands, Brave hearts and willing hands, To Canada; Come where rich virgin soil Waits to reward your toil, Share in the harvest spoil Of Canada! —John Imrie.[unnumbered page]

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Then homeward, hearing song or tale, With chime of harness bells we sped Above the frozen river bed. The city, through a misty veil, Gleamed from her cope, where sunset fire Touched louvre and cathedral spire; Bathed ice and snow a rosy red, So beautiful, that men’s desire For May-time’s rival wonders fled. —Rt. Hon. The Marquis of Lorne, K.C.M.G Oh! dear is the northern forest home, Where the great pine shoots on high; And the maple spread its soft, green leaves, In the clear, blue, taintless sky. Though the summer mantle paleth fast Into winter’s virgin veil, There is health in the fierce, quick lightning blast, And strength in the icy gale; And life glides on in a quiet calm, Like our own great river’s flow; And dear to the hearts of her children all Is our own Fair Land of Snow. —J. M. LeMoine.[unnumbered page]

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Upon the deep tide of my tenderness, As in a dream I feel your spirit drift; The little waves pulse eagerly, and swift From heaven falls the wind’s divine caress; Anear the brink a white and wavering press Of water lilies, like shy thoughts, uplift Their glances to the sky. Above a rift Of clouds the stars their answering thought confess. Ah, love! the tide flows deep, the tide flows deep! The petty storms that rouble shallow streams Cannot come nigh us while the lilies keep Their gaze upon the sky, and answering gleams Of countless starry eyes attend your sleep. Sweet rest be yours, dear love, and blessed dreams! —Ethelwyn Wetherald.

Along the line of smoky hills
   The crimson forest stands,
And all the day the blue-jay calls 
   Throughout the autumn lands.

					—W. W. Campbell [unnumbered page]

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A song begun—begun, but never ended; A rose-tree that has never borne a rose; A love that with no other love has blended; A story with beginning but no close; A life half lived, its duties half completed; A soul that never joined with other soul; An army, ere it ever fought, defeated; A racer started that ne’er reached the goal; A picture merely sketched but never painted; A sky from which the sunlight all has fled; The tint of purity grown soiled and tainted; A hope half uttered, and so, wholly dead! Had fate been kinder, then the song were finished, The picture painted, and the story told, And love through want of love had ne’er diminished, Nor hope had vanished, growing dead and cold. So runs the tale, the pitiful, sad story, So sad, so frequent—then why try at all? So dimly shaded lies the road to glory, Why make endeavor that will likely fall? Glory is dross! The nobler aim is duty. This freely do thou; forego the rest! The honest purpose makes the truest beauty— What matter if thou fail? Do but thy best! —Frederick A. Dixon.[unnumbered page]

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What is our young Canadian land? Is it far Norembega’s strand? Or wild Cape Breton by the sea? Quebec? Ontario? Acadie? Or Manitoba’s flower-decked plain, Or fair Colombia’s mountain chain? Can any part—from strand to strand— Be a Canadian’s fatherland? Nay! for our young Canadian land Is greater, grander far, than these; It stretches wide on either hand Between the world’s two mighty seas! So, let no hostile lines divide The fields our feet should freely roam; Gael, Norman, Saxon,—side by side, And Canada our nation’s Home; From sea to sea, from strand to strand, Spreads our Canadian fatherland! —Fidelis.

Some maples leaves even in summer heat
   The fevered flush of anguished grief had caught—
The very waywardness of sadness sweet:
   Was it a memory or in weird forethought?

					—Bliss Carman. [unnumbered page]

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I named her name in the silent wood, And my thoughts swift back to her flew; For I’d left my love in the distant town, And longed to look on the trail of her gown A-sweep o’er the light morning dew. I could see but a glint of the sky, Through the veil of the trees above; Yet I wanted no chart or beacon’s ray, To brighten the path or show me my way, But the eyes of my Ros’lind love. So until I found the lost track That led from the place where I stood, I painfully carved her dear name on the bark Of ev’ry tree round, from noontide till dark,— Then cursed the black flies in the wood. — G. Mercer Adam

After Canada’s winter have you seen
   The St. Lawrence set free by the generous sun:
While the birds returned and the hills grew green,—
   Have you heard the first seen vessel’s gun?

					—G. W. Wicksteed [unnumbered page]

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William Bryce

Publisher

Toronto

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