Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets
15th Jan 2014Posted in: Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets 0
Tales of the Porcupine Trails

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TORONTO, CAN.                              LONDON, ENG.
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THE sons of the great, lone Northland,
   My brothers in pain and toil,
Brothers who seek for treasure,
Brothers who till the soil.

Fain would I ease thy burden,
   Fain would I lighten thy load,
Sing thee of joy and of gladness,
Cheering thy lonely road.

Guiding thee well on the blazed trail,
   By beacons from hill-tops afar,
Telling the tale of the wilderness,
Telling of men as they are.

Sons of the barren desert,
   Sons of the fertile plain,
Who gives hostage to fortune, their manhood,
To reap but a sordid gain. [page vii]

Heroes of frozen regions,
   Vikings of mother earth,
Midwives of the morning
Of northern giants’ birth.

Muscled and steeled for the conflict,
   Who never go down to defeat,
Who know not the backward turnings,
   Who know not the way of retreat.

Ye sons of the northern vastness,
   When æons of time have past,
In letters of flame on the scroll of fame
   Your names shall be written at last.

   And the nation shall do thee homage,
   And honor, where honor is due.
For the northern wilderness conquered,
   High praise and all honor to you.

Sages shall sing of thy glory,
   When cycles of time have sped,
And child lips babble the story
   O’er the unmarked graves of the dead,

When time shall have vanquished our landmarks,
   Through forest, by storm-riven shore,
And the herald of light gives warning
That the northern night is o’er. [page viii]

Herald of light and gladness,
   Herald of progress and peace,
Take from our hearts the sadness,
   From wanderlust grant us release.

Herald of life’s sweet morning,
   Herald of rising sun,
Oh, say will the glad to-morrow
   Tell us our work is done.

Herald of God and His glory,
   Herald of Christ, His son,
To a listening world, tell the story
Of the northern battle won. [page ix]

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Each Day God’s Rays



Tales of the Porcupine Trails


The Montreal River


The Discontented Prospector




March of the Frontier League




The Spirit of the Wild


Trails of the World


The Voice of the City


The Law of the Northern Zone


To the Northland




The Magic North


Lights and Shadows


Did it Ever Occur to You?


The Spell of the Great Unknown


The Annual Bath


The Northern Wonderland


Canto I.—VI.
To the Prospector and Pioneer


The Lure of the Wild


Canto I.—II.
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A Scratch


The Trend of the Empire


The Toilers


The Thirsty MacLean


The Lure of the North


Wheat Land




The Prospector’s Christmas Grace


The Northern Forest Fire


The Land of the Maple Tree




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The Frail Canoe with the Valiant Two


A Northern Ontario River


The Atlantic Coast


The Author’s Camp


The New North


The Prairies


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EACH day God’s rays,
In a shimmering maze,
On mountain, lake, and glen,
Dispel the night,
With shafts of light,
Far, far from the haunts of men.

The weird lights play
At the close of day,
On stream and sylvan bower,
As they gild the night,
Of the Northland’s might,
And disperse in a silvered shower.

Where the sons of men
Turn not again,
From the van of the wilderness fight;
On their snowshoes tread,
The pines overhead,
In search of the metal bright.

Where the silences are
In the wilds afar,
Save the boom of foaming falls,
That thrills the soul
As it nears the goal,
Where the heart of the wilderness calls. [page xv] 

Where the North winds sigh
And the herons cry,
As the shades of the night spread o’er,
And the witching light
Of the moonbeams bright
Is mirrored from shore to shore.

Where the frail canoe,
With its valiant two,
Shoots the wrath of the rapids in scorn,
Will you wander with me,
So fancy free,
To the dawn of the Northern morn?

Let us follow the track
Of the man with the pack,
By the flickering camp-fire’s glow,
Whose hob-nailed tread
Wakes the echoes long dead
Where the northern lights are aglow. [page xvi]


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THIS is the prospector’s highway
   Cut out by the Creator’s hand,
From Temiskaming’s rolling waters
   Way up to the height of land;
Through leagues of dusky jack-pines,
   And miles of swampy shore,
Still north and west it winds its way
Where northern tempests roar.

And its waters sing of the Northland
   As they tumble towards the sea,
A silver song in notes of foam
   Of the lone land, vast and free,
With its unshorn miles of pine land,
   Its mineral treasures rare,
Of prosperous homes and axeman’s might
To shear its valleys bare.
It calls to the hardy prospector,
   It calls to the hungry throng,
In whispers low, as its waters flow
The pine-clad shores along. [page 3] 

Where the smoke of the Indian tepee
   Meets the haze of the northern sky,
And lonely hut and tent are seen
   As the river boats sweep by
With its load of fortune seekers,
   Who northward turn their gaze,
And follow the Montreal River
Through its winding forest maze.

These are the pilgrim fathers,
   The men who go before,
And blaze the trail for the coming host,
As our fathers did of yore.
And the river is now the highway,
Which carries their hopes and fears,
The canoe is the ark of safety,
   And silver the dream of years.

And so, on our mortal journey,
   We dream as the years glide by,
And our lives resemble the river,
   That reflects the northern sky—
To some the reflection is murky,
   To others, the color is blue,
Let us all sail under pure colors,
   In a ship that will carry us through. [page 4]

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THERE’S a story told of a prospector bold,
   Who was grizzled and worn with years,
Who had nosed around—picking holes in the ground,
   Prospecting—this vale of tears.
Life to him was a “hike.” Of he made a good “strike,”
   But his soul never knew content,
For he had it in mind that pure gold he would find,
   And oft his last “two bits” were spent,
Till he took his last hike “up eternity’s pike”
   To the unknown realms afar,
And came to the gates, where the good saint waits,
   And found the doors standing ajar.
Said he to the saint: “I—I have the gold taint;
   I have searched o’er the earth far and wide.
Please don’t send me below, for I’ve lived where there’s snow
   And I’m sure there’s good values inside.
I did my best in life’s grim test,
   And I did as most men do,
And oft ere I died I just took (on the side)
   A taste of the ‘spruce bough brew,’ [page 7] 

I was ‘tanked’ when I croaked; liquidated and soaked
   In ‘Piggers’ foul brew of the ‘dope,’
The spruce boughs green, with a dash of benzene,
   Well blended with strychnine and soap.
I have bunked in the snow where the North winds blow,
   And the germ-festered swamps of the South,
But I should like to know, when inside I go,
   Can I get the taste out of my mouth?”
“Pass in,” said the saint, without further restraint,
   “We’ve ne’er send a prospector below,
For their life, I’ve heard tell, is the blue fringe of hell,
With instalments each day as they go.”

Then he smiling passed through, and quickly he knew
   There was gold ‘neath his hob-nailed feet.
With his pick and his spade, sad havoc he made
As he ripped up the golden street.
Another poor prospector came to the gate, with pick and shovel to join his mate,
   But he was promptly told he could go
And stand with a brand, on some one’s left hand,
   In a place where they don’t shovel snow.
“For we have one inside, and the golden street wide
   Is ripped up the back and the front, [page 8] 

The gold he piles high, and what for and why,
   Is he doing this prospecting ‘stunt’?”
The newcomer replied: “I can lure him outside,
   If you will but allow me to try.”
And they hustled him in, without cleansing his sin,
   Where the first one way “piling it high.”
“Have you seen the new strike? Come, let’s make a hike!
It’sricher’n this over there.
Though this is pure gold, just outside, so I’m told,
   It’s better’n this stuff by far.”
Then he gathered his tools (come men are such fools),
   Scarce waiting to wipe off his brow,
Led the way through the gate (saw the trick when too late),
   Say, where is he prospecting now? [page 9]


I’VE blowed my pile—the sin and the guile,
With the midnight-crew—with the siren’s smile,
In the wanton’s spell—with the flashy swell,
And I’m skinned to the bone—the city’s hell.
The champagne now tastes sour to me—
I’ll hike for the hills, where the water is free;
Yes, the pines for me—I’ll leave the town,
Where the soul is sinking, sinking down
Mid the noise and blare, the smoke-ridden air,
The painted smiles and the gaslight’s flare.
I’ve the devil to square, and it’s hell to think
What’s spent in a night, and on women and drink,
While children starve—(the wolf at the door)
And the white slaves toil, till the hands are sore.
I’ve shot my wad—I must walk back home,
For not one of the bunch would lend me a “bone.”
In the days of my gold I had many a “friend,”
I feel myself sold—turned down in the end—
I played on the blue—I played on the red,
And now I’m clean “busted” and sick on my bed; [page 10] 
And the vampires don’t know me (the whole cursed lot)
In a charity ward, on a charity cot.
I’ll face the storms and the rapids’ wrath,
Less dangerous far than the city’s path;
The wounded stag or the fierce, grizzly bear
Are less to be feared than the vampires there—
And I’m sick of it all, with its lights and its sin,
And I’ll hike for the woods, a new life to begin,
To live down the days I lived “up” in town,
Where you feel the soul slipping, and fast sinking down,
Where the lights are aglow, and you’re voted quite slow,
If you don’t hit the high spots and let yourself go.
It’s the levels for me, and the shady pine-tree,
The peace of the wilds, and the winds blowing free,
The freshness of morning, the splendors of noon, 
The soul peace of evening, the new risen moon,
The beauties of sunset, the glorious night,
Where we feel the Creator, feel God in His might,
Where the streamlet is purling, the wild flowers abloom,
And the voice of the forest says, “Come, there is room.” [page 11]


     THEY are passing, swiftly passing,
‘Tis the army of the North,
See the silver blazoned banner streaming in the Northern sky;
     Far beyond our borders blown,
     Our resources now are known;
And the glory of the North is drawing nigh.

     See the hob-nailed heroes camping,
     On snowshoes, the long trails tramping,
Hear the waking sounds of progress mount the Northern gale on high;
     See the sons of different races
     Seek the unknown silent places;
‘Tis the army of the North that’s passing by.

     They are passing, Northward passing,
‘Tis the pilgrims of the North;
See the smoke of blazing log-heaps, blending with the Northern dome. [page 12] 
     See the prosperous homes they’re rearing,
     See the plowed fields now appearing,
Where the sturdy settler rears his frontier home.

     They are passing, daily passing,
     Prospectors of the North;
And the master lure of Gold is leading on,
     As the Northern flag unfurled,
     Shows our wealth to wondering world,
And the struggle waged in lands so hardly won.

     Where the foaming falls are steaming,
     Where the northern lights are gleaming,
There the clarion call of gold is pulsing high;
     As a mystic screen unrolled,
     Glows with mineral wealth untold,
The Northland’s crowning day is drawing nigh.

     Where the plowshare turns the toil,
     Where the sturdy sons of toil,
Take homesteads on the clay belt of the fertile Northern plain;
     Or pick and paddle wield,
     On the Northern treasure field—
Suffering hardships, black flies, danger, toil and pain— [page 13] 

     Let us follow in their footsteps,
     Emulate their sturdy precepts;
E’en to the verge of dismal Arctic Sea—
Seeking lurid wealth of mine, or the harvest of the pine;
Or homesteading, where the fertile soil is free. [page 14]


THERE’S a gleam that tells the dawning
   OF the brighter Northern day,
Silver tinted, streaming southward,
With its night-dispelling ray.

‘Tis the beam born of the gold-gleam,
   (The long-drawn night is past),
And the world-neglected Northland
Yields its hidden wealth at last.

As a diadem of glory,
   On a field of wealth untold,
Bursting barriers, stands triumphant,
   Wreathed with crown of glittering gold,

Now the man-forgotten desert,
   Rending veil of sable night,
Giantlike, stands forth resplendent,
Robed in green and golden “Light.” [page 15] 

Tide of Empire sets to Northward,
   ‘Neath a peerless sceptre’s sway,
Can’t you hear the clarion summons
To the Northland’s crowning day?

Let us seek where gold lies hidden,
   Follow up its magic gleam
In the land long deemed “forbidden,”
Land of myriad lake and stream.

Land of beauty, land of sunshine,
   Land of shadowy jack-pine sway;
Its unpeopled places calling
To the cities, day by day.

Let us seek the land that beckons,
   As our fathers sought of old,
Wielding axe, or pick and paddle,
   Tilling soil and finding gold.

Let us blaze the trail of progress,
   Let us dare the great “Alone,”
Follow giant-minded leaguemen,
   As they probe the “Great Unknown.”

Shall we stand by idly dreaming,
   As the days go flitting past?
Shall the flag of progress streaming
   Show the Briton marching last? [page 16] 

     There’s a murmur from the pine-tops
     (To pilot-minded men),
Borne southward from a land of wealth I know,
     And our lodestar still to guide us,
     Though weal or woe betide us,
‘Tis the wooing of the North wind—we must go. [page 17] 


THE SPIRIT OF THE WILD to wanderer sings,
Breathes nature’s incense, borne on mystic wings;
The luring sigh of night winds o’er the wild,
The heron’s cry from places undefiled,
The cloud wrack, drifting far to space unknown,
The sylvan spell of glade and woodland throne,
Set pieces—curtained scenes—unmeasured, grand,
Created, fashioned, staged by Master’s hand.
The hush of silence o’er the wilds afar,
The elemental voices waging war,
The unseen force that beckons to the wild,
Alluring whispers borne to nature’s child.
The sweet, wild sounds aplume on wing of night,
Peaks golden tipped, as breaks the morning light,
The landscape all aflame with sunset glow,
The evergreen besprayed with driven snow,
The gentle chant of pine-tops murmuring sweet,
The wind, the wave, the wild, their call repeat.
The darkened canyons, roaring, flecked with foam,
The tempest’s song, the stars, the velvet dome,
The eagle’s flight, the wild bird’s melting song,
In notes of golden cadence borne along,
Sounds from Creator’s harp, by Master spanned,
The strings attuned by vibrant nature’s wand. [page 18] 
The weird North lights, the moonbeams’ silvered maze,
The carmine tints of autumn’s purpled blaze,
The piles of golden glory banked on high,
The sunset rays athwart the crimsoned sky,—
These voices, welling up from wild domain,
Each one a luring link in nature’s endless chain;
To seekers, weary, worn, and fallen prone,
Yet calls to rise and seek the great unknown
That beckons strident voiced, or sweet and mild,
The vampire wing—THE SPIRIT OF THE WILD. [page 19]


Desire comes alike to the hobo
   Or scion of guilded throne,
To seek the luck of the lone trail
   And trek to the Great Unknown.

     *     *     *     *     *     *

The heart grows sick of the hustle,
   And the mind seems out of joint,
As you pass life’s yearly mile-stones,
   And you come to the turning point.

You may be a prince of the tainted blood
   Or a chip off the rolling stone,
But under the spell of the roamer
   You plunge to the Great Unknown.

You are tired of the crowded highway,
   Would shun the beaten path,
And you take a chance at the by-way,
   And failing you never come back. [page 20] 

The trail once led through Death Valley,
   The trail of Forty-nine,
Where the murrain breath of drouth and death
   Slew your fathers, yours and mine.

The trail once led to the Cariboo,
   The trail of Sixty-nine,
To the land of the West and the sand-fly pest,
Through the Douglas fir and the pine.

And the trail once led to the Yukon,
   You have read of brave men’s fate,
The gruesome tales of its death-strewn trails
In the year of Ninety-eight.

The trail once led to Afric’s shores,
   And we trekked o’er the sun-blistered land,
Where the lion sleeps and the python creeps,
To the diamond mines of the Rand.

And the trail now leads to the Northland,
   To the silent, unknown zone,
And men rape the hush of silence,
   As they blast out the stubborn stone.

And sometimes it leads where the white shark feeds,
   To the coral reefs of the South,
To the hell-fire glow of the lava’s flow
From the belching crater’s mouth. [page 21] 

And sometimes it leads where the walrus feeds
   In the teeth of the storm wraith’s breath,
Still the prospector goes, mid the frozen snows
Where life is a living death.

With bruise and scar we fare fain to make war
   On gaunt, grim, forbidden domain,
Oft to lose in the fight ‘gainst the wild in its might,
In the hope of a lurid gain.

Staging the play of progress,
   With hopes that are beating high,
Men stake as they roam ‘neath the frozen dome
Or the hell of a tropic sky.

And the scene is shifting, changing,
   From the Pole to the crater’s mouth,
When there comes a wind-borne whisper
From North, East, West, or South.

A hike for a strike, a strike and a hike,
Ungava next or the Pole.
The wanderlust brand for an unknown land
   Is surely a curse to the soul. [page 22] 

Still we weave the web of an Empire’s throne,
   Extending the sceptre’s sway,
Driving the stakes of extension down,
Sweeping the forest away.

Far in the heart of the Great Unknown,
   Subduing the wild in its might,
Field marshals—unknown by the camp-fires lone—
   Lead on in the wilderness fight.

Far to the van where the flag is flown,
   Far in the land of night,
On futurity’s page shall their deeds be shown
Through cycles of time in their flight. [page 23]


‘TIS the sound of the distant city,
   The voice of its endless throng,
Where the flood-gates of tragic are opened,
   And its tide goes booming on.

‘Tis the sound of babel voices,
   The sight of its blinding glare;
The sound of its struggling thousands
In crowded spaces there.

‘Tis the cry of bitter anguish,
   Borne down the squalid street;
The sound of its noon-day bustle,
Of its shuffling, hurrying feet.

‘Tis the cry welling up from the heartaches,
   The soul-wearied sighs of despair;
The snapping of over-strained heart-strings,
The pall of the smoke-ridden air. [page 24] 

‘Tis the sound of the grinding tramway,
   The honk of the auto’s horn;
The stench of the burning petrol,
Ne’er ceasing through seasons unborn.

‘Tis the cry of the ill-fed children,
   The sight of the rags and the dirt;
The voice of the widowed mothers,
   Who sing the “Song of the Shirt.”

‘Tis the sight of the flaring sign-boards,
   The million lights aglare;
The heart-throb of the wage-slaves,
   Who toil ‘neath the gaslight’s flare.

‘Tis he sight of the mansions of millions,
   Compared with the ill-clad feet;
The display of dollars and fashion,
Compared with the squalid street.

‘Tis the blood-sweat of the toiler,
   The groan from the cot of pain;
The voice of the hard task-master,
The strut of the proud and vain.

‘Tis the cheers for the veterans returning
   From waging a nation’s wars;
The survivors, battered and broken,
The sons of the war-god Mars. [page 25] 

‘Tis the pulse of the hurrying thousands,
   The heart of a city’s life,
That knows no peace or silence,
But ever, and ever, the strife.

‘Tis the sight of the flaring footlights,
   The voice of the mimic show,
The applause of pit and gallery,
   As the mummers come and go.

‘Tis the sound of the wheeled street organ,
   The voice of its rasping air;
‘Tis the rape of the hush of silence
Pervading the midnight there.

‘Tis the sound of the church bells tolling
   On the Sabbath morning fair;
The sound of the organ’s pealing,
Of the surpliced fingers there.

‘Tis the voice of the countless children,
   Who romp on the lawns, care free;
As balm to the heart that is broken,
The sounds of their childish glee.

And ever the flood-gates open,
   And ever the tide rolls on;
‘Tis ever the tug at the life-strings,
Through the weary day and long. [page 26] 

‘Tis a sound that shall no silence,
‘Tis the strife without surcease,
Till eternity’s gates swing open,
   And the Lord gives His children peace. [page 27]


THIS is the law of the Northland,
   Thus would she challenge the world;
Come where the North Star is gleaming,
   Come where my flag is unfurled,
Come to the fountain of nature,
   Drink of the sparkling stream,
Learn thou the trails of my forests,
Guided by stars agleam.
Send the best blood of the nations,
   Search my fastness for gold,
Men who have braved hardships and danger,
   Send not the slothful or old,
But men who rear homes in the Northland,
   Men who will win in the strife,
Men who help make, in the making,
The strenuous northern life. [page 28] 

On these will I lavish my bounty,
   Set them high near my silver throne,
Crown their manhood with riches and honor,
   These Men of the Northern Zone,

Who have conquered my unmeasured boundaries,
   Have laughed at my biting cold,
Scorning my valleys and vastness,
In search for my hidden gold.

Where the “white metal” gleams in the rock cleft,
   Where for ages the frost king has stood,
I greet them as sons of the Northland,
Of the Northern Brotherhood.

Send not the scum of your cities,
   Send not the halt and the lame,
Send not the misfits and cast-offs,
The failures of finance or fame.

These will I goad to destruction,
   These would I ban from my fen,
For my wealth untold, pine, silver, and gold,
   Is but for the Men among Men.

Men of the North and South,
   Men of the East and West,
Men who tear open my vitals,
   Or draw the rich stream from my breast. [page 29] 

Sons of the silent places,
   Sons of the magic North,
Sons of all creeds and races,
   Norsemen, faring forth,
Nigh boundless, my far flung borders,
   O’er the half the ice king holds sway,
Storm kings bellow fierce blasts of defiance
To the heralds of some oncoming day.

Weird and wild are my harpstrings,
   None but a master may span,
Sounding the notes unto heaven,
Praising the Creator’s plan.
Weaklings of soul and of purpose,
   Come not within my domain,
Think not to feed on my bounty,
Lest I number you with my slain.

Outcasts from civilization, flotsam and jetsam, hurled,
   Things—not men—that shame us, those of the underworld;
These will I smite with my snow-blinding light,
   These will I crush as they lie,
Vampires, that feed upon men as they bleed,
   These I condemn to die.

From the dawn of the universe gleaming,
   Patient and lone have I stood,
Neglected by man, through each life’s puny span,
Longing for motherhood. [page 30] 

Now through my portals streaming,
   Come earth’s sturdy sons from afar,
My hillsides and valleys are teeming
With battalions preparing for war.
My silences now have been broken,
   And enterprise questions my sway;
O’er the land made up of “waste places”
Come the gleams of the new risen day.
Fain would I hold to my sceptre,
   To my crown of sparkling snow,
My anger hurled in the teeth of the world,
   And bid my despoilers go.

Fain would I crush the invaders,
   Fain would I rend and smite
To the death—in my icy clutches,
In the breath of my winter’s night.
These wandering reckless spirits
   I would lure to my forest glooms,
Would hurl them to death in my rapids,
   Consign them to nameless tombs,
Lash them to death with my tempests,
   Blinding their eyes with my snow,
Benumbing the spirit of enterprise,
   As Northward—fighting—they go.

These men who have hewn down my gateways,
   Who are heading far North on the trail,
(At whose back the host ever follow),
   Who defy the wave and the gale, [page 31] 

Encroaching the fringe of my forests,
   Braving the curse of my dooms,
Ripping and blasting my mountains,
   Blocking my streams with their booms,
Trenching deep on my hillsides,
   Baring my breast to the sun,
Stripping, drilling and blasting,
   In the land that is yet to be won.
My fastness—my farness—my stillness;
   My bigness—my torrents—my might,
Are as nought to these frontier leaguemen,
   Who load in the wilderness fight.

Fain would I sound defiance;
   But ‘tis not the Creator’s plan,
And my giant strength, and my breadth, and length
   I yield to his likeness—Man.

     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

This to me is the will of the Northland,
   That the weak full strength may regain,
That merit shall blossom and flourish,
   And the wicked no longer remain,
That those who cheerfully labor,
   Through patience shall surely thrive,
That the laggard and rogue go from us,
   And the God-fearing ones survive. [page 32]


Land of silver, land of gold,
Land of frost and land of cold,
Land of hardships, land of pain,
Land of sunshine, land of rain,
Land of jack-pine, land of spruce,
Land of pickerel, land of moose,
Land where seething waters boil,
Land of prospects, land of toil,
Land of profit, land of loss,
Land a faint heart cannot cross.

Land of lake, and land of stream,
Land of many a silver dream,
Land of calcite, copper stains,
Land of richest silver veins,
Land where fortunes come and go,
Land of black flies, land of health,
Land of promise, and of wealth. [page 33] 

Land of forest, glade, and glen,
Land of sturdy, seasoned men,
Land of paddle and canoe,
Land of hobnail and snow-shoe,
Land of portage and blazed trail,
Land where stout hearts never fail,
Land of blazing camp-fires bright,
Land of sable, silent night,
Land of the Northland free and vast,
Land waiting for the whistle’s blast.

Land of crag, and mountain crest,
Land in nature’s garments dressed,
Land whose life has but begun,
Land reaching far towards midnight sun,
Land of hillside, fell, and crag,
Land where flies King George’s flag,
Land of heat, and land of cold,
Land of silver, land of gold. [page 34]

[unnumbered page, includes illustration: ON THE ATLANTIC COAST]

[blank page]


By the wealth of our soil, our minerals and corn,
Shall we stand forth resplendent through ages unborn;
A glorious future, a struggling past,
A God-fearing people, ‘tis written shall last.

     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

I stood beside Atlantic’s waves,
   The tide came booming on,
The ocean voices seemed to say,
   “Fear not, thou Britain’s son!”
The thunderous tide rolled on apace,
   Great ships sped o’er the brine,
A voice came far across the main,
“This land! ‘tisthine! ‘tis thine!”
The voices welled from out the deep,
   “Face thou the setting sun,
And firmly hold while life shall last,
   This land thy fathers won.” [page 37] 

On wings of thought, as gleamed the morn,
   I sped from main to main,
Our country linked by iron bands,
Confederation’s chain.

On Selkirk’s peaks my flight was stayed,
   To view with raptured gaze
The rising beam of eastern morn
   Dissolve in sunset rays.

The iron monsters spurned the miles,
   Across the far spread plain;
Great ships churned foam from ocean’s breast,
Far on the Western main.
Rich wares from Afric and from Ind
   As flows resistless tide,
From far off strand and alien land,
Poured thro’ our portals wid.
The wheels of commerce rolled amain,
   (Success our nation’s crown),
The sturdy settler tilled the plain,
Or hewed the forests down.

I turned the page of memory’s leaves,
   Our strenuous, stainless past,
Our plains unknown to golden sheaves,
   And found a page at last
On which ‘tis writ so firm and bold,
   As writing on the wall,
“This land we give our sons to hold
For Britain, stand or fall.” [page 38] 

I turned again with age dimmed eye,
   The page of bygone lore,
When mighty Hurons held their sway
Along Atlantic’s shore.

Chilkat and Huron ruled each coast,
   The mighty Sioux, the plain,
And hearts were bowed to heathen gods,
   The bison herds were slain.

Methought what wondrous changes here,
   In but a life’s brief span,
An age unrolled in tints of gold
Wrought by the hand of man. [page 39]


THOU magic North that draws my gaze to thee,
Thou land of wealth, of distance, far and free,
Thou land of pine-tree, spruce, and silver’s gleam,
Wake thou the nation’s apathetic dream.
Thou mighty giant, in thy waking hour
Stand forth, resplendent in thy mystic power;
Thy story of treasure, streams, and valleys broad,
Thy strength unmeasured and thy ways untrod,
Let this wide, wondering world at last behold
Thy wealth of beauty—wealth of soil and gold. [page 40] 


FOR woodland bard it were not meet
To sing the song of city street,
Of lights aglow and stifled air,
And struggling thousands crowded there,
Or restless throngs that pavements roam.
Grant me the peaceful woodland home,
Beside some brook or hillside steep,
Where nature’s song lulls me to sleep.
Yet shall I view great cities o’er,
As starts my barque from woodland shore.
First sail we through the city slum,
Where herd the so-called city scum;
Not wanting here the “legal proof,”
Too many families ‘neath one roof;
Ill-nourished babes and ill-clad feet,
A gruesome scene, a squalid street;
Children half clad in rags and dirt,
For lack of soap, for lack of shirt.
Oh, hapless child of prospects drear,
Yet is thy soul to God most dear. [page 41] 
Some few may rise to wealth with age,
The many toil for sweatshop wage.
And now my barque with sail unfurled
Would take thee to the underworld,
To gutter lust, and shambling feet,
To “beer cans” borne by children sweet.
To victims of the demon rum,
To under life of city slum,
Whose names the darkling records swell
Of station house and prison cell;
Where hand of justice gathers in
The child of sorrow, child of sin.
Oh! woeful sight, ‘neath gaslight’s flare
To see the misery garnered there;
Those fallen on the verge of life,
The drunken husband, tearful wife,
And young girls fair with tresses brown,
Known as the “women of the town.”
Help turn their steps—there’s justice still,
Tempered by weeping mercy’s will.
Oh! let that mercy swiftly flow
To raise the weak who fall so low,
Tossed by life’s storms on hillsides bare,
That knew no mother’s loving care;
Forgive, release from sinful thrall;
Oh, God! Thou knowest what caused their fall.
Yet to the pure and to the strong
‘Tisthine to aid, to right the wrong,
Thine to assist the faltering feet,
Thine to rescue girlhood sweet, [page 42] 
To mercy and forbearance show,
To raise the stray ones, fallen low;
Thou pampered dame of gilded life,
Thou man, and boy, thou husband, wife,
Incline the ear, and bow the head,
List to sweet words our Saviour said,
“That one lost lamb, from hillsides bare,
Restored to shepherd’s loving care,
More precious than all gathered there.”
To pure of mind, to pure of heart,
Christ bids thee each, go, do thy part.
As darksome breeze now wafts me on
I sing to thee the revellers’ song,
Partakers of distillers’ brew.
Members of the midnight crew,
Votaries of the flowing bowl,
Who swill the slush that drowns the soul,
Where ribald sounds oft rape the night
With drunken, babbling brawl and fight.
All red to-night, to-morrow blue,
Members of the midnight crew.
Yet city life has gladsome scenes, 
With happy homes and wooded greens,
And joyous children romp and play,
Blithesome and free, with laughter gay.
The city, too, has pomp and pride,
And purse-proud dames in autos ride
Swift through the streets, by night or day,
And “honk” the lowly from the way. [page 43] 
And now my theme would strike me more near,
Would shame the married privateer,
They who have known no household woes,
Yet sell their souls for wine and clothes.
How canst thou face the pure and good,
Thou that defame sweet motherhood?
Full soon shall fill thy cup of woe
And all the world thy shame shall know.
Remember thou thy bridal morn,
Think thou of men who laugh in scorn
Those whom thy husband sneering pass,
And babble o’er the red wine glass,
Of conquests made, to talk are fain,
Whispering light tales of married dame;
To thee shall come the waking hour,
When reason shall assume its power.
Regret, remorse, and sated flame,
And empty heart and brow of shame,
That blushes red at honest sight,
How did’st thou spend the peaceful night?
Despairing cry of lost soul hurled,
Far downward, to the nether world.
‘Tisthine own cry—reflection deep,
Dishonor sown—remorse to reap.
In darkest hell foul Satan sings,
Waits for thy soul on sable wings,
And fiendish imps the chorus swell
And loudly shriek, “’Tis well, ‘tis well;
The soul that’s pawned for silks and wine,
The tainted soul, ‘tis mine, ‘tis mine.” [page 44] 
Eternal flame, eternal shame,
For thee, false-hearted married dame,
Thy life given o’er to sin and vice,
The soul must pay the awful price.
In flame and torture must thou dwell
And walk the red-hot flags of hell.
Thy lost soul, pawned for silks and wine,
I fear scant pardon will be thine.
And such is life, a soil which breeds
Earth’s fairest flowers or poisonous weeds.
Such then is life, the rich to thrive,
The lowly still to toil and strive,
The thief to steal forth in the night
And “pinch” what suits his fingers light.
The reveller to the flowing bowl,
The churches strive to save the soul;
(Most strenuous strife; if thou’rt well dressed
More often then, the hand is pressed).
The struggling poor lie down to rest
As evening’s sun sets in the west,
While wealth and fashion dance or feast
Until the new days streaks the east.

The law of life to struggling man,
The law that governs life’s brief span,
Is simply—do the best you can,
Though wealth or fame be not thy meed,
Thy laboring hands supply thy need;
Toil keeps thy soul strings free from rust,
And all are equal in the dust. [page 45]


A fly bitten trail, and a porcupine’s (tail) tale,
   Can you truthfully say its untrue?
That a billion black flies can just “bung up your eyes,
   Did it ever occur to you?

     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Have you ever sweat blood on the portage?
   The flies thick as hair on a dog,
When the blood from their bites
Makes dimmer your lights,
As you rest your pack on a log.

When the packstraps cut into the shoulders,
   And you come to the foot of a rise,
The tongue swelled with thirst,
But that’s not the worst:
   It’s the billions of biting black flies. [page 46]

[unnumbered page, includes illustration: THE AUTHOR’S CAMP]

[blank page]

Have you slung your canoe on your shoulders,
   And started to toil up the hill,
To slip in the mud
And come down with a thud,
Your neck in the carrier still?

Have you ever been caught on the river,
   The darkness as thick as a wall,
When you tear out the blackness in bunches,
   But let in no daylight at all?

Mid the boulders and gloom of black water,
   You paddle far in a blind bay,
The rocks and the tenseness don’t matter,
   But you’re seven miles out of your way.

With canoe far from shore on broad waters,
   The heavens turned loose like a spout,
As the gale piled the water in mountains;
   Did you take your bush hat to bale out?

Have you packed with your load o’er the muskeg,
   Where you sink in the moss to the knee?
It’s no place for a gown, and no place to sit down,
   For a seat very wet it would be.

Were you chased by a loaded toboggan
Down the side of some devilish hill?
Did you fall with a whack, and get thumped on the back
   By the “boggan” that keeps going still? [page 47] 

Have you shot through the roaring canyon,
   The spume from the foam rising high,
With never a thought for your future,
   Though boulders and death were nigh?

Did you ever get lost in the forest
   Of your sense of direction bereft,
To find that you’ve squandered a circle,
   Coming back o the place where you left?

Have you ever raced with the fire fiend,
   When the flames stabbed the smoke-ridden sky,
Or buried yourself in the muskeg
   As hell went roaring by?

Were you blistered and singed to the eyebrows,
   Heat and vapors searing the sight,
As you fight, inch by inch, with the demon
   That swoops on your tent in the night?

Were you caught at the bend of the river,
   The smoke and the flame fore and aft,
Searing and shearing the forest
   And blistering the paint on your craft?

When the danger had passed were you speechless
   Regarding the forest fire,
(Though half shirtless, bootless and breek-less),
   Lest men should say, “He’s a liar”? [page 48] 

Have you worked all through the “fly season,”
   Both hands glued fast to a drill?
Then I’m sure you ne’er cursed without reason
When mosquito presented his bill.

Were you caught in the blinding snowstorm,
   Many miles between you and the camp,
When the storm fiend and cold are as nothing
   Compared to the snow-shoe cramp?

Were you blistered by wind and weather,
   The skin all peeled off from your nose,
Just back from a hike to another fake strike,
   And sore from your thatch to your toes?

Have you toughed it in all kinds of weather,
   Your socks often turned inside out,
When your hide gets as tough as old leather?
   Then you know what you’re reading about.

Have you dared the unknown to the limit,
Camped far in the night and the cold,
And searched the unknown for the unfound?
   Then you’ve sure got the craze for the gold.

These and more are the lot of the prospector,
   The Sourdough can’t say it’s untrue,
As he scratches his back ‘gainst a pine called jack,
   Did it ever occur to you? [page 49] 

The life is half hell, but you love it,
   And you follow in hunger and cold,
The lure that saps at your manhood,
The all powerful lure of the gold.

     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Yellow muck is the master, the seeker its slave,
Scratching for pelf, till he falls in the grave;
In the gloom of the wilds mid the silence profound,
Pecking away at a hole in the ground,
Starving the system, and starving the soul,
Till the fuse “squibs” out, in a six-foot hole. [page 50]


HAVE you stood on some Northern hilltop,
   Watched the blazing sunset die,
And the silver winged borealis
   Flame out in the midnight sky,
Where the golden wings of the morning
Dispel with arrows of light,
Drawn from the day god’s quiver,
The gloom of the solar night?

Have you wandered alone with nature,
   Where the solemn silence falls,
When the soul is awed, alone with God,
   Where the heart of the wilderness calls,
Where the winds rove free o’er the pine-tops,
   Far as mortal vision may reach?
Have you gazed on the measureless grandeur
   That shames the art of speech?
Have you viewed its streams and its valleys?
   Wondrous work of the Master’s hand,
Warp and woof, from the loom of creation,
The Northern wonderland. [page 51]

Where the sunshine bursts out in its glory,
   As passes the darksome cloud;
When the crystalline flakes of the snowdrop
   Sheets the land in its glistening shroud;
Unmeasured, untrodden, nameless,
   Unconquered, unpeopled, alone,
Are its mountains, forests, and torrents,
   That flow to the “frozen zone.”

Yet the banner of enterprise risen
   Has flown far north on its way,
Now the headlight’s beam and the golden gleam
   Are the heralds of oncoming day.
Since the dawn of the earth’s formation,
   And ever, as ages unrolled,
Since Adam, untaught, in the wilderness wrought,
   Men seek the unknown for its gold.

And the first to “record” was “Hiram,”
   We still work on his tri-square lines,
Yet none but a writer Haggard
Have discovered “King Solomon’s Mines.” [page 52]


THERE’S a story told that is somewhat old
   Of a laird and his factory men,
Who toiled and moiled in a woollen mill
   And soap was beyond their ken.

And once each year, though it cost him dear,
   He sent them all down to the sea,
With a change of shirt, to wash off the dirt
In the waves where the water is free.

And Jock took stock of wee Sandy McBain,
   Whose skin was dark as the “branded Cain,”
Who in scrubbing and rubbing, to clean off the dirt,
Unearthed the remains of a long buried shirt.

“Hoots, mon! Y’er aye dairty!” Jock then did exclaim,
   And Sandy said, “Aye, mon, the reason is plain.”
Hopeless and soapless was Sandy, I fear,
For hedidna gang tae the excursion last year.
Now the soapless mortal inclines me to wrath,
   And Sandy had missed one annual bath. [page 53]


Canto I

THOU Northland spirits hear my song,
And aid my faltering muse along,
As now I tread thine unknown ways,
And tune my harp to minstrel lays;
Guide my frail barque o’er unknown seas,
Fill well her sails with tuneful breeze,
Song of the Northland vast and free.

Then spend thine idle hour with me,
And let thy fancy freely stray,
To dawning hour of Northern day,
By crystal lake and forest dell,
In that great land I love so well.
Still would I crave assistance meet
For trembling muse and faltering feet;
What tho’ my song would soar on high,
The vaulted dome of Northern sky;
Or could my feeble pen impart
The loftier feelings of the heart,
Then would this hour, thus whiled away,
Be well repaid, as far we stray
Through lone pine forest, lake, and stream,
To view an empire’s waking dream. [page 54] 

[unnumbered page, includes illustration:THE NEW NORTH]

[blank page]

The Northern giant roused to life,
Our sons a vanguard in the strife,
And in these piping times of peace,
Mills run full time, the mines increase;
Doubter, let thy doubting cease,
Forbear to murmur, part in peace;
If some reassure thou hast lost,
Smile not like the late spring frost,
Blighting Cobalt in its bloom;
Send naught but wildcats to the tomb,
And blithely whistle as the breeze
Weaves sweet wild song through murmuring trees.
The Northland in green verdure dressed,
“Will bless thee and thou shalt be blest.”
Thou stout of heart and brave of soul
Strive onward till they reach the goal;
What though in small way some benign,
They homes and independence win;
But laggard step and slothful hand
Ne’er take the stumps from off the land,
While Briton brave and thrifty Scot
Soon clear the trees from off their lot.
As tuneful breeze now wafts me on,
I view the northward moving throng,
For northward now ‘neath Britain’s sway,
The course of empire takes its way.

Canto II

Our course now takes us, in its flight,
Past witching hour of silvery night, [page 57] 
O’er evening shades our barque has sped,
Behold! the sleeping giant’s head;
Full soon will come his waking hour,
The harnessed tide develops power,
And through the long night fading fast
Now wakes the sound of powder blast,
And powder blast and whistle’s scream
Have waked the sleeping giant’s dream.
King Borealis rears on high
His flaming head in northern sky;
The lightnings flash, and thunders boom,
The giant comes forth from the tomb.
From long, lone night, since time began,
That sleep was undisturbed by man;
But enterprise her pennons flew,
The Northland’s mystic veil withdrew,
And through her portals, opened wide,
The silver’s gleam brought rolling tide,
The metal white, the Cobalt bloom,
Helped raise the giant from the tomb.
The long night breaks, we speed away,
O’er hill and dale, o’er lake and bay;
Scenes wondrous fair the eye doth scan,
Untainted by the hand of man;
Green curtained plains and hillsides steep,
Valley and hilltop wooded deep;
Fit lady’s bower, and darksome glade,
Soft moss that knows perpetual shade;
Green islands stretch from shore to shore,
In myriad lakes, the Northland o’er, [page 58] 
Fantastic forms, and oft they seem
Some fitful fancy’s fleeting dream,
As through the maze our way we take,
And view them in the mirrored lake.
Oh, that my pen were sword of steel,
To wield its length for Northern weal,
And paint word pictures of this land,
So lone, so still, so broad, so grand;
These wondrous scenes of beauty rare
E’en to dull souls are passing fair,
Enchanted scenes, unseen, unknown,
For fairy bower, or sylvan throne,
That in pale moonlight’s rising beam
Grotesque and beauteous forms they seem.
Far reaching river, lake and bay,
In distant grandeur melt away;
Behold yon pine-clad hilltop high
Blend its green shades with azure sky;
Here mossy cliffs on every hand
Slope downward to the sylvan strand.
The scene to me is wondrous fair,
Seems our Creator’s smile is there.
This land must fill some purpose grand
Of our Creator’s mind and hand,
And as the Northern film unrolls,
Grave wonder fills our narrow souls
That these waste places of the earth
To timber, mines, and wealth give birth.
This God-created “No Man’s Land”
In silvered columns takes its stand, [page 59] 
Presents its arms to passing throng,
As Northern Empire moves along.

Canto III

Reader forgive my muse that strayed
From lady’s bower and sylvan glade,
And stayed small space, my feeble song,
To hear the tread of passing throng,
That through the Northern portals wide
Resistless pours as ocean’s tide.
Stout hearts from city stream and plain,
Armed for the fray, the portals gain.
Each adds his share to Northern life,
May each one conquer in the strife,
Invoking aid from court nor throne
The conquering hero stands alone;
Success attend each valiant hand
That fells the pine and clears the land.

Canto IV

On snow-clad wing now borne along,
Fain would I sing thee winter’s song,
Of whirling snows and winter’s blast,
The summer gone, the autumn past,
When riven snow is piled on high,
And storm kings sweep the wintry sky.
The tall pines waving to and fro,
The charging blasts in whirlwinds go;
In raging race o’er hill and plain,
At last they reach the surging main; [page 60] 
Morn breaks, the winter storm is past.
The forest braved the Northern blast,
Except where here and there is seen
Some giant pine in living green,
With roots upturned, by hill or knoll,
This is the storm king’s passing toll.
And now o’er forest, dell, and town
The large white flakes come softly down;
Oh, that the power were mine to tell
Of sparkling glade and snowclad dell,
Of beauty’s rare and dazzling sheen,
When glistening snow coats evergreen!
Or that the harp with soulful string
To higher flights my song could wing.
White towers besprayed rise from the ground,
With giant caps, by snow king crowned;
Balsams bowed low with diamond sheen,
The white well blended with the green,
Their drooping branches sparkling bright
As snowy plume of crested knight.
Grotesque the shapes, and mind and eye
Figures and forms may well descry;
Here giant forms rise in their might,
Their limbs embossed in pristine white,
Meet guardians of the wooded wold,
Or fairy thrones the way to hold,
The brightness dims beholder’s eye,
As sunbeams gleam from noonday sky;
Here giant snow birds sit aright,
With wing aplume for hasty flight. [page 61] 
And Santa Claus is pictured, too,
Oft and again, the forest through;
Then turn thy gaze, for truth to tell,
This witching scene in winter dell
Hath cast o’er us deceptive spell.
Our fancy riot, running loose,
Imagination slipped the noose.
Oh, wondrous beauty, pure and fair,
That snow king’s craft hath wrought with care;
The soul could gaze forever there,
On spotless whiteness, stillness, peace,
And vibrate for its quick release.
High mounds arising, like the dome
Of Peter’s Church in ancient Rome,
Or like the Romans’ seven hills,
The scene the soul with rapture fills.
The snow king’s hand hath wonders wrought
And autumn to subjection brought,
But snow king’s grip nor winter’s sheen
Can damp the Northern spirits’ gleam.

Canto V

Now would close my hobbled lay
(As understood by fashion gay.)
I have sung the Northern day,
Scenes of wealth and beauty rare.
Now approaches evening fair,
Borealis lights the way;
Far to north o’er Hudson’s Bay [page 62] 
Now is seen the milky way,
And the moonbeams shining bright
Show the waking giant’s might,
Twinkling stars and meteor’s flight,
Grand and glorious Northern night.
As sable night meets closing day,
Reader, to thy rest away,
Peaceful may thy slumbers be,
Thy dreams of gold or trysting tree.
To my muse’s feeble song
Thou hast listed well and long;
Could I sing with silver tongue,
But my harp is all unstrung;
Weary pinions droop in flight,
Each and all a fair “Good-night.”

Canto VI

Sons of the Northland may my rhyme
Beguile thine hour of idle time,
In tent or cabin, trench or mine,
I pray some pleasure may be thine!
And lovelorn swain, so wont to tell
His fair one that he loves her well,
Or wander through the woodland dell,
I crave thy pardon for the hour
I’ve kept thee from thy lady’s bower.
Or if perchance these lines should fall
In homes of wealth and gilded hall,
And help the fancy free to stray
To Northern scenes mid twilight gray, [page 63] 
Then my poor pen is truly paid,
I blush like shy or courted maid.
I essay but the truth to tell
Of Northern life I love so well,
Now waking from its long, lone night,
And trust to guide thy steps aright.
Thy story I have simply told,
Land of silver, land of gold. [page 64] 


MY wandering brothers of the waste,
   My songs I sing for you;
Still, may they catch the public taste,
   (God knows I’ve sung what’s true.)

I’ve tried thy fancy to beguile,
To wreathe thy face with thoughtful smile,
As thou did’st stray with me awhile,
   ‘Neath Northern skies so blue,—

To strenuous life, mid toil and pain,
To lives laid down for lure of gain,
Throughout the Northland’s vast domain,
By sturdy men and true.

The laurels of the empire won,
Bequeathed by battered “Sire to son,”
Who died mid dearth of woman’s tears,
Their meed, thethought, what coming years
Meant to the Northern zone.

To pioneers I tune my lays,
Who love the stillness, know the “ways,”
To these shall come the brighter days
In that great land and lone. [page 65]


There’s a voice from out the silence 
(That assails my heart with violence),
Southward borne, from dreary lands of ice and snow;
‘Tis the North that’s calling to me,
And its wide waste place woo me;
There’s no rest in crowded places—I must go.

     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Canto I

I’ve heard the rustling Northern breeze
Weave nature’s call through jack-pine trees,
I’ve heard the call in Northern blast,
On unseen wings, go rushing past;
I’ve heard the call in troubled dream,
Asleep, by Northern lake and stream; [page 66] 
And oft have started from the ground
To hear the call in thunder sound;
I’ve heard the call form hilltop high,
And from the cloud wrack drifting by,
As in my boyhood’s days I strayed,
Through rocky cleft or forest glade,
The call I heard in wild bird’s song,
In sweet, wild cadence borne along.
(I’ve heard it, too, mid jostling throng.)
I’ve heard the call in ocean’s roar,
When giant waves break on the shore;
And up from out the foaming deep,
And barren plains where wild winds sweep,
The call, on unseen wings, is borne,
From morn till night, from night till morn.
Where Yukon meets the icy sea,
The call is borne at night to me,
Where ice floes crash on northmost strand,
Where ice king spreads his sparkling hand,
Where musk-ox roam, and mountain sheep
From crag to crag the chasms leap,
From valley deep, and saw-tooth range,
Where snows eternal know no change,
Sky piercing peaks and riven snow
That summer’s melting breath ne’er know.
(Though far beneath Chinook winds blow).
From north and south, from east and west,
The wild still beckons, gives no rest;
By purling brook, or mountain flood,
The call still tingles in the blood; [page 67] 
Through silent night, and noonday’s glare,
Calls sons of men to do and dare.
Where hogback ridges rise and fall,
From beetling cliff, from riven wall,
Where demons of the nether world,
Satanic power ‘gainst landscape hurled,
Blasting pine and rifting stone,
In that great land so grand and lone,
Where giant torrents in their might
Sweep seaward, ‘neath the starry night,
Where silvery gleam of moon’s bright beam
Glints back from Arctic lake and stream;
Waste places; some say God forgot;
Where our Creator’s smile is not—
From Labrador to Behring Sea
The wild, wide wastes are calling me.
Men of stout hearts and will power strong,
To you the Northland sings its song;
List to the tale, incline the ear,
The Northern dawn is drawing near.
Leave faithful wife, leave sweetheart true,
The Northern spirit beckons you.
Like craft our pilgrim fathers bore
To Plymouth Rock, in days of yore,
Who changed stern nature’s stubborn face,
These conquering heroes “set the pace.”
Shall we, their sons, fall to the rear
When Northern dawn is breaking clear?
To long, lone trail o’er glistening snow,
The wild is calling, let us go. [page 68]


Come thee to wild wold and be blest,
Come thee to dale and mountain crest,
Brother, thou can’st know no peace,
Hence thy wanderings may not cease.
Search thou through greenwoods’ summer glades,
Search thou ‘neath autumn’s tinted shades,
Search thou through all the winter hoar,
I bid thee search forever more.
Thou must traverse glade and glen,
Far from haunts of living men.
In thy memory thou must store
Indian legend, forest lore;
Thou must carry on thy back
Grub-hoe, pick, and heavy pack.
Sun, moon, and stars shall be thy guide,
Thy strength prevail ‘gainst wind and tide.
Thine to strive for golden gain,
Thine to buffet wind and rain,
Thine to tread the great unknown,
Thine to rest ‘neath pine-tree lone,
Thine to wander to and fro,
As the seasons come and go,
Thine to seek the wealth untold,
Thine to delve in nature’s mould,
Thine to “prospect” earth’s white dome,
Thine to brave the storm king’s home,
Thine to suffer toil and pain,
Oft to reap an empty gain. [page 69] 
‘Neath blazing sun, or winter drear,
To seek shall be thy guerdon here,
Till youth be flown, thy noonday past,
And death shall claim his own at last.
Thou must find the “Mother Lode,”
Somewhere, on thy lonesome road,
Silver white or glittering gold;
Now the “call” to you I’ve told.


To the call of the wild I have hearkened,
   And ever it leads me on,
To the Northland’s silent places,
   To the land of the midnight sun,
To the dreary wastes of an empire,
   Yet a part of God’s great plan,
And its hidden treasures are many,
Placed there for the use of man.
For the man who can brave its dangers,
   For they who have heard the “call,”
For him who gives “hostage to fortune,”
   His manhood, his life, and his all,—
For the man who can carry his pack sack,
   Axe, rifle, pick, and canoe,
Who cares naught for hardship or danger,
   Fickle fortune to him may be true;
For the man who sweats blood on the portage,
   Who cares naught for life or limb, [page 70] 
Whose canoe braves the Northern tempest,
   Surely wealth lies below here for him!
For the man who leaves out on the blazed trail,
   And follows where’er the call leads,
Dame Fortune should smile on him sometime,
   For all that he suffers and bleeds,
As he sits by his lonely camp-fire,
   On Gowganda’s far off shores,
And the wing of the wild still waves him on,
   And the biting black fly scores.

O’er Northern lake and woodland,
   To the prospector it still whispers loud;
There is wealth in this land for the seeker,
   Who can turn his back on the crowd,
And fight the fight of the Northland,
   And battle whilst standing alone.
These are the men I am calling,
   To conquer this northern zone,
And to him who turns not backward,
   But ever leads out on the trail,
Who is one of the outposts of empire,
   Perish the thought to fail.
Then take courage, my brother prospector,
   “Buck up” and pick up your load,
Tough it out to the end of the portage,
   Though long and uphill is the road;
Though mosquitoes be many and bite you,
   Though your feet strike a snag and you fall, [page 71] 
Though the sweat blinds your eyes,
And they fill with black flies,
   You may strike it rich after all.

*     *     *     *     *     *

Aflame on the wings of the morning,
Aplume on the silence of night;
The vampire wind of the wild,
Waves on to the unknown flight. [page 72]


A scratching tale of an itchy trail,
   In a land that is yet to be won,
That shows how the jack-pines sometimes fail,
   And tells how the grey blacks run.

     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

The prospector in silence strode before,
And reached Gosganda’s far off shore,
Threw down his pick and heavy pack
And ‘gainst a jack-pine scratched his back;
Sat down upon the shore to rest,
Got up and scratched beneath his vest;
Sat down to rest upon the shore,
Got up and scratched his back once more.

In Scotland once it was the style
To rub the back and bless “Argyll,”
Who set up “posts” beside the shacks
For Scotia’s sons to scratch their backs.
Those posts still stand for many a mile,
And to this day they scratch and smile
And bless the good Duke of Argyll. [page 73] 

Few washings are done in lands to be won
   By the men who scratch for gold,
And what is done, say, ‘taint no fun
   For the weather’s too damn cold.
Few washings are done in the midnight sun
   By the men who hit the trail,
But they scratch their backs ere the day is done,
   And the jack-pines sometimes fail.

And the northern trails have some itchy tales,
   But the itchiest tale of all,
Is when in the suds I boiled my “duds”
In the bush one day last fall.

And the tin an lights have seen queer sights,
   But the worst they ever did see,
Was one day at noon in Doc’s saloon
When the insects first bit me.
How I scratched and swore, and my shirt I tore
   And threw to the Northern gale,
And I scooped them up with a big tin cup
   And they filled a big tin pail.

And I made a “hike,” for I didn’t like
   To hear Doc giggle so,
I found a pole, and I punched a hole
   And I buried them in the snow.
It froze that night, when the stars were bright,
   And the silver moon looked down,
To the men I said they must be dead,
Those nipping insects brown. [page 74] 

And I said to the cook, “You go and look,
   But go prepared to run,”
And I said to the boys, “Please stop that noise,
   Come here and watch the fun.”
The cook came back, swift o’er the track,
   And he wore a ghastly smile;
He was out of breath, and pale as death,
For they chased him half a mile.


Cheechako heed how fast they breed
   In the land of ice and snow,
And without soap you’re without hope
   On the trails where’er you go. [page 75]


THERE’S something from the places,
Voices from the map’s void spaces,
‘Tis the silence of the wild that bids me go;
And as I lisp the story
Of the Northland in its glory,
The voice is ever calling on the North wind soft and low.

I have dwelt ‘neath Southern vine tree,
Far from waving Northern pine-tree,
Lonely, watched the limpid waters southward flow,
And have seen the green clad Christmas
On far southern Darien Isthmus,
Poor “Santa” decked in imitation snow,
And I turned for “Our Dominion”
On world-weary, homing pinion,
(There’s no land more fair on earth where’er you go).
In its greenwood summer glory
And its empire-wielding story, may it grow.
I can hear the rapids dashing,
Hear the pickerel sporting, splashing,
Where the Northern crystal waters swiftly flow. [page 76] 
And a meteor northward falling,
‘Tis the Northern Empire calling,
“Take your pack and hit the trail, yes, quickly go.”
In my visions nightly fleeting
I can hear the wild moose bleating,
See the Northland in its robes of shimmering white,
Or in its summer glory, when its green leaves sing the story,
As northward flits my song in feeble flight.

I can see the lodestar gleaming,
See the Northern colors streaming,
Hear the “call” from glinted dome of skies alight,
Hear the ripping rapids roaring,
See the wild goose northward soaring,
O’er the land that God created in its might.
Can’t you hear the hammers pounding?
Hear the locomotive sounding?
Can’t you see the new day gleaming through the pale of sable night?
Hear the Northern Empire calling,
Hear the forests crash in falling,
See the log heaps in the clearings blazing bright.

Can’t you hear the booming river?
See the pine-clad hills aquiver
‘Neath the sway of Northern breezes, southward blown?
Can’t you feel the settler’s spirit
To homestead the land and clear it?
For this land, this glorious land, is all our own. [page 77] 
With the night shades slowly falling,
Silent places I heard calling,
Wrote the “call” to dreary wastes God ne’er forgot.
And these sings I sing to you
Of the North are more than true,
Though small degree of fame shall be my lot.

From the heart of nature teeming
Came the voices trailing, streaming,
O’er the sun-tipped peaks of glorious Northern morn.
‘Twas thus was born the story,
The Northland and its glory,
The conquest of the forest and the Northern giant born.

Written on my map’s blank places,
Or the birch bark’s oily spaces,
Weaving songs ‘neath whispering balsams by the moonbeams’ glistening light,
Listening by the torrents roaring,
Watching wild birds lofty soaring,
There my muse first plumed its wings in feeble flight.

Where snow-gemmed trees are bending,
White and green in beauty blending,
The Northern “Giant Rampant” on a Cobalt silvered field,
Northward would I see thee wandering,
See success thy feats attending,
See thine efforts crowned with glory on the Northern battlefield. [page 78]


TOIL on, toil on, ye sons of men.
Though the structure fall, yet ye build again,
(On the ashes of hopes) your altar fires,
As the visioned future the effort inspires.

Toil on, toil on, ye sons of men,
Building and spoiling, and building again.
What the grandsires rear shall the grandson replace,
As the world rolls on through time and space.

Toil on, toil on, ye sons of men,
The pages of time turn not again,
As plow to the furrow, turn not, as the sod,
‘Tis the plan of Creation, the will of our God.

Toil on, toil on, ye sons of men,
Though the bread on life’s waters return not again,
Till the clay-filtered spirit to space be flown,
And the toiler shall kneel at the Great White Throne. [page 79]

Toil on for aye, ye toilers all,
In the depths of mine or the structure tall,
The works of your hands on the “page” shall be shown,
By the deeds in the flesh shall your names be known.

Toil on, yet toil, ye struggling men,
The pick shall avail where faileth the pen,
The earmarks of labor no longer disgrace
Nobility’s scion though high be his place.

Toil on, still toil, ye men among men,
Encroaching the forest, or tilling the glen,
Though the fruits of your labors the rich shall enjoy,
Know ye not that the cup is oft tinged with alloy?

Toil, ever toil, in the hope of gain,
Sowing and reaping, and sowing again,
For shall ye be known, in many lands,
For the wonders wrought by your brain and hands.

Toil, ever toil, till life be flown,
And the soul shall seek the great unknown;
Strive on, nor yield to the throbbing strain,
Though man must perish, his works shall remain.

Though youth be flown and noonday past,
Grieve not, toil on, to view at last,
From worlds afar (the souls’ repose),
Life’s deserts abloom with Sharon’s Rose. [page 80] 

And the sum of thy life, writ firm and bold
In letters of flame on a scroll of gold,
That the idle may read on the roll unfurled,
Of the millions who toil in the working world. [page 81]


THIS is the tale of the thirsty MacLean,
As “folk lore” legends are told,
Wishes three from the sprite, the Scot did obtain,
Yet scorned to wish for gold.

On the wind swept sides of the Scottish doons,
Somewhere in Scotland betwixt twatoons,
A Scot heard voice, as he hied away
To the care of his flock at peep o’ day.

“To the earthly mortal who sets me free
Will I grant his heart’s best wishes three.”
His heart was touched by the Fairy Fay
And he rolled the stone from her prison away.

The sprite flew free on the morning air
And perched on his shock of bushy hair,
Then Mac scratched his head, his nose was red,
And he wiped with his plaid his eye. [page 82] 

“Hoots, mon, my wish may be death to the fish,
   But I’ll tak a Loch Lomond o’ rye.”
Then he rubbed his nose, and scraped wi’ his toes,
   “One Loch o’ the rye is enough.
For my second wish, gi’ me oot o’ your dish
A full sized Ben Lomond o’ snuff.”

Then he pondered long, and the licht grew strong,
   The good fairy was fain to fly.
“Owdinna ye think I’m ower fond o’ the drink.
   I’ll just takanither Loch o’ the rye.” [page 83]


‘TIS the thought of our pilgrim fathers,
   Empire builders, by forest and plain,
By the works of their hands the world knows them,
   To follow their footsteps we’re fain.

‘Tis a something that steals o’er the senses,
   The North wind through murmuring leaves,
That breaks down conventional fences,
   Bids us garner the silver sheaves.

‘Tis a cry welling up from the vastness,
   The Northland’s unmeasured domain,
‘Tis the lure of the desert’s wide spaces,
The hope of a sordid gain.

‘Tis that indefinable something
   That assails the sense of the soul,
The heart of the wilderness whispering,
   “Strive on towards the silver goal.” [page 84] 

‘Tis the luring sigh of the night winds,
   The murmur of waving pines,
The silences yet to be broken,
The reports of the shipping mines.

The treasure-house lock has been broken,
   And the treasure-house door stands ajar,
Now Northward the empire is sweeping,
Lured by mineral discoveries afar.

The “clay belt” now has been proven,
   And there the plowshare holds sway,
The milkmaid trips through the meadow
   And the farm lad trills his lay.

And children are born in its borders;
   There’s the joy of sweet motherhood;
True there’s toil, but there’s peace and plenty
   That comes to the pure and the good. [page 85]


OF fertile prairies would I sing,
A land where golden grain is king,
The land of waving wheat fields o’er,
Land of supply for Britain’s shore;
Nor do I sing alone.

For many bards have sung its praise,
From east to west, in bygone days,
With sweeter lyre and minstrel lays,
Of gallant ships from eastern shore
That bread to hungry Briton bore,
To Europe and its throne.
And Europe finds it passing sweet,
The product of our soil to eat,
And loudly calls for more.
While binders hum and strength is spent
To fill the hungry with content
On every foreign shore. [page 86]

[unnumbered page, includes illustration: THE PRAIRIES]

[blank page]

Oh, for the power to weave my rhyme
To show the golden harvest time,
And wheat fields waving broad;
Or sight to see, from where we stand,
The glorious of our great wheat land
And offer praise to God.

This sun-kissed land where God has smiled,
This fertile soil where man has toiled,
Nor has be toiled in vain;
Each year her golden tide she pours
Across her plains to eastern shores,
Filling Great Britain’s scanty stores
And strengthening Empire’s chain.
The land that once the bison trod,
Where red men bowed to heathen god,
Where man has turned the virgin sod.

And wealth is meed of toil,
And passing years contentment brings,
As sweet bird’s song in gladsome spring,
To him who tills the soil.
Our fair Dominion stretches o’er
From tide to tide, from shore to shore;
May we be truly blest.
Atlantic’s waves the east shore laves;
Pacific in the west.
And that vast land that lies between,
The seasons clothe in verdure green
Or winter’s snowy crest; [page 89] 
This land that God, with wave of hand,
Said, “Be though, ever shalt thou stand,
My blessings on thee flow.
This land shall feel my people brave, 
Far east, far west, across the wave,
As ages come and go.” [page 90]


SINCE first we trod the Northern wastes,
Full many years have flown;
Time’s wasting hand has worn away
The cabin on the hillside grey,
And left it bare and lone.

The forest trails, we see no more,
Through waving pines by Northern shore,
Progress has hewn them down;
But waving cornfields view instead,
The Northland has her people fed,
In village, dale, and town.

Yet may we view the purling brook,
Where oft of yore our way we took,
And there we laid us down
To drink its cooling waters bright,
Adjust our packs, renew the fight
Beneath the forest’s frown. [page 91] 

Now children to the brook repair,
To drink, or weave sweet garlands rare
For May Queen’s brow and tresses fair,
Nor do they weave alone,
For still the hand of memory weaves
Backwards through time’s relentless leaves,
When waving corn or golden sheaves
Were to the North unknown.

The lone trail by yon sun-kissed hill
Laved at its base by sparkling rill;
The tents and cabins by the shore
Are gone, our landmarks are no more.
Then turn we with an age-dimmed eye
The page of forest lore;
What time has wrought in passing by:
Homes, fences, buildings we descry
Through this great Northland o’er.

Our memory dear of pilgrim days,
Where once we trod the forest ways,
And laid us down to rest
At night, beneath the balsam shades,
In sheltered nook, in forest glades,
Our sun sinks in the west.
We that have toiled must now pass on,
Grandsire replaced by sire and son,
The Northern battle scarcely won,
We fought through our long day;
To vanguard, where the flag flies free, [page 92] 
We yield our place, our sons, to thee,
Press onward in the fray.

And bear thee bravely in the fight,
For Britain’s laws, for Briton’s right;
Lay not thy weapons down.
May peace and joy still crown thy life,
And children gay and faithful wife,
Where thou hast reared thy home. [page 93] 


Lord bless this day the seekers’ host,
   And bless all gathered here;
Grant health and strength and prosperous peace
Throughout the coming year.
And shouldst thou call us from the gray,
   For orphans still provide,
Thy mercy show, blaze thou the way
Across the great “Divide.”
Hear thou our prayer, oh, God of hosts,
   For wife and children dear;
Grant we may pledge our Christmas toasts
With them, another year.
We thank Thee for this Christmas cheer,
Prepared by bounteous hand.
Bless all prospectors, far and near,
In every unknown land. Amen. [page 94]


THERE swept from far a wall of flame,
Borne by the shrieking gale,
The dense smoke blotted out the sun,
Where streaks of fire, like demons, run,
And burning fragments filled the air,
As hail from clouds poured downward there,
All human efforts fail

To check the fire fiend in its course
Or for a moment stay
The awful avalanche of flame
That leaping, crackling, roaring came,
In maddening race, with fiery breath,
A lurid trail of woe and death
On that ill-fated day.

I heard the flaming pine-trees crash
As demons laid the blazing lash
Upon the forest fair.
I heard the tempest’s rending sound
As flaming tongues swept from the ground
And stabbed the blackened air. [page 95] 

I saw the stricken people stand,
Immersed in waves, hand clasped in hand,
Amid the surging foam.
I heard the helpless cry for aid
As strong men wept or cursed or prayed,
And flames shot to the Northern dome;
They seared the forest, burned the home,
Naught there the fire king stayed.

I felt the maddening race with death,
The blinding heat fumes choke the breath,
As hell went roaring by.
I saw the frail canoe o’erturned
As leaflet by the billow spurned,
And brave men sink to rise no more,
As billows joined the fire fiend’s roar;
Black death was hovering nigh.

The Northern manhood faces death
With smiling face nor bated breath,
A score of times or more.
Yet few have seen in all this land
Such hell turned loose with flaming brand,
And all the fire destruction wrought
By careless match and camp-fire brought
Upon the Northern shore.

Oh, puny man, thine efforts vain,
To break the fire king’s flaming chain
Borne onward by the sweeping gale.
As bursting flood foams down the vale, [page 96] 
As avalanche from mountain high
That rends the pine in passing by,
So does the fiery monarch come
To spread destruction, death and gloom,
Beneath his fiery hail.

As well forbid the ocean tide,
Afoam with mighty power and pride,
Advancing on the land;
As well forbid the thunderous roar
When billows crash on rock-bound shore,
Or stay the lightning’s brand,
As to forbid the fire fiend’s flight,
Impelled by rending tempest’s might,
The forest green made black as night
In all the stricken land.

As Britain’s ancient Druid oak
Withstood the Dane with giant stroke,
So shall the Northern spirit gleam
Unquenched by fiery monarch’s beam;
Our hope returns as vernal spring
And enterprise spreads venturous wing
O’er Northern vale and stream.

Lest we forget the lesson taught
By forest fire with danger fraught,
As we the ruined walls uprear,
Oh, pause with me to drop a tear
(Perchance to kneel and pray), [page 97] 
Beside the graves, the bitter graves,
On Deadman’s Point, where wild winds roam,
As orphans weep or widows moan
The fire fiend’s work that day.

Oh, Thou who gave the vital spark,
And who didst take away,
By fire and wave, the spirit brave,
Bless Thou this lifeless clay;
In long, last rest beneath the sod,
Take Thou their souls to Thee, O God!
Until the Judgment Day.

Blaze Thou the trail for seekers gone
To seek Thee in Thy Great Unknown,
Thus would we humbly pray;
Nor can we stay the blinding tear
That down the cheek will stray.  

Gold can replace the blackened space
And rear the building high,
But fails to light grief-stricken face,
Or husband, father, son, replace,
Or dry the tear-dimmed eye.

Be Thou the father, friend and guide,
To orphaned child and widowed bride;
Then bend the knee and silent pray,
Beside these “barriers burned away” [page 98] 
By foaming wave or fire king’s breath,
That lie so still and cold in death.
And yearly should our hands anoint
These heroes’ graves on Deadman’s Point. [page 99]


I’VE heard the songs of many climes,
   On land and on the foam,
No song to me more sweetly chimes,
“My fair Canadian home.”

And though we plow the trackless waste,
   Or tread the foreign strand,
On homing pinion yet we haste,
To our Canadian land.

What though our instincts sense afar
   Conquests ‘neath blazing sun,
Yet shall we turn to “Empire’s Star,”
   This land our fathers won.

Oh, brightest gem in Britain’s crown,
   The laurel twines for thee;
Thou land of far and fair renown,
Land of the Maple Tree. [page 100] 

With pride we view our father’s gift,
   Survey the lordly pine,
The sunbeams through, no clouds wracks rift
   On lands more fair than mine.

Its wealth of beauty, soil, and gold,
   Our far flung border line,
For aye, shall we not stoutly hold
From ocean’s brine to brine?

Long may His smile our maple bless,
   And flag that flies so free
To aid the hapless slave’s distress,
On land and on the sea.

Ye dwellers in the crowded space,
   Oppressed by tyrant’s hand;
May freedmen stand in freeman’s place,
In this broad freemen’s land.

While yet ambition’s fire burns bright,
   And life has years to run,
Seek thou this land (where right makes might)
Oppression’s laws to shun.

The sun-god paints with green and gold
   Our fertile prairies wide;
O’er lake and stream, and woodland scene,
Our heritage and pride. [page 101] 

From sun-tipped peaks of eastern morn
   Speeds west the fleeting ray;
O’er vast expanse of wealth unshorn
Gleams forth our crowning day.

A nation blessed by freedom’s sway,
   We stand for truth and right,
Near zenith of our brightening day,
Upheld by Britain’s might.

Oh! land of prosperous peace and health,
   Of streams and sylvan bowers;
Oh! land of beauty, land of wealth,
   What land more fair than ours? [page 102]


YOU who have pierced the gloom,
   Waste places where God ne’er smiled;
Who have braved the wilderness doom,
Fought it out with the frozen wild.

Who have borne the black fly stings,
   Suffered the pangs of death,
‘Neath the wilderness vampire wings,
The frost king’s fiendish breath.

Lured to nameless graves,
   Nomads of the great unknown,
Daring the foam-flecked waves,
Forsaking the joys of home.

Seared with the wanderer’s brand,
   Blazing the Northern trail;
There in the great lone land,
Breasting the wave and the gale. [page 103] 

Dwellers beneath the pines,
   Tents ‘neath the forest shades,
Searchers for silver mines,
Far, far where the day star fades.

In the solitudes of the North,
   Camp-fire, bacon and beans;
Suffering, still faring forth
   For wealth and all that it means.

Sons of the Northern wild,
   Pawning youth for fleeting gold,
Facing death with the smile of a child,
Hardship, hunger, and cold.

Filling the map’s void spaces,
   Faces turned from the mid-day sun;
Waking echoes in silent places,
   In the land that is yet to be won.

My songs I have sung for you,
   You of the gipsy brand,
Who have won in the bitter fight,
Or returned with empty hand. [page 104] 

In the wondrous Northern Empire,
   Created with wave of His hand,
May His peace and His blessing be with you,
   There in the great lone land.

     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

SINCE dawn of time in every clime
   Some hearts are tuned to sing;
In metred rhyme, their notes sublime
   Through all the ages ring.

And though I wake not golden lyre
   To strains men deem divine,
Yet may be read by lone camp-fire
These simple songs of mine.

The voice of Empire I can hear
   Through whispering pine-trees’ call,
The Northern host is drawing near,
   The mystic pine must fall.

The spruce, the poplar and the birch,
   The balsam, all must go;
(Replaced by school and village church)
Felled by the axeman’s blow. [page 105] 

The glowing dawn is almost here,
   Then shall the silence sound,
And songs more sweet shall greet thine ear
When these fall to the ground.

Some voice from out the ways untrod,
   From trophy, mart and stage obscure,
Alone with silence, night, and God
Will sing such songs as shall endure.

In feeble voice, yet ne’er untrue,
   (A simple nature’s child)
These songs I dedicate to you,
   Sons of the Northern wild,

Who lead the life, from home and wife,
   Through heat and biting cold;
Scale nature’s barriers in the strife
   And delve for hidden gold.

Who brave the gloom in lands of doom
   In every unknown zone,
Who blaze the trail and breast the gale
Till you’re naught but skin and bone.

A wind-borne murmur from afar,
   A trail to break o’er homeless snows;
No light to guide, save twinkling star,
   A whispered “gold” mends many woes. [page 106] 

As legion lost, while there’s lands uncrossed,
   Pain, hunger, and death endure;
And lives are sold for the curse of gold,
   Gold! Gold! is the master lure. [page 107] 

THESE camp-fire songs I sing to you,
Each word, each phrase is more than true;
The picture large on screen I’ve thrown,
Shows wide, wild wastes to Empire grown;
Thy fancy led to new-found world,

                    THE NORTH,

Its silvered scroll unfurled. [page 108]

[6 blank pages]

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