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OTHER WESTERN VERSE
ROBERT T. ANDERSON
Author of “The Old Timer,” and other Poems
THE ESDALE PRESS
1 9 1 3
CANADIAN BORN AND OTHER WESTERN VERSE.
SCOTTISH CANADIAN POEMS
FRENCH CANADIAN POEMS
Who loves the gentle art of rhyme And beauteous Nature blooming fair The clearness of our prairie air, The freshness of our Western Clime, The hopefulness that fits the time And bids us ever forward tread May choose with me to look ahead, Or love with me the glorious Past. But over all that holds us fast In this great nation’s newest dawn We all must feel while hastening on, How much we owe to Britain’s past. Then men who loved our British speech And made the songs our mothers sung, Will hold us to the British tongue Whate’er the Western methods teach. Let old tradition go for naught Let memory of our singers fail, And well might British patriots wail O’er glories of the race forgot. So, British, still our best desires, Altho’ the far-flung seas divide, And ever our Canadian pride Links with the home-land of our sires. [unnumbered page]
Have ye risen in the morning for to see the dreamy haze Being scattered thro’ the flood-gates of the sun; Have ye seen the strong mirage bring forth, on clear Autumnal days, The far-off fields of Nature, every one; Have ye seen the snow-capp’d Selkirks with the early sunshine crown’d? Then, ye’ve seen a sight, men never view with scorn. We are part and parcel truly of the open life around— The beauties that are all Canadian born. We have looked across the ranges where the hills in glory rise; We have traced the winding river far below, We have seen the unrivall’d blueness of our own Canadian skies; We have seen the peaks uplifted with their snow; Then, we’ve gone among the passes, where the giant pines look down, And the shadows creep by canyons ages-worn. The breath of Nature sought us, fresh from off the mountain-crown, And we thrill’d with pride to be Canadian born. There’s a glamour, there’s a gladness, there’s a glory in it all. There’s an ecstacy that stirs us thro’ and thro’, To go apart with Nature, and to throw off, as a pall, Every petty little selfishness we knew: To all-confide in Nature, and to have her lead us far To tawny slopes her changing leaves adorn, By the mossy crags o’erhanging, by each brown and rugged scaur, To the heritage of our Canadian born. [unnumbered page] We have mem’ry of the plain-land with the sweet-grass crisply dry, Rustling to the ripening breeze’s soft caress, Clumps of poplar, stretch of furrow, ponds that mirror out the sky; Who hath seen them cannot love our land the less. But the hoary summits rising, and the glaciers far aback, The cloud-rack by the jagged edges torn. The cascade wildly leaping thro’ the fissures grim and black; These are mem’ries for the true Canadian born. We are part and parcel, truly, of the sights that hedge us ’round, But the mountains only breed the bard and scald; They were Norsemen—they were Scotsmen—in the lands our fathers found, But it matters little by what name they’re called. We are each a Nature lover, and we worship, each, our way And our longing makes our hearts the less forlorn; But we long to leave the cities and the multitude, and stray In the manner of the FREE Canadian born. You, that have an eye to business—you that have a lust for power— You that toil amid the sordid marts of men: Do you not have inward craving for to have, if but an hour, A chance to go and be yourselves again, To go aback to Nature where the mountain peaks retire, And the blue lakes ripples to the breeze of morn. Go—Drink-in Nature’s vastness. Go, and slake your heart’s desire Then, come back, and feel a true Canadian born. [page 8]
THE NEW TIMER
Our old men found the new trails in the days when they were young, The trails that led to the westward ever so far away; Thro’ the crisping grass of the prairies where the clear mirages hung They followed the lure of the wilderness to the place where the promise lay, Rowand and Hughes, and Macdonald, Fraser and Bird and McKay, The spirit of tried Nor’Westers, and pluck the Hudson’s Bay. We are the New New-Timers, who know the West as it is, But all glory be to the pioneer for the first great find was his. We have done our share at the settling of the land our fathers found; We have clung to it ever firmly in the hope of the years to be, And when we have come to be old men and they give us our share of the ground, There will always be strong New Timers to see what we could not see. Yet we have hoped and waited, yet we have looked ahead For the visions that led the old men, from the young men have not sped. We have clung fast to the promise the land held out to the old, And we reap the fruit of their labors with the joy of a tale well told. [page 9] The wind that blew from the northward, keen with the breath of ice, It spake of the noble rivers and great blue lakes that lie Where the short hot summer loosens the grip of the Arctic vise, When the deep blue waves of Lesser Slave look up to the steel-blue sky, Then men thought of the peltries of beaver, and fox and bear Where the red-skin did his trapping for a price he deem’d was fair. This was the gold they dreamed of—the trade that they felt would last, But we see a greater future ahead than our sires had mapped in the past. Out on the rolling ranges where the shaggy bison fed, Cropping the short sweet bunchgrass cured in the wind and sun, There graze the wide-eyed cattle the white men placed instead, When the game that had fed the red man had passed to the white man’s gun. Acre we took by acre, measured and fenced it in, And what had been God’s own wilderness we sold to our next of kin. We made good bargain also of land that was fit for the plow, And we take the credit amongst us for the way ye find it now. Also we build great cities in places where wigwams stood, And the windows in red brick facings look down to the stream below, And little old Fort Augustus* that stood in its walls of wood Has passed to the faintest of mem’ries of days of the long ago.
* First fort on the site of the present Edmonton. [page 10]
This is the way we reckon the north as a field of toil— We talk of the salt deposits, and also the wells of oil— Von Hammerstein seeking for grease-spots, and Cornwall rustling for coal, And thus we measure the Northland by shares that we must control. The old men made their venture for the love of the restless life, The broader hope of the prairies, and the unknown lands beyond. They came, they saw, and they conquered, and after their stress and strife, We fight new battles over for dollar, and deed, and bond. We come up now to the markets to barter our goods for trade, Even as in the old days the fortunes of men were laid, And we cheat in the ways they cheated, and lie in the ways they lied, But we are not so blythe at the partings when we find our ways divide. Yet it is true of the old men that when they came here at first, They worked with a canny shrewdness for monopoly over sea, And what they did in their rivalry when blood was heated the worst, They did in loyal allegiance to an Hon’rable Compagnie. They took the things they needed, and the price they set they paid And they opened the doors of our West-land with the lust of the East for trade, And what they did in their shrewdness to fill up a Company’s shelves, We, that are New New-Timers, think we can do for ourselves. [page 11] Only the land that the old men fail’d in their haste to till We, that are more in numbers, will bring to a goodly yield, Till we shall dot the landscape with many a mart and mill; And we shall bear to the surface what Nature so long concealed. So on the road to progress many a man will fare, Who does his best for his country when he fights for his own good share, And after we’re dead and under six feet of Saskatchewan sand, They will talk of the last Old Timers who did so much for the land.
THE CALL OF THE LAND.
Enquiry received by Edmonton Board of Trade, November 1910, asking if emigration would be encouraged from London, England.
Ye ask of our Western people Who are but scattered and few, If our land, that hath called for many, Hath need of the like of you. And this is the answer we give you, Unbiased, unerring and strong— It is not the people who call ye, But the land that hath called so long. Yet, unto yourselves is the question Which only yourselves can decide; Have ye lost, in the heart of the city, The craving for something beside? Have ye lost the wild freedom of Nature— The wild Viking blood of the Main— The blood that brought Hawkins’ and Raleighs’ To answer the tauntings of Spain? Has ever the smoke of your factories Obscured any longing ye had For a life that gave promise of freedom From all the unwholesome and bad, The smoke, and the din, and the squalor— The crowding that God never meant? If not, ye may listen to Nature— For to you has her message been sent. Yet not unto you is it only, For the Land—not the people—hath called ’Tis open. It lieth before ye Unturned, and untilled and unwalled. Have ye strength of the hands for to labor? If not, it were better by far To stay ’mid your sordid surroundings— To ever remain as you are. [page 13] Yet, whoso is willing to prosper By giving his hand to the toil, Will not want the hand-grip of welcome From those who are used to the soil. That hand may be rough from exposure To wind, and to sun, and to rain, But ‘tis honest—the hope that it gives you, The Freedom conferred by the Plain. From the steppes and the tundras of Russia Where the snow drifts crisply and dry, From the shores of the wind-swept Baltic With the white waves breaking on high, From the river and vine-spread vale, Come those who were tired of the old things And hearkened for a New-World tale. They come not—these—from a plenty, Tho’ their lands were fruitful in yield: The harvest they bound for a master Lay cut in a lordling’s field. They drew but a dole, of a bounty— A pittance ungraciously spared. Peasants have murmured and murmured— But what of the peasants who dared? The Slav, he is sullen, untutored— The Magyar uncouth, when repelled— The Teuton was plodding, unhopeful, When despots his heritage held; But give them the width of the new lands, The hope to compete with our best, And out of the strong will come sweetness— A strength that will guerdon the West. If ye, that are anxious, are ready— Then question yourselves and make sure, Have ye been thro’ the fires of affliction? Do ye know what it is to be poor? [page 14] Can ye give up the old life behind you, And cheerfully look to the new? Then listen—the New Lands are calling, And this is their message to you. There are fiords and marks for the Norseman; For the Scot, there is mountain and glen; For the Russ, there are far-reaching prairies, And for some, there is moor-land and fen; And ye, that are men of old England, Must ye question the brand that we need? Have ye need to enquire what your land must bring forth, If ye come of the old British breed?
THE PROTEST OF THE NORTH.
Written upon the rejection of the Great Waterways Railway Bill by a majority in the Alberta Legislature.
The great broad lands lie open Before us so far away, By many a winding rive To headland, and cape, and bay; And we follow the old trails northward Year in, year out the same, Just as the trails were followed In the days when our fathers came. We wait to ford at the crossings Till we may with safety pass; Then pick up the thread of distance That winds thro’ the tangled grass, And up by the crawling switch-back We win to the bluffs above To catch a view of the valleys That the wand’ring huntsmen love. Out by the naked ridges We wander alone, alone, To gaze where the broad blue river Has worn thro’ the walls of stone. Ages and ages of flowing Where sparkle the sands as gold— And only the voices of Nature The love of the North hath told. We know, ah we know, of the vastness, And riches that wait our hand; We have told our tale to our kindred, But they fail to understand. For the lack of a road to follow To bring out the wealth we find, We must leave old trails untrodden, And a great lone land behind. [page 16] There are inland seas far-reaching Where the shrieking sirens sound, And the month’s-long voyage closes When the ice has formed around, But the cargo-keels of our traders And the huts close-clustered and few Are all we have given the wild lands— The silence our fathers knew. We have brought our tales to the town-bred, When we brought our furs for their use; But they gave no credence to true tales, Or proferred a lame excuse. So they halt at a promise And scoff at a plain laid forth— The thought of a broader roadway, Because it leads to the North. Perchance when the years are over That keep us aloof from age, And the younger people have risen To scoff at our council sage, They may hazard the risks we dreamed of Where we could not see for the best, And build their roads to the Northward As we built ours to the West.
THE LAST LETTER
(Scott Antarctic Expedition.)
“Over the leagues of unstained snow The ice-wind cuts to the bone. We have pressed where none have pressed before, And here we die alone. Mountains fresh as the hand of god Did first their heights up-rear, Ever by foot of man untrod; And Death hath found us here. “Naught but a canvas shield to stand Between us and the blast; The pencil held in the quivering hand Must trace these words at last. Never to pass on the home return To the verge of the open sea, But still with the grit of the British-born We yield our lives to Thee. “Never to see the signals flash To welcome the homeward-bound, Never to see the harbour lights A-gleaming up the Sound; Never to see our lov’d ones more— Oh, God! The heart must grieve. Britons, we ’trust you all we love. Be true to those we leave. “Over the glist’ning leagues we passed Ever on to the goal— Merrily raced for the Pole at last, And—the Norseman’s flag at the Pole! Others have been the first to place Their flag, as we found it here, But, God! We are sprung of the Viking race, We could echo a British cheer. [page 18] “Glory to those of the Viking strain, And the pluck of Amundsen. If we have lost—not all in vain— We rejoice that such have won. Only the flag we love the best We meant to flaunt in the gale Must now be laid where dead men rest, A cover to those who fail.”
Under a pall of glistening white Where the silence doth not break; There lie the forms of the frozen dead Who died for Britain’s sake. Under the folds of the three-cross flag, And the snow without a stain. Undisturbed thro’ the ages down Shall our British dead remain.
SKOAL TO THE VIKINGS.
Sons of the old Vikingir strain With turbulent blood still surging wild, That bids thee come where the rocks are piled, And the narrow fiords seek the main: Thy pulses beat with the madd’ning flow Of the blood that finds the town-lands tame, And the old “Heimskringla” sounds the same As unto thy sires in the long ago. Skoal to the Vikings, Skoal! Raise your flagons high. For the Norse flag flaps at the Pole Where an icy wind sweeps by. On every hand is the sky, And here is no man’s control. Yet here shall the old flag fly. And, Skoal to the Vikings, Skoal! He, who braveth the North Sea blast From the wave-swept deck in a Nor’ Eastgale, Knoweth no fear till life shall fail, And hath no terror toward the last, Whether Death come by the Arctic floe, Or whether it be by the reaching wave. It matters little where lies the grave. Stone-walled plot or a waste of snow. Skoal to the Vikings, Skoal! Nansen, Steffanssen, you. Men with a heart and soul Merged in a purpose true; Willing to carry it through Even with death the goal You war with the elements too— Skoal to you, Vikings! Skoal! [page 20] Out from the haven of Drontheim still Are stout ships sailing to coasts unknown, Where piercing winds seek marrow and bone, And the long nights test the strongest will. The dipping berg glides steadily by, And anon the pack-ice closes in, And far lie the lands ye came to win Where the white gleam shows in the distant sky. Skoal to the Vikings, Skoal! Amundsen, you the most. Sagas the scalds shall troll Not as a bottomless boast: For off the Norroway coast The tight sea luggers roll, With the “Fram” from the snow and frost. Skoal to our Viking, Skoal!
HIS DUTY AS KING AND BRITON
Ruler of many people, King of the hearts of all, He lay on his bed of suff’ring, Awaiting the last great call. And he whispered to those about him As he felt that his life was thro’, “I trust I have done my duty In all that a king should do.” And the word had passed to the lands, That Britons have made their own, That Edward the Great Peacemaker Has gone from his father’s throne. We shed no tears at his passing, For a king must pass in his place, But we loyally lower the flag he loved, For the man was true to his race. Britons we are and ever We feel as our people should Our Empire stands to the forefront To aid for the Cause of Good, And stoical even to hardness We feel but our loss the more, For a king that held duty kingly, As true to the name he bore. For other Edwards have been With hearts as hard as their mail Who claimed submissive allegiance From those that were forced to quail. Theirs were names that were honored, For power that their swords could bring; But this was a man that held Duty first, Not less that he served as king. [page 22] His was a true submission, With confidence firm expressed. A Greater than kings had called him, What then? He had done his best. If he served as a loyal steward Of the trust imposed on him here There is Honor for those that had honor, Were they peasant, or prince, or peer. And now that we can no more But the last sad tribute pay, ’Tis better than floral off’rings, The pomp and the vain display, That the heart of the humblest subject, Or the proud in a great command May that vigorous manly life, Is a duty they owe the land. We lower the ensigns royal And flags that are flags of state For one we delighted to honor, For one that was truly great. Bards will sign of his praises, And plaudits resound to his fame, But the duty he held as a Briton Was more than a kingly name. In the days of the long gone past Our fathers time and again Have proven that Celt and Saxon Are kings as free-born men; Kings of their hearths and homes But owning a heart-felt sway By one who has heart for the people’s weal, As the king that we mourn to-day.
Deputy chief of the Edmonton Police Force.
This is the tribute a friend would pay To Sergeant Dan, now he’s far away From the family ties that his heart held dear, And familiar faces of many a year; For his body lies where the spade has broke, In a quiet place ’mong a quiet folk: The body rests, but that kindly soul Is off and away on the long patrol. Softly, gently, without a sound The snow falls over a new-made mound, Spreading a shroud more pure and white Than covered the landscape yester-night. ’Twas comrades who bore him sad and slow, With measured step and hearts of woe, For duty will miss him at station or beat, Taking the bitter along with the sweet. His duty to him, lay always first And his cheeriness carried him thro’ the worst, So even the hopeless down-and-out Felt a sunshine-gleam in his world of doubt, When the sergeant’s face relaxed a while, And a frown gave place to a sunny smile, As he bade them hope whate’er befall, When they went forth free from the prison wall. Always a sympathy in him lay For the weaker ones who crossed his way: The erring ones on the downward slope Who knew life’s horrors without it’s hope. His grip, which fell on the wayward’s arm Brought sense of protection—not of harm, And a fatherly word to lives brought low Meant more than scorn, or a curse, or blow. [page 24] He who had looked on the juice of the vine, (Or frequently Booze that is not called wine) With staggering steps plunged headlong forth In the frosty air of our wintry north, And sunk in the stupor amid the snow As the drink-dispenser let him go: He scarcely noted the grey head bend, And the law grip hold of him—as a friend. The young life blasted by sin and shame, The woman’s form and the woman’s name, Might plead no more for a word of grace, Nor look for mercy in human face. But, he, who had girls of his own to guard, With a face grown grim and a voice made hard, Passed never a word of ribald sneer O’er those whom a mother once held dear. Little he dreamed in his health and strength That his lease of life had closed at length, ’Til the great grim Constable over all Let his cold death-grip on his shoulder fall. That bony hand falls sudden and hard Without a warning—without regard, Yet little of fear for death or man, Had ever the heart of Sergeant Dan. This is our thought when he’s gone from hence To an acre plot with a clap-board fence, Where the wind moans over the headstones low, And the black-draped hearses come and go; So quiet he lies in his narrow chest With his waxen fingers across his breast; His officer’s uniform covers him whole, But his spirit has gone on the great patrol. [page 25]
Blue waves lap on the long low shore, And the dark clouds cast their quivering shade; The dancing launch leaps lightly before The heaving swell that the wind hath made; And over the rushes bending green, Reaching outward across the strand We look to the beach so white and clean, And are welcomed in on the silvery sand. The nodding poplars stretch beyond, And the long hay-meadows skirt their edge, The white spume falls in the grass-girt pond, And the boats lie rocking among the sedge; A straggling spruce tree here and there Looks over meadow or broken land. O, sweet is Nature and wondrous fair By Cooking Lake at the beach, “White Sand.” Now over it all the sun breaks forth, The dark cloud-shadows have passed away, Blue little lake of our own lov’d North We picture you bright on the sunniest day, For peaceful you lie like a soul at rest, And brightly you mirror each scene so grand. This is the time that we love you best, And our thoughts drift back to the camp, “White Sand.” For we have been lonely and sad at heart, And we have had welcome from friends right true; The clouds that were blackest have riven apart, And given a glimpse of Heaven’s blue. Oh, we have been cheered in a lonely hour By a kindly word and the clasp of a hand, And this we have known with strengthening power No farther away than the beach, “White Sand.” [page 26] Summer cottage and white-walled tent, Wide verandahs and boat house low— Idle days that were pleasantly spent— They will soon be lost in the long ago. But over all when the years have flown And sights we have seen that are rich and grand, Our hearts will cherish a scene well known, Cooking Lake and the long white sand.
OUT ON THE WORLD’S GREAT HIGHWAY. To A. A. MACD.
Out on the world’s great highway, you are venturing hand in hand With the man you have given your love to, in the way that was Heaven-planned, But the friends that were friends of your girlhood, are friends of your womanhood too, Tho’ the paths that you tread be strange ones, and the faces you see be new. And knowing the prayers that follow, from hearts that were never cold, God-speeding you into the new life out of the warmth of the old, You will go with heart undaunted to face what the world can show, Tho’ often the paths be chequered, with the shadows that come and go. We tread in the steps of others, come we from cottage or throne, And God, in His mercy have pity on the man that travels alone: Never knowing the comfort of a leal, true woman’s trust Spurring to deeds of manhood, when hopes had crumbled to dust. Nothing we know of the future, of good or evil in store; But true companionship, ever, will brighten the way before: And ever our hearts are joyful, as the Master intended they be, When he feasted with those that feasted in Cana of Galilee. [page 28] This is the wish we give you—we, who have known you long— Not that your life flow ever smooth as a burst of song, Not for a round of pleasure, frothy and light and vain; But firm, true love in your household, and friends that no wealth could gain. Then, as the years glide onward, oft will your backward gaze Penetrate far behind you, to the friends of your other days, And your happiest thought be centred on the day you became a wife, When you ventured out with a husband, on the Great Highway of Life.
THE OLD CALVIN FAITH
It is the lot of us all to strive, and some few of us may succeed, but whether we accomplish much or little, we, at length, are bowed very low before the face of Destiny. The old Covenanter, having lived a life of storm and stress and endured unto the bitter end, felt nothing remain but the faith of a little child, and of such, we are told, are the Kingdom of Heaven.
I have ceased from looking Manward since I’ve sundered earthly pride, And I’m looking down the long and darksome glen. I’ve the Word of God to guide me, and I’ve nothing else beside, For, behold, I am a little child again. I have been a man amongst men with a lust for carnal things, Walking blindly, seeking pleasures of a day; Now mine eyes, like Paul’s, are opened to the littleness of kings, And the glories that must straightway pass away. Once I felt the joy of living, breathing strong and full and free, So the blood surged in my veins with strong desire; I have loved each living creature, and in praise and love to Thee My heart has warmed with more than living fire. Lord, all the world about me was a paradise of life When my sympathies lay ever with my kind; Then I sought no more in living than the love of home and wife, And the comfort and contentment of the mind. [page 30] Now mine head is bowed in anguish for Thy hand hath chastened hard; I am as a broken pillar in thy sight. What right had I among men to hold so strong regard For the beauties of the nature and the light? This life is as a vapour, rising swiftly, passing soon; What is life and beauty next will be decay. Thou hast given us our hope and strength and all, of earthy boon, So we learn to sorrow when they’re snatched away. Man is born anew to sorrow as the sparks have upward trend; Give us strength to praise although our hearts be sore. If there be a hope beyond this life, then when hath come the end, Give us back what we have lost and... nothing more. Be very present with us when the darkest shadows loom. And lead us very gently by Thy hand, And spare us, Lord, thy mercy when our minds are cast with gloom For the things we really do not understand. [page 31]
THE LAST FIGHT.
These lines embody a little thought, which has probably come home to others as much as to myself. So many persons seem to be impressed with the idea of living right in view of a future reward, “treasure laid up in Heaven” or, on the other hand, in fear of punishment in case of transgression. I am of the opinion that when the Samaritan lifted up the poor unfortunate who had fallen among thieves, he did it neither in hope of compensation here or hereafter nor because of fear, but only that he had a feeling of compassion toward his fellow creatures in distress.
“He prayeth best who loveth best, all things both great and small, for the dear God who loveth us, He made and loveth all.”
We have good men and honest Who seek with true concern, Who are not lacking in knowledge, And yet are proud to learn, And these, in the times of peril— If ever such times draw near— Shall have heart for their fair land’s safety Above every qualm of fear. For these are the nation’s promise, And these are the nation’s pride, The hearts, having aimed at greatness, Not easy to thrust aside; And out of the mass wrangling And political feud and spite, Shall come men with a steadfast purpose, To stand for the just and right. And some have been flushed with vict’ry, And some have been crushed by defeat; Yet men have come out of the contest Who are only slow in retreat; [page 32] Still, only those shall have conquered, And only such have made good Who have stood by the post of honor, And guarded it as they stood. So be it, when we have battled And bent to our last great fight, And men shall know we have fallen To more than a fleshy might, That they who would speak anent us Have only this thing to say, “They bore no part in Dishonor, And they shrank no whit from the fray.” “But ever their face was foremost, And ever their faith was staunch, And they nerved up others beside them To stand by them haunch to haunch, And the light of victory found them Where the darkness of death is cast, For the hearts oft-smitten by sorrow Bore bravely up to the last.” And what shall there be for laurel To crown the brows of the just, When their souls have risen beyond us And their bones have crumbled to dust, For some speak much of atonement, And some are strong on reward, And some have terrors of brimstone, And some have faith in the Lord.? Know this, that when all is finished That men hold costly or dear, There shall nothing be held as profit That hath drawn men’s hearts thro’ fear. The dread of a lasting torment, Or a hope for eternal gain, But only a Christ-like sympathy For the fellow-souls in pain. [page 33]
. POEMS .
Ye, that hae kent the auld hills My fathers kent lang syne, Ye’ll aiblins prize these screeds nae less Because they’re screeds o’ mine. The mist that floats aboon Ben Awe, The Bush aboon Traquair, The auld gray hills of Arran coast— I lo’e them mair and mair. Oh, ye’ll hae mem’ries o’ the past For sichts hae met yer een, But a’ the things that charm me maist, My mind, alone, hath seen. Ye’ve spiel’d her hills, ye’ve branked her braes; Ye’ve wandered by her streams: But a’ I ken o’braid Scotland Has come tae me in dreams. [unnumbered page]
We ask it, as we’ve asked it oft. Must we needs ask it more, Whose fathers from a rugged heath Had sinews braced to war? Would ye besmirch the ’scutcheons brave, Or sully noble name, Or have degenerate sons to crowd Their father’s house with shame? Then ask us not, whose fathers bled For freedom, as your own, That we forget the Northern speech, The Northern flesh and bone. Strong winds from off the Northern seas Made hard our race and tongue. Can we be different from the sires From whence our race has sprung? Strong sons of Einar, who have sail’d The Hebridean seas; Brave hearts of Torquil who have fac’d More wintry waves than these, Could ye look down the sounding years To where your sons abide, Would ye find fair-haired, blue-eyed Scots To fill your hearts with pride. Dark race of Diarmid who dwelt By Western crag and isle; Fierce blood of Alpin, which has surged Across the ridge of Kyle; Old line of Galovidian kings Since Fingal fought and fell, Say, could ye rise to view your breed, Would ye ken Scotland well? [unnumbered page] Say, is there shame by castled heights, The border keeps men knew, When good Lord Douglas rade the land With henchmen leal and true? Say, lies disgrace in blood as red As that with Norman name, To long descent that bears men back To good Sir John the Graham? Old times long years behind us cast Hold mem’ries ever dear. The times when Scotsmen held their land By dint of glaive and spear. True love they bore—those dauntless hearts— To this rough northern strand. Then can ye give us love more deep Than for our fathers’ land? Still waves the broom along the braes, The thistly from the wall, What, though the rusted armour now Hangs in the castle hall; Still blow the winds from off the seas, The laverock shrills his strains, And still the love, that we our sires, In every heart remains. A love that not to long descent Is wholly, fondly due; A love not for the martial deed That our stern fathers knew, But for the homely rugged scenes That drew their labor forth— The deep unsullied love men hold For their dear native North. Ye, that are sprung of other lands, Be proud of what ye are. The bold adventures of your race Have borne your fame afar; [page 38] But grant to us the birthright, ours We hold while British born, And Scotland ne’er shall bow the head Because of skaith or scorn. We ask no greater heritage Than what is ours by right, To share the glories of the lands That with our own unite. A world-wide honor which is theirs Who hold an Empire’s thoughts, Can ne’er make “Little Englanders” Of those whose sires were Scots.
THE MEMORY OF BURNS.
The Memory, lads, your glasses raise Wi’oot a sound. Then drink again Tae he wha voiced auld Scotland’s praise, An’ lealest was o’ a’ her men. Little he recked o’ gentle bluid That neither grace nor worth had won, Sae we, wha meet for Scotia’s guid, May drink tae Scotland’s greatest son. Sprung frae a race that tilled the soil He lo’ed the face o’ Nature best, An’ found, e’en ’mang his hours o’ toil, Some gentle charm that soothed his breast. The rustling leaves, the budding flower, The wimpling stream that glides alang— All calmed him in his darkest hour And filled his bursting hear wi’ sang. He shore wi’ ithers at the har’st; He followed at the plough-tail lang, But aye, whan life was at the warst, Could lilt a cheerie bit o’ sang;. An’ aye, whan hard-faced factors pressed An’ poortith crushed his dearest plan His sympathetic heart expressed His kindness for his fellow-man. Oh, let the rich be e’er sae great An’ muckle puffed wi’ wundy pride, For fules may sit in kingly state, An’ silks an’ satins winna bide; Let ithers busk their princely braws— Sic fal-de-rals their hale concerns— ’Twill bring tae them nae warld’s applause Like that accorded Robert Burns. [page 40] The Januar’ blast that cauldy blew Aboot the lowly cottage eave Chilled aft that young life thro’ and thro’ An’ left the marks that never leave, But tho’ the frost could enter in An’ daunt his spirit for a time, Luve thawed the frozen chords that win All honor in the warld o’ rhyme. Thro’ disappointment and neglect, Thro’ each mishap that worked him ill, He felt a stubborn Scot’s respect For hardihood an’ strength o’ will. He scorned tae cringe whaur ithers bowed Tae wealth that lay in gathered gear, Deemed honesty should mak’ men prood, An’ falsehood only stoop tae fear. An’ Luve that beats the heart tae flame Had brocht him a’ that luve can mean. How dear is Highland Mary’s name! How saft he sings o’ Bonnie Jean! Wi’oot thae tender ties in life Could naethin’ gar the warld seem fair? Tak’ luve o’ sweetheart or o’ wife An’ half oor thochts lie mingled there. Then, comrades, as we join the nicht Tae con the mem’ries o’ the Bard, We’ll haud his human frailties licht, An’ gie his aims oor true regard. He aimed tae sing a Scottish sang Tae gar Scots’ hearts tae beat as yin; He aimed tae set men thinkin’ lang An’ mak’ the hearts o’ men akin. He aimed tae bring a sense o’ worth Tae men o’ humblest low degree Sae men thro’oot the ends o’ earth Micht feel a longin’ tae be free. [page 41] He aimed tae let men see that God Wha painted Nature wondrous fair Had scattered noble gifts abroad That a’ His creatures here may share. Thus, whan we pause tae contemplate Upon a life sae brief, sae sad We canna help but feel how great An’ noble were the aims he had. Oh, not unsullied were his years, But thro’ vicissitudes and turns ’Tis real life in the smiles and tears That gars us cling tae Scotland’s Burns. [page 42]
FROM THE WEST HIGHLANDS.
Loch-shore and correi,* Our fathers left them all; Dark hills grim and hoary, And mist-crown’d waterfall, Little straw-thatched shieling Built of unhewn stone. They left the home scenes, feeling Friendless and alone. The frowning sides of Assynt, and the white head of Ben More, And where the Minch’s breakers dash on the rocky shore; The low peat bogs of Harris, and the cloud-wrapt cliffs of Skye, These were the lands that our sires lov’d long, ’till the day they came to die. Yet, left they all the old scenes, dull, heartless, such as these, Where winds of the Western Ocean break o’er the Hebrides— Scenes where but toil and hardships had been the crofter’s meed, Had stinted, had starved, and had stayed them, but made them men indeed. And, when the call came to them, from great lands far away, They dried the glistening tear-drop and left their islands gray. The land of old tradition was theirs no longer then, Yet this, their love, was a thing bequeathed to the sons of those Scottish men.
*Correi Rocky indentation net deep enough to be a cave. [page 43]
Go ye, but seek our new lands and note the names ye find Where Northern lakes and rivers have left our towns behind, Follow where bold MacKenzie that mighty stream had found, Or Thompson sought thro’ the Western hills for a broader hunting-ground. MacTavish, as well as MacVicar, by Great Bear holds a place, MacFarlane, there by the Arctic Sea has marked the Scottish race. Some lonely Celtic wandered has stopped to place the name Where the lone little post of Dunvegan tells well whence the wand’rer came. Go, seek the Western Rockies. Beneath the mountain’s brow By Laggan and by Canmore, the trains will take you now; You’ll pass the vale of Strathmore back ere the foothills rise, And home scenes spring at the sound of “Banff,” to many a Scotsman’s eyes. Men, there are in our Westland, stalwart, silent, and grave, Who murmur their speech with the slow tongue, their Indian mothers gave, And some have yet the Gaelic, and their eyes can be soft as they dwell On the tales of the old West Highlands they have hearkened their fathers tell. And so, when the old men left them—those places they lov’d of yore, They let not die their great love for the wild West Highland shore, But they left us the pride they cherished in strength of their barren rock, And we feel we are sons of a great broad west, and sprung of no weakling stock. [page 44] Hills of Mamore and Appin, lift up your heads to-day, Look thro’ the hazy distance to’ard great lands far away. There ye may know by names left wherever their footsteps passed, The breed ye sent forth from your rock-girt coasts, remembered you all to the last. Loch-shore and correi, Our fathers left you all, To seek for wealth and glory, And passed beyond recall. They left the home scenes, feeling Friendless and alone, But found a broader Scotland— A heritage our own.
IN MEMORY OF ALEXANDER ANDERSON
No bard was he to sing the empty praise That laureates sound before the throne of kings; His the more humble note that poets raise Who love their country with its common things. Aiming alone the humbler hearts to reach, Yet drawing all the nation’s heart to him— So has he loved our simple Nor’land speech, So has he made our Scottish eyes grow dim. Yes, we have felt full many a time and oft, The open life among Galwegian dells, And dreaming with him found the heart grow soft, And more have loved auld Scotland’s woods and fells. Have followed where the little plashing stream Has babbled on in sunshine and in shade, And with him caught the joy it is to dream— So poets see the glories God hath made. No heart that loves the little woodland glades, And all of Nature’ joyous neath the blue, But feels the sympathetic touch that aids The understanding of our fellows too. So, when our Alexander leads us on Amid his conquests in the world of tune We never feel so close to others drawn As when we see the “Last of Cuddle Doon.” Oh, his the heart could sympathize with all, The poor, the lonely, and oppressed with care— The sad-eyed mother waiting for the call, Which thought but kept her from a black despair; For he could feel, what she amid the strife Had felt support where nothing else could save, That there is something grander after life, And there is greater hope beyond the grave. [page 46] Yet not a dreamer of the world alone, For strenuous toil had claimed him half his days, But even then the hopeful poet’s tone Had brought prosaic labor into praise, And while he sang the songs of steam and rail, And while he toil’d and sweated day by day, The land but roused to hear a plaintive tale And hearken dully to a worker’s lay. How few but paused to look beneath the rhyme, To note the great heart feeling for distress, Voicing the “Song of Labor” all the time And joying only in its usefulness. Oh, we may find bards greater far than he, More gifted ads to diction and to style, Yet not all writers’ minds can run as free And find e’en just the living worth the while. No need to laud his name above the rest, He simply took his part amongst us all. He strove to pain the beauties that were best, And lift a comrade who was like to fall. He needs no monument that men may mind The part he played in helping others on. The modest, manly work he left behind Will speak another Cottar Poet gone.
WHEN SCOT MEETS SCOT.
This is the love that the Scotsman hauds, For the land o’ his birth, an’ the land o’ his pride, An’ he wha speaks wi’ the gude braid tongue Will hae thicker speech ere the morning-tide, We’re Scotsmen a’, to the very back bane, An’ this is the nicht the heather is worn. O, some are Scots frae the real auld sod, But mony o’ us are Canadian born. This is the night that the Scotsmen meet To pledge auld Scotia wi’ vim and zest, An’ he wha canna feel prood of his blude, Has nocht o’ the spirit his sires possessed. Tho’ naethin’ we say for the feck o’ the year, On St. Andra’s nicht we maun hae oor fling: We maun cuist oor troubles aside a wee, An’ grasp a’ the joys the nicht can bring. We maun fill up oor glass ‘till it’s rinnin’ owre, Whate’er we drink we carena ava, But lat oor minds gang owre the wintry sea Tae the little auld land sae far awa. We’re prood o’ the land where oor lot is cast An’ we honor a’ men wha wad fain dae richt, But you canna e’en blame us for speaking as Scots Whaur ilka man-jack is a Scot the nicht. Here’s tae the land whaur the hills are high, Whaur the glens are deep, an’ the burns are clear, Whaur the climate is harsh tae the kintra folk, An’ moulds the character free o’fear. That mak’s men honest, tho’ rough o’speech, Wi’ grit tae wark, an’ wi’ knack tae save, That keeps them hopefu’ in ploddin’ alang Wi’ hearts sae cheerie an’ stoot an’ brave. [page 48] Can we e’er forget what oor faithers tauld O’ Bruce the Dauntless, and Wallace wight How they wrought in the struggle for liberty Tae rid their land o’ an unco plight: How the broadswords rose, and the broadswords fell Wi’ mickle o’skaith tae Scotland’s faes? Whaur is the heart but throbs and thrills At the auld traditions and Border Lays? The stirring mem’ry o’ Chevy Chase Whaur Douglas humbled the Percy’s pride, The glorious battle o’ Ancrum Moor Whan Angus swept owre the Border-side; The broken hopes upon Flodden field, Whaur Scots fell fechtin’ an’ unsubdued; The last stern stand o’ the Stuart cause, Whaur Cumberland gloated owre Hieland blude, These a’ are mem’ries tau haud us fast Tae the little auld land ayont the sea, An’ the sturt and the strife o’ our daily life The auld romance can brighten a wee, An’ Cunningham’s lilts and Burn’s sangs, An’ the Ettrick Shepherd’s tales as weel Can gie us a grip o’ the things o’ life Wi’ the sense that nane but Scots can feel. Oor sympathies gang whaur Scot met Scot Wi’ vacillation an’ turn o’ mind, For whiles we are rake-helly Tories a’, And whiles we are Whigs o’ the dourest kind, At times we are men o’ the Covenant cause Tae keep the word o’ the Gospel free: Again we are roarin’ an’ rollickin’ blades, An’ its “Up wi’ the Bonnets o’ Bonnie Dundee.” Times wi’oot number we’re zealous wi’ Knox Wi’ text sae apt, an’ wi’ sword sae keen: An’ whiles we are oot wi’ Kirkcaldy o’ Grange Tae aid the cause o’ the beauteous Queen. [page 49] Aften eneuch we’re henchmen liege Tae guide King James, or bauld Buccleuch, An’ whiles we are Heiland Caterans a’ Wi’ Robin Oig, or wi’ Roderick Dhu. Thro’ Scottish history we rove an’ range. An’ whaur sic a fund o’ auld romance As lies in the tales o’ English wars An’ compacts form’d wi’ the land o’ France? But tho’ we cling tae traditions auld An’ the weel tauld tales o’ hard-set fray, We wadna gang back to the auld warl’ yet, For we’re modern Scots o’ a modern day. That is the love that the Scotsman hauds For the land o’ the loch, and the heath-clad hill, An’ St. Andra’s Nicht, be he far or near He canna forget he’s a Scotsman still. We fill up oor glasses in Edmonton Tae a land, tho’ sma’, that nane can scorn. An’ some o’ us came frae that Heilan’ hills, But a de’il o’ a lot are Canadian born.
THE BANNER O’ THE SCOT
(Written upon the presenting of a banner by the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Caledonian Society of Edmonton to the original society).
Mon, but it mak’s us blythe the nicht Tae see the banner spread, That speaks o’ a’ the glorious richts For a whilk oor faithers bled. Prood are we a’ tae meet as Scots An’ hail that banner dear That bears the symbols o’ the richts They won by sword an’ spear. St. Andra’s Cross—Ah, weel I wot That sign was brawly kent, Fu’ aften-times on fields o’ France, Whaur Scotland’s aid was lent, An’ mony a time the Moslem horse Had press’d the ranks in vain Whaur fluttered forth St. Andra’s Cross Amang the hills o’ Spain. O, proodly was that banner reared On mony a field o’ fame; Cross o’ the nation’s patron saint It never drooped for shame. An’ aye whan Andra Barton sailed, Or great Sir Andra Wood, They flew the auld cross frae the mast, An’ felt their cause was guid. Ay, an’ in later times than these Stern men o’ Calvin mould Raised up that cross at Sanquhar, Nor priest nor king controll’d; [page 51] Then fluttered oot that banner braid The Covenantin’ blue, For Christ’s Crown, Kirk an’ Covenant: A cause that held men true. Kings micht gae doon whan they opposed The conscience o’ the land: Oaths micht be broken by the lords Wha feared tae mak a’ stand: But lat the humbler cottar speak― The people’s voice be law. An’ Scotland’s bauld St, Andra’s Cross Wad ne’er be kent tae fa’. Mon, but it mak’s us blythe the nicht, An’ gars oor heart-strings thirl, Tae see the ancient banner raised In this pairt o’ the warl’; Bearing the graceful unicorns, Supporting Scotlan’s shield, Whauron the lordly lion ramps Wi’in its tressured field. Roose up noo, lads an’ lasses a’, Think on the days o’ yore, An’ michty men that served the land In peace as weel as war. We’ll rise tae higher, nobler things, Prompted at heart tae feel They daured an’ did for Scotlan’s sake Because their hearts were leal. Far are we frae auld Scotia’s land, But still as years wull glide, We’ll leuk upon this banner braid, Wi’ naethin’ else but pride, An’ at ilk loyal gatherin’, Whaur it may be displayed, The ancient glories o’ the race We’ll ne’er permit tae fade.. [page 52] Sons o’ auld Caledonian sires, That frae loved scenes did part, Prove we the Scot tho’ born abroad Hauds Scotlan’s weal at heart, An’ he will prove in Canada, Whate’er may be his lot, The better true Canadian, Because the warmest Scot.
Note—The banner used by the Covenanters was the St. Andrew’s Cross, white on the blue ground, bearing at the four angles of the Cross the words, “Christ’s,” “Crown,” “Kirk,” Covenant,” in gold letters.
THE SANG O’ SIR ANDREW BARTON.
During the reign of King James the Fourth, the commerce of Scotland increased to such a considerable extent that her merchants were to be found trading at all ports of northern Europe, and in no countries did they press the sale of their wares more than in the low lands of Holland.
In the Low Countries, which were then subject to the House of Austria, the Scots found themselves by no means popular, perhaps owing to their close alliance with France,
and on account of trade jealousies they were always at war with Portugal and England.
At the instigation, probably of the Portuguese, in the year 1507 at several of the Dutch ports, Scottish vessels were attacked and their crews butchered and thrown overboard. By way of reprisal King James the Fourth issued letters of marque to Sir Andrew Barton authorizing him to prey upon the Portuguese and Dutch and bring the spoils to Scottish ports.
Barton, who was one of the greatest navigators of the realm, had no difficulty in executing judgement upon the pirates, and he is reported to have filled large casks with the heads of the victims and brought them back to exhibit to his King.
After this Sir Andrew Barton continued to cruise in his ship “The Lion” about the coasts of the Low Countries and in the English Channel. Not satisfied with plundering the Dutch and Portuguese, he is stated to have made free with a great deal of the shipping of England, and so provoked was King Henry the Eighth that he fitted out a ship for the pursuit of the Scot.
The old tale has been told in old times, but like all good history, it can bear repeating, and we venture in rhyme to recount how the high admiral of Scotland lost his head while engaged in furthering the trade of his country.
The sang o’ Sir Andrew Barton An’ o’ how he sailed the seas, I sing the records o’ auld days In the modern language o’ these. [page 54] And this was the brave High Admiral Wha’s memory we haud wi’ pride, The tale o’ the way in whilk he focht, An’ the manner in whilk he died. It was in the bonnie month o’ May When flowers bedeck the lea, That Sir Andrew Barton the Admiral Gaed oot wi’ his ships tae sea. Caller the air wi’ the breath o’ Spring An’ warm was the glancing sun As it sparkled oot owre the ripplin’ waves As they made for the southward run. They held awa’ by Saint Ebba’s Heid— Then struck for the open main, An’ they saw the last o’ the Scottish coasts That they ever micht see again. Sir Andrew, he watched as the weel-kent shores Receeded, at last, frae view, Then he choked a sigh for tae whistle a stave, And turned him aboot tae the crew. Stalwart men were the ship hands a’ Clad in the hame-spun gray, Men frae Kirkaldy an’ Aberdour, An’ some frae Largo Bay. Men that had faced the saut sea spray In the teeth o’ the North Sea gale, Had been tae the coasts o’ Norroway Whaur aften oor vessels sail. Aften they’d passed thro’ the narrow fiords ’Neath rocks that were capped wi’ ice, For they carried the goods o’ the Scottish trade Whaur they brocht the highest price. [page 55] Sometimes they ran for the Flemish coasts Whaur the trade could bring them gain; An’ sometimes they brushed wi’ the Portuguese That dwell by the coasts o’ Spain. Never a time when the Barton’s ships Gaed oot at this time o’ year, But what they cam’ back tae the port o’ Leith Wi’ their holds panged fu’ o’ gear. An’ aften eneuch, as the auld tales run, (An’ God wot they may be true) They teuk frae the hands o’ the Portuguese What naethin’ but force could do. Oh, far awa’ owre the breadth o’ the seas Was the fame o’ the Barton kent, An’ only at hame an’ the ports o’ France Was he saired wi’ the least content. An’ oor James the Fourth was a verra great king. An’ he laid him anither keel, For his skeely skippers had scoured the seas, An’ eh, but they saired him weel. Said be “There is nane like my Andrew Wood, O, mickle I ken his worth, But Sir Andrew Barton’s the neist best man That sails frae oot o’ the Forth. “He has brochten me gear frae the English downs, An’ the lawlands o’ Holland tae, He has sent me casks o’ the pickled heids O’ the Dutch that said him “nay”: “He has hung in close by shores o’ Spain Tae reckon a Spanish toll, An’ oor Cousin o’ England hath grevious ’plaints That he leavs na his shipping whole. [page 56] “I will build at Oor Ladye’s Port o’ Grace A ship tae owre-gang them a’ For tho’ we hae muckle o’ gear at hame, We maun sell it owre far awa’ ” An’ the king, he built him a bonnie ship, An’ he followed it up wi’ mair. The builders he brocht frae the toons o’ France, An’ he paid them in gowd sae rare. He paid them in gowd o’ the Portuguese, An’ als o’ the white monee, An’ he manned his ship frae the eastern coasts Or ever they put tae sea. An’ Sir Andrew Barton he sailed awa’ Wi’ ships o’ his ain command, An’ he teuk his leuk at Saint Ebba’s Heid O’ the last o’ Scottish land. Then he gaed doon by the English coasts, An’ unless the auld tales lie, If they gaed tae plunder the Portuguese They latna the English by. Sae word was brocht tae King Henry’s court, By merchants, wha on the knees, Besocht him tae rid the Channel isles O’ the Scots wha harried the seas. “For, please it your Grace,” the made complaint, “They’ve troubled the trade sae sair, We canna win owre tae the coasts o’ France, But we lose the feck o’ oor ware.” Noo wroth at heart was the English king, And he ca’d his men o’ degree. “Is there never a man amang ye a’ Can fecht like the Scots at sea.” [page 57] “If there be a captain amang ye a’ Will bring me the Barton’s heid, I will haud him the bravest o’ a’ my knechts, For he maun be the bravest indeed.” Then up an’ spak’ the gallant Lord Howard, “My brother and I, Lord King, We will sail the Channel baith up an’ doon ’Til the Rover’s heid we bring.” “Na, na, young lord”, said the bluff King Hal, An’ he leuch wi’ mickle scorn, ’Tis a rough auld Scot that has sailed the seas Or ever that ye were born.” “Be he the bravest o’ Scotlands knechts, As doubtless the same maun be, I shall bring you his heid”, said the young Lord Howard “Or tae Scotland he’ll carry me.” Then chose the king an hundred men O’ the wightest men o’ the land, Bowmen an’ gunners o’ richt guid skill Tae serve at Lord Howard’s command. An’ he manned a ship wi’ a gallant crew, (Nane better than English dwell) An’ they gaed tae seek for the rievin’ Scot― I sing as it all befell. For they had but sailed for twa-three days Wi’ a leuk-oot aye at the mast, When ae cauld day in the last o’ Spring They sichted a ship gae past. Lord Thomas Howard, he straught made chase, An’ when they at last drew near, He charged the stranger fu’ strictly tae stand Or he’d gie him sair cause tae fear. [page 58] An’ loud then ca’d the ship-master gruff As loud as his lungs could ba’ “My lord, I hail frae Newcastle-on-Tyne But my ship carries naethin’ ava, For whiles as I cam’ frae Bordeaux in France Tae pass on the hameward run, I gaed fu’ clap intae twa Scots ships, An’ gear they hae left me none.” “Canst shaw the way that the riever gaed?” Lord Howard o’ the man did speir, An’ he readily vowed he would shaw him the way Tho’ he sweat at the thought wi’ fear. ‘Oh, mony the year I ha’e been at sea, An’ its mony the debt I awe, I will lead ye in chase o’ the villianous Scot Till ye teach him oor English law. “But this ye suld ken or ever ye gang, ‘Tis a ship maist huge an’ strang, An’ eighteen pieces o’ ordnance bricht He carries ilk side alang. “He has muckle o’ brass on the ship wi’in An’ wi’ steel it’s fended wi’oot. Gif ever wi’ Andrew Barton ye meet, O’ the out-come I hae my doot.” Tae the merchant skipper, Lord Howard replied, “Gadzooks, ’tis nae pleasant sign, But I’ve sworn tae gae back wi’ Sir Andrew’s heid Or he sall gae back wi’ mine.” Then the merchant skipper he thoct a wee, An’ he said, “I will speak ye true, Take council, my lord, from a man like me, An’ this is what I suld do. [page 59] “Let a’ your men on the ship be hid Save only those o’ the crew, An’ lend me but seven great guns, I pray That I may be help tae you. “I shall set up a glass as a sign by day An’ a lamp on the mast by nicht, An’ by seven o’clock o’ the morrow’s morn I shall bring ye the Scots tae fecht,” Then the merchant teuck him the seven great guns An’ he hung up the glass fu’ plain, An’ gaed awa’ after the twa Scots’ ships, Wi’ the war-ship following fain. They sailed up the Channel the hail nicht lang Wi’ a willow wand at the mast, For they wad be reckoned a merchant ship Gif ever the Scotsman passed. An’ just as the day brak owre the waves The Newcastle ship ran by, An’ close in her wake cam’ the Lion ship That the Scots king prized sae high. O, glad in sooth was the young Lord Howard An’ his heart beat licht an’ gay, As he saw the hulk o’ Sir Andrew’s ship Loom up in the morning gray. Syne smiled as he leuked at his covered guns An’ restrained his dogs o’ war, An’ passed his word tae the helmsman bauld Tae rin for the English shore. Sir Andrew Barton, he smiled in scorn On the English ships as they ran: Then turned tae his stout master gunner an’ cried, “Fient hae’t! Ye may do what ye can. [page 60] “Gae fetch me yon pedlar loon again, I wad teach him the manners he lacks.” An’ the shot blew a hole in Lord Howard’s middle deck Put a score guid men on their backs. Tae his Master Gunner, Lord Thomas said, “Canst gauge the distance fair?” An’ a shot weel sent tae the Lion’s ribs Has riven her timbers sair. Then lang they run, as lang they focht Till the guns were heated an’ red, An’ the scuppers flowed wi’ the guid hearts’ bluid An’ the decks were heaped wi’ the dead. The thick black pall o’ the powder smoke Hung low in the misty morn, An’ the hot shot ripped wi’ an eldritch shriek Thro’ the sheets all drooping an’ torn. The mangled forms o’ the deid lay piled By the culverins whaur they fell, An’ the half-clad gunners lap wild an’ wud In the lunt o’ the reekin’ hell. The naked feet slushed reid wi’ gore, An’ trampled the maimed aside That shrieked for a draught tae cool their thirst An’ ease them ere they died. The Newcastle ship like a weel-trained tyke Clung close tae the Lion’s flanks, An’ the skipper the thocht o’ his sair-poigned gear As he sent Sir Andrew his thanks. The English ship drew closer in Tae lay the Scot by the board; They heised up mony a grappling iron, An’ raxed oot mony a sword. [page 61] “Get up, get up,” Sir Andrew he cried, Tae the tap-castelle quickly go. Lat fa’ the beams wi’ what speed ye may For I fear me an overthrow.” “I hae pitted my strength wi’ the Portuguese, Wi’ the braid-foot Dutchmen tae, But never I’ve met wi’ the like o’ these That hae bearded the Lion the day.” There was ane stept forth, o’ the Gordon bluid, An’ he swerved up the tall mast-tree; But he dropped like a log tae the deck below, When a shaft caught him siccarlie. Then ca’d Sir Andrew his sister’s son, Said: “Nephew, tak’ leave o’ me; Ye maum either win tae the tap-castelle Or shaw how a Scot can dee.” High on the mast did the young lad climb Till his body was pierced wi’ a shaft. He dropped tae the deck, an’ Sir Andrew bauld, Gazed doon at his corse an leuch’d. “God rest thy saul, my kinsman brave, We hae focht wi’ nae shame tae tell. Gin there’s nane tae win tae the tap-mast high By God! I will gang masel’.” Hand owre hand did the brave knecht climb, An’ he feared them little or nane, Till a shaft weel aimed frae a Yorkshire bow Caught him under the collar bane. “Fecht on, fecht on, my merrie men a’; I’m hurt, but I am na slain: I’ll just lie doon tae bleed a while, An’ syne I will rise again. [page 62] “An’ dinna ye fear thae English loons; Ye never need stand in awe. Haud bravely fast by Saint Andrew’s cross Till ye hear my whustle blaw.” Oh, lang they focht on the bluid-soaked deck, But never his whistle blew, For Sir Andrew lay dead mang his Lion’s cubs When Howard cam’ abroad wi’ his crew. Lord Thomas went whaur Sir Andrew lay In his bluid-stained velvet dressed, Wi’ his bricht blue een forever dimmed, An’ the king’s cross on his breast. “Now rest thou weel, brave Scot,” quoth he, “The bonniest fechter born. ’Tis pity Providence ordained That we be foemen sworn; “For I could ha’e loved a man like thee, An’ had my cause been thine, I could ha’e fallen beside thee here The proodest o’ my line. “But I sware an aith untae my king, That aith redeemed sall be, Tae hew thy heid frae they white hause bane An’ carry it back wi’ me. “An’ weel I ken had the day been thine, As aften it’s been, brave Scot, An’ I hadna this for King Henry’s court King James wad hae mine, Got wot. “I hae focht some fechts in my life before, But never a fecht as the day; Oh, gie me the Scots for the hard rough wark, An’ the Scots for the hard hard pay.” [page 63] The sang o’ Sir Andrew Barton An’ o’ how he lost his heid, The truth as tauld in the auld days When few o’ oor sires could read; And this was the brave High Admiral Wha’s memory we haud wi’ pride, The tale o’ the way in whilk he focht, An’ the manner in whilk he died.
Since the beginning of Scottish history, no scheme of greater magnitude or of vaster possibilities has been evolved by a native of that country, than that projected by William Patterson, the founder of the Bank of England. Mr. Patterson, who was born in the county of Dumfries, had, in his earlier years, been engaged in the West India trade, and had also gained considerable knowledge of conditions in Spanish America.
He became impressed with the vast possibilities of the Isthmus of Panama, and with a foresight years ahead of his time, decided that this spot, from it’s peculair position, would eventually become the centre for all trade between the two mighty oceans. To use his own emphatic language, he would “wrest the keys of the world from Spain,” then in possession of South and Central America.
At first the project was launched in England, the founder of the scheme being in business in that country, and so spiritedly was it taken up that in a very few days some three hundred thousand pounds was subscribed there, and no less than two hundred thousand pounds in the country of Holland. Unfortunately for the development of the undertaking, the jealousy of the merchants of England engaged in the West and East India trade, led them to petition the king, William III, to stop the sale of the shares.
With a narrow-minded partiality almost incredible, the king threw himself in with the views of these trading companies, and the English Parliament, taking the matter up, compelled the shareholders of England to withdraw their names. The English influence also was used to discourage the Hollanders, with the result that they also withdrew the bulk of their investment.
So indignant were the Scottish people over their treatment at the hands of the English, that, almost immediately, they came through with four hundred thousand pounds, although at that time, in the whole kingdom, there was [page 65] not above eight hundred thousand pounds in actual cash. On the 26th of July, 1698, five large vessels laden with merchandise, provisions and military stores, and having on board some twelve hundred persons, set sail from Leith to form the projected colony.
Upon the arrival of the colonists in the Isthmus of Darien, lands were purchased from the natives in the neighborhood of Acta between the Spanish towns of Porto-bello and Cartagena. Here, around a most splendid harbor, they erected fortifications and called their defence “Fort Saint Andrew.” The settlement itself was known as “New Caledonia.”
The first act of the infant colony was to declare a freedom of trade and religion to all nations. From time to time they were much harassed by the neighboring Spanish forces, to whom every encouragement was given by the governors of the English colonies of Barbadoes and Jamaica. At length, weakened by the ravages of disease and attacked by Spaniards on every hand, the few survivors were forced to surrender.
Altho’ there had, from the commencement, gone forth from Scotland some twenty-eight hundred persons, not more than thirty ever lived to return to their country again. So ended in disaster, Scotland’s first great commercial enterprise. We have attempted some description of it in verse, because the great enmity engendered by it between the Scots and English, led, strangely enough, to the final union of the governments of the two countries in 1707, which union has proved of lasting benefit to the nations, and brought about the formation of the Empire of which we are so justly proud.
Our vessels sailed to seaward to plough the waves for gain; They won to far America and crossed the paths of Spain. Among the distant Indies our merchants plied their trade, But where flew high the saltire above the fort stockade? “The red cross of the English is by the far lagoon Whaur fleets the Arab slaver, wi’ sails o’ matting broon; By bamboo grooves it flutters, owre Indian sands it waves, Whaur England’s sons ha’e conquered, tho’ aft by English graves.” [page 66] “Is there nae strength o’ conquest that Scotland’s sons may claim? Oor land is puir by nature, yet not unkenned tae fame. Fu’ aft the Scottish braidswords hae swept a path o’ gore: Yet whaur hath been oor profit thro’ deeds in foreign war?” “The Frenchman kens oor service, weel-prized in time o’ need, Monro’s and Hepburn’s forces hae helped the valiant Swede, The Dutchman kens in Holland how Scottish steel can shear, When Cavaliers o’ Fortune hae smote the Dons wi’ fear. “But whaur is Scotland’s greatness in deeds o’ auld renown? Has such laid oot an empire, or helped tae mak’ a toun? Why garner tales o’ greatness, renown that ne’er will fade, Unless we stretch for Scotland, the limits o’ her trade?” So spake our William Patterson, cool, calculating Scot With eyes alert to business, with blood that ne’er grew hot. He watched where other nations foundations laid remote For new domains of empire of vastness and of note. He watched the swarthy Spaniard by Andes peaks so blue Bring up the lengthy mule trains with ingots of Peru, And slaves of Mexic planters toil hard beneath the sun To bring their masters profit, their own blood-sweat had won. By Cabo Esperanza, where few their commerce urge The Dutchmen sail their broad hulks deep-wallowing thro’ the surge; The English hold by Florida long stretch of swampy coast, And Louisiana’s prairies have pleased the French the most. And so spake William Patterson, the merchant-man of mark, “Nae doot but skeely skippers sail mony a Scottish barque; Nae doot they fling defiance in mony a Spaniard’s teeth, And mony a ship deep-laden has sought the port o’ Leith. [page 67] “Yet mind I this but little, and weel I wot ’tis sae We canna spread the Scot’s trade unless we ports sall hae, Whaur Scottish traders gather tae trade for Scots at hame; Tae colonize for Scotland lang leagues across the faem. “Far rolls the deep Pacific by lands, as yet unkent. A thousand isles lie waiting, besides a continent. ’Tis oors tae trade an’ barter, for Scots are keen for trade. (As firm they grasp the dollar, as weel they wield the blade.) “Why leave tae ither peoples what we can dae as weel? Whaur steered a Spanish caravel, can plunge a Scottish keel. The Spaniard still persisteth tae squeeze oot bluid for gain, But there’s room in far-aff Darien for mair than haughty Spain.” These were brave words he uttered, and woke in Scots a zest For ventures o’er the great seas, that left them little rest. The land was poor for profit; the wage was small to earn. Yet men risk well their savings to bring them sure return. Rich are the shores of England by meadow-land and wold; Her byres are full of fat kine, her marts are stocked with gold; Her barns are filled to flowing with all her fields can bear. Can we ask mighty England to risk with us a share? He sent men over England to put the project forth That they, within the South-land might profit as the North; They laid the case before folk so Englishmen might join, And soon from mart and counting-house, came in the English coin. Oh, well I wot, the venture, to English eyes, looked good, And well we know that Scotsmen had bravely understood, But ill-betide the great king (whom we pray God to spare), For he forbade the Southrons to risk with us a share. [page 68] And he sent o’er to Holland (whence German carles have sprung), To warn them of the falseness of men of Scottish tongue; And Holland merchants faltered, and English men withdrew— But Scotsmen stood by Scotsmen, to see the project thro’. Then there sailed forth from Scotland, five vessels laden fair With colonists for Darien, and much of merchant-ware; And in that far America, the Scottish flag hath flown. But, Ah! The tropic jungles, soon, o’er Scottish graves have grown. Not all they heat, fierce Panama, could cowe the Scottish heart; Not all thy death-dispensing breath, could force those men depart. But men, who braved the scorching blasts across the Spanish Main, Could fall thro’ English jealousy and by the hate of Spain. ’Tis old, the tale of Darien, now—New Caledonia’s fate, How Spaniards tore the saltire down, from Fort St. Andrew’s gate. Yet, not until the Spanish hot felt well the northern blade, And not ’till England’s governors refused all hope of aid. Thry tell in Cartagena yet, those Spaniards grim and gaunt, How well the men of Scotland fought, in sickness and in want: When sunken eyes were gleaming red, and tongues were parched and dry, ’Twas proved upon the Darien shores, how Scottish men can die. Full often since, in other lands, have Scotsmen ventures made, And north and south, and east and west, have furthered Scottish trade: But never venture braver was, or greater things entailed, Or showed determination more, than this—the scheme that failed. [page 69]
To David MacRitchie, Esq., Edinburgh, Scotland, on receiving a badge of the Saint Andrew Society of that City and notification that I had been elected an Honorary Member of that patriotic organization. The badge represents the white saltire of St. Andrew upon the blue field, the ancient flag of Scotland, the same being set upon a back-ground of gold.
“Anderson,” a surname of Mid-lothian, said to have originated during the Crusades. The Scottish contingent, drawn largely from the south-eastern districts, were distinguished from the English regiments with whom they served by a St. Andrew’s cross worn across the corslet. This led to them being designated as “Andrew’s sons,” or as pronounced by the Scots, “Andra’s son,” eventually being corrupted into the present form of the name. The crest used by this sept, a crosslet above the crescent, motto “Gradatim” evidently refers to the Holy Land. See “The Scottish Nation,” William Anderson, 3 vols., 1863.
The dearest badge that I could wear Or honor I could claim; The cross of Scotland’s patron saint That gave my sires the name Yea, closer to the Scottish heart Than all else, this should be— The sign of Scotland’s Commonwealth, Of men who would be free. For many a time on Scottish breast The white cross broad was borne, Where lordly lion might not ramp, Or graceful unicorn. And when the Scottish pike-men prest The Mahound horsemen down, Auld Scotland’s sons were Andra’s sons From many a Northern town. [page 70] The lion on the treasured field, It spoke a kingly sway, Of minds that were of royal mould, And never could give way; But the white cross, as it fluttered forth Upon its field of blue, Spoke strength of creed, and Covenants, And men who could be true. The dearest badge that might be mine And blythe am I to take, A token from the friends at home, To wear for Scotland’s sake. Give me no greater pride than this, And still my heart shall feel, My strongest, grandest wish in life Shall be for Scotland’s weal.
THE WAESOME HEART
I rise up in the morning As tired as I gaed tae my bed, For I canna sleep for thinkin’ An’ wearyin’ for the dead; For some one lies in the mools Cauld an’ stark this day. That I lo’ed mair than life— Yet I hae the curse tae stay. An’ some are snatched in joy, An’ some maun pass in pain, An’ some maun dree their weird As I dae, a’ my lane. Oh, sweet is the Spring o’ life Wi’ a’ things bricht and fair, An’ little we ettle o’ Death Wi’ its banes a’ piked an’ bare. We wadna mind for the eild When oor pleasures hae ta’en wing, But, oh, it is hard when Winter’s frost Has blasted the breith o’ Spring. The bluid rins sluggish an’ cauld That ance surged warm an’ fast; It wad bring me mickle o’ joy Gin I could but see tae the last. Gin I could but see tae the end, And it wasna sae far awa’, For it’s wae that a heart like mine Suld be buried in Winter’s snaw. [page 72] The wee birds on the trees Are twitterin’ fu’ o’ glee, An’ little they ken wi’ their chosen mates How weary the heart may be. There is linkin upon the bent, An’ daffin’ upon the braes. Young folk in the joy o’ luve Mak’ maist o’ your happiest days.
. FRENCH .
. POEMS .
Each of us ask the Giver of Good For hope to compass each day; But some are blest with a cheerier mood To carry them on the way. Each of us pray to the Sender of Song To inspire our hearts with cheer, For a laugh and song, when the way seems long Is all we can look for here. All of us look to the Throne of Grace For strength to win in the Fight, But I think there is none like the old French race To carry the heart so light. [unnumbered page]
DE CENTENAIRE OF PEACE.
Da’s veree near on a hondred year Since we’re havin’ de bloodies’ war, An’ Yankee ees comin’ on Canadaw An’ feel veree mad, by Gor! He’s marchin’ de troops on Montreal, On York, an’ on Trois Riviere, An’ he makin’ troub’ on de whole de place For nearly t’ree solid year. You see, ma fren’ eet was just lak dis: W’enever dey start de fuss, De Breetish, dey go for de Unat Stat, An’ de Yank, hees comin’ for us. We don’t have not’ing to do at all Wit’ way dat de war commence— But w’en soldier come marchin on Canadaw, We’re preparing for accidents. An’ dat’s w’y de men w’at’s leevin’ dat tam Ees takin’ fusil on hand, An’ dey’re fightin’ in ship on de Great Lak den An’ scrapping all over de lan’, I don’t know meself w’at Canadaw loss Or how mooche de Yankee took, Eef you want to see for yourse’f, ma frien’, You can read on de History book. But I hear about fight on Queenston Height, An’ also on Chateauguay, An’ I know at de feenish dat Yankee man Ain’t feelin’ so h’awful gay. [unnumbered page] An’ maybe de Breetish ees feelin’ ashamed An’ de Yankee would eef he tried, For markin’ so mooche of de senseless war— At leas’ on de Canadaw side. However, dat’s long, long tam ago An’ I see by de pap’ jus’ now Because we are close on a hondred year Wit’-out havin’ more de row, We’re feelin’ so pleas’ wit’ ourse’f, Hooraw! An’ Yankee ees also pleas’, We’re unitin’ in geevin’ de Grande Salut To de Centenaire of Peace. Dat’s great event w’en eet’s all come off, An’ I lak to be dere to see How we’re havin de Entente Cordiale An’ showin how well we agree. W’atever we felt in de pas’, ma frien’, We must always forget to say, For American’s proud to frien’ wit’ h’us, An’ we’re glad dey are come dat way, We mus’ not forget w’en de tam arrive For havin’ beeg celebrate, To hang all our flag wit’ de Yankee flag An’ put all de place en fete; We mus’ gader whole lot of de Boston Bean To put wit’ de Maple Leaf, An’ eef Eagle will sit on de Beaver’s tail, He nevair will come to grief. Dere’s lots of room on de Unat Stat’ An’ Canadaw’s beeg, beeg place, An’ eef Yankees are havin’ more peop’ dan h’us, We are geevin’ dem good hard chase, I suppose eef we mak’ up our min’ all right, An’ de politique don’ mak’ us sore, De peace we have had for a hondred year Can last for a hondred more. [page 78]
LE JOURNALLE NOUVELLE.
Eef you are educated man, An’ have de broades’ views, You tak’ de newspap’ evree day An’ read mos’ all de news; You scan dat editorial De firs’ t’ing right away, An’ get your own opinion From w’at oder feller say. You read dat M’sieu’ So-an’-So Made speech upon New York, How Meat Trust down on Central Stat’ Has raise de price of pork; An’ John D. Oilyfeller say Dat crop ees gettin’ poor An’ so nex’ wick, de price advance Half cent de gallon sure. Eet interest you whole lot also W’at Teddy Roosevel’ keel, An’ how dat Scotchman Carnegie Mak’ fortune on de steel. But w’at surprise you mos’ of all How milk-man mak’ report Dat price of milk ees going up Two cent upon de quart. Ma frien’, I get de great surprise From veree strange affair W’en Aviator Feller now Ees flyin’ on de air. I nevair see no t’ing lak dat W’en I am young—for height, But nowadays, mos’ evreet’ing Ees risin’ out of sight. [page 79] I almos’ wonder workin’-man Can mak’ de leevin’ now, W’at nevair stay upon de farm An’ kip de horse an’ cow— W’en man dat own de house on town Ees pushin’ h’up de rent, An’ potate down at Winnipeg Has raise to seexty cent. Of course we nevair have de troub’ In tam dat’s long ago, Wit’ readin’ all de long account Of how dis contree grow. We nevair get no tam to see How price ees on de jump, Because we’re slashin’ down de tree, An’ grubbin’ out de stomp. W’en grand-pere, of de man to-day W’at’s got swell head an’ neck, Was only jus’ poor habitant T’ree mile below Kebec, He don’t got monee evree mont’ For buy new magazine— An’ t’ing lak Life Insurance den I tink, ees nevair seen. De boy dat’s leevin’ nowadays, He’s nevair feel eet right Onless he’s readin’ on de pap’ ‘Bout Johnson-Jeffrey fight. He’s wear de Novi-Ready clothes, An’ Semi-Mode also— An’ tak de girl mos’ evree night To Movin’ Picture Show. Of course he smoke dat fine ceegar W’at got nice Spanish name, Was manufacture on de Stat’— (An’ h’Edmonton de same.) [page 80] An’ counter-hopper from de store Mus’ veree near be broke By tryin’ smoke de same ceegar W’at James K. Cornwall smoke. Eet’s got so mooche de habit now From poor man to de king, Dey mus’ depend h’upon newspap’ To tell dem evree t’ing; How mooche eet cos’ to buy de clo’es, How mooche de grub you h’eat, An’ w’at de Premier Restaurant’s like Dat’s jus’ across de street. W’at kin’ of man you ought to hire To do your work de bes’; How you can earn de beegest wage; An’ how to save de res’; ‘Bout how your famme can mak’ somet’ing Wit’out no cos’ at all; An’ poor man wit’ de familee Can h’always kip eet small. Wall, mebee dat’s de peety too We got so h’up to date, An’ knowin’ all about de worl’ Has made us educate’. Eet’s hard t’ing now to res’ content, An’ work an’ hol’ your tongue, Lak down t’ree mile below Kebec W’en your ol’ man was young.
IN DE CANADAW WOODS
Meself, I am leev’ in de wood all my life, An’ I’m knowin’ dem small feller all. W’at leev’ w’ere de pine-needle’s t’ick on de groun’, An’ de place w’ere de fir-cone fall An’ dat leetle sly cheepmonk, he’s great frien’ to me, An’ I often have laugh at de squirr’l— But dere’s wan lettle feller I’m tole you about Dat hasn’t no frien’ on de worl’. Bapteme, Dat hasn’t no frien’ on de worl’. Its comin’ dis tam’ jus’ along on de Fall Dat de red leaf ees pile on de groun’, An’ all of de small animile on de wood Ees chasin’ each oder aroun’. I’m laughin’ some tam so I nearly get bus’ To see dat small jack rabbit go— For he’s feelin’ so proud got hees nice winter dress As white an’ as clean as de snow, By Gos’, As white an’ as clean as de snow. It’s funny de way dat de porcupine do Wit’ de queel stuck all over hees back, An’ he look all de worl’ lak beeg peen-cushion too. As he mosey along on de track. An’ when you are get heem so awful excite He raise all de queel he have got— But he don’t mak’ you scare lat dat oder chap do, W’at I sing you as likely as not, Ma frien’, I sing you as likely as not. [page 82] I s’pose you have seen heem—dat small montaine-rat, W’at got de beeg ear on hees head. De nex’ tam I meet wit’ dat feller again Den, Sacr’—I’m keelin’ heem dead, For he come on ma cabane on long Winter night An’ he keek up mos’ devil row, He don’t got de sense for leave not’ing alone, For he ain’t got no brain anyhow, Ba Cripe, He ain’t got no brain anyhow. Dere’s w’at you call “wood-chock” —dat’s quiet wan too, So long as you leave heem alone, But he’s plaintee queek ready for makin’ de scrap Suppose you are hit heem wit’ stone. He’s jus’ lak la Irlondais—Irish for sure— “Don’t you tread on ma coat wit’ de tail. Eef you don’t watch your beezness an’ kip to yourse’f I geev you Columbia Hail, All right, I geev you Columbia Hail.” Dat leetle brown beaver—dat’s smart feller too, An’ we lak’ heem de bes’ of dem all He cut down de tree an’ he build heem fine house, An’ he nevair quit work till de Fall. So we tak’ heem de emblem dis Contree, to show You work all de Somair up here, Den—s’pose you got not’ing to do till de Spring You can slip for de res’ of de year, Mais Oui, You can slip for de res’ of de year. Dere’s moosk-rat dat swim on de water ver’ fas’, An’ carcajou ronne on de shore I s’pose dere ees beas’ on de Canadaw wood You can’t fin’ some place any more. [page 83] It geevs me de plaisairment see dem also On de wood w’en I’m watchin’ out dere— An’ dere’s only wan feller I know of dem all Dat hasn’t no frien’ anyw’ere, C’est vrai, Dat hasn’t no frien’ anyw’ere. Dere’s no one got use for dat small leetle wan Wit’ coat all so shiny an’ black, Excep’ for de nice stripe of white he have got W’at ronne all along on hees back. Oh, de sly leetle cheep-monk he’s great frien’ to me, An’ I often have laugh at de squirr’l But dis leetle feller mak’s frien’ship so strong He hasn’t no frien’ on de worl’ Piff, Pah, He hasn’t no frien’ on de worl’.
SINCE LAURIER CAME INTO POWER.
Yas, Sir, dat’s true w’at de pap’ she’s say, For I know veree well mese’f Eef de Yankees keep comin’ on Canadaw Dey’ll soon have nobody lef’, An’ I min’ it ver’ well w’en its not lak dis, An’ Laurier’s not in power, W’en we don’t have beeg sheep on de St. Laurence Bringin’ emigrant h’everee hour. But now—w’y you see eet yourse’f, ma frien’, An’ you’re readin’ h’it h’everee day Dat h’all of de contree ees gettin’ de scare W’en we’re takin’ dere peop’ away. An’ dey’re havin’ de same on Montre-Kebec, W’at de h’Edmonton man complain, Dey haven’t got room on de beeg hotel For de crowd come off on de train. Eet’s only las’ wick w’en I come in town For sellin’ t’ree load of hay, For I haven’t had tam for leavin’ de farm Since de visit of Laurier; Dere’s forty-five cent on de boushelle for h’oat, An’ de hay’s cut on all of de slough. Ba Gos’, I got busy for workin’ jus’ now So I ought to be sayin’ “Bon jou.” But w’at I was goin’ to tell you dat tam Of w’en I’m arriver on here— We don’t have de Bureau d’Emigration For dat’s more dan on twentee year. An’ mos’ of us here is Canadian man W’it a few of de h’Irish an’ Scot, So dey don’t have to geev us encouragement den ’Bout de climate w’at Canadaw’s got. [page 85] We’re havin’ Sir John A. Macdonal’ dat tam (Dat’s Scotchman w’at’s runnin’ de show), He’s mos’ as good man as w’at Laurier is, Only Scotch—dat’s de fault dat I know, An’ we get de Chemin du Pacifique built t’roo, An’ we don’t grow no crop up ’til den). But, at las’, we get busy for makin’ beeg fuss, An’ you ought to have seen us, ma frien’. De firs’ t’ing we do, we are sen’ on E-gyp’ Some voyageur dere from Kebec— You know how de Breetish are havin’ beeg war, An’ dey’re gettin’ h’it right in de neck, So dat’s w’y we’re sendin’ de voyageur h’out, An’ de Queen she ees writin’ to say, “By an’ by w’en dere’s war on Sout’ African place Can you sen’ us some troop right away?” De Government too, of dis Contree of course, Eet ees wantin’ more emigrant, too, For we haven’t got money lak’ Yankee has got An’ we can’t boost de same as he do. But eet sen’ out some men on to Europe at las’ For to get all de peop’ dey don’t need, (I expect dat is w’y all dem Doukhobor come W’at de Laurier Government feed.) At any rate dere ees some awful beeg rush W’en dey hear we have got lots of room, An’ all kin’ of peop’ come on Canadaw now ’Till you t’ink eet ees regular boom. Canadien man, w’at has gone on de Stat’, Come back on dis Contree again, An’ he’s writin’ to tell all hees frien’ on New York How you can’t beat dis contree for grain. Oh, sure, dat Estat des Unis ees all right, For dey’re getting our boy long ago. Dat ees w’y all dem Yankees ess kippin’ so smart, An’ imagine dat Canadaw’s slow, [page 86] W’en Jim Hill ees makin’ dat railroad on Stat’, An’ Edison build gram-a-phone— Dey’re saying ‘Bon jou’ to our Canadaw den An’ leave us to boost eet alone. You can’t get away from de fac’, all de same, Dat de Yankee ees please wit’ us now, For de bes’ of American newspaper man Ees geev us write-up anyhow. An’ eef dere ees journalist beeg enough fool For geev us de ver’ bad report, We invite heem to veesit Peave Reever nex’ year W’en de Cornwall Excursion go Nort’. Eef you want to get into de beegest size print De firs’ t’ing of all you mus’ do, You mus’ write w’at you t’ink about Canadaw Wes’— An’ dey’ll geev you a column or two. I won’t be surprise eef you’re a newspaper man W’at ees kippin’ me talk for an hour— So I won’t say no more of improvement we got Since Laurier come into power.
DE CHANCES WE HAVE MISSED.
Eet’s veree often hard to know de mos’ right t’ing to do, An’ de bes’ an’ wisest t’ing you ought to say, For plaintee tam you mak’ de plan, an’ affer all ees t’roo You wish you’d done eet all some oder way. An’ ol’ Benhomme ees tellin’ you how reech he might have been Eef he’d only took de chances as dey came, For odor man’s got millionaire wit’out de chance he’s seen— An’, eef he was not dam fool, he’d been de same. For in de long life-tam, lak w’at all ol’ tammer got You always get some chances offer you, An’ eef you do not tak’ dem—den eet’s jus’ as sure as not Dat your’e comin’ on hard circumstance for true. Dis ees w’at ol’tammer tell you, w’at was here long tam ago— Dat dey had de hardes’ pull you ever see, An’ dey would have got l’argent wit’out any troub’, you know, Eef dey had been educate lak you an’ me. Eet tak’s de smart man nowadays to rustle all he can An’ place hees monee on de sures’ place, For w’en you buy nice property from smartes’ beezness-man Eet nearly always prove to be de case Dat you wish you’d made investment in some place de noder way An’ not have been so queek upon de buy, For eef you always listen to w’at agent-feller say You will nevair come reech man before you die. You are veree locky feller eef you always please yourse’f An’ nevair care w’at oder peop’ ees say, W’en you mak’ de small investment an’ have got few dollaire lef’, An’ are certain sure you got t’ree meal a day. [page 88] But w’en you mak’ de purchase of fine suit of clo’es you wear Eet mak’ you varee mad—dat rude remark— W’en man, dat should know bettaire, say, wit, mos’ insulting stare, “Dat style was manufacture on de ark.” Eef you try an’ please de whole worl’ you will nevair once succeed, So try an’ please yourse’f—an’ p’rap your famme. An’ eef you lose some chance—wal dat ees not so strange indeed, An’ lak ol’ Bonhomme, you talk of dat long tam, Dat mus’ be kin’ of pleasin’ t’ing, w’en you are come ol’ man An’ sit beside de fire an’ shake de fis’ And tell les jeunesse ’round you—lak w’at all ol’ tammer can— About de many chances you have miss’. Eef you had only bought de house an’ lot on Reever View— Eef you had only speculute’ jus’ so, Eef you had bought dat Coal Share at de price was offer you, You might have been de reech man long ago. Eef you had place your monee on de oder horse instead— Eef you had known dat Jeffrey’ would have los’— Eef you had not been sapre fou’, an’ not been off de head You might have done so many t’ing, Ba Gos’. You hear whole lot of peop’ explain how man dat’s dead and gone Was beeger, stronger far dan man ees now, I don’ know wat’s de raison, for de worl’ we’re leevin’ on Ees jus’ about de same place anyhow. Eet geev me lots of plaisairment to hear ol’ man confess Wit’ de tear upon de eye—dat’s veree sad; How dey used to miss de chances, (jus’ de same we do I guess,) An’, of course, dey offen felt eet pretty bad. [page 89] W’atever chance dere used to be, we got dat chance today Only mebee in some oder place instead, An’ eet’s veree foolish talkin’ ’bout dat “good ol’ fashion way,” W’en de bes’ way ees de one dat gets ahead. De only way to get along ees mak’ yourse’f believe De worl’ ees not so awful poor a place, An’ if you miss de chances w’at you t’ink you should receiev, Dat oder man got smile upon hees face.
Dere ees whole lot of feller jus’ now, by gos’, Dat ees makin’ no end of row, An’ sayin’ too mooche on de politique Ain’t makin’ t’ings right nohow; An’ jus’ w’at I’m sayin’ to Jow LaBeuf W’at’s neighbor t’ree mile from me, “Eef you’re ronnin dis contre on win’, ma fren’ Eet’s good t’ing de air come free.” W’en beeg feller ronnin’ on politique Got whole lot of t’ing for say, He come an’ mak’ speech on de school house here An’ he mak’ de parlor dis way: “You nevair get not’ing long tam, am fren’, Jus’ de same w’at dey got some place, Your purchase too mooche from l’Estat Unis— For I study mesef your case. You nevair get not’ing so long you leev, An’ you die veree poor, you see, Unless you place ballot for hones’ man, An’ I tell you de name—dat’s me. We’re kippin’ eet wave—de ol’ flag—hooraw! We;re Breetish by heart, encore, An’ you stan’ by de party an’ flag, cher ami, Or you’re canaille—traitoure—an’ more. De farmaire wat leev on de whole provence He’s feelin’ eet glad also, For havin’ firs’ class on de implement. (Massey-Harris, by gos’, ain’t slow.) An’ all manufacture on Canadaw By man wat’s Canadian born. Dat’s mighty beeg change to regime of Connaught From tam of de Marquis of Lorne.) [page 91] An’ noder t’ing also I tell you for true— You can always depen’ w’at I say— Don’ trus’ on dat Yankee for bein’ your fren’ Because he ain’t build dat way. Dat’s shrewd business man from l’Estat Unis Always got heem some t’ing for sell, An’ mebee he’s playin’ de skin game, sharp. An’ mebee he’s geevin’ you—Well. I don’ lak to say w’at dat feller might do— Only mebee annex you, dat’s all. So eef you are right on de Partee, for sure You can vote de carte ballot dis Fall. You only buy goods w’at ees Canadaw made, An’ eat w’at you grow for yourse’f, You only place vote for de Canadaw man— Dat’s me—an’ you nevair get lef’. You stan’ by de flag—O, de glorious flag For which all our faders have bled— Of course dey lose blood for de contree, ma fren’, An’ dat’s how so many come dead. You only drink whiskee was made on Kebec An’ smoke on tabac Canadaw, An’ den you can leev—as your fader could leev— De life of de true Habitant.” Dat’s veree strange t’ing, w’en I lissen lak dis To speech jus’ as long as my arm, How beeg feller’s ronnin’ fine automobile To veesit me here on de farm, Got plaintee l’argent for t’row evreew’ere, An’ don’ geev sacre for expense So long as we’re placin’ de vote right ride up For feller right side of de fence. I leev on dis contree de whole of ma life An’ I see quite a few of de change, An’ I fin’ politician ees veree nice man W’en he’s got lots of vote to arrange. But de ol’ politician of long tam ago Was jus’ de same man as today. So we’re placin’ de vote where we place eet before For man w’at ees call—Laurier. [page 92]
DE HEALTH INSPECTOR.
I s’pose dere isn’t any man got troub’ so many place An’ sees so mooche de sorrow in watever house he go As feller wat’s suppose for look at all infectious case, Dat inspector wat ees travelle wit’ de leetle portmanteau. You see heem comin’ here, an’ you see heem goin dere, An’ mos’ de tam he’s goin’, he’s goin’ plaintee queek. Den you see hees card some more, wat hees place heem on de door, So you’re knowin’ purty certain, dere ees some one awful seek. Of course dere’s M. le Docteur, dat ees veree busy man, He ees comin’ mak’ de visite wen we got de maladie, An’ for sure we’re veree anxious he get here so fas’ he can Wen Madame she’s expectant of de leetle new bebe. De Measle an’ de Mump bring heem here upon de jump, An’ all de leetle garcon ees feelin’ awful scare, For dey know wen he arrive, eef dere’s change for stay alive Don’t let de Healt’ Inspector catch you goin’ anywhere. Now, Alphonse, dat’s beegest boy, he ees goin’ on de school (An’ s’pose he keep agoin’, he will some day be a pries’.) An’ Alphonse, he’s feelin’ seek, cause de wedder’s turnin’ cool, An’ I’m veree sure he’s gettin’ typhoid fever at de leas’. Hee’s t’roat, dat’s awful sore, an’ de head-aches comin’ too Wall, mebee dat’s diptherie, for sure I cannot say, But Aphonse he spik to me, “Fader, far as I can see I have to miss l’ecole for leetle holiday.” [page 93] Wall, dat’s purty har’ de luck wit’ beeg familie lak mine, Wen boy an’ girl she’s gettin’ too seek for educat’ Always happen too, by Gos’, wen de wedder seem so fine, An’ dunno w’ats de raison cause de maladies lak dat. But w’ats dat comin’ now wat ees makin’ all de row? Why, dat’s de Healt’ Inspector dat’s comin’ up de stair. “Bon jour, Monsieur Beauvais, an’ I geev to you Good Day. I hear you got seek children. Dat ees veree bad affaire.” Dere’s Marie—I’m sure dat girl, she was say one hour ago “I t’ink I got de Measle, for my bone ees feel so sore.” But w’en Healt’ Inspector’s here—dat ees stranges’ t’ing I know— I nevair hear complaint at all ’bout anyt’ing no more. But eet’s “Stickem out de tongue. Have you pain upon de lung? An’ le gros head-ache for cetaine, an’ stomach awful mean? An’ you certaine got de cough. Dat will surely tak’ you off, Eef I do no not place de placarde, w’at you call de quarantine.” De neighbor all aroun’ me ees lookin’ by de blin’. An’ all dat foolish woman are tell deir frien’ also, “Dat’s Ceety Healt’ Inspector’s; got de worse case he fin’. I dunno but dat’s de smallpox; dat’s de worse t’ing dat I know.” “Wat ees dat? You t’ink dere’s chance he will call de ambulance. An’ mebee vaccinate you eef you nevair have small pock. An’ I’m not one bit surprise, w’en you see eet wit’ your eyes Dat familiee got de dirties’ back yard aroun’ de block.” [page 94] Now, wat I say: “Inspector, I am veree glad you call. My neighbor all about me got veree dirtee yard. I am do my bes’ to clean up on Spring an’ on de Fall, But wit’ neighbor all so careless, dat ees veree, veree hard.” “An’ I don’ lak mak’ complaint, an’ I nevair eef dere ain’t Any raison I should tell you, but I geev eet on de square; I got raison to explain how de peop’ across de lane Are placin’ out de garbage. Dat ees serious affaire.” I read upon de pap’, me, how microbe veree small Ees comin’ on de boutaire, an’ evree t’ing we h’eat. I almos’ feel a scare—me, eat any grub at all W’en you don’t know w’en dat microbe ees comin’ down de street.” I’m glad w’en you inspec’ all de gross dirt an’ neglec’ An’ I’m veree shame my neighbor kip t’ings so bad as dat. I got shame mese’f today dat ma famme, she’s been away Or else you do not fin’ us wit’ t’ings so mooche upset. Now, affer M. le Docteur, he had got de patient cure, An’ I settle h’up ol’ docteur-bill, w’at’s veree long delay, Le docteur say: “For certaine, I am veree, veree sure Dat sapre Healt’ Inspector he mus’ be upon de way.” “He mus’ got here veree slow, for I phoned t’ree hour ago. I tol’ heem come immediement for takin’ down de card. I don’t t’ink you feel neglec’ w’en he come to disinfec’. I wish you all Good Mornin’ an’ geev you my regard.” [page 95] So, I s’pose dere isn’t any man got troub’ all roun’ de place De same as Healt’ Inspector wat was johnny-on-de-spot. I wonder he got plaisairment for smile upon hees face Affer placin’ all dat bad smell in evree room I got. You see heem comin’ here, an’ you see heem goin’ dere, An’ mos’ de tam he’s goin’ he’s goin’ plaintee queek, Den you see beeg card some more, w’at he tack outside your door, An’ p’rap he won’t come back again for many, many week.
VOYAGEUR AND BOIS BRULE.
You want to hear de ol’ man tell of ol’ tam long ago— Dat’s tam I work on reever here, an’ ready poule batteaux: Work all de tam for Hodson Baie, an’ s’pose you quit, you see Dere’s no wan here for workin’ wit’ excep’ la Compangnie. Mos’ of de boy w’at’s on de job, dat’s man from Canadaw, Half-breed also—but mos’ of us ees all true Habitant; But feller w’at ees on de Fort mos’ all de contree t’roo, Dat’s Ecossair De Montagnards—an’ dat’s fine feller too. Only he’s got de temperment, got hot queek right away, Nevair can tak’ no bluff at all. (Dat’s man for Hodson Baie.) An’ as for painted sauvage den, Metis, an’ Blood, an’ Cree— Dey got de great respec’ for man can swear lak dat, “Sacree” De Bois Brule an’ Voyageur, Canadien man al roun’, Dat’s firs’ man on de reever here, also de hontin’ groun’, An’ buffalo, dat’s plaintee den, we hont dem far away, An’ cart we breeng from Rough Riviere have skin for Hodsou Baie. W’en we go out on prairie den, for mak’ de buff’lo hont You t’ink dat’s mounted regiment, for see us ride in front. But w’en you see long train of cart, w’at’s trailin’ out behin’, Eef you have thought we’re Injun Scout, Bigos’ you change your min’. An’ w’en you hear dat Creak—creak—creak, dat wooden axle make, (So loud dat ten mile off, for sure, you nevair make mistake.) You know dat’s ol’ Red Reever cart, dat’s out for buff’lo skin, An, hontin’ partee from de Fort, you watch dem trailin’ in. [page 97] All of dem man what’s got cheval, and ride heem on ahead, Dat feller’s got de ceinture sash, w’at’s yeller, blue, and red; An’ mos’ of dem got buck-skin shirt wit’ fringe and bead so gay, An’ hear dem laugh, an’ spik Francais—you know dat’s Bois Brule. Dat’s boy w’at always “bon vivant” an’ on de Heep Hooraw, Too wil’ for stay on ol’ Kebec an’ leev lak Habitant: Got, evree wan, de Injun wife, an’ small papoose also. Dat’s kin’ of man we got ma frien’, for hont de buffalo. Evree wan’s got long carabine wit’ barr’l four foot—no less. (Dat’s kin’ was used for Hodson Baie, an’ made for dem express.) Evree wan got de powder horn, for kip de powder dry, An’ all have got de whiskee flash, for we de t’roat bime-by. Dat ees de boy can shoot an’ hont, dat ees de boy can ride, All of de way from Rouge Riviere, nevair will need a guide; Follow de trail to de high montagne, or out to de Lac St. Anne, All ees de same to Courrier du Bois, same as to Injun man. Den we are makin’ de camp, ma frien’, out by the coulee side, So as de squaw get water dere, for kippin’ de camp supplied; So dere ees brush for de fire also, for smokin’ de meat wit’ care, For pemmican “richeau” we have dat tam, de women mus’ all prepare. AN’ w’en we follow de buff’lo herd, an’ keelin’ dem all aroun’, You t’ink dat ees battle-fiel’, for sure, wit’ blood all over de groun’ An’ all we’re savin’ from carcase den, w’at’s wort’ while takin’ away Was bes’ for de meat from buff’lo-hump, an’ hide for de Hodson Baie. [page 98] Den when we’re gettin’ de skin enough, an’ all put up in de bale, We’re pilin’ dem on to de cart, ma frien’ an’ hittin’ de ol’ Fort trail All de way to h’Edmonton Fort, an’ glad to get back some more— An’ always get cheat by dat Scotchman sure, w’at’s selling good on de store. But mos’ de tam I lak to look back, ees tam lak de New Year’s Day, For always we’re kip eet—de Frenchmen den, an’ Scotchmen have Hog-man-ay. Even de wil’ Savauge get drunk, an’ goin’ on hell de spree, So w’at can you spec’ from Canadaw man wat’s leevin’ de same as me? We’re geevin’ de grande salut’ also, off de Fort stocade, Dat’s feue de joie for New Year Day, an’ devil of noise she’s made. Evree wan’s wakin’ wit’ noise lak dat, an’ goin’ from door to door, Geevin’ “firs’ foot” to deir frien’ all ‘roun’ an’ wishin’ “Good Luck” encore. Evree wan’s kissin’ de noder man’s wife, an’ evree man’s kissin’ your own; Evree man’s shakin’ hees frien’ by the han’ an’ nobody’s drinkin’ alone. All of de beaux d’esprit, for sure, are startin’ de year aright, But feller dat swore to love you today, may fight you tomorrow night. Always we’ve plaintee to eat, dat tam, for eef de fresh meat, she’s gone, Dere’s h’always de “pemmican” down at de Fort, to kip yourse’f chewin’ on. [page 99] Always de white-feesh an’ back-fat too, an’ rabbit right at de door, An’ mos’ of h’us mix de “kinn-i-kinnie” wit’ tabac we buy on de store. Offen, I tell you, mes ami, I work on de reever dere, An’ we’re bringing’ de hide for de Hodson Baie, from ’way on de Nort’ somew’ere I work lak devil on paddle den, an’ I also poule batteaux. Dere’s nevair no plaisair for ol’ Bonhomme, de same as on long ago.
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