Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets
Legends of the North Land

Craig, Martha. Legends of the North Land. S.n., 1910.

Legends of the North Land


By Martha Craig

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of the



.. By ..

Martha Craig


                [illustration: The following views were taken in the Temagami Park (Northern Ontario) which has been reserved by the Ontario Government on account of its great natural beauty.]

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[unnumbered page, includes illustration: MARTHA CRAIG


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Across the Border-Line.

YOUR heart has longed for pathless wilds,

      Where moose and red deer roam;

Your soul has sighed for solitudes,

    Where rushing rapids foam.

I know you long again to hear

    The weird call of the loon,

And from a bluff on some lone shore

    To watch the rising moon.

To sit beside a red deer run

    And wait its cautious tread,

Until the sun sinks in the west

    In clouds of flaming red.

Come to our land of birch and pine,

    Grey rock and sylvan glade,

Where wind and sun, and lightning flash

    Have not yet learnt a trade.

Come to our verdant forests vast

    And claim a hunter’s spoil;

Where water-falls and limpid lakes

    Have not yet learnt to toil.

Leave crowded cities far behind,

    Take rod and gun in time;

Canoe and tent are waiting you

    Across the border-line. [page 7]

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YOU bade me leave the city’s din

       And crowded haunts of care,

And go where spruce and fragrant pine

    Perfume the sunlit air.

Then sink to rest on Nature’s breast,

From worldly troubles free,

Where fourteen hundred islands fair

Bedeck with Nature’s jewels rare

                Peerless Temagami.

You bade me take a bark canoe,

    And from the lonely shore

Of a wild lake, with stately isles,

    List to the rapids’ roar.

Then catch the spell you know so well,

‘Midst beauties I would see,

Where poplars breathe a mystic tune,

When shines the silver crescent moon

               O’er lone Temagami.

You bade me seek the solitude

    Of the lone forest street,

Where high above the verdant sward

    The tangled branches meet;

And then to look through Nature’s book

And in her records see

Where mastodon, in days of yore,

Through virgin forests fiercely tore

               Near wild Temagami. [page 9]

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Then I took up my bark canoe,

    And from the lonely shore

Of a wild lake, with stately isles,

    I heard the rapids roar;

And in my dreams, by crystal streams.

That dashed along with glee,

I found the trace of moose and bear,

And sought the grey wolf in his lair,

               Near lone Temagami.

You led me close to Nature’s heart,

    Deep in the forest glade,

The treasures found by memory there

    Shall never pass nor fade;

And when at last, my wanderings past,

O’er land and stormy sea,

I’ll close my eyes, and in my dreams

Through rapids dash and crystal streams,

               Near blest Temagami.

The mark of change and death is stamped

    On all things here below;

The flowers bloom, then fade away,

    The seasons come and go;

But memory still, through good and ill,

My treasure-house shall be;

E’en in that glowing land afar

I’ll think of thee, earth’s brightest star,

               Peerless Temagami. [page 11]

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Power, Love, and Peace.

An Indian Legend of Arlca, the Great Magician.

THE evening shadows gently fell

Across the valley wide,

Where the St. Charles rushes down

To join St. Lawrence tide.

On every hand, across the land,

The glorious, setting sun

Gilt rugged bluff and forest tree,

And lofty plain that yet would see

An Empire lost and won.

As Arlca gazed upon the scene

His soul was filled with fire.

He cried, “Oh, could some spirit come

And grant my heart’s desire!”

“A spirit’s here, no longer fear,

Let all thy longings cease;

Thou shalt have fame and great renown;—

Choose now, before the sun goes down,

Power, or Love, or Peace.”

“Oh, Spirit, give me power,” he cried,

“To wield a magic wand,

And let my gift of prophecy

Be known throughout the land;

Let Arlca’s name and Arlca’s fame

Act like a magic spell!”

“Thou’lt be physician, prophet, priest,”

The Spirit cried: “from west to east.

All power is thine; farewell!” [page 13]

His skill was known to every tribe,

From east to glowing west;

From the Atlantic’s surges to

The Rockies’ rugged crest.

The joy of power lives by an hour,

Great Arlca’s wanderings prove;

He sought the Manitou again,

And said, “The gift you gave is vain;

Great Spirit, give me love.”

The Spirit said, “This night a maid

Shall near thy tepee wait;

To meet the great Magician

She crossed the Behring Strait.

If thou wilt wed this lovely maid,

Thy power and might are dead.”

“I care no more for power or fame,”

Cried Arlca, “or a sounding name;

I will have love instead.”

That night he met a maiden fair

Beside his tepee door;

He loved her with a love his heart

Had never known before.

But from that hour all might and power

Had from proud Arlca flown.

His love and learning at her feet

He gladly laid with joy complete;

He thought of her alone. [page 14]

The maiden said, “To find a chief

I crossed the Behring Strait;

But now thou art no longer great,

I leave thee to thy fate;

For Arlca’s name, and Arlca’s fame

Were known from shore to shore.

Thy fame has passed, thy hopes are dead,

I mourn that Arlca I have wed;

I cannot love thee more.”

O’erwhelmed by unrequited love,

He saw his wife depart;

Then sought the Manitou again,

With anguish in his heart.

And cried, “I mourn by anguish torn,

When shall my sorrow cease?

Pity my sufferings, my despair,

Greater than mortal man can bear;—

Great Spirit, give me peace!”

“Arlca,” the Spirit sternly said,

“Thou hast thyself to blame;

For those who ever think of self,

The end must be the same.

If thou wouldst shine by light divine

Let selfish efforts cease,—

Go back and follow duty’s way;

Thou’lt find therein, from day to day,

Power, and Love, and Peace.”

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The Red Rose Maiden.

BY the Metabichouan Falls there sat

      An Indian Princess fair;

Red were her lips, dark were her eyes,

   Glossy her long black hair.

A warrior passed the foaming Falls

   Of the Algonquin tribe.

He said: “Sweet maiden fair as [x]

And bright as dewdrops on the [x]

   Come, be a warrior’s bride.”

“Come with me to my forest home,”

   Cried the Algonquin bold ;

“Of ermine, gold and wampum beads

   I’ll give thee wealth untold.”

“Great Chief,” she said, “that cannot be,

   I love a warrior true:

He went to chase the moose and deer,

And I must wait to meet him here;

   I cannot go with you.”

“Thou wilt not come,” the chieftain said

   “Oh, lovely star of morn ?

Then thou must be a wild red rose

    And grow amongst the corn.”

The warrior true came from the chase

    To meet the maiden fair

Beside the Metabichouan Falls.

He heard the wind and loon’s wild call;

   The maiden was not there. [page 17]

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Sadly he sat by council fires

    Whilst others danced with glee;

A voice kept calling night and morn,

    “Oh, come and set me free;

In lonely wilds, bound by a spell,

    I wait and watch for you.

Then haste through dell and over hill,

A wild red rose is waiting still

    Her warrior brave and true.”

He searched through dell, by lake and stream,

    O’er plain and mountain high;

He found her when his form was bent,

   And dimmed his eagle eye.

“How can I free thee, love,” he cried,

   “And give thy soul sweet rest?”

“Just pluck one leaf and break the spell.”

He plucked the leaf, the maiden fell

    Upon the warrior’s breast.

Her hair was white as driven snow,

    And sparkled with the dew;

She waited there so many moons

    Her warrior good and true.

They met beside the sea of Death,

    When life’s short race was run;

Then through the portals of the west

They went to join the good and blest

    Beyond the setting sun. [page 19]

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The North-Land.

GREAT northern land, man’s work in sculptured stone

       Into oblivion fades,

When we have stood beneath thy verdant domes,

   Or viewed thy colonnades.

When the sun sets behind a graceful screen

    Of autumn-tinted trees,

There’s no cathedral window could compare

   With colours such as these.

I’ve seen more graceful forms in smoke and flame

   Than man has thought or dreamed

When the camp-fires’ inspiring, cheering light

    Into the darkness gleamed.

Oft, when the Night Chief o’er the darkening earth

   Cast evening’s mystic shades,

I’ve listened to the music of the spheres

    That floated o’er thy glades.

Temagami, gem of this wild North-Land,

    Pearl on a sparkling chain

Of limpid lakes, fain would my wand’ring steps

    Revisit thee again.

Temagami, the nymphs of music dwell

   Where thy pure water laves;

Their instruments, the streams and swaying trees,

   The rapids and the waves. [page 21]

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I saw thy stately Isles arise to view

   When morning’s vapours fade,

And knew that I had found a blest retreat

   Where care could not invade.

And through my steps may wander far away,

   My eyes be turned from thee,

Temagami my heart is wholly thine,

   And thine shall ever be.


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