Jeremiah S. Clark
[unnumbered page, includes illustration: Home, as it was before August 10th, ’01. See page 55.]
THE ACADIAN EXILE
SEA SHELL ESSAYS
JEREMIAH S. CLARK
CHARLOTTETOWN, P. E. ISLAND
Printed by Archibald Irwin, Richmond Street, west
Entered according to the Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year one thousand nine hundred and two, by Jeremiah S. Clark, at the Department of Agriculture. [unnumbered page]
Contents page, 3.2
Corrected page no. to “22” from “25”
Page 14, 32.4
Added closing quotation marks
Page 17, 32.9
Corrected “Musenm” to “Museum”
Page 19, 7.7
Corrected “Ahtookwakun” to “Ahtookwokun”
Page 19, 26.2
Corrected “magican” to “magician”
Page 20, 9.2
Superscript for footnote corrected to “11” from “10”
Page 29, 1.7
“.” changed to “,” after “be”
Page 36, 4.11
“fragrments” changed to “fragments”
Page 36, 12.8
“frolicing” changed to “frolicking”
THE writer has long been trying to carry out a purpose decided upon when first his boyish mind compared the thrilling history of Acadia with that splendid poem “Evangeline;” for he felt and still feels that popular opinion has been based upon a one-sided view which was never meant for history.
The problem has been a difficult one, for even the best histories are not widely read. Careful students, who weigh evidence and walk circumspectly, are referred at once to the histories of Parkman and lesser lights, within whose chosen field this writer need not trespass. And, though the matter does not lend itself readily to metrical expression, the writer had temerity enough to think that he might reach acceptably a larger public by distilling the essay and allowing it to fall into a metre and manner not altogether unlike that adopted by Longfellow in his great epic poem.
In its present form, after many an upheaval, and fourteen years manipulation, during which time it has often seemed perfect, and as often been consigned to oblivion, the essay will not please every reader; yet it may appeal to many who have thought no hand would ever be raised to efface such a “blot” upon the history of Canada; feeling, as they did, that in the story of Evangeline they had not only the truth, but the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; while they but read a beautiful romance.
The writer has felt backward about exposing this alumnus on the public street, because he knows that readers of different races and religious beliefs must always view matters not only from different standpoints, but also in varying shade of light. On his part, since he may speak first, he would beg to say that if he is misinformed, he is anxious to correct himself as soon as he knows where he is wrong. The impatient reader is referred again to sections XX and XXI; and requested to remember that motives, though often imputed, are seldom positively known; and that we generally refer to their history, before [unnumbered page] judging the actions either of nations or of men.
A thousand times has the sun set behind the distant hills at the bend of the Valley, while the writer inhaled the evening air fresh from the meadows of Cornwallis and Grand Pre; and often, alone, he has hurried over the upland toward the Gaspereau’s mouth, or watched the ebb of the receding tide from a suspicious mound in some forgotten hollow, until he knows the country, hill and dale; and here he would simply remark what he has often felt, as his eyes measured the far-receding distances: that if the Great American Poet had ever visited the scene of the Exile, certainly he would have not been impressed with the height or nearness of the neighbouring mountains, on whose lofty pinnacles “Sea-fogs pitched their tents, but ne’er for a moment descended into the happy valley.”
Dear spirit of Longfellow,—if such familiarity of address be not considered sacrilege :—
“A schoolboy wandering through the wood
To pluck the primrose gay,
Starts thy curious voice to hear,
And imitates thy lay.”
J. S. C.
[illustration: Kirklawn, Bay View, P. E. I.]
[unnumbered page, includes illustration:
“God’s name!” shouted the hasty and somewhat irascible blacksmith;
“Must we in all things look for the how, and the why, and the wherefore?
Daily injustice is done, and might is the right pf the strongest,”
But, without heeding his warmth, continued the notary public—
“Man is unjust, but God is just: and finally justice triumphs.”
THE ACADIAN EXILE.
Ye who admire the pure Evangeline
And sympathize with manly Gabriel,
Who in the Cambridge poet’s lay have seen
That which has deeply stirred your inmost soul,—
Who, reading romance as cold history,
Condemn that crime as ruthless wantonness
Which caused the habitans1 of Acadie
Such heart-breaks, desolation and distress,—
A comrade bids you hear the tale retold,
That all may know of those coureurs-des-bois
Who, British-born, and thirty-five years old,2
Still fought to hold Acadie for France:
Though France agreed with England at Utrecht
That all the mainland, and all Newfoundland
Excepting what remains the French Shore yet,
Passed at that moment into Britain’s hand.
France still retained the Islands and that shore,
Reserved that epicures might fast in Lent;3
And there her fishers cast their lines for more,
As if still fishing for the continent;4
1 “habitan” Fr. peasant.
2 A French officer wrote home from Louisburg: “They have supplied many of the Acadians for more than thirty-five years with the necessaries of life, and have not troubled them by forcing them to pay.” Then, referring to the hostilities of the Acadians, he adds: “Judge what will be the wrath and vengeance of this cruel nation.”
3 Though this was the ostensible reason, the real reason was, no doubt, that France might not lose her splendid training-school for naval reserves.
4 Note the aggressiveness of the French fishermen, who, conscious of the fact that they are in training to recruit the navy, have taken possession of the shore permanently, some having built factories, though the treaty at first simply gave them permission to erect flakes for drying their codfish.
Though threatening bergs, whose chill forms groan with hate,
Plough though the banks they build, in fiendish sport,5
Already adding friction to the weight.
Upon our counsels in the world’s great court.
Longsuffering Newfoundland the menace feels,
And, while she plays the duteous daughter’s part,
Impatient ’neath the scourge again appeals6
To Britain’s shielding arm and mother-heart.
Let not Great Britain wait too long again,
Lest stern necessity pronounce decree
Harsh in its nature and enforced by men
Such as depopulated Acadie.
Time gave to Britain in the days long gone
Saint Jean, now called Prince Edward,7 and Royale,
Yet left to France Saint Pierre and Miquelon;8
But these have slight connections with my tale.
The wild land knew not, cared not if it knew
That treaties had been signed and envoys sent;
The Micmac found the seas and skies as blue,
And all the world approved the settlement.
When war was over, and the world at peace,
Strange deeds were done by bold coureurs-des-bois
Beneath the dense Acadian forest shade,
Wherever British settlers’ homes were found9
5 The gradual building up of French supremacy extending from Cape Ray to Cape St. John, may perhaps not inaptly be compared with the building up of the Newfoundland Banks themselves by ice-bergs from Arctic regions; and as each individual berg grides and grinds along, colliding and overturning, with crashes and groans in the chill air, so may individual instances of murder, the destruction of the red native race, which is not held to be murder,—and other crimes, be regarded as fiendish sport.
6 At time of writing Premier Bond was in England in conference with the Colonial Secretary.
7 The name was changed by Royal edict in 1799 in honor of the Duke of Kent.
8 The islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon still belong to France.
9 In the year 1745 a number of Acadian peasants were forced to take up arms against the British, while others had to furnish supplies to the garrisons. England now sent a fleet of transports laden with immigrants to build a fort in Chedabucto (now Halifax) harbor. It is worthy of note that the city which covers the site from which these settlers removed the primeval forest, still maintains the dignity of Lord Cornwallis and his Royal patents: and that the ukche-bookt, or Great Harbor, of the Micmacs is still the winter port of Canada.
These “bushmen”10 fought to serve a jealous God
And cover up a multitude of sins,11
Besmeared with blood of British heretics;
Forgetful of the peaceful Gaspereau,
And frowning dark like mighty Blomidon
When storms are brewing on the Fundy shore,—
Mad as those storms themselves when on they come.
See base Le Loutre, and his frenzied pack,
Red men, with French arrayed as Micmac braves,12
Horrid with paint, and knife, and tomahawk,
Rush naked from the forest, bearing death
In awful forms to peaceful British homes,
New-made amid the howling wilderness,
Where, as along the meadows of Grand Pre,
Here also dwelt in love a simple folk,
The pioneers of what we are to-day.
Go picture, ye who can, the bloody strife
That followed when the savage war-cry rose!
As from an Alpine peak the avalanche
Speeds down to crash into some peasant’s home,
So did the frenzied warriors creep, then rush
With brandished tomahawk and horrid yell,
Like ghouls or fiends, to strike their quarry down;
Forestalling death, by making earth a hell.13
10 Coureurs-des-bois, Fr. bushmen.
11 Charity is yet a matter of investment with many.
12 Le Loutre, a French priest, organized a band of Micmac braves, and kept them on the war-path harassing the British; but, as many of the number fell, and recruits did not rush to the standard, youths from Acadian homes became knights of the tomahawk.
13 The terrors of savage warfare need not be referred to at length; the greater Pitt in the British House of Parliament once spoke volumes in five words when he said: “Those horrid hounds of war.”
The dying settler clears his sight to see.—
Oh ghastly sight to greet death’s closing eye!
His wife and daughters struggling hopelessly;14
And there a mother, with her unborn babe
Fast in the throes of death ere full alive,
Both scalped, and weltering in each other’s blood
While writhing in death’s latest agony.15
Yet base Le Loutre hounds the wretches on,
Le Loutre, pedagogue and magistrate,
Priest above all, and confessor, sole law
To all who were committed to his care,
As Father Felix to Evangeline!16
Yet more,—a secret spy, paid by the French,
To hinder every movement Britain made
With ministrations hidden in the shade.
And well he carried on the border war,
Unflinchingly destroying heretics,
Until the Micmacs, being peaceful men,
Refused to further aid the butchery;
Though coaxed by presents, and by those condemned
Who claimed all power in heaven and on earth,
And seemed, on earth at least, to prove their claim.
With wondrous patience, thirty-five long years
Great Britain calmly held her power in check,
And spent her strength by peaceful means to gain
Acknowledgment that France held sway no more.
The King of France, when told by trusty spies
14 The helpless ones and the loot became the spoil of the conquerors; and what could not be used or carried off went up in smoke.
15 Instances of such fiendish practices are not few in the records of such barbarous times.
16 The French Government was careful to send out emigrants professing the Roman Catholic faith, whose priests still exercised the same authority in Acadia as their contemporaries in the provinces of France.
How British subjects murdered Britain’s sons,
Sent greater gifts to aid the cause,17 and said:
“I am well pleased with all that you have done.”18
So, on a pretext of not bearing arms,19
In case of war against their countrymen,
And having all religious rites maintained,
Which Britain granted more than France had done,20
They still rebelled, and pleased the king of France:
Who hoped that British counsel would advise
Abandonment of such a wretched cause:
That France, by keeping foothold, yet might hope
To conquer once again fair Canada.
If one ask why Acadians left their homes,
Whose sleeping inmates never barred the doors,
Where maidens loved to live, and lived to love,
And peace and plenty smiled on every side,21
Left these to don the red man’s plumes, and swoop
Transfixing citizens of different faith.—
It was a war against an alien race,
Especially against an alien creed;
When creeds and races battle, that is war!
The church was losing hold along the Seine;
Her dearest hope was in the colonies,
17 See Note 2.
18 In the year 1750 a dispatch was sent to the French king, informing him of the work carried on by Le Loutre and his braves against the British; which brought the reply: “I am well pleased with all that you have done.”
19 Twenty years after the first oath had been demanded, Lord Cornwallis again made a proclamation to which he received a reply signed by the crosses of a thousand of the twelve thousand Acadians, declaring that they would not take the oath unless it provided that they should not be required to bear arms.
20 Some French Protestants had found their way to Canada from Rochelle. Readers are referred to Parkman’s description of the treatment accorded to them, as well as to no less a man than the Sieur de Rochelle, and his proposed expedition from that enterprising city.
21 Longfellow’s ideal portrait did not include the whole twelve months of the year.
Where heroes lived and taught, and martyrs died;22
Where in the freedom of a mighty realm
Her factions might unite or separate;23
So France must save her fair child Nouvelle France
From heathendom and British heretics,24
Although a thoughtful son of France wrote home:
“Judge what will be the wrath and vengeance of
This cruel nation.”25 And the raids went on,
Till ruin reigned where happy homes had been.
Thus faithful souls broke faith with heretics;
A crime which, though it be a “venial” sin,26
And easily absolved by penances,
Yet heaped up wrath against a day of wrath,
Until the reek, condensing, fell and flowed,27
And as a torrent speeds toward the sea,
The frantic, maddening, rending deluge came;
And strewed the settlement on distant shores.28
A bloodless revolution, in whose trail,
To some more sad than many lives destroyed,
Was strewn the wreckage of a hundred homes,—
A revolution such as mother France
Herself has witnessed at her capital,
22 There are few if any missions having such records of true Christian heroism as the earliest Jesuit missions to Nouvelle France.
23 The factions of Protestants provide a continual source of discussion, as compared with the unity of Rome; but if we had no records except those of early Canadian history, we could ask for no darker picture of factional intrigue and strife.
24 At this time French heretics had been effectually disposed of, to whom reference is made in Note 20.
25 See Note 2.
26 This remark may provoke resentment, but it was the teaching, nevertheless, which led up to the Exile.
27 In some Swiss villages the moisture evaporated during the heat of the day condenses at approach of evening, and rain falls from a cloudless sky to trickle down the mountain side in tiny streamlets, and unite further down in roaring torrents that carry all before them to the sea.
28 The last straw may be the most insignificant of the whole load, but the blame of breaking the camel’s back has always been heaped upon it until its individuality has become notorious.
Yet lacking all the murderous elements.29
Oh, may our land be spared another such!
Such fury always kills Evangeline,
By lingering torture or by cruel steel,
Although that maiden’s soul and beaming eye
Reflect undimmed Heaven’s love and purity.30
But all Acadians did not take up arms,
A paltry few were fighting for the French!
And yet, they formed a base of discontent,
A basis of supply for Louisburg;31
Alike refusing to subscribe their names
Save to petitions, praying leniency,
With broken promises renewed in each.
Is he who serves two masters therefore free?32
France threatened that Le Loutre and his braves
Would treat as British all who took the oath,
Condemning them to slaughter and rapine;
That menace, near at hand, urged by the church,
Obscured all other power however great,33
And led them blindly on toward the brink.
’Tis said that those who could not read the oath
Were misinformed regarding its intent,
By those, whose place it was to know and teach,
Declaring it involved a change of faith.34
All honor to the men who would not swear,
If it be true that they believed it so;
But obloquy, and every kindred shame,
Be heaped on those whose actions caused the woe.35
29 Read accounts of the French revolution, or “The Tale of Two Cities” by Dickens.
30 “The iniquities of the fathers inflicted upon the children,” one of the unalterable laws of nature.
31 See Note 9.
32 “No man can serve two masters.”
33 A single club held before the eyes hides a forest.
34 The writer has been told recently by Acadians whose ancestors escaped to the woods at the time of the exile, that England tried to make Protestants of them by law, long ago; and, when she failed, turned them out because she was stronger than they.
The British Governors of Acadie
Made haste to carry out the stern decree
Which drove the exiles form their happy homes;
The deed was done without authority,
Because they knew that word would never come
Form mother England far across the sea,
To ruthlessly destroy a hundred homes.
They planned to push the matter and succeed,
Then front the world as Clive and Hastings did:
As Jamieson and Rhodes had hoped to do,—
As thousands do in business every day:
That man is still a hero who succeeds!
And he who fails! “There is no such word as fail!”36
They hastened, that the work might all be done,
And quickly done, as Judas work should be,37
Before a counter-order came from home
To stay that mighty arm, and ragged lash,
That nemesis38 was poising to lay on.
The brothers of those bold coureurs-des-bois
Who heard their loose-mouthed boast in Basil’s forge,39
And envied them the licence of the woods,
The hairy trophies, and the general loot,—
The fathers, too, who year by year maintained
One settled purpose, that could strangely blend
35 On the 10th of August 1749, Lord Cornwallis issued an order declaring that the British government would not interfere with the exercise of the Roman Catholic religion in any way; but required the priests as well as the people to take the oath of allegiance to Great Britain.
36 See Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.”
37 “what thou doest do quickly” Words of Christ to Judas.
38 Nemesis, the stern avenging goddess of the Greeks.
39 If there was a Basil with a forge, there were also loafers, for “since the birth of time,” etc.
With “modest stillness and humility”—40
All who would not acknowledge Britain’s sway
Together were embarked and sent away,
With maidens in their bloom, and matrons gray;
And the lone land remained a helpless prey.41
A silent Micmac, come to trade his wares
Before he starts upon the winter hunt,
Awed by the stillness, stands in mute amaze,
And reads the record of that tragedy
He could not say: “Behold how these men loved.”
Perhaps his thoughts go back to other times,
And words like these are forming on his tongue:—
Might not great Glooscap42 now come back again
To make his home one more on Blomidon?
Alas, it cannot be, can never be:
He will not come till all shall honor truth;
40 See Shakespeare’s “Henry III”
41 The Acadians were bundled aboard the transports as if they had been so many cattle, without due regard to family ties; and they were left at different parts along the American seaboard from Maine to Florida; the farmers and cattle being confiscated and disposed of by Lawrence and his associates.
42 Glooscap, the great mythological sage of the Micmacs, resembled in many ways the great Confucius of China and the East. The natives tell how the first French explorers tried by every means to capture him and take him home to France. Not only did he have the strength of Samson with the wisdom of Solomon, but he was a deity who went about doing good, and would be among his people yet, were it not for the treachery of the foreigner and the deceit of the nations of Megamagee, the Acadie, or desirable place of the Micmacs.
He sailed away on Fundy’s ebbing tide,
And in the sunset land has made a home,
Where all may go to him until he come.
What other thoughts may fill the Micmac’s soul,
As his lank form stands out against the sky?
Does he recall the sachem’s warning threat
That thunder-clubs43 should smite the thunderers,
And fire-water44 sear the dealer’s soul,—
Or does he speculate on mysteries
That ever contradict plain reasoning,
And prove that over all there must be One,
Nesulk, or Nikskam, —Ukche-sakumow,45
Whose thoughts are not the thoughts of human minds.
Perhaps he finds that two and two makes five
When human feelings influence the sum:46
But why ‘perhaps’? an awful deed is done,
And reason, blinded, stares into the sun.
Ye, who condemned the Exile as a crime:
Pause but a moment,—think,—and then pass on;
Know that no mortal man is wholly free
From racial or religious prejudice;
Know too, that of the thousands who have read
The thrilling romance of Evangeline,
And suffered with the suffering portrayed,—
43 The poetical epithet bestowed on the old flint-lock which replaced the war-club.
44 Fire-water was one of the first commodities brought,—the blighting, withering curse of the pale-face, which could not be resisted when once it had kindled an appetite heretofore unknown in nervous constitutions of the sons of the forest.
45 Nesulk, Micmac for maker, creator; Nikskam, Micmac for Father of us all; Ukche-sakumow, Micmac for Great Chief.
46 The personal equation is a prime factor in every problem, and must be reckoned with.
But few will read in heavy history
The pros and cons, and with impartial minds
Deliberately weigh the evidence.
Then,—feeling that this essay has a place,
Accept this feeble effort to explain
What in a thousand manuscripts47 lies buried deep;
While treasuries of dry historic facts,
By skilful men impartially arrayed,
Must still confound what they elucidate;
For twice the human lens refracts the light,
And they who read see more than they who write.
One superficial glance shows but the crime;
Another shows the former crime more grave;
So be not hasty to condemn what seems
Man’s greatest “inhumanity to man.”49
Go, love and help the suffering and oppressed:
The One who was The Truth did not condemn.50
Find, if you will, among the histories,
How Canada was fettered by her friends,
And knew no freedom till the British came;
Then find from every source how, step by step,
Our native country rose to where she stands:
The mistress of a million happy homes,
With open arms for many millions more.
Know that an empire soon shall rest upon
What you and I are building now to-day,
Then build your part for all eternity.
“Our Lady of the Snows,”51 and fruitful fields!
47 In the Archives at Paris, Quebec, British Museum, etc. many of which are referred to by Parkman.
48 The deceptive refraction of light is well known. Compare also Pope’s couplet, “Tis with our judgments as our watches, none go just alike, yet each believes his own.”
49 Which, according to Burns, “makes countless thousands mourn.”
50 “Neither do I condemn thee.” Christ to the sinful woman.
51 See epithet by Kipling, the Laureate of the Empire.
So let us stand for purity and strength.
Our watchword being: ‘Godlike manliness,’
For then, and only then, shall we be strong
In that which every man must most admire;
And in the world’s great councils, Canada,
Dame England’s eldest52 daughter, ever be
An honour to her mother and herself.
Long may she stand for purity and strength,
“Our lady of the Snows,” and fruitful fields,
Our Canada, our own fair Canada!
52 It is true that the United States of America is the eldest daughter of England; but in darker times, mistakes led to separation and a severance of the family tie; so that now Miss Canada usurps the title of eldest daughter, while Kipling racily makes her say: “Daughter am I in my mother’s house, But mistress of my own.”
The First Acadian Exile.
“Weegegijik! kessegook wigwamk;
Meskeek oodum ulnoo, kes saak,”
[May you be happy! the old people are encamped.
There was once, long ago, a large Indian village.]
Classic introduction to all the ancient Ahtookwokun.
Mighty in friendship was Glooscap, and mighty in magic,
He who loved Truth as his life,—the one true necromancer.
He was a kenap,2 boooin,3 a great malbalaawe4
Yet he stood true to his friends; he was mighty in friendship!
Over the far-heaving sea came the mighty in friendship,
Came from the East, in his kweedun,5 a small rocky island,
That sped with the swiftness of light at the beck of its master,
And reached without paddle or sail the wild shores of Megamagee6.
He dwelt many lifetimes in fertile Acadian valleys,
Then passed, alas that he must, to the land of the sunset.
He cannot come back until men shall speak the truth with their neighbors.
The Acadie,7 that he has made now knows him no longer.
“Paalumakik koobetaku8 Cape Split, and he dug through at Digby,
And drained the Annapolis Valley, to make it his garden;
He counselled great Kuhkwu,9 the Earthquake, the spirit of justice;
And rolled old Koolpujut10 with handspikes in springtime and Autumn.
1 “Ahtookwokun,” legendary folk-love.
2 “Kenap,” supernatural warrior.
3 “Boooin,” magician
4 “Malbalaawe,” physician and surgeon.
5 “Kweedun,” canoe.
6 “Megamagee,” Micmac name for the Maritime Provinces, meaning the home of the true men, the Micmacs.
7 “Acadie,” the place of, —cf. Shubenacadie, (Segubun-acadie) the place of the segubun or ground-nuts; cf. also Baslooacadie, the landing place, Cape Traverse, and St. Peter’s Island, P. E. I.
8 “Paalumakik koobetaku,” he cut through the beaver-dam at (Cape Split.)
9, 10 These mythical characters were brought to Megamagee by Glooscap, the latter has no bones, and cannot help himself, he has to be rolled over with hand-spikes,—hence his name. In autumn he is turned toward the west, causing winter, and again in Spring to the east, causing the other great change of the seasons which fills the world with life and beautiful sunshine.
He taught all the arts,—even hunting, and fishing, and weaving,
The planting of pumpkins, echkooaak, with corn, peaskumun,
As people still plant them to-day, for they love one another.
He taught, too, how homes should be made, though he never was married.
For he was a demi-god; his was a love above mortals;
He loved all the tribe; and might not tie down his affections
To any fair maiden on earth,—he is married in Wasoak,
The home of the faithful, that glows with the glories of sunset.
Sage Noogumich11 ordered his wigwam, assisted by Marten,
Called Uhkeen12 in deference, not his cognomen Abistanaooch.13
These followed their lord when he sojourned in Ajaaligunuk,14
Or when he dwelt high in his home on the brow of old Blomidon.15
He shared of his best with the meanest that came to his wigwam:
He aided in myriad quests those who sought his assistance;
Until the booktaawik16 was brought by the thunder-club traders,
Which dragged down the Micmacs till Glooscap could help them no longer.
He could not endure the deceit of the double-tongued trader;
He grieved when his people went down like the trees of the forest
Before the debauchery and greed of the unscrupulous pale-face,
Who laid on him impious hands,17 as the heathen on Samson.
11 “Noogumich,” used as a term of respect, as we use “aunt.”
12 “Uhkeen,” my younger brother.
13 “Abistanaooch,” marten.
14 “Ajaaligunuk,” the island home of Glooscap where he dwelt when not at Blomidon; not identified; possibly Prince Edward Island.
15 “Blomidon,” the promontory (500 feet high) where North Mountain ends abruptly in the Basin of Minas, famed in story.
16 “Booktaawik”, fire-stuff, rum, spirits, (booktaaoo, fire.)
17 Tradition relates that French traders tried repeatedly to capture Glooscap, in order that they might exhibit him in France, as they had done with other prominent representatives of the Red race. After he had frustrated all their schemes, he sailed away in disgust toward the setting sun.
His kettle18 lies turned upside down near the base of old Blomidon;
His dogs are transformed into rocks,19 where they stood looking westward
When Glooscap sailed out on the ebb-tide,20 an exile through falsehood,
To return when his people learn Truth, amidst wildest rejoicings.21
Oh, helpless and hopeless indeed were the gods of tradition,—
The power of God must come down to uplift what has fallen,
Or Glooscap can never return to his people who love him.
Confucius and Buddha were mighty,— but give us our Glooscap.22
18 An island at the base of Blomidon is known as Glooscap’s kettle.
19 Two sharp rocks facing westward are known as Glooscap’s dogs, as they stand awaiting his command to spring into activity again when he comes.
20 The powerful ebb out past Cape Split into the Bay of Fundy carries objects far to the westward beyond the horizon.
21 Tradition points unmistakably to a millennium.
22 The reader is referred to the writer’s chapter on Micmac mythology; or better, to the stories themselves as preserved for us in Rand’s Legends. It is well also to read thoughtfully these words of John Ruskin:— “The first plain fact about myth-making is one which has been most strangely lost sight of,—that you cannot make a myth unless you have something to make it of. You cannot tell a secret which you don’t know * * * The real meaning of any myth is that which it has at the noblest age of the nation among which it is current * * * as the intelligence and passion of the race develop, they cling to and nourish their sacred legend; leaf by leaf it expands under the touch of more pure affections, and more delicate imagination, until at last the perfect fable burgeons out into symmetry of milky stem and honied bell.”
The Bottomless Lake
I sleep in the sea, I sigh for the sky,
I follow in no man’s wake.—
Earl of the open sea am I,
Lord of the bottomless lake.—SEA SHELL.
WOULD you learn of a dark sparkling lake without inlet or outlet,
Nor rises, nor falls, lying still, though no scum ever gathers,
Where the band is in charge of the mythical bull-frog Ablegumoo;*
A lake clear as crystal, and brimming in summer or winter?
Hear the tale of the bottomless lake, of Meskeek-uum-Pudaas,
By the side of the great western road, at the Indian Portage,
On the Island called Epaygwit, Abegweit,1 moored close alongside—
Though since named Prince Edward for honoured Victoria’s father;
This gem of the sea in the yielding embrace of Megamagee.2
A portage it was, where the supple and strong-bodied ulnoo3
Would hasten across with his kweedun4 from water to water,
And drive on before him his spouse with the household utensils,
Ulbadoo5 and abitas6 in terror close-scrambling behind her,
With the infant mijooajech7 lashed in the koobilsakun,8
All silently staring, alert and intensely excited;
For here was the home of Chepitchkaam the horrible dragon,—
Half-serpent, half-turtle, fiend, spirit incarnate, whole monster.
The fabulous bull-frog himself would not utter a murmur.
Unless he were sure that Chepitchkaam desired his presence!
1 “Epaygwit” “Abegweit,” Micmac name for P. E. I., meaning at rest on the sea, moored alongside.
2 “Megamagee,” Micmac name for Maritime Provinces, the home of the true men, the Micmacs.
3 “Ulnoo,” man.
4 “Kweedun,” canoe.
5 “Ulbadoo,” boy (pronounced ’lbadoo.)
6 “Abitas,” girl, young woman.
7 “Mijooajech,” infant.
8 “Koobilsakun,” cradle-bed without rockers, in which the baby was lashed with thongs.
What sesip9 came back to its nest that once bathed in these waters?
What ulumooch10 ever returned that would drink from this margin?
You never approach it but ripples start up on the surface
Where all was as placid as glass, for no Zephyr was stirring;
And often, most blood-curdling splashings are heard in the darkness,
When travellers belated pass by at the hour of midnight.
What must it have been when the pale-face was over in Europe,
If spirits survive all the dazzle of civilization.
This bottomless lake, long ago, was a very Avernus,
When Blomidon still was the home of the good-loving Glooscap;*
Before the deceit of the pale-face had driven him westward,
To remain until men shall learn Truth in the land of the sunset,
Returning as soon as he may, amidst wildest rejoicings,
To lead in the final destruction of all that is evil;
And fill up the bottomless lake called Meskeek-uum-Pudas;
To plant all this Island in one most magnificent forest,
With avenues winding in beauty from seashore to seashore;
The demi-god Glooscap would love to return to his people,
O that all our people might hasten his coming, and help him!
Meskeek-uum-Pudas still slumbers in awe-filling silence,
Its depths never knew the unholy unrest of the ages;
Nor yet in its bosom one blank, hungry-hearted Nirvana;
They say it is one living spring o’er its entire surface;
They say fifty fathoms to plummet would never reach bottom.
The Micmacs who lived long ago were a fanciful people,
But sages have passed that remembered the best ahtookwokun;
The names that for ages were cherished will soon be forgotten;
The splendour is fading away from the lakes and the rivers
Since people take pains to forget all the glories of childhood.
9 “Sesip,” bird.
10 “Ulumooch,” dog.
*See Rand’s Legends for reference to mythical characters.
PEEGUIS THE OTCHIPWE.
Straits of the Spirit, Manito-aba,
Home of a happy people, bold and free,
Within thy borders lived a warrior-chief
Whose name and fame shall last through many years;
Peeguis, the conqueror, whose word was law,
The able man, the wise man from the east,
Who, pushing westward, brought his people here,
And conquered all this land, and made a home
Beside the Miskwagamiwi-sibi,—
Red River, silty-water, Winnipee,
That ever Northward, through old burying-grounds,
Flows with its load of silt, brought from afar
To build up deltas as the Nile has done.
No torrid heat dries out thy reedy ranks,
No dread Sahara lines thy wooded banks,
Be thou the mother of an Egypt here,
Queen of vast fertile plains, Canadian Nile!
Here Peeguis found a river full of fish,
Winding its wooded way through endless plains
Dark-dotted with brown droves of buffaloe;
Where medicine, and fruit, and pakinak.
Flourished untended, and the fertile soil
Promised abundance of mandaminak,
If once the corn were buried in the mould,
Although forgotten until harvest time.
Here, in this myriad-speaking solitude
Great Peeguis made a realm, and here he reigned,
Descendant of the mighty Pontiac,
Whose name adorns that other strait Detroit;
Blood of a hundred heroes in his veins,
Himself a hero and a gentleman. [page 24]
He always proved himself the white man’s friend,
Friend of the monias, the ignorant man,
We could not throw a spear nor bend a bow,
The bearded pale-face from Wabanakim,
A region thenceforth known as Moniang,—
The land where men come from who do not know.
Peeguis had pity on the Monias,
And soon discovered they knew many things
Which all Anishinabeg well might know:
They found in books, masinaiganan,
So many things about the earth, akki,
And ispeming, the mighty vault above,
That Peeguis begged them to remain with him,
And teach his people all they did not know.
He gave the first who came Saint Boniface,
The place they chose on the Red River’s banks,
Where from the west the dark Assinniboine,—
Assini-bwan, the stony-stubborn tide,—
Blends with the larger flood its troubled stream.
Thus would the peoples blend in amity,
One people as one river, till at length,
Depositing the sediment of life,
They wander different ways into the sea
Down by the deltas Mitewauke.
Here, in the place called Peeguis after him,
An eager student from the distant east
Where Selkirk, Peeguis’ bosom friend, had lived
Before he came to Manito-aba,
From where the Micmac and the Maliseet
Dwell in the highlands of Megamagee,
Has journeyed far, that he may study here
The people and the language Peeguis loved;
To know the grandsons of the warrior-chief,
And be a brother to them in their home. [page 25]
Chief William Henry Prince, the active man,
Son of Miskogineau, great Peeguis’ son;
The most successful hunter in the band,
The boldest and most careful voyageur.
Who risked his life to spike Fort Garry’s guns,
And did the deed at Middleton’s command
One stormy night amid the sleet and rain,
When war-clouds threatened to destroy his home.
On arm and side he bears two ugly scars,
From rebel bullets when he fought with Riel,
And, ever foremost, broke within their lines,
Then rode his wounded steed until it fell
In service of his Country and his Queen.
He is a man whom rugged men admire,
Well chosen Chief for what he was and is.
Know him, and know that you have met a man.
See John approach, pride in each springing step,
Iandaweway, echo that resounds,
Grandson of Peeguis, cousin of the Chief,
Stately and strong at eighty-one years old,
And loyal to his Country and his King;
We meet his brothers, Neganwawetun,
Called Joseph now, but still the thunderstorm;
And David, foot-ball, Wembewabenun.
We talk about the old mythology:
Gods good and evil dwelling everywhere,
While over all, and hopelessly removed,
Ketche Manito, (mighty spirit he),
Dwelt in the forests of Mitewaukee.
We talk of God who is jawenjigay:
Keshay Manito, (gracious spirit he);
We read Ketche Masinaigan, then,—
The Book of Books, the word of God to men;
And then we talk of words in common use,
Of aikk, gijik, tawin, ispeming. [page 26]
Tebihkut, oonagooshen, ishkooday,
Wassakwenjigun, neskijik too,—
Earth, Sky, home, and the mighty void above,
Night, Evening, Fire, Lamp, and eye to see.
We build lame phrases and weak sentences,—
Bo-shoo, neche; anin ’nekamegak?
Good day my friend; pray tell me what’s the news?
Ketche sanagad Otchipwemoian,—
Most difficult is the Otchipwe tongue.
And then the curtain of the evening falls
Beside the Miskwagamiwi-sibi.
The old men say this river’s name was changed
From Winnipee to Miskwagamiwi,
Because its ample stream was red with blood
When, after fearful slaughter, victory
Perched on the banners of the warrior-chief,
In that great battle where the sun went down,
And the wolves gathering gorged themselves with gore.
Thy murmuring waters speak of mystery;
Dark is thy bosom as thy child the Cree;
As Nubians to the Nile are they to thee,
A Boating Melody.
Ahoy, for a sail on the heaving sea
When the evening breeze is blowing;
The breeze that dies down with the setting sun,
While twilight slyly eyes our fun,
And the moon laughs at our rowing;
O, we sing and we shout, as, one by one,
The stars hurry out all blinking,
And the sea-birds scream with such unfeigned glee
That it goes to our heads I’m thinking;
Now pull to their music,— pull with me,
Or we may hear the dawn-birds crowing.
But the gentlest of ripples comes along,
And our oars are stowed instantem;
How our barge careens as the large sail fills,
How each upsettable basket spills
If their liberty we grant them:
There is freedom, life, and a joy that thrills,
As we leap with gunwale under,
While with quivering hearts, too full for song,
We live, and enjoy and wonder;
Yet laugh at the waves that madly throng,
And coax them, and tell them we want them.
The spray! how it flies from our foaming prow,—
Now huddle and hug each other;
But a cloud has covered the moon,—Oh, speed!
Lie close up to the wind’ard now, there’s need;
Look at that one, —think of mother!
Ah! the watcher’s eye sees the need, indeed,
And the brightest lamp is lighted; [unnumbered page]
Do you see that gleam on the wave-tips now?
How it calms frail hearts affrighted!
Hold her up one notch; see the light; steady now;
Lower away. Close call, my brother.
THE BELTED KINGFISHER.
KING, is he? kneel if he be, and uncover before him;
Belted and plumed, royal blue, and notoriously quarrelsome;
Capable too, and he knows it,—an arrogant boaster!
The other birds shun his abusive and wearisome chatter.
Pity his queen-fisher, deep in her den at the cliff-top,
Nursing the callowest goslings that ever picked eggshell,
While he, with his mirror beneath, in profound meditation,
Sits preening, and wasting his time, like professors and poets!
But he’s off! and he poses himself like a spectre in Heaven,
Then drops like Jove’s bolt with a splash,—then again he emerges
And speeds with his trophy to comfort that spouse we had pitied.
He cannot be kingly with feelings so intensely domestic? [page 29]
My Lost Hel’otrope.
Noctem maestum nunc relinquo
Ad solem libenter verto—SEA SHELL.
THE snow lay deep, the clouds hung low,
Earth seemed asleep beneath the snow,
No stream might flow, nor storm-cloud weep,
No flowers grow, nor insect creep.
I plodded, gowned in flowing sable,
At physics, trig, and classic fable,
Rejoicing that I had been able
To keep one flower on my table.
Why did you die, my Heliotrope?
Why should I sigh and vainly hope!
Why must I mope with moistened eye?
Why blindly grope, neath midnight sky?
You modest, fair, sweet-perfumed flower,
I loved you long in Beauty’s bower;
I longed to think you in my power,
And sit beside you hour by hour.
No coin of mine for you I gave,
Then wherefore whine above your grave?
For you I gave my strength and time,
A willing slave to dig or climb!
But how can one whose mind is reeling
Arrange, or modulate, his squealing?
My meter checks my flow of feeling
A freer movement might be healing? [unnumbered page]
Oh sorrow deep, and sad remorse,
Oh fierce self-accusation, worse!
I caused the death of that fair flower;
You would be blooming free and fair,
Breathing sweet odours on the air,
Among your mates this very hour,
Had not my eye your beauty seen.
I took you from your parent bower—
Those purple blossoms, leaves so green—
Well might the storm-clouds darkly lower,
And greet us daily with a shower!
I tended every need in fondest love.
Moisture beneath, some sunshine from above,
Rich food, and everything within my power.
But Oh! with draughts and dark you could not cope,
And so through me you died, my Heliotrope.
You spotless lilies, hold your perfumed breath,
You roses, blush with shame and sympathy;
You violets so pure, close your dark eyes,
Bend down into the dust, and never rise;
Your pansies, with your sober steadfast gaze,
Bow low your heads when you behold this death;
For truant man is full of apathy.
He cares for nothing but the thing that pays.
You daisies, gaze in wonder from beneath,
Then close your snow petals o’er your gold;
Trust not in man, who toils through weary days
That to his bosom he may firmly hold
The richest earth produces, or that heaven
Has wisely seen was best, and kindly given.
You sturdy maples, how you lift your arms,
And fling them freely to the stormy gales, [page 31]
Oh why with sweetest essence store your veins
Since human tyrants own the hills and dales!
They pierce you each succeeding season for your pains
And while you weep your life away they joke about your charms
Come graceful birches, thorns that line the lanes,
Firs, larches, hemlocks, spruces, cedars, pines,
Willows that weep above the purling brooks,
You alders on whose murky trunks no summer sunlight shines,
All join our sad procession, glum as rooks:
Now sing a mournful dirge whose depth of feeling
Shall cause the patient apple, and the cherry, pear, and plum,
To break their bonds, then quickly wheeling
Fall into line, step to your drum,
And so assert their native right while humbled man stands dumb
Base, sordid man, awake by these alarms
Might feel at length the beauty of your charms,
And stealing silently amid your cosy nooks
Learn lessons never taught in musty books.
Come polyanthus, sprightly fair and true,
Bring all your friends and cowslip cousins too;
You pretty snowdrops; and dear crocus flowers,
The winter of my grief is melted by soft showers.
Come tulips, have your varied tints displayed,
The mayflower soon will brighten every glade;
Soon the meek harebell’s honey-laden breath
Drives from my troubled mind all thoughts of death.
You clovers decorate the meadows green,
While myriad grasses peep their velvet blades between;
Go buttercups and watercresses mellow,
Bedeck each burnside gay with every shade of yellow.
Sweet-peas and honeysuckle, come, adorn my bower,
Entwine me with your tendrils, I am now within your power;
Ho! asters, golden rod, and marigold, [page 32]
Vie with the primrose and the mullein as of old,
And as the morning glory greets the rising lord of day
The dew-drop on her brow becomes a diamond in his ray.
Alas! I find, in common with the race,
That stupor blind fills every empty place;
Let not a trace of it be in my mind,
Rise by the great Creator’s grace, and cast all weights behind.
There like a strong man armed, bold, brave, and free,
Strengthened by sorrow but unharmed, I breast life’s troubled sea,
Let drifters, siren-charmed, go by the lea;
Come you, whose hearts are true, and struggle on with me;
For heavenly rhythm thrills our souls with joy,
The seas, the hills, their giant powers employ,
The starry sky takes up the glad refrain,
All nature echoes: nought was made in vain!
The tiny creeping ant, the busy bee.
As well as every plant, and shrub, and tree,
Has each a part to fill in God’s great plan,
O praise Him, that He kindly kept the largest part for man.
My thoughts have wandered far, for they are free;
I wish that I could half express the thoughts that trouble me;
I would that I could half control the inner longings of my soul.
You flower of all the millions on the lea,
And unknown numbers underneath the sea,—
My Heliotrope! I sorrow still for thee.
Nor do I blindly grope, I think I see
The One who swings the universe through space,
Sees every sparrow fall, and fills its place.
He speaks a message soothing to my soul:
The motive, not the deed, lasts through all time,
Then may each motive spring from thought sublime;
May every action mirror the Divine!
While, like the ivy round the oak, I twine my fragile vine. [page 33]
Come happy oats and take a seat,
Come join your notes with sober wheat;
To rapid beat now tune your throats
While through the heat the music floats.
Blithe barely joins the lively measure
And jolly rye, full bent on pleasure
With blooming buckwheat fond of leisure,—
But yet, alas! bring back my treasure.
My faithful friends you cheer my heart,
Your beauty blends with every art,
Each princely part a glory lends;
Let art depart, we gain our ends.
Peace. Let the turmoil of my sorrow cease;
Toward the sun I turn, I know it does not please
The holy, happy One, that I should moan for ease;
I move with nature now in universal peace.
TO A WOUNDED TERN
YOU beautiful bird, whose tapering wings
Bore to heaven your lithe, frail form,
When, a messenger of the King of Kings.
And yourself the king of the storm,
You skimmed the white surf where old ocean flings
With a passionate, fiendish glee,
His strength on the beach, that echoing rings
With a wonderful harmony,
While your mates’ shrill screech to my warm heart brings
A melody pleasing to me.
Your joy is no more, for a cruel ball
By a mischievous sportsman aimed
Has pierced your bosom so shapely and small,
And left you, O fairest one, maimed.
Alone, on a stone, too feeble to call
You are waiting for death’s cold hand
Oh! have I a heart in my breast at all,
If I pass you, or pitiless stand,
Nor help you to bear, nor throw on the pall,—
Ah! sad ending for life so grand.
I clasp in my hand your fluttering breast,
Though I sigh as you struggle there;
I close—a moment—and you are at rest,
Then I almost breathe a prayer
For your mate and brood in the lonely nest,
On the sand-dune over the bay,
As the wind blows cool, and the glowing west
Announces the close of the day.
[Must your plumage rest on a lady’s crest
While your body molders away?] [page 35]
THOUGHTS ABOUT TERNS AND THINGS
“THE tern is a small gull-like bird with mandibles coterminal,”
So standeth the dictum sonorous the king of the book-case,
That dread composition, called in all book-makers’ catalogues a dictionary.
The tern that I love most of all is the black-capped ‘Sterna hirundo.’
When the sea struggles fiercely and lashes the shores into fragments
Spray rising in torn sheets intertwined with the be-draggled storm-clouds,—
Then, with coterminal mandibles agape, from some sheltered position of vantage,
Watch the tern, the king of the storm, defiantly, joyfully speeding.
Again, when the sea is asleep, and the balmiest, soothing sea-breezes
Waft over its mirror-like surface the essence of ocean,
Come with me, and visit the seaweedy flats of the sand-hills,
When the terns, our shapely “hirundos,” are frolicking over their supper.
Each ubiquitous bird is a host in itself,—earth and heaven
Are obscured in a flutter of wings; you forget your companions;
Your properly dignified notions all vanish instantem,
And you scream with the terns, as you twist through their endless gyrations.
They who know have declared that true sportsmen with masculine instincts,
Find keenest delight in destroying, like ruthless barbarians,
The flourishes God has supplied to the hard lines of nature
While ladies—not women—monopolize ornamentation.
“To dress it and keep it,” was God’s great commandment to Adam;
Not dress her, regardless of slaughter and anguish, and keep her,
By tricking her out in dead peltries to make her attractive,
While widowed ones weep o’er their wounds, and their young starve untended. [page 36]
A BLAST FROM THE SHELL
Would you feel nature’s beauty, and revel in ancient tradition?
Do you long for a bath in the yielding embrace of the ocean?
Are you tired and dry as the dust on the streets of the city?
Come, let me persuade you to visit Acadian waters.
If you wish for the briniest sweetness with limitless sand-dunes,
Come on to the Gem of the Gulf, known as Prince Edward Island;
But would you have scenery steeped in pathetic traditions,
Then stop on your way at the dyke-lands, remaining at Wolfville.
For here, as of old, lie the blossoming orchards and meadows,
With Blomidon rising to northward, just over the Basin;
And here you may walk to Grand Pre, where she sleeps in seclusion,
Or drive to Cornwallis, and gaze from the brow of the look-off.
The willows are near, and the well, where so many have sauntered,
Free from all care, as the bobolinks singing at sunset,
Over the dyke to Evangeline Beach, where friend Patriquin
Holds out a welcome as hearty as ever did Benedict.
EARLY APRIL IMPRESSIONS.
While we lie prone beside the sea
It seems to me a mystery
That life transforms so mightily.
Husks strew the ground;
Lo these will grow,
Though all around
Damp mists abound;
The ear may hear a pleasing sound,
As here and there the melting snow
Seeks byways to the plains below,
Flows, finding rest in hollows low,
While gentle murmurs grace its flow.
Why does warm moisture swell the seed
Until from husky bondage freed
The gloomy plumule seeks the light,
Becomes a stem with colours bright,
Then bursts out into glorious bloom?
Her former tomb
Now feeds each weed;
Life lends the might
That scatters night.
What is that life, and whence, and why?
Can living essence ever die
Alas! it rests a mystery.
THE sky is clear, the sun shines bright
And thawing, freezing, day and night,
Spring marches on.
The snowdrops smile from pearly eye,
As thankful through their tears they cry:
Old winter’s gone.
So may my troubled soul at last
Greet, when the storm-clouds all have passed,
The Heavenly One.
IN MEMORY OF BABY COUSIN.
To its Mother.
ONE little light gone out;
One little soul called home.
But oh! the darkness and dreary doubt.
And the love-chords snapped in hearts so stout;
Oh the tear-drops shed by baby’s bed;
Oh the life-stream red to its fountain-head,
And lashed into muddy foam,
While the world rolls cold and lone.
Oh! you little dear,
We are glad you have come so soon,
And an angel* pair bore through the air
That sweet little soul so free and fair.
As their laugh rang out in one grand shout
It drove to the deep my dreadful doubt.
And now with the warmth of noon
I can sing: “Thy will be done.”
*Two others of this family had gone on before.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
COME love, and let us sweetly sing
A carol to our Saviour King,
To-day is Christmas Day!
Make all the merry echoes ring;
O! let all our hearts be gay
This happy holiday!
For Jesus left his home above,
Came down in lowliness and love,
To wash our sins away, and take away death’s sting;
So while we watch and pray, O, let us also sing!
Sing? Give the lordly hills a voice,
They wait in silence, yet rejoice.
Praise,—and they echo praise.
They long to join us in our joys;
’Tis ours to lead the lays
Angels through endless days
With heavenly music clear and sweet
Bow low around their Master’s feet.
As incense sweet our lays—our Christmas Carols—rise;
We sing our Father’s praise, whose glory fills the skies.
Christmas Day, 1897
THE OUTSTRETCHED HAND.
MUST Finland fall as Poland fell
And all the world look coldly on,
Shall Russian breath, like blasts from hell,
Blight every flower it blows upon?
The champions of freedom stand
With sword-arm busily engaged,
Is there no power to raise a hand,
Though hearts are crushed and rights outraged?
The grasping greed of heartless men
Defeats its end by tyranny;
“Truth crushed to earth shall rise again,”
And Finnish patriots shall be free.
But travellers, groping midst the storm,
See not the wealth that lines its hem.
And we, whose fire-sides glow warm,
Should open up our homes to them.
Here lie broad fields of virgin soil
That bask beneath the sun’s warm gleam;
Where plenty blesses honest toil,
And freedom reigns,—all but supreme.
Then come to our Canadian home,
You true and tried of Finnish race;
A million exiles cease to roam,
Enamoured of this happy place.
BRITAIN THE MIGHTY.
HARK to the shout again.
Flung back from kop to fen:
Ever she sends more men,
Britain the mighty!
Terror of criminals
Under our flag they fall,
They who obey her call,
Sons of the Empire.
True soldiers one and all.
Britain the mighty!
Mistress of armies.
Friends bleeding, foemen dead,
Bravely we forge ahead,
Letting the light in.
Dark is the path we tread,
Britain the mighty!
Champion of freedom.
Great as thou art in war,
Peace proves the mightier,
Queen of both sea and shore,
Britain the mighty!
Mother of nations.
When hate’s subsiding blast
Blows the last war-cloud past,
Rule as thou ever hast,
Britain the mighty?
Our Great Britain [page 42]
FAREWELL TO OUR VOLUNTEERS.
GO in your manhood’s pristine strength
To fight in England’s war;
And know throughout the conflict’s length
We watch you from afar.
We send you to the motherland—
Not that she needs our aid—
But, by her side her offspring stand
To own the price she paid.
We send you where the Southern Cross
Glows in a foreign sky,
To meet new dangers,—suffer loss,—
And some of you—to die.
Our representatives you go;
We shall be judged by you;
We trust your manliness: we know
That trust betrayed by few.
Stand to a man for purity,
“Our Lady of the Snows!”
And rugged manly quality,—
“Land where the maple grows!
A strength which every man admires,—
Land of the fruitful fields!
Shall kindle in our hearts the fires
True patriotism yields.
Oct. 21, ’99.
The true student is nothing more nor less than an interrogation point.— SEA SHELL.
WHO is it that stalks past with stately gait,
So pompous, grave and prudent?
Who never hurries, yet can never wait?
Who works till midnight and then sleeps till eight?
Who is it but the student?
Who takes the cover of his lexicon—
Although he knows he shouldn’t—
To strap his second-handed razor on?
Sells borrowed books, cleans stamps, and plays at pawn?
None other than the student.
Who combs his room-mate’s scalp-lock with a pick,
Because its owner couldn’t?
Who ‘scratches gravel,’ worn down to the quick;
Who consecrates his muscle to Old Nick?
Again you say,—the student.
Who has a roll of sheepskin ‘in his eye’—
Might have it now but wouldn’t—
When rackets and exams have all passed by?
Who owns old mother earth, with sea and sky?
That same tame dame, the student.
SUGGESTED COLLEGE SONG.
GOD bless Acadia,
Our own Acadia,
May she be strong.
May we as students be
True to ourselves and thee,
While full and bold and free
Rises our song:—
Chorus: Acadia, old Acadie
The place of places she should be
We find her so if we but try
To load the moments as they fly
We rise from night to the brightest day
By overcoming all the way.
God whom our fathers loved,
Whose loving kindness proved
Their shield and stay,—
May our professors stand
In one unbroken band
For God and Native Land
We humbly pray.
“Red-breased sphinx, with crown of gray and green.”—THEODORE H. RAND.
THAT giant rock still stands in majesty;
Around whose base swirl Minas’ thundering tides,
And, while I gaze in awe, repeats to me:—
The steadfast, pure and true alone abides.
Calm is his soul who in such company
Pursues his calling, and in bosom hides
That confidence, firm-based on Cavalry,
Which no o’erwhelming billow overrides.
Acadia is the place where liberty
Is lifting men to light with stately strides;
The Place, the Micmacs names her; let her be
A nursery of kings through nones and ides.
A. W. Sawyer, D. D., L. L. D.
THAT strong, brave man we well may love which towers like an oak
Whose base is firmly bedded in an crevice of the rock,
Whose topmost heights the rising sun in golden glory folds,
Returning when the day is done to clothe with crimson cloak
That grand majestic form which stands resisting every shock,
That form whose rugged dignity a freedom spirit holds.
While all the world is gay and free and blossoms load the boughs,
We place on Sawyer’s thoughtful brow these poor, frail, laurels now.
Long may he live, and happily, from wearing cares removed,
A peaceful rest may Heaven give when Autumn’s fruit is housed,
Whilst all who bear the brunt of toil at workshop, desk, or plow,
Test and prove best those principles his life so well has proved.
I THINK there is no pleasure half so sweet
As being loved by those we daily meet;
I know there is no passion that can move
Cold human hearts, like that queen-passion love,
Love is of God,—ah, God himself is love,—
Love reigns triumphant in the home above,
Nor can we humbler creatures rest complete
Until mild love has turned the gall of nature’s crudeness into sweet.
Love is a passion that masters the mind;
Turns a man to a, what shall I say,—makes him blind:
And, though hatred and jealousy slumber behind,
It will sweep o’er the steep and the deep unconfined,—
Love is the lever that lifts mankind! [page 47]
IN MEMORY OF FRANCIS BAIN.
“Oh many are the poets that are sown
By nature, men endowed with highest gifts,
The vision and the faculty divine,
Yet wanting the accomplishment of verse”—WORDSWORTH.
LIFE is not judged by years, I am but one
Thrilled with the touch of his magnetic soul,
And by the contact helped to see the sun,
Though the mists of ignorance still around me roll.
The birds were his companions, and the flowers,
He overturned the rocks, and dredged the sea,
He studied and he toiled through weary hours
Yet found delight in all because his soul was free.
Oh you, whose self-imposed depravity
Hides all but daily duties from your view,
Do burst your galilng chains and you will see
The beauty that is now perforce revealed to few.
God gave you power to do, and feel, and be,
Drink if you will from nature’s living stream,
Bain drank, and duty became ecstasy,—
He now drinks deeper draughts direct from the Supreme.
All honour to the name of Francis Bain,
’Tis writ above, and on the scroll of fame.
No words of mine the reason need explain,
For all who knew the man still love that noble name.
He was a poet of the truest type,
For he loved nature with his soul and strength
Plucked in the bloom ere yet his life was ripe.
Oh what a grand bouquet out God will have at length. [page 48]
SILAS TERTIUS RAND
STAND thou a hero! Brave, strong, sweet-souled Rand,
Firm on thy high pedestal through all time.
Thy God who cheered thee on, and held thy hand,
Preserves from dread oblivion thy memory sublime.
What, though no sculptured block adorned the spot
Where they had laid thy worn-out shroud away,
Until a daughter’s toil memorial brought;
Within a thousand strengthened hearts thy visage beams to-day.
Mild was thy manly spirit! as a child
Amongst his playmates thou couldst laugh and sing;
Yet through the greatest hardships on the wild,
Thou didst the cheering Gospel to the Micmac wigwam bring.
Peace, when the gloaming settled, sweet release
From thy long day of labour, for as He
Pleased not himself, thyself thou didst not please:
Thou too wert meek and lowly, yet a prince of high degree.
Now, to thy memory, leaned*Sakumow,
Prince in the realm of mind, few were thy peers!
Soon fades this wreath we bring, as low we bow,
But in the richer lives of men thy life lives through the years.
Wolfville, 20th May, ’99.
*“Sakumow,” Micmac for Prince or Sage.
FRIEND Francis Parkman, if I be allowed
To thus address one of such dignity,
I owe a tribute to thy memory;
My pen might well be worn with praising thee.
Thou wast the first to teach my boyish mind
That Canada has such a history;
Thy pleasing pages fascinated me,
Recording, as they do, the mighty deeds
Of native warriors such as Pontiac;
And how the pale-face came, and what he saw
At Hochelega and Stadacone.
Of the pure lives, and consecrated zeal
Displayed by Christian teachers from old France,
Who came to win a country with its tribes
To mother-church at least, if not to Heaven,
And win themselves a martyr’s glorious death.
How Nouvelle France extended with La Salle
Down the Ohio to that mighty stream
Which found the French again at New Orleans;
While far and wide Canadians tramped the land
Beyond Niagara to the western sea.
Thy works have justified the stern decree
That sent Acadians exiles from these shores;
Have told of Louisburg, and old Quebec,
Where endless feuds and merciless intrigue
Fed on the vitals of the struggling State
Until she learned the health of British rule.
DOWN by the sea-shore in that crescent isle
That Micmac poets had called Abegweit,
And fitly so; fair isle so snugly moored,
Upon the swelling bosom of the sea;
A gem well set amidst the maritimes,
Your peaceful homes by meadow, wood and stream,
With flocks, and herds, and waving fields of grain,
Support a happy people, chaste and strong.
Here, on a busy farm, my life began
Amid these pleasant scenes of toil and rest.
Through the mild, happy hours of early youth
It glided slowly onward, while I gazed
On flowers and streams, and on the blighting frost
That took away the beauty from the flowers,
Congealed the streams, and hushed their voice, yet had
A beauty and a grandeur of its own.
Oft did I pause to think, oft do I now,
And as my rambling thoughts flit back and forth,
Still changing as they move in form and place,
A solemn sadness wraps me in its folds;
My heart beats slow, my sense overcome,
And lost in thought,—that all-controlling power,
Lose each their several functions, and become
As though they were not. Can I help but pause!
My youth is past, my life is well begun;
The sled has fully started on its way.
At first it slowly moved, it crept along,
But bounding now from lump to lump, it speeds,
A living creature straining every nerve, [page 51]
To gain some distant goal. I, as that sled,
I, as the ebbing tide, am bore away
By night and day. I cannot, would not stay.
The myriad hosts of earth and heaven move,
All creatures that received the breath of life
Have motion; meanest animalcules move;
And if my nobler nature wish to pause:
“Go to the ant, thou sluggard,” mark her ways,
Learn well the lesson taught by bird and bee;
Learn also that the Christian hosts move on,
Because our Lord’s last great command is Go.
The way to glory must be trod afoot;
The hills so steep and valleys deep and dark
Are gained, and left behind, but when
We leave on each the impress of our feet.
The thorns that hedge the way will leave their scar;
The cross that I am given I must bear,
If I would enter Heaven, and would share
Supremest blessedness forever there.
My strength is God. Obeying him is rest,
For is not rest the fruit of priceless peace!
He gives no armour for my back, nor fort!
Though I be weak, His power helps me on
Even as I ask Him, for my Leader says:
Whatever you shall ask the Father in my name,
That will He give you. And the Saviour knew
The heart of God the Father as His own.
There is no rest for me, unless I go
As Jesus went, for he went doing good. [page 52]
He toiled, he prayed, not that his labour might
Be lightened, but that he from day to day
Might receive strength to bear the cruel taunts,
The pain, the unbelief, down to the death;
In opening up the way for sinful man
To deal on equal terms with holy God.
For he who is the First and Last has said:
That they who do his will shall have a right
To life,—shall have a right! O, think of that!
Though we are weak and sinful of ourselves,
We are a feather weighed against God’s law;
With Jesus on our side, down goes the beam,
For he fulfilled the law; he gave his life!
He was made sin for us who knew no sin.
God said: “The soul that sinneth it shall die;”
But Jesus died instead, he loved us so;
And when he asks us for our love, our life,
That he may use us to lift up mankind,—
Since he has paid our debt,—shall you or I
Neglect the invitation from on high?
Shall we not rather to his bosom fly?
[unnumbered page, includes illustration]
KIRKLAWN gone! the home we had cherished;
Surely it cannot be,—still it is so;
Mother has scrawled it in pencil and mailed it:
There is her letter,— yes Mother, I’ll go.
Gaily we planned for a family reunion;
One summer more, and the wanderers return,
To the place that was home, but is cinders and ashes,
With blasted trees mourning they too did not burn.
Gone in a night are the treasures we valued;
Nobly they toiled who were there to take part.
Thank all the neighbors for kindly assistance;
Still home is gone! we must make a new start.
An Indian band, so says their traditions,
Once fled for their lives from a furnace of flame,
Till, fording a stream, they cried “A-la-ba-ma,”
And dwelt in the country now known by that name.
Now A-la-ba-ma,— we rest by the river,
While close by the bluff at the Bay-side we dwell.
As friends their mere trappings, so homes excel houses,
And he who rules all things, works wisely and well.
’TIS long since I have wasted ink
In my attempts to rhyme,
But, really, when I come to think,
The view is worth the climb.
I feel that I would like to write
A song in meter sweet,
Or monster poem of wondrous might,
A something quite complete.
I feel as if I have a work,
A mighty work, to do.
A duty that I dare not shirk,
A task that is not new.
My elder brother, Jesus, died;
And ere he went to Heaven,
He bade us preach both far and wide:
Repent, and be forgiven.
And with that last command he gave,
He gave a promise sweet:
Lo I am with you, I can save;
In me you are complete.
Now brothers, sisters, in the Lord,
’Tis by his love we live;
Shall we neglect his parting word,
Debating what to give?
Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God,
The Father says to each;
May we not tempt, if armed, and shod,
We still refuse to preach? [page 56]
The mute, the blind, the great, the small,
The little child, can preach;
’Tis deeds, not words, that does it all;
The most unlearned may teach.
What can we do with this in view,
But follow where he leads?
Who answers me:—I will,—I do.
God will supply our needs.
NOTE.— This was printed in the Young People’s Union. My first rhyme in print
ATTEMPT TO ANSWER MILTON.
“Oh why did God
Creator wise, that peopled highest Heaven
With spirits masculine, create at last
This novelty on earth, this fair defect
Of nature?”—PARADISE LOST, BOOK X, LINES 888-892
PERHAPS because the Heaven-implanted love
Of man for woman elevates mankind,
Until foul man doth almost seem a god
To her who loves him; while to fellow-men
He shows such new-born God-like powers, that they
Regard with awe what erst they must detest.
And woman’s sphere is giving love for love;
By deeds and words portraying what is dear;
Unfolding intuitions from above,
Which vary not throughout the changing year.
A sphere as broad and free as love or life,
Is that of mother, sister, maid, or wife.
THE SEA SHELL SPEAKS.
WOULD you like to know where the Sea Shell grew,
Or hear it tell
What it hopes to do?
Then sit down a spell
And hear it through,
While the starlit sky sifts down the dew.
The Sea Shell grew by a lovely shore,
Where soft winds sigh
And the sea-birds soar,
Where the rocks rise high
And breakers roar,
And the clatter of war is heard no more.
At fair Kirklawn, in its Island home
Was spent life’s dawn,
Where the plashing foam.
Leaps light as a fawn;
It loves its home;
It is neither a fairy, ghost, nor gnome.
The daily cares of its father’s farm
Engaged its youth,
Keeping moist and warm,
Though mayhap uncouth,
It’s soul frail form;
While it found in nature’s soul a charm.
It would like to tell with trumpet blast
That souls may live,
For the doom is past.
Now, shall your life give
Your soul its cast
Like a gnarled old trunk, or a tall ship’s mast? [page 58]
The base worm creeps to its cold cocoon,
And silent sleeps.
But it bursts out soon
And it speeds o’er steeps
A live balloon,
Yet its kind is known by the light of noon.
That noon-day light, when the reapers start,
So dazzling bright,
Classifys the mart.
Those who love the night
Shall soon depart
To the gloomy left, with breaking heart.
At the Master’s right a merry throng
Bask in that light,
Many loved among,
And their direst plight
While dancing on,
Is to half express their heavenly song,
Sea Shell would tell joyful news to all;
For all may dwell
In that heavenly hall.
He who conquered hell
Calls great and small
To his marriage supper where nought shall pall.
Have your wedding garment white as snow
Washed in that blood
Sin had caused to flow
When the Saviour stood
For man below,
And together we’ll feast with the King we know. [page 59]