Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets
The Battle of St. Julien and Other Poems

OF THIS EDITION OF THE BATTLE 

OF ST. JULIEN AND OTHER POEMS,

BY KATE COLQUHOUN, TWO HUNDRED

AND FIFTY COPIES HAVE BEEN PRINTED.

THIS CHAP-BOOK IS A PRODUCT

OF THE RYERSON PRESS, TORONTO,

CANADA.

                Copyright, Canada, 1928,

                by The Ryerson Press

[handwritten: To

                          The Vancouver Poetry Society

                                  from Kate Colquhoun.

                                               Vancouver B.C.

                                                               1929.

Miss Kate Colquhoun is a member of the group of British Columbia poets, her address being Ailsa Lodge, Vancouver, B.C. She has been a frequent contributor to Canadian publications.

These poems are dedicated to the memory of Mrs. R. G. Sutherland, late Regent of Caxton Chapter, I.O.D.E. [inside front cover]

[illustration: The RYERSON POETRY CHAP-BOOKS]

The Battle of St. Julien

AND OTHER POEMS

By Kate Colquhoun

THE BATTLE OF ST. JULIEN

April 22nd, 1915

“The Canadians saved the day …”—British Official Report.

LISTEN while I tell a story of our soldiers of the North,

How they held our flag in honour when the German hordes broke forth,

How within the Ypres Salient, ’mid the thunder of the guns,

For the saving of their homeland died our brave Canadian sons.

There had been a strong bombardment on that sunny April day,

And excitement held the trenches where the German armies lay,

For did not their great Commander state that triumph was at hand,

When they launched the new offensive which no human could withstand.

Then with roads to Calais open, they would quell the shattered foe,

And driving all before them, to victory would go.

Thus they boasted in their dug-outs ere they launched the new attack,

Confident they held a weapon which would drive the Allies back.

Naught to them the Hague Convention which they’d promised to abide.

If they could not win by fighting,—then foul methods would be tried. [page 1]

Soon from out the German trenches poison clouds began to rise,

Sweeping down across the Salient, blotting out the sunny skies.

Bravely then our untried soldiers stood to meet the coming death

With the cruelest odds against them, choking, gasping for each breath;

Right and left support had crumpled,—they alone must stem the flood;

Heroes of our fair Dominion—dying in the trampled mud.

Dying there, but not retreating, each heart cried, “They shall not pass”:

Huns! You learned our soldiers’ valour when you loosed the deadly gas.

And their fame will never perish, for a fiery cross is laid

On the hearts of all our people of whatever rank or grade,

And with strength our land will flourish through the splendour of the years,

It was cherished by their heart-blood, and is sanctified with tears.

♣   ♣   ♣

TWILIGHT AT SIWASH ROCK*

O DARK are the verdant mountains

    That tower by the chanting sea,

And dark are the misty woodlands

    That rise to the west of me.

As I stand in the drifting twilight

    And ponder the Red-man’s fate,

While the restless tide sweeps onward.

    Through the deeps of the Lion’s Gate.†

O many a moon has risen,

    And many a moon has died,

Since warriors thronged these waters

    And roamed the forests wide.

They have passed like the mists of morning

    From mountain and stream and vale,

Yet ghostly echoes linger

    On the ancient Siwash trail.


*A rock near the entrance of Vancouver harbour called after the Siwash Indians.

†Lion’s Gate, the entrance to Vancouver harbour.


[page 2]

DREAM-CHILD

SHE CAME in a dream-like vision, when the moon was all aglow;

Down the path which led from the river, where the whispering rushes grow,

To answer a ceaseless longing, which burned like a living flame,

In one who had prayed to be “Mother,” but had never been given that name.

And she played in the beautiful garden, by the lonely woman’s knee,

With hair like the woven star-light, with eyes like the summer sea;

And whenever they way seemed dreary, or the hours stretched dull or long,

The woman would come to the garden, and sing her dream-child a song.

And no longer the drifting twilight wove shadows around her soul,

For love, like a brimming river, had found in her dream its goal.

♣   ♣   ♣

WHO DIES FOR FREEDOM LIVES

  CLOUD-SHADOWS fall across his grave;

      Pass quickly, shadows—he was young,

      Who gladly on Truth’s altar flung

  His life, so freedom’s flag might wave.

  O, river laughing in the sun,

      He knew your haunts and loved you well,

      List what the whispering pine trees tell

“He comes no more, his days are done.”

  And Autumn’s flaming hosts are far

      Adown the paths he loved to tread,

      Who sleeps with the heroic dead

  In that fair land where glories are.

  Who dies for freedom lives for aye,

      So let the torch of memory flame;

      To honour and their country’s fame

  Our deathless heroes lead the way. [page 3]

THE LAND OF OTHER DAYS

THERE is a deep ravine, where the fairy echoes hide,

Where a laughing, singing stream bounds down the mountain-side,

Where ferns grow thick and high, and the trailing wild-rose sways,

And a winding path which led unto the land of other days.

O, the wonders that it held for the childish feet that strayed,

And the many treasures found which will never, never fade,

And ever on the quest, amid the golden haze,

Walked faith unchallenged, blest in the land of other days.

♣   ♣   ♣

L’HEURE NOIRE

WHERE the lone wreaths of grey mists lie

    Across the marshes in the eve,

’Twas there her spirit came to grieve.

Ah, wretched me who left her lone,

    Tired of her wan Madonna face,

The water-lilies heard a moan,

    And hid her in this lonely place.

And I, grief-riven, sought my dead

    When twilight her grim fancies weaved,

Around my path the rushes spread,

    Before me drifting grey mists wreathed.

I came upon a hidden isle,

    Where wild strange blossoms hung abloom,

I rested there a little while,

    And heard Pan piping through the gloom.

’Twas then there came my lost love’s cry,

    From westward where grim shadows hung,

The reeds drew back to let me by,

    But to my oars the lilies clung. [page 4]

Good Pan took pity on my grief,

    And bade my captors let me go,

A bulrush pointed with its leaf

    To where the clearer channels flow.

And so at last I brought my dead

    Across the marshes in the eve:

Above the nodding lily bed

    Her spirit comes no more to grieve.

♣   ♣   ♣

THE DREAMERS

TWILIGHT hour and a strong tide flowing

           Out to sea;

Leave all the troubles you’ve been knowing,

           And come with me.

We will launch our barque with its sails aquiver,

           And journey far,

Safe in the knowledge that God, the giver,

           Will light the star.

There are mystic isles to the west, soft gleaming,

           Above the foam,

With music sweet for the soul’s redeeming,

           For those who roam,

We will leave the dross of the world to others,

           Who hear no call,

Let us sail to the misty aisles, O brothers,

           Ere night shall fall.

♣   ♣   ♣

IF THOUGHTS ARE THINGS

(Scientists now say that our thoughts have power to create spirit forms.)

  IF THOUGHTS are things, then what a strange array

  Will greet each mortal on that awesome day

  When last farewells are said to earth and creeds,

  Leaving us heirs to our past dreams and deeds!

  What waiting forms will rise before the sight,

  Greeting their makers with resistless might!

  What voices strange will call to you and me,

“We are your thoughts, Master, look well and see,” [page 5]

NARCISSUS

THE ZEPHYRS brought him incense of the flowers,

    From misty woodlands beautiful and cool;

When heedless of the waning of the hours

    Narcissus watched the pool.

And Twilight came adown the shadowy way,

    Vestured in opal tides of glimmering light;

Softly she passed where the lone dreamer lay,

    Then sought her lover, Night.

Came woodland nymphs who gathered at his side,

    And wreathed his brow with starry buds empearled;

But in his soul the darkening of the tide

    Had blotted out the world.

♣   ♣   ♣

THE MINIATURE

PICTURE hat with feathers fine,

Long curled locks, and eyes that shine,

Even though a century’s passed, since my lady sat

With her curls and feathered hat.

And have all your cavaliers

Gone with the forgotten years,

With the courtly toasts and rhymes

Of the happy olden times?

Have they left you, lovely dame,

All to tread the long road yonder?

While I gaze on you and ponder

On life’s changing endless game.

Silken curls, your meshes fine,

Hold this modern heart of mine;

Tho’ that sweet smile was not meant

On a dullard to be spent.

Here, before a ghostly host

I will rise and drink a toast

To a maid beyond compare,

For my lady is so fair

Venus would be jealous of her name. [page 6]

THE STORM KING’S CHALLENGE

HARK! it is I, Chaos, the Storm King,

List to my call.

How the earth-weaklings tremble and fall:

Is this your boasting? See! I, the Storm King,

Challenge you all.

Look! it is I, Chaos, the Storm King,

Look and beware,

On the horizon my dread lightnings flare;

Watch how your cities crumble to earth,

That gave them birth.

Hark! to the laughter of Chaos, the Storm King,

Tremble and fall!

Where are the fetters to hold me in thrall?

Vain is your boasting, See! I, the Storm King,

Challenge you all.

♣   ♣   ♣

THE GODS OF YESTERDAY

ALONG the Nile their ruined splendour stands,

   The great of yesterday are tired and sleep.

The wondering moon peers through the drifting sands,

   And mocking jackals round their altars creep.

The great god Ra* amid the darkness waits,

   A nation’s homage which no more will come,

In battered line beside his temple gates

   Stand carvèd kings their lips for ages dumb.

The priests no more will call, nor watchers throng,

   No fires will light the ruined altar stone,

These people, who were boasted true and strong,

   Have left their gods unguarded and alone.

’Twas then I thought, and in the years to be,

   Searching our temples will some wanderer stand,

Noting each ruined symbol he may see,

   And wonder at the strangeness of our land.

The great of yesterday are tired and sleep,

   And pass by quietly people of to-day;

Mock not their dreams where, in oblivion deep,

   Past glory lies in mouldering walls of grey.


*The Egyptian sun god.


[page 7]

SUMMER IS OVER

SUMMER is over—King Frost, the rover,

           Comes with his sword,

Sternly he passes o’er the dead grasses,—

           Monarch and Lord.

Summer is over,—sunshine and clover,

           Murmuring streams,

Dark is day’s lustre, daffodils cluster

           Only in dreams.

Summer is over, dream-time is over—

           Gone with its song.

Deep in the heart of me, sorrow is part of me,—

           Winter is long.

♣   ♣   ♣

PALE MARGARET

O MARGARET, pale Margaret,

    I know you come when sun has set,

And steal across the dewy lawn

    Unto the home you can’t forget.

What Heaven a mother’s heart can hold

    When earth still keeps her loved ones there,

She sighes “My little child is cold,

    And I must help him at his prayer.”

And leaves her harp of shining gold.

O Margaret, pale Margaret,

    Who sits beside the hearth at eve,

I know you smile, I know you grieve

    While life does many a pattern weave

In that dear home you can’t forget.

♣   ♣   ♣

THE OLD NURSE

LO! AT the Gates of Pearl stands one who comes

Unheralded by minstrelsy or drums,

She was the patient type of womanhood

Who worked a lifetime for another’s good,

Hers were the menial tasks, and hers the care,

She looked on joy but never claimed her share.

Take her worn hands, O Angels, in your own,

And lead her faltering footsteps to the Throne,

For duty’s cross ever before her stood,

Who worked a lifetime for another’s good. [page 8]

THE RYERSON POETRY

CHAP-BOOKS

Lorne Pierce—Editor

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COMPANIONSHIP AND THE CROWD

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THE EAR AND TRUMPET (Out of Print)

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A VALE IN LUXOR

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THE PROPHET’S MAN

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SHEEP-FOLD

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THE SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS (Out of Print)

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BY COBEQUID BAY

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TWELVE POEMS

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SONGS FOR SWIFT REST

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ECSTASY AND OTHER POEMS

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BITS O’ VERSE IN SCOTS

By William P. McKenzie

DESTINY AND OTHER POEMS

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FOWLS O’ THE AIR AND OTHER VERSES IN SCOTS

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THE BATTLE OF ST. JULIEN

By Kate Colquhoun

Fifty cents

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A POOL OF STARS

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SPRING IN SAVARY

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THE CAPTIVE GYPSY (Out of Print)

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THE LOST SHIPMATE

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A BREATH OF THE WOODS (Out of Print)

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VAGRANT (Out of Print)

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WHAT-NOTS

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TWENTY AND AFTER

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THE CRY OF INSURGENT YOUTH

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THE POET CONFIDES

By H. T. J. Coleman

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SONGS (Out of Print)

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OTHER SONGS (Out of Print)

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COCKLE-SHELL AND SANDAL-SHOON

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WAIFS OF MIND

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[inside back cover]

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