(Miss R. E. Mullins)
When, in after ages, the literature of Canada comes to be written, it is to be hoped that among the mighty sons and daughters of genius now unknown, or as yet unborn, some room will be kept for the brave and loving pioneers who "gave the people of their best," and sang the songs of duty and patriotism and hope, ere life in our young land had ceased to be a struggle. With the growth of wealth and the spread of prosperity, will come leisure for more than material interests; and thus, in course of time, the author who has something to say will find an audience, prepared by culture and not too busy to listen to it. And, as supply is generally commensurate with demand, there will then be a literary class of corresponding merit. At least, something like this has been the rule in the progress of nations. But if those who come after, thus favored by circumstances, surpass their predecessors in literary skill or power, not less deserving are the latter who, with little prospect of reward, bore the burden and the heat of the day. This early stage in a nation's literature has, indeed, an interest and a value of its own, which only meet with due appreciation from a judicious and grateful posterity. If it has not the rich, warm splendor of the later morning, it has the welcome promise of the dawn, and a tender beauty of its own.
In this band of pioneers Mrs. Leprohon must be conceded a distinguished place. None of them has employed rare gifts of head and heart to better purpose; none of them had a wider range of sympathy; none of them did more willing service, with the purest motives, in all good causes. And, it may be added, none of them was more happy in attaining, during life, the admiration and friendship of a large though select circle of every creed and race among her compatriots. It is in order to place in the hands of those who thus loved and honored her a memorial of what she was at her best, intellectually and morally, that this little volume has been prepared. It contains the emotional record of a blameless and beautiful life, the outcome of a mind that thought no evil of any one, but overflowed with loving kindness to all. Before pointing out, however, what we consider the salient qualities in Mrs. Leprohon's poetry, it may be well to give our readers a brief sketch of her too short career.
Rosanna Eleanor Mullins was born in the city of Montreal in the year 1832. It is almost unnecessary to state that she was educated at the Convent of the Congregation of Notre Dame, so numerous are her affectionate tributes to the memories of dear friends associated with that institution. Long before her education was completed, she had given evidence of no common literary ability. She was, indeed, only fourteen years old when she made her earliest essays in verse and prose. Before she had bid adieu to the years and scenes of girlhood, she had already won a reputation as a writer of considerable promise, and as long as Mr. John Lovell conducted the Literary Garland, Miss Mullins was one of his leading contributors. She continued to write for that excellent magazine until lack of financial success compelled its enterprising proprietor to suspend its publication. It was some time before another such opportunity was given to the Canadian votaries of the muses of reaching the cultivated public. In the meanwhile, however, the subject of our sketch—who had, in 1851, become the wife of Dr. J. L. Leprohon, a member of one of the most distinguished Canadian families—was far from being idle. Some of her productions she sent to the Boston Pilot, the faithful representative in the United States of the land and the creed to which Mrs. Leprohon was proud to belong. She was also a frequent and welcome contributor to several of the Montreal journals. It is a pleasing evidence of her gentle thoughtfulness for a class which many persons in her position regard with indifference that she wrote, year after year, the "News-boy's Address" for the True Witness, the Daily News and other newspapers. One of her most pathetic poems, "The Death of the Pauper Child" may also be mentioned as a striking instance of that sweet charity which comprehended in its sisterly range the poor, the desolate and the suffering. The Journal of Education, edited by the Hon. P. J. O. Chauveau, himself an honor to Canadian Literature; the Canadian Illustrated News, edited by Mr. John Lesperance, distinguished both as a poet and a novelist; the Saturday Reader, the Hearthstone, and other periodicals, both in Canada and elsewhere, were always glad to number Mrs. Leprohon's productions among their most attractive features. She had always a ready pen, the result of a full heart and far-reaching sympathies, and, therefore, was frequently asked to write on subjects of current interest. Among her "occasional" poems; several of which are in this volume, may be mentioned the touching stanzas on the "Monument to the Irish Emigrants," those on the "Old Towers" at the "Priest's Farm," those on the renewal of her vows by the Lady Abbess of the Congregation of Notre Dame, the poem on the "Recollect Church," and the address "To the Soldiers of Pius The Ninth." One of her most important efforts of this kind was her translation of the Cantata composed by M. Semp on the occasion of the visit of the Prince of Wales to Canada in 1860.
We have attempted such a classification of the poems as we thought would best show the range of Mrs. Leprohon's powers. Under every one of the headings which we have adopted the reader will find something to profit and delight. The lover of nature will find himself carried in fancy to the fairest or grandest of Canadian scenes; he who loves to indulge in reveries of the past can with her stand with Jacques Cartier on Mount Royal three centuries ago and survey the mighty expanse of forest, destined one day to be the home of a thriving people; those whose pleasure it is to read of heroic deeds will hear her sing of ennobling courage and fortitude that blenched not at death. But by many, we think, Mrs. Leprohon will be most cherished as she tells in sweet and simple rhyme of the tenderness of a mother's love, of a wife's devotion, a husband's loyal trust, of the pious offices of the domestic altar, of the parting by the death-bed that is not without hope, of the loved and lost that yet are "not lost but only gone before." To illustrate these varied characteristics by quotation would demand far more, than our allotted space. We can, therefore, only refer the reader to the book itself, confident that in its pages he will find all that we have indicated and much more.
Just a word as to Mrs. Leprohon's prose writings. Though in this sketch we have dwelt upon her work as a poet, it is as a writer of fiction that she has won her most marked popular successes, that she has reached the hearts of the two great communities of which this province is composed. For no less than four of her most elaborate tales have been translated into French; these are, Ida Beresford, the Manor House of Villerati, Antoinette de Mirecourt, and Armand Durand. Besides these, she has written Florence FitzHarding, Eva Huntingdon, Clarence FitzClarence and Eveleen O'Donnell. In the Manor House of Villerai she has described with a skilful pen the manners and customs of the forefathers of the French Canadian people, such as they were at the period of the great contest which changed the destinies of Canada. In Armand Durand we have a courageous struggle with adverse fortune, which is at last crowned with success. The sad consequences of secret marriage, unblessed by parental consent, are unfolded in Antoinette de Mirecourt, one of the finest of Mrs. Leprohon's novels, and of which the French translation has lately been honored by a new edition. Of her merits as a novelist one of the ablest of French Canadian critics writes thus: "Gifted with a deep knowledge of the human heart, she finds in domestic life the subject of attractive pictures, full of delicacy and good taste, which she dramatizes with remarkable power. Her charm lies, not in any complication of intrigue or in problems hard to solve, but in a skilful working out of details, in incidents which fix the reader's attention, in the conception of her characters, in the painting of personal traits, in purity of thought, in sweetness of sentiment, in beauty of style, in the harmony of the parts, and in the most scrupulous regard for morality." This is high praise, and it comes from high authority. We will simply add that, with a few necessary changes, it may also be applied to Mrs. Leprohon's poems.
From this imperfect sketch of Mrs. Leprohon's literary life it will be seen that she was no sluggard. But we would leave a wrong impression if we gave it to be understood that all her time was passed in the writing of either poems or tales. Far from it. They constituted but one phase in a life nobly, yet unostentatiously, consecrated to the duties of home, of society, of charity and of religion. Mrs. Leprohon was much more than either a poet or a novelist—she was, also, in the highest sense, a woman, a lady. Had she never written a verse of poetry or a page of prose, she would still have been lovingly remembered for what she was as wife, as mother, as friend. It is, in a great part, because they are associated with her in these more endearing aspects, that they are the true mental and moral offspring of her very self, that those who knew her will find in them so much to prize. Alas! these and loving memories, that can scarce be separated from them, are now all that is left of her. On the 20th of September, 1879, after a tedious illness, endured with Christian resignation, she passed away. She did not live to receive the reward that was her due on earth, but that which is above is hers, and her works live after her, and a memory that will not perish.
In conclusion, we will just allow ourselves to point out that, in connection with her comparatively early death, there is a touching interest attached to some of her poems, such, especially, as "The Parting Soul to her Guardian Angel" and "The Voices of the Death Chamber." In the former she says:
"Thy soft-breathed hopes with magic might Have chased from my soul the shades of night. Console the dear ones I part from now, Who hang o'er my couch with pallid brow; Tell them, we'll meet in yon shining sky, And, Angel Guardian, I now can die."
And in the latter, which has all the vividness of an actual death-scene, as the husband and children from whom she must part are kneeling by the bed-side, the sufferer says:
"Oh! if earthly love could conquer The mighty power of death, His love would stay the current Of my failing strength and breath; And that voice whose loving fondness Has been my earthly stay Could half tempt me from the voices That are calling me away."
But at last they come nearer and sound louder, till they "drown all sounds of mortal birth," and "in their wild triumphal sweetness," lure her away from earth to Heaven.
The noontide sun streamed brightly down Moriah's mountain crest, The golden blaze of his vivid rays Tinged sacred Jordan's breast; While towering palms and flowerets sweet, Drooped low 'neath Syria's burning heat.
In the sunny glare of the sultry air Toiled up the mountain side The Patriarch sage in stately age, And a youth in health's gay pride, Bearing in eyes and in features fair The stamp of his mother's beauty rare.
She had not known when one rosy dawn, Ere they started on their way, She had smoothed with care his clustering hair, And knelt with him to pray, That his father's hand and will alike Were nerved at his young heart to strike.
The Heavenly Power that with such dower Of love fills a mother's heart, Ardent and pure, that can all endure, Of her life itself a part, Knew too well that love beyond all price To ask of her such a sacrifice.
Though the noble boy with laughing joy Had borne up the mountain road The altar wood, which in mournful mood His sire had helped to load, Type of Him who dragged up Calvary, The cross on which he was doomed to die.
The hot breath of noon began, full soon, On his youthful frame to tell; On the ivory brow, flushed, wearied now, It laid its burning spell; And listless—languid—he journeyed on, The smiles from his lips and bright eyes gone.
Once did he say, on their toilsome way, "Father, no victim is near," But with heavy sigh and tear-dimmed eye, In accents sad though clear, Abraham answered: "The Lord, our guide, A fitting sacrifice will provide."
The altar made and the fuel laid, Lo! the victim stretched thereon Is Abraham's son, his only one, Who at morning's blushing dawn Had started with smiles that care defied To travel on at his father's side.
With grief-struck brow the Patriarch now Bares the sharp and glittering knife; On that mournful pyre, oh hapless sire! Must he take his darling's life? Will fails not, though his eyes are dim, God gave his boy—he belongs to him.
With anguish riven, he casts towards Heaven One look, imploring, wild, That doth mutely pray for strength to slay His own, his only child; When forth on the air swells a glad command, And an angel stays his trembling hand.
The offering done, the sire and son Come down Moriah's steep, Joy gleaming now on Abraham's brow, In his heart thanksgiving deep; While with love from His lofty and glorious Throne Heaven's King hath smiled on sire and son.
THE STABLE OF BETHLEHEM.
'Twas not a palace proud and fair He chose for His first home; No dazz'ling pile of grandeur rare, With pillar'd hall and dome; Oh no! a stable, rude and poor, Received Him at His birth; And thus was born, unknown, obscure, The Lord of Heaven and Earth.
No band of anxious menials there, To tend the new-born child, Joseph alone and Mary fair Upon the infant smiled; No broidered linens fine had they Those little limbs to fold, No baby garments rich and gay, No tissues wrought with gold.
Come to your Saviour's lowly bed, Ye vain and proud of heart! And learn with bowed and humbled head The lesson 'twill impart; 'Twill teach you not to prize too high The riches vain of earth— But to lay up in God's bright sky Treasures of truer worth.
And you, poor stricken sons of grief, Sad outcasts of this life, Come, too, and seek a sure relief For your heart's bitter strife; Enter that village stable door, And view that lowly cot— Will it not teach you to endure, And even bless your lot?
VIRGIN OF BETHLEHEM.
Virgin of Bethlehem! spouse of the Holy One! Star of the pilgrim on life's stormy sea! Humbler thy lot was than this world's most lowly one, List to the prayers that we offer to thee!
Not for the joys that this false earth bestoweth, Empty and fleeting as April sunshine, But for the grace that from holiness floweth, Grace, purest Mother, that always was thine.
Charity ardent, and zeal that abounded, Thine was the will of thy Father above, Thus thy life's fervor so strangely confounded Cold hearts that mocked at religion's pure love.
Meekness in suffering, patience excelling, Bowed thee, unmurm'ring, beneath sorrow's rod; Spirit of purity ever indwelling Made thee the Temple and Mother of God.
These are the gifts that thy children implore, With hearts warmly beating, and low bended knee; Oh! ask of thy Son, whom we humbly adore, To grant us the prayers that we whisper to thee.
Softly the sunbeams gleamed athwart the Temple proud and high— Built up by Israel's wisest to the Lord of earth and sky— Lighting its gorgeous fretted roof, and every sacred fold Of mystic veil—from gaze profane that hid the ark of old.
Ne'er could man's gaze have rested on a scene more rich and bright: Agate and porphyry—precious gems—cedar and ivory white, Marbles of perfect sheen and hue, sculptures and tintings rare, With sandal wood and frankincense perfuming all the air.
But see, how steals up yonder aisle, with rows of columns high, A female form, with timid step and downcast modest eye;— A girl she seems by the fresh bloom that decks her lovely face— With locks of gold and vestal brow, and form of childish grace.
Yet, no! those soft, slight arms enfold a helpless new-born child, Late entered on this world of woe—still pure and undefiled; While two white doves she humbly lays before the altar there Tell that, despite her girlish years, she knows a matron's care.
No fairer sight could heart have asked than that which met the view, E'en had He been the child of sin—and she a sinner, too; But how must heavenly hosts have looked in breathless rapture on, Knowing Him, as the Temple's Lord—the Word—th'Eternal Son!
While she was that Maid Mother rare—fairest of Adam's race, Whom Heaven's Archangel, bending low, had hailed as full of grace,— The Mother of that infant God close clasped unto her breast— the Mary humble, meek and pure, above all women blessed.
OUR SAVIOUR'S BOYHOOD.
With what a flood of wondrous thoughts Each Christian breast must swell When, wandering back through ages past, With simple faith they dwell On quiet Nazareth's sacred sod, Where the Child Saviour's footsteps trod.
Awe-struck we picture to ourselves That brow serene and fair, That gentle face, the long rich curls Of wavy golden hair, And those deep wondrous, star-like eyes, Holy and calm as midnight skies.
We see Him in the work-shop shed With Joseph, wise and good, Obedient to His guardian's word, Docile and meek of mood; The Mighty Lord of Heaven and Earth Toiling like one of lowly birth.
Or else, with His young Mother fair— That sinless, spotless one, Who watched with fond and reverent care, Her high and glorious Son, Knowing a matron's joy and pride, And yet a Virgin pure beside.
All marvelled at the strange, shy grace Of Mary's gentle Son; Young mothers envied her the Boy Who love from all hearts won; And, gazing on that face so mild, Prayed low to Heaven for such a child.
Though with the boys of Nazareth He never joined in mirth, Yet young and old felt strangely drawn Towards His modest worth; E'en though that quiet, wondrous Child, Had never laughed nor even smiled.*
For even then prophetic rose Before His spirit's gaze The cruel Cross, the griefs reserved For manhood's coming days, And, worse than all, the countless host That, spite His pangs, might yet be lost.
Silent and calm, He held His way From morn till evening still; His thoughts intent on working out His Mighty Father's will; While Heaven bent in ecstasy, O'er the Boy-God of Galilee.
[* An old tradition avers that our Saviour was never seen to laugh during His mortal life.]
OUR SAVIOUR AND THE SAMARITAN WOMAN AT THE WELL.
Close beside the crystal waters of Jacob's far-famed well, Whose dewy coolness gratefully upon the parched air fell, Reflecting back the bright hot heavens within its waveless breast, Jesus, foot-sore and weary, had sat Him down to rest.
Alone was He—His followers had gone to Sichar near, Whose roofs and spires rose sharply against the heavens clear, For food which Nature craveth, whate'er each hope or care, And which, though Lord of Nature, He disdained not to share.
While thus He calmly waited, came a woman to the well, With water vase poised gracefully, and step that lightly fell, One of Samaria's daughters, most fair, alas! but frail, Her dark locks bound with flowers instead of modest, shelt'ring veil.
No thought of scornful anger within His bosom burned, Nor, with abhorrent gesture, His face from her He turned; But as His gaze of purity dwelt on her, searching, meek, Her bright eyes fell, and blushes hot burned on her brow and cheek.
He told her with a gentleness, by God-like pity nursed, Of wond'rous living fountains at which to slake her thirst; That those whose lips, thrice blessed, should a draught from them obtain, Despite earth's toils and troubles, would ne'er know thirst again.
He spoke, too, of the frailties which her womanhood had marred, That priceless crown which, she, alas! had sadly failed to guard, No word of bold denial did that woman dare to plan— She felt that He who spoke with her was more than mortal man.
And when the twelve disciples returned, their errand done, They wondered at His converse with that lost and erring one, But still they asked no question, while she, with thoughtful mien, Returned to tell her friends at home of all that she had seen.
Not only for that daughter of Samaria's hot clime— Child of an ancient people, of a by-gone faith and time— Was meant the exhortation that from His lips then fell, But for His Christian children, for us, to-day, as well.
For us, still pure and sparkling, those living waters flow Of which He told Samaria's child long centuries ago: Forgetting thoughts of earthly pride, and hopes of worldly gain, Seek we but once of them to drink—we'll never thirst again.
THE TEN LEPERS.
'Neath the olives of Samaria, in far-famed Galilee, Where dark green vines are mirrored in a placid silver sea, 'Mid scenes of tranquil beauty, glowing sun-sets, rosy dawn, The Master and disciples to the city journeyed on.
And, as they neared a valley where a sheltered hamlet lay, A strange, portentous wailing made them pause upon their way— Voices fraught with anguish, telling of aching heart and brow, Which kept moaning: "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us now!"
Softly raised the gentle Saviour His eyes like midnight star, And His mournful gaze soon rested on ten lepers, who, afar, Stood motionless and suppliant, in sackcloth rudely clothed, Poor Pariahs! by their nearest, their dearest, shunned and loathed.
Not unto Him prayed vainly those sore afflicted ten, No! He yearned too fondly over the erring sons of men, Even sharing in their sorrows, though He joined not in their feasts,— So He kindly told the Lepers: "Show yourselves unto the priests."
When, miracle of mercy! as they turned them to obey, And towards the Holy Temple quickly took their hopeful way, Lo! the hideous scales fell off them, health's fountains were unsealed, Their skin grew soft as infant's—their leprosy was healed.
O man! so oft an ingrate, to thy thankless nature true, Thyself see in those Lepers, who did as thou dost do; Nine went their way rejoicing, healed in body—glad in soul— Nor once thought of returning thanks to Him who made them whole.
One only, a Samaritan, a stranger to God's word, Felt his joyous, panting bosom, with gratitude deep stirred, And without delay he hastened, in the dust, at Jesus' feet, To cast himself in worship, in thanksgiving, warm and meet.
Slowly questioned him the Saviour, with majesty divine:— "Ten were cleansed from their leprosy—where are the other nine? Is there none but this one stranger—unlearned in Gods ways, His name and mighty power, to give word of thanks or praise?"
The sunbeams' quivering glories softly touched that God-like head, The olives blooming round Him sweet shade and fragrance shed, While o'er His sacred features a tender sadness stole: "Rise, go thy way," He murmured, "thy faith hath made thee whole!"
THE BLIND MAN OF JERICHO.
He sat by the dusty way-side, With weary, hopeless mien, On his furrowed brow the traces Of care and want were seen; With outstretched hand and with bowed-down head He asked the passers-by for bread.
The palm-tree's feathery foliage Around him thickly grew, And the smiling sky above him Wore Syria's sun-bright hue; But dark alike to that helpless one Was murky midnight or noon-tide sun.
But voices breaking the silence Are heard, fast drawing nigh, And falls on his ear the clamor Of vast crowds moving by: "What is it?" he asks, with panting breath; They answer: "Jesus of Nazareth."
What a spell lay in that title, Linked with such mem'ries high Of miracles of mercy, Wrought 'neath Judaea's sky! Loud calls he, with pleading voice and brow, "Oh! Jesus, on me have mercy now!"
How often had he listened To wond'rous tales of love— Of the Galilean's mercy, Of power from above, To none other given of mortal birth To heal the afflicted sons of earth.
With faith that never wavered Still louder rose his cry, Despite the stern rebuking Of many standing nigh, Who bade him stifle his grief or joy, Nor "the Master rudely thus annoy."
But, soon that voice imploring Struck on the Saviour's ear, He stopped, and to His followers He said "Go bring him here!" And, turning towards him that God like brow, He asked the suppliant, "What wouldest thou?"
Though with awe and hope all trembling, Yet courage gaineth he, And imploringly he murmurs: "Oh Lord! I fain would see!" The Saviour says in accents low: "Thy faith hath saved thee—be it so!"
Then on those darkened eye-balls A wondrous radiance beamed, And they drank in the glorious beauty That through all nature gleamed; But the fairest sight they rested on Was the Saviour, David's royal Son.
O rapture past all telling! The bliss that vision brought! Could a whole life's praises thank Him For the wonder He had wrought? Yet is Jesus the same to-day as then, Bringing light and joy to the souls of men.
THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE.
The place is fair and tranquil, Judaea's cloudless sky Smiles down on distant mountain, on glade and valley nigh, And odorous winds bring fragrance from palm-tops darkly green, And olive trees whose branches wave softly o'er the scene.
Whence comes the awe-struck feeling that fills the gazer's breast, The breath, quick-drawn and panting, the awe, the solemn rest? What strange and holy magic seems earth and air to fill, That worldly thoughts and feelings are now all hushed and still?
Ah! here, one solemn evening, in ages long gone by, A mourner knelt and sorrowed beneath the starlit sky, And He whose drops of anguish bedewed the sacred sod Was Lord of earth and heaven, our Saviour and our God!
Hark to the mournful whispers from olive leaf and bough! They fanned His aching temples, His damp and grief-struck brow; Hark! how the soft winds murmur with low and grieving tone! They heard His words of anguish, they heard each sigh and moan.
Alone in deepest agony, while tired apostles slept; No one to share His vigil—weep with Him as He wept; Before Him, clearly rising, the Cross, the dying pain, And sins of hosts unnumbered whose souls He dies to gain.
O Garden of Gethsemane! the God-like lesson, then Left as a precious token to suff'ring, sorrowing men, Has breaking hearts oft strengthened, that else, so sharply tried, Had sunk beneath sin's burden and in despair had died.
O Garden of Gethsemane! "when pressed and sore afraid," May I in spirit enter beneath thine olive shade, And, great though be my anguish, still, like that God-like One, Submissive say: "Oh Father! Thy will, not mine, be done!"
MYSTICAL ROSE, PRAY FOR US!
O aptly named, Illustrious One! Thou art that flower fair That filled this vast and changeful world With mystic perfume rare— Shedding on all the balmy breath Of countless virtues high, Rising like fragrant odours rich, To God's far, beauteous sky.
Mystical Rose! O aptly named! For, as 'mid brightest flowers The lovely Rose unquestioned reigns The Queen of Nature's bowers, So 'mid the daughters fair of Eve Art thou the peerless One! The chosen handmaid of the Lord! The Mother of His Son!
Yes, He endowed thee with all gifts Which could thy beauty grace; And ne'er did sin, e'en for one hour, Thy spotless soul deface, For from the first thou had'st the power God's fav'ring love to win; It was His will that thou should'st be Conceived devoid of sin.
Oh, Mother dear, obtain for us That we from evil flee; Throughout this, fleeting life's career Mayst thou our model be! Seek we to imitate the gifts That thy pure soul adorn— Sweet flower of beauty and of grace! Fair Rose without a thorn!
MATER CHRISTIANORUM, ORA PRO NOBIS!
In the hour of grief and sorrow, When my heart is full of care, Seeking sadly hope to borrow From heaven's promises and prayer; When around me roll the waters Of affliction's stormy sea, Mary, gentle Queen of Mercy, In that hour, oh! pray for me!
When life's pulses high are bounding With the tide of earthly joy, And when in mine ears are sounding Strains of mirth without alloy; When the whirl of giddy pleasure Leaves no thought or feeling free, And I slight my heavenly treasure, Watchful Mother, pray for me!
When the soft voice of Temptation Lures my listening soul to sin, And, with baleful fascination, Strives my vain, weak heart to win; With the combat faint and weary, If I call not then on thee— In that time of peril dreary, Tender Mother, pray for me!
If, in some unguarded hour Of dark passion or of pride, Evil thoughts, with serpent power To my inmost bosom glide— Ah! while I from bonds unholy, Vainly seek myself to free— Mary, pure and meek and lowly, Pray, oh! Mary, pray for me!
When with Heaven high communing In the solemn hour of prayer— To its strains my soul attuning, I forget all worldly care; When earth's voices for a season My vex'd spirit have left free— Still, dear Mother, near me hover! Still, sweet Mary, pray for me!
And in that supremest hour, When life's end is drawing nigh— When earth's scenes and pomps and power Fade before my tear-dimmed eye— When I on the shore am lying Of eternity's wide sea— Then, O Refuge of the dying, Tender Mother, pray for me!
THE MAGDALEN AT THE MADONNA'S SHRINE.
O Madonna, pure and holy, From sin's dark stain ever free, Refuge of the sinner lowly, I come—I come to thee! Now with wreaths of sinful pleasure Yet my tresses twined among; From the dance's giddy measure, From the idle jest and song.
See! I tear away the flowers From my perfumed golden hair, Closely tended in past hours With such jealous, sinful care; Never more for me they blossom, Not for me those jewels vain: On my arms or brow or bosom, They shall never shine again.
Dost thou wonder at my daring Thus to seek thy sacred shrine, When the sinner's lot despairing, Wretched—hopeless—should be mine? To the instincts high of woman Most unfaithful and untrue; Yet Madonna, hope inspires me, For thou wast a woman too.
Evil promptings, dark-despairing, Whisper: "Leave this sacred spot; Back to sinful joys, repairing, In them live and struggle not!" But a bright hope tells that heaven May by me e'en yet be won, That I yet may be forgiven, Mary, by thy spotless Son!
Yes! I look on thy mild features, Full of dove-like, tender love— Once the humblest of God's creatures, Now with Him enthroned above! Every trait angelic breathing Sweetest promises of peace; And the smile thy soft lips wreathing Tell me that my griefs shall cease.
Soft the evening shadows gather But no longer shall I wait, I will rise and seek the Father, For it is not yet too late; And when earthly cares oppress me, When life's paths my bruised feet pain; Hither shall I come to rest me, And new strength and courage gain!
THE VESPER HOUR.
Soft and holy Vesper Hour— Precursor of the night— How I love thy soothing power, The hush, the fading light; Raising those vain thoughts of ours To higher, holier things— Mingling gleams from Eden's bowers With earth's imaginings!
How thrilling in some grand old fane To hear the Vesper prayer Rise, with the organ's solemn strain, On incense-laden air; While the last dying smiles of day Athwart the stained glass pour— Flooding with red and golden ray The shrine and chancel floor.
Who, at such moment, has not felt Those yearnings, vague, yet sweet, For Heaven's joys at last to melt, Into fruition meet; And wished, as with rapt soul he viewed That glorious Home above, That earth's vain thoughts would ne'er intrude On visions of God's love?
To this calm hour belongs a sway The bright day cannot wield— Sweet as the evening star's first ray, Transforming wood and field; Soft'ing gay flowers else too bright And silvering hill and dell; And clothing earth in that mild light The sad heart loves so well.
THE PARTING SOUL AND HER GUARDIAN ANGEL.
(Written during sickness).
Soul— Oh! say must I leave this world of light With its sparkling streams and sunshine bright, Its budding flowers, its glorious sky? Vain 'tis to ask me—I cannot die!
Angel— But, sister, list! in the realms above, That happy home of eternal love, Are flowers more fair, and skies more clear Than those thou dost cling to so fondly here.
Soul— Ah! yes, but to reach that home of light I must pass through the fearful vale of night; And my soul with alarm doth shuddering cry— O angel, I tell thee, I dare not die!
Angel— Ah! mortal beloved, in that path untried Will I be, as ever, still at thy side, Through gloom to guide till, death's shadows passed, Thou nearest, unharmed, God's throne at last.
Soul— Alas! too many close ties of love Around my wavering heart are wove! Fond, tender voices, press me to stay— Think'st thou from them I would pass away? Daily my mother, with anguish wild, Bends o'er the couch of her dying child, And one, nearer still, with silent tears, Betrays his anguish, his gloomy fears— Yes, even now, while to thee I speak, Are hot drops falling upon my cheek; Think you I'd break from so close a tie? No, my guardian angel, I cannot die!
Angel— Poor child of earth! how closely clings Thy heart to earth and to earthly things! Wilt thou still revolt if I whisper low That thy Father in Heaven wills it so— Wills that with Him thou should'st henceforth dwell, To pray for those whom thou lovest so well, Till a time shall come when you'll meet again, To forget for ever life's grief and pain?
Soul— Spirit, thy words have a potent power O'er my sinking heart in this awful hour, And thy soft-breathed hopes, with magic might. Have chased from my soul the shades of night. Console the dear ones I part from now, Who hang o'er my couch with pallid brow, Tell them we'll meet in yon shining sky— And, Saviour tender, now let me die!
Glitt'ring balls and thoughtless revels Fill up now each misspent night— 'Tis the reign of pride and folly, The Carnival is at its height. Every thought for siren pleasure, And its sinful, feverish mirth; Who can find one moment's leisure For aught else save things of earth?
But, see, sudden stillness falling O'er those revels, late so loud, And a hush comes quickly over All the maddened giddy crowd, For a voice from out our churches Has proclaimed in words that burn: "Only dust art thou, proud mortal, And to dust shall thou return!"
And, behold, Religion scatters Dust and ashes on each brow; Thus replacing gem and flower With that lowly symbol now: On the forehead fair of beauty, And on manhood's front of pride, Rich and poor and spirit weary— All receive it, side by side.
And the hearts that throbbed so wildly For vain pleasure's dreams alone, For its gilded gauds and follies, Now at length have calmer grown. Oh! that voice with heavenly power Through each restless breast hath thrilled, And our churches, late so lonely, Now with contrite hearts are filled.
Fair and lovely are our altars With their starry tapers bright, With dim clouds of fragrant incense, Fair young choristers in white, And the dying gleam of day-light, With its blushing crimson glow, Streaming through the lofty casement On the kneeling crowd below.
Tis an hour of golden promise For the hearts that secret burn With contrite and anxious wishes To the Father to return; For a Saviour, full of mercy, On His altar-throne is there, Waiting but that they should ask Him, For response to whispered prayer.
THE WHITE CANOE.
A LEGEND OF NIAGARA FALLS.
In days long gone by it was the custom of the Indian warriors of the forest to assemble at the Great Cataract and offer a human sacrifice to the Spirit of the Falls. The offering consisted of a white canoe, full of ripe fruits and blooming flowers, which was paddled over the terrible cliff by the fairest girl of the tribe. It was counted an honor not only by the tribe to whose lot it fell to make the costly sacrifice, but even by the doomed maiden herself. The only daughter of a widowed Chief of the Seneca Indians was chosen as a sacrificial offering to the Spirit of Niagara. Tolonga, the Great Elk, was bravest among the warriors, and devotedly attached to his child, but, when the lot fell on her, he crushed down in the pride of Indian endurance the feelings of grief that filled his bosom. The eventful night arrived. The moon arose and shone brightly down oh the turmoil of Niagara, when the White Canoe and its precious freight glided from the bank and swept out into the dread rapid. The young girl calmly steered towards the centre of the stream, when suddenly another canoe shot forth upon the water and, under the strong impulse of the Seneca Chief, flew like an arrow to destruction. It overtook the first; the eyes of father and child met in a parting gaze of love, and then they plunged together over the Cataract into Eternity.
THE WHITE CANOE.
A Legend of Niagara Falls
MINAHITA, Indian Maiden. OREIKA, Her Friend. TOLONGA, Minahita's Father. DOLBREKA, Indian Chief.
In summer's rare beauty the earth is arrayed, Gay flowers are blooming on hill-side and glade, Embalming the air with sweet subtle perfume, Enriching the earth with their beautiful bloom; The moss, like green velvet, yields soft 'neath the tread, The forest trees wave in luxuriance o'er head, Whilst fresh dawning beauties of sky, wood and plain, Proclaim that fair summer is with us again. Let the choice, then, be made of the thrice-favored one Whom Niagara's Spirit will soon call his own! At morn, when the sun wakes refulgent on high In billows of gold, hooding earth, sea and sky, How glorious the music that welcomes his rays, One loud choral song of rejoicing and praise: The clear notes of birds and the soft rustling breeze The murmur of waters, the sighing of trees, And the thousand sweet voices, so tender and gay, That haunt our old woods through the bright summer day. Let the choice, then, be made of the thrice-favored one Whom Niagara's Spirit will soon call his own!
Ah! yes, the time and hour have come To choose a fitting bride For that Spirit who from his wat'ry home, Speaks forth in might and pride; Whilst the zephyrs toy with his sapphire waves, He would bear her down to his crystal caves.
Seek the woods for buds to deck her brow; And offerings must she bring, Ripe blooming fruits and fragrant bough, As gifts for the River King— Gifts of earth's loveliest things, while she, 'Mid our maidens fair, must the fairest be!
The Sachems all have spoken, and the lot has fallen on one As fair as any wild rose that blossoms 'neath the sun, Her eyes, like starlit waters, are liquid, soft and clear; Her voice like sweetest song-bird's in the springtime of the year; No merry fawn that lightly springs from forest tree to tree Hath form so light and graceful, or footstep half as free;
Like plumage of the raven is her heavy silken hair, Which she binds with scarlet blossoms—with strings of wampum rare; And the crimson hue that flushes her soft though dusky cheek Is like the sunbeam's parting blush upon the mountain peak. O, never since Niagara first thundered down in pride Had the Spirit of its waters so beautiful a bride!
Chorus of Indian Women.
Ah, Minahita! sister fair, What lot with thine can now compare? 'Mid all the daughters of our race Peerless in beauty and in grace. More blest than if in wifehood's pride Thou stood'st at some young warrior's side, Or with fair children round thy knee Didst crown thy young maternity!
My heart is throbbing with solemn joy, May no earthly thoughts that bliss alloy, By Sachems chosen and tribesmen all— I gladly lead, and obey the call!
Ah, spoken well, my daughter, and worthy of thy sires, Who've ever held an honored place around our council fires! My foot treads earth more proudly, my heart beats quick and high, To know that, like a Sachem's child, my daughter goes to die! Though Mamtou denied me a son to glad mine age, To follow in the warpath when our foes fierce combat wage. I offer him, with grateful heart, thanksgiving deep and warm That he has placed a warrior's heart within thy fragile form.
Just sixteen spring-tides hast thou seen Beneath the forest shade, And ever sweet and mild of mien, Like sunbeam hast thou played Around my widowed home and heart— Yet thou and I must quickly part.
As firmly as the towering oak, Deep rooted in the earth, Can brave the storm and thunder stroke, So, even from thy birth, Deep love for thee hath held my heart, And yet, ungrieving, must we part.
And closely as the ivy clings Around some forest tree, Till from its glossy em'rald rings, No bough or limb is free, So art thou twined around my heart, And yet, rejoicing, must we part!
Alas, my sister, do not chide That thoughts of grief, instead of pride, Within my heart lie deep; Fain would I speak with mien elate Of thy predestined glorious fate, And yet I can but weep.
When come the short'ning Autumn days, While gathering in the golden maize, I'll miss thy tender voice, And when our merry maidens say: "Oreika, join us in our play," How can I then rejoice?
And, oh! I will not grieve alone, For when another moon has flown, And Osseo will return, Hopeful, to seek thee for his bride, How deeply will his heart be tried When he thy fate shall learn!
Enough, my sister, wouldst make me sad, When my smile should be bright and my heart be glad? You know 'tis an honor to sire and race, And to shrink from my lot would bring dire disgrace. For no earthly love must I weakly pine, I yield to a suitor of rank divine. To my girlhood's love must I say farewell— To the dreams that were sweeter than words can tell! The chill embrace of the waters cold, Clasping my form in their viewless hold, Laving my brow in their terrible play, Tangling my locks with their glittering spray, Freezing my warm blood, stifling my breath, With awful kisses that bring but death,— To such endearments I now must go Where my Spirit bridegroom dwells below.
'Tis fearful, alas! and must it be?
What would'st thou?
Flee, oh quickly flee! Through secret paths seek Osseo's side, Who will gladly welcome and shield his bride; To far-off lands thou with him canst fly, In mutual love to live and die!
Thou forgettest, my sister! An Indian maid Not of death, but dishonor, should be afraid. Thou did'st couple love with dear Osseo's name, But love would be short-lived if joined with shame! My father bowed 'neath dark disgrace, My name a bye-word to all my race, I would find no joy in my rescued life, Dogged by remorse and inward strife, Till, hiding myself from all friendly ken, I should die, despised by both Gods and men. No, sister, better an early grave In yon lone dell where the pine-trees wave; Better a fiery death at the stake, While foes fierce sport of the captive make, With cruelest tortures that man can frame,— Thrice better, than life with dishonored name!
TOLONGA, MINAHITA, DOLBREKA.
Daughter of a dauntless race, Now draws nigh the solemn hour, Which, O maid of childlike grace, Well might make the bravest cower! Thundering down the awful steep, Hear Niagara's waters leap, Tossing, surging, flecked with foam, Child, my child, they call thee home!
I am ready! See, I wear Wampum belt and garments gay; Mark my smoothly braided hair, Decked with shells and wild flower spray, My wrists their silver circlets bear, Polished with maiden's patient care; Unshrinking from the stormy foam, I'm ready for my wild, chill home!
Girl, thou art a worthy bride For Niagara's fierce King! Men will think of thee with pride, Maidens will thy courage sing, Sachems tell of thee with praise, Warriors on thee proudly gaze, While pure and fair as ocean foam, Thou passest to the Spirit's home.
Chorus of Indian Braves.
We have launched the light canoe Upon Niagara's waters blue, 'Tis white and bright as an ocean shell, Swifter than the sea gull's wing, Worthy the hand that will guide it well, Amid the foam wreaths the wild waves fling.
Chorus of Indian Women.
And it is freighted with fragrant flowers, The brightest culled 'mid our forest bowers, Fruits ripened beneath the sun's warm rays— And silky tassels of golden maize, And with them the maid who is doomed to bring These gifts to the pitiless Cataract King.
Chorus of Male and Female Voices.
Fair are the flowers, but she's fairer far, Lovelier she than the Evening Star, Pure as the moonbeams that tremulous shine, Flooding the earth with their sheen divine.
Oh weary heart! I have wandered lone Close to Niagara's awful throne; I've gazed till his roar and fearful might Have dulled mine ear and blinded my sight; I've heard the hoarse and terrible song Of the mountain waves as they rolled along, And plunged down the watery precipice steep, Like white-robed furies that whirl and leap. I thought of my child's fair form and face Grasped in their stormy, cruel embrace, The tender arms that have clasped me oft In dying agony flung aloft, The delicate limbs a helpless prey To their maddened rage, or demon play; And I turned aside in anguish wild. Oh, wretched Father! My child, my child! But I must be calm and act a part, Nor show the fierce grief that rends my heart; A Seneca chief must learn to hide His pangs 'neath a mask of stoic pride.
Hear me, Thou great and glorious One! Protector of my race! Whom in the far-off Spirit Land I shall soon see face to face; I ask Thee, humbly bending Before Thy Mighty Throne, To cleanse me from all stain of sin And make me soon thine own: My people guard and bless, All wrongs and ills redress, Their enemies subdue, And for the youth, the life, I freely yield, Give them peace, plenty, victory in the field, And honest hearts and true.
My daughter, let me press thee Close to my yearning heart, Ah! once more softly bless thee Ere we for ever part! I adjure thee not to falter In the trial now so nigh, But, as victim on the altar, A Sachem's daughter die.
Father, courage will be given In that awful hour supreme, When all earth's ties are riven, And I float down death's dark stream.
Yes, courage not to falter In the trial now so nigh, But, as victim on the altar, A Sachem's daughter die.
One lingering, last, farewell embrace I take!
Yes, one for thine and one for Osseo's sake.
How solace him beneath his trial sore?
Tell him I loved him well, but honor more.
The moon is gilding the Cataract's brow, And tinging his foam-robe as white as snow,— Like silver it gleams 'Neath the bright moon beams, Whilst soft and slow The waters flow; For his lovely bride he is waiting now!
The hour is come! despair—despair!
Girl, such idle words forbear!
In the Spirit Land we shall meet again, Where unknown are parting and grief and pain.
Ah! the cruel rite is over And the fearful Spirit Lover Clasps the dear pearl of our race; Like the blushing summer flower, Or the clouds of sunset hour, She has passed, and left no trace!
Thou wast not there? Then listen, child, Unto a tale of sorrow wild, That has o'erwhelmed with gloom and grief Heart of warrior brave and chief: Rose from the banks the sound of song, Lights were gleaming the trees among, All were awaiting the hour of fate When the white canoe and precious freight From shore swept out and swiftly sped Into the boiling rapid dread—
Ah me! in that last moment drear How looked she?
Tranquil, without fear, But steered her course with quiet mien, And the stately grace of a maiden Queen. Then rose beneath the moon's full rays Glad voices, blent in love and praise, Till, sudden as arrow from the bow, Flashed 'mid the rapid's dark, swift flow Another bark—it held—oh grief! Tolonga, our brave, Beloved chief.
What! her father, didst thou say? Our chief—our Sachem?
Aye! 'Neath his strong arm the bark swift flew; It soon o'ertook the White Canoe, And then, amid our outcries wild The eyes of father and of child Met in one long, last, loving look, That ne'er each other's glance forsook Till they glided o'er Niagara's steep, And plunged into the darkness deep.
Ah! never since first with thundering roar Niagara shook the trembling shore, Hath earth bestowed him such offering bright, As he's clasped to his mighty breast to-night.
OUR CANADIAN WOODS IN EARLY AUTUMN.
I have passed the day 'mid the forest gay, In its gorgeous autumn dyes, Its tints as bright and as fair to the sight As the hues of our sunset skies; And the sun's glad rays veiled by golden haze, Streamed down 'neath its arches grand, And with magic power made scene and hour Like a dream of Faerie Land.
The emerald sheen of the maple green Is turned to deep, rich red; And the boughs entwine with the crimson vine That is climbing overhead; While, like golden sheaves, the saffron leaves Of the sycamore strew the ground, 'Neath birches old, clad in shimmering gold, Or the ash with red berries crowned.
Stately and tall, o'er its sisters all, Stands the poplar, proud and lone, Every silvery leaf in restless grief Laments for the summer flown; While each oak and elm of the sylvan realm, In brilliant garb arrayed, With each other vie, 'neath the autumn sky, In beauty of form and shade
When wearied the gaze with the vivid blaze Of rich tints before it spread— Gay orange and gold, with shades untold Of glowing carmine and red— It can turn 'mid the scene to the sombre green Of the fir, the hemlock, the pine, Ever-keeping their hue, and their freshness, too, 'Mid the season's swift decline.
Though the bird's sweet song, that the summer long Hath flowed so sweet and clear Through the cool, dim shades of our forest glades, No longer charms the ear, A witching spell, that will please as well As his glad notes, may be found In the solemn hush, or the leaves' soft rush, As they thickly strew the ground.
For, though they tell of summer's farewell, Of their own decay and doom, Of the wild storm-cloud and the snow's cold shroud, And the days of winter's gloom, The heart must yield to the power they wield,— Alike tender, soothing, gay— The beauties that gleam and that reign supreme In our woods, this autumn day.
A CANADIAN SNOW-FALL.
Come to the casement, we'll watch the snow Softly descending on earth below, Fairer and whiter than spotless down Or the pearls that gleam in a monarch's crown, Clothing the earth in its robe's bright flow; Is it not lovely—the pure white snow?
See, as it falls o'er the landscape wide, How kindly it seeks all blots to hide, Shrouding each black, unsightly nook, The miry banks of the little brook, Robing bare branches in ermine white, Making all lovely, spotless and bright.
In the farm-yard see with what magic skill Its marvels of beauty it works at will: The well-house now is a fairy hall, And the rough, rude fence is a marble wall; While gates and hillocks where barn fowl ranged To ramparts and bastions now are changed.
How softly it falls—nor breath, nor sound, Though four feet high it should pile the ground, Though it change the face of wood and field, With skill that no mortal could ever wield; Yet, as it falls, not a murmur low— The noiseless, silent, white-winged snow!
See, in the rays of the morning bright, How it blushes beneath the sun's red light; How its diamond crystals gleam and shine, Clearer than those of Golconda's mine; Though the wintry winds may with anger blow, Surely all love the beautiful snow.
A CANADIAN SUMMER EVENING.
The rose-tints have faded from out of the West, From the Mountain's high peak, from the river's broad breast. And, silently shadowing valley and rill, The twilight steals noiselessly over the hill. Behold, in the blue depths of ether afar, Now softly emerging each glittering star; While, later, the moon, placid, solemn and bright, Floods earth with her tremulous, silvery light.
Hush! list to the Whip-poor-will's soft plaintive notes, As up from the valley the lonely sound floats, Inhale the sweet breath of yon shadowy wood And the wild flowers blooming in hushed solitude. Start not at the whispering, 'tis but the breeze, Low rustling, 'mid maple and lonely pine trees, Or willows and alders that fringe the dark tide Where canoes of the red men oft silently glide.
See, rising from out of that copse, dark and damp, The fire-flies, each bearing a flickering lamp! Like meteors, gleaming and streaming, they pass O'er hillside and meadow, and dew-laden grass, Contrasting with ripple on river and stream, Alternately playing in shadow and beam, Till fullness of beauty fills hearing and sight Throughout the still hours of a calm summer's night.
THE RECOLLECT CHURCH.*
[* In process of demolition when this poem was written. The Recollect Friars purchased the ground on which the church in question was built in 1692, and on it they constructed a temporary chapel. The actual edifice, however, was not erected till about the year 1706. The order is now extinct. After the conquest their property was confiscated by the Government, and subsequently exchanged for St. Helen's Island, then belonging to Baron Grant. For a time the Recollect Church served as a place of worship for both Protestants and Catholics, and for many years was exclusively devoted to the use of the Irish Catholics.]
Quickly are crumbling the old gray walls, Soon the last stone will be gone, The olden church of the Recollects, We shall look no more upon; And though, perchance, some stately pile May rise its place to fill, With carven piers and lofty towers, Old Church, we shall miss thee still!
Though not like Europe's ancient fanes, Moss-grown and ivied o'er Bearing long centuries' darkened stains On belfry and turrets hoar— A hundred years and more hast thou Thy shadow o'er us cast; And we claim thee in our country's youth As a land-mark of the past.
Thou'st seen the glittering Fleur-de-lys Fling out its folds on high From old Dalhousie's* fortress hill, Against the morning sky; And, later, the gleam of an English flag From its cannon-crowned brow,— That flag which, despite the changing years, Floateth proudly o'er us now.
Thou'st seen the dark-browed Indians, too, Thronging each narrow street, In their garb so strangely picturesque, Their gaily moccassined feet; And beside them gentle helpmates stood, Dark-hued, with soft black eyes, In blanket robes, with necklets bright— Large beads of brilliant dyes.
Thou'st seen our city far outgrow The bounds of its ancient walls, In beauty growing and in wealth, And free from early thralls, Till round Mount Royal's queenly heights, That stretch toward the sky, In pomp and splendor, beauteous homes Of luxury closely lie.
Within this time-worn portal prayed The sons of differing creeds, And unto God, in various ways, Made known their various needs. Better dwell thus in brotherly love, All seeking one common weal, Than stir the stormy waters of strife Through hasty and misjudged zeal.
And for many years the exiles lone, Who landed upon our shore From Erin's green and sunny isle, Did here their God adore; And laid their aching sad hearts bare To His kind, pitying gaze, And prayed to Him in this new strange land For better and brighter days.
And humble Recollect Friars here Their matins recited o'er, And glided with noiseless, sandalled feet O'er the chapel's sacred floor; Again, at the close of day they met, Amid clouds of incense dim And the softened, rays of tapers' blaze, To sing their evening hymn.
They and their order have passed away From among their fellow-men. Little recked they for earth's joys or gains, On heaven bent their ken. The lowly church that has borne their name So faithfully to the last, Linked with our city's young days, like them, Will henceforth be of the past.
[* Levelled a few years after the Conquest. It occupied that part of East Montreal now known as Dalhousie Square]
WELCOME TO OUR CANADIAN SPRING.
We welcome thy coming, bright, sunny Spring, To this snow-clad land of ours, For sunshine and music surround thy steps, Thy pathway is strewn with flowers; And vainly stern Winter, with brow of gloom, Attempted for awhile To check thy coming—he had to bow To the might of thy sunny smile.
A touch of thy wand, and our streams and lakes Are freed from his tyrant sway, And their clear blue depths in ripples of gold Reflect back the sun's bright ray; Whilst e'en the rude rocks that their waters fret Put on mosses green and bright, And silent, deep homage render up now, Sweet Spring, to thy magic might.
And what words could tell half the wond'rous change Thou mak'st in our forest bowers, Replacing the snow with soft velvet sward, Cold crystals with glowing flowers; Clothing the leafless, unsightly trees In rich garb of satin sheen, And robing the meadows and woodlands wide In thine own soft tender green.
And the insect life that thy warm breath wakes Now people earth and air; And the carolling birds have come back to dwell In the charms of thy presence fair. Need we wonder all hearts with joyous beat Watch the changes thou dost bring, And, with smiles of gladness, welcome thee To our land, bright, sunny Spring?
WINTER IN CANADA.
Nay tell me not that, with shivering fear, You shrink from the thought of wintering here; That the cold intense of our winter-time Is severe as that of Siberian clime, And, if wishes could waft you across the sea, You, to-night, in your English home would be.
Remember, no hedges there now are bright With verdure, or blossoms of hawthorn white; In damp, sodden fields or bare garden beds No daisies or cowslips show their heads; Whilst chill winds and skies of gloomy hue Tell in England, as elsewhere, 'tis winter too.
Away with dull thoughts! Raise your brooding eyes To yonder unclouded azure skies; Look round on the earth, robed in bridal white, All glittering and flashing with diamonds bright, While o'er head, her lover and lord, the sun, Shines brightly as e'er in summer he's done.
In a graceful sleigh, drawn by spirited steed, You glide o'er the snow with lightning speed, Whilst from harness, decked with silvery bells, sweet showers the sound on the clear air swells; And the keen bracing breeze, with vigor rife, Sends quick through your veins warm streams of life.
Or, on with your snow-shoes, so strong and light, Thick blanket-coat, sash of scarlet bright, And, away o'er the deep and untrodden snow, Through wood, o'er mountain, untrammelled to go Through lone, narrow paths, where in years long fled, The Indian passed with light active tread.
What! dare to rail at our snow-storms, why Not view them with poet's or artist's eye? Watch each pearly flake as it falls from above, Like snowy plumes from some spotless dove, Clothing all objects in ermine rare, More sure than the bright robes which monarchs wear.
Have you not witnessed our glorious nights, So brilliant with gleaming Northern lights, Quick flashing and darting across the sky While far in the starry heavens on high The shining moon pours streams of light O'er the silent earth, robed in dazzling white.
There are times, too, our woods show wond'rous sights Such as are read of in "Arabian Nights," When branch and bough are all laden with gems Bright as those that deck Eastern diadems; And the sun sheds a blaze of dazzling light On ruby and opal and diamond bright.
Only tarry till Spring on Canadian shore, And you'll rail at our Tenters, then, no more; New health and fresh life through your veins shall glow, Spite of piercing winds—spite of ice and snow, And I'd venture to promise, in truth, my friend, 'Twill not be the last that with us you'll spend.
THE MAPLE TREE.
Well have Canadians chosen thee As the emblem of their land, Thou noble, spreading maple tree, Lord of the forest grand; Through all the changes Time has made, Thy woods so deep and hoar Have given their homesteads pleasant shade, And beauty to their shore.
Say, what can match in splendor rare Thy foliage, brightly green, Thy leaves that wave in summer's air, Glossy as satin sheen, When Spring returns the first art thou, On mountain or in vale, With springing life and budding bough, To tell the joyous tale.
In Autumn's hours of cheerless gloom, How glowing is the dye Of the crimson robe thou dost assume, Though it only be to die; Like the red men who, long years ago, Reposed beneath thy shade, And wore a smiling lip and brow On the pyre their foes had made.
And e'en in Winter fair art thou, With many a brilliant gem, That might adorn fair lady's brow, Or deck a diadem; And better than thy beauty rare, Or shade thou givest free, The life-stream of thy branches fair Thou gen'rous, brave old tree!
Warmly we pray no deed of harm May fright thy peaceful shade, May'st thou ne'er see in war's alarm Contending foes arrayed, But, smiling down on peasants brave, On honest tranquil toil, Thy branches ever brightly wave, Above a happy soil.
AN AFTERNOON IN JULY.
How hushed and still are earth and air, How languid 'neath the sun's fierce ray— Drooping and faint—the flowrets fair, On this hot, sultry, summer day! Vainly I watch the streamlet blue That near my cottage home doth pass, No ripple stirs its azure hue, Still—waveless, as a sheet of glass
And if I woo from yonder trees A breath of coolness for my brow, They've none to give—not e'en a breeze Rustles amid their foliage now; Yes, hush! there stirred a leaf, but no, Tis only some poor, panting bird, With silenced note, head drooping low, That 'mid the shady green boughs stirred.
Oh dear! how sultry! vain to seek To while the time with pleasant book, Soon drowsy head and crimsoned cheek Oblivious o'er its pages droop— And motion is beyond my power, While breathing this hot, scorching air, It wearies me to raise the flowers, That lie so close beside my chair.
See stealing, wearied from their play, The flushed and languid children come, Saying that on so hot a day They'd much prefer to stay at home. Themselves upon the ground they throw, Cheeks pillowed on each rounded arm— And fall asleep soon, murmuring low, And wondering "why it is so warm?"
If yonder patient sheep and kine, Close shrinking from the sun's hot flame, Had man's gift—"power of speech divine," They surely would repeat the same— Each blade of grass, each fainting flower, Would whisper to the shrubs and trees, How much they longed for evening's hour, With cooling breath and grateful breeze.
THE FALL OF THE LEAF.
Earnest and sad the solemn tale That the sighing winds give back, Scatt'ring the leaves with mournful wail O'er the forest's faded track; Gay summer birds have left us now For a warmer, brighter clime, Where no leaden sky or leafless bough Tell of change and winter-time.
Reapers have gathered golden store Of maize and ripened grain, And they'll seek the lonely fields no more Till the springtide comes again. But around the homestead's blazing hearth Will they find sweet rest from toil, And many an hour of harmless mirth While the snow-storm piles the soil.
Then, why should we grieve for summer skies— For its shady trees—its flowers, Or the thousand light and pleasant ties That endeared the sunny hours? A few short months of snow and storm, Of winter's chilling reign, And summer, with smiles and glances warm, Will gladden our earth again.
THE OLD TOWERS OF MOUNT ROYAL OR VILLE MARIE.
On proud Mount Royal's Eastern side, In view of St. Lawrence's silver tide, Are two stone towers of masonry rude, With massive doors of time-darken'd wood: Traces of loop-holes are in the walls, While softly across them the sun-light falls; Around broad meadows, quiet and green, With grazing cattle—a pastoral scene.
Those towers tell of a time long past, When the red man roamed o'er regions vast, And the settlers—men of bold heart and brow— Had to use the sword as well as the plough; When women (no lovelier now than then) Had to do the deeds of undaunted men, And when higher aims engrossed the heart Than study of fashions or toilet's art.
A hardy race from beyond the sea Were those ancient founders of Ville Marie! The treacherous Sioux and Iroquois bold Gathered round them as wolves that beset a fold, Yet they sought their rest free from coward fears; Though war-whoops often reached their ears, Or battle's red light their slumbers dispel,— They knew God could guard and protect them well.
Look we back nigh two hundred years ago: Softly St. Lawrence bright waters flow, Shines the glad sun on each purple hill, Rougemont, St. Hilary, Boucherville, Kissing the fairy-like isle of St Paul's, Where, hushed and holy, the twilight falls, Or St. Helen's, amid the green wave's spray, All lovely and calm as it is today.
No villas with porticos handsome, wide, Then dotted our queenly mountain's side; No busy and populous city nigh Raised steeples and domes to the clear blue sky; Uncleared, unsettled our forests hoar Unbridged out river, unwharfed each shore; While over the waves of emerald hue Glided, lightly, the Indian's bark canoe.
It was in those towers—the Southern one— Sister Margaret Bourgeoys, that sainted nun, Sat patiently teaching, day after day, How to find to Jesus the blessed way, 'Mid the daughters swarth of the forest dell, Who first from her lips of a God heard tell, And learned the virtues that woman should grace, Whatever might be her rank or race.
Here, too, in the chapel-tower buried deep, An Indian brave and his grand-child sleep.* True model of womanly virtues—she— Acquired at Margaret Bourgeoys' knee; He, won to Christ from his own dark creed, From the trammels fierce of his childhood freed, Lowly humbled his savage Huron pride, And amid the pale-faces lived and died.
With each added year grows our city fair, The steepled church, and spacious square, Villas and mansions of stately pride Embellish it now on every side; Buildings—old land marks—vanish each day, For stately successors to make way; But from change like that may time leave free The ancient towers of Ville Marie!
[* Subjoined are their epitaphs, still to be seen in the tower we speak of:
Ici reposent Les restes mortels de Franois Thoronhiongo, Huron, Baptis par le Rvrend Pre Brbeuf.
Il fut par sa pit et par sa probit, l'exemple des chrtiens et l'admiration des infideles; il mourut g d'environ 100 ans, le 21 avril 1690.
Ici reposent Les restes mortels de Marie Thrse Gannensagouas de la Congrgation de Notre Dame.
Aprs avoir exerce pendant treize ans l'office de maitresse d'cole la montagne, elle mourut en reputation de grande vertu, ge de 28 ans, le 25 novembre 1695.]
JACQUES CARTIER'S FIRST VISIT TO MOUNT ROYAL.
He stood on the wood-crowned summit Of our mountain's regal height, And gazed on the scene before him, By October's golden light, And his dark eyes, earnest, thoughtful, Lit up with a softer ray As they dwelt on the scene of beauty That, outspread, before him lay.
Like a sea of liquid silver, St. Lawrence, 'neath the sun, Reflected the forest foliage And the Indian wigwams dun, Embracing the fairy islands That its swift tide loving laves, Reposing in tranquil beauty Amid its sapphire waves.
To the eastward, frowning mountains Rose in solemn grandeur still, The glittering sunlight glinting On steep and rugged hill; Whilst in the far horizon, Past leafy dell and haunt, Like a line of misty purple, Rose the dim hills of Vermont.
Then Cartier's rapt gaze wandered Where, starred with wild flowers sweet, In its gorgeous autumn beauty, Lay the forest at his feet. With red and golden glory All the foliage seemed ablaze Yet with brightness strangely softened By October's amber haze.
Around him stretched the mountain Ever lovely—ever young— Graceful, softly undulating, By tall forest trees o'erhung; 'Twas then his thought found utterance, The words "Mont Royal" came, And thus our Royal Mountain Received its fitting name.
THE WHITE MAIDEN AND THE INDIAN GIRL.
"Child of the Woods, bred in leafy dell, See the palace home in which I dwell, With its lofty walls and casements wide, And objects of beauty on every side; Now, tell me, dost thou not think it bliss To dwell in a home as bright as this?"
"Has my pale-faced sister never seen My home in the pleasant forest green, With the sunshine weaving its threads of gold Through the boughs of elm and of maples old, And soft green moss and wild flowers sweet, What carpet more fitting for maidens' feet?"
"Well, see these diamonds of price untold, These costly trinkets of burnished gold, With rich soft robes—my daily wear— These graceful flower-wreaths for my hair; And now, at least, thou must frankly tell Thou would'st like such garb and jewels well."
"The White Lily surely speaks in jest, For has she not seen me gaily dressed? Bright beads and rich wampum belts are mine, Which by far these paltry stones outshine, Whilst heron plumes, fresh flowers and leaves, Are fairer than scentless buds like these."
"But, Forest Maiden, to this my home What sights—what sounds of beauty come; Pictures of loveliness—paintings rare— All the charms that art can bestow are there, With ravishing music of harp and song, Sweet notes that to gifted souls belong."
"The wild birds sing in our shady trees, Mingling their notes with the vesper breeze; The flow of waters, the wind's low moan, Have a music sweet that is all their own; Whilst surely no tints or colors rare Can with those of the sky and the wood compare."
"But what of the winter's cheerless gloom When nature sleeps in a snowy tomb, The storm clouds brooding over head, Thy song-birds gone—thy wild-flowers dead? With silence and gloom where'er you roam, What then, what then, of your forest home?"
"We sing gay songs round our winter fires, Or list the tales of our gray-haired sires; When the hunting path has claimed our braves, We pray to the God of winds and waves; Or, on snow-shoes swift, we love to go Over the fields of untrodden snow."
"Then, I cannot tempt thee here to dwell, Oh! wayward child of the forest dell, To leave thy wandering, restless life, With countless dangers and hardships rife For a home of splendor such as this, Where thy days would be a dream of bliss?"
"No, sister, it cannot my heart engage, I would worry to death of this gilded cage And the high close walls of each darkened room, Heavy with stifling, close perfume; Back to the free, fresh woods let me hie, Amid them to live,—amid them to die."
THE TRYST OF THE SACHEM'S DAUGHTER.
In the far green depths of the forest glade, Where the hunter's footsteps but rarely strayed, Was a darksome dell, possessed, 'twas said, By an evil spirit, dark and dread, Whose weird voice spoke in the whisperings low Of that haunted wood, and the torrent's flow.
There an Indian girl sat silent, lone, From her lips came no plaint or stifled moan, But the seal of anguish, hopeless and wild, Was stamped on the brow of the forest child, And her breast was laden with anxious fears, And her dark eyes heavy with unshed tears.
Ah! a few months since, when the soft spring gales With fragrance were filling the forest dales; When sunshine had chased stern winter's gloom, And woods had awoke in their new-born bloom, No step had been lighter on upland or hill Than her's who sat there so weary and still.
Now, the silken ears of the tasseled maize Had ripened beneath the sun's fierce blaze, And the summer's sunshine, warm and bright, Had been followed by autumn's amber light, While the trees robed in glowing gold and red, Their fast falling leaves thickly round her shed.
A Sachem's daughter, beloved and revered, To the honest hearts of her tribe endeared By her goodness rare and her lovely face, Her innocent mirth and her artless grace; Wooed oft by young Indian braves as their bride, Sought by stern-browed chiefs for their wigwam's pride.
Heart-free, unwon, she had turned from each prayer, And thought but of smoothing her raven hair; Of embroidering moccasins, dainty, neat, With quills and gay beads for her tiny feet; Or skilfully guiding her bark canoe O'er St. Lawrence's waves of sparkling blue.
Alas for the hour, when in woodlands wild The white man met with the Sachem's child, And she wondering gazed on his golden hair, His deep blue eyes, and his forehead fair, And his rich soft voice fell low on her ear, And became to her heart, alas! too dear.
Well trained was he in each courtly art That can please and win a woman's heart; And many a girl of lineage high Had looked on his wooing with fav'ring eye: Inconstant to all, in hall or in bower, What chance of escape had this forest flower?
Soon, ah! very soon, he tired of her smile, Her dusky charms and each sweet, shy wile; And yet it was long ere, poor trusting dove, Her faith was shaken in the white man's love; And now one last tryst she had asked of him In this haunted glade in the forest dim.
He had lightly vowed, as such men will do, To the place and hour that he would be true; She had waited since the dawn broke chill, Till the sun was setting behind the hill; But for him, amid scenes of fashion gay, All thought of his promise had passed away.
"I will wait for him here," she softly said, "Yes, wait till he comes," and her weary head Drooped low on her breast, and when the night, On noiseless pinions had taken its flight, She looked at the sunrise, with eyes grown dim, And murmured: "I'll wait here for death or him."
It was death that came, and with kindly touch He stilled the heart that had borne so much; To the Manitou praying, she passed away With the sunset clouds of another day,— No anger quickened her failing breath, Patient, unmurmuring, even in death.
For days they sought her, the sons of her race, In deep far-off woods, in each secret place, Till at length to the haunted glade they crept, And found her there as in death she slept. They whispered low of the spirit of ill, And buried her quickly beside the hill.
That year her false lover back with him bore A radiant bride to his native shore. And, with smiling triumph and joy elate, Ne'er gave one thought to his dark love's fate; But an All-seeing Judge, in wrath arrayed, Shall avenge the wrongs of that Indian maid.
A PLEA FOR OUR NORTHERN WINTERS.
"Oh, Earth, where is the mantle of pleasant emerald dye That robed thee in sweet summer-time, and gladdened heart and eye, Adorned with blooming roses, graceful ferns and blossoms sweet, And bright green moss like velvet that lay soft beneath our feet?"
"What! am I not as lovely in my garb of spotless white? Was young bride in her beauty ever clothed in robe as bright? Or, if you seek for tinting warm, at morn and evening hour, You'll find me bathed in blushes bright as those of summer flower."
"But, Earth, I miss the verdure of thy woods and forests old, The waving of their foliage, casting shadows o'er the wold, The golden sunbeams peering 'mid the green leaves here and there, And I sigh to see the branches so cheerless and so bare."
"But oft they're clothed in ermine to the sight and touch more fair Than the costly robing monarchs for regal garments wear, Whilst at times the glitt'ring branches with jewels are ablaze, The Frost King's pearls and diamonds flashing back the light's clear rays."
"Well, I grieve to see thy rivers, thy lakes and mountain streams, That in summer rippled gaily beneath the suns' glad beams, As light barks glided swiftly o'er their azure waves at will, Held now in icy barriers that guard them cold and still."
"But, see their glassy bosom, what scene could be more bright? How gaily o'er the surface darts the skater, strong and light; And happy, cheerful voices ring out from shore to shore, And forms are clearly mirrored on that dazzling crystal floor."
"Ah, Earth, I cannot listen to thy soft, persuasive voice, Though the pleasures thou can'st offer may make other hearts rejoice, For with love and fond regret I recall each cloudless day, Spent with friends in sunny rambles—when the whole world seemed at play."
"Why, the time for pleasant converse is the winter's stormy night, Its long and quiet evenings, with fire and tapers bright, The soothing strains of music, laughter, jest and happy song,— Yes! the dearest of all pleasures to the winter-time belong."
"I yield! Oh, Earth, thou hast thy charms, I grant it freely now, In winter's sterner hours, as when the spring-buds deck thy brow, So, a truce to idle grieving o'er summer beauties fled, Our northern winters we'll accept with grateful hearts instead."
RICH AND POOR.
'Neath the radiance faint of the starlit sky The gleaming snow-drifts lay wide and high; O'er hill and dell stretched a mantle white, The branches glittered with crystal bright; But the winter wind's keen icy breath Was merciless, numbing and chill as death.
It clamored around a handsome pile— Abode of modern wealth and style Where smiling guests had gathered to greet Its master's birth-day with welcome meet; And clink of glasses and loud gay tone, With song and jest, drowned the wind's wild moan.
Yet, farther on, another abode Its pillared portico proudly showed. From its windows high flowed streams of light, Mingling with outside shadows of night; And the strains of music rapid, gay— Told well how within sped the hours away.
Steal but one glance at that magic scene, And long you will spell-bound gaze, I ween, On mirrors and flowers, and paintings old, And side-boards heaped with vessels of gold; Proud, stately men and women most fair, Glitt'ring in toilets, marvellous, rare.
Sharp grief may torture many a heart, But its pangs are hid with wond'rous art; Breasts may harbor hate, envy or guile, But all is concealed 'neath the studied smile; And carelessly gay is each well-trained face, As the dancers flash past with magic grace.
Not far away, down yon narrow lane, Where poverty herds with guilt and pain, Are homes where the wind finds entrance free, Searching each cranny with savage glee, And freezing the blood of those within, Through their wretched garments, scant and thin.
List to the music that meets the ear! No sweet strains of Strauss will greet you here, But the moan of sickness, the feeble wail Of suff'ring childhood—of mothers pale, The groan of despair, or, alas, still worse! The blasphemous jest, or fierce, deep curse.
See! on yon board is their banquet spread, Coarse broken remnants of mouldy bread; No cheerful flame in the fire-place bare To temper the cold of the biting air, Or the chill of the snow on the rotting floor, Drifting beneath the ill-closed door.
O, woman, one gem from those that deck Thy taper fingers, white brow or neck; Young girl, a rose from thy glossy hair, One inch of that lace so costly and rare, Would give food and heat, and cheerful light To that wretched home, for at least one night.
Revellers met round the festive board, A hot house fruit from your dainty hoard, The price of one draught of that wine, so old That it seems as precious as liquid gold, Would bring joy to more than one aching breast, And smiles to lips unused to such guest.
Children of fashion, children of wealth, Who hear harsh truths, as it were, by stealth, An hour will come to all who live Of their stewardship here strict account to give Before the Great Judge, wise, stern and pure, Who will justice mete to both rich and poor.
Well for you then if kind word and deed, Or generous alms to those in need, Have marked the course of your life's brief dream, They'll plead for you in that hour supreme, Outweigh past errors, and justice move To the side of mercy and pitying love.
BENEATH THE SNOW.
'Twas near the close of the dying year, And December's winds blew cold and drear, Driving the snow and sharp blinding sleet In gusty whirls through square and street, Shrieking more wildly and fiercely still In the dreary grave-yard that crowns the hill.
No mourners there to sorrow or pray, But soon a traveller passed that way: He paused and leant against the low stone wall, While sighs breathed forth from the pine-trees tall That darkly look down on the silent crowd Of graves, all wrapped in a snowy shroud.
Solemn and weird was the spectral scene— The tombstones white, with low mounds between, The awful stillness, eerie and dread, Brooding above that home of the dead, While Christmas fires lit up each hearth And shed their glow upon scenes of mirth.
Silent the weary wayfarer stood— The spot well suited his pensive mood, And severed friendships, bright day-dreams flown, Thronged on his thoughts in that moment lone. "Yes, happiness-hope," he murmured low, "All buried alike beneath the snow."
"O, for the right to lay down the load I've borne so long on life's dreary road, Heavily weighing on heart and brain, And as galling to both as a convict's chain;— No more its strain shall I tamely bear But join the peaceful sleepers there."
His head on the old wall drooped more low, Whilst faster came down the sleet and snow, Sharply chilling the blood in his veins, Racking his frame with rheumatic pains; "No matter," he thought, "I'll soon lie low, Calm—quiet enough—beneath the snow."
Ah! hapless one, thus thine arms to yield When nearly won, perchance, is the field. After long struggling to lose at last The price of many a victory past, Of many an hour of keen, sharp strife, Mournfully spent in the war of Life.
But, hark! on high sound the Christmas bells, Of hope to that mourner their chiming tells, Of the sinless hours of childhood pure, Of a God who came all griefs to cure; And, leaving, he prayed: "O my Father and Friend, Grant me strength to be faithful to the end!"
OUR MOUNTAIN CEMETERY.
Lonely and silent and calm it lies 'Neath rosy dawn or midnight skies; So densely peopled, yet so still, The murmuring voice of mountain rill, The plaint the wind 'mid branches wakes, Alone the solemn silence breaks.
Whatever changes the seasons bring,— The birds, the buds of joyous spring, The glories that come with the falling year The snows and storms of winter drear,— Are all unmarked in this lone spot, Its shrouded inmates feel them not.
Thoughts full of import, earnest and deep, Must the feeling heart in their spirit steep, Here, where Death's footprints meet the sight: The long chill rows of tombstones white, The graves so thickly, widely spread, Within this city of the Dead.
Say, who could tell what aching sighs, What tears from heavy, grief-dimmed eyes, Have here been shed in silent woe, Mourning the cold, still form below; Or o'er past harshness, coldness, hate, Grieving, alas! too late—too late!
Oh, man, vain dreamer of this life, Seeking 'mid restless toil and strife For wealth, for happiness, for fame, Thirsting to make thyself a name, See, unto what thy course doth tend, Of all thy toils—there is the end.
Woman, of grace or beauty proud, Seeking alone gay fashion's crowd,— Thine aim, admiring looks to win, E'en at the price of folly or sin, That beauty now to thee so dear, Would'st thou know its fate? Look around thee, here.
But not alone such lessons stern May we within the grave-yard learn: 'Tis here the servant wise and good, Who loyal to his trust hath stood, Will joyously at length lay down The heavy cross to receive the crown.
And hope, sweet messenger of God, Poised lightly 'bove the charnel sod, With upturned brow and radiant eyes, Pointing unto the distant skies, Whispers: "Oh, weary child of care, Look up! thy heavenly home is there!"
MONUMENT TO IRISH EMIGRANTS.
It will be in the recollection of many of our readers that during the famine years of 1847 and 1848 there was an unusual emigration from Ireland to Canada and the United States. Numbers of those who thus left their native land expired from ship fever, caused by utter exhaustion, before they reached the American continent; others only arrived there to die of that fatal disease. The Canadian Government made extensive efforts to save the lives of the poor emigrants. A large proportion were spared, but at Montreal, where the Government erected temporary hospitals, on an immense scale, upwards of 6000 of these poor people died. Their remains were interred close to the hospitals, at a place that is now mainly covered with railway buildings, and in close proximity to the point whence the Victoria Bridge projects into the St. Lawrence. All traces of the sad events of that disastrous period would have been obliterated but for the warm and reverential impulses of Mr. James Hodges, the engineer and representative of Messrs. Peto, Brassey & Betts in Canada. Through his instrumentality, and by his encouragement, the workmen at the bridge came to the determination of erecting a monument on the spot where the poor Irish emigrants were interred. An enormous granite boulder, of a rough conical shape, weighing 30 tons, was dug up in the vicinity, and was placed on a base of cut stone masonry, twelve feet square by six feet high. The stone bears the following inscription: "To preserve from desecration the remains of 6000 emigrants who died from ship fever in 1847 and 1848 this monument is erected by workmen in the employment of Messrs. Peto, Brassey, & Betts, engaged in the construction of the Victoria Bridge, 1859." Several addresses were delivered on the occasion, and in the course of that made by the Bishop of Montreal he alluded in feeling terms to the many good deeds for which the Dame of his friend, Mr. James Hodges, will be gratefully remembered in Canada. Thanks to the latter, the plot of ground on which the monument is raised is set apart for ever, so that the remains of those interred there will henceforth be sacred from any irreverent treatment.
THE EMIGRANTS' MONUMENT AT POINT ST. CHARLES.
A kindly thought, a generous deed, Ye gallant sons of toil! No nobler trophy could ye raise On your adopted soil Than this monument to your kindred dead, Who sleep beneath in their cold, dark bed.
Like you they left their fatherland, And crossed th' Atlantic's foam To seek for themselves a new career, And win another home; But, alas for hearts that had beat so high! They reached the goal, but only to die.
Let no rich worldling dare to say: "For them why should we grieve? But paupers—came they to our shores, Want, sickness, death to leave?" Each active arm, jail of power and health, And each honest heart was a mine of wealth.
'Twas a mournful end to day-dreams high, A sad and fearful doom— To exchange their fever-stricken ships For the loathsome typhus tomb; And, ere they had smiled at Canada's sky, On this stranger land breathe their dying sigh.
The strong man in the prime of life, Struck down in one short hour, The loving wife, the rose-cheeked girl, Fairer than opening flower, The ardent youth, with fond hopes elate,— O'ertaken all by one common fate.