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Fleurs de lys and other poems by Arthur Weir

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A tiny fall in music breaks
Against the mountain's base,
While roars an avalanche and shakes
The whole world in its race.

One must be weak and one be strong,
One huge, another small,
To help this teeming world along,
And make a home for all.

Equality is death, not life,
In Nature and with man,
And progress is but upward strife
With some one in the van.

_LACHINE._

You named it better than you knew
Who called yon little town Lachine,
Though through the lapse of years between
The then and now, men jeered at you.

You thought by it to find a way,
Through voiceful woods and shimmering lakes,
To where the calm Pacific breaks
On weedy ledges at Cathay.

In fancy you beheld yon tide
Upbear a thousand argosies,
Whose spicy odors filled the breeze,
And floated far on every side.

'Twas but a wish-born dream, men said,
And sneered that you were so unwise.
Blind scoffers! Would that they could rise
A few short moments from the dead,

To see how, through the power of man,
Your vision is no more a dream,
And learn that this majestic stream
Is now the highway to Japan!

From year to year, with dauntless strides,
O'er fertile plains your sons have pressed,
Portaging from the East to West,
Between the two great ocean tides.

And in their trail they drew a chain
Of steel across the virgin land,
Uniting with this slender band
The eastern and the western main.

Where once the bison roamed, and woke
The heavens with his thunderous tread,
The tireless engine speeds instead,
And tosses high its plumes of smoke.

Like spider in a web, it creeps
On filmy bridge, o'er sparkling streams,
Or chasms where the sunlight gleams
Part-way, and dies amid the deeps.

It scales the rugged, snow-clad peaks,
And looks afar on East and West,
Then, like an eagle from its nest,
Darts down, and through the valley shrieks.

It was not formed by Nature's hand,
This sun-ward highway to Japan;
O'er mountain-range and prairie, man
Has forced the path his genius planned.

And Commerce, universal king,
Has followed with unnumbered needs,
And scatters everywhere the seeds
Of towns that in a night upspring.

In tumult strange the air abounds,
The whirr of birds is dying out,
The swart mechanic's lusty shout
Amid the clang of iron sounds.

And streams, that once unbroken ran,
Now on their outspread scroll reveal,
Written by many a sliding keel,
The lordly signature of man.

DE SALABERRY AT CHATEAUGUAY.

We are scarcely one to seven,
But our cause is just;
Help us in our trial, heaven!
Keep the ford we must.

Swiftly through the reeds and rushes
Pours the Outarde flood,
Turned by sunset's rosy flushes
To a stream of blood.

Sprinkled with the hues of slaughter,
Wave the forest trees.
Gently o'er the sparkling water,
In the autumn breeze.

Strange that Nature should remind us
Of the coming fight!
Let it come--it will but find us
Battling for the right.

Never shall the land that gave us
Birth be held a thrall:
Ere the Stars and Stripes enslave us,
Death shall have us all!

Quickly in this silent dingle
Raise the _abatis_,
Near where Outarde waters mingle
With the Chateauguay.

Hasten, Night, across the meadows,
Kiss the streams to sleep,
Wrap us in thy cloak of shadows,
Bid the stars not peep.

Night has passed; the birds, awaking,
Greet the dawning day.
Wherefore are our foemen making
Such a long delay?

Hark! at last they come; now, steady!
Wait the signal gun.
When I fire, fire you. Now! ready?
Fire! Ah! lads, well done!

Like a vaulted wave that shatters
On a rocky coast,
And in mist and salt spray scatters,
Breaks the mighty host.

Like the wave, that swift returning
Bursts upon the strand,
Falls the foe, with hatred burning,
On our little band.

We are scarcely one to seven,
But our cause is just;
Help us in our trial, heaven!
Keep the ford we must.

Fall the shot-clipped leaves about us
Like the summer rain;
Charge the bitter foes to rout us
Ever and again.

Quarter never asked nor given,
Still we beat them back,
Though our slender ranks are riven
With each fierce attack.

Long the fearful battle rages,
Death his harvest reaps--
He will live in history's pages
In the grave who sleeps.

Round us, stronger, ever stronger,
Sweeps the hostile horde;
If the strife continue longer,
We shall lose the ford.

We are scarcely one to seven,
But our cause is just;
Help us in our trial, heaven!
Keep the ford we _must_!

Hope! The fox, when worn with running,
Subtlety must use:
Let us strive to win by cunning
What by force we lose.

Bugler, seek the forest border
Whence our friends should come;
For attack, sound loud the order,
Beat upon the drum.

So our foes may think in error
That our friends are nigh,
And, disturbed by sudden terror,
From the conflict fly.

Through the wood the bugler dashes,
Far beyond the fray--
While the deadly musket flashes
Point him on his way,

Faintly o'er the din of battle,
On the ear there fall
From afar a drum's sharp rattle,
And a bugle call.

Through the forest, drawing nearer,
Ring the bugle notes,
And the drum-beat, quicker, clearer,
On the calm air floats.

Cheer! my lads, and cease from firing,
Sheathe the blood-stained sword,
For our foemen are retiring--
We have kept the ford.

TENNYSON.

The noble lion groweth old,
The weight of years his eyesight dims,
And strength deserts his mighty limbs,
His once warm blood runs slow and cold.

The sunlight of another day
Slants through the jungle's tangled mass;
He marks the shadows, but, alas!
Sees not the sun among them play.

His regal head lies buried deep
Between his paws--his reign is o'er--
His great voice stirs the world no more,
And round his lair the jackals creep.

They scent their prey, and, with the joy
Of meaner natures, far and wide
From deep obscurity they glide,
The dying monarch to annoy.

With naked fangs they circle round,
And fiercely snarl, until once more
The thicket quivers at his roar,
And all their paltry yelps are drowned.

The woodland with his voice is thrilled,
Though hope abandoned mars the strain;
But echoes cease, and then again
With jackal barks the air is filled.

Though dying, he is royal yet--
Even now, earth doth not hold his peer:
Bark, jackals, bark! ere dies the year
The world your tumult will forget.

AT RAINBOW LAKE.

There is a spot, far from the world's uproar,
Amid great mountains,
Where softly sleeps a lake, to whose still shore
Steal silvery fountains,
That hide beneath the leafy underwood,
And blend their voices with the solitude.

Save where the beaver-meadow's olive sheen
In sunlight glimmers,
On every side, a mass of waving green,
The forest shimmers
And oft re-echoes with the black bear's tread,
That silences the song birds overhead.

Here thickly droops the moss from patriarch trees,
And loons fly wailing.
Here king-birds' screams come hoarsely down the breeze
And hawks are sailing
Above the trees. Here Nature dwells alone,
Of man unknowing, and to man unknown.

Smiling, she rises when the morning air,
The dawn just breaking,
Bids the still woodlands for the day prepare,
And Life, awaking,
Welcomes the Sun, whose bride, the Morn, is kissed
And, blushing, lays aside her veil of mist.

Here Nature with each passing hour reveals
Peculiar graces:
At noonday she grows languid, and then steals
To shady places,
And revels in their coolness, at her feet
A stream, that fills with music her retreat.

At eve she comes, and, blushing like a maid,
Unrobes in shadows,
Bathes in the lake, and wanders through the glade
And o'er the meadows.
From her dank locks, wherever she doth pass,
The diamond dew-drops dripping to the grass.

And then she sleeps; when o'er the lake's calm tide
The Moon comes stealing,
And draws from her the veil of night aside,
Her charms revealing,
While silent stars keep ceaseless watch above,
And all the earth breathes peace and rest and love.

THE RACE.

A girlish voice like a silver bell
Rang over the sparkling tide,
"A race! a race!"
She was under the trees by the river-side,
Down from whose boughs dark shadows fell,
And hid her face.

Four skiffs are out on the moonlit stream,
And their oars like bars of silver gleam,
As they dip and flash and kiss the river,
As swallows do, till the moonbeams quiver.
Then the ripples die,
And the girlish cry
Floats gaily again to the summer sky.

"Ready? Go!"
As the arrow springs from the straightened bow,
The skiffs dart off for the distant goal:
The oars are bent like blades of steel,
And the hissing waters, cleft in twain,
Curl away astern in a feathery train,
While girlish laughter, peal on peal,
Rings over the river and over the shore,
And from the island the echoes roll.
We hear the mysterious voice again.
"We have won! we have won!
Will you race once more?"

The water drips in golden rain
From the blade of the resting oar,
Again we take, our place, and again
That clear voice wakes the shore:
"Go!" And we bend to our oars once more,
And banks fly past, till the gleaming meadows
Give place to the woods and their gloomy shadows.

Our skiff is steered by skilful hands,
Its rowers' arms are strong,
But muscles are not iron bands
To bear such conflict long.
And hearts beat hard, and breath comes fast,
And cheeks too hotly burn,
Before the welcome goal is passed--
The rest two lengths astern.

The evening air is growing chill,
The moon is sinking low:
The race is ours--across the wave
We call, but nothing answers save
The winds that gently blow,
"Come race again." But all in vain--
The silvery voice is still.

_MY TREASURE_.

"What do you gather?" the maiden said,
Shaking her sunlit curls at me--
"See, these flowers I plucked are dead,
Ah! misery."

"What do you gather?" the miser said,
Clinking his gold, as he spoke to me--
"I cannot sleep at night for dread
Of thieves," said he.

"What do you gather?" the dreamer said,
"I dream dreams of what is to be;
Daylight comes, and my dreams are fled,
Ah! woe is me."

"What do you gather?" the young man said--
"I seek fame for eternity,
Toiling on while the world's abed,
Alone," said he.

"What do I gather?" I laughing said,
"Nothing at all save memory,
Sweet as flowers, but never dead,
Like thine, Rosie."

"I have no fear of thieves," I said,
"Daylight kills not my reverie,
Fame will find I am snug abed,
That comes to me."

"The past is my treasure, friends," I said,
"Time but adds to my treasury,
Happy moments are never fled
Away from me."

"All one needs to be rich," I said,
"Is to live that his past shall be
Sweet in his thoughts, as a wild rose red,
Eternally."

_WELCOMING THE NEW YEAR_.

We gathered, a jovial party,
Together on New Year's eve,
To welcome the coming monarch
And to see the old one leave,

We chatted around the fireside,
And wondered what time would bring:
We had not a tear for the parting year,
But longed for the coming king.

For youth reaches ever forward,
And drops from its eager clasp
The realized gifts of fortune,
Some phantom of hope to grasp.

Soon a maiden spoke of the custom,
Now lapsed in this age of prose,
To open the door for the New Year
The instant the Old Year goes;

Then, leaving the door wide open,
To stand in the silent street
And, with a generous "welcome,"
The entering guest to greet.

It suited our youthful fancy,
And, when the glad chimes began,
From our cosy nook by the fireside
Down into the street we ran.

And, far and near, we all could hear
The great bells ringing out the year,
And, as they tolled, the music rolled,
Hoarse-sounding, over town and wold.

"The year is dead," _Gros Bourdon_ said,
The clanging echoes quivering fled,
And, far and wide, on every side,
The bells to one another cried.

The mountain woke, and from its cloak
Shook off the echoes, stroke for stroke.
Then silence fell on hill and bell,
And echoes ceased to sink and swell.

Standing beside the door wide open thrown,
Her voice more musical than any bird's,
And with a winning sweetness all its own,
Our Queen thus winged her joyous thoughts with words:

"Ring out, bells, ring! Sing, mountain, sing!
The king is dead, long live the king!
Now fast, now slow; now loud, now low,
Send out your chimes across the snow.

"Old Year, adieu; welcome the New,
The door stands open here for you.
Come in, come in, the bells begin
To falter in their merry din."

Then, as the great bells ceased to swing, two broke
A silver coin, for luck in days to come,
And though no tender words of love they spoke,
Yet hearts speak best when most the lips are dumb.

_A GREATER THAN HE._

Baby sits upon the floor,
Baby's scarce a twelvemonth old;
Baby laughs, and _goo-goos_ o'er
Memories how a babe of yore
Humbled Glooskap bold.

Glooskap was a man of might,
Skilled in magic, huge of limb;
Giant, wizard, goblin, sprite,
Ghost, witch, devil, imp of night,
All had fled from him.

Then he questioned: "Can there be
Further labors to be done?
Breathes there one to equal me,
Who before me will not flee?"
Quoth a squaw: "Yes, one."

"Name him," angry Glooskap cried,
"Baby," said she, "And be warned--
If you meddle, woe betide
All your glory, all your pride!
For you will be scorned,"

Baby sat upon the ground,
Harming none, and sucked his thumb,
Gazing with a look profound
Upon Glooskap and around,
Solon-wise, Sphinx-dumb.

Glooskap never married was,
So he thought, like all his kind,
That he knew the nursery laws
Wholly, and with ease could cause
Service prompt and blind.

Sweetly, the magician smiled,
Like the summer sun, and said:
"Hither, Baby." But the child,
By the sweet smile unbeguiled,
Only shook his head.

Like a bird among the trees,
Singing, Glooskap spake once more:
Baby listened to the glees,
Sucked his thumb, and sat at ease
Still upon the floor.

Thundering, the magician spoke:
"Hither, Baby, I command!"
Baby stirred not, only broke
Into wailings that awoke
All the desert land.

Mystic song and magic spell,
Fit to raise the very dead,
Fit to rule the imps that dwell
In the deepest depths of Hell,
Glooskap sang and said.

All was vain. Upon the floor
Baby sat, and heard each lay,
Listened close, and called for more,
When each mystic song was o'er,
But did not obey.

Then the baffled warrior wept;
And the baby in delight,
Sitting where a sunbeam slept,
Laughed and crowed, and crowing kept,
Till his foe took flight.

_LIFE IN NATURE_.

Life grows not more nor less; it is but force
And only changes;
Expended here, it takes another course,
And ever ranges
Throughout this circling universe of ours,
Now quickening man, now in his grave-grown flowers.

Yet dwells life not alone in man and beast
And budding flowers.
It lurks in all things, from the very least
Gleam in dark bowers
Of the great sun, through stones, and sea, and air,
Up to ourselves, in Nature everywhere.

Life differs from the soul. This is beyond
The realms of science;
God and mankind it joins in closest bond,
And bids defiance
To Death and Change. By faith alone confessed,
It dwells within our bodies as a guest.

The germ of life sleeps in the aged hills
And stately rivets,
And wakes into the life our hearts that thrills
And in leaves quivers.
The universe is one great reservoir
From which man draws of thinking life his store.

And, therefore, is it that the weary brain,
That seeks communion
With Nature in her haunts, finds strength again
In that close union:
She is our mother and the mind distressed
Drinks a new draught of life at her loved breast.

_WINTER AND SUMMER_.

Come Winter, merry Winter,
Rejoice while yet you may,
For nearer, ever nearer,
Fair Summer draws each day,
And soon the tiny snowdrops
Shall waken from their sleep,
And, mossy banks from under,
The modest violets peep.

The apple trees shall scatter
Their buds at Summer's feet,
And with their fragrant odors
Make every zephyr sweet;
While Nature, of wild roses,
And lilies frail and white,
Shall make a wreath for Summer,
And crown her with delight.

Forth from the smiling heavens
Shall fall the gentle rain,
The earth shall feel her presence
And welcome her with grain;
The birds shall come and twitter,
And build amid the boughs,
So Winter, merry Winter,
While yet you may, carouse.

We love you, merry Winter,
You and the joys you bring,
And loud and long your praises
Throughout the world we sing;
But Summer, gentle Summer,
Comes shyly through the glade,
And draws all hearts to love her,
So fair is she arrayed.

We love the merry sleighing,
The swinging snowshoe tramp,
While in the clear, cold heavens
The calm moon holds her lamp,

We love the breathless coasting.
The skating and the games
Played amid shouts of laughter,
Around the hearth-fire flames.

But Summer, winsome Summer,
Holds greater stores of bliss,
When all the land awakens,
And blossoms at her kiss;
We soon shall feel her presence,
And breathe her perfumed breath,
Then, Winter, dear old Winter,
We will not mourn your death.

_DAUNTLESS_.

So he is dead. A strange, sad story clings
About the memory of this mindless man;
A tale that strips war's tinsel off, and brings
Its horrors out, as only history can.

Within a peaceful town he dwelt in youth,
His sister's hero and his mother's pride--
The soul of honor, the abode of truth,
Beloved and reverenced on every side.

He had a sweetheart, lovely as the day,
A gentle maid, who knew not half his worth,
Who loved the sunshine, and who shrank away
From sorrow, and forever followed mirth.

They were but young, and hope's mirage upreared
In their warm hearts its rosy palaces;
They deemed them real, and longing, only feared
Life was too short for all the promised bliss.

And then came war, blood-spattered, cruel as hell,
And clamored with its iron voice for life--
Mother and sister and the wedding-bell.
The hero left, and hastened to the strife.

In vain he struck for liberty, and fell
A captive, in his earliest affray;
Then, threatening death, fierce Haynau bade him tell
Where and how strong the patriot forces lay.

"I will not tell," he cried, with eyes aflame,
"Do what thou wilt with me, I will not bring
Doom to my land, and soil my honored name:
From these sealed lips thou shalt no secret wring."

His captor only laughed. "He croweth well,
Go, bring his mother and his sister here,
And they shall die, if he refuse to tell!"
The hero answered not, but paled with fear.

The brutal soldiers to the brutish court
Dragged the weak women, and they stood o'er-awed,
Each to the other clinging for support,
And praying in her misery to God.

The fell decree the shrinking creatures heard,
And long in vain essayed to make reply,
For their weak speech could find no fitting word
To bear the burden of their agony.

Tears came at last. The brutal Haynau smiled,
But all too soon. Weeping, the mother said:
"Be not thy country's, traitor, oh! my child!
Too old am I the loss of life to dread."

Then spake the sister: "Brother mine, be brave!
Life hath no charms, if with dishonor bought;
Think not of us, our bleeding country save--
Life is so short at best, death matters naught."

The hero made no answer, but he drove
His nails into his palms, and choked for breath;
His captor bade the soldiery remove
The noble women--and they went to death.

"He hath a sweetheart," Haynau said again:
"Go, bring her hither;" and they brought her there,
Weeping with fear, and wailing low with pain,
Amid the golden ringlets of her hair.

Then from the earth she sprang, frenzied with fear,
Into her lover's arms, and kissed his cheek,
And strok'd his hair, and called him "love" and "dear,"
And prayed him for her sake to yield and speak.

He thrust her from him, clasped her yielding form
In his lithe arms again, and then once more
Repulsed her gently, and the deadly storm
That raged within him smote him to the floor.

Groping, he rose and spoke. None knew his voice:
It sounded as though coming from a tomb.
"Oh! darling, it must be--I have no choice--
Thou would'st not have me seal my country's doom?"

Haynau made sign. "Away with her," he cried.
They seized their prey, but life to her was sweet,
And, bounding from the soldiers at her side,
Screaming she crouched, and clasped her lover's feet.

"Oh! for the love you bear me, save my life!
Tell what he asks, and we will fly this place
Into some unknown land, where all this strife
Shall be forgotten in love's sweet embrace."

He made no answer save by bending low,
And kissing her damp brow. They raised their prize,
And bore her to the door, as pale as snow,
With all her soul outwelling from her eyes.

But here she turned, calm in her death despair,
And in a voice that trembled with its hate,
"My dying curse be on you everywhere,
False love," she cried, "who send me to my fate."

There was a silence, then a fusilade
Of musketry, a woman's scream and moan,
Then silence. That was all, and in the shade
Of night the hero laughed. Reason had flown.

_A CHILD'S KISS_.

Sweet is the maiden's kiss that tells
The secret of her heart;
Holy the wife's--yet in them dwells
Of earthliness a part;

While in a little child's warm kiss
Is naught but heaven above,
So sweet it is, so pure it is,
So full of faith and love.

'Tis like a violet in May
That knows nor fear nor harm,
But cheers the wanderer on his way
With its unconscious charm.

'Tis like a bird that carols free,
And thinks not of reward,
But gives the world its melody
Because it is a bard.

THE GRAVE AND THE TREE.

Of double depth they made her grave,
And covered it with massive stone,
And there, where silvery birches wave,
They left her sleeping all alone.

These words were chiselled on her tomb:
"This grave, bought for eternity,
Even to and through the day of doom,
And ever, shall unopened be."

For years the passing stranger saw
The epitaph of Caroline,
And wondered, with a shuddering awe,
That it could dare the wrath divine.

Time is of God. He does not need
To work his purpose in an hour:
Years came and went, and then a seed,
Borne downwards by a summer shower,

Fell gently on the scanty earth.
Among the heaped-up stones that lay,
And soon a tiny birch had birth,
And grew in stature day by day.

The sun, the shower, the passing wind,
All helped the youthful tree to grow;
Its little roots ran far to find
Subsistence in the depths below.

Years passed, until at last the tree
Sundered the stones, and made the grave
Yawn wide, that hoped eternally
The ravages of Time to brave.

Vain was the exercise of skill
To seal the grave of Caroline;
And vain is every human will
That strives to break the law divine.

A MOTHER'S JEWELS.

The daughter of a hundred earls,
No jewels has with mine to mate,
Though she may wear in flawless pearls
The ransom of a mighty state.

Hers glitter for the world to see,
But chill the breast where they recline:
My jewels warmly compass me,
And all their brilliancy is mine.

My diamonds are my baby's eyes,
His lips, sole rubies that I crave:
They came to me from Paradise,
And not through labors of the slave.

My darling's arms my necklace make,
'Tis Love that links his feeble hands,
And Death, alone, that chain can break,
And rob me of those priceless bands.

NOTES.

EXPLANATORY NOTES.

THE CAPTURED FLAG.

The incident described in these verses took place during the
unsuccessful siege of Quebec by Admiral Sir William Phipps, in 1690.
Admiral Phipps, after capturing Port Royal, now Annapolis, Nova Scotia,
sailed up the St. Lawrence, in October, arriving at Quebec on the 5th.
Frontenac, then Governor of New France, was taken almost by surprise,
yet, when summoned to surrender, he haughtily refused to do so, using
the words attributed to him in the ballad. Phipps was beaten off,
leaving with the French the cannon of his troops and this flag, which
had been shot away, and which was picked up by a Canadian, who swam out
after it. A medal was struck in France, and a church erected in Quebec,
in honor of this victory.

PRE BROSSE.

A full account of this pious legend will be found in Mr. J. Lemoine's
_Chronicles of the St. Lawrence_, pages 242, 243, and 244. Father
de La Brosse was, at the time of his death, a priest at Tadousac, at
the mouth of the Saguenay, and about seventy miles below the Isle aux
Coudres, where he celebrated the first mass, in 1765. He died at
midnight, on the 11th April, 1782, and, so says the legend, his death
was preceded and followed by miraculous occurrences. He is said to have
foretold it, and to have bidden his people seek Pre Compain on the
Isle aux Coudres, and bring him to perform the funeral offices. There
would be a storm, which they were not to heed, for he guaranteed them
against harm, and they were to find Pre Compain awaiting them. All
came true: Pre Brosse was found dead at midnight with his head on the
altar of his chapel; the men set out, and though the waves rolled
mountains high on every side, there was peace where their canoe
floated. They found Pre Compain awaiting them, for he had been
supernaturally informed of his colleague's death, and he went with them
to Tadousac. All the bells of the missions where Pre Brosse had
labored are said to have been rung without hands that night.

L'ORDRE DE BON TEMPS.

This company of _Bon Vivants_ was formed in 1606, during the
sojourn of Champlain and de Poutrincourt at Port Royal. An account of
its organization and doings will be found in Parkman's _Champlain and
His Associates_, Chapter iv.

CHAMPLAIN.

This poem is a _resum_ of the life of him whom Parkman calls "The
neas of a destined people." "Yon fair town" alludes to Quebec, which
Champlain founded July 3rd, 1608. His defiance of Admiral Kirkt took
place in 1628, and was successful for a season, but a second summons
from Kirkt next summer led to the first surrender of Canada to England.
Champlain died on Christmas Day, 1635, after twenty-seven years of
labor for the country in which his name can never be forgotten.

THE PRIEST AND THE MINISTER.

In the opening paragraphs of the third chapter of Parkman's
_Champlain and His Associates_, will be found an account, of which
these verses are little more than a paraphrase. When de Monts was
commissioned to settle New France, the Roman Catholic clergy insisted
that they be given charge of the souls of the heathen in the new land.
De Monts was, himself, a Huguenot, and brought his own ministers with
him, so that the ship that sailed to Acadia in 1604 bore with it clergy
of both sects. This was the cause of ceaseless quarrels. "I have seen
our _cur_ and the minister," says Champlain, "fall to with their
fists on questions of faith. I cannot say which had the more pluck, or
which hit the harder; but I know the minister complained to the Sieur
de Monts that he had been beaten." Sagard, the Franciscan friar, gives
an account of the death of two of the disputants and of their burial in
one grave. I have taken the liberty of making them the central figures
of the dispute, though, actually, they were subordinates.

PILOT.

Pilot was one of a number of dogs sent from France to Montreal shortly
after its foundation, in order to assist the brave colonists in their
warfare with the savages. She and her offspring were invaluable in
detecting ambuscades. An account of her useful life will be found in
Parkman's _Jesuits in North America_, chap. xviii.

THE SECRET OF THE SAGUENAY.

Although one legend, and, perhaps, the best substantiated one, asserts
that Roberval was assassinated in Paris, there is another to the effect
that, fired by the recitals of Cartier of untold wealth to be found in
the Saguenay district, he sailed up the river of that name, and was
never heard of again. This legend will be found in the _Illustrated
History of Canada_.

JULES' LETTER.

The date of this letter would be about 1670. From 1665 to 1673,
bachelors in Canada underwent a martyrdom of great severity, and Jules'
fear lest he find himself married in spite of himself is hardly an
exaggeration. From 1665 to 1673, about one thousand girls were sent out
from France to find husbands in Canada. Each couple married was given
an ox, a cow, a pair of swine, a pair of fowls, two barrels of salted
meat, and eleven crowns in money. Girls under sixteen and youths under
twenty were given twenty livres when they married, and were encouraged
to marry at fourteen and eighteen respectively. To such an extent was
this rage for marriage carried that, it is said, a widow was married
before her first husband's body had been consigned to the grave. Large
bounties were paid to parents having from ten to fifteen children, and
the slightest sign of courtship between the unmarried officers and
ladies of Quebec and Montreal, was chronicled in official documents and
transmitted to France. For further particulars, the reader is referred
to Parkman's _The Old Regime in Canada_, chapter xiii.

THE OAK.

The two villages referred to are Hochelaga and Ville Marie, now
Montreal. The latter place was founded by Maisonneuve in 1642. In Sir
William Dawson's _Fossil Men_ is a picture of Hochelaga as seen by
Cartier, with an oak tree near it. This oak is sketched from one in the
McGill University grounds, and it needs but a little stretch of the
imagination to consider them identical, though actually this is not so.
The poem traces the history of Montreal from its foundation up to the
present time. Jacques Cartier's visit was made in October, 1535, when
he was well received by the Hochelagans. When Champlain came, in 1611,
Hochelaga had disappeared. The reference to the flood occurs again in
"Nelson's Appeal for Maisonneuve." The incident took place in 1642, and
Maisonneuve actually fulfilled his vow and bore a heavy cross to the
mountain top, where it was planted. Dollard, with seventeen Frenchmen
and fifty Indians, by heroic self-sacrifice, in 1660, saved Canada from
destruction by the Iroquois. Vaudreuil surrendered Canada to the
English on September 8th, 1760. He had been driven to Montreal, and was
surrounded by 17,000 men, under General Amherst. The Americans took
Montreal in 1775, and were defeated at Chateauguay, October 26th, 1813,
and at Chrysler's Farm, November 11th, of the same year. In both cases,
the Canadians were greatly outnumbered.

NELSON'S APPEAL FOR MAISONNEUVE.

This is supposed to be spoken by Horatio, Lord Nelson, whose statue,
standing on Jacques Cartier Square, by the magnificent river St.
Lawrence, is, with the exception of the bronze image of our Queen, the
only one in the city of Montreal. In five years, Montreal will see its
250th anniversary. Shall it be said that we have forgotten its founder,
when that day comes? The pages of Parkman may again be referred to for
an explanation of any points in this poem. _The Jesuits in North
America_, chapter xv., contains a long account of the foundation of
Montreal, and subsequent pages chronicle the life of Maisonneuve.

THE SPIRIT WIFE.

This is a free paraphrase of a prose tale by Israel G. Owen.

LACHINE.

Misled by the information given him by the Indians, and also by the
size of the St. Lawrence, Jacques Cartier [La Salle?] gave to Lachine
its present name, thinking that by it a western passage to China was
possible. The Canadian Pacific Railway has furnished this passage by
land, and now a large portion of China's merchandise comes overland to
Montreal for shipment to Europe.

DE SALABERRY AT CHATEAUGUAY.

During the Anglo-American War of 1812, the brunt of the fighting fell
upon the Canadian Volunteers, and one of their most notable exploits is
that which I have striven to portray in this poem. Hearing of the
advance of the Americans, De Salaberry, with 400 Voltigeurs, entrenched
himself at the junction of the Chateauguay and Outarde rivers, not many
miles from Montreal. On the morning of October the 26th, this little
band of heroes was attacked by 3,500 Americans. In spite of the most
determined bravery, the Canadians would have been overcome by sheer
force of numbers, but for the ruse described in the poem, assisted by a
rapid discharge of musketry from new ambuscades. The Americans
withdrew, and Lower Canada was saved.

TENNYSON.

This poem was written shortly after the appearance of "Sixty Years
After," by Lord Tennyson, and while the critics on both sides of the
Atlantic were, for the most part, tearing him to pieces.

A GREATER THAN HE.

Glooskap is to the Penobscot Indians much what Hiawatha was to those of
Longfellow's wonderful poem. He is supposed to be making arrows in a
long hut, waiting for the time, when, like Barbarossa, he shall come to
save his countrymen. The only time that he was defeated was when he
strove to conquer a baby. The story will be found in C. G. Leland's
_Algonquin Legends_.

DAUNTLESS.

This is a true episode of the Hungarian rebellion of 1849. The young
man's name was Ferenz Renyi, and he died recently in the asylum at
Buda-Pesth. Haynau was attacked in Barclay's Brewery, London, in 1850,
for cruelties of this kind, and barely escaped with his life from the
infuriated employes.

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