Canadian Romance (Poem by James McIntyre)

Suggested Poem

Canadian Romance

By James McIntyre


An English youth to Canada came,
A labourer, John Roe by name,
His little wealth had made him bold,
Twenty sovereigns in gold;
He was industrious and wise
And e'en small sums did not despise,
He added to his wealth each year
For independence he loved dear,
He knew a laborer he would be
Forever in the old country,
His forefathers had tilled the ground
And never one had saved a pound.
On beds of down they did not lie
And frugally their goods did buy,
Their one luxury around their door
A few choice flowers their garden bore,
But never hoped to own the soil
But serve as hinds to sweat and toil,
To work and toil for him had charm
He hoped some day to own a farm,
So he hired with Reuben Tripp
The wealthiest man in the township.
Tripp's only child, his daughter Jane,
He sought her love and not in vain,
As Jacob served for Rachel dear
So John he served year after year,
Till rich enough to buy bush farm
For to chop down with his strong arm.
The truest nobleman of all
He lives not in ancestral hall,
But sheltereth family from harm
By logs rolled up by his strong arm,
In this young glorious land so free
Where each may rear his own roof tree,
And the chief glory of old days
Broad fire place where big logs did blaze,
As much as four strong men could handle,
They served alike for heat and candle;
He his young oxen did adorn
With fine gay ribbons on each horn,
And to his home with joy and pride
He did bring sweet blooming bride,
Such happiness is seldom seen,
Happier far than king or queen;
She helped him in the fields to reap,
And spun the wool from off the sheep,
All they required they had for both,
Of her own weaving of good cloth,
And she was a good tailoress,
Did make his coat and her own dress;
The golden butter that she made
Was of the very finest grade,
Each grace and virtue she possess'd,
Where'er she was, that spot was blessed,
And though they did not have stove then,
Neither did they own an oven;
She filled large pot with well knead dough
And baked fine bread 'mong embers glow;
He each winter the forest trees
Did quickly hew them down with ease,
For he to work had a desire
And the skill did soon acquire,
But round great giants hewed a ring
Then storms would soon them prostrate bring,
For many a time the furious breeze
Would quick o'erthrow the girdled trees,
And sometimes they would kill the cows
When they did feed on grass or browse,
But after reckoning damage all
A benefit was each windfall;
Though good fortune now he sees
Might have been got from Walnut trees;
But trees were foes in his hurry,
All were slain, both oak and cherry,
And to this day he doth incline
To mourn o'er slaughter of the pine,
And reflects how he did o'erwhelm
Many a maple, beech and elm;
And each summer day did toil
With his steers drawing logs in pile;
These giants of the forest dead,
Fire did reduce to an ash bed,
And soon potatoes, wheat and corn,
They did the rugged stumps adorn,
And Jane did help him with the hoe,
And well she did keep her row:
No organs then they had to play,
But she could work and sing all day;
In spring he did live maples tap
To draw from them the luscious sap,
He gathered it in big log trough,
Then boiled it down and sugared off,
Enough the household for to cheer,
With all its sweets for the whole year,
And no such thing those times were seen
As the swift raising stump machine,
And where main road was low and damp
With logs he built a road through swamp,
But a smooth ride could not enjoy
While it was naught but corduroy,
Each year added earth and gravel,
Now smoothly o'er they can travel,
For it doth make an excellent road
For John and Jane to go abroad,
And it is now a great highway
Where hundreds travel every day.
There were no roads in early days
But bridle path, their guide the blaze,
And mills and marts so far away,
They never could return same day;
Log school house served as church for all,
Of various creeds, and for town hall.
These scenes to youth do now seem strange
So wondrous quick hath been the change,
O'er paths where oxen only trod,
Cows quickly speed o'er the railroad,
And every way both up and down
There has sprung up a thriving town.
No more he fights with forest trees,
But both enjoy their wealth and ease,
Long since the old folks both are gone
And left the whole to Jane and John;
The log house now has passed away
With all its chinks filled in with clay,
And in its place fine house of stone
With lawn where choice shrubs are grown.
With sons and daughters they are blest,
The young men say they'll move Northwest;
This gives their mother some alarm,
She wants them still on the home farm,
But father will not have them tarry
They can plow so quick on prairie,
And they find coal makes a good fire,
And build their fences of barbed wire
They would not be forever gone
As they could talk by telephone.


Notefoot:
We have been congratulated by many on the truthfulness of the Romance of Canada. They declare it is not a romance but a true picture of rise and progress of worthy people in Canada.

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