Pine, Rose and Fleur de Lis

by Susie Frances Harrison


 

ENTR'ACTE


 

I kept my promises, you see,
I show’d you barge and crowded quay.

I show’d you swarthy, sunburnt faces,
Born of the mix’d and alien races.

I show’d you how the tropic noon

5
Enwraps the raft in heavy swoon,

And how the story old is found
Upon this new and northern ground.

I show’d you how the solemn crowd
Within the great Cathedral bow’d.

10

And once together we have view’d
A genuine Gallic market feud.

The tall Basilica has lifted
High towers above where we have drifted.

Its golden cross has far to shine;

15
For all the valley ’tis the sign,

For all the Pèche, the Pickanoe,
And all the gleaming Gatineau.

O how leapt our spirits up,
(Like the crystal in the cup.)

20
When at Thurso first we heard
Natalie, our contralto bird,

Shy and slim, brown-ey’d, fifteen,
With her fearless walk and mien,

And her songs of twenty verses,

25
Songs once sung by Norman nurses!

Long we lay and listen’d, lying,
Trusty oars no longer plying,

Stretch’d beneath the sumach’s shade,
While the fearless dark-ey’d maid

30

Sang of castles, cavaliers,
Perils, patches, kisses, tears,

And the intervals so tender
Made our sordid souls surrender

To a modern “nutt browne mayde,”

35
Darkest hair in heaviest braid,

Darkest eyes and olive cheek,
Eyes both mischievous and meek.

Do thou not, my friend, forget
Dainty featur’d Nicolette,

40

Aucassin, her lover bold—
All the dainty story, told

In the antique measur’d verse,
Quaint tirade and metre terse.

       *        *        *        *        *
So when danger threaten’d, we

45
Bade farewell to Natalie,

Bade farewell to island, shore,
Open roof and forest floor,
Languidly upheld the oar.

 


 

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