Pine, Rose and Fleur de Lis

by Susie Frances Harrison


 

OTTAWA


 

                                                        I.

Three are the cliffs, and three the winding rivers,
High on the cliffs’ crest risèth the crownèd town;
       Three are the cliffs, and one the Fall with its thunder
       Shaking the bridge while the river rolleth under,
Flicking the wild white foam from its lips so brown.
5

                                                        II.

A city set on a hill may not be hidden,
Her sunlit towers from afar transcend the green;
       Three are her hills, as an Old World town’s were seven,
       And from all three her spires ascend to heaven,
Like nests in the cliff her homes in the rock are seen.
10

                                                        III.

Fair is the view when the morning mists are melting,
Bridge and river and tree awake in the dark;
       Fairer yet when the rosy clouds of vesper
       Fire all the Gothic glass, and fair when Hesper
Shoots at the blue his tiny silvery mark.
15

                                                        IV.

But fairest of all when the winter sun is glowing,
And the bluest sky in the world is overhead,
       Or when at night all the jewell’d lights are shining,
       And the twisted ribbons of fire are gaily twining
Around her pines to the sound of her children’s tread.
20

                                                        V.

*Outaouai! Whatever else betide her,
Beauty is hers for a birthright sure and sweet,
       And old Romance, could he see her rocks and ridges,
       Could he stand but once on her spray-swept stormy bridges,
Would grow young again as he cast himself at her feet.
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*Original Indian. [back]
 

 


 

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