Pine, Rose and Fleur de Lis

by Susie Frances Harrison


 

* IN THE QUEEN'S PARK, MAY 24th, 1887


 

Come! What are ye waitin’ there for?
       Don’t ye ’ear what the people say?
Don’t ye want to join the procession?
       Don’t ye know it’s the Queen’s Birthday?
If I was the one as faltered,
5
       And grumbled and looked kind o’ black,
It might be forgiven me, surely,
       With ninety years at my back.
But there! I’m as willin’ as ever,
       Although I can’t ’ear ’em play,
10
To join with the band in singin’
       “God Save ’Er” on ’er Birthday!

She’s sixty-eight and I’m ninety;
       We’er both getting’ on, I know.
She’s the Dook o’ Kent’s little daughter,

15
       I mind ’er openin’ show.
’Twas in the black old Abbey—
       How the London crowd did pour
’Long the Strand from dock and City
       And cheered ’er at the door!
20
And I was there, and your father,
       And we both elbowed our way
To the side o’ the Royal Carriage
       On the Coronation Day!

She give us a smile, I remember,

25
       And we come away satisfied.
I see ’er next at ’er weddin,
       With Prince Albert at ’er side.
I did’nt sulk and grumble
       As some o’ you young uns do,
30
I’d been used to crowds ’afore—why, boy!
       I was at Waterloo;
And the crowds, mind, do as I do,
       Just push and fight your way,
Or ye’ll find—’ere, boy! your arm, lad!
35
       Pretty work on a Queen’s Birthday!

They had almost ridden me down like,
       ’Tis a pity old folks can’t ’ear,
But my sight is as good as ever,
       And there goes a Grenadier!

40
A splendid fellow he is, too—
       A chip off the fine old block,
And ’ere is the Governor-General,
       Sharp to his ’leven o’clock!
Ay, ay, but it takes me back, lad,
45
And England seems far away,
       And I wish I could cheer as I’d like to
For ’er Sixty-Eighth Birthday.

But you—why, I’m ’alf ashamed o’ ye!
       Ye don’t give as lusty a cheer

50
As me with my bent old shoulders,
       As me with my ninety year!
Ye’ve got hold o’ new ideas;
       “Beant English”—well, that may be;
Ye “wasn’t born in England,”—
55
       But your father was—and me,
And ye live in the Queen’s Dominions,
       And ye owe her every way,
And it’s nothin’ more than your duty
       To cheer on the Queen’s Birthday.
60

For what if your mother was Irish,
       And what if ye don’t just like
The ways o’ some around ye,
       And feel sort o’ set on strike!
Take me—I come out in—’40
65
       To this ’ere Canadian land,
And there’s many things as I know
       I don’t yet ’alf understand,—
Why the Quality’s twice as ’aughty,
       Why the Parks must be sold away,
70
And why ye must drink in water
       ’Er ’ealth on the Queen’s Birthday.

But though I’m a loyal Briton
       I love the new land too.
What’s this O’Brien? Who’s he

75
       To meddle with me and you?
’Tis a fair young land in truth, lad,
       Look around, and ye’ll see how fair,
With the glory o’ spring-time grasses,
       With the chestnut smell in the air.
80
Why, a prettier spot than this, lad,
       And people in finer array
Could ’ardly be found in Old England,
       A-keepin the Queen’s Birthday!

And we look to all you youngsters

85
       To keep your land fair and young,
To take no man for a leader
       As hasn’t an honest tongue.
There! Watch the eddykongs gallop,
       And ’ark to a British cheer!
90
Get me a better place, lad –
       I wish your “O’Brien” was ’ere!
And I wish that the Queen ’erself was
       Able to see the display,
And the loyal crowds as is keepin’
95

       ’Er Sixty-Eighth Birthday!

* On the occasion of the trooping of the colours by Lord Lansdowne. [back]

 


 

Canadian Poetry | Canadian Long Poems | Early Writing in Canada
Poems in Early Canadian Newspapers | The Confederation Poets
Canadian Architexts

About the Canadian Poetry Press | About the Editors | Submission and Ordering Information
Canadian Poetry Web Links | Get in Touch With Us | Price Lists

© Canadian Poetry Press

UWO Department of English | UWO Home | email Canadian Poetry