Pine, Rose and Fleur de Lis

by Susie Frances Harrison


 

ST JEAN B'PTISTE


 

                                                        I.

’Tis the day of the blessed St. Jean B’ptiste,
       And the streets are full of the folk awaiting
The favourite French-Canadian feast.

One knows by the bells which have never ceas’d,
       Since early morn reverberating,

5
’Tis the day of the blessed St. Jean B’ptiste.

Welcome it! Joyeux, the portly priest!
       Welcome it! Nun, at your iron grating!
The favourite French-Canadian feast.

Welcome it! Antoine, one of the least

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       Of the earth’s meek little ones, meditating
On the day of the blessed St. Jean B’ptiste,

On the jostling crowd that has swift increas’d
       Behind him, before him, celebrating
The favourite French-Canadian feast.

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He is cloth’d in the skin of some savage beast.
       Who cares if he be near suffocating?
’Tis the day of the blessed St. Jean B’ptiste,
The favourite French-Canadian Feast.

                                                        II.

Poor little Antoine! He does not mind.

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       It is all for the church, for a grand good cause,
The nuns are so sweet and the priests so kind.

The martyr’s spirit is fast enshrin’d
       In the tiny form that the ox-cart draws,
Poor little Antoine, he does not mind.

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Poor little soul, for the cords that bind
       Are stronger than ardor for fame or applause—
The nuns are so sweet and the priests so kind.

And after the fête and the feast is design’d—
       Locusts and honey are both in the clause—

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Brave little Antoine! He does not mind

The heat, nor the hungry demon twin’d
       Around his vitals that tears and gnaws,
The nuns are so sweet and the priests so kind.

The dust is flying. The streets are lin’d

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       With the panting crowd that prays for a pause.
Poor little Antoine! He does not mind!
The nuns are so sweet and the priests so kind,

 


 

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