Songs of the Common Day, and Ave!

An Ode for the Shelley Centenary

by Charles G.D. Roberts


 

CANADIAN STREAMS


 

O RIVERS rolling to the sea
From lands that bear the maple-tree,
     How swell your voices with the strain
Of loyalty and liberty!

A holy music, heard in vain

5

By coward heart and sordid brain,
     To whom this strenuous being seems
Naught but a greedy race for gain.

O unsung streams—not splendid themes
Ye lack to fire your patriot dreams!

10

     Annals of glory gild your waves,
Hope freights your tides, Canadian streams!

St. Lawrence, whose wide water laves
The shores that ne'er have nourished slaves!
     Swift Richlieu of lilied fame!

15

Niagara of glorious graves!

Thy rapids, Ottawa, proclain
Where Daulac and his heroes came!
     Thy tides, St. John, declare La Tour,
And, later, many a loyal name!

20


Thou inland stream, whose vales, secure
From storm, Tecumseh's death made poor!
     And thou small water, red with war,
'Twixt Beaubassin and Beauséjour!

Dread Saguenay, where eagles soar,

25

What voice shall from the bastioned shore
     The tale of Roberval reveal,
Or his mysterious fate deplore?

Annapolis, do thy floods yet feel
Faint memories of Champlain's keel,

30

     Thy pulses yet the deed repeat
Of Poutrincourt and d'Iberville?

And thou far tide, whose plains now beat
With march of myriad westering feet,
     Sasketchewan, whose virgin sod

35

So late Canadian blood made sweet?

Your bulwark hills, your valleys broad,
Streams where de Salaberry trod,
     Where Wolfe achieved, where Brock was slain,—
Their voices are the voice of God!

40

O sacred waters! not in vain,
Across Canadian height and plain,
     Ye sound us in triumphant tone
The summons of your high refrain.