CANADIAN BALLADS,

AND

OCCASIONAL VERSES.

By Thomas D’Arcy McGee


 

JACQUES CARTIER AND THE CHILD.



I.


When Jacques Cartier returned from his voyage to the westward
All was uproar in Saint Malo and shouting of welcome.
Dear to his heart were the hail and the grasp of his towns-men,
And dear to his pride the favor and thanks of King Francis.
But, of all who drew nigh—such was the cast of his nature—

5

A God-child beloved, he most delighted to answer
On all the surmises that fill the fancy of children.


II.


“Tell me,” she said, “what you found far away in the woodlands,
Say how you felt, when you saw the Savages standing
Armed on the shore, and heard the first sound of their war-cry?

10

Were you afraid then?” Quietly smil’d the brave sailor—[Page 15]
“Nay, little daughter,” he said, “I was not afraid of the red men;
Rut when I saw them, I sigh’d, alas! for the bondage,
The darkness, that hangs over all the lost children of Adam.
As I in the depths of their forest might wander and wander

15

Deeper and deeper, and finding no outlet forever—
So they in the old desolation of folly and error
Are lost to their kindred divine in mansions eternal.”


III.


“And then, daughter dearest, I blest God in truth and in secret,
That he had not suffered my lot to be with the heathen,

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But cast it in France—among a people so Christian;
And then I bethought me, peradventure to me it is given
To lead the vanguard of Truth to the inmost recesses
Of this lost region of souls who know not the Gospel.
And these were the thoughts I had far away in the woodlands.

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When I saw the savages armed, and hear the roar of their war-             cry.” [Page 16]