CANADIAN BALLADS,

AND

OCCASIONAL VERSES.

By Thomas D’Arcy McGee


 

THE THREE MINSTRELS.



I.


Three Minstrels play within the Tower of Time,
       A weird and wondrous edifice it is;
One sings of war, the martial strain sublime,
       And strikes his lyre, as ’twere a foe of his;
The sword upon his thigh is dripping red

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       From a foe’s heart in the mid battle slain;
His plum’d casque is doff’d from his proud head,
       His flashing eye preludes the thundrous strain.


II.


Apart, sequester’d in an alcove deep,
       Through which the pale moon looks propitious in,

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Accompanied by sighs that seem to weep,
       The second minstrel sadly doth begin
T’indite his mistress fair but cruel, who
       Had trampled on the heart that was her own;
Or prays his harp to help him how to woe,

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       And thrills with joy at each responsive tone. [Page 77]


III.


Right in the porch, before which, fair and far
       Plain, lake and hamlet fill the musing eye,
Gazing toward the thoughtful evening star
       That seems transfixed upon the mountain high,

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The third of Country and of Duty sings;
       Slow and triumphal is the solemn strain;
Like death, he takes no heed of Chiefs or Kings,
       But over all he maketh country reign.


IV.


Sad Dante!  he, love-led from life, who found

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       His way to Eden, and unhappy stood
Amid the angels—he, the cypress-crown’d,
       Knew not the utmost gift of the public good.
Thoughts deeper and more solemn it inspires
       Than even his lofty spirit dare essay;

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How then shall we, poor Emberers of old fires,
       Kindle the beacons of our country’s way?


V.


We all are audience in the Tower of Time;
       For us alone at this hour play the three.
Choose which ye will—the martial song sublime,

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       Or lover fond; but thou my Master be,
Oh! Bard of duty and of country’s cause:
       Thee will I choose and follow for my lord! [Page 78]