From:  Early Long Poems on Canada.  Ed.  D.M.R. Bentley (London:  Canadian Poetry Press, 1993).

 

Henry Kelsey his Book being the Gift of James Hubbud in the
year of our Lord 1693

Now Reader Read for I am well assur’d
Thou dost not know the hardships I endur’d
In this same desert where Ever that I have been
Nor wilt thou me believe without that thou had seen
The Emynent Dangers that did often me attend
5
But still I lived in hopes that once it would amend
And makes me free from hunger & from Cold
Likewise many other things which I cannot here unfold
For many times I have often been oppresst
With fears & Cares that I could not take my rest
10
Because I was alone & no friend could find
And once that in my travels I was left behind
Which struck fear & terror into me
But still I was resolved this same Country for to see
Although through many dangers I did pass
15
Hoped still to undergo them at the Last
Now Considering that it was my dismal fate
For to repent I thought it now too late
Trusting still unto my masters Consideration
Hoping they will Except of this my small Relation
20
Which here I have pend & still will Justifie
Concerning of those Indians & their Country
If this wont do farewell to all as I may say
And for my living I’ll seek some other way
In sixteen hundred & ninety’th year
25
I set forth as plainly may appear
Through Gods assistance for to understand
The natives language & to see their land
And for my masters interest I did soon
Sett from the house the twealth of June
30
Then up the River I with heavy heart
Did take my way & from all English part
To live amongst the Natives of this place
If god permits me for one two years space
The Inland Country of Good report hath been
35
By Indians but by English yet not seen
Therefore I on my Journey did not stay
But making all the hast I could upon our way
Gott on the borders of the stone Indian Country
I took possession on the tenth Instant July
40
And for my master I speaking for them all
This neck of land I deerings point did call
Distance from hence by Judgement at the lest
From the house six hundred miles southwest
Through Rivers which run strong with falls
45
thirty three Carriages five lakes in all
The ground begins for to be dry with wood
Poplo & birch with ash thats very good
For the Natives of that place which knows
No use of Better than their wooden Bows
50
According to the use & custom of this place
In September I brought those Natives to a peace
But I had no sooner from those Natives turned my back
Some of the home Indians came upon their track
And for old grudges & their minds to fill
55
Came up with them Six tents of which they kill’d
This ill news kept secrett was from me
Nor none of those home Indians did I see
Untill that they their murder all had done
And the Chief acter was he that is called the Sun
60
So far I have spoken concerning of the spoil
And now will give account of that same Country soile
Which hither part is very thick of wood
Affords small nutts with little cherryes very good
Thus it continues till you leave the woods behind
65
And then you have beast of several kind
The one is a black Buffillo great
Another is an outgrown Bear which is good meat
His skin to gett I have used all the ways I can
He is mans food & he makes food of man
70
His hide they would not me it preserve
But said it was a god & they should Starve
This plain affords nothing but Beast & grass
And over it in three days time we past
getting unto the woods on the other side
75
It being about forty sixe miles wide
This wood is poplo ridges with small ponds of water
there is beavour in abundance but no Otter
with plains & ridges in the Country throughout
Their Enemies many whom they cannot rout
80
But now of late they hunt their Enemies
And with our English guns do make them flie
At deerings point after the frost
I set up their a Certain Cross
In token of my being there
85
Cut out on it the date of year
And Likewise for to verfie the same
added to it my master sir Edward deerings name
So having no more to trouble you withall I am
Sir your most obedient & faithful Servant at Command
90

HENRY KELSEY