The Huron Chief, and Other Poems

by Adam Kidd


 

CATHLEEN.


    Over her tearful eyes hung loose her disordered locks—
    She wept for her own green land.—OSSIAN.

Upon a lonely bank, against whose base
Saint Lawrence wildly heaves, she sat and wept
Her sad misfortune—that dark misfortune,
Which thus had forced her from her native cot,
And doomed her in a distant land to seek
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A scanty pittance from a hand unknown.

A sun more fierce than ever yet has flung
Its scorching beams upon her own green hills,
Had marked her care-worn cheek with brownest hue,
And tinged her brow with deep Canadian die—
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To me she told the story of her woes,
And hopes of other times, which never more
Can wake one spark of joy in her dark soul. [Page 172]
Yet, CATHLEEN, though a wreck, seemed lovely still,
And kindled feelings of a finer stamp
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Than pity or compassion e’er hath known.

Her plaintive tale was such, as Erin’s child,
No matter where he strays to find a home,
Might well divine.—But as my pen, too oft,
Has freely strayed from that allegiance,
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Which some may say it owes to England’s king,
I’ll here restrain its open willingness,
And check its blamed impetuosity!

Yet, quite too soon, the chequered path of life
Thy young and gentle heart must enter on,
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Without a guide—save the All-ruling Power,
Which, at the call of stainless purity,
Is ever ready—and confers a boon,
On worth and innocence so chaste as thine.
Deep, deep, unseen like Bakou’s ardent fire,
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Lie all the sympathies that merit praise [Page 173]
In man’s proud breast, till sadly once he sees—
Too true an image of his country’s fate—
The child of impulse weep, and drag the chain—
Then all the soft emotions of his heart—
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As spirits flash resentment on the foe—
Quick swell to rage—he strikes, and takes revenge.

Oh, Cathleen! I can truly share thy grief,
And fain would hope, that yet a brighter day
May shine with all its wonted cheerfulness,
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And give to Erin’s isle what Heaven designed;—
Come then with me, the portion of my roof,
Which, though but scanty, thou shalt freely share—
And when the shell of joy has once proclaimed
Loved Erin free, I’ll cross the ocean wave,
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And to thy mountain-cot thyself restore. [Page 174]