Pine, Rose and Fleur de Lis

by Susie Frances Harrison




Yes; we linger, though we know
Fairer scenes await below,
Fairer to our western eyes
Through the medium of surprise
Than perhaps they really show,
Yet we linger, loath to go.
We would not be held ingrate,
Nor a tithe of love abate
For the blue Adagio
Of our own Ontario;
We would not be sycophant,
Changeable and complaisant,
Never would we seek to raise
Just a mount of paraphrase,
Rant and rhetoric, and varnish
Thick with flattery, then garnish
All with jeweled gauds and tropes,
(Gems that very quickly tarnish)
Frantic flights and hectic hopes.
Though, I say, I do not seek
That my rhyming should bespeak
Overpraise for that sweet strip,
Strip of sparkling shores that dip
In St. Laurent’s hallowed wave—
And although I do not hold
That my native air is cold,
Wholly damp and destitute
Of the kind of warmer fruit
All my soul doth warmly crave,
Still the blue Adagio
And the placid boundless flow
Of my own Ontario
Doth oppress me, doth not please,
As the lesser royalties,
Livelier currents, tawny, brown,
Lucent, shimmering, flowing down
Past each spire-deckt little town.

Thus to you I fain would show
First the foaming Gatineau;
And the wild prestissimo

Of its snowy cascades, set
Round about with violet
Shadows cast by mighty pines;
All the hues that dawn divines
In the rolling lumber, wet,
Sun-fired jasper, glassy jet.
Yes! these pulsing currents run
Swifter, subtler, while they shun
Travelled paths and common gaze,
Following shyer, sweeter ways.
This is where we next shall go—
Up the gleaming Gatineau.
Leap—the heart, and flash—the eye!
Let who will go on, pass by—
We at least have come to stay
—Where the habitant hath sway!



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