General view of the country.—Sketch of
the course of the St Lawrence. Winter. Sleigh travelling on the ice and
through a forest. The cottage of a Scotch Highlander.—View of a village
A YEAR IN CANADA.
Breeze of another clime, whose gentle
Sigh in soft whispers through yon fairy
Mid Transatlantic streams, and hills, and vales,
Still in the vision of remembrance wove!
Oh! yet ere time each vivid tint efface,
|Yet might the Muse, on Mem’ry’s
These western shades,—the varying landscape trace,
And weave the soothing lay, and half restore
Those scenes that once could charm—now haply view’d no more!
And bright on Fancy’s view the picture glows,
|The wood-crown’d hills of Canada
And many a forest waves its verdant boughs,
And many a cultured vale between them lies.
Wide through the land her own St Lawrence pours
His swelling stream, to meet the ocean’s waves;
|Now calmly steals along his sylvan
Now rushing o’er the rocky rapids raves,
His village-skirted banks and spire-crown’d*
Or gliding onward rolls his azure pride
Beneath his guardian fort’s majestic walls;
|Round smiling Orleans leads his
And meets the rush of Montmorency’s falls;
Or wid’ning sweeps, where lonely forests shade
The untrodden banks, and distant mountain’s breast;
Where haply scarce a hunter’s step has stray’d;
|Nor sounding bow, nor thund’ring
The moose-deer’s grassy haunt, the wild-bird’s woodland nest.
Delightful land! though Winter keen and chill,
Long o’er thy clime with piercing rigour reign,
Bind in its icy chains the freezing rill,
|And load with drifting snows the
Yet sweet the fruits thy glowing summer yields,
And gay its wilding bloom’s luxuriant dye,
Rich are the various products of thy fields,
Thy ample woods the cheerful blaze supply,
|Healthful thy keenest breeze and
clear thy azure sky.
Ev’n while around it fall the feath’ry snows,
May comfort in thy loneliest cottage smile;
Bright in the stove the blazing maple glows,
And Plenty gaily spreads the board of Toil;
|Nor yet unpleasing is the wintry
Where o’er the ice-bound wave, or beaten way,I
Along the path with verdant branches
Unwearying Industry, and Pleasure gay,
Lead the deep loaded traine, and guide the rapid sleigh.III
Or where on high the lofty cedar throwsIV
Its branching arms, and towers in air sublime,
As thick around the deep’ning forests close,
The wond’ring trav’ller finds a milder clime,
Where mingling with the pine’s
|The wither’d foliage of the oak
And elm, and maple’s leafless sprays are seen,
And spreading beech, and spiry poplars grow,
And many a youngling plant rears its light stem below.
Come then a while the forest path essay;
|Though lone the wild, and deep the
Yet many a passing traine has track’d the way,
And scarcely through the bush the breezes blow;V
Through checq’ring trees to fancy’s
A cottage in the wild’s sequester’d bound;
|’Tis but a pine tree’s roots, o’er-borne
The pond’rous trunk has spread a ruin round,
Branches and trees o’erthrown cumber the snow-clad ground.
Used to the path, the hardy horses scour
Down the quick slope and up the snowy hill,
|Smoothly they pass where Spring’s
Saw the wide spreading swamp and flowing rill.
See, bending low yon youngling birch-tree throws
A drooping thicket in the narrow way,VI
Shake from its loaded boughs the
weight of snows
|The fleecy shower deserts the
And free’d, o’erhead, once more the quiv’ring branches play.
Brighter through op’ning boughs the sun-beams
Whose axe sounds heavy in the sylvan wild?
Dear is that habit in a foreign clime,
|Thy well-known tartan, Caledonia’s
By hard-drawn rents and pinching want compell’d,
He left the heath-crown’d hill and verdant glen,
The straw-roof’d cot—the bothy’s summer bield,
To seek a home beyond th’ Atlantic main,
|Deep in these circling woods;—nor
sought that home in vain.
The axe, the flame assail’d the trembling glade—VII
The cottage rose, on disencumber’d ground,
Mid lands new ravish’d from the forest’s shade,
The winding wormfence stole its simple bound;
|Deep bosom’d in th’ embowering
His store increasing mark’d the flight of time;
And fondly there he rear’d his youthful race
From childhood’s blush to manhood’s blooming prime,
And reap’d the fertile field, and bless’d the gen’rous
Yet as by strangers rear’d an orphan’d child,
While his fond heart allows each grateful claim,
May still recal how once his parent smiled,
And his eyes glisten at a mother’s name;
Thus on each bosom pictured seems to dwell
|Some dear remembrance of a distant
While fondly querulous of Scotland’s weal,
Still hangs the father o’er the tales of yore,
Still sighs to say, "We view our native land no more!"
But those who cling around their grandsire’s
|Or course the floor in frolic gambols
When fleeting years mature the blooming race,
Shall love this western world, and know no dearer land.
Farewell,—for day declines—the slanting ray
With fainter lustre gilds the cottage room,
|And, ere the moon her silver lamp
Shall twilight wave on evening’s fairy loom;
Short is the path, but deep the forest’s sombre gloom.
Soon shall those spreading boughs be lowly laid,
Through which now blushing gleams the western sky,
|Fast stealing on the forest’s
Glengary’s scatter’d villages are nigh.VIII
Nor need ye ask her race from whence
The stately step of Scotland’s sons is there;
Flows from that maiden’s lip the Celtic song;
|Not such the charms that grace Canadienne
Deep is her cheek’s warm blush, and bright her flaxen hair.
Sweet cottage homes!—abodes of rural peace,
Of hospitable joy and harmless mirth!
Far from your bowers shall Mem’ry oft retrace,
|How bright the faggots on each
Blazed;—as a stranger,—to Columbia’s clime,
Who came, perchance, to pass a wint’ry day,
Led to these village haunts in joyous time,
And kindly welcom’d by the circle gay,
|Join’d in the mazy dance, and
shared the glad strathspey.