By William Henry Drummond
O spirit of the mountain that speaks to us to-night,
Your voice is sad, yet still recalls past visions of delight,
When ‘mid the grand old Laurentides, old when the earth was new,
With flying feet we followed the moose and caribou.
And backward rush sweet memories, like fragments of a dream,
We hear the dip of paddle blades, the ripple of the stream,
The mad, mad rush of frightened wings from brake and covert start,
The breathing of the woodland, the throb of nature’s heart.
Once more beneath our eager feet the forest carpet springs,
We march through gloomy valleys, where the vesper sparrow sings.
The little minstrel heeds us not, nor stays his plaintive song,
As with our brave coureurs de bois we swiftly pass along.
Again o’er dark Wayagamack, in bark canoe we glide,
And watch the shades of evening glance along the mountain side.
Anon we hear resounding the wizard loon’s wild cry,
And mark the distant peak whereon the ling’ring echoes die.
But Spirit of the Northland! let the winter breezes blow,
And cover every giant crag with rifts of driving snow.
Freeze every leaping torrent, bind all the crystal lakes,
Tell us of fiercer pleasures when the Storm King awakes.
And now the vision changes, the winds are loud and shrill,
The falling flakes are shrouding the mountain and the hill,
But safe within our snug cabane with comrades gathered near,
We set the rafters ringing with “Roulant” and “Brigadier.”
Then after Pierre and Telesphore have danced “Le Caribou,”
Some hardy trapper tells a tale of the dreaded Loup Garou,
Or phantom bark in moonlit heavens, with prow turned to the East,
Bringing the Western voyageurs to join the Christmas feast.
And while each backwoods troubadour is greeted with huzza
Slowly the homely incense of “tabac Canayen”
Rises and sheds its perfume like flowers of Araby,
O’er all the true-born loyal Enfants de la Patrie.
And thus with song and story, with laugh and jest and shout,
We heed not dropping mercury nor storms that rage without,
But pile the huge logs higher till the chimney roars with glee,
And banish spectral visions with La Chanson Normandie.
“Brigadier! répondit Pandore
Brigadier! vous avez raison,
Brigadier! répondit Pandore,
Brigadier! vous avez raison!”
O spirit of the mountain! that speaks to us to-night,
Return again and bring us new dreams of past delight,
And while our heart-throbs linger, and till our pulses cease,
We’ll worship thee among the hills where flows the Saint-Maurice.