A poem by John Campbell

O fortress city, bathed by streams
Majestic as thy memories great,
Where mountains, floods, and forests mate
The grandeur of the glorious dreams,
Born of the hero hearts who died
In founding here an Empire's pride;
Prosperity attend thy fate,
And happiness in thee abide,
Pair Canada's strong tower and gate!

May Envy, that against thy might
Dashed hostile hosts to surge and break,
Bring Commerce, emulous to make
Thy people share her fruitful fight,
In filling argosies with store
Of grain and timber, and each ore,
And all a continent can shake
Into thy lap, till more and more
Thy praise in distant worlds awake.

Who hath not known delight whose feet
Have paced thy streets or terrace way;
From rampart sod or bastion grey
Hath marked thy sea-like river greet.

The bright and peopled banks which shine
In front of the far mountain's line;
Thy glittering roofs below, the play
Of currents where the ships entwine
Their spars, or laden pass away?

As we who joyously once rode
Past guarded gates to trumpet sound,
Along the devious ways that wound
O'er drawbridges, through moats, and showed
The vast St. Lawrence flowing, belt
The Orleans Isle, and sea-ward melt;
Then by old walls with cannon crowned,
Down stair-like streets, to where we felt
The salt winds blown o'er meadow ground.

Where flows the Charles past wharf and dock.
And Learning from Laval looks down,
And quiet convents grace the town.
There swift to meet the battle shock
Montcalm rushed on; and eddying back,
Red slaughter marked the bridge's track:
See now the shores with lumber brown,
And girt with happy lands which lack
No loveliness of Summer's crown.

Quaint hamlet-alleys, border-filled
With purple lilacs, poplars tall,
Where flits the yellow bird, and fall
The deep eave shadows. There when tilled
The peasant's field or garden bed,
He rests content if o'er his head
From silver spires the church-bells call
To gorgeous shrines, and prayers that gild
The simple hopes and lives of all.

Winter is mocked by garbs of green,
Worn by the copses flaked with snow,--
White spikes and balls of bloom, that blow
In hedgerows deep; and cattle seen
In meadows spangled thick with gold,
And globes where lovers' fates are told
Around the red-doored houses low;
While rising o'er them, fold on fold,
The distant hills in azure glow.

Oft in the woods we long delayed,
When hours were minutes all too brief,
For Nature knew no sound of grief;
But overhead the breezes played,
And in the dank grass at our knee,
Shone pearls of our green forest sea,
The star-white flowers of triple leaf
Which love around the brooks to be,
Within the birch and maple shade.

At times we passed some fairy mere
Embosomed in the leafy screen,
And streaked with tints of heaven's sheen,
Where'er the water's surface clear
Bore not the hues of verdant light
From myriad boughs on mountain height,
Or near the shadowed banks were seen
The sparkles that in circlets bright
Told where the fishes' feast had been.

And when afar the forests flushed
In falling swathes of fire, there soared
Dark clouds where muttering thunder roared,
And mounting vapours lurid rushed,
While a metallic lustre flew
Upon the vivid verdure's hue,
Before the blasts and rain forth poured,
And slow o'er mighty landscapes drew
The grandest pageant of the Lord:

The threatening march of flashing cloud,
With tumults of embattled air,
Blest conflicts for the good they bear!
A century has God allowed
None other, since the days He gave
Unequal fortune to the brave.
Comrades in death! you live to share
An equal honour, for your grave
Bade Enmity take Love as heir!

We watched, when gone day's quivering haze,
The loops of plunging foam that beat
The rocks at Montmorenci's feet
Stab the deep gloom with moonlit rays;
Or from the fortress saw the streams
Sweep swiftly o'er the pillared beams;
White shone the roofs, and anchored fleet,
And grassy slopes where nod in dreams
Pale hosts of sleeping Marguerite.

Or when the dazzling Frost King mailed
Would clasp the wilful waterfall,
Fast leaping to her snowy hall
She fled; and where her rainbows hailed
Her freedom, painting all her home,
We climbed her spray-built palace dome,
Shot down the radiant glassy wall
Until we reached the snowdrift foam,
As shoots to waves some meteor ball.

Then homeward, hearing song or tale,
With chime of harness bells we sped
Above the frozen river bed.
The city, through a misty veil,
Gleamed from her cape, where sunset fire
Touched louvre and cathedral spire,
Bathed ice and snow a rosy red,
So beautiful that men's desire
For May-time's rival wonders fled:

What glories hath this gracious land,
Fit home for many a hardy race;
Where liberty has broadest base,
And labour honours every hand!
Throughout her triply thousand miles
The sun upon each season smiles,
And every man has scope and space,
And kindliness, from strand to strand,
Alone is born to right of place!

Such were our memories. May they yet
Be shared by others, sent to be
Signs of the union of the free
And kindred peoples God hath set
O'er famous isles, and fertile zones
Of continents! Or if new thrones
And mighty States arise, may He
Whose potent hand yon river owns
Smooth their great future's shrouded Sea!

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