When Albani Sang

A poem by William Henry Drummond

Was workin' away on de farm dere, wan morning not long ago,
Feexin' de fence for winter, 'cos dat's w'ere we got de snow!
W'en Jeremie Plouffe, ma neighbor, come over an' spik wit' me,
"Antoine, you will come on de city, for hear Ma-dam All-ba-nee?"

"W'at you mean?" I was sayin' right off, me, "Some woman was mak' de speech,
Or girl on de Hooraw Circus, doin' high kick an' screech?"
"Non, non," he is spikin', "Excuse me, dat's be Ma-dam All-ba-nee
Was leevin' down here on de contree, two mile 'noder side Chambly.

"She's jus' comin' over from Englan', on steamboat arrive Kebeck,
Singin' on Lunnon an' Paree, an' havin' beeg tam, I expec',
But no matter de moche she enjoy it, for travel all roun' de worl',
Somet'ing on de heart bring her back here, for she was de Chambly girl.

"She never do not'ing but singin' an' makin' de beeg grande tour
An' travel on summer an' winter, so mus' be de firs' class for sure!
Ev'ryboddy I'm t'inkin' was know her, an' I also hear 'noder t'ing,
She's frien' on La Reine Victoria an' show her de way to sing!"

"Wall," I say, "you're sure she is Chambly, w'at you call Ma-dam All-ba-nee?
Don't know me dat nam' on de Canton, I hope you're not fool wit' me?"
An' he say, "Lajeunesse, dey was call her, before she is come mariée,
But she's takin' de nam' of her husban', I s'pose dat's de only way."

"C'est bon, mon ami," I was say me, "If I get t'roo de fence nex' day
An' she don't want too moche on de monee den mebbe I see her play."
So I finish dat job on to-morrow, Jeremie he was helpin' me too,
An' I say, "Len' me t'ree dollar quickly for mak' de voyage wit' you."

Correc', so we're startin' nex' morning, an' arrive Montreal all right,
Buy dollar tiquette on de bureau, an' pass on de hall dat night.
Beeg crowd, wall! I bet you was dere too, all dress on some fancy dress,
De lady, I don't say not'ing, but man's all w'ite shirt an' no ves'.

Don't matter, w'en ban' dey be ready, de foreman strek out wit' hees steek,
An' fiddle an' ev'ryt'ing else too, begin for play up de musique.
It's fonny t'ing too dey was playin' don't lak it mese'f at all,
I rader be lissen some jeeg, me, or w'at you call "Affer de ball."

An' I'm not feelin' very surprise den, w'en de crowd holler out, "Encore,"
For mak' all dem feller commencin' an' try leetle piece some more,
'Twas better wan' too, I be t'inkin', but slow lak you're goin' to die,
All de sam', noboddy say not'ing, dat mean dey was satisfy.

Affer dat come de Grande piano, lak we got on Chambly Hotel,
She's nice lookin' girl was play dat, so of course she's go off purty well,
Den feller he's ronne out an' sing some, it's all about very fine moon,
Dat shine on Canal, ev'ry night too, I'm sorry I don't know de tune.

Nex' t'ing I commence get excite, me, for I don't see no great Ma-dam yet,
Too bad I was los all dat monee, an' too late for de raffle tiquette!
W'en jus' as I feel very sorry, for come all de way from Chambly,
Jeremie he was w'isper, "Tiens, Tiens, prenez garde, she's comin' Ma-dam All-ba-nee!"

Ev'ryboddy seem glad w'en dey see her, come walkin' right down de platform,
An' way dey mak' noise on de han' den, w'y! it's jus' lak de beeg tonder storm!
I'll never see not'ing lak dat, me, no matter I travel de worl',
An' Ma-dam, you t'ink it was scare her? Non, she laugh lak de Chambly girl!

Dere was young feller comin' behin' her, walk nice, comme un Cavalier,
An' before All-ba-nee she is ready an' piano get startin' for play,
De feller commence wit' hees singin', more stronger dan all de res',
I t'ink he's got very bad manner, know not'ing at all politesse.

Ma-dam, I s'pose she get mad den, an' before anyboddy can spik,
She settle right down for mak' sing too, an' purty soon ketch heem up quick,
Den she's kip it on gainin' an' gainin', till de song it is tout finis,
An' w'en she is beatin' dat feller, Bagosh! I am proud Chambly!

I'm not very sorry at all, me, w'en de feller was ronnin' away,
An' man he's come out wit' de piccolo, an' start heem right off for play,
For it's kin' de musique I be fancy, Jeremie he is lak it also,
An' wan de bes' t'ing on dat ev'ning is man wit' de piccolo!

Den mebbe ten minute is passin', Ma-dam she is comin' encore,
Dis tam all alone on de platform, dat feller don't show up no more,
An' w'en she start off on de singin' Jeremie say, "Antoine, dat's Français,"
Dis give us more pleasure, I tole you, 'cos w'y? We're de pure Canayen!

Dat song I will never forget me, 'twas song of de leetle bird,
W'en he's fly from it's nes' on de tree top, 'fore res' of de worl' get stirred,
Ma-dam she was tole us about it, den start off so quiet an' low,
An' sing lak de bird on de morning, de poor leetle small oiseau.

I 'member wan tam I be sleepin' jus' onder some beeg pine tree
An song of de robin wak' me, but robin he don't see me,
Dere's not'ing for scarin' dat bird dere, he's feel all alone on de worl',
Wall! Ma-dam she mus' lissen lak dat too, w'en she was de Chambly girl!

Cos how could she sing dat nice chanson, de sam' as de bird I was hear,
Till I see it de maple an' pine tree an' Richelieu ronnin' near,
Again I'm de leetle feller, lak young colt upon de spring
Dat's jus' on de way I was feel, me, w'en Ma-dam All-ba-nee is sing!

An' affer de song it is finish, an' crowd is mak' noise wit' its han',
I s'pose dey be t'inkin' I'm crazy, dat mebbe I don't onderstan',
Cos I'm set on de chair very quiet, mese'f an' poor Jeremie,
An' I see dat hees eye it was cry too, jus' sam' way it go wit' me.

Dere's rosebush outside on our garden, ev'ry spring it has got new nes',
But only wan bluebird is buil' dere, I know her from all de res',
An' no matter de far she be flyin' away on de winter tam,
Back to her own leetle rosebush she's comin dere jus' de sam'.

We're not de beeg place on our Canton, mebbe cole on de winter, too,
But de heart's "Canayen" on our body, an' dat's warm enough for true!
An' w'en All-ba-nee was got lonesome for travel all roun' de worl'
I hope she 'll come home, lak de bluebird, an' again be de Chambly girl!

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