Poleon Dore

A poem by William Henry Drummond


You have never hear de story of de young Napoleon Doré?
Los' hees life upon de reever w'en de lumber drive go down?
W'ere de rapide roar lak tonder, dat's de place he's goin' onder,
W'en he's try save Paul Desjardins, 'Poleon hese'f is drown.

All de winter on de Shaintee, tam she's good, and work she's plaintee,
But we're not feel very sorry, w'en de sun is warm hees face,
W'en de mooshrat an' de beaver, tak' some leetle swim on reever,
An' de sout' win' scare de snowbird, so she fly some col'er place.

Den de spring is set in steady, an' we get de log all ready,
Workin' hard all day an' night too, on de water mos' de tam,
An' de skeeter w'en dey fin' us, come so quickly nearly blin' us,
Biz, biz, biz, biz, all aroun' us till we feel lak sacrédam.

All de sam' we're hooraw feller, from de top of house to cellar,
Ev'ry boy he's feel so happy, w'en he's goin' right away,
See hees fader an' hees moder, see hees sister an' hees broder,
An' de girl he spark las' summer, if she's not get marieé.

Wall we start heem out wan morning, an' de pilot geev us warning,
"W'en you come on Rapide Cuisse, ma frien', keep raf' she's head on shore,
If you struck beeg rock on middle, w'ere le diable is play hees fiddle,
Dat's de tam you pass on some place, you don't never pass before."

But we'll not t'ink moche of danger, for de rapide she's no stranger
Many tam we're runnin' t'roo it, on de fall an' on de spring,
On mos' ev'ry kin' of wedder dat le Bon Dieu scrape togedder,
An' we'll never drown noboddy, an' we'll never bus' somet'ing.

Dere was Telesphore Montbriand, Paul Desjardins, Louis Guyon,
Bill McKeever, Aleck Gauthier, an' hees cousin Jean Bateese,
'Poleon Doré, Aimé Beaulieu, wit' some more man I can't tole you,
Dat was mak' it bes' gang never run upon de St. Maurice.

Dis is jus' de tam I wish me, I could spik de good English, me,
For tole you of de pleasurement we get upon de spring,
W'en de win' she's all a sleepin', an' de raf' she go a sweepin'
Down de reever on some morning, w'ile le rossignol is sing.

Ev'ryt'ing so nice an' quiet on de shore as we pass by it,
All de tree got fine new spring suit, ev'ry wan she's dress on green
W'y it mak' us all more younger, an' we don't feel any hunger,
Till de cook say "'Raw for breakfas'," den we smell de pork an' bean.

Some folk say she's bad for leever, but for man work hard on reever,
Dat's de bes' t'ing I can tole you, dat was never yet be seen,
Course dere's oder t'ing ah tak' me, fancy dish also I lak me,
But w'en I want somet'ing solid, please pass me de pork an' bean.

All dis tam de raf' she's goin' lak steamboat was got us towin'
All we do is keep de channel, an' dat's easy workin' dere,
So we sing some song an' chorus, for de good tam dat's before us,
W'en de w'ole beez-nesse she's finish, an' we come on Trois Rivieres.

But bad luck is sometam fetch us, for beeg strong win' come an' ketch us,
Jus' so soon we struck de rapide, jus' so soon we see de smoke,
An' before we spik some prayer for ourse'f dat's fightin' dere,
Roun' we come upon de beeg rock, an' it's den de raf' she broke.

Dat was tam poor Paul Desjardins, from de parish of St. Germain,
He was long way on de fronte side, so he's fallin' overboar'
Couldn't swim at all de man say, but dat's more ma frien', I can say,
Any how he's look lak drownin', so we'll t'row him two t'ree oar.

Dat's 'bout all de help our man do, dat's 'bout ev'ryt'ing we can do,
As de crib we're hangin' onto balance on de rock itse'f,
Till de young Napoleon Doré, heem I start for tole de story,
Holler out, "Mon Dieu, I don't lak see poor Paul go drown hese'f."

So he's mak' beeg jomp on water, jus' de sam you see some otter
An' he's pass on place w'ere Paul is tryin' hard for keep afloat,
Den we see Napoleon ketch heem, try hees possibill for fetch heem
But de current she's more stronger, an' de eddy get dem bote.

O Mon Dieu! for see dem two man, mak' me feel it cry lak woman,
Roun' an' roun' upon de eddy, quickly dem poor feller go,
Can't tole wan man from de oder, an' we'll know dem bote lak broder,
But de fight she soon is finish, Paul an' 'Poleon go below.

Yass, an' all de tam we stay dere, only t'ing we do is pray dere,
For de soul poor drownin' feller, dat's enough mak' us feel mad,
Torteen voyageurs, all brave man, glad get any chances save man,
But we don't see no good chances, can't do not'ing, dat's too bad.

Wall! at las' de crib she's come way off de rock, an' den on some way,
By an' by de w'ole gang's passin' on safe place below de Cuisse,
Ev'ryboddy's heart she's breakin', w'en dey see poor Paul he's taken
Wit' de young Napoleon Doré, bes' boy on de St. Maurice!

An' day affer, Bill McKeever fin' de bote man on de reever,
Wit' deir arm aroun' each oder, mebbe pass above dat way,
So we bury dem as we fin' dem, w'ere de pine tree wave behin' dem
An de Grande Montagne he's lookin' down on Marcheterre Bay.

You can't hear no church bell ring dere, but le rossignol is sing dere,
An' w'ere ole red cross she's stannin', mebbe some good ange gardien,
Watch de place w'ere bote man sleepin', keep de reever grass from creepin'
On de grave of 'Poleon Doré, an' of poor Paul Desjardins.

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