The Habitants Jubilee Ode

A poem by William Henry Drummond

I read on de paper mos' ev'ry day, all about Jubilee
An' grande procession movin' along, an' passin' across de sea,
Dat's chil'ren of Queen Victoriaw comin' from far away
For tole Madame w'at dey t'ink of her, an' wishin' her bonne santé.

An' if any wan want to know pourquoi les Canayens should be dere
Wit' res' of de worl' for shout "Hooraw" an' t'row hees cap on de air,
Purty quick I will tole heem de reason, w'y we feel lak de oder do,
For if I'm only poor habitant, I'm not on de sapré fou.

Of course w'en we t'ink it de firs' go off, I know very strange it seem
For fader of us dey was offen die for flag of L'Ancien Regime,
From day w'en de voyageurs come out all de way from ole St. Malo,
Flyin' dat flag from de mas' above, an' long affer dat also.

De English fight wit' de Frenchman den over de whole contree,
Down by de reever, off on de wood, an' out on de beeg, beeg sea,
Killin', an' shootin', an' raisin' row, half tam dey don't know w'at for,
W'en it's jus' as easy get settle down, not makin' de crazy war.

Sometam' dey be quiet for leetle w'ile, you t'ink dey don't fight no more,
An' den w'en dey're feelin' all right agen, Bang! jus' lak' she was before.
Very offen we're beatin' dem on de fight, sometam' dey can beat us, too,
But no feller's scare on de 'noder man, an' bote got enough to do.

An' all de long year she be go lak' dat, we never was know de peace,
Not'ing but war from de wes' contree down to de St. Maurice;
Till de las' fight's comin' on Canadaw, an' brave Generale Montcalm
Die lak' a sojer of France is die, on Battle of Abraham.

Dat's finish it all, an' de English King is axin' us stayin' dere
W'ere we have sam' right as de 'noder peep comin' from Angleterre.
Long tam' for our moder so far away de poor Canayens is cry,
But de new step-moder she's good an' kin', an' it's all right bimeby.

If de moder come dead w'en you're small garçon leavin' you dere alone,
Wit' nobody watchin' for fear you fall, an hurt youse'f on de stone,
An' 'noder good woman she tak' your han' de sam' your own moder do,
Is it right you don't call her moder, is it right you don't love her too?

Bâ non, an' dat was de way we feel, w'en de ole Regime's no more,
An' de new wan come, but don't change moche, w'y it's jus' lak' it be before.
Spikin' Français lak' we alway do, an' de English dey mak no fuss,
An' our law de sam', wall, I don't know me, 'twas better mebbe for us.

So de sam' as two broder we settle down, leevin' dere han' in han',
Knowin' each oder, we lak' each oder, de French an' de Englishman,
For it's curi's t'ing on dis worl', I'm sure you see it agen an' agen,
Dat offen de mos' worse ennemi, he's comin' de bes', bes' frien'.

So we're kipin' so quiet long affer dat, w'en las' of de fightin's done,
Dat plaintee is say, de new Canayens forget how to shoot de gun;
But Yankee man's smart, all de worl' know dat, so he's firs' fin' mistak' wan day
W'en he's try cross de line, fusil on hee's han', near place dey call Chateaugay.

Of course it's bad t'ing for poor Yankee man, De Salaberry be dere
Wit' habitant farmer from down below, an' two honder Voltigeurs,
Dem feller come off de State, I s'pose, was fightin' so hard dey can
But de blue coat sojer he don't get kill, is de locky Yankee man!

Since den w'en dey're comin on Canadaw, we alway be treat dem well,
For dey're spennin' de monee lak' gentil-hommes, an' stay on de bes' hotel,
Den "Bienvenu," we will spik dem, an' "Come back agen nex' week,
So long you was kip on de quiet an' don't talk de politique!"

Yass, dat is de way Victoriaw fin' us dis jubilee,
Sometam' we mak' fuss about not'ing, but it's all on de familee,
An' w'enever dere's danger roun' her, no matter on sea or lan',
She'll find that les Canayens can fight de sam' as bes' Englishman.

An' onder de flag of Angleterre, so long as dat flag was fly--
Wit' deir English broder, les Canayens is satisfy leev an' die.
Dat's de message our fader geev us w'en dey're fallin' on Chateaugay,
An' de flag was kipin' dem safe den, dat's de wan we will kip alway!

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