Two Hundred Years Ago

A poem by William Henry Drummond

Two honder year ago, de worl' is purty slow
Even folk upon dis contree 's not so smart,
Den who is travel roun' an' look out de pleasan' groun'
For geev' de Yankee peop' a leetle start?
I 'll tole you who dey were! de beeg rough voyageurs,
W'it deir cousin w'at you call coureurs de bois,
Dat 's fightin' all de tam, an' never care a dam,
An' ev'ry wan dem feller he 's come from Canadaw
He 's comin' all de way from Canadaw.

But He watch dem, le bon Dieu, for He's got some work to do,
An He won't trus' ev'ry body, no siree!
Only full blood Canadien, lak Marquette an' Hennepin,
An' w'at you t'ink of Louis Verandrye?

On church of Bonsecours! makin' ready for de tour,
See dem down upon de knee, all prayin' dere,
Wit' de paddle on de han' ev'ry good Canadien man,
An' affer dey be finish, hooraw for anyw'ere
Yass, sir!
Dey 're ready now for goin' anyw'ere.

De nort' win' know dem well, an' de prairie grass can tell
How offen it is trample by the ole tam botte sauvage,
An'grey wolf on hees den kip very quiet, w'en
He hear dem boy a' singin' upon de long portage.
An' de night would fin' dem lie wit' deir faces on de sky,
An' de breeze would come an' w' isper on deir ear
'Bout de wife an' sweetheart dere on Sorel an' Trois Rivieres
Dey may never leev' to see anoder year
Dat 's true,
Dey may never leev' to kiss anoder year.

An' you 'll know de place dey go, from de canyon down below,
Or de mountain wit' hees nose aboeve de cloud,
De lake among de hill, w'ere de grizzly drink hees fill
Or de rapid on de reever roarin' loud;
Ax de wil' deer if de flash of de ole Tree Reever sash
He don't see it on de woods of Illinois
An' de musk ox as he go, w'ere de camp fire melt de snow,
De smell he still remember of tabac Canadien
Ha! Ha!
It 's hard forgettin' smell of tabac Canadien!

So, ma frien' , de Yankee man, he mus' try an' understan'
W'en he holler for dat flag de Star an' Stripe,
If he 's leetle win' still lef', an' no danger hurt hese'f,
Den he better geev' anoder cheer, ba cripe!
For de flag of la belle France, dat show de way across
From Louisbourg to Florida an' back;
So raise it ev'ryw'ere, lak' de ole tam voyageurs,
W'en you hear of de la Salle an'
For de flag of de la Salle an' Cadillac.

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