This Canada of ours and other poems/Keswick Bay



To — — — — —

O come from your briefs and your office,
    Break loose from those fetters to-day,
For sweet as the breath of the Summer
    Are the breezes of Keswick Bay,

That play o'er its sky-blue water,
    And the changeful greens of its shore,
As we glide to the dip of the paddle,
    Or fly to the sweep of the oar.

From the breezy hill where the pine-trees
     Are sighing their fragrance away.
I'll show you the wavelets sparkle,
     And the dancing zephyrs at play.

And after the storm-clouds gather,
     That sweep over Oro's hill,
I'll show you the waves of shadow
     On the meadows of Innisfil.
We'll sail to Ke-nah-bec Island,
     Where the last of the O-jib-way
Will tell us the ancient legends
     Of the Red man and Keswick Bay;

Of the great black-crested serpent
     With eyes of fiery red,
That dwelt in the Holland marshes,
     And hid in the river's bed,

And prowl'd abroad in the darkness,
     The terror of lake and land,

Till it came to Ke-nah-bec Island,
    And perish'd by Esquib's hand.

When sunset is bursting in splendour,
    And dyeing the west with its glare,
And burning the waters with crimson,
    And flashing red darts through the air,

We'll bring our good craft to an anchor
    Near a shore where the white birches shine:
Look out! or your rod will be broken,
    A black bass is fast on your line!

He plunges and dashes in fury—
    Let him have all the line he will take,
Till the landing-net holds him securely—
    A four-pounder king of the lake.

And after our basket is heavy,
    Sailing back by the light of the moon,
As we round up our yacht at her moorings
    We hear the sad call of the loon,

Like a wail of distress from the water;
    The night-hawk replies from the hill,
And there floats from a far-away thicket
    The plaint of the lone whip-poor-will.

The sunset has melted in silver,
    The crimsons have faded to grey,
And softly, in silence and shadow,
    Night falls on the beautiful bay.