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Songs of the Makers of Canada
Champlain Hears the Call


I.

Long have we, Minstrels, sung vainglorious lays
Of warfare and destructive deeds, and long
Our themes have been of what we are and what
We shall be when our argosies have passed
To every mart and come, like laden bees
Returning home, with wealth from orient lands.

Enlarge we now our theme and sing of him
Who first made pregnant the waiting womb of fate,
Begetting where his ancient city stands
The lusty Child which patient Time Lath made
Parental of a people yet to be
The world's predestined ministers of Peace.

II

Lo! at the cruel cadence of the year
When all the land was carpeted with snows,
A star shot flaming across the northern skies
Portentous of a passing soul that had
No soilare from the murky crew of men
Who wrought with him. Avid of gain were they,
And thus they lived their futile years and died!

But he, when his life's dayspring dawned within,
Heard on the inward ear, in solemn tune,
The august choir of myriad streams and plains
And woods and winds—the whole, wide, mighty land
And aborigines all chorusing
In unison: "Come unto us," they sang;
"Long have we been unknown, and are unseen,
Save by the wild beasts searching for their prey
And by those far-off immemorial eyes
That flock the heavens and shepherd us at night,—
Come, Sire, and build a new Hesperia here,—
A city in the West, cast as a seed
On consecrated soil. So shalt thou raise
A patriot people, and spread from sea to sea
The holy pow'r of Christian empery!"

III.

He came whose heart was stauncher than the walls
Of his famed city which he built.
And there He wrought his inextinguishable deeds,
Whose soul was whiter than the Christmas snows
That shrouded all the land at his demise.
So heard Champlain the call and wrought and passed:
His city is God's acre for his bones;
A happy people, his vast monument!


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