O antique city on St. Lawrence shore,
A relic, e'en a page of ancient lore
Thou art! Thy granite fortress tow'ring high,
Stretching its massive bulwarks toward the sky,
Tells of the march of war when nations proud
Proclaimed the force of arms in accents loud,--
The mighty cannon's boom; and valor rose,
While fearless armies ranged themselves as foes.
Here met two noble souls,--two chieftains brave,
Cast in heroic mould. Stern Fortune gave
To one,--the victor's meed; to each, a grave!
Renowned Champlain first gave these rocky heights
A name. Of yore full oft on starlight nights
The Indian war-whoop echoed round these plains,
And smote the desert shores with sad refrains.
Thy limpid waters, fair St. Lawrence, bore
Unchecked the rude canoe. Forevermore
In song and story will the red man be
A part of thy broad stream. Time unto thee
Will add fresh lusture as the ages roll,
And from life's warfare many a thoughtful soul
Hither repair, as to a pilgrim's goal.
Yet why a pilgrim's goal? Was it not here
That valiant armies met, and ev'ry fear
Was lulled in hope of conquest? Was't not here
On sunlit plains Wolfe's gallant troops drew near
And marched to vict'ry ere the morning broke?
Yes! e'en on Abraham's plains when courage woke,
161The great commander closed his eyes in death;
But as he yielded up life's fitful breath,
And to proud England's isles the honor gave,
He claimed the poet's lines--this soldier brave:
"The paths of glory lead but to the grave."
A stately column here attests his worth,
And e'en the hero to whom France gave birth,
Despite he fell, shorn of the conqueror's wreath,
Not without glorious deeds within the sheath
Placed he his sword. His honored ashes lie
Where soft the vesper hymn goes echoing by,
Within the quiet convent's pious shade.
Such are the heroes that thy glory made,
O antique city by St. Lawrence shore!
And long as round thee mighty waters roar,
Thou wilt remain,--a page of ancient lore!