Verse > Anthologies > William Wilfred Campbell, ed. > The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse
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William Wilfred Campbell, comp.  The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse.  1913.
 
Quebec
By John Campbell, Duke of Argyll (1845–1914)
 
O FORTRESS city, bathed by streams,
  Majestic as thy memories great,
  Where mountain-floods and forests mate
The grandeur of the glorious dreams,
  Born of the hero-hearts who died        5
  In founding here an empire’s pride.
 
Who hath not known delight, whose feet
  Hath paced thy streets, thy terrace way;
  From rampart sod or bastion grey
Hath marked thy sea-like river greet        10
  The bright and peopled banks which shine
  In front of the far mountain’s line;
Thy glittering roofs below, the play
  Of currents where the ships entwine
Their spars, or laden pass away.        15
 
As we who joyously once rode
  Past guarded gates to trumpet sound,
  Along the devious ways that wound
O’er drawbridges, through moats, and showed
  The vast St. Lawrence flowing, belt        20
  The Orleans Isle, and seaward melt;
Then by old walls with cannon crowned,
  Down stair-like streets, to where we felt
The soft winds blown o’er meadow ground.
 
Where flows the Charles past wharf and dock,        25
  And Learning from Laval looks down,
  And quiet convents grace the town;
There, swift to meet the battle-shock,
  Montcalm rushed on; and eddying back
  Red slaughter marked the bridge’s track;        30
See now the shores with lumber brown,
  And girt with happy lands which lack
No loveliness of summer’s crown.
 
Quiet hamlet alleys, border-filled
  With purple lilacs, poplars tall,        35
  Where flits the yellow-bird, and fall
The deep eave-shadows. There, when tilled
  The peasant’s field or garden bed,
  He rests content if o’er his head,
From silver spires, the church bells call        40
  To gorgeous shrines, and prayers that gild
The simple hopes and lives of all.
 
 
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