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Title: Ode for Dominion Day

Date of first publication: 1879

Author: anonymous

Date first posted: June 24, 2014

Date last updated: June 24, 2014

Faded Page eBook #20140609

This ebook was produced by: Larry Harrison, Elizabeth S. Oscanyan & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net






    The Genius of Canada mourning in her solitary haunts on the banks of the Ottawa. Consolation is offered to her. A council of chiefs is called from which the greatest results are anticipated. But evil passions interfere; factions and parties arise. The white man comes. The wigwams of the Aborigenes are seen near his dwellings. This picture of peace comforts the guardian spirit. She experiences still greater joy on beholding the prosperity of the country, the harmony of its races, and its more recent developments.

          O saddest lot!

          In lonely grot,

          Bound by unholy spell

          Cheerless ever to dwell!


Thou mournest, hapless sprite,

Wrapped in thy misty pall.

Nought can thy soul delight

Lone by the melancholy waterfall.

The pines around,

The weeping skies,

The dull cold swampy ground

And caverns dark e’er greet thine eyes.

The moaning wind and hissing wave,

Of spectres dread the hollow groans

That echo as o’er nature’s grave,

Of Goblins fell the dismal tones,

The whirling demon-pool that yawns[1]

Aye thirsting, panting for its prey,

That Stygian tide o’er which ne’er dawns

The cheering light of rising day:

What awful sounds thine ears assail,

O, genius of the forest land!

No marvel if thy solemn wail

Thine Ottawa’s echoes all command!

Yet cheer thee, solitary Sprite!

An aged Chief, in council sage,

Thine eyes shall see. Ere dawning light,

Each warrior shall his care engage

O’er hardiest braves that long has borne,

In forests wild, unquestioned sway,

From Manitoulin’s woods unshorn,

To billows of the “Salt Lake” spray.

Ah! hope not that the weary sprite

In sagest council shall delight,

Lo! promptly round the Chieftain strong,

Crowd counsellors, a motley throng,

Each passion o’er his dauntless soul,

Claims for itself unique control,

First envy seeks her empire to secure,

“Divide and Rule,” have sages said,

This maxim envy plies—her task is sure,

Dissension o’er the wigwam’s spread.


Ambition next her towering head uprears.

Mad faction tears the grave Divan;

Considerate counsel there no more appears,

Each growling party for its man.


In anger frowns the Chief, from blood shot eyes

Fierce lightning’s dart;—the throng recoils;

But wrathful soon, its anger’s torrents rise;

The Council all with fury boils.


“Revenge! revenge!” the haughty Chieftains cry;

“Revenge!” above the torrent’s roar,

They louder yell; ’tis watchword and reply;

“Revenge! Revenge!” o’er Ottawa’s shore.


O! Peri sprite! can nought the tempest still?

        Bid music’s sound

        Aloud resound!

        It conquered Saul

        And soothed his soul

        When flew the dart

In fury to the shepherd’s heart.


        Soft pity to infuse,

        Invoke the tuneful muse.

The Persian victor owned its power;

To sorrow moved, his fury o’er,

Stern fortune’s fitful mood he mourned,

His burning rage to sighs he turned,

And grieving o’er man’s ills below,

The gushing tears began to flow.


        Sing Peri, sing

Sweet peace and hope and mercy’s power.

        Bid forests ring,

And o’er the boiling wave,

Diffuse the soothing strain;

The song of hope shall save.

When powerless all beside

To stem wild passion’s tide.


O, for Timotheus’ strain!

        Or thine, Cecilia divine!

        In holiest rapture’s vein,

        In harmony sublime,

        Let both combine,

        The spheres conjoin,

        As echo to the cascade’s chime

        tones, divinest maid,

        That “drew an angel down.”

Or thine, upon the sounding lyre that made

Those master lays that mortals bore

        In ecstacy to Heaven!

        In songs all new be given

        Oh hill and plain,

        Hope’s cheering strain!

        Lo, in ecstatic measures,

        Tells she of promised pleasures!


Touched by her magic hand, the chords resound;

Louder and louder still she pours along

Her sweetest notes; the caverns echo round;

The charmed dryads, warble to the song;

Earth’s loveliest scenes the entrancing music hail,

And vocal are the woods, the hills, the vale.

Now, as her softest, holiest themes she chose,

Were heard responsive, murmuring at each close,

Celestial voices round the listening shore.

“Let joy prevail! be hate and war no more.”

The choral Naiads sang. The red man smiled,

His soul with pleasure thrilled, and he threw down

His gory tomahawk! No more defiled

Shall be his hand to seek in blood the victor crown.


        Seeks choice delight

        A traveller wight.

        From distant clime

        Earnest he roams

        Charmed with the chime

Of the rushing tide that foams

Through varied scenes and new.

By Ottawa’s shelving shore,

Bursts on his gladdened view,

Men’s happiest homes before,

The wigwam’s curling smoke,

What rapture to his soul the scene!

Is this the conquered red man’s yoke

Free as the winds to roam through forests green?


’Tis even so. And thus ’twill ever be

So long as o’er the heaving Ocean wave,

Britannia’s flag shall bravely float and free.

The favored Indian prays: ”Our Mother save”

’Neath his roof of the sweetest summer leaves,

With a heart as leal as the bravest chief

That ever bore a Briton’s sword; nor grieves

O’er his altered lot, aye light, as the leaf

His bounding step, as he fearlessly roams

In his native woods, ’mid the white men’s homes.


Well may thy Genius, Canada, rejoice,

Peace like to thine ne’er yet to men was known,

Still flows thy fortune’s tide, thy noblest choice

Fair freedom still; nor freedom’s gift alone,

Fired not by lust of conquest—pride of power,

Thy people bold with philanthropic will,

Their enterprise extend the world out o’er,

Right glad to mitigate the sum of ill.

The Nations meet thee with an equal soul;

Their richest trade ships press around thy shores.

And far beyond the raging main’s control,

The wealth of worlds out-pour in boundless stores.


“O, happiest lot!” the exultant Peri cries,

“Lo! more than e’er I dreamed, I now behold;

O, blest the most of all beneath the skies?

Peace, Freedom yours, and happiness untold!

O! to the latest hour of changeful time

May gracious Heaven this era bright prolong!”

So prays the red man, too, unstained by crime;

Ardent he prays, and thankful pours the song.


“Such tranquil days Gods only can bestow,

Thanks ever to the Christian’s Manitou!

Benign Victoria’s rule dispels all fears,

Be ours this happiness to latest years!

The Constitution Free our firmest stay,

Late may our Mother Great to realms of day

Honored return; above her spirit flown,

Be Freedom, Peace and Plenty still our own,

Britannia’s guardian mantle o’er us thrown!”


A fearful whirlpool near the Chaudiere falls, not inappropriately denominated the “Devil’s Hole,” into which a considerable portion of the waters of the Ottawa are seen to rush without any visible outlet.

[The end of Ode for Dominion Day by anonymous]