Here, when to ease her tangled skein
Fate cut her threads and formed anew
The pattern of the thing she planned
And red war slipped the shuttle through,
Montcalm met Wolfe! The bitter strife
Of flag and flag was ended here—
And every man who gave his life
Gave it that now one flag may wave,
One nation rise upon his grave!
The twilight falls on old Quebec
And in the purple shines a star,
And on her citadel lies peace
More powerful than armies are.
O fair dream city! Ebb and flow
Of race feuds vex no more your walls.
Can they of old see this? and know
That, even as they dreamed, you stand
Gatekeeper of a peace-filled land!
Of old the Winds came romping down,
Oh, wild and free were they!
They bent the prairie grasses low
And made a place to play.
Then, that the gods might hear their voice
On purple days of spring,
They sought the tossing, pine-clad slope
And made a place to sing.
Tired at last of song and play,
They found a canyon deep
And in its echoing silences
They made a place to weep.
Man came, a small and feeble thing,
And looked upon the plain.
“Lo, this is mine,” he said, and set
A seal of golden grain.
Upon the mountain slopes he gazed,
Where the great pine trees grow,
Then gashed their mighty sides and laid
Their singing branches low.
He clung upon the canyon’s ledge
And from its topmost ridge,
Above its vast and awful deeps,
He built himself a bridge.
A bauble in the light of day,
New gilded by the sun,
It seemed like some great, golden web
By giant spider spun!
The homeless winds came rushing down—
Oh they were wild and free!
And angry for their stolen plain
And for their felled pine tree—
And angry—angry most of all
For that brave bridge of gold!
With deep-mouthed shout they hurtled down
To tear it from its hold—
The girders shrieked, the cables strained
And shuddered at the roar—
Yet, when the winds had passed, the bridge
Held firmly as before!
Still fairy-like and frail it shone
Against the sunset’s glow—
But one, the builder of the bridge,
Lay silent, far below!
The sweet west wind, the prairie school a break in
the yellow wheat,
The prairie trail that wanders by to the place where the four winds meet—
A trail with never an end at all to the children’s eager feet.
The morning scents, the morning sun, a morning sky
The distance melts to meet it till both are lost to view
In a little line of glory where the new day beckons through—