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The Song of the Exile-A Canadian Epic

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CANTO THE FIRST. I. Ye shores of England, as ye fast recedeThe pain of parting rends my weary breast.I must regret—yet there is little needThat I should mourn, for only wild unrestIs mine while in my native land I roam.Thou gav'st me birth, but cannot give a home. II. Yet happy were the days that have been mine,So happy that those days must needs be few.It could not be that that bright sun would shineFor many months, and while its light was newThe clouds arose, and, in one fated day,The jealous storm had swept my joys away. III. That fated day, when I believed that allThe hopes that I had cherished in the pastWould be fulfilled, and I should fondly callThe being whom I loved my own at last:Then fell the storm, and bursting on my head,Still saved my body when my soul was dead. IV. I loved her dearly, and my heart was setOn winning her. My only aim in lifeWas to secure her love, and so forgetThe world beside—my world would be my wife.I never loved another, her aloneI loved, and, loving, longed to call my own. V. The summer months were passed in tortured bliss.My love had grown, but that it could not grow;It all-enveloped me, and one sweet kissFrom her dear lips had made my bosom glowWith happiness; and many months of painHad been as nothing, that one kiss to gain. VI. And, when the many-tinted Autumn's reignSucceeded Summer's more congenial sway,I told her of the mingled joy and painThat stirred my soul throughout each Summer's day.And whispered, in emotion's softest tone,The love that I had feared before to own. VII. She listened silently, then, sweetly shy,She laid her gentle head upon my breast.And, in the liquid depths of each blue eye,I read the love her lips had not confessed;And quickly, fondly, pressed her to my heart,Vowing that none should keep us two apart. VIII. Ah! happy were the months that followed then,The months that flew as rapidly as days;And sweet the stolen hours of meeting whenWe listened to the nightingale's sad lays,Or, seated on a rustic bench alone,Forgot all else in glad communion. IX. I had not asked her father for her hand;He was a baronet of ancient blood.Proud of his lineage, jealous of his land;His pride was such as boded me no good.I was an author, not unknown to fame,But could not boast a title to my name. X. Sore did my loved one beg me to confessMy love to him, and ask for his consent.He loved her well, and could not fail to blessOur union; his pride had oft unbentTo her, and she had now but little fearThat he would hear me with a willing ear. XI. I gladly heard her speak in confidentAnd reassuring tones, and all the doubtThat had been mine now vanished, and I went,With lightsome heart, to seek her father out:And prayed him give his daughter for my wife,And thus confer a blessing on my life. XII. He heard me silently, nor did he speakFor full two minutes after I had ceased;Then, while his eye flashed, and his livid cheekBetrayed his passion, was his tongue released;And, in vituperative tones, he sworeThat I should never cross his threshold more. XIII. Was this my gratitude for patronage,That I should thus inveigle his one daughter,And seek to supplement my sorry wageBy the rich dowry that her marriage brought her?He was a baronet of ancient name;No parvenu his daughter's hand should claim. XIV. His words enraged me, but I checked my wrathFor her dear sake, whose love alone that fireCould quench, and mildly arguments put forthTo soothe the baronet, and calm his ire....