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Short poem

William Henry Drummond (1854-1907)

The Wreck of the "Julie Plante"
A Legend of Lac St. Pierre

              1On wan dark night on Lac St. Pierre,
              2    De win' she blow, blow, blow,
              3An' de crew of de wood scow "Julie Plante"
              4    Got scar't an' run below--
              5For de win' she blow lak hurricane,
              6    Bimeby she blow some more,
              7An' de scow bus' up on Lac St. Pierre
              8    Wan arpent from de shore.

              9De captinne walk on de fronte deck,
            10    An' walk de hin' deck too--
            11He call de crew from up de hole,
            12    He call de cook also.
            13De cook she 's name was Rosie,
            14    She come from Montreal,
            15Was chambre maid on lumber barge,
            16    On de Grande Lachine Canal.

            17De win' she blow from nor' -eas' -wes',--
            18    De sout' win' she blow too,
            19W'en Rosie cry, "Mon cher captinne,
            20    Mon cher, w'at I shall do ?"
            21Den de captinne t'row de beeg ankerre,
            22    But still de scow she dreef,
            23De crew he can't pass on de shore,
            24    Becos' he los' hees skeef.

            25De night was dark lak wan black cat,
            26    De wave run high an' fas',
            27W'en de captinne tak' de Rosie girl
            28    An' tie her to de mas'.
            29Den he also tak' de life preserve,
            30    An' jomp off on de lak',
            31An' say, "Good-bye, ma Rosie dear,
            32    I go drown for your sak'."

            33Nex' morning very early
            34    'Bout ha'f-pas' two--t'ree--four--
            35De captinne--scow--an' de poor Rosie
            36    Was corpses on de shore,
            37For de win' she blow lak hurricane,
            38    Bimeby she blow some more,
            39An' de scow bus' up on Lac St. Pierre,
            40    Wan arpent from de shore.


            41Now all good wood scow sailor man
            42    Tak' warning by dat storm
            43An' go an' marry some nice French girl
            44    An' leev on wan beeg farm.
            45De win' can blow lak hurricane
            46    An' s'pose she blow some more,
            47You can't get drown on Lac St. Pierre
            48    So long you stay on shore.


1] Lac St.Pierre: a lake between Sorel and Trois Rivières, east of Montreal, through which the St. Lawrence River flows.

2] Drummond acknowledged that a village lumberman, Gidéon Plouffe, was the source of this line (Arthur L. Phelps, ed., Habitant Poems [Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1959]: 8).

6] Bimeby: by and by.

7] scow: large flat-bottomed boat.

8] arpent: a French measure, amounting to "about an acre and a quarter to about five-sixths of an acre" (OED).

16] Grande Lachine Canal: bypasses the Lachine rapids and runs through Montreal.

21] beeg: "big" in original.

22] de scow: "the scow" in original.

24] skeef: skiff, small rowboat.

25] lak: "lak'" in original.

37] "lak'" in original.

45] lak: "lak'" in original.

Online text copyright © 2005, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: William Henry Drummond, The Habitant and other French-Canadian Poems, intro. Louis Frechette (New York and London: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1897): 8-10.
First publication date: 1897
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1997.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/17*1:2005/1/2

Rhyme: abcbdefe

Other poems by William Henry Drummond