FROM SAFFRON dawn that lit the morning sky
Until the moon passed, blanching at the sight
Of fearful slaughter crying for respite,
Thy faithful forces heard thy battle cry
Above the stubborn, fierce, tumultuous sway
Of weltering lines. Then thy undaunted heart
Sustained thy heroes in their awful part
And glorified the sanguinary fray.
To us yon battleground is as a fane,
A holy place, a sacrificial spot
To thee and thy Canadian host who wrought
Immortal warrior deeds at Lundy’s Lane;
And thine own glory, Drummond, gleameth far,
Undimmed and constant as the purest star.
O VALIANT leader of the little band
That, fearless, forward rushed to victory,
Tho far outnumbered by the enemy,
And, daring death, saved our Canadian land, —
What honors can we pay the noble name
Of one who held as naught th’ invaders’ art
Of war,— whose glory hath become a part
For evermore of our Canadian fame?
Lo, on the looming crown of that ascent
Where thy life ceased, a loyal host hath reared
To thee — whose patriot heart was pure, nor feared,—
A high commemorative monument!
Still is thy memory green who fell to save,
Still, Brock, art thou the bravest of our brave!
Source: Logan, John Daniel. Songs of the Makers of Canada and Other Homeland Lyrics. Toronto: William Briggs, 1911.
A small town
huddling far below
the high BROCK monument,
in honor of the hero
of that historic war
of eighteen twelve.
in old Queenston
one little house
speaks of the simple life
of one who also had shared
the atrocity and misery
of that war and had shown
LAURA SECORD’s humble old house
facing the blue Niagara,
only whispers of her valour,
but right next door
her fame sells galore
delicious ice cream and sumptuous candy
in the little ice cream parlour.
No, it was not General BROCK
who gave Queenston its fame.
Rather a clever candy maker
knowing the importance of
a woman’s name in the candy trade
who made Queenston famous
with his ice-cream and chocolate
in LAURA SECORD’s name.
Source: Grol, Lini, ed. by Kevin McCabe and Lynne Prunskus. Lake to Lake: Lini Grol’s Niagara. St. Catharines: Blarney Stone Books, c2000.
“Enshrined in the records of Canadian achievement a century ago, is the fascinating and thrilling story of a daring feat performed at Brock’s monument on Queenston Heights by a young Bytonian — Matthew Murphy, father of Mr. J.A. Murphy of 412 McLeod Street. Mr. Murphy has penned the following lines relating to the historic incident but fuller details will be found in a story elsewhere on this page.” Ottawa Citizen, December 17, 1938
Well nigh a century ago,
Beside Niagara's river,
On Queenston Heights was struck a blow
Brock's monument to shiver.
A dastard alien's coward hand
Had piled within its bottle
A quarter hundred powder bags
The tower to o'ertopple.
When fired, the blast was strong enough
The wooden stair to shatter,
Mortar and stone proved all too tough,
For such a piffling matter.
As angry embryo nation rose
To right the wrong intended,
From town and country, copse and close,
Their various ways they wended.
Not trains nor aeroplanes, nor cars
Conveyed these sturdy yeomen.
None carried arms though some bore scars,
But all were worthy foemen.
They rode, they ran, they sailed, they swam
O'er trails through swamps, wet, dreary;
Berries and leaves their stomachs cram,
Footsore they were, and weary.
From nearby hills and dales they come,
From broad Ontario's beaches,
Where'er a spark or loyal flame
Gave urge to man the breaches.
Another such determined host
Not all our land could muster
They frightened rebels from our coast
And quelled the Yankee bluster. Continue reading "Ode to a Bytown Youth by J. A. Murphy"→