Now wherefore trembles still the string
By lyric fingers crossed,
To Laura Secord‘s praise and fame,
When forty years are lost?
Nay, five and forty, one by one,
Have Borne her from the day
When, fired with patriotic zeal,
She trod her lonely way.
Her hair is white, her step is slow,
Why kindles then her eye,
And rings her voice with music sweet
Of many a year gone by?
O know ye not proud Canada,
With joyful heart, enfolds
In fond embrace the royal boy
Whose line her fealty holds?
For him she spreads her choicest cheer,
And tells her happiest tale,
And leads him to her loveliest haunts,
That naught to please may fail.
And great art thou, O Chippawa,
Though small in neighbours‘ eyes,
When out Niagara‘s haze thou see‘st
A cavalcade arise;
And in its midst the royal boy
Who, smiling, comes to see
An ancient dame whose ancient fame
Shines in our history.
He takes the thin and faded hand,
He seats him at her side,
Of all that gay and noble band
That moment well the pride.
To him the aged Secord tells,
With many a fervid glow,
How, by her means, Fitzgibbon struck
His great historic blow.
Nor deem it ye, as many do,
A weak and idle thing
That at that moment Laura loved
The praises of a king;
And dwelt on his approving smile,
And kissed his royal hand,
Who represented, and should wield,
The sceptre of our land;
For where should greatness fire her torch
If not at greatness‘ shrine?
And whence should approbation come
Did not the gods incline?
Source: McCabe, Kevin, ed. The Poetry of Old Niagara. St. Catharines, Ont. : Blarney Stone Books, 1999.
Originally published in T.H. Rand, ed. A Treasury of Canadian Verse. 1900.
Photo courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library’s Historic Niagara Digital Collections