The Ship From France: Quebec, 167-

QUEBEC, 167-.

I PASS the great stone church, where shines the altar-light;
The lonely convent walls, wrapped in the shade of night.
Above the fortress grim and high château I see,
Its white folds proudly spread, our regal fleur-de-lis.
I see the traders’ roofs close clustered on the strand;
Their two towers dimly reach below me, as I stand
Upon this tower-rock above the stream’s expanse,
And watch the moonlit tide to see the ship from France.
Thou piercing northern star that dost so clearly gleam,
Look down the spreading way of this life-bringing stream,
And tell me if thou see the blessed sail appear
That bends above my love, that brings my true love here!
In the dark wilderness, where raging rapids toss,
I ardently have fought to raise the flag and cross;
But now my heart is wild in Love’s enraptured trance,
To know my maiden comes within the ship from France!
Thou bright and distant France! the rich lights of thy skies
Will shine on me again from out her sunny eyes;
And I shall feel again my young life’s brilliant stir,
When I clasp her soft, warm hands and kiss the lips of her.
And will she bear the change, my lily pure and white,
That knows no harsher touch than balmy dew of night?
My blossom of the south, my girl of gentlest glance,
Will she regret she left her gay and gracious France?
Great river of the north, back from the ocean glide,
And swifter bear along the soldier’s peerless bride;
Blow, forest wind, whose breath is of the fir and pine,
And hasten, hasten her to these strong arms of mine!
Is it the mist that moves upon the channel’s trail?
No, there the lanterns gleam beneath a gliding sail!
They pass the shadowy isle, and to the cliff advance:
She comes, she comes, my love, my darling bi-ide of France!
C. L. Cleaveland,