Monday, June 18, 2007

The Wreck of the Julie Plante by William Henry Drummond

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

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

De captinne walk on de fronte deck,
An' walk de hin' deck too—
He call de crew from up de hole,
He call de cook also.
De cook she 's name was Rosie,
She come from Montreal,
Was chambre maid on lumber barge,
On de Grande Lachine Canal.

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

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

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


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

I like how this poem is entirely readable and understandable when read aloud, though it might be a little odd to look at. When I read it, it reminded me of a book I got from the library once called Petite Rouge A Cajun Red Riding Hood. It's written in entirely the same style-- for read aloud with an accent-- but the subject matter is a little more cheerful.

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