Pro Patria

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Was leevin' across on de State Vermont;
  W'ere mountain so high you see--
  Got plaintee to do, so all I want
  Is jus' to be quiet--me--
  No bodder, no fuss, only work aroun'
  On job I don't lak refuse--
  But affer de familee settle down
  It’s come w'at dey call war-news.

  De Spanish da-go he was gettin' mad,
  An' he’s dangerous l'Espagnol!
  An' ev'ry wan say it was lookin' bad,
  Not safe on de State at all--
  So Yankee he’s tryin' for sell hees farm,
  An' town’s very moche excite,
  Feexin' de gun an' de fire-alarm,
  An' ban' playin' ev'ry night.

  An' soon dere’s comin', all dress to kill,
  Beeg feller from far away,
  Shoutin' lak devil on top de hill,
  An' dis is de t'ing he say--

  "Strike for your home an' your own contree!
  Strike for your native lan'!
  Kip workin' away wit' de spade an' hoe,
  Den jump w'en you hear de bugle blow,
  For danger’s aroun', above, below,
  But de bugle will tell if it’s tam to go."

  An' he tak' de flag wit' de star an' stripe,
  An' holler out--"Look at me!
  If any wan touch dat flag, bâ cripe!
  He’s dead about wan--two--t'ree."
  Den he pull it aroun' heem few more tam,
  An' sit on de rockin' chair,
  Till somebody cheer for hees Uncle Sam,
  Dough I don't see de ole man dere.

  I got a long story for tell dat night
  On poor leetle Rose Elmire,
  An' she say she’s sorry about de fight
  We’re doin' so well down here--
  But it’s not our fault an' we can't help dat,
  De law she is made for all,
  So our duty is wait for de rat-tat-tat
  Of drum an' de bugle call.

  An' it’s busy week for Elmire an' me,
  I’m sure you 'd pity us too--
  Workin' so hard lak you never see,
  For dere’s plaintee o' job to do--
  Den half o' de night packin' up de stuff
  We got on de small cabane--
  An' buyin' a horse, dough he cos' enough,
  For Yankee’s a hard trade man.

  An' how can I sleep if ma wife yell out--
  "Gédéon, dere she goes!"
  An' bang an' tear all de house about
  W'en Johnnie is blow hees nose?
  Poor leetle chil'ren dey suffer too,
  Lyin' upon de floor,
  Wit' de bed made up, for dey never go
  On de worl' lak dat before.

  We got to be ready, of course, an' wait--
  De chil'ren, de wife, an' me,
  For show de Yankee upon de State,
  Ba Golly! how smart we be.
  You know de game dey call checker-boar'?
  Wall! me an' ma wife Elmire,
  We’re playin' dat game on de outside door
  Wit' leetle wan gader near;

  Jus' as de sun on de sky go down
  An' mountain dey seem so fine,
  Ev'ryt'ing quiet, don't hear a soun',
  So I’m lookin' across de line.
  An' I t'ink of de tam I be leevin' dere
  On county of Yamachiche,
  De swamp on de bush w'ere I ketch de hare
  De reever I use to feesh.

  An' ma wife Elmire w'en she see de tear,
  She cry leetle bit herse'f--
  Put her han' on ma neck, an' say, "Ma dear,
  I’m sorry we never lef';
  But money’s good t'ing, an' dere’s nice folk too,
  Leevin' upon Vermont--
  Got plaintee o' work for me an' you--
  Is dere anyt'ing more we want?

  Dere’s w'at dey 're callin' de war beez-nesse--
  It’s troublesome t'ing, of course,
  But no gettin' off--mus' strike wit' de res',
  No matter--it might be worse--
  We’re savin' along--never lose a day,
  An' ready w'en bugle blow--"
  But dat was de very las' word she say,
  For dere it commence to go,

  Blowin' away on de mountain dere,
  W'ere snow very seldom melts,
  Down by de reever an' ev'ryw'ere,
  We could n't hear not'ing else--
  Nobody stop to fin' out de place,
  Too busy for dat to-day--
  But we never forget de law in de case
  W'en feller he spik dis way--

  "Strike for your home an' your own contree!
  Strike for your native lan'!
  Kip workin' away wit' de spade an' hoe,
  Den jump w'en you hear de bugle blow,
  For danger’s aroun', above, below,
  But de bugle will tell if it’s tam to go."

  An' de chil'ren yell, an' de checker-boar'
  Don't do her no good at all--
  An' nobody never jump before
  Lak de crowd w'en dey hear de call,
  Dat was de familee,--bet your life
  I’m prouder, bâ Gosh! to-day
  Mese'f, de leetle wan, an' de wife,
  Dan anyt'ing I can say--

  'Cos nobody strike on de way we do--
  For home an' deir own contree--
  Wit' fedder bed, stove, de cradle too,
  An' ev'ryt'ing else we see--
  Pilin' de wagon up ten foot high
  Goin' along de road--
  An' de Yankee say as we’re passin' by
  Dey never see such a load--

  So dat’s how we’re comin' to Yamachiche--
  An' dat’s w'y we’re stayin' here--
  Jus' to be quiet an' hunt an' feesh,
  Not'ing at all to fear--
  An' if ever you lissen de Yankee folk
  Brag an' kick up de fuss--
  An' say we’re lak cattle upon de yoke,
  An' away dey can trot from us--

  Jus' tell dem de news of Gédéon Plouffe--
  How he jump wit' de familee
  An' strike w'en de bugle is raise de roof
  For home an' hees own contree.

© William Henry Drummond