Le Vieux Temps

William Henry Drummond

Venez ici, mon cher ami, an' sit down by me--so
An' I will tole you story of old tam long ago--
W'en ev'ryt'ing is happy--w'en all de bird is sing
An' me!--I'm young an' strong lak moose an' not afraid no t'ing.
I close my eye jus' so, an' see de place w'ere I am born--
I close my ear an' lissen to musique of de horn,
Dat 's horn ma dear ole moder blow--an only t'ing she play
Is "viens donc vite Napoléon--'peche toi pour votre souper."--
An' w'en he 's hear dat nice musique--ma leetle dog "Carleau"
Is place hees tail upon hees back--an' den he 's let heem go--
He 's jomp on fence--he 's swimmin' crik--he 's ronne two forty gait,
He say "dat 's somet'ing good for eat--Carleau mus' not be late."
O dem was pleasure day for sure, dem day of long ago
W'en I was play wit' all de boy, an' all de girl also;
An' many tam w'en I 'm alone an' t'ink of day gone by
An' pull latire an' spark de girl, I cry upon my eye.
Ma fader an' ma moder too, got nice, nice familee,
Dat 's ten garçon an' t'orteen girl, was mak' it twenty t'ree
But fonny t'ing de Gouvernement don't geev de firs' prize den
Lak w'at dey say dey geev it now, for only wan douzaine.
De English peep dat only got wan familee small size
Mus' be feel glad dat tam dere is no honder acre prize
For fader of twelve chil'ren--dey know dat mus' be so,
De Canayens would boss Kebeck--mebbe Ontario.
But dat is not de story dat I was gone tole you
About de fun we use to have w'en we leev a chez nous
We 're never lonesome on dat house, for many cavalier
Come at our place mos' every night--especially Sun-day.
But tam I 'member bes' is w'en I 'm twenty wan year--me--
An' so for mak' some pleasement--we geev wan large soirée
De whole paroisse she be invite--de Curé he 's come too--
Wit plaintee peep from 'noder place--dat 's more I can tole you.
De night she 's cole an' freeze also, chemin she 's fill wit snow
An' on de chimley lak phantome, de win' is mak' it blow--
But boy an' girl come all de sam an' pass on grande parloir
For warm itself on beeg box stove, was mak' on Trois Rivières--
An' w'en Bonhomme Latour commence for tune up hees fidelle
It mak' us all feel very glad--l'enfant! he play so well,
Musique suppose to be firs' class, I offen hear, for sure
But mos' bes' man, beat all de res', is ole Bateese Latour--
An' w'en Bateese play Irish jeeg, he 's learn on Mattawa
Dat tam he 's head boss cook Shaintee--den leetle Joe Leblanc
Tak' hole de beeg Marie Juneau an' dance upon de floor
Till Marie say "Excuse to me, I cannot dance no more."--
An' den de Curé 's mak' de speech--ole Curé Ladouceur!
He say de girl was spark de boy too much on some cornerre--
An' so he 's tole Bateese play up ole fashion reel a quatre
An' every body she mus' dance, dey can't get off on dat.
Away she go--hooraw! hooraw! plus fort Bateese, mon vieux
Camille Bisson, please watch your girl--dat 's bes' t'ing you can do.
Pass on de right an' tak' your place Mamzelle Des Trois Maisons
You 're s'pose for dance on Paul Laberge, not Telesphore Gagnon.
Mon oncle Al-fred, he spik lak' dat--'cos he is boss de floor,
An' so we do our possibill an' den commence encore.
Dem crowd of boy an' girl I'm sure keep up until nex' day
If ole Bateese don't stop heseff, he come so fatigué.
An' affer dat, we eat some t'ing, tak' leetle drink also
An' de Curé, he 's tole story of many year ago--
W'en Iroquois sauvage she 's keel de Canayens an' steal deir hair,
An' say dat 's only for Bon Dieu, we don't be here--he don't be dere.
But dat was mak' de girl feel scare--so all de cavalier
Was ax hees girl go home right off, an' place her on de sleigh,
An' w'en dey start, de Curé say, "Bonsoir et bon voyage
Menagez-vous--tak' care for you--prenez-garde pour les sauvages."
An' den I go meseff also, an' tak' ma belle Elmire--
She 's nicer girl on whole Comté, an' jus' got eighteen year--
Black hair--black eye, an' chick rosée dat 's lak wan fameuse on de fall
But don't spik much--not of dat kin', I can't say she love me at all.
Ma girl--she's fader beeg farmeur--leev 'noder side St. Flore
Got five-six honder acre--mebbe a leetle more--
Nice sugar bush--une belle maison--de bes' I never see--
So w'en I go for spark Elmire, I don't be mak' de foolish me--
Elmire!--she 's pass t'ree year on school--Ste. Anne de la Perade
An' w'en she 's tak' de firs' class prize, dat 's mak' de ole man glad;
He say "Ba gosh--ma girl can wash--can keep de kitchen clean
Den change her dress--mak' politesse before God save de Queen."
Dey 's many way for spark de girl, an' you know dat of course,
Some way dey might be better way, an' some dey might be worse
But I lak' sit some cole night wit' my girl on ole burleau
Wit' lot of hay keep our foot warm--an' plaintee buffalo--
Dat 's geev good chances get acquaint--an' if burleau upset
An' t'row you out upon de snow--dat 's better chances yet--
An' if you help de girl go home, if horse he ronne away
De girl she 's not much use at all--don't geev you nice baiser!
Dat 's very well for fun ma frien', but w'en you spark for keep
She 's not sam t'ing an' mak' you feel so scare lak' leetle sheep
Some tam you get de fever--some tam you 're lak snowball
An' all de tam you ack lak' fou--can't spik no t'ing at all.
Wall! dat 's de way I feel meseff, wit Elmire on burleau,
Jus' lak' small dog try ketch hees tail--roun' roun' ma head she go
But bimeby I come more brave--an' tak' Elmire she's han'
"Laisee-moi tranquille" Elmire she say "You mus' be crazy man."
"Yass--yass I say " mebbe you t'ink I 'm wan beeg loup garou,
Dat 's forty t'ousand 'noder girl, I lef' dem all for you,
I s'pose you know Polique Gauthier your frien' on St. Cesaire
I ax her marry me nex' wick--she tak' me--I don't care."
Ba gosh; Elmire she don't lak dat--it mak' her feel so mad--
She commence cry, say "'Poleon you treat me very bad--
I don't lak see you t'row you'seff upon Polique Gauthier,
So if you say you love me sure--we mak' de marieé"--
Oh it was fine tam affer dat--Castor I t'ink he know,
We 're not too busy for get home--he go so nice an' slow,
He 's only upset t'ree--four tam--an' jus' about daylight
We pass upon de ole man's place--an' every t'ing 's all right.
Wall! we leev happy on de farm for nearly fifty year,
Till wan day on de summer tam--she die--ma belle Elmire
I feel so lonesome lef' behin'--I tink 't was bes' mebbe--
Dat w'en le Bon Dieu tak' ma famme--he should not forget me.
But dat is hees biz-nesse ma frien'--I know dat 's all right dere
I 'll wait till he call "'Poleon" den I will be prepare--
An' w'en he fin' me ready, for mak' de longue voyage
He guide me t'roo de wood hesef upon ma las' portage.

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