Sir Wilfrid Laurier -- Diplomatist

Original Text: 
Poems of A. MacGregor Rose (Gordon), ed. Robert Dey (London: John Heywood, no date): 133-37. British Library
2   De fines' lan' you see --
4   He live nex' door to me.
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5Now, long tam' Sam an' me mak' trade,
6   W'enever that we meet,
7An' Sam, he drive de bargain hard,
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9I not say mooch about it, me,
10   I never t'ink no harm
11Before I fin' mon Oncle Sam
12   He wan' my little farm.
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13An' w'en I not to heem will give
14   De lan' my fader hown,
15Den Sam get mad an' say to me,
16   "I'll play my hand alone.
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17You kip away; I not will trade,
18   Don' come my place about!"
19Ah! den I see hees leetle game
20   Was w'at you call "freeze-hout."
22   To me is not'ing new;
24   See if dey lak' it, too.
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25But w'en Sir John t'row up his han'
26   An' die, 'twas change indeed;
27No par'ner lef' could follow up
28   De fin' ole chieftain's lead.
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29An' de Canadian peup' was tire,
30   For dey was not mooch please
31For pay big price for jus' to nurse
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33Dey say, "We wan' to buy our t'ing
34   On some mooch sheaper shop,
35Dose enfants industries are sure
36   Long tam' for growing hup."
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37For eighteen year dey pull l'argent
38   From bottom of de purse,
39We t'ink it ees long tam' enough
40   For dem to be on nurse.
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. . . . . .
42   To trade wit' Sam again,
43But was shok off as soon dey spik'
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45He say, "My fren's, before we will
46   Wit you reciprocate,
47You mus' agains' ole England mak'
48   One sharp discriminate."
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49Dat took dem Tory breat' away,
50   Dey drop de bees'ness den,
51No more dey go on Washington
52   Nor write dere wit' de pen.
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53By'mbye last year, our Canada
54   T'en she know w'at she wants,
55An' wit' her toe, de mont' of June,
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57She sen' for Laurier, an' at once
58   Immediatement he comes,
60   I'll have one gentilhomme."
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61Sir Wilfrid, soon he tak' de chair,
62   An' dis he plainly state:
64   Will mak' discriminate.
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65"If Oncle Sam, from out his lan'
66   Will keep Canadian men,
67We'll do de sam' to Yankee, too --
68   An' w'at will he do den?
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69"We'll play de game all sam' lak' heem,
70   An' mak' wan alien law,
71An' more, bigarre! we'll hear him squeal
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73Den Oncle Sam, he scratch hees head
74   An' say, "Dat's quit' enuff,
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77So w'en Sir Wilfrid go to talk
79Mon Oncle Sam tak' heem one side,
80   An' mak' some smoot' appeal.
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81"I lak' Canadian, yes, for sure,
82   I wan' for be your fren'."
83"We lak' you, too," Sir Wilfrid say,
84   But only now an' den;
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85"For we'en you kick Canadian hout,
86   An' tink to mak' a fuss
87Agains' de Mother Lan', we say --
88   `You cannot bully us.'"
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89"Jes so," say Sam, "we mak hall right,
90   We tak' de whole dat pack,
91Wit' me an' you an' Anglan' too,
92   It mus' be give an' tak'."
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93"Correc'," Sir Wilfrid rise an' say,
94   Den Sam an' he shak' hands,
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97Den Wilfrid, he come home again,
99De markets rise, de trade increase --
100   Prosperitie renew.
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L'ENVOY.
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I t'ink for dis Canadian lan'
   For mak' it t'rive an' grow,
De bes' ees Wilfrid Laurier's smile,

Notes

1] Sir Wilfrid Laurier (1841-1919), French-Canadian leader of the national Liberal party from 1887 until his death, and Prime Minister of Canada, 1896-1911.
Canada en Bas: lower Canada, that is, in this case, Quebec. Back to Line
3] Oncle Sam: "Uncle Sam," the United States of America, a popular name for Canada's neighbour to the south, like the use of "John Bull" for England. Back to Line
8] bigarre: mild oath, "by God." Back to Line
21] Mais: but (French). Back to Line
23] Sir John MacDonald, Conservative political leader (January 10, 1815-June 6, 1891), first Prime Minister of Canada (1867-73, 1878-91). In 1879 he introduced the "National Policy," which added tarifs to imported goods. Back to Line
32] Les enfants industries: [Canadian] industries in their infancy. Back to Line
41] Tories: the Conservatives, led by MacDonald and then by Sir Charles Tupper. Back to Line
44] James G. Blaine, US Secretary of State. Back to Line
56] Canada elects a Liberal national government under Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Back to Line
59] boule-dogne: bulldog. Back to Line
63] On April 23, 1897, the Liberals passed the British Preferential Tariff, which reduced duties on imports from the United Kingdom by 25 percent. Back to Line
72] hors de bois: out of wood (French). Back to Line
75] vat: what. Back to Line
76] `up on snuff': in the know, sharp, up to scratch. Back to Line
78] In the so-called "Bering Sea dispute," US government ships started seizing Canadian sealing boats in international waters in order to protect American sealers operating in the US-owned Probilof Islands. By 1893 an international court upheld Canadian rights to seal in the Pacific. Back to Line
95] chat et chien: cat and dog (French). In fact, the US retained its high-tariff protectionist policies throught this period. Back to Line
96] les bon voisins: good neighbours (French). Back to Line
98] partout: everywhere (French). Back to Line
100] De wors' de Tupper blow: the worse that Sir Charles Tupper (1821-1915) -- Conservative Prime Minister in 1896-97 and leader of the Opposition until 1901, well-known for his bullying -- fumes, huffs and puffs. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1897
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2001
Rhyme: