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.
5Now, long tam' Sam an' me mak' trade,
6   W'enever that we meet,
7An' Sam, he drive de bargain hard,
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.
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.
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.
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.
29An' de Canadian peup' was tire,
30   For dey was not mooch please
31For pay big price for jus' to nurse
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."
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.
. . . . . .
42   To trade wit' Sam again,
43But was shok off as soon dey spik'
45He say, "My fren's, before we will
46   Wit you reciprocate,
47You mus' agains' ole England mak'
48   One sharp discriminate."
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.
53By'mbye last year, our Canada
54   T'en she know w'at she wants,
55An' wit' her toe, de mont' of June,
57She sen' for Laurier, an' at once
58   Immediatement he comes,
60   I'll have one gentilhomme."
61Sir Wilfrid, soon he tak' de chair,
62   An' dis he plainly state:
64   Will mak' discriminate.
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?
69"We'll play de game all sam' lak' heem,
70   An' mak' wan alien law,
71An' more, bigarre! we'll hear him squeal
73Den Oncle Sam, he scratch hees head
74   An' say, "Dat's quit' enuff,
77So w'en Sir Wilfrid go to talk
79Mon Oncle Sam tak' heem one side,
80   An' mak' some smoot' appeal.
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;
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.'"
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'."
93"Correc'," Sir Wilfrid rise an' say,
94   Den Sam an' he shak' hands,
97Den Wilfrid, he come home again,
99De markets rise, de trade increase --
100   Prosperitie renew.
I t'ink for dis Canadian lan'
   For mak' it t'rive an' grow,
De bes' ees Wilfrid Laurier's smile,


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: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2001