The Wreck of the "Julie Plante"

A Legend of Lac St. Pierre

Original Text: 
William Henry Drummond, The Habitant and other French-Canadian Poems, intro. Louis Frechette (New York and London: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1897): 8-10.
3An' de crew of de wood scow "Julie Plante"
4    Got scar't an' run below--
5For de win' she blow lak hurricane,
9De captinne walk on de fronte deck,
10    An' walk de hin' deck too--
11He call de crew from up de hole,
12    He call de cook also.
13De cook she 's name was Rosie,
14    She come from Montreal,
15Was chambre maid on lumber barge,
17De win' she blow from nor' -eas' -wes',--
18    De sout' win' she blow too,
19W'en Rosie cry, "Mon cher captinne,
20    Mon cher, w'at I shall do ?"
23De crew he can't pass on de shore,
26    De wave run high an' fas',
27W'en de captinne tak' de Rosie girl
28    An' tie her to de mas'.
29Den he also tak' de life preserve,
30    An' jomp off on de lak',
31An' say, "Good-bye, ma Rosie dear,
32    I go drown for your sak'."
33Nex' morning very early
34    'Bout ha'f-pas' two--t'ree--four--
35De captinne--scow--an' de poor Rosie
36    Was corpses on de shore,
38    Bimeby she blow some more,
39An' de scow bus' up on Lac St. Pierre,
40    Wan arpent from de shore.
41Now all good wood scow sailor man
42    Tak' warning by dat storm
43An' go an' marry some nice French girl
44    An' leev on wan beeg farm.
46    An' s'pose she blow some more,
47You can't get drown on Lac St. Pierre
48    So long you stay on shore.


1] Lac St.Pierre: a lake between Sorel and Trois Rivières, east of Montreal, through which the St. Lawrence River flows. Back to Line
2] Drummond acknowledged that a village lumberman, Gidéon Plouffe, was the source of this line (Arthur L. Phelps, ed., Habitant Poems [Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1959]: 8). Back to Line
6] Bimeby: by and by. Back to Line
7] scow: large flat-bottomed boat. Back to Line
8] arpent: a French measure, amounting to "about an acre and a quarter to about five-sixths of an acre" (OED). Back to Line
16] Grande Lachine Canal: bypasses the Lachine rapids and runs through Montreal. Back to Line
21] beeg: "big" in original. Back to Line
22] de scow: "the scow" in original. Back to Line
24] skeef: skiff, small rowboat. Back to Line
25] lak: "lak'" in original. Back to Line
37] "lak'" in original. Back to Line
45] lak: "lak'" in original. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1997.