William Henry Drummond

(13 April, 1854 – 6 April, 1907 / Mohill, County Leitrim)

Le Vieux Temps - Poem by William Henry Drummond

1 Venez ici, mon cher ami, an' sit down by me--so
2 An' I will tole you story of old tam long ago--
3 W'en ev'ryt'ing is happy--w'en all de bird is sing
4 An' me!--I'm young an' strong lak moose an' not afraid no t'ing.

5 I close my eye jus' so, an' see de place w'ere I am born--
6 I close my ear an' lissen to musique of de horn,
7 Dat 's horn ma dear ole moder blow--an only t'ing she play
8 Is 'viens donc vite Napoléon--'peche toi pour votre souper.'--

9 An' w'en he 's hear dat nice musique--ma leetle dog 'Carleau'
10 Is place hees tail upon hees back--an' den he 's let heem go--
11 He 's jomp on fence--he 's swimmin' crik--he 's ronne two forty gait,
12 He say 'dat 's somet'ing good for eat--Carleau mus' not be late.'

13 O dem was pleasure day for sure, dem day of long ago
14 W'en I was play wit' all de boy, an' all de girl also;
15 An' many tam w'en I 'm alone an' t'ink of day gone by
16 An' pull latire an' spark de girl, I cry upon my eye.

17 Ma fader an' ma moder too, got nice, nice familee,
18 Dat 's ten garçon an' t'orteen girl, was mak' it twenty t'ree
19 But fonny t'ing de Gouvernement don't geev de firs' prize den
20 Lak w'at dey say dey geev it now, for only wan douzaine.

21 De English peep dat only got wan familee small size
22 Mus' be feel glad dat tam dere is no honder acre prize
23 For fader of twelve chil'ren--dey know dat mus' be so,
24 De Canayens would boss Kebeck--mebbe Ontario.

25 But dat is not de story dat I was gone tole you
26 About de fun we use to have w'en we leev a chez nous
27 We 're never lonesome on dat house, for many cavalier
28 Come at our place mos' every night--especially Sun-day.

29 But tam I 'member bes' is w'en I 'm twenty wan year--me--
30 An' so for mak' some pleasement--we geev wan large soirée
31 De whole paroisse she be invite--de Curé he 's come too--
32 Wit plaintee peep from 'noder place--dat 's more I can tole you.

33 De night she 's cole an' freeze also, chemin she 's fill wit snow
34 An' on de chimley lak phantome, de win' is mak' it blow--
35 But boy an' girl come all de sam an' pass on grande parloir
36 For warm itself on beeg box stove, was mak' on Trois Rivières--

37 An' w'en Bonhomme Latour commence for tune up hees fidelle
38 It mak' us all feel very glad--l'enfant! he play so well,
39 Musique suppose to be firs' class, I offen hear, for sure
40 But mos' bes' man, beat all de res', is ole Bateese Latour--

41 An' w'en Bateese play Irish jeeg, he 's learn on Mattawa
42 Dat tam he 's head boss cook Shaintee--den leetle Joe Leblanc
43 Tak' hole de beeg Marie Juneau an' dance upon de floor
44 Till Marie say 'Excuse to me, I cannot dance no more.'--

45 An' den de Curé 's mak' de speech--ole Curé Ladouceur!
46 He say de girl was spark de boy too much on some cornerre--
47 An' so he 's tole Bateese play up ole fashion reel a quatre
48 An' every body she mus' dance, dey can't get off on dat.

49 Away she go--hooraw! hooraw! plus fort Bateese, mon vieux
50 Camille Bisson, please watch your girl--dat 's bes' t'ing you can do.
51 Pass on de right an' tak' your place Mamzelle Des Trois Maisons
52 You 're s'pose for dance on Paul Laberge, not Telesphore Gagnon.

53 Mon oncle Al-fred, he spik lak' dat--'cos he is boss de floor,
54 An' so we do our possibill an' den commence encore.
55 Dem crowd of boy an' girl I'm sure keep up until nex' day
56 If ole Bateese don't stop heseff, he come so fatigué.

57 An' affer dat, we eat some t'ing, tak' leetle drink also
58 An' de Curé, he 's tole story of many year ago--
59 W'en Iroquois sauvage she 's keel de Canayens an' steal deir hair,
60 An' say dat 's only for Bon Dieu, we don't be here--he don't be dere.

61 But dat was mak' de girl feel scare--so all de cavalier
62 Was ax hees girl go home right off, an' place her on de sleigh,
63 An' w'en dey start, de Curé say, 'Bonsoir et bon voyage
64 Menagez-vous--tak' care for you--prenez-garde pour les sauvages.'

65 An' den I go meseff also, an' tak' ma belle Elmire--
66 She 's nicer girl on whole Comté, an' jus' got eighteen year--
67 Black hair--black eye, an' chick rosée dat 's lak wan fameuse on de fall
68 But don't spik much--not of dat kin', I can't say she love me at all.

69 Ma girl--she's fader beeg farmeur--leev 'noder side St. Flore
70 Got five-six honder acre--mebbe a leetle more--
71 Nice sugar bush--une belle maison--de bes' I never see--
72 So w'en I go for spark Elmire, I don't be mak' de foolish me--

73 Elmire!--she 's pass t'ree year on school--Ste. Anne de la Perade
74 An' w'en she 's tak' de firs' class prize, dat 's mak' de ole man glad;
75 He say 'Ba gosh--ma girl can wash--can keep de kitchen clean
76 Den change her dress--mak' politesse before God save de Queen.'

77 Dey 's many way for spark de girl, an' you know dat of course,
78 Some way dey might be better way, an' some dey might be worse
79 But I lak' sit some cole night wit' my girl on ole burleau
8080 Wit' lot of hay keep our foot warm--an' plaintee buffalo--

81 Dat 's geev good chances get acquaint--an' if burleau upset
82 An' t'row you out upon de snow--dat 's better chances yet--
83 An' if you help de girl go home, if horse he ronne away
84 De girl she 's not much use at all--don't geev you nice baiser!

85 Dat 's very well for fun ma frien', but w'en you spark for keep
86 She 's not sam t'ing an' mak' you feel so scare lak' leetle sheep
87 Some tam you get de fever--some tam you 're lak snowball
88 An' all de tam you ack lak' fou--can't spik no t'ing at all.

89 Wall! dat 's de way I feel meseff, wit Elmire on burleau,
90 Jus' lak' small dog try ketch hees tail--roun' roun' ma head she go
91 But bimeby I come more brave--an' tak' Elmire she's han'
92 'Laisee-moi tranquille' Elmire she say 'You mus' be crazy man.'

93 'Yass--yass I say ' mebbe you t'ink I 'm wan beeg loup garou,
94 Dat 's forty t'ousand 'noder girl, I lef' dem all for you,
95 I s'pose you know Polique Gauthier your frien' on St. Cesaire
96 I ax her marry me nex' wick--she tak' me--I don't care.'

97 Ba gosh; Elmire she don't lak dat--it mak' her feel so mad--
98 She commence cry, say ''Poleon you treat me very bad--
99 I don't lak see you t'row you'seff upon Polique Gauthier,
100 So if you say you love me sure--we mak' de marieé'--

101 Oh it was fine tam affer dat--Castor I t'ink he know,
102 We 're not too busy for get home--he go so nice an' slow,
103 He 's only upset t'ree--four tam--an' jus' about daylight
104 We pass upon de ole man's place--an' every t'ing 's all right.

105 Wall! we leev happy on de farm for nearly fifty year,
106 Till wan day on de summer tam--she die--ma belle Elmire
107 I feel so lonesome lef' behin'--I tink 't was bes' mebbe--
108 Dat w'en le Bon Dieu tak' ma famme--he should not forget me.

109 But dat is hees biz-nesse ma frien'--I know dat 's all right dere
110 I 'll wait till he call ''Poleon' den I will be prepare--
111 An' w'en he fin' me ready, for mak' de longue voyage
112 He guide me t'roo de wood hesef upon ma las' portage.


Comments about Le Vieux Temps by William Henry Drummond

  • Susan Williams (1/14/2016 2:44:00 PM)


    It's a little long for reading dialect. That being said, I would love to be sitting on the front porch listening to him tell me about his life and that dialect would have enriched this tale far beyond everyday English. Excellent write. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: girl, dance, dog, fun, home, snow, happy, hair, crazy, horse, school, change, summer, house



Poem Submitted: Thursday, May 17, 2001

Poem Edited: Thursday, May 17, 2001


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