Thomas O'Hagan

(6 March 1855 - 1 March 1939 / Toronto)

The Dance At Mcdougall's - Poem by Thomas O'Hagan

IN a little log house near the rim of the forest
With its windows of sunlight, its threshold of stone,
Lived Donald McDougall, the quaintest of Scotchmen,
And Janet his wife, in their shanty, alone:
By day the birds sang them a chorus of welcome,
At night they saw Scotland again in their dreams;
They toiled full of hope 'mid the sunshine of friendship,
Their hearts leaping onward like troutlets in streams,
In the little log home of McDougall's.

At evening the boys and the girls would all gather
To dance and to court 'neath McDougall's rooftree;
They were wild as the tide that rushes up Solway
When lashed by the tempests that sweep the dark sea:
There Malcolm and Flora and Angus and Katie
With laughter-timed paces came tripping along,
And Pat, whose gay heart had been nursed in Old Erin,
Would link each Scotch reel with a good Irish song,
Down at the dance at McDougall's.

For the night was as day at McDougall's log shanty,
The blaze on the hearth shed its halo around,
While the feet that tripped lightly the reel 'Tullagorum,'
Pattered each measure with 'ooch!' and with bound;
No 'Lancers' nor 'Jerseys' were danced at McDougall's,
Nor the latest waltz-step found a place on the floor,
But reels and strathspeys and the liveliest hornpipes
Shook the room to its centre from fireplace to door,
In the little log house at McDougall's.

Gone now is the light in McDougall's log shanty,
The blaze on the hearth long has sunk into gloom,
And Donald and Janet who dreamed of 'Auld Scotia'
Are dreaming of Heaven in the dust of the tomb.


While the boys and the girls–the 'balachs' and 'calahs'–
Who toiled during day and danced through the night,
Live again in bright dreams of Memory's morning
When their hearts beat to music of life, love and light,
Down at the dance at McDougall's.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, May 7, 2012

Poem Edited: Monday, May 7, 2012


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