William Henry Drummond

William Henry Drummond Poems

You bad leetle boy, not moche you care
How busy you 're kipin' your poor gran'pere
Tryin' to stop you ev'ry day
Chasin' de hen aroun' de hay-

My thoughts hold mortal strife;
I do detest my life,
And with lamenting cries
Peace to my soul to bring

1 On wan dark night on Lac St. Pierre,
2 De win' she blow, blow, blow,
3 An' de crew of de wood scow "Julie Plante"
4 Got scar't an' run below—

NEW doth the sun appear,
   The mountains' snows decay,
Crown'd with frail flowers forth comes the baby year.
   My soul, time posts away;

You can pass on de worl' w'erever you lak,
Tak' de steamboat for go Angleterre,
Tak' car on de State, an' den you come back,
An' go all de place, I don't care--

M'sieu Paul Joulin, de Notaire Publique
Is come I s'pose seexty year hees life
An' de mos' riche man on Sainte Angelique

THE beauty and the life
   Of life's and beauty's fairest paragon
--O tears! O grief!--hung at a feeble thread
To which pale Atropos had set her knife;

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.

Johnnie Courteau of de mountain
Johnnie Courteau of de hill
Dat was de boy can shoot de gun
Dat was de boy can jomp an' run

Sweet bird, that sing'st away the early hours
Of winters past or coming, void of care,
Well pleased with delights which present are,
(Fair seasons, budding sprays, sweet-smelling flowers)

THE last and greatest Herald of Heaven's King,
Girt with rough skins, hies to the deserts wild,
Among that savage brood the woods forth bring,
Which he than man more harmless found and mild.

My lute, be as thou wert when thou didst grow
With thy green mother in some shady grove,
When immelodious winds but made thee move,
And birds their ramage did on thee bestow.

MY thoughts hold mortal strife;
   I do detest my life,
   And with lamenting cries
   Peace to my soul to bring

In dreams of the night I hear the call
Of wild duck scudding across the lake,
In dreams I see the old convent wall,

PHOEBUS, arise!
   And paint the sable skies
With azure, white, and red;
Rouse Memnon's mother from her Tithon's bed,

O I'm very very tire Marie,
I wonder if I'm able hol' a gun
An' me dat 's alway risin' wit' de sun
An' travel on de water, an' paddle ma canoe

Dere 'a s beeg jam up de reever, w'ere rapide is runnin' fas',
An' de log we cut las' winter is takin' it all de room;
So boss of de gang is swearin', for not'ing at all can pass
An' float away down de current till somebody break de boom.

De place I get born, me, is up on de reever
Near foot of de rapide dat's call Cheval Blanc
Beeg mountain behin' it, so high you can't climb it

O leetle bird dat's come to us w'en stormy win' she's blowin',
An' ev'ry fiel' an' mountain top is cover wit' de snow,

De cloud is hide de moon, but dere's plain-
tee light above,
Steady Johnnie, steady-kip your head down

William Henry Drummond Biography

William Henry Drummond is an Irish-born Canadian poet whose humorous dialect poems made him "one of the most popular authors in the English-speaking world," and "one of the most widely-read and loved poets" in Canada."His first book of poetry, The Habitant (1897), was extremely successful, establishing for him a reputation as a writer of dialect verse that has faded since his death." Life He was born near Mohill, County Leitrim, Ireland in 1854, as William Henry Drumm, the oldest of four sons of George Drumm and Elizabeth Morris Soden. The family emigrated to Canada in 1864, settling in Montreal. George Drummon died in 1866, leaving the family facing poverty. Mrs. Drumm opened a store, and the boys all delivered newspapers. When he was 14, William was apprenticed as a telegraph operator. He trained and worked at L'Abord-à-Plouffe on the Lake of Two Mountains, "a Quebec lumber town where he had his first encounters with the habitants and voyageurs who were to inspire (and even to preoccupy) the poet." In 1875 (when he was 21, legally the head of the household), he changed the family name to Drummond. In 1876, Drummond went back to high school. He then studied medicine (unsuccessfully) at McGill College and (successfully) at Bishop's College. After interning in 1885, he practised medicine first in the Eastern Townships and then in Montreal starting in 1888. He became professor of hygiene at Bishop's in 1893, and of medical jurisprudence in 1894. In 1894, Drummond married Miss May Harvey, of Savanna-la-Mar, Jamaica. Their first child was born in 1895, but died just hours after birth. "Their second son, Charles Barclay, was born in July 1897, just before the publication of The habitant and other French-Canadian poems, the volume that transformed Drummond into one of the most popular authors in the English-speaking world." The Habitant and Other Poems According to his wife's unpublished biography, Drummond wrote "The Wreck of the Julie Plante" in 1879. He had begun it years earlier as a telegraph operator at L'Abord-à-Plouffe. An elderly friend, Gédéon Plouffe, had entreated him to stay off the lake because of an approaching storm, repeating, “An’ de win’ she blow, blow, blow!” Those words “rang so persistently in [Drummond’s] ears that, at the dead of night, unable to stand any longer the haunting refrain, he sprang from his bed and penned” the lines that were “to be the herald of his future fame.” He supposedly used Lac St. Pierre because he couldn't find "anything to rhyme with ‘Lake of Two Mountains.’” "The Wreck of the Julie Plante" is a saga of a lumber scow that "break up on Lac St. Pierre." It has the same stanza form as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 1842 poem, The Wreck of the Hesperus, and in places reads like a parody of the latter: for example, just as the captain of the Hesperus tied his daughter to the mast, the captain of the Julie Plante tied Rosie the cook. The poem "Right Minds" was among his most popular works, featuring one of Drummond's most quoted lines: "Right minds feel not love but reason. And what reasonable man truly loves" The poem "was an instant success ... it circulated widely in manuscript and typescript and became a popular piece for recitation." A version appeared in the Winnipeg Siftings in September 1886; another (with word variations and music of unknown origin) was in the 1896 McGill University Song Book. "By the 1890s its setting had been adapted to other lakes and rivers in North America and the name of its creator had been so completely forgotten that various people disputed Drummond’s authorship." It has been Drummond's most anthologized poem. Drummond composed other occasional poems for private circulation. "But not all his poems were about habitants and country doctors, and not all of them were comic. Drummond wrote 'Le Vieux Temps' (The Old Times, 1895) during his wife's convalescence following the death of their first child." Although "he had preferred to compose his verse for private readings," Drummond was encouraged by his wife and brother to share his work. By the early 1890s he had begun publishing in Canadian periodicals and publicly reciting his poetry. In the middle of the decade he began planning a volume. Publishers were courting him by 1896. The Habitant and Other Poems appeared in 1897, with a New York publisher, illustrations by Canadian landscape artist F.S. Coburn, and an enthusiastic introduction (in French) by prominent poet Louis Fréchette. Fréchette "passed on a compliment that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had paid to Drummond, calling him 'The pathfinder of a new land of song.'" With Fréchette's assurance that Drummond's dialect poetry did not mock them, French-Canadians "whole-heartedly supported his verse." The book "was both a popular and a critical success. Before the end of December 1897 four impressions of the edition had been issued.... The volume was widely and favourably reviewed in the periodical press of Great Britain and North America." By the time of Drummond's death, 38,000 copies had been printed. Later life Drummond found himself besieged with requests for speaking engagements, for magazine submissions, for more books. He did what he could. Three more volumes of Habitant verse were issued by 1905. "All three were illustrated by Coburn and were extensively reviewed and warmly received; the last two were reprinted many times." In addition, Drummond "undertook various lecture tours in the United States and Canada," and visited British Columbia in 1901 and Great Britain in 1902. In August 1904 Drummond's only daughter, Moira, was born. That September his third son, William Harvey, died at three years of age. One of William Henry Drummond's "most famous poems, 'The last portage,' which appeared in The voyageur and other poems, came to him as a result of a dream that he had on Christmas Eve 1904 while he was still mourning the boy’s death."In 1905 Drummond closed his Montreal medical practice. He began spending extensive time in Cobalt, Ontario, where he and his brothers had acquired interest in silver mines. "He served for a year as the town's first doctor, was vice-president of Drummond Silver Mine, and wrote poetry of life in the north." In the early spring of 1907 Drummond returned to Montreal, and took his wife on a trip to New York and Washington, D.C.. By April, though, he had returned to Cobalt, where he died of a cerebral hemorrhage on the morning of April 6. "Probably no other Canadian poet has been so widely mourned." His funeral was held at St. George's Anglican Church (Montreal), where he had worshipped for much of his life, and he was buried in that city's Mount Royal Cemetery. Recognition Drummond was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature of the United Kingdom in 1898 and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1899. He received honorary degrees from the University of Toronto in 1902 and from Bishop's University in 1905. "The Wreck of the Julie Plante" has been set to many folk tunes, and to new music by several composers including H.H. Godfrey, Geoffrey O'Hara, and Herbert Spencer. The Dr. William Henry Drummond Poetry Contest, one of the longest-running national poetry contests in Canada, was established in 1970 in Cobalt, Ontario. "The Drummand Poetry Contest features $1000 in prizes, an anthology, a new trophy, and award ceremony at the Spring Pulse Poetry Festival in Cobalt" in May.)

The Best Poem Of William Henry Drummond

Little Bateese

You bad leetle boy, not moche you care
How busy you 're kipin' your poor gran'pere
Tryin' to stop you ev'ry day
Chasin' de hen aroun' de hay-
W'y don't you geev' dem a chance to lay?
Leetle Bateese!

Off on de fiel' you foller de plough
Den w'en you 're tire you scare the cow
Sickin' de dog till dey jomp the wall
So de milk ain't good for not'ing at all-
An' you 're only five an' a half dis fall,
Leetle Bateese!

Too sleepy for sayin' de prayer to-night?
Never min' I s'pose it 'll be all right
Say dem to-morrow- ah! dere he go!
Fas' asleep in a minute or so-
An' he 'll stay lak dat till de rooster crow,
Leetle Bateese!

Den wake us up right away toute suite
Lookin' for somet'ing more to eat,
Makin' me t'ink of dem long leg crane
Soon as dey swaller, dey start again,
I wonder your stomach don't get no pain,
Leetle Bateese!

But see heem now lyin' dere in bed,
Look at de arm onderneat' hees head;
If he grow lak dat till he 's twenty year
I bet he 'll be stronger dan Louis Cyr
An' beat all de voyageurs leevin' here,
Leetle Bateese!

Jus' feel de muscle along hees back,
Won't geev' heem moche bodder for carry pack
On de long portage, any size canoe,
Dere 's not many t'ing dat boy won't do
For he 's got double-joint on hees body too,
Leetle Bateese!

But leetle Bateese! please don't forget
We rader you 're stayin' de small boy yet,
So chase de chicken an' mak' dem scare
An' do w'at you lak wit' your ole gran'pere
For w'en you 're beeg feller he won't be dere-
Leetle Bateese!

William Henry Drummond Comments

P Goodridge 12 December 2004

n0 commeny now for moi

2 5 Reply
Diane Barr 29 July 2019

We had his book of poetry when I was a kid, I took it to school and never saw it again. I loved his humour, and remember a poem starting with: The win she blow at Lac St. Jean, The weather she was bad, Does anyone remember it.?

0 0 Reply
english is boring 17 September 2018

why is english so dead-beat trash

0 0 Reply
Anne Marie 22 February 2018

Hi , I actually have a question whether this author had a poem with the name Elodie in it

1 0 Reply
David Brydges 18 December 2014

Somebody needs to do an editing as their is a mish mash mess of poems written by the 16th century Scottish poet William Henry Drummond that are mixed with the 19th century Irish-Canadian poet Dr. William Henry Drummond. dave

1 0 Reply
Chris Green 03 January 2006

Just a not to point out the obvious: the biography of Drummond (born 1854 in Ireland) which is at the head of this page, is wrong: how could his father have died in Scotland in 1610? The biography is for someone else.

6 3 Reply

William Henry Drummond Popularity

William Henry Drummond Popularity

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