1901, 1902, 1905

64. For the pioneers meeting | 65. A hundred year ago
66. In memoriam | 67. To the first robin
68. Lines on finding a bunch of wild flowers
69. On finding a daisy by the roadside

64. FOR THE PIONEERS MEETING – Antrim Farm – January 15, 1901

The Bruce Pioneers have now been assembled
Once more to take hold of each other’s aged hand
These hands once so firm, but for years have trembled
Also legs shaking ‘neath them, they scarcely can stand
So give them a seat, show them into their places
And allow them some time for each other to cheer
It is surely a pleasure to look in their faces
A strong kindly face has each Bruce pioneer

Now each one will think of the years that have glided
Since they make them a home ‘long Lake Huron’s shore
And they speak of the sea that for miles has divided
The homes of their youth that they never saw more
They were not of the kind that did any repining
A firm faith in God always drives away tears
Their faith and their works were forever entwining
And they pulled well together these Bruce pioneers

When their shanties were up, ere barns were all builded
They took their best logs and builded their schools
And in good able hands was the blue beech wielded
They were so afraid we’d grow up into fools
And so other folk will now have to judge us
It is awful to think they were just in their fears
But we’ll stand on our rights, nothing can budge us
We’re very close friends of the Bruce pioneers

When Sunday came round, in the school house assembled
Were these hardy men to worship their God
No hypocrite there with them ever dissembled
Though some became sleepy and plainly did nod
We know that the churches built in Bruce County
(And many there are in the last forty years)
Were built by the labour, and fed by the County
Of these that we honour, the Bruce pioneers

How pleasing to see these old folk in their carriage
Their silver-tipped harness gleam bright in the sun
One would think they were going to some royal marriage
Instead of a holiday honestly won
Some think of the days when they rode on their jumpers
Behind Buck and Bright, their new yoke of steers
That oft ranaway, giving their riders some bumpers
As they ran among stump with the Bruce pioneers

65. A HUNDRED YEARS AGO – Antrim Farm – January 24, 1902

In Erin’s Isle by Carroch shore
Where ocean wave doth ebb and flow
There Hugh McConnell had his home
‘Tis just one hundred years ago

A well-earned rest he then enjoyed
For thirty years he’d had no home
Where’er his regiment was employed
Through cold and heat he had to roam

But two and sixpence now was his
Each day he lived to see the sun
No more the weary watch by night
And tired limbs when day was done

A pleasant cottage by the sea
And loving wife with him abide
A boy to dandle on each knee
A chubby maiden by his side

The winter month has come again
That brought that baby girl to earth
Through many days with tears and pain
With many full of joy and mirth

How strange a hundred years ago
Would find my mother just a babe
Or running merrily on the shore
As in the shining sand she played

Now years have passed since she was laid
Beneath Canadian churchyard sod
Far from the shore where she had played
A spot her foot had never trod

O how I’ve wished and longed to see
And run with bare feet on that sand
Where mother played with childhood glee
On Antrim shore, my own dear land

But years are piling on my head
My hair is getting more like snow
Upon that shore I may not tread
But think — a hundred years ago

66. IN MEMORIAM – Antrim Farm – May 11, 1902

Her chair is now empty, her smile we do miss
We have one less to cherish and one less to kiss
For Mother is gone to that bright golden shore
Ring the bell softly, there’s crape on the door
…Edgar Allan Poe…

When in the glad green spring-time of life
Two hearts that are beating together
Can boldly defy all the world with its strife
In fair or in cloudy weather

And so all the world with its smiles or frowns
Only seemed as light as a feather
And had little weight to bear us far down
While loving and living together

Some lives have gone out in their sweet early morn
When all seemed around them so bright
And others have carried life’s burdens on
Well into the twilight of night

Some others do wilt in the noontide’s bright glare
Their work only fairly begun
When “The Master” then said ’twere better to share
Their labour with some other one

And thus a voice went from our fireside
And thus the light faded from home
With only a memory now to abide
Through all the dark days that will come

A voice that had led us for twenty-five years
In our singing on each Sabbath morning
A voice ever true that dispelled all our fears
And a faith in the Gospel, adorning

And oft in the twilight with hymn or with song
With ears all attentively listening
Our children around her would all gladly throng
Each eye with delight would be glistening

Those sweet Sabbath twilights with mother at home
Time’s rough hand can never erase
Deep down in our hearts, where’er we may roam
We’ll remember the smile on her face

For a memory as bright as the rays of the sun
When that orb has sunk down in the west
Though down out of sight, and its day’s work is done
Its golden beams shine out the best

And often we wonder with thoughts that will come
Does she think of the ones she has left
Or has she forgotten that earth was her home?
And the ones she loved dearest and best

Perhaps she is sent as an angel of light
To guard us from sin’s evil snare
When tempted and tried she may lead us aright
And our Victories joyously share

So we’ll take up the burden of life once again
And work for a little while more
In this world of sickness and sorrow and pain
Till we meet on that Beautiful shore

67. TO THE FIRST ROBIN – Antrim Farm – March, 1905

Welcome to thee Redbreast
Sweet harbinger of Spring
What is the news from the Southland?
What pleasures do you bring
Where did you spend your winter?
Among the orange groves?
Or chirping in the wildwood
Where we see the ring dove rove?
Was your heart still in this Northland
And its leafy maple trees?
This Northland and its sunshine
And the cheery cooling breeze
Where you chose your sweet companion
And reared your little brood?
Did your throat long for the cherries
So red, and ripe, and good?
But we welcome you because you come
Before the Easter-tide
And take our thoughts to Calvary
Where Christ our Saviour died
Thy breast still shows the color
Of our Saviour’s precious blood
That purifies our sinful souls
And make us pure and good
You are welcome in our orchards
Our gardens and our lawn
You are welcome in the evening
Or in the early dawn
And many a crumb was scattered
From an apron by the door
As apron shook by kindly hand
That you’ll not see any more
But other hands will scatter crumbs
And other forms be seen
To stand and watch your crimson breast
As you hop upon the green
So come back to your old clay house
And make it snug and warm
And do not fear if you come near
That we’ll do you any harm

An old legend says that when Christ hung on the cross, a robin came looking for a place to build its nest, and lit among the thorns in the crown on Christ’s head.
When the robin lit, it had a dirty grey-colored breast, but a drop of our Saviours blood splashed it, and it flew away with a crimson breast which has been its color ever since.

68. LINES ON FINDING A BUNCH OF WILD FLOWERS – Antrim Farm – April, 1905

I wandered by Lake Huron’s shore
Where oft times I had strayed before
And cold Nor-western winds did blow
From off the miles of ice and snow
I took to wander ‘mong the trees
To miss the keen Nor-western breeze
I thought the grass could not be green
Nor any wild flowers would be seen
But as I passed a sunny nook
I suddenly did stop and look
For I was taken by surprise
There right before my very eyes
And close beside a rotten log
That lay along a springy bog
A bunch of flowers did wave and nod
And pointed upwards to our God
Who made the flowers to love the light
And dressed them in their colors bright
Even Solomon in all his pride
Could not be so dressed if he tried
Not all the skill of human hand
Could match those flowers just where they stand
These first fruits of the summer’s growth
That April showers will make burst forth
And tell us, if we wish to know
Now is the time our seed to sow
God’s promises are still the same
And “seed-time” sure has come again

69. ON FINDING A DAISY BY THE ROADSIDE – Antrim Farm – August, 1905

Busy doing road-work ’twas in the month July
There, just beside the ditch we dug, a little flower we spy
A little pale-faced flower, so sweet and tender too
I said, “My little daisy, some cow will step on you”
“How did you come sweet pale-face to grow here in the sod
With not one of your family to give you nod for nod?”

It said, “I do not fear the cows, they only eat the grass
Quite short and close beside me; then away they pass
How I came to grow alone? Well, a year ago last Spring
A little bird nest-building and hurrying on the wing
Had caught my dear dead mother to help build the nest
A shake had made a seed fall out. I guess you know the rest
The Great God sent the rain with sunshine bright and clear
And then I bounded into life. That’s how I’m growing here
I do not feel it lonesome for God fills earth and sky
So now I bloom my very best is how I’m going to try
And when life’s bloom is ended and my head is grayish-brown
I’ll bid good-bye to sun and sky and sweetly lay me down
And mother earth will hold me close to her wondrous breast
And softly will enfold me in my long eternal rest”

Then I thought; why here’s a lesson for all the human race
Let each one do his very best if lowly be his place
God’s just as near in lowly home as in a stately hall
And loves to give his guiding grace so freely unto all

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