Jean Blewett (1862-1934)
Text from A Century of Canadian Sonnets.
A little child, she stood that far-off day,
When Love, the master-painter, took the brush
And on the wall of mem'ry dull and grey
Traced tender eyes, wide brow, and changing blush,
The gladness and the youth, the bending head
All covered over with its curls of gold,
The dimpled arms, the two hands filled with bread
To feed the little sparrows brown and bold
That flutter to her feet. It hangs there still,
Just as 'twas painted on that far-off day,
Nor faded is the blush upon the cheek,
The sweet lips hold their smiling and can thrill,
And still the eyes--so tender, and so meek--
Light up the walls of mem'ry dull and grey.
Quebec, the grey old city on the hill,
Lies with a golden glory on her head,
Dreaming throughout this hour so fair--so still--
Of other days and all her mighty dead.
The white doves perch upon the cannons grim,
The flowers bloom where once did run a tide
Of crimson, when the moon rose pale and dim
Above the battlefield so grim and wide.
Methinks within her wakes a mighty glow
Of pride, of tenderness--her stirring past--
The strife, the valour, of the long ago
Feels at her heartstrings. Strong, and tall, and vast,
She lies, touched with the sunset's golden grace,
A wondrous softness on her grey old face.