Friday, February 19, 2010

Poetry: Excerpt from The Hungry Year - William Kirby

The below poem appears in The Records of the Van Every Family, by Mary Blackadar Piersol, 1947. She divided the genealogy into two sections, with the second section following the United Empire Loyalists who fled to Canada, and their descendants. The poem was chosen as an introduction to the second half.

The Hunger Year

The war was over. Seven red years of blood
Had scourged the land from mountain top to sea.
(So long it took to rend the mighty frame
Of England's empire in the western world).
Rebellion won at last, and they who loved
The cause which had been lost, and kept the faith
To England's crown, and scorned an alien name,
Passed into exile, leaving all behind,
Except their honour and the conscious pride
Of duty done to country and to king.


Not drooping like poor fugitives they came
In exodus to our Canadian wilds,
But full of heart and hope, with heads erect
And fearless eyes victorious in defeat.
With thousand toils they forced their devious way
Through the great wilderness of silent woods,
That gloomed o'er lake and stream, till higher rose
The Northern Star above the broad domain
Of half a continent, still theirs to hold,
Defend and keep for ever as their own,
Their own and England's till the end of time.

-- William Kirby (1817-1906)

While the above is how it appears in The Records of the Van Every Family, it is an excerpt from The Hungry Year, which can be read in full at Canadiana or The Internet Archive.

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