Verse > Anthologies > William Wilfred Campbell, ed. > The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse
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William Wilfred Campbell, comp.  The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse.  1913.
 
Johnnie Courteau
By William Henry Drummond (1854–1907)
 
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,
  An’ it ’s not very offen you ketch heem still—        5
                Johnnie Courteau!
 
Ax dem along de reever,
  Ax dem along de shore,
Who was mos’ bes’ fightin’ man
From Managance to Shaw-in-i-gan?        10
  De place w’ere de great beeg rapide roar—
                Johnnie Courteau!
 
Sam’ t’ing on ev’ry shaintee
  Up on de Mekinac:
Who was de man can walk de log,        15
W’en w’ole of de reever she ’s black wit’ fog,
  An’ carry de beeges’ load on hees back?
                Johnnie Courteau!
 
On de rapide you want to see heem
  If de raf’ she ’s swingin’ roun,        20
An’ he ’s yellin’, ‘Hooraw Bateese! good man!’
W’y de oar come double on hees han’
  W’en he ’s makin’ dat raf’ go flyin’ down—
                Johnnie Courteau!
 
An’ Tête de Boule chief can tole you        25
  De feller w’at save hees life,
W’en beeg moose ketch heem up a tree,
Who ’s shootin’ dat moose on de head, sapree!
  An’ den run off wit’ hees Injun wife?
                Johnnie Courteau!        30
 
An’ he only have pike pole wit’ heem
  On Lac a la Tortue,
W’en he meet de bear comin’ down de hill,
But de bear very soon is get hees fill!
  An’ he sole dat skin for ten dollar too—        35
                Johnnie Courteau!
 
Oh, he never was scare for not’ing
  Lak de ole coureurs de bois,
But w’en he ’s gettin’ hees winter pay
De bes’ t’ing sure is kip out de way;        40
  For he ’s goin’ right off on de Hip Hooraw!
                Johnnie Courteau!
 
Den pullin’ hees sash aroun’ heem
  He dance on hees botte sauvage,
An’ shout, ‘All aboar’ if you want to fight!’        45
Wall! you never can see de finer sight
  W’en he go lak dat on de w’ole village!
                Johnnie Courteau!
 
But Johnnie Courteau get marry
  On Philomene Beaurepaire:        50
She ’s nice leetle girl was run de school
On w’at you call Parish of Sainte Ursule,
  An’ he see her off on de pique-nique dere—
                Johnnie Courteau!
 
Den somet’ing come over Johnnie        55
  W’en he marry on Philomene,
For he stay on de farm de w’ole year roun’,
He chop de wood an’ he plough de groun’,
  An’ he ’s quieter feller was never seen—
                Johnnie Courteau!        60
 
An’ ev’ry wan feel astonish,
  From La Tuque to Shaw-in-i-gan,
W’en dey hear de news was goin’ aroun’,
Along on de reever up an’ down,
  How wan leetle woman boss dat beeg man—        65
                Johnnie Courteau!
 
He never come out on de evening
No matter de hard we try,
’Cos he stay on de kitchen an’ sing hees song:
      ‘A la claire fontaine,        70
      M’en allant promener,
      J’ai trouvé l’eau si belle
      Que je m’y suis baigner!
      Il y a longtemps que je t’aime,
      Jamais je ne t’oublierai.’        75
Rockin’ de cradle de w’ole night long,
Till baby ’s asleep on de sweet bimeby—
                Johnnie Courteau!
 
An’ de house, wall! I wish you see it:
  De place she ’s so nice an’ clean        80
Mus’ wipe your foot on de outside door,
You’re dead man sure if you spit on de floor,
  An’ he never say not’ing on Philomene—
                Johnnie Courteau!
 
An’ Philomene watch de monee        85
  An’ put it all safe away
On very good place; I dunno w’ere,
But anyhow nobody see it dere,
  So she ’s buyin’ new farm de noder day—
                Madame Courteau!        90
 
 
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