Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Americas: Vol. XXX. 1876–79.

British America: Montreal, Canada

Mount Royal

By Charles Sangster (1822–1893)

MOUNT ROYAL rises proudly up the blue,

A royal mount indeed, with verdure crowned,

Adorned with regal dwellings not a few,

Sparkling like gems set in the mighty mound.

St. Helen’s, too, that seems enchanted ground;

A stately isle in gleaming guise bedight;

In the fond river’s saintly arms enwound,

Blushing, and graceful as some witching sprite;

Fair contrast to the gloom of Hochelaga’s height.


With what an undissembled pride of mien

Jacques Cartier stood upon yon mountain’s brow!

Beneath him, the deep wilderness of green,

Where the vast city gleams and sparkles now;

Around him lordly tree and gnarly bough

Rose in primeval grandeur; leagues away,

The rolling hills untouched by axe or plough;

The glowing river; lakes and islands gay:

Another Mirza’s dream of some remoter day.

The Huron then was master of the soil;

The broad champaign was his, both near and far;

But scanty need had he to slave and toil,

The chase sufficed him as a rest from war.

He little knew that his eventful star

Of empire flickered like a dying flame,

Too soon, alas! to set amid the jar

Of rival nations,—one at least in aim:

But Cartier’s dream was France, her glory and her fame.

The smoke that o’er the misty tree-tops curled

Showed where the Hochelagan wigwams, rude,

And few in number, made the Hurons’ world,

Surrounded by the awful solitude.

Rapt in deep thought, with folded arms he stood,

The daring navigator! Did he see

Aught of the future mirrored in his mood?

The tricolor, his cherished fleur-de-lys,

Replaced by Britain’s flag? No! this could never be!

His only dream was France. The new world seemed

Created for her glory. Long years thence,

Could he have known how humanly he dreamed,

How little of the seer’s prophetic sense

Was his, how much of human impotence!

O Britain! should thine island reign be o’er,

Shouldst thou be hurled from thy proud eminence,

Be this in mercy the predestined shore

To keep thy name and fame alive forevermore.