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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X. 1876–79.


The Canal St. Martin

By Defeuty et Cormon

Translated by John Oxenford

COME, sons of the Canal, and join me in my strain,

From Paris to Pantin,—to Paris back again.

Long live the Canal St. Martin!

The joyous young gamin,

The cosey citaden,

All bless the Canal St. Martin.

There laundresses and bargemen loud,

There débardeurs and colliers black,

About the waters ever crowd,

And none employment ever lack.

Here full an hundred trades can gain

Far better bread than on the Seine;

And ’t is, to our Canal we know

Our cups of sparkling wine we owe.

Come, sons of the Canal, etc.

There anglers, catching naught, are seen,

Whose hopes no disappointments dash;

Thither proceeds with solemn mien

The stout bourgeois his dog to wash.

Though warning notices appear,

From its foundation, it is clear,

A swimming school was our Canal

For training dogs in general.

Come, sons of the Canal, etc.

The tradesmen who in liquor deal,

Of our Canal good use can make;

And when they mean their casks to fill

They oft its water freely take.

By this device they render less

The ills that spring from drunkenness;

For harmless is the wine, you ’ll own,

From vines that in canals are grown.

Come, sons of the Canal, etc.

But now it ’s getting rather dark,

And just along the lone bankside

Methinks there is a signal: hark!

And there I see a shadow glide.

There ’s not a star, the sky is black,

So homewards, friend, should be your track.

Decked with her veil the moon is seen,

And thieves will soon their trade begin.

Each prudent citadin will cherish wholesome fears,

From midnight till the hour when daylight first appears,

Of this same Canal St. Martin;

From Paris to Pantin,

Thou worthy citadin,

O, dread the Canal St. Martin.