TO ONE OF THE ABSENT.
You bade me good-bye with a smile, love,
And away to the west wild and drear;
At the sound of war's bugle shrill calling
You went without shadow of fear.
But when I complained of your going,
To face dangers untold in the west;
You chided me gently by singing:
"Encourage me dear 'twill be best."
"I know you will miss me each hour
And grieve when I'm far, far away:
But its duty's demand and I'm ready:
Could I show the white feather to-day?
Oh! Now, you're my own bright eyed blessing
And show the true spirit within:
Those eyes now so fearlessly flashing
Shall guide me through war's crash and din."
With your men you went cheerful and willing,
To defend and take peace to the poor
Helpless children and sad prisoned women
Who had homes on Saskatchewan's shore,
And now I'm so proud of you darling
I can worship a hero so brave,
While I pray for your safe home returning;
When the peace flag shall quietly wave.
O'er the land where poor Scott's heartless murderer,
Has added much more to his sin;
By the cold-blooded uncalled for slaughter,
Of Gowanlock, Delaney and Quinn,
Who like many others now sleeping,
Shroudless near the sky of the west,
May be called the sad victims and martyrs
Of Riel who's name we detest.
Many hearts are now mourning their lov'd ones
Who died at their post, true and brave,
In defiance of one heartless rebel,
Who's life not e'en "millions" should save.
So keep your arms strong for the fray dear,
I'll not wish you back 'ere the fight
Shall decide for you, country and comrades,
In favor of honour and right.
Let justice be done now unfailing
Nought but _death_ can atone for his sin;
Let the fate be has meted to others;
By our dauntless be meted to him,
Don't return until quiet contentment;
Fills the homes now deserted out west,
And the true ring of peace finds an echo,
In each sturdy settler's breast.
And when you are homeward returning,
With heart that has never known fear;
Remember the love light is burning,
Unceasingly, constantly, here
And "Bright Eyes" will give you a welcome
Which even a soldier may prize
While the lips will be smiling with pleasure,
That have prayed in your absence with sighs.
And the whole world shall ring with the praises
Of Canada's noblest and best;
Who shoulder to shoulder defended,
And saved the unhappy North-West
While in coming years 'round the hearthstone
Will be told how the dark coats and red,
Put to rout Riel, rebels and half-breeds
And aveng'd both the living and dead.
20 Alexander St., Toronto.
--Two months in the camp of Big Bear
by Theresa Gowanlock and Theresa Delaney (Primary source documents / Timeline)