Un Canadien Errant
A. Gdrin-Lajoie


Un canadien errant, bani de ses foyers
Un canadien errant, bani de ses foyers
Parcourait en pleurant des pays étrangers
Parcourait en pleurent des pays étrangers.

Un jour, triste et pensif assis au bord des flots
Un jour, triste et pensif assis au bord des flots
Au courant fugitif il adressa ces mots
Au courant fugitif il adressa ces mots.

Si tu vois mon pays, mon pays malheureux
Si tu vois mon pays, mon pays malheureux
Va dis à mes amis que je me souviens d'eux
Va dis à mes amis que je me souviens d'eux.
 
O jours si plein d'appas vous êtes disparus
O jours si plein d'appas vous êtes disparus
Et ma patrie, hélas, je me verrai plus
Et ma patrie, hélas, je me verrai plus.

Plongé dans les malheures, loin de mes chers parents
Plongé dans les malheures, loin de mes chers parents
Je passe dans les pleurs, d'infortunés moments
Je passe dans les pleurs, d'infortunés moments

Pour jamais séparé, des amis de mon coeur
Pour jamais séparé, des amis de mon coeur
Hélas! oui, je mourrai, je mourrai de douleur
Hélas! oui, je mourrai, je mourrai de douleur

Non, mais en expirant, O mon cher Canada!
Non, mais en expirant, O mon cher Canada!
Mon regard languissant vers toi se portera
Mon regard languissant vers toi se portera.

From His Canadian Home
A. Gdrin-Lajoie


From his Canadian home, banished a wand'rer came
From his Canadian home, banished a wand'rer came
And full of tears would roam, countries that strangers claim
And full of tears would roam, countries that strangers claim.

Thoughtful and sad one day, down by a riverbed
Thoughtful and sad one day, down by a riverbed
As the stream slipped away, these were the words he said:
As the stream slipped away, these were the words he said:

If you my land should see, my so unhappy land
If you my land should see, my so unhappy land
Say to my friends from me, then in my memory stand
Say to my friends from me, then in my memory stand.

O so delightful days, vanished you are - adieu!
O so delightful days, vanished you are - adieu!
And my own land, alas! Never again I'll view
And my own land, alas! Never again I'll view.

Plunged in unhappiness, from my dear parents torn
Plunged in unhappiness, from my dear parents torn
Now through the tears I pass, in luckless moments born
Now through the tears I pass, in luckless moments born.

Forever set apart, from friends that were so sweet
Forever set apart, from friends that were so sweet
Alas! no more my heart, my heart for grief can beat
Alas! no more my heart, my heart for grief can beat.

No, yet in dying still, O my dear Canada!
No, yet in dying still, O my dear Canada!
My drooping eyes I will, turn toward thee afar
My drooping eyes I will, turn toward thee afar.

Midi sequenced by Barry Taylor

In 1837 bands of rebels in Upper and Lower Canada rose against their rulers. The revolts were easily crushed by British troops. Some captured rebels were executed but many others were banished to such faraway places as Bermuda and Van Dieman's Land (present-day Tasmania). Still others went into self-imposed exile for fear of reprisal. Louis-Joseph Papineau, the rebel leader in Lower Canada, fled across the American border and lived in France until he was granted amnesty in 1845. William Lyon Mackenzie, the leader in Upper Canada, took refuge in the United States, returning only in 1849. Meanwhile, in 1842, moved by the plight of the refugees, 18-year-old law student Antoine Gdrin-Lajoie wrote "Un Canadian errant", describing the despair and loneliness of a Canadian exile walking along a foreign river bank, longing for the 'unhappy land' of his birth. Gdrin-Lajoie set his melancholy lyrics to the tune of a well-known French folk song, "Si tu te mets anguille". The English translation was done by John Murray Gibbon.

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