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The Old Sugar Camp

by Helen M. Johnson

Come let us away to the old Sugar Camp;
The sky is serene though the ground may be damp,—
And the little bright streams, as they frolic and run,
Turn a look full of thanks to the ice-melting sun;
While the warm southern winds, wherever they go,
Leave patches of brown 'mid the glittering snow.

The oxen are ready, and Carlo and Tray
Are watching us, ready to be on the way,
While a group of gay children, with platter and spoon,
And faces as bright as the roses of June,
O'er fences and ditches exultingly spring,
Light-hearted and careless as birds on the wing.

Where's Edwin? Oh, here he comes, loading his gun;
Look out for the partridges—hush! there is one!
Poor victim! a bang and a flutter—'tis o'er,—
And those fair dappled wings shall expand nevermore;
It was shot for one invalid sister at home,
Yet we sigh as beneath the tall branches we roam.

Our cheeks all aglow with the long morning tramp,
We soon come in sight of the old Sugar Camp;
The syrup already is placed in the pan,
And we gather around it as many as can,—
We try it on snow; when we find it is done
We fill up a mold for a dear absent one.

Oh, gayest and best of all parties are these,
That meet in the Camp 'neath the old maple trees,
Renewing the love and the friendship of years,—
They are scenes to be thought of with smiles and with tears
When age shall have furrowed each beautiful cheek,
And left in dark tresses a silvery streak.

Here brothers and sisters and lovers have met,
And cousins and friends we can never forget;
The prairie, the ocean, divide us from some,
Yet oft as the seasons for sugaring come,
The cup of bright syrup to friendship we'll drain,
And gather them home to our bosom again.

Dear Maple, that yieldeth a nectar so rare,
So useful in spring, and in summer so fair,—
Of autumn acknowledged the glory and queen,
Attendant on every Canadian scene,
Enshrined in our homes it is meet thou shouldst be
Of our country the emblem, O beautiful Tree!

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