Port Royal

James Hannay

Fair is Port Royal river   
  In the Acadian land;   
It flows through verdant meadows,   
  Widespread on either hand;   
Through orchards and through cornfields           
  It gayly holds its way,   
And past the ancient ramparts,   
  Long fallen to decay.   
Peace reigns within the valley,   
  Peace on the mountain side,           
In hamlet and in cottage,   
  And on Port Royal’s tide;   
In peace the ruddy farmer   
  Reaps from its fertile fields;   
In peace the fisher gathers           
  The spoils its basin yields.   
Yet this sweet vale has echoed   
  To many a warlike note;   
The strife-compelling bugle,   
  The cannon’s iron throat,           
The wall-piece, and the musket   
  Have joined in chorus there,   
To fill with horrid clangor   
  The balmy morning air.   
And many a gallant war-fleet           
  Has, in the days gone by,   
Lain in that noble basin,   
  And flouted in the sky   
A flag with haughty challenge   
  To the now ruined hold,           
Which reared its lofty ramparts   
  In warlike days of old.   
And in the early springtime,   
  When farmers plough their fields,   
Full many a warlike weapon           
  The peaceful furrow yields;   
The balls of mighty cannon   
  Crop from the fruitful soil,   
And many a rusted sword-blade,   
  Once red with martial toil.           
Three hundred years save thirty   
  Have been and passed away   
Since bold Champlain was wafted   
  To fair Port Royal Bay;   
And there he built a fortress,           
  With palisadoes tall,   
Well flanked by many a bastion,   
  To guard its outward wall.   
Here was the germ of Empire,   
  The cradle of a state,           
In future ages destined   
  To stand among the great;   
Then hail to old Port Royal!   
  Although her ramparts fall,   
Canadian towns shall greet her,           
  The mother of them all.

Acadia, or Acadie in French, was the French colony in the East of what is now Canada. Its capital was at Port Royal, founded in 1605. In 1710 Port Royal was captured by the British.