'Le Vieux Temps' by William Henry Drummond

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1Venez ici, mon cher ami, an' sit down by me--so
2An' I will tole you story of old tam long ago--
3W'en ev'ryt'ing is happy--w'en all de bird is sing
4An' me!--I'm young an' strong lak moose an' not afraid no t'ing.

5I close my eye jus' so, an' see de place w'ere I am born--
6I close my ear an' lissen to musique of de horn,
7Dat 's horn ma dear ole moder blow--an only t'ing she play
8Is "viens donc vite Napoléon--'peche toi pour votre souper."--

9An' w'en he 's hear dat nice musique--ma leetle dog "Carleau"
10Is place hees tail upon hees back--an' den he 's let heem go--
11He 's jomp on fence--he 's swimmin' crik--he 's ronne two forty gait,
12He say "dat 's somet'ing good for eat--Carleau mus' not be late."

13O dem was pleasure day for sure, dem day of long ago
14W'en I was play wit' all de boy, an' all de girl also;
15An' many tam w'en I 'm alone an' t'ink of day gone by
16An' pull latire an' spark de girl, I cry upon my eye.

17Ma fader an' ma moder too, got nice, nice familee,
18Dat 's ten garçon an' t'orteen girl, was mak' it twenty t'ree
19But fonny t'ing de Gouvernement don't geev de firs' prize den
20Lak w'at dey say dey geev it now, for only wan douzaine.

21De English peep dat only got wan familee small size
22Mus' be feel glad dat tam dere is no honder acre prize
23For fader of twelve chil'ren--dey know dat mus' be so,
24De Canayens would boss Kebeck--mebbe Ontario.

25But dat is not de story dat I was gone tole you
26About de fun we use to have w'en we leev a chez nous
27We 're never lonesome on dat house, for many cavalier
28Come at our place mos' every night--especially Sun-day.

29But tam I 'member bes' is w'en I 'm twenty wan year--me--
30An' so for mak' some pleasement--we geev wan large soirée
31De whole paroisse she be invite--de Curé he 's come too--
32Wit plaintee peep from 'noder place--dat 's more I can tole you.

33De night she 's cole an' freeze also, chemin she 's fill wit snow
34An' on de chimley lak phantome, de win' is mak' it blow--
35But boy an' girl come all de sam an' pass on grande parloir
36For warm itself on beeg box stove, was mak' on Trois Rivières--

37An' w'en Bonhomme Latour commence for tune up hees fidelle
38It mak' us all feel very glad--l'enfant! he play so well,
39Musique suppose to be firs' class, I offen hear, for sure
40But mos' bes' man, beat all de res', is ole Bateese Latour--

41An' w'en Bateese play Irish jeeg, he 's learn on Mattawa
42Dat tam he 's head boss cook Shaintee--den leetle Joe Leblanc
43Tak' hole de beeg Marie Juneau an' dance upon de floor
44Till Marie say "Excuse to me, I cannot dance no more."--

45An' den de Curé 's mak' de speech--ole Curé Ladouceur!
46He say de girl was spark de boy too much on some cornerre--
47An' so he 's tole Bateese play up ole fashion reel a quatre
48An' every body she mus' dance, dey can't get off on dat.

49Away she go--hooraw! hooraw! plus fort Bateese, mon vieux
50Camille Bisson, please watch your girl--dat 's bes' t'ing you can do.
51Pass on de right an' tak' your place Mamzelle Des Trois Maisons
52You 're s'pose for dance on Paul Laberge, not Telesphore Gagnon.

53Mon oncle Al-fred, he spik lak' dat--'cos he is boss de floor,
54An' so we do our possibill an' den commence encore.
55Dem crowd of boy an' girl I'm sure keep up until nex' day
56If ole Bateese don't stop heseff, he come so fatigué.

57An' affer dat, we eat some t'ing, tak' leetle drink also
58An' de Curé, he 's tole story of many year ago--
59W'en Iroquois sauvage she 's keel de Canayens an' steal deir hair,
60An' say dat 's only for Bon Dieu, we don't be here--he don't be dere.

61But dat was mak' de girl feel scare--so all de cavalier
62Was ax hees girl go home right off, an' place her on de sleigh,
63An' w'en dey start, de Curé say, "Bonsoir et bon voyage
64Menagez-vous--tak' care for you--prenez-garde pour les sauvages."

65An' den I go meseff also, an' tak' ma belle Elmire--
66She 's nicer girl on whole Comté, an' jus' got eighteen year--
67Black hair--black eye, an' chick rosée dat 's lak wan fameuse on de fall
68But don't spik much--not of dat kin', I can't say she love me at all.

69Ma girl--she's fader beeg farmeur--leev 'noder side St. Flore
70Got five-six honder acre--mebbe a leetle more--
71Nice sugar bush--une belle maison--de bes' I never see--
72So w'en I go for spark Elmire, I don't be mak' de foolish me--

73Elmire!--she 's pass t'ree year on school--Ste. Anne de la Perade
74An' w'en she 's tak' de firs' class prize, dat 's mak' de ole man glad;
75He say "Ba gosh--ma girl can wash--can keep de kitchen clean
76Den change her dress--mak' politesse before God save de Queen."

77Dey 's many way for spark de girl, an' you know dat of course,
78Some way dey might be better way, an' some dey might be worse
79But I lak' sit some cole night wit' my girl on ole burleau
8080Wit' lot of hay keep our foot warm--an' plaintee buffalo--

81Dat 's geev good chances get acquaint--an' if burleau upset
82An' t'row you out upon de snow--dat 's better chances yet--
83An' if you help de girl go home, if horse he ronne away
84De girl she 's not much use at all--don't geev you nice baiser!

85Dat 's very well for fun ma frien', but w'en you spark for keep
86She 's not sam t'ing an' mak' you feel so scare lak' leetle sheep
87Some tam you get de fever--some tam you 're lak snowball
88An' all de tam you ack lak' fou--can't spik no t'ing at all.

89Wall! dat 's de way I feel meseff, wit Elmire on burleau,
90Jus' lak' small dog try ketch hees tail--roun' roun' ma head she go
91But bimeby I come more brave--an' tak' Elmire she's han'
92"Laisee-moi tranquille" Elmire she say "You mus' be crazy man."

93"Yass--yass I say " mebbe you t'ink I 'm wan beeg loup garou,
94Dat 's forty t'ousand 'noder girl, I lef' dem all for you,
95I s'pose you know Polique Gauthier your frien' on St. Cesaire
96I ax her marry me nex' wick--she tak' me--I don't care."

97Ba gosh; Elmire she don't lak dat--it mak' her feel so mad--
98She commence cry, say "'Poleon you treat me very bad--
99I don't lak see you t'row you'seff upon Polique Gauthier,
100So if you say you love me sure--we mak' de marieé"--

101Oh it was fine tam affer dat--Castor I t'ink he know,
102We 're not too busy for get home--he go so nice an' slow,
103He 's only upset t'ree--four tam--an' jus' about daylight
104We pass upon de ole man's place--an' every t'ing 's all right.

105Wall! we leev happy on de farm for nearly fifty year,
106Till wan day on de summer tam--she die--ma belle Elmire
107I feel so lonesome lef' behin'--I tink 't was bes' mebbe--
108Dat w'en le Bon Dieu tak' ma famme--he should not forget me.

109But dat is hees biz-nesse ma frien'--I know dat 's all right dere
110I 'll wait till he call "'Poleon" den I will be prepare--
111An' w'en he fin' me ready, for mak' de longue voyage
112He guide me t'roo de wood hesef upon ma las' portage.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Le Vieux Temps by William Henry Drummond: A Literary Masterpiece

Are you fond of poetry? Are you looking for a piece that will take you back in time and give you a glimpse of how life was in the yesteryears? Then, look no further than William Henry Drummond's "Le Vieux Temps."


"Le Vieux Temps" (which translates to "The Old Times") is a poem that reminisces about the good old days. The narrator takes us on a journey through his memories of the past, reflecting on how things have changed and how he longs for the times that have gone by.

The poem is divided into three parts, each of which details a different aspect of the past.

In the first part, the narrator describes the beauty and tranquility of nature in the old times. He talks about the rivers and the forests, the birds and the animals, all of which seem to have disappeared in the present day.

In the second part, the narrator focuses on the people of the old times. He reminisces about how simple life was back then, how people had time for each other, and how they were content with what they had.

In the third and final part, the narrator reflects on the passing of time and how it has changed everything. He laments the loss of traditions and values and longs for a return to the old times.


Drummond's "Le Vieux Temps" is a beautifully crafted poem that captures the essence of a bygone era. The language is simple yet powerful, and the imagery is vivid and evocative.

One of the most striking things about this poem is the way Drummond uses nature as a metaphor for the past. The rivers and the forests, which are described as "singing" and "murmuring" in the old times, represent a time when life was in harmony with nature. The loss of this harmony is reflected in the disappearance of the birds and the animals, which now seem to be "silent" and "gone."

The second part of the poem is equally powerful. Drummond's portrayal of the people of the old times is nostalgic and poignant. He describes them as "simple" and "content," living in a world where "time was measured not by the clock." This contrast with the present day, where people are always on the go, always in a hurry, and never seem to have enough time.

In the final part of the poem, Drummond reflects on the passing of time and how it has changed everything. He speaks of the loss of traditions and values, and how the present day seems to be devoid of the simple pleasures that made life worth living. He longs for a return to the old times, when life was simpler and more meaningful.


"Le Vieux Temps" is a poem that speaks to everyone who has ever longed for the good old days. It captures the essence of a time when life was in harmony with nature, when people had time for each other, and when traditions and values were cherished.

The poem also serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving our past. It is a call to action, urging us to hold on to our traditions and values, and to cherish the simple pleasures of life.

In conclusion, "Le Vieux Temps" is a literary masterpiece that deserves to be read and appreciated by everyone. It is a poignant reminder of the beauty of the past and a call to action to preserve it for future generations.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Le Vieux Temps: A Timeless Classic by William Henry Drummond

If you are a fan of poetry, then you must have come across the classic piece, Le Vieux Temps, written by William Henry Drummond. This poem is a timeless masterpiece that has captured the hearts of many poetry enthusiasts for over a century. In this article, we will take a closer look at this classic piece and analyze its themes, structure, and literary devices.

Background Information

William Henry Drummond was a Canadian poet who lived from 1854 to 1907. He was born in Ireland but moved to Canada at a young age. Drummond was a physician by profession, but his passion was poetry. He wrote many poems in both English and French, but Le Vieux Temps is one of his most famous works.

Le Vieux Temps is a French poem that was first published in 1897. The title translates to "The Old Times" in English. The poem is written in the form of a monologue, where the speaker reflects on the past and the changes that have occurred over time.


One of the main themes in Le Vieux Temps is nostalgia. The speaker longs for the past and reminisces about the good old days. He talks about how things were simpler and how people were happier in the past. The speaker also reflects on the changes that have occurred over time and how they have affected society.

Another theme in the poem is the passage of time. The speaker talks about how time flies and how quickly things change. He reflects on how the world has changed and how people have changed with it. The poem also touches on the idea of mortality and how time is fleeting.


Le Vieux Temps is a free-verse poem that does not follow a specific rhyme scheme or meter. The poem is divided into six stanzas, each with a varying number of lines. The first stanza has eight lines, while the second and third stanzas have six lines each. The fourth and fifth stanzas have four lines each, and the final stanza has ten lines.

The poem is written in the form of a monologue, where the speaker addresses an unknown audience. The speaker reflects on the past and the changes that have occurred over time. The poem is written in the first person, which gives it a personal touch and makes it more relatable.

Literary Devices

Drummond uses several literary devices in Le Vieux Temps to convey his message. One of the most prominent devices is imagery. The speaker uses vivid descriptions to paint a picture of the past. For example, in the first stanza, the speaker talks about the "old-fashioned garden" and the "roses climbing the wall." These descriptions create a nostalgic atmosphere and transport the reader back in time.

Another literary device used in the poem is repetition. The phrase "Le Vieux Temps" is repeated throughout the poem, emphasizing the theme of nostalgia. The repetition also creates a rhythmic effect, making the poem more musical.

The poem also uses symbolism to convey its message. The speaker talks about the "old clock" that "ticks and tocks" in the background. This clock symbolizes the passage of time and the inevitability of change. The clock is a constant reminder that time is fleeting and that nothing stays the same forever.


Le Vieux Temps is a timeless classic that has captured the hearts of poetry enthusiasts for over a century. The poem's themes of nostalgia and the passage of time are relatable to people of all ages and backgrounds. Drummond's use of imagery, repetition, and symbolism creates a vivid and musical poem that transports the reader back in time. Le Vieux Temps is a masterpiece that will continue to inspire and captivate readers for generations to come.

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