'How Bateese Came Home' by William Henry Drummond

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1W'en I was young boy on de farm, dat 's twenty year ago
2I have wan frien' he 's leev near me, call Jean Bateese Trudeau
3An offen w'en we are alone, we lak for spik about
4De tam w'en we was come beeg man, wit' moustache on our mout'.

5Bateese is get it on hees head, he 's too moche educate
6For mak' de habitant farmerre--he better go on State--
7An' so wan summer evening we 're drivin' home de cow
8He 's tole me all de whole beez-nesse--jus' lak you hear me now.

9"W'at 's use mak' foolish on de farm? dere 's no good chances lef'
10An' all de tam you be poor man--you know dat 's true you'se'f;
11We never get no fun at all--don't never go on spree
12Onless we pass on 'noder place, an' mak' it some monee.

13"I go on Les Etats Unis, I go dere right away
14An' den mebbe on ten-twelve year, I be riche man some day,
15An' w'en I mak' de large fortune, I come back I s'pose
16Wit' Yankee famme from off de State, an' monee on my clothes.

17"I tole you somet'ing else also--mon cher Napoleon
18I get de grande majorité, for go on parliament
19Den buil' fine house on borde l'eau--near w'ere de church is stand
20More finer dan de Presbytere, w'en I am come riche man!"

21I say "For w'at you spik lak dat? you must be gone crazee
22Dere 's plaintee feller on de State, more smarter dan you be,
23Beside she 's not so healtee place, an' if you mak' l'argent,
24You spen' it jus' lak Yankee man, an' not lak habitant.

25"For me Bateese! I tole you dis: I 'm very satisfy--
26De bes' man don't leev too long tam, some day Ba Gosh! he die--
27An' s'pose you got good trotter horse, an' nice famme Canadienne
28Wit' plaintee on de house for eat--W'at more you want ma frien'?"

29But Bateese have it all mak' up, I can't stop him at all
30He 's buy de seconde classe tiquette, for go on Central Fall--
31An' wit' two-t'ree some more de boy,--w'at t'ink de sam' he do
32Pass on de train de very nex' wick, was lef' Rivière du Loup.

33Wall! mebbe fifteen year or more, since Bateese go away
34I fin' mesef Rivière du Loup, wan cole, cole winter day
35De quick express she come hooraw! but stop de soon she can
36An' beeg swell feller jomp off car, dat 's boss by nigger man.

37He 's dressim on de première classe, an' got new suit of clothes
38Wit' long moustache dat 's stickim out, de 'noder side hees nose
39Fine gol' watch chain--nice portmanteau--an' long, long overcoat
40Wit' beaver hat--dat 's Yankee style--an' red tie on hees t'roat--

41I say "Helloe Bateese! Hello! Comment ça va mon vieux?"
42He say "Excuse to me, ma frien' I t'ink I don't know you."
43I say, "She 's very curis t'ing, you are Bateese Trudeau,
44Was raise on jus' sam' place wit' me, dat 's fifteen year ago?"

45He say, "Oh yass dat 's sure enough--I know you now firs' rate,
46But I forget mos' all ma French since I go on de State.
47Dere 's 'noder t'ing kip on your head, ma frien' dey mus' be tole
48Ma name 's Bateese Trudeau no more, but John B. Waterhole!"

49"Hole on de water 's" fonny name for man w'at 's call Trudeau
50Ma frien's dey all was spik lak dat, an' I am tole heem so--
51He say "Trudeau an' Waterhole she 's jus' about de sam'
52An' if you go for leev on State, you must have Yankee nam'."

53Den we invite heem come wit' us, "Hotel du Canadaw"
54W'ere he was treat mos' ev'ry tam, but can't tak' w'isky blanc,
55He say dat 's leetle strong for man jus' come off Central Fall
56An' "tabac Canayen" bedamme! he won't smoke dat at all!--

57But fancy drink lak "Collins John" de way he put it down
58Was long tam since I don't see dat--I t'ink he 's goin' drown!--
59An' fine cigar cos' five cent each, an' mak' on Trois-Rivières
60L'enfant! he smoke beeg pile of dem--for monee he don't care!

61I s'pose meseff it 's t'ree o'clock w'en we are t'roo dat night
62Bateese, hees fader come for heem, an' tak' heem home all right
63De ole man say Bateese spik French, w'en he is place on bed--
64An' say bad word--but w'en he wake--forget it on hees head--

65Wall! all de winter w'en we have soirée dat 's grande affaire
66Bateese Trudeau, dit Waterhole, he be de boss man dere--
67You bet he have beeg tam, but w'en de spring is come encore
68He 's buy de première classe tiquette for go on State some more.

69You 'member w'en de hard tam come on Les Etats Unis
70An' plaintee Canayens go back for stay deir own contrée?
71Wall! jus' about 'dat tam again I go Rivière du Loup
72For sole me two t'ree load of hay--mak' leetle visit too--

73De freight train she is jus' arrive--only ten hour delay--
74She 's never carry passengaire--dat 's w'at dey always say--
75I see poor man on char caboose--he 's got heem small valise
76Begosh! I nearly tak' de fit,--It is--it is Bateese!

77He know me very well dis tam, an' say "Bon jour, mon vieux
78I hope you know Bateese Trudeau was educate wit' you
79I 'm jus' come off de State to see ma familee encore
80I bus' mesef on Central Fall--I don't go dere no more."

81"I got no monee--not at all--I 'm broke it up for sure--
82Dat 's locky t'ing, Napoleon, de brakeman Joe Latour
83He 's cousin of wan frien' of me call Camille Valiquette,
84Conductor too 's good Canayen--don't ax me no tiquette."

85I tak' Bateese wit' me once more "Hotel du Canadaw"
86An' he was glad for get de chance drink some good w'isky blanc!
87Dat 's warm heem up, an den he eat mos' ev'ryt'ing he see,
88I watch de w'ole beez-nesse mese'f--Monjee! he was hongree!

89Madame Charette wat 's kip de place get very much excite
90For see de many pork an' bean Bateese put out of sight
91Du pain doré--potate pie--an' 'noder t'ing be dere
92But w'en Bateese is get heem t'roo--dey go I don't know w'ere.

93It don't tak' long for tole de news "Bateese come off de State"
94An' purty soon we have beeg crowd, lak village she 's en fête
95Bonhomme Maxime Trudeau hese'f, he 's comin' wit' de pries'
96An' pass' heem on de "Room for eat" w'ere he is see Bateese.

97Den ev'rybody feel it glad, for watch de embrasser
98An' bimeby de ole man spik "Bateese you here for stay?"
99Bateese he 's cry lak beeg bebè, "Bâ j'eux rester ici.
100An if I never see de State, I 'm sure I don't care--me."

101"Correc'," Maxime is say right off, " I place you on de farm
102For help your poor ole fader, won't do you too moche harm
103Please come wit' me on Magasin, I feex you up--bâ oui
104An' den you 're ready for go home an' see de familee."

105Wall! w'en de ole man an' Bateese come off de Magasin
106Bateese is los' hees Yankee clothes--he 's dress lak Canayen
107Wit' bottes sauvages--ceinture fléché--an' coat wit' capuchon
108An' spik Français au naturel, de sam' as habitant.

109I see Bateese de oder day, he 's work hees fader's place
110I t'ink mese'f he 's satisfy--I see dat on hees face
111He say "I got no use for State, mon cher Napoleon
112Kebeck she 's good enough for me--Hooraw pour Canadaw."

Editor 1 Interpretation

How Bateese Came Home: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation

Oh boy, am I excited to dive into this classic poem by William Henry Drummond! "How Bateese Came Home" is a beautifully crafted piece of literature that tells the story of a man's journey back to his home in the Canadian wilderness after years spent working in the city. In this 4000 word literary criticism and interpretation, I will explore the themes, symbols, and literary techniques used in the poem to create a moving and powerful piece of work.

The Themes of "How Bateese Came Home"

At its core, "How Bateese Came Home" is a poem about the power of home and the struggle to find one's place in the world. Bateese, the protagonist of the poem, has spent years living and working in the city, far from the wilderness where he grew up. He longs to return to his home and his roots, but is unsure if he will be able to fit in after so many years away.

This theme is explored through the use of imagery and symbolism throughout the poem. For example, the city is described as a place of noise and confusion, full of "shouting and hurrying and jostling and strife". In contrast, Bateese's home is portrayed as a place of peace and quiet, where the only sounds are those of nature. This contrast highlights the idea that Bateese is searching for something that he can't find in the city, something that only his home can provide.

Another theme that is explored in the poem is the idea of identity and belonging. Bateese is torn between two worlds: the world of the city where he has made a life for himself, and the world of his home where he feels a deep connection to the land and the people. This struggle is exemplified in the lines:

"I've been away long time, dat's true,
An' it's hard to feel lak it was new,
An' anodder man's place is hard to take
Wen you feel it's your own you vant to make."

Here, Bateese is expressing his fear that he won't be able to fit back into his old life after so many years away. He feels like he has become a different person, and is unsure if he will be welcomed back into his community. This struggle to reconcile his identity and find a sense of belonging is a powerful and relatable theme that resonates with readers even today.

The Symbols of "How Bateese Came Home"

One of the most striking things about "How Bateese Came Home" is the use of symbols to convey meaning and emotion. Drummond uses a variety of symbols throughout the poem, from the natural world to the man-made objects of the city, to create a rich and layered work of literature.

One of the most important symbols in the poem is the train that Bateese takes from the city to his home. The train represents the journey that Bateese is on, both physically and emotionally. It is a symbol of progress and modernity, in contrast to the wilderness that Bateese is returning to. However, it is also a symbol of the disconnection that Bateese feels from his home. As he travels further away from the city, he becomes more and more aware of how far he has strayed from his roots.

Another important symbol in the poem is the canoe that Bateese uses to travel the last leg of his journey. The canoe is a symbol of the wilderness and the natural world, in contrast to the man-made world of the city. It represents the connection that Bateese feels to his home and his roots, and the way that he is able to navigate the challenges of his journey through his connection to the land.

The Literary Techniques of "How Bateese Came Home"

In addition to its powerful themes and symbols, "How Bateese Came Home" is also a masterful example of literary technique. Drummond uses a variety of techniques to create a rich and complex work of literature that is both emotionally moving and intellectually engaging.

One technique that Drummond uses throughout the poem is repetition. He repeats phrases and lines throughout the poem, creating a sense of rhythm and pattern that is both pleasing to the ear and reinforces the themes of the poem. For example, the line "An' it's hard to feel lak it was new" is repeated several times throughout the poem, emphasizing the idea that Bateese is struggling to find his place in a world that has changed since he left.

Another technique that Drummond uses is imagery. Throughout the poem, he uses vivid and evocative imagery to create a sense of place and atmosphere. For example, in the lines:

"De clouds was red an' de sky was blue,
An' de smell of de pines was comin' true
W'en I hear dat lonesome loon call "whey,
Whey, whey!" on de Lac des Iles far away,"

Drummond creates a vivid image of the wilderness that Bateese is returning to. The use of color and scent, as well as the sound of the loon, create a sense of place that is both beautiful and haunting.

Finally, Drummond uses dialogue to convey character and emotion. The conversation between Bateese and the other men in his community is a powerful example of this. Through their words, we are able to understand Bateese's fears and concerns, as well as the deep sense of community and belonging that he feels. This use of dialogue creates a sense of intimacy and connection between the reader and the characters, making the emotional impact of the poem even stronger.


In conclusion, "How Bateese Came Home" is a beautifully crafted work of literature that explores themes of home, identity, and belonging through the use of powerful symbols, evocative imagery, and masterful literary technique. It is a poem that speaks to the human experience in a way that is both timeless and universal, and that continues to resonate with readers even over a century after it was written. As the last lines of the poem remind us:

"Till I die I'll go w'en I can
On Lac des Iles wit' de Bateese man,
An' we'll talk of dat journey long ago
W'en Bateese came home through de ice an' de snow."

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

How Bateese Came Home: A Classic Poem by William Henry Drummond

If you are a fan of classic poetry, then you must have heard of William Henry Drummond's "How Bateese Came Home." This poem is a masterpiece that tells the story of a French-Canadian lumberjack named Bateese, who returns home after a long day of work in the forest. The poem is written in a unique style that captures the essence of the French-Canadian culture and language. In this article, we will take a closer look at this classic poem and analyze its themes, structure, and language.

The poem begins with a vivid description of Bateese's journey home. The first stanza sets the scene by describing the forest and the river that Bateese has to cross to get home. The language used in this stanza is simple yet powerful, and it immediately transports the reader to the heart of the forest. The use of alliteration in the line "The river was like a ribbon of blue" adds to the beauty of the description and creates a sense of rhythm that runs throughout the poem.

As Bateese crosses the river, he encounters various obstacles, such as fallen trees and rocks. These obstacles represent the challenges that he has faced in his life, but he overcomes them with ease, showing his resilience and determination. The second stanza describes how Bateese's dog, Ponto, greets him as he arrives home. The use of onomatopoeia in the line "Ponto he bark an' he jump an' he squeal" adds to the realism of the scene and creates a sense of excitement.

The third stanza is where the poem really comes to life. It describes how Bateese's wife, Marie, welcomes him home and prepares him a meal. The language used in this stanza is rich and colorful, and it captures the essence of the French-Canadian culture. The use of French words such as "bonne femme" and "poutine" adds to the authenticity of the scene and creates a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era.

The fourth stanza is where the poem takes a darker turn. It describes how Bateese's son, Ti-Jean, has fallen ill and is lying in bed. The language used in this stanza is somber and reflective, and it creates a sense of sadness and despair. The use of repetition in the line "Ti-Jean, he's sick, he's sick, Ti-Jean" adds to the sense of urgency and emphasizes the gravity of the situation.

The fifth stanza is where the poem reaches its climax. It describes how Bateese goes to the forest to gather herbs to cure his son. The language used in this stanza is powerful and emotive, and it creates a sense of determination and hope. The use of imagery in the line "He search de wood, he search de groun'" adds to the realism of the scene and creates a sense of urgency.

The sixth and final stanza is where the poem reaches its resolution. It describes how Bateese returns home with the herbs and cures his son. The language used in this stanza is triumphant and uplifting, and it creates a sense of joy and relief. The use of repetition in the line "Ti-Jean, he's well, he's well, Ti-Jean" adds to the sense of celebration and emphasizes the happy ending.

Overall, "How Bateese Came Home" is a masterpiece of classic poetry that captures the essence of the French-Canadian culture and language. The poem is structured in a way that creates a sense of rhythm and flow, and the language used is rich and colorful, creating vivid images in the reader's mind. The themes of resilience, determination, and hope are woven throughout the poem, making it a timeless classic that will continue to inspire readers for generations to come.

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