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At the Cedars

 You had two girls -- Baptiste -- 
One is Virginie --
Hold hard -- Baptiste!
Listen to me.
The whole drive was jammed In that bend at the Cedars, The rapids were dammed With the logs tight rammed And crammed; you might know The Devil had clinched them below.
We worked three days -- not a budge, 'She's as tight as a wedge, on the ledge,' Says our foreman; 'Mon Dieu! boys, look here, We must get this thing clear.
' He cursed at the men And we went for it then; With our cant-dogs arow, We just gave he-yo-ho; When she gave a big shove From above.
The gang yelled and tore For the shore, The logs gave a grind Like a wolf's jaws behind, And as quick as a flash, With a shove and a crash, They were down in a mash, But I and ten more, All but Isaàc Dufour, Were ashore.
He leaped on a log in the front of the rush, And shot out from the bind While the jam roared behind; As he floated along He balanced his pole And tossed us a song.
But just as we cheered, Up darted a log from the bottom, Leaped thirty feet square and fair, And came down on his own.
He went up like a block With the shock, And when he was there In the air, Kissed his hand To the land; When he dropped My heart stopped, For the first logs had caught him And crushed him; When he rose in his place There was blood on his face.
There were some girls, Baptiste, Picking berries on the hillside, Where the river curls, Baptiste, You know -- on the still side One was down by the water, She saw Isaàc Fall back.
She did not scream, Baptiste, She launched her canoe; It did seem, Baptiste, That she wanted to die too, For before you could think The birch cracked like a shell In that rush of hell, And I saw them both sink -- Baptiste ! -- He had two girls, One is Virginie, What God calls the other Is not known to me.

by Duncan Campbell Scott
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