Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | July 1, 2017

Rapide du Plat, Morrisburg, Ontario – poem.


A sudden whirl

How the waters curl

How they seethe and rush

Out of the river’s even flow

The wild waves bear us, on we go.

The white foam splashes

And madly dashes.

Show’ring o’er us, in merry glee,

Sparkling gems from the clear, cold sea–

Diamonds rare,

For mermaids fair,

To shine and gleam in their golden hair.

Shooting the Rapids du Plat, St. Lawrence River

Onward, yet onward , our craft us press’d

It rises and falls on the billow’s breast,

It tosses aside the foaming crest.

No fear, no fear

The heaving steamers _______ that guides

Our little bark, as it gaily rides

And scathless o’er bounding billow guides,

Onward, onward still we go,

Through the waters gentler we flow.

An Edwardian era postcard showing a steamer nearing Morrisburg.

They have ceased their riotous pressing;

See, they come our bark caressing,

Murm’ring as they dance along,

Echoes of a sea-nymph’s song–

Foam and splashes growing less

With each ripple’s soft caress.

Slowly, yet more slowly go;

Ah, how gently now they flow,

Calm and peaceful we float at last

Idely drifting – the rapids are past.

Morrisburg, 1893                          Mabel MacLean Helliwell

On the boat deck sailing down the St. Lawrence.

Growler Camp, Gooseneck Island, near Morrisburg.

The “Belmont” home of Captain Farlinger, first built i 1834, remodelled in 1879 and demolished in 1958 for the Seaway Project. (photo from UP THE FRONT A STORY OF MORRISBURG, E.W. Morgan)

The poem was written in 1893 and first published in “Saturday Night” that year.  The author Mabel MacLean Helliwell of Toronto was a friend of Miss Eleanor Farlinger.  She spent several weeks visiting “Belmont” in 1893 and during her visit “ran the rapids” several times with the late Harley Killaly as escort.

If you are interesting in learning more about “running the rapids” of the St. Lawrence, THE LIVING RIVER – SECRETS OF THE ST. LAWRENCE, takes the reader on an illustrated trip down the river.  The book was published early 2017 by Quarry press and is available for $30 at the Cornwall Community Museum or at Coles/Chapters/Indigo throughout Eastern Ontario.

Just one of many of Morrisburg’s stately homes turned into a tourist home to meet the needs of visitors to Dr. Locke’s clinic in Williamsburg.




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