Note: Henri Raymond Casgrain was born in 1831 and died in 1904. He was a historian, writer, literary critic and Catholic priest. Here is a poem he wrote about the life of a coureur de bois. How did the way of life of the coureurs de bois resemble that of Native people?


Hymn to the coureur de bois

(Note: This translation, from the original poem as cited here, is in progress)


From the Indian, I get my recklessness, my carefree nature, 

My ears, my bravery:

The same disregard for my own existence,

The same love of freedom


There is no breath, no murmur,

No rustling of the trees,

Not a single sound of nature,

That I cannot imitate with my voice.


My rifle is my sceptre,

The sky overhead my palace,

The soft moss is my carpet,

The hills and forests my throne.


When the shadow of evening comes,

I make a bed of pine.

Lying close to the flame,

I sleep and dream ‘til morn.


Author: Translation of the poem by H.R. Casgrain cited in Nos Racines. #7. Montréal, Éditions T.L.M., 1979, p. 139.