Monday 20 March 2023

Lyrics for a Revised National Hymn: THE MAPLE LEAF ad infinitum



ORIGINAL SONG: "The Maple Leaf Forever", by Alexander Muir, 1867
PARODY COMPOSED: Giorgio Coniglio, September 2013
PHOTOS: from GoogleImages, several derived from the wonderful blogsite TorontoThenandNow

  The original song proposed Canada’s national symbol, and acted for decades as the unofficial anthem of (English) Canada; it was officially replaced in 1980 by “O Canada”. The old tree which had presumably inspired the original lyrics was destroyed by a storm in July 2013.
   As pointed out in the blog "City in the Trees", the version we sang long ago in school evoked a Canada that extended from Cape Race in the east to the Pacific. In fact, at the time Muir created the song, Newfoundland and British Columbia were separate colonies, and the new country had only 4 provinces.  
   Research into the song's historic underpinnings, as portrayed here, as well as personal experience, evolved into the nostalgic piece "Canadian School Reunion" - see my prior post highlighting this parody-song.

"Maple Cottage" Leslieville,
(now part of Toronto)
Muir's residence

1867: A fragile line

FURTHER SONGS ON THE SAME THEME: For other nostalgic takes on Canada's national hymns, you can view (and sing along with) ...
 Canadian Reunion (December 2013) 
 Flight of the Loonie  (January 2015)
 Something to Groan About  (June 2018) 

THE MAPLE LEAF ad Infinitum

(to the tune of Alexander Muir's "Maple Leaf Forever")

In days less pure, the clan named Muir brought young Alex to these shores;
He breathed old T.O.’s Orangeman’s air, worked with skill his teaching chores.
He honored shamrock, thistle, rose, tall trees, and roots with Britain;
And second-prized our Founding Year a songsmith’s competition.

No copyright, no fleur-de-lys; of insight only traces -
His “Maple Leaf” excluded half our country’s founding races.

On days of pomp, when bands would romp from Lakes to FroBay and Sea to Sea,
The trick was to pick “God Save the Queen” from “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”.
The music-sheets for these two treats seemed equal when you scanned them;
We’d need decide in love and pride the True North’s national anthem.

Untwine the Line at Forty-Nine, les Ricains might endeavour;
Could we that fragile Line define with “Maple Leaf Forever”?

Robert Stanley Weir

Calixa Lavallee

St-Jean-Baptiste in Canada East resounded with Lavallée’s score;
R.Weir took on the daunting task - Theme O-Canada's breadth restore.
The over-zealed paroles part-spared, the English not so prominent,
Still women and newcomers griped, “It’s sexist and male-dominant.”

As reg'ments touted "Leaf" their tune, did Anglo journals shout and rant, 
But decades passed and "O Canada" did Muir's time-worn chant supplant.
In time for our Centennial, new flag and hymn to savour, 
Still stuck with macho lyrics and a pinch of maple flavour ! 

Last year, Muir's ancient fabled tree was felled by stormy weather;
Still sometimes heard but seldom hymned - "The Maple Leaf Forever".

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