Quebec 1837-1839
The Patriotes Rebellion

Un Canadien Errant

Translated: for by Mitch Abidor;

One of the best-known Canadian folk songs, it is less well known that it was written by Antoine Gerin-Lajoie in 1839 as a lament for the Canadians exiled after the Patriot Revolt. Recorded by the Canadian folk-singers Ian and Sylvia in the 1960s as a moving ballad, Montreal-born Leonard Cohen later sang it to a mariachi background.

A Wandering Canadian

A wandering Canadian
Banished from his home
Traveled in tears
Through foreign lands.

One day, sad and thoughtful,
Seated beside the waters,
He addressed these words
To the fugitive current:

“If you see my country,
my unhappy country,
Go, say to my friends
That I remember them.

“Oh days so full of charms
You have disappeared.
And my country, alas,
I'll never see it again.

“No, but while dying
O! my dear Canada,
My languishing gaze
Will turn to you.”