The Maple Leaf Forever

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"The Maple Leaf Forever" is a Canadian song written by Alexander Muir (1830–1906) in 1867, the year of Canada's Confederation.[1] He wrote the work after serving with the Queen's Own Rifles of Toronto in the Battle of Ridgeway against the Fenians in 1866.

History[edit]

Muir was said to have been inspired to write this song by a large maple tree which stood on his street in front the Maple Cottage, a house at Memory Lane and Laing Street in Toronto. The song became quite popular in English Canada and for many years served as an unofficial national anthem.[2][3] Because of its strongly British perspective it became unpopular amongst French Canadians, and this prevented it from ever becoming an official anthem, even though it was seriously considered for that role and was even used as a de facto anthem in many instances.[4]

The tree which inspired Muir's song was felled during a windstorm on the night of 19/20 July 2013.[5] Residents have expressed their hope that the city will be able to start a new tree from one of the branches.

It has been asserted that Muir's words, however, while certainly pro-British, were not anti-French, and he revised the lyrics of the first verse to "Here may it wave, our boast, our pride, and join in love together / The Lily, Thistle, Shamrock, Rose, the Maple Leaf forever"; adding "Lily", a French symbol, to the list. According to other accounts, this was actually the original wording. Muir was attempting to express that under the Union Flag the British and French were united as Canadians.[2]

"The Maple Leaf Forever" is also the authorized regimental march of The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada and The Royal Westminster Regiment.[4]

The song makes reference to James Wolfe capturing Quebec in 1759 during the Seven Years' War and the Battle of Queenston Heights and Battle of Lundy's Lane during the War of 1812.

Lyrics[edit]

In days of yore, from Britain's shore,

Wolfe, the dauntless hero, came
And planted firm Britannia's flag
On Canada's fair domain.
Here may it wave, our boast our pride
And, joined in love together,
The thistle, shamrock, rose entwine
The Maple Leaf forever!

Chorus:
The Maple Leaf, our emblem dear,
The Maple Leaf forever!
God save our Queen and Heaven bless
The Maple Leaf forever!

At Queenston Heights and Lundy's Lane,
Our brave fathers, side by side,
For freedom, homes and loved ones dear,
Firmly stood and nobly died;
And those dear rights which they maintained,
We swear to yield them never!
Our watchword evermore shall be
"The Maple Leaf forever!"

Chorus

Our fair Dominion now extends
From Cape Race to Nootka Sound;
May peace forever be our lot,
And plenteous store abound:
And may those ties of love be ours
Which discord cannot sever,
And flourish green o'er freedom's home
The Maple Leaf forever!

Chorus

On merry England's far famed land
May kind heaven sweetly smile,
God bless old Scotland evermore
and Ireland's Em'rald Isle!
And swell the song both loud and long
Till rocks and forest quiver!
God save our Queen and Heaven bless
The Maple Leaf forever!

Chorus

Alternative lyrics[edit]

Maple Leaf Forever.jpg

CBC Radio's Metro Morning show in Toronto ran a contest to find new lyrics for the song in 1997. The contest was won by Romanian immigrant, mathematician, and now a songwriter, actor and poet, Vladimir Radian, who came to Canada in the 1980s. This version received its first full orchestral treatment on June 27, 1997, at a concert by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

The new version removed references to British-Canadian heritage and the Union Flag, but added a reference to Quebec's provincial symbol, the fleur-de-lis.

O, land of blue unending skies,
Mountains strong and sparkling snow,
A scent of freedom in the wind,
O'er the emerald fields below.

To thee we brought our hopes, our dreams,
For thee we stand together,
Our land of peace, where proudly flies,
The Maple Leaf forever.

Chorus:
Long may it wave, and grace our own,
Blue skies and stormy weather,
Within my heart, above my home,
The Maple Leaf forever!

From East and West, our heroes came,
Through icy fields and frozen bays,
Who conquered fear, and cold, and hate,
And their ancient wisdom says:

Protect the weak, defend your rights,
And build this land together,
Above which shine the Northern Lights,
And the Maple Leaf forever!

(Chorus)

Sur mers sauvages ou glaciers durs,
Tant d'héros se sont suivis,
En conquérant la peur, le froid,
Et les tempêtes de leurs vies.

Et tant de braves, rouges ou blancs,
Reposent ici ensemble,
De noble sang, de tant de neige,
Est née la feuille d'érable.

Refrain
De leurs exploits, de leurs travaux,
Et leur courage sublime,
Dans leurs vieux rêves réunis,
Puisons nouvelles racines.

Refrain Reprise
Sur nos montagnes, dans nos prairies,
À travers temps et sable,
Aimons toujours la fleur de lys,
Toujours, la feuille d'érable.

Oh, Maple Leaf, around the world,
You speak as you rise high above,
Of courage, peace and quiet strength,
Of the Canada I love.

Remind us all our union bound,
By ties we cannot sever,
Bright flag revered on every ground,
The Maple Leaf forever!

(Chorus)

Padre G.E. Benton, a former Canadian army chaplain, also wrote a revised version* with the lyrics as follows:

In days of yore from splendid shores,
Bold and true, our founders came,
And planted firm those rights of old,
Into Canada's fair domain,
This hallowed oath and legacy,
We vow to yield it never!,
For life and peace and liberty!,
The Maple Leaf Forever!,

The Maple Leaf, our emblem dear,
The Maple Leaf Forever!,
Long may it wave and God defend,
The Maple Leaf Forever!,

Thro' battle flame in lands afar,
Our brave warriors side by side,
For freedom, home, and lov'd ones dear,
Firmly stood and nobly died,
Their sacrifice and valour shine,
Their Names Will Live Forever!,
O Valiant hearts whose deeds proclaim,
The Maple Leaf Forever!,

The Maple Leaf, our emblem dear,
The Maple Leaf Forever!,
Long may it wave and God defend,
The Maple Leaf Forever!,

O land where season's gifts abound,
Earth's own bounties rich embrace,
Where flowing waters' majesty,
Sing the hymn of freedom's grace,
From oceantide to northern light,
All bound as One Together!,
Dominion blessed from sea to sea,
The Maple Leaf Forever!,

The Maple Leaf, our emblem dear,
The Maple Leaf Forever!,
Long may it wave and God defend,
The Maple Leaf Forever!,

Maple Leaf Gardens/Winter Olympics[edit]

External video
Video of Michael Bublé singing "Maple Leaf Forever" at the 2010 Winter Olympics closing ceremony.[dead link][7]

During the final game of the Toronto Maple Leafs at their former home stadium, Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Anne Murray sang another version (modified from Radian's version) of the Maple Leaf Forever to the crowd. This version was also used by Michael Bublé during the 2010 Winter Olympics closing ceremony:

O, land of blue unending skies,
Mountains strong and sparkling snow,
A scent of freedom in the wind,
O'er the emerald fields below.

To thee we brought our hopes, our dreams,
For thee we stand together,
Our land of peace, where proudly flies,
The Maple Leaf forever.

Chorus:
Long may it wave, and grace our own,
Blue skies and stormy weather,
Within my heart, above my home,
The Maple Leaf forever!

Announcer: Ladies and Gentlemen, last minute of play! (This announcement wasn't made at the Olympic closing ceremony)

O, Maple Leaf around the world,
You speak as you rise high above,
Of courage, peace and quiet strength,
Of the Canada that I love.

Remind us all, our union bound
By ties we cannot sever,
Bright flag revered on every ground,
The Maple Leaf forever!

Chorus

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Muir, Alexander". Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. 
  2. ^ a b "Maple Cottage, Leslieville, Toronto". Institute for Canadian Music. 
  3. ^ LAC. "Canadian Confederation" the Web site of Library and Archives Canada, 2006-01-09 (ISSN 1713-868X) includes a bibliography
  4. ^ a b Canadian Musical works 1800–1980 a bibliography of general and analytical sources. Ottawa : Canadian Association of Music Libraries, 1983. (ISBN 0708896358)
  5. ^ http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/07/20/tree-said-to-have-inspired-song-the-maple-leaf-forever-falls-victim-to-toronto-storm/
  6. ^ http://www.piddingworth.com/maple_leaf_forever_new.html
  7. ^ Michael Buble at Closing Ceremony (Microsoft Silverlight installation required). NBCOlympics.com

External links[edit]