When I was an undergraduate student at university, I had a part-time job in the university library. One of the things I loved to do on the job was to sneak into far off corners and peruse through old and forgotten books. One day I stumbled across an old book of 19th century Canadian folk poetry and music. The book was published in the early 20th century and was filled with old gems that I had never heard of or seen before. One such gem was a folk song called "the Battle of Queenston Heights," which depicted the Oct 13, 1812 battle from the War of 1812 in which the British General Isaac Brock was able to defend an invasion of Canada by a far superior numbered American force. Brock lost his life in the battle and thus became the perfect subject matter for iconic folklore, to which this song grew out of. But the song I read in that book that day was only lyrics. The music had been lost and the lyrics themselves had no known author. I took those lyrics and used them in the verses of my song. I wrote my own lyrics for the choruses and put it all to my own music. This work is by far one of the songs I am most proud of. I feel that I have been able to preserve a little piece of Canadian history with this song.
Upon the heights of Queenston one dark October dayInvading forces marshalled in battle’s dead arrayBrave Brock looked up the rugged steep and planned a bold attackNo foreign flag shall float said he above the union jack His loyal hearted soldiers were ready every oneTheir foes were thrice their number but duty must be doneThey started up the fire swept hill with loud resounding cheersBrock’s inspiring voice rang out push on brave volunteers Yo Ho Canadians we held our ground with prideFrom Secord’s stroll to Voltigeurs to Tecumseh’s mighty cryYo Ho Canadians we burned that house to whiteBorn into a nation’s cheer at the Battle of Queenston Heights But soon a fatal bullet pierced through his manly breastAnd loving friends to help him around that hero pressedPush on he said don’t mind me and air the setting sunCanadians held the rugged steep the victory was won Each true Canadian soldier laments the death of BrockHis country told its sorrow in monumental rockAnd if a foe should ever invade our land in future yearsHis dying words will guide us still push on brave volunteers Yo Ho Canadians we held our ground with prideFrom Secord’s stroll to Voltigeurs to Tecumseh’s mighty cryYo Ho Canadians we burned that house to whiteBorn into a nation’s cheer at the Battle of Queenston Heights