Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets
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A Wreath of Canadian Song

[10 illustrations]

John F. McDonnell.    Hon. Joseph Howe.
Mrs. J. C. Yule.     Alma Frances McCollum.     Mrs. Susanna Moodie.
Grant Allen.     Charles Dawson Shanly.     Eric McKay Yeoman.
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Copyright, Canada, 1910
by William Briggs
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IT has long been a matter of regret amongst those who would foster the growth of a native literature that Canadian writers, especially writers of verse, should be so little known amongst their own people, and that much, if not all, of the earlier verse produced in the country has been allowed to fall into comparative oblivion.

To redeem as much of this all but forgotten work as its necessary limitations permit, and incidentally to do its little part towards counteracting the existing apathy, are the purposes of this little volume. This twofold object and the manner adopted for its accomplishment have resulted in lending to the work something of the nature both of an anthology and a history, though, strictly speaking, it cannot be classed as either.

As far as was consistent with the plan followed in its preparation, all criticism, expression of private opinion, or other intrusion of the personality of the author or, perhaps, more properly, of the editor, has been avoided. Wherever possible or practicable, copious extracts from the work of the writers treated have been given, and from the consideration of these the reader has been left to form his own judgments unbiased. [page v]

The title has been changed. In this volume we are concerned exclusively with the deceased poets of Canada. It certainly cannot be said that the work of such recently-deceased writers as Isabella Valancy Crawford or William Henry Drummond has lapsed into oblivion or disuse, though it is a lamentable fact that even they are far too little read or known. But, coming within the scope of the work, it was deemed only fair that they should be given equal showing with the earlier writers in consideration of their actual merits.

It may be objected that verse of an order not entitling it to representation in a judiciously selected collection of Canadian poetry has found its way into these pages. But it should be borne in mind that this work is not presented as a criterion by which the poetic production of the country can be judged. It is simply an account or history of Canadian verse of the past, illustrated, as has been mentioned already, with as many extracts as could possibly be admitted, and the aim, never lost sight of in the course of its preparation, was to make it as complete and useful as possible. From this it must not be inferred that an attempt has been made to touch upon all the departed verse-writers of Canada. That would be a fruitless as well as a cumbrous task. It is a fact that three out of every six people of any pretension to culture affect verse-writing, and, even in our own young country, “their name is legion.”

It only remains now to add that every precaution has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the details [page vi] herein given. That errors may have crept in in spite of vigilance is not unlikely, and the author will be grateful to receive notice of any such that may be observed.



   Sincere thanks are due and hereby gladly rendered to the many friends from whom I have received advice and other help, which have gone far towards making the preparation of the following pages a pleasure instead of a task. Amongst these ought to be mentioned particularly Mr. W. D. Lighthall, whose name, linked with so many movements having for their object the development of a broader national spirit, has become synonymous with patriotism and good citizenship; Mr. John Reade, of the Montreal Gazette, who with characteristic generosity placed his inexhaustible fund of information on the subject in hand and his well-stored library alike at my disposal; Mr. C. H. Gould, the cultured and courteous librarian of McGill University; the late Mr. George Murray, of the Montreal Standard, whose opinions on literary matters commanded widespread respect; Mr. William Drysdale and Judge L. W. Sicotte. I am likewise deeply indebted to the librarians of the Fraser Institute, Montreal; of the Legislative and Carnegie Libraries, Ottawa; of Victoria University and the Public Libraries, Toronto, as well as to numerous relatives and friends of the writers dealt with, who [page vii] seconded my efforts with ready sympathy and cordial good-will.

Amongst the works that have been of service are Dr. Dewart’s “Selections from Canadian Poets,” Dr. H. J. Morgan’s “Bibliotheca Canadensis,” W. D. Lighthall’s “Songs of the Great Dominion,” Dr. Rand’s “Treasury of Canadian Verse,” C. C. James’ “Bibliography of Canadian Poetry,” and Archibald MacMurchy’s “Handbook of Canadian Literature.”


   Lancaster, February 19th, 1910. [page viii]



   IN this modest work Mrs. Edgar has striven to trace the beginning of English-Canadian verse. She will meet some biting criticism, because those who lack the historical instinct do not understand the desire to trace beginnings. To certain of them nothing short of Swinburne and Shakespeare and the prodigies of some Pea and Popgun Club deserves printer’s ink on any consideration. To the Canadian capable of appreciating the spirit that actuated the writer, however, wholesome thoughts will be aroused by the account of Oliver Goldsmith, jr., the first to versify—in feeble strains enough—native Canadian scenes. Other ideas of a different order will be suggested by the story of Charles Heavysege, the inspired wood-carver, the delicate products of whose graving-tool ornament unnoticed many a Montreal mansion, and whose sombre music, which haunts those carvings, has received the praise of some of the most eminent critics of his own day and ours. Isabella Valancy Crawford, too, noticed in Canada during her lifetime by but one authority—but that one George Murray—has her keen and ringing message well preserved in Mrs. Edgar’s selections. If, perhaps, here and there the voices may not be so strong or clear, the interest [page ix] less, I for one am ready to concede that our authoress has earned the right to please herself in her minor choices. Perhaps sometime she will add to these departed versifiers, whom she so evidently loves, some of our strong later poets, pitched to the standard of the criticism of to-day, whose selection is in reality the easier task of the two.

As Pobiedonostseff said of Russia, when someone remarked that it was “a great State,” so I always think of this vast new Europe of ours: “Canada is no State—Canada is a World!” And those who strove to lay its foundations of intellectuality, however humble their efforts, are parts of a story worthy our attention.

“Chateauclair,” Westmount,
February 18th, 1910. [page x]












The Walker of the Snow


The Lilac Tree







The Humming-Bird




The Gray Linnet


Impromptu on a Beautiful Butterfly


The Vesper Hymn







Extracts from “Saul”


Extracts from “Jepthah’s Daughter”


Fate (A Sonnet)


Self-Examination (A Sonnet)


Morn (A Sonnet)




The Dead









Funeral of Napoleon I.


[page xi]

The Sea! The Sea!


An Autumn Lament








The Song of the Sun




Hurrah for the New Dominion




he Whip-poor-will







Ah, Where?


Western Sunset


The World’s Race




Charles Heavysege


The Voice of the Ages







Lyric to the Isles


Twilight Hymn


Silent Worship


A Song for the Flail


The Soldiers of the Plough


The Falls of the Chaudière, Ottawa


The Wine of Song


The Rapid


The Soul


The Comet


The Land of Dreams













The Tide




[page xii]






The Arctic Indian’s Faith




A Small Catechism


Jacques Cartier


The Heart’s Resting-Place











Midnight Between the Old Year and the New


Song of Night







God’s Heroes


Willie the Miner


A Parable







The Minnesingers Lied


Love Songs from “The Enamorado.” I.


Love Songs from “The Enamorado.” II.


Love Songs from “The Enamorado.” III.


Songs from “De Roberval”—

          Adieu to France


          Twilight Song


          Mermaid’s Song









“I Am.”


A Willow at Grand Pré


The Storm-Petrel


In Autumn’s Dreamy Ear







Poppæa (At the Theatre)


In Nero’s Gardens


[page xiii]






Empire First


The Bride of Death















Illusion. (From “Eos, An Epic of theDawn.”)


A Star


The Prayer











In the Night Watches




Only an Insect


An Answer


A Prayer







The Whip-poor-will


A Sonnet


The Song of Orpheus


The Sonnet







The King’s Garments


Autumn (from “Malcolm’s Katie”)


Indian Summer (from “Malcolm’s Katie”


The Hidden Room


The Song of the Axe


The Helot


Love’s Forget-Me-Not


Sorrow (from “Malcolm’s Katie”)


Love’s Land (from “Malcolm’s Katie”)


[page xiv]






Why Fruitlessly Mourn We?


The Past and Future


Quid Refert


A Prayer









The Last Portage






The Habitant


The Family Laramie


The Wreck of the “Julie Plante”







The Little Trooper


Be Thine Own Image-Builder


The Mother


The Eternity of Life


Nil Desperandum


Mind and Body


Flesh and Spirit









Freedom (from “Lines to My Mother”)


Life (from “Corydon and Amaryllis”)




The Kissing-Gate


The Angel of the Sombre Cowl


My Shadow




Sing Low, Wild Bird


What Woman Art Thou?







[page xv]


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[page xvii]

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Abrahall, John Hoskyns


Adams, Levi


Alexander, James Lynne


Allan, Lieut. Adam


Allan, Peter J.


Allen, Rev. J. A.


Anderson, Rev. Duncan


Andrews, F. H.


Appleton, Lydia Anne


Archibald, A. K.



Baldwyn, Augusta


Bayley, Mrs. H.


Bigney, Mark F.


Blenerhasset, Mrs.


Boyd, John


Breakenridge, John


Breckenridge, Rev. James


Browning, Samuel


Brownlow, Edward Burrough



Cameron, George F.


Carey, Daniel


Chapman. Edward J.


Cochrane, E. G.


Cockings, George


Cowdell, Thomas D.


Crawford, Isabella V.


Curzon, Mrs. Sara Anne


Cushing, Mrs.


[page xix]

Darling, William Stewart


Darnell, Henry Faulkner


Davidson, Leslie Loring


Davin, Nicholas Flood


Dawson, Aeneas McDonell


DeMille, James


DesBrissaye, C. M.


Dewart, Rev. E. H.


Dixon, Stephen


Drummond, Dr. W. H.


Duvar, John Hunter



Edgar, Sir James D.


Elder, Rev. Samuel


Evans, Walter Norton



Fairbanks, Miss


Faulkner, Mrs. Rhoda Anne


Fleck, Widow (Mrs. John Fleming)


Fleming, John


Fletcher, Edward Taylor


Ford, S. P.


Forsyth, William


Fraser, John



Galt, John


Garnier, John H.


Garvie, Alexander Rae


Gay, James


Gidney, A. M.


Gillespie, G. W.


Gillespie, William


Goldsmith, Oliver


Grant, Mrs. J. P.


Gray, Rev. Archibald



Haggarty, Sir John Hawkins


Hamilton, Pierce Stephens


Hamilton, R. D.


Hawley, William Fitz


Hayward, Mrs. Catherine


Heavysege, Charles


Herbert, Mary E. and Sara


Hill, Thomas


[page xx]

Hogg, James


Horsnell, William


Howe, Joseph


Huntington, Richard


Hutchison, Rev. D. F.



Imrie, John



Jakeway, Dr. Chas. E.


Jennings, Clotilda


Johnson, Helen M.



Kidd, Adam


Kirby, William


Knight, Mrs. Anne Cuthbert



Lampman, Archibald


Langstaff, Launcelot


Lanigan, Geo T.


Laskey, John K.


Lawson, Mary Jane Katzmann


Leach, A. W. T.


Legget, William M.


Lepage, John


Leprohon, Mrs. (Dr.)


Lesperance, John Talon


Lett, William Pittman


Lorimer, J. G.



MacColl, Evan


Macgeorge, Rev. R. J.

23, 233-235

Martin, George


May, Rev. John


Mayne, Daniel


Menzies, George


Monck, Judge Cornwallis


Moodie, Mrs. Susanna


Mountain, Rt. Rev. G. J.


Muchall, Mrs. Mary E.


Mulvaney, Charles P.


Murdoch, William


Murray, George


Murray, Louisa


[page xxi]

McCaig, Donald


McCarroll, James


McCollum, Alma F.


McDonnell, John F.


McDonnell, William


McDonnell, Rev. William


McGee, Hon. Thomas D’Arcy


McIntosh, Donald


McKillop, Archibald


McLachlan, Alexander


McLennan, William


McNiven, Mrs. C.


McPherson, John


McQueen, Thomas



Neville, Valentine


Newton, John



O’Brien, Rt. Rev. Cornelius


O’Grady, Standish



Palmer, David


Patterson, R. S.


Picken, Andrew L.


Picken, Miss


Pirie, George


Porter, Jane


Proctor, John J.



Ramsay, Andrew J.


Rand, Silas T.


Rand, Theo. H.


Rice, William


Richardson, Major John


Richey, J. A.


Romanes, G. J.


Rose, Alex McGregor


Ryan, Caroll


Ryan, F. B.



Sabiston, Magnus


Sangster, Charles


Sawtell, Mrs. M. Ethelind


Scriven, Joseph


[page xxii]

Secundus, Plinius


Shanly, Charles Dawson


Slade, Arthur


Somerville, Rev. William


Sparhawk, P. V.


Spedon, Andrew L.


Stafford, Rev. Ezra A.


Starke, Richard Griffin


Stephens, William A.


Street, Alfred B.


Stewart, Phillips


Sweeny, Robert



Traill, Mrs. Catherine Parr


Tucker, John Alex



Walker, Annie L.


Walker, Sergt. Alex


Wallace, Rev. M. A.


Wanless, Andrew


Ward. J. G.


Waters, Francis D.


Watson, Samuel James


Weir, Arthur


Wicksteed, Gustavus W.


Williamsom, Dr. A. J.


Willson, David


Wilson, Sir Daniel


Wingfield, Alex H.


Wright, Frederick


Wylie, David



Yeoman, Eric McKay


Yule, Mrs. J. C.


[page xxiii]


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   THE assertion that Canada has produced no poetry to speak of is repeatedly heard. But it not unfrequently happens that those who make it have not thought it worth their while to make themselves acquainted with even such as we have got, and are therefore not competent to speak on the subject.

That we have no “great poetry,” such as requires centuries of national life and culture to develop, is surely no marvel. To us the wonder is that in our short span of existence and under circumstances incidental to the settlement of a new country, work of so high an order of excellence as that which even now we are proud to claim, should have had its origin amongst us. It is only within most recent years that conditions of life in the country have begun to admit, except in isolated cases, of leisure for thought and facilities for the attainment of a broader culture, and already the gradual evolution into the new order is manifesting itself in the tone and scope of our literary product. But while we look hopefully for more ambitious achievements [page 1] in the future, it behooves us to preserve with all reverence the memory of the fearless band whose strains, from the midst of a state of things that does not make for the fostering of the poetic gift, inspired and cheered the first hard years of our history.

The statement, so often borne out by fact, that the earliest lispings of a national literature are usually in verse, applies only to a limited extent to Canadian literature. And by this latter term, wherever it occurs in these pages, must be understood English-Canadian literature, which alone falls within the scope of this work.

Practically speaking, all attempt at English verse-making in Canada of which any records remains, dates from about the beginning of last century. There is a notice in an old English journal of 1759 of a poem bearing the title “The Reduction of Louisburgh,” which was written on board His Majesty’s Ship “Oxford,” in Louisburg Harbor, by one Valentine Neville. Also we have a record of two works by George Cockings—the one entitled “War; an Heroic Poem. From the Taking of Minorca, by the French, to the Raising the Siege of Quebec, by General Murray,” published in London in 1760; and the other, “The Conquest of Canada, or The Siege of Quebec; a Tragedy.” also in London in 1766. We copy the following reference to Cockings from Duyckinck, quoted by Dr. Henry J. Morgan in the “Bibliotheca Canadensis”: “We know nothing of this writer in connection with America except that he wrote a portion of his poem on War in Newfoundland, in the winter of 1758; that the second edition of his [page 2] performance was published at Portsmouth, ‘in Piscatagua, or New Hampshire Colony, in America, in 1761,’ the first having appeared in London in 1760, and the third ‘in Massachusetts Colony, in 1762.’”

But the mere fact that these works were written, in part at least, on what is now Canadian territory and that in their subject-matter they bore reference to Canada, scarcely justifies us in classing them as Canadian poetry.

Perhaps the earliest publication that can with any degree of accuracy come under this heading, was one entitled “The New Gentle Shepherd,” an English version, by Lieut. Adam Allan, of a Scottish dialect pastoral comedy by Allan Ramsay. This book was issued in 1798, and, besides the addition of a scene of Lieut. Allan’s own composition, contains a description of the Grand Falls of the River St. John. Lieut. Adam Allan was a native of  Dumfries, Scotland, born in 1757. He served for a number of years in the New Brunswick militia, and died at Poquiock, N.B., in 1823.

In his bibliography, N. E. Dionne makes mention of two early books published in Quebec, the first, “The Union of Taste and Science,” a poem by Stephen Dixon, in 1799, and the other, “Canada, a Descriptive Poem Written at Quebec in 1805, with Satires, Imitations and Sonnets,” printed anonymously in 1806.

There appeared in Dublin in 1809, “A Poetical Journal of a Tour From British North America to England, Wales and Ireland, Interspersed With Reflections, Natural, Moral, and Political. To Which Are Subjoined Two Pieces of the Intended Jubilee,” by [page 3] Thomas D. Cowdell. Six years later this same writer, of whom little seems now to be known, brought out in Halifax, N.S. “A Poetical Account of the American Campaigns of 1812 and 1813.”

In 1816, the second year of her residence in Canada, Mrs. Anne Cuthbert Knight, sister of the well-known political economist, John Rae, produced her second volume of verse, which she called “A Year In Canada, and Other Poems.” After the death of her husband, Mrs. Knight became the wife of James Fleming, of Montreal. She died in that city in 1861.

“Hours of Childhood, and Other Poems,” of which the author is unknown, was issued in Montreal in 1820.

What seems to have been about the first verse published in Upper Canada was a little pamphlet of thirteen pages issued from the Herald press at Kingston in 1822, with the title, “An Address to the Liegemen of Every British Colony and Province in the World, by a Friend to His Species.”

Two anonymous books, “The Widow of the Rock and Other Poems, by a Lady,” and “The Charivari, or Canadian Poetics,” were brought out in Montreal in 1824. The former was ascribed to Mrs. Blennerhasset and the latter to Launcelot Langstaff.

“Wonders of the West, or a Day at the Niagara Falls in 1825, a Poem by a Canadian,” appeared in Toronto (then York) in 1825. The author was James Lynne Alexander, an educationist of Upper Canada.

The main interest attaching to the foregoing centres, of course, in their chronological sequence.

A little book of forty-eight pages, entitled “The [page 4] Rising Village,” by Oliver Goldsmith, a Nova Scotian, attracted considerable attention on both sides of the ocean at the time of its appearance in 1825. This book is especially interesting from the fact that its author was a collateral descendant of the great Irishman who preserved to posterity the memory of Auburn and its woes, and also because the poem itself may be regarded as a sequel to the elder Goldsmith’s immortal work. In a letter accompanying the first edition, in which the author dedicates his poem to his brother Henry, we read: “In ‘The Rising Village’ I have humbly endeavored to describe the sufferings which the early settlers experienced, the difficulties which they surmounted, the rise and progress of a young country, and the prospects which promise happiness to its future possessors.”

Oliver Goldsmith was born in Annapolis County, N.S., in 1787. For some years he held a clerkship in the Commissariat Department at Halifax, where also his father, a son of the brother Henry to whom the first Goldsmith inscribed his “Traveller,” at one time held a position. In course of time our author attained the post of Commissary-General. A second edition of “The Rising Village,” published in 1834, contained also a number of short poems, mostly in lighter vein. “The Rising Village” opens with an address to his brother Henry, whose name we so often meet with in the course of his work, and an apostrophe to the spirit of the celebrated author of “The Deserted Village”:

“Like thine, Oh! let my verse as gently flow,
While truth and virtue in my numbers glow.” [page 5]

Then follows a comparison of the favored land which the exiles had left with the unbroken wilderness in which they had sought a home:

“Where wandering savages and beasts of prey
Displayed, by turns, the fury of their sway.
What noble courage must their hearts have fired,
How great the ardor which their souls inspired,
Who, leaving far behind their native plain,
Have sought a home beyond the western main;
And braved the terrors of the stormy seas,
In search of wealth, of freedom, and of ease!
Oh! none can tell but they who sadly share
The bosom’s anguish, and its wild despair,
What dire distress awaits the hardy bands
That venture first on bleak and desert lands;
How great the pain, the danger, and the toil
Which mark the first rude culture of the soil.
When, looking round, the lonely settler sees
His home amid a wilderness of trees;
How sinks his heart in those deep solitudes,
Where not a voice upon his ear intrudes;
Where solemn silence all the waste pervades,
Heightening the horror of its gloomy shades.”

Step by step he leads us through the first years of settlement, picturing faithfully their hardships, deprivations and discouragements, till at length

“While time thus rolls his rapid years away,
The village rises gently into day,”

and he chronicles, with a note of triumph sounding through his measure, the reward which thrift and patient industry have won: [page 6]

“How sweet it is, at first approach of morn,
Before the silvery dew has left the lawn,
When warring winds are sleeping yet on high,
Or breathe as softly as the bosom’s sigh,
To gain some easy hill’s ascending height
Where all the landscape brightens with delight,
And boundless prospects stretched on every side
Proclaim the country’s industry and pride.
Here the broad marsh extends its open plain,
Until its limits touch the distant main;
There verdant meads along the uplands spring,
And grateful odors to the breezes fling;
Here crops of grain in rich luxuriance rise,
And wave their golden riches to the skies;
There smiling orchards interrupt the scene
Of gardens bounded by some fence of green;
The farmer’s cottage, bosomed ‘mong the trees,
Whose spreading branches shelter from the breeze;
The winding stream that turns the busy mill,
Whose clanking echoes o’er the distant hill;
The neat white church beside whose wall are spread
The grass-clad hillocks of the sacred dead,
Where rude-cut stones or painted tablets tell,
In labored verse, how youth and beauty fell;
How worth and hope were hurried to the grave,
And torn from those who had no power to save.
    *    *     *     *     *     *     *
Now fifty summers yet have blessed thy clime—
How short a period in the page of time—
Since savage tribes, with terror in their train,
Rushed o’er thy fields, and ravaged all thy plain.
But some few years have rolled in haste away
Since, through thy vales, the fearless beast of prey.
With dismal yell and loud appalling cry,
Proclaimed his midnight reign of terror nigh.
And now how changed the scene! the first afar [page 7] 
Have fled to wilds beneath the northern star;
The last has learned to shun man’s dreaded eye,
And, in his turn, to distant regions fly.
While the poor peasant, whose laborious care
Scarce from the soil could wring his scanty fare,
Now in the peaceful arts of culture skilled,
Sees his wide barn with ample treasures filled;
Now finds his dwelling, as the year goes round,
Beyond his hopes, with joy and plenty crowned.”

Whatever may be said of the younger Goldsmith’s poetry, regarded from a purely literary standpoint, its success in setting before the mind of the reader a life-like picture is undeniable. Some of his descriptions, in their minuteness of detail, would do credit to an official report, as when he gives us an account of the country store:

“The wandering Pedlar, who undaunted traced
His lonely footsteps o’er the silent waste;
Who traversed once the cold and snow-clad plain,
Reckless of danger, trouble, or of pain,
To find a market for his little wares,
The source of all his hopes and all his cares,
Established here, his settled home maintains,
And soon a merchant’s higher title gains.
Around his store, on spacious shelves arrayed,
Behold his great and various stock in trade!
Here, nails and blankets side by side are seen;
There, horses’ collars, and a large tureen;
Buttons and tumblers, fish-hooks, spoons and knives,
Shawls for young damsels, flannel for old wives;
Woolcards and stockings, hats for men and boys,
Mill-saws and fenders, silks, and children’s toys;
All useful things, and joined with many more,
Compose the well-assorted country store.” [page 8]

Oliver Goldsmith, the younger, died in Liverpool, England, in 1861.

It seems to us, at this date, rather a curious coincidence that two so well-known personages of the Old World as Oliver Goldsmith, the great Irish poet, and James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, should be represented by name in the poetry of our country. In the case of the latter, however, there was no tie of relationship or even of nationality, for the James Hogg who figured in Canadian journalism in the second quarter of the nineteenth century was a native of Leitrim, Ireland. Born in 1800, he came at the age of nineteen to New Brunswick, where he achieved considerable success in literature. His contributions were sought and welcomed by English, Irish and American, as well as Canadian periodicals. For some years he edited the New Brunswick Reporter. Two volumes of his verse were published in his home province; the first, “Poems,” in 1825, and the second, “Poems, Religious, Moral and Sentimental,” a few years later. He died at Fredericton, N.B., June 12th, 1866.

Robert Sweeny, a young literary man of more than average endowments, born in Ireland about the close of the eighteenth century, figured somewhat conspicuously in Montreal life between 1820 and 1840, in which latter year his untimely death occurred as the result of a duel with Major Ward, of the Garrison. His widow, who afterwards became the wife of Sir John Rose, died in England in 1833. “Odds and Ends,” a little book of verse by him, published in 1826, contains some clever epigrams and [page 9] humorous poems which show the writer endowed with the characteristic gift of his countrymen. We have only space here for one stanza, which must suffice to exemplify this feature of his work:

“The zephyr of spring
     Still scents his wing
From the rose-bud he passes o’er, my dear;
     And steals as he flies
     Her balmiest sighs,
Yet the flow’ret is sweet as before, my dear.
     And so with ease
     If beauty please,
From the lips where such treasures are left, my dear,
     Can love purloin
     The richest coin,
And no one discover the theft, my dear.”

From the prevailing note of his verse, we judge him, before everything else, a lover. And this in spite of his impetuous protest:

“Oh, rather trust the courtier’s tear
Shed o’er a fallen tyrant’s bier,
Or praise that hireling poets sing,
Or sighs, or vows—or anything,
Above, below, divine or human—
Than woman—fickle, faithless woman!”

Other poems of still a different cast, serious and reflective, give proof of his versatile genius. From among these we copy the following little sonnet:

“The moon is travelling through the sky,
   Without a cloud to dim her path;
A thousand lamps are lit on high,
   And each a mimic rival hath [page 10]
In the clear wave reflected bright
Oh, often when on such a night
I’ve floated o’er its breast, and gaz’d
Upon the star that o’er me blaz’d,
And then in pensive mood have turn’d
To that which far beneath me burn’d—
I’ve thought the one was like the beaming
Of promis’d joys still brightest seeming;
The other, twinkling through its tears,
Like memory of departed years.”

Adam Kidd, another Irish-Canadian, born in 1802, published in 1830 “The Huron Chief, and Other Poems,” a work of some merit. The opening poem, which forms the bulk of the book, is designed to enlist the sympathies of the reader with the Indians, who, driven step by step from their ancient hunting-grounds after the American Revolution, sought homes in Canada, and in the American campaign of 1812-14 took up arms against the invaders. A pretty love-story is woven into the poem, which contains besides some good descriptions of Canadian scenery. Among the shorter pieces are a number of elegies. The one “To the Memory of the Right Hon. George Canning,” sometimes quoted commences:

“’Tis the last of the great that has gone to his rest,
   And the death-note is heard o’er the billows afar—
The nations where liberty stands now confest
   Mourn the quench’d light of this meteor-star.”

Adam Kidd died in Quebec July 5th, 1831.

Two little books by William Fitz-Hawley, a resident of Laprairie, near Montreal, followed each other in quick succession; the first, “Quebec, The Harp and [page 11] Other Poems,” in 1829, and the second, “The Unknown, or Lays of the Forest,” in 1831. “The Harp,” one of the pieces in the first of these, was awarded the medal of the Quebec Society for the Encouragement of Art and Science.

As one of the pioneers in the field, the late second Bishop Mountain is entitled to a place in any review of early Canadian poetry. In a life overcrowded with multifarious duties and grave responsibilities, he had little time to cultivate the gentler arts. The pieces in “Songs of the Wilderness,” a small volume of verse with very full notes, were written, as his son tells us, “during the enforced leisure of a canoe trip to the Red River Settlement,” which was undertaken in the discharge of the duties of his ministry. Born in Norwich, England, in 1789, George Jehoshaphat Mountain was the son of Dr. Jacob Mountain, first Anglican Bishop of Quebec. After finishing his course at Trinity College, Cambridge, he began his ecclesiastical studies under his father’s direction, and was ordained by him in 1814. In 1837 he succeeded in the See of Quebec. After many years of untiring zeal and devotion in the service of his church, he died in Quebec, January 6th, 1863. Dr. Mountain’s verse is generally of a devotional turn. When he takes his pen it is usually to point a moral. He is very simple and direct, and his own undoubted sincerity goes far towards impressing the lesson he would teach. The stanzas quoted, though something of a departure in this respect, are, nevertheless, characteristic and give a fair idea of his style. [page 12]


“I’m never merry when I hear sweet music.”


   “How through the heart will sweep,
      With hidden spell and strong,
   Those notes of sadness deep
      That swell a mournful song!
      Oh, still the charm prolong!
It touches on some tender string
Akin to pain whence pleasures spring.

   “Stay, sweet vibration, stay,
      To very soreness thrill;
   Ah, has life’s little day
      Too small a share to fill
      Our hearts of real ill?
To quell its brightness must we borrow
A shade of artificial sorrow?

   “’Tis strange that so we love
      Each melancholy air;
   Sure in the choir above
      No plaintive voice will share;
      All is triumphant there:
The chants on high to joy are sung,
The harps of heaven to rapture strung.”

Gustavus W. Wicksteed, Q.C., a native of Liverpool, England, born in 1799, was for the best part of three-quarters of a century employed in the Canadian Civil Service, being Law Clerk successively to the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada, to the Office of the Special Council, after the Union of 1841 to the Legislative Assembly of Canada, and after Confederation to the [page 13] House of Commons of the Dominion, which latter position he held up to the time of his retirement in 1887. He contributed largely in prose and verse to the periodical press. His book, “Waifs of Verse,” appeared in 1878, and in several subsequent issues. His poetry, mostly humorous, is interspersed with frequent lively allusions to people and events of local importance in a past generation. He died in Ottawa August 18th, 1898, in his hundredth year of age.

Mrs. Traill and Mrs. Moodie, daughters of Thomas Strickland, of Reydon Hall, Suffolk, England, and sisters of Agnes Strickland, authoress of “The Queens of England,” were the main representatives of the Strickland family in this country, and are names well known to Canadian readers. The former, Catherine (Mrs. Traill), born in 1802, came with her husband to Canada in 1832, immediately after their marriage, and settled near Rice Lake, in what is now the Province of Ontario. Her literary output during her long career was very considerable, consisting mainly of prose sketches, stories and works treating of the flora of the country. She wrote some pretty poems, too, which, however, seem never to have been collected. In 1899 Mrs. Traill passed away at the age of ninety-seven years.

Susanna Strickland, born in England in 1803, was married in 1831 to Major J. W. Dunbar Moodie, of the 21st Fusiliers, and, like her sister, emigrated to Canada almost immediately. During several years they experienced all the hardships of the early settlers on a farm in the backwoods of Upper Canada. About the year 1841 Mr. Moodie obtained the appointment of sheriff of [page 14] Hastings County, and they moved into the town of Belleville. Mrs. Moodie was a prolific writer. Though better known by her numerous prose works, she was the author of some widely-read verse, contributed to various contemporary periodicals. Besides this, which has not, to our knowledge, been preserved in book form, she published a volume of verse called “Enthusiasms, and Other Poems,” before leaving England. The poems written after coming to this country are mostly descriptive of Canadian life and scenery. From them we have chosen “Indian Summer,” which we give below. After the death of her husband in 1869, Mrs. Moodie made her home in Toronto, where she died on April 8th, 1885.


“By the purple haze that lies
   On the distant rocky height,
By the deep blue of the skies,
   By the smoky amber light
Through the forest arches streaming
Where Nature on her throne sits dreaming,
And the sun is scarcely gleaming
   Through the cloudlets, snowy white,
Winter’s lovely herald greets us
Ere the ice-crowned tyrant meets us.

“A mellow softness fills the air,
   No breeze on wanton wing steals by
To break the holy quiet there,
   Or make the waters fret and sigh,
Or the golden alders shiver
That bend to kiss the placid river,
Flowing on and on forever; [page 15]
   But the little waves are sleeping,
   O’er the pebbles slowly creeping,
   That last night were flashing, leaping,
Driven by the restless breeze,
In lines of foam beneath yon trees—

“Dressed in robes of gorgeous hue,
      Brown and gold with crimson blent;
   The forest to the waters blue
      Its own enchanting tint has lent;
   In their dark depths, life-like glowing,
   We see a second forest growing,
   Each pictured leaf and branch bestowing
A fairy grace to that twin wood,
Mirror’d within the crystal flood.

“’Tis pleasant now in forest shades;
   The Indian hunter strings his bow,
To track through dark, entangling glades
   The antler’d deer and bounding doe,
Or launch at night the birch canoe,
   To spear the finny tribes that dwell
   On sandy bank, in weedy cell,
   Or pool the fisher knows right well—
Seen by the red and vivid glow
Of pine torch at his vessel’s bow.

“This dreamy Indian-summer day,
   Attunes the soul to tender sadness;
We love—but joy not in the ray—
   It is not summer’s fervid gladness,
But a melancholy glory
   Hovering softly round decay,
Like swan that sings her own sad story,
   Ere she floats in death away.

“The day declines; what splendid dyes,
   In flickered waves of crimson driven, [page 16]
Float o’er the saffron sea that lies
   Glowing within the western heaven!
   O, it is a peerless even!
See, the broad red sun is set,
But his rays are quivering yet
Through nature’s veil of violet,
   Streaming bright o’er lake and hill;
   But earth and forest lie so still,
   It sendeth to the heart a chill;
We start to check the rising tear,—
‘Tis beauty sleeping on her bier.”

A power in his own province, and familiar throughout Canada in the middle years of last century, was the name of Joseph Howe, statesman, orator and journalist. He was of U.E.L. extraction, and was born on the North-West Arm, N.S., in 1804. By assiduous reading and close observation of men and things he made up for a very defective education. At the age of thirteen he entered the Gazette printing office and worked his way up step by step in the newspaper world, till in 1829 he became sole proprietor and editor of The Nova Scotian. He took his seat in the Nova Scotia Legislature in 1835, and his subsequent career forms an important chapter in the history of his native province and of the Canadian Confederation. Some of his poems which appeared in the periodicals of the time were received with marked appreciation, notably the centenary song written for the one hundredth anniversary of the landing of Lord Cornwallis, which begins:

“All hail to the day when the Britons came over,
   And planted their standard with sea-form still wet; [page 17] 
Around and above us their spirits will hover,
   Rejoicing to mark how we honor it yet.
Beneath it the emblems they cherished are waving—
   The Rose of old England the roadside perfumes,
The Shamrock and Thistle the north winds are braving,
   Securely the Mayflower blushes and blooms.”

With the patriotic sentiment and with just a suggestion of Goldsmith in his measure, he addresses his native Acadia:

“But when the flowers shall o’er his ashes spring,
Who now his country’s charms essays to sing;
When on the sod that decks his lowly rest
The wand’rer’s foot unconsciously is pressed;
And when his spirit’s dim and fading fire
Returns to Him who breathed it o’er the lyre;
When his untutored verse and humble name
Not e’en a sigh from dreaming mem’ry claim;
Still, my Acadia, may the gentle gales
Fan into loveliness thy peaceful vales;
Still may thy thousand streamlets raise their song
Of joyous music as they steal along;
Still may the brilliant beams of science shine,
And learning’s boundless stores of wealth be thine;
Still may the Muse, to simple nature true,
Her wreaths of fadeless verdure twine for you;
Still may thy Fair, neglecting flimsy art,
Charm by the holy magic of the heart;
May manly breasts with noblest feelings thrill
And freemen proudly roam o’er every hill;
And may the storms that rush o’er rock and wave
In their free passage never meet a slave.”

No collection of his poems was made during his lifetime, but the year following his death, which occurred [page 18] at Halifax on June 1st, 1873, a number of selections from them, together with several essays, were gathered by his family and given to the world in book form.

John McPherson, a young Nova Scotian, born at Liverpool in that province on February 4th, 1817, wrote some verse that received a considerable share of attention at the time, especially in the provinces by the sea. One poem, entitled, “The Praise of Water,” was awarded a prize as the best poem on temperance then written. His death took place at Brookfield, N.S., July 26th, 1845. Seventeen years later his poems were collected and published with the title, “Harp of Arcadia: Poems Descriptive and Moral.” Of this writer his friend, Clotilda Jennings, writes: “The story of McPherson’s life…its honest struggle, its unaffected purity and domestic tenderness, its reasonable ambition, and its sad and baffled close, is a more pathetic poem than any he ever wrote.”

A work more ambitious in its subject-matter and more meritorious in its workmanship than were most in those early days, was “The Crusades, and Other Poems,” by John Breakenridge, a member of the Upper Canada Bar. It was issued in Kingston in 1848. The title has reference, not to one poem, but to a number of detached pieces of a martial character. A tendency to diffuseness and prosaic description takes from the pleasure of perusing this writer’s work, notwithstanding its undoubted merits. The following extract taken from “Napoleon Bonaparte and the French Revolution,” is among the strongest passages in the book, and has frequently been quoted. Napoleon retreating, after the [page 19] disastrous Russian campaign, with the remnant of his shattered army, harassed by the pursuing foe, reaches the Beresina, where he finds his retreat cut off by the army of the Danube:

“Onward they press; forever in the rear
   The foeman sweeps relentless on his way;
The cannon speaks in thunder to the ear;
   No voice can bid that fearful torrent stay;
For flash on flash, and gleaming steel, appear!
   What reck they aught of war, save mortal fear
That bids them not from safety madly stray,
   But seek that boon in flight! For, wild and drear
   O’er many a dreary plain the Hettman’s Cossacks spread!

“Behold the spectral corses grimly strew
   Their brethren’s path; and all unheeded lie,
Save by the warrior foes’ marauding crew,
   Whose knives gleam swiftly on the closing eye—
   Wake but to hear the curse that bids them die!
And then the banner once that proudly flew,
   War-worn and soiled, lies stiff’ning in the hold
Of him who, to his honored standard true,
   Binds to his heart that pall with one convulsive fold—

“Onward! still on! for now before their view
   The sullen river rolls its darkling flood;
The clang of war behind them bursts anew;
   No time have they o’er sad defeat to brood.
   Onward, o’er dying friends, so late who stood
The sharers of their toil—for life, for life,
   The madd’ning race begins! In that dark hour,
With every horror fraught—with danger rife—
   Who dreamt of kindred ties, or felt sweet friendship’s power? [page 20] 

“And fast, and wild, in gathering crowds they come;
   And shrieks and groans from out that mingling mass
Tell that the anguished spirit wingeth home
   Its weary flight! They win that narrow pass,
   But ever and anon the thundering bass
Of guns that, rumbling in the distance, boom,
   Waxing to one continuous peal! Alas!
Is there no hope for that once victor-host?
The despot’s arm, earth’s scourge, and Gaul’s triumphant boast?

“None! For the tempest’s breath of heaven awakes,
   And darkly green the swollen waters flow;
The wintry blast upon them coldly breaks—
   The rear-guard yields to the victorious foe!
   It heaves—it yawns—Oh, God! with one dread throe,
The crowded bridge beneath the pressure shakes,
   And thrice ten thousand souls are hurled below
Into that ‘hell of waters,’ fierce and strong,
Whose waves relentless bear the flower of France along!

“Aye! and her vine-clad valleys long shall hear
   The voice of mourning for her sons who lie,
Thrown by the sated waves on deserts drear;
   And long shall ring ‘that agonizing cry,’
   And haunt his dreams when none to soothe is nigh!
And, fortune flown, shall thunder in his ear
   ‘Mid courts and camps—the worm that ne’er shall die;
And tell to every age, like heaven’s own wrath,
The vengeance dire that waits on the invader’s path!”

Other books of verse published during the first half of last century were: “Scraps and Sketches, or the [page 21] Album of a Literary Lounger,” anonymous, Montreal, 1831; “Poems on Various Subjects,” by Widow Fleck (thought to have been Mrs. John Fleming), Montreal, 1833; “The Forest Wreath,” by William M. Leggett, St. John, N.B., 1833; “The Spring of Life, a Didactic Poem in Four Books, with Illustrative and Didactic Poem in Four Books, with Illustrative and Didactic Notes by the Author,” by J. G. Ward, Montreal, 1834; “Original Poems on Various Subjects,” 1836, “There is a God, with Other Poems,” 1839, and “Devotional Poems,” 1840, all by Dr. A. J. Williamson, and all published in Toronto; “The Conflagrations, Comprising Two Poems,” by Arthur Slade, St. John, N.B., 1837; “Mars Hill, and Other Poems,” and “Leisure Hours, a Collection of Original Poems,” both by John K. Laskey, St. John, N.B., 1838; “Poems and Fragments,” by Daniel Mayne, Toronto, 1838; “Esther, a Dramatic Poem,” by Mrs. Cushing; “The Mourner’s Tribute, or Effusions of Melancholy Hours,” by Mrs. M. Ethelind Sawtell, Montreal, 1840; “Hamilton, and Other peoms,” Toronto, 1840, and “A Poetical Geography, and Rhyming Rules for Spelling,” Toronto, 1848, both by William A. Stephens; “The Emigrant, a Poem in Four Cantos,” by Standish O’Grady, Montreal, 1841; “Proceedings of the Toronto Tandem Club, 1839, 1840 and 1841” (humorous), Toronto, 1841; “The Recluse of New Brunswick, or The Hermit of Point La Preaux,” by J. G. Lorimer, St. John, N.B., 1842; “The Canadian Temperance Minstrel,” anonymous, Montreal, 1842; “Miscellaneous Poems,” by G. W. Gillespie, Toronto, 1843; “Niagara Falls,” a poem in three cantos, Toronto, 1843; “Reminiscences [page 22] of a Soldier,” “The Young Minstrel,” and “Curle Canadenses, or The Canadian Law Courts,” by “Plinius Secundus,” all three anonymous publications brought out in Toronto in 1843; “The Provincial Association,” a tragi-comedy, and “The Constitutional Lyrist,” both by Thomas Hill, and published in Fredericton, N.B., in 1845; “Eblana, or Dublin Doings,” a poem in twelve cantos, by E. G. Cochrane, Quebec, 1846; “Fugitive Poetry,” by William Gillespie, Hamilton, 1846; “The Emigrant, and Other Pieces,” by John Newton Hamilton, 1846; “Hymns and Prayers for the Children of Sharon,” by David Willson, Newmarket, 1846—second edition 1849; “Recollections of a Convict, and Miscellaneous Pieces in Prose and Verse,” by David Wylie, Montreal, 1847; “The Spirit’s Lament, or The Wrongs of Ireland,” by F. B. Ryan, Montreal, 1847; “Poems,” by A. K. Archibald, Boston, 1848, and “The Canadian Christian Offering,” edited by Rev. R. J. Macgeorge. This latter book may be called the earliest Canadian anthology. It consisted of a collection of poems, mostly devotional, by several clergymen of the Church of England in Canada, and was published for the benefit of the church at Streetsville, Upper Canada, where Rev. Mr. Macgeorge was pastor.

In addition to the writers of early days in Canada, who left behind them published volumes of verse, the number of those who did really good work for the contemporary press, which was only collected years after, in many cases not at all, is very large. Prominent amongst these besidesthose mentioned in the beginning of this chapter were David Palmer, George Pirie, [page 23] John Boyd, Major John Richardson, Rev. William McDonnell, Magnus Sabiston, John Galt, C. M. Des-Brissaye, John Hoskyns-Abrahall, Levi Adams, F. H. Andrews, Mrs, H. Bayley, Samuel Browning, Rev. Samuel Elder, John Fleming, Edward Taylor Fletcher, A. M. Gidney, R. D. Hamilton, A. W. T. Leach, George Menzies, Donald McIntosh, Andrew L. Picken, Miss Picken, P. V. Sparhawk and Rev. William Somerville. [page 24]



   Charles Dawson Shanly was a man of rare and varied gifts and accomplishments. A native of Dublin, Ireland, he was born on March 9th, 1811. His education was received in his native city. Coming to Canada in 1833, he soon became well known in literary and journalistic circles. For several years he was the able editor of Punch in Canada. Later he went to New York, where he won high distinction as an art critic. His poems have never been collected, and of the many contributed to various journals, some of which, we are assured, were of exceeding beauty, the number accessible now is extremely limited. He died at Arlington, Florida, April 15th, 1875.


Blondine is beautiful, Blondine is fair;
   I gave her a girdle-clasp curiously wrought,
And she said that a lock of her golden-brown hair
   For me should be twined in a true-lover’s knot;
But Pierrot that love-knot exultingly shows—
Toujours l’épine est sous la rose! [page 25] 

Blondine is merry; she takes her guitar,
   And, smiling on me, a love-ditty she sings;
Glimpses of love, like a light from afar,
   Flash to my heart from the vibrating strings;
The music is Blondine’s—the rhymes are Pierrot’s—
Touours l’épine est sous la rose!

Under this tree she sat until dark,
   Green came its buds to her breathings of life;
I’ll carve her name on its silvery bark—
   What!—carved  there already?—cursed be the knife!
Blondine and Pierrot: Faint my heart grows—
Toujours l’épine est sous la rose!

Over the stepping-stones, borne along,
   I see her coming, my eyes grow dim—
Steadily borne, for Pierrot is strong;
   Ha! he has kissed her—she has kissed him!
Sharp is my dagger, sure are its blows—
Toujours l’épine est sous la rose!


Speed on, speed on, good Master!
   The camp lies far away;
We must cross the haunted valley
   Before the close of day.

How the snow-blight came upon me
   I will tell you as we go,
The blight of the Shadow Hunter
Who walks the midnight snow. [page 26] 

To the cold December heaven
   Came the pale moon and the stars,
As the yellow sun was sinking
   Behind the purple bars.

The snow was deeply drifted
   Upon the ridges drear
That lay for miles between me
   And the camp for which we steer.

‘Twas silent on the hill-side
   And by the sombre wood,
No sound of life or motion
   To break the solitude.

Save the wailing of the moose-bird
   With a plaintive note and low,
And the skating of the red leaf
   Upon the frozen snow.

And I said, “Though dark is falling,
   And far the camp must be,
Yet my heart it would be lightsome
   If I had but company.”

And then I sang and shouted,
   Keeping measure as I sped,
To the harp-twang of the snowshoe,
   As it sprang beneath my tread.

Nor far into the valley
   Had I dipped upon my way
When a dusky figure joined me,
   In a capuchon of gray, [page 27]

Bending upon the snowshoes
   With a long and limber stride;
And I hailed the dusky stranger
   As we travelled side by side.

But no token of communion
   Gave he by word or look,
And the fear-chill fell upon me
   At the crossing of the brook.

For I saw by the sickly moonlight,
   As I followed, bending low,
That the walking of the stranger
   Left no foot-marks on the snow.

Then the fear-chill gathered o’er me
   Like a shroud around me cast,
As I sank upon the snow-drift
   Where the Shadow Hunter passed.

And the otter-trappers found me,
   Before the break of day,
With my dark hair blanched and whitened
   As the snow in which I lay.

But they spoke not as they raised me;
   For they knew that in the night
I had seen the Shadow Hunter,
   And had withered in his blight.

Sancta Maria, speed us!
   The sun is falling low,—
Before us lies the valley
   Of the Walker of the Snow! [page 28]


     In the songful days of June,
     When the birds are all a-tune,
And the honey-feast is coming for the humming-bird and bee,
     Of all the trees that grow,
     And with blossoms fair that blow,
The sweetest and the saddest is the lilac-tree.

     For, though purple is the bloom
     That its crisping buds assume,
Like the tint on far-off mountains beyond the pleasant sea,
     Yet the freshness but deceives,
     And amid the shady leaves
There is ever a dead blossom on the lilac-tree.

     And so it is with all,
     That in things both great and small
Of our life a distant gleaming in our dreaming we may see;
     For when the heart is gladdest,
     Oh! there’s something in it saddest,
Like the blossom and the blight upon the lilac-tree. [page 29]



    James McCarroll, poet, lecturer and journalist, was born in Lanesboro’, County Longford, Ireland, August 3rd, 1815.  In 1831 he came with his family to Canada, where he began early to contribute to the periodical press. He was editor successively of a number of the most influential journals of the country. In one of his publications, a humorous paper called The Latchkey, appeared the famous “Letters of Terry Finnigan.” Amongst the public positions he filled at various times was that of surveyor of the port of Toronto, which he held for many years. “Madeline, and Other Poems,” was published in 1889. In his introduction to this volume Charles L. Hildreth writes: “As a young girl sings at her daily task merely because the music within her heart overflows at her lips unaware, James McCarroll has written his poems in the midst of unceasing and, too often, uncongenial and vexatious occupation. Amid the thunder of the presses and the myriad-voiced confusion of public office life he has found a quiet place within himself, full of flowers and sunlight, the notes of birds and the murmur of streams.” And elsewhere he writes: “What is rare, in these days at last, in an imaginative poet, he possesses a vein of keen and exquisite humor. But his humor is of the kind that [page 30] laughs, not sneers. There is hardly a line of satire in his whole work. And, what is true of all true humor, within him the source of laughter lies close to the fount of tears.” James McCarroll died in Buffalo, N. Y., in 1896.


Purple, golden, burning mote,
As among the flowers you float,
Not a single silvery note
          Falls on my ear.
Come, Starlet, tune your dazzling throat;
          I pause to hear.

How, hung amid a thousand dyes,
A prism, you glitter in my eyes,
To every bud that round you lies
          In emerald set;
A rainbow that the summer skies
          Ne’er equalled yet.

But hist! You are not silent, bird;
The air with melody is stirred,
As soft as some low, whispered word
          Through breathing strings;
The song denied your throat is heard
          Among your wings.

And had it thrilled with more delight,
You are so beautiful and bright,
In gazing, all its sweetness might
          Forgotten be;
Its murmuring shadow then is quite
          Enough for me. [page 31] 


 With folded wings of dusky light
   Upon the purple hills she stands,
An angel between day and night,
   With tinted shadows in her hands—

Till suddenly transfigured there,
   With all her dazzling plumes unfurled,
She climbs the crimson-flooded air,
   And flies in glory o’er the world!


There’s a little gray friar in yonder green bush,
   Clothed in sackcloth—a little gray friar
Like a druid of old in his temple—but hush!
   He’s at vespers; you must not go nigher.

Yet, the rogue! can those strains be addressed to the skies,
   And around us so wantonly float,
Till the glowing refrain like a shining thread flies
   From the silvery reel of his throat?

When he roves, though he stains not his path through the air
   With the splendor of tropical wings,
All the lustre denied to his russet plumes there
   Flashes forth through his lay when he sings. [page 32]

For the little gray friar is so wondrous wise,
   Though in such a plain garb he appears,
That on finding he can’t reach your soul through your eyes,
   He steals in through the gates of your ears,

But the cheat!—‘tis not heaven he’s warbling about—
   Other passions, less holy, betide—
For behold! there’s a little gray nun peeping out
   From a bunch of green leaves at his side.


Frailest of all earth’s lovely things,
Uncertain wanderer that swings
Upon those gaudy, rose-leaf wings
          In yonder sky,
What of the blight that autumn brings
          To thee by and by?

Half-helpless in the summer air,
The sport of wanton breezes there,
How, thoughtless creature, shalt thou bear
          The ruthless blast
That, with the chill of time and care,
          Strikes thee at last?

Flushed gossamer, thou hast thy day—
Thy morn and noon of sunny play;
And, sportive creature, tell me, pray,
          What more have we?
We flutter, too, and pass away,
          Bright thing, like thee. [page 33]


Amid the purple sunset hours,
   Humming like an angel’s wing,
Within a nook of wayside flowers,
   A little child began to sing.

At first her voice was almost mute—
   A sort of soft, melodious hush;
But soon it broke into a lute
   To emulate a neighboring thrush.

As though the song of seraphim
   Came gushing from the upper spheres,
Then rose a wondrous vesper hymn
   Upon my eager, ravished ears;

And as the concert grew apace,
   The child and bird sang out amain,
The sun poured on her upturned face
   A glory like to golden rain.

While in the glow of parting day
   The warbler shook his shining throat,
As if new raptures fired the lay
   He heard repeated note for note.

And when at last the magic song
   Was o’er, and child and bird grew dim,
I thought, with saddened heart, how long
   Since I had sung my vesper hymn. [page 34]

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    The most remarkable figure in Canadian poetry, indeed, in the whole realm of Canadian literature, is that of Charles Heavysege, the man who, amid the occupations of the workshop, dreamed his weird dreams and wove his strange imaginings into the most ambitious poetry then essayed in this young land.

A native of Yorkshire, England, he was born on May 2nd, 1816. Of his early history we know little, but it is evident that he had very meagre educational advantages. He was married in 1843, and ten years later was brought to Canada by the well-known firm of J. W. Hilton, cabinet-makers of Montreal. A skillful wood-carver, he executed here many a design of delicate and artistic conception and exquisite workmanship. It was while in this establishment that he did his best literary work. John Reade, of the Montreal Gazette, a literary contemporary and personal friend of the poet, writes: “Heavysege told me that he was accustomed to compose while he was engaged at work, the occupation of his hands not interfering with the efforts his mind.”

As few except the great scholars of Bible history know it, Heavysege knew the Bible, and the many incidents of the Old Testament, dramatic and pathetic, [page 35] seemed to engross all his thoughts. He was a close student of Shakespeare, too, as the whole tenor of his work testifies.

It was some time about the year 1863 that Heavysege gave up the work of wood-carving to take up that of a reporter, first on the Transcript, and later on the Daily Witness. This change has been regretted by his friends generally as the mistake of his life. In reference to this misstep, we quote again from John Reade: “Entering late in life on a career that demands facility in the use of the pen, much concentration, and occasionally great rapidity of thought and expression, he had to waste precious time in acquiring an accomplishment in which he could never really excel, and which, under the circumstances, must ultimately ruin his prospects as a poet. I never saw him spending his intellectual strength in that way without felling how lamentable his choice had been.”

The close of this, in many ways considered, pathetic life-story was clouded by a distressing malady which occasioned great suffering, both of mind and body. He died in Montreal on July 14th, 1879.

In a letter to a biographer of her father’s, dated at Highland Park, Ill., July 23rd, 1901, Mrs. Helen Middlemiss, Heavysege’s daughter, writes of him: “He was very human in his sympathies, keen to suffer or enjoy, lofty in his ideals, but not demonstrative in his affections. God in nature was a theme he loved to talk about. The future and a future state he thought much on, and was not altogether, at one time, quite orthodox, according to some. He loved Canada’s beautiful maple [page 36] trees, her gorgeous autumn leaves, her silent country, and the snow. Often did he climb Mount Royal to see the sunrise from its summit, and gaze on old St. Lawrence lying prone below….The elements in commotion, a storm brewing or breaking, the starry heavens, all called forth words of rapture, and—shall I say it?—if a street fight were in progress he wanted to look on; the dramatic element was too strong to be resisted. He had a violin, and so used it as to suggest the idea that it was a sort of safety valve for pent-up feeling. His love for music is shown in ‘Saul.’ He would join our little family concerts for a few moments, throwing in his rich deep voice in rolling abandon, then would slip away again to his writings and proof-sheets.”

His first book published in Canada, as far as can be ascertained, was a collection of sonnets in 1855. There was a work, entitled “The Revolt of Tartarus,” brought out in London before he left England, which his daughter says he regarded later with great disfavor. But his masterpiece, the work upon which his fame chiefly rests, was the drama, “Saul,” first published by John Lovell, Montreal, in 1857. This book, chancing to fall into the hands of Nathaniel Hawthorne, was commended by him for notice in the North British Review. An exhaustive and generally favorable criticism in that journal in August, 1858, brought it to the notice of the public, and it became, for a time, a fad. A second edition by the Montreal firm appeared in 1858, and a third, laboriously revised by the author, in 1869, by Fields, Osgood & Co., of Boston. Of this drama the [page 37] Boston Commonwealth said: “It must rank above every dramatic poem written in the English language during the present century…..Heavysege’s blank verse is brilliantly expressive and his imagination has capacities shown by no other in our day. The author is richest in the greatest qualities of the poet. In creative power, in vigor, clearness and variety of conception, in force and subtlety of characterization and in expressiveness of language, he excels, and so much excels as to approach the performance of the greatest poets.”

“Count Fillipo, or The Unequal Marriage,” a drama, was published in 1860, and “Jephthah’s Daughter,” a dramatic poem, in 1865. In this latter poem the author shows a distinct advance in the artistic handling of his subject, but it is marred, like all his work, by his characteristic diffuseness.

Four short poems, “An Ode on Shakespeare,” “Jezebel,” “The Owl,” and “The Dark Huntsman,” complete the list of Heavysege’s known works in poetry.



 The country near Gibeah. Saul, returning from the field, observes the people weeping.

   Saul. Why do the people weep?
   A Hebrew. Oh, sorrow, sorrow!
Thou, too, wilt weep when thou hast heart the cause.
Nahash the king of Ammon has besieged
Jabesh-gilead, which has promised to surrender [page 38]
In seven days, if sooner none relieve it;
And on the sore condition, that the wretch
Shall pluck out the right eye of every man
Within the place, that with the hideous deed
He may reproach hereafter every Hebrew.
   Saul. Hear me, O God! Jehovah, hear thy servant!
So be it done to me and unto all
To me belonging, yea, and tenfold more,—
If more can be by living man endured,—
If I shall fail to drive this monster back.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *


 Near Bezek. The gathering of the Hebrews. Time, evening. Saul standing upon an eminence.

Saul. The ground is hidden with men; the heights appear
Like roused ant-hills, and the valleys swarm
With moving life. Where will these myriads be
In fifty summers? even in thirty years
Half of these multitudes will gorge the grave;
In twenty more a miserable remnant
(Drained of the force if not of the fiery courage
That brings them here to-day) will sole remain
To tell of deeds as yet undone:—in fifty 
Summers to-morrow’s uncommenced feat
Shall be ahoary tale; yon thronging actors—
Each now impatient to perform his part—
Shall most be quiet in the peaceful grave;
Even as the snow-drifts left on Lebanon
In the hot days of June, few, few they’ll be.

(Enter messengers of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead.)

Haste on to Jabesh-gilead, lest should fail
The hearts of its inhabitants, to yield [page 39] 
Themselves precipitately to the Dog,
In the fond hope thereby to soften him;
To-morrow, by the time the sun is high,
They shall have help; quick, get you over Jordan!
First Messenger. If ever blessing fell on man, mayest thou
Be blest, our meant deliverer from shame;
For is not Samuel with thee, and with him
Is not the Lord, as once at Eben-Ezer!
Saul. Go; I will succor you.
Second Messenger. The winds of heaven
Behind thee blow; and on our enemy’s eyes
May the sun smite to-morrow, and blind them for thee;
But, O Saul, do not fail us!
Saul. Fail ye! No;
Let the morn fail to break; I will not break
My word. Haste, or I’m there before you. Fail!
Let the morn fail the east; I’ll not fail you,
But, swift and silent as the streaming wind,
Unseen approach, then, gathering my forces
At dawning, sweep on Ammon, as Night’s blast
Sweeps down from Carmel on the murky sea.
Our march is through the darkness. Now begone;
We’ll hear no further till our task be done.
                                           (Exeunt Messengers.)
If gratitude and earnest prayer, from them
Who have such cause for either, be a pledge
Of coming victory, we shall to-morrow
Have given the idolators a wound
That all the balm of Gilead, which they claim,
Will not suffice to heal:—a wound so deep,
That they will think grim Jephthah lives again;
Or that the old Zamzummin giants, whom
Their sires destroyed, have sent a soul from Hades
Who comes incarnate, leading Israel’s ire;
So dearly shall this haughty siege yet cost them.
Our forces are beginning the swift march, [page 40] 
Which must continue through the coming night;
I will descend and lead them, as is fit.


 Within sight of Ekron. Time, evening.

 *    *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Abner. Cousin, cousin,
Victory still rests upon our house; or rather
Is thither wafted from the sky by some
Vicarious angel, who, in Samuel’s stead,
Conducts her downward and gives her to thy hand,
Still to assure thee of the doubted throne,
Fear not henceforward, my anointed sovereign.
                                                         (Enter an Aide-de-camp.)
*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
Saul. How now, what news?
Aide-de-camp. Your Majesty, the chase has stayed itself.
The foe exists no more except in Ekron,
Where he has sought a shelter and a refuge,
Wasted and worried by this fearful haunting.
Saul. There let him lie and ease his panting sides.
                                             (Exit Aide-de-camp)
To hunt and to be hunted make existence;
For we are all or chasers or the chased;
And some weak, luckless wretches ever seem
Flying before the hounds of circumstance,
Adown the windy gullies of this life;
Till, toppling over death’s uncertain verge,
We see of them no more. Surely this day
Has been a wild epitome of life!
For life is merely a protracted chase;
Yea, life itself is only a long day,
And death arrives like sundown. Lo, the sun
Lies down i’ the waters and the murk moon [page 41] 
Out of the east sails sullen. ‘Tis the hour
Of fear and melancholy, when the soul
Hangs poised, with folded wings, ‘tween day and night.
And boding cometh like eve’s mournful bird,
Across my soul’s lea, doleful to my heart.
Therein, alas! now new misgivings rise
At Abner’s well-meant but superfluous words,
That, lieu of stilling fears with sense of safety,
Stir doubts of danger; as a friendly hand,
In the repose and hollow of the night,
Officiously stretched forth to scare one fly
From a sick sleeper, might upraise a swarm
To buzz and to awake him. Down, black bodes,
False flies! or, if you will not settle, come
And singe your little silken wings at lamp
Of this great victory.


Ephis-dammim. Interior of a large tent. Saul and Jonathan seated.

 *    *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *    *

 (Enter Abner and David, the latter carrying the head of Goliath.)

   Abner. Now, Cousin, now behold a frontispiece,
Such as will Nature not soon make again.
Now scrutinize your enemy in safety.
How like a slumbering lion’s head that seems!
I could believe Goliath’s spirit dreamed
Again within that dome of cogitation.
Who would not choose to dream in such a chamber,
Although within the precincts of death’s palace!
‘Tis like to some grand ruin overgrown
And half concealed by herbage. View him well,
Upwards from the foundation of his chin. [page 42] 
Observe that shaggy beard, those locks that cover
The hand of David as with coils of chains.
Was’t not a sin to kill so fine a beast?

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

   Saul. Lay down the trophy on the dais, David.
Implacability is not for mortals.
Now pity moves within me, and I feel
A solemn reverence at sight of that
Fine relic. How august it seems in death!
David, that trophy, I confess, is thine;
But be it, with its fallen carcass, buried.
His armour will record his bulk, and show
The volume of thy hardihood, as long
As brass endures. He was an armed galley,
He was a laden argosy; and thou
But little knowest the treasure thou hast cast
From out the hold of his enormous frame.
His spirit was prodigious as his form;
And noble, for he warned thee from him; hence,
Cast no indignity upon the brave,
But lay that visage in a decent grave. 
David. The King shall be obeyed. It shall be covered
Up by the earth; but all his blasphemous boasts.
Shall be remembered to his evil fame.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Saul. You both shall be remembered, long as might
And bravery retain their high reputes.
But let not malice in thy young breast linger.
Full many things are best forgot; and all
The dross of life, men’s vices and their failings,
Should from our memories be let slip away,
As drops the damaged fruit from off the bough
Ere comes the autumn. It were wise, nay just,
To strike with men a balance; to forgive,
If not forget, their evil for their good’s sake.
The good thus cherished, banished thus the bad, [page 43] 
As the refiner from the charged alembic
Removes the scum that clouds the precious ore,
We shall grow rich in life’s pure gold, and lose
Only its base alloy, its dross and refuse.


The Hebrew camp in the valley of Jezreel. Time, morning. Enter Saul and Abner, followed by Jonathan, Abinadab, and Melchi-shuah.

   Saul. Come hither, sons. (Aside.) O, now what shall I say?
(Aloud.) This is our latest field; and should it prove
Our last one also (and it such may be),
Then let it be our noblest. Go, dear sons,
In this dark hour shine forth in dazzling deeds,
Striking from the flinty courage of your foes
Bright, everlasting honor. Jonathan,
Forget not what thou heretofore hast done,
And let thy star this day become a sun.
Away now to your posts.
(Exeunt Jonathan, Abinadab, and Melchi-shuah.)
(Aside.) Darkness and death!
But go, ye lights of Saul; be quenched, be quenched!
O my poor sons, my sons, ye die for me!
For your mad father’s follies you’re destroyed!
                                                   (A trumpet sounds.)
Now, like a charger at the trumpet’s voice,
Now let me rush into this hopeless field,
And struggle till I perish—O, but ye,
My sons, shall ye go too? Shall ye, too, perish?—
I will not send my children to their death!
I will recall them. O, but to what end
Shall I recall them? Hast not Samuel said,
To-day they march with me unto the dead?
O, thither march, then, sons.—O sons, forgive me, [page 44] 
Who utter towards you such unnatural words!—
Not mine but heaven’s. O hell, upbraid me not,
Nor, loathing, spit upon me thy fierce scorn,
When like a triple offspring–murderer
I enter thee. O hell, I come, I come;
I feel the dreadful drawing of my doom.
O monstrous doom! O transformation dread!
How am I changed! How am I turned, at last,
Into a monster at itself aghast!
O wretched children! O more wretched sire!—
Would that I might this moment here expire!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *    *    *    *

All have gone from me now except despair;
And my last, lingering relics of affection,—
And now let them begone. O, break, sad heart!
Not those who soon shall die with me, but those
I leave behind, shall shake my manhood most,—
My orphaned daughters, and my youngest born;
For the rest, we are passing unto one dark goal.
(After weeping a while in silence.)
Now let me scorn all further tenderness;
And keep my heart as obdurate as the hills,
That have endured the assault of every tempest
Poured on them from the founding of the world.
                                        (Another trumpet sounds.)
Ay, blow thy fill, thou trump of martial breath.
Come war, come ruin, come, relentless death!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *


Jephthah’s Daughter Pleads for Her Life.

Death? death? and I must die, then? What is death?
I know not, yet do fear it. Father, father,
I fear to learn what ‘tis; urge me not towards it.
Oh, think how hard it is to die when young! [page 45] 
To leave the light; to leave the sun and moon;
To leave the earth, and glory of the heavens;
To see no more your countenance, nor my mother’s;
To lie enlocked within the stony ground,
Deaf, blind, to all forgetful. Father, hear me;
How shall I soften you? Oh, mother, be
My intercessor! Spare me, father, spare me!
Cut me not down or ere my harvest comes;
Oh, gather not the handful of my days
In a thin sheaf of all unripened blades!
Fell me not whilst a sapling—let me grow
And shadow you. Oh, listen now, oh, listen!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Give me not up unto the monster, Death.
Oh, hearken, be propitiated! lo,
I will resign all pleasure, and accept
Of pain; forsake all company, all delight;
Music and mirthful motion; lonely dwell,
Pining deep down beneath the fretted bars,
That measure me a few blue feet of sky,—
All I shall ever see, who never, never more
May from my lattice watch the brooding east
Bearing the solemn dawn; nor, risen, scale
The dewy hill, to mark how Gilead
Glows in the eye of all-awakening morn;
No more, upon the upland lingering,
Behold the weary sun’s low, cloud-coifed head
Droop to the drowsy west; nor twilight dim,
Sickening through shadows of mysterious eve,
Die midst the starry watches of the night.
These shall remain, remembered, but not seen,—
You only by me seen, you and my mother.
Oh, let me live to tend you when you’re old!
Let me grow old like you and all the world.
Holds not the world another victim? Must
I be the herald of your victory [page 46] 
To those redoubtable, grim ancestors,
Whose bones are mouldering, whose souls are, where?—
Alas! I know not where, not where, they sit,
Or weary wander round the coasts of darkness,
Lonesome and lost, or, peradventure, perished.
Must I now perish? Mark, my mother pleads,
Silent, yet loud. One half of me is hers;
How, then, shalt thou destroy the other, yet
Leave her part whole? It may not be that I 
Must die; you feign—yet I forgive you. Say
This agony is a distracted dream;
Say that I dream away a troubled night,—
But, oh, pronounce not that awakening word
That gives me to the knife and gory altar,
And you, perchance, to sin, remorse, and shame!
Father, I cannot, must not, dare not die!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Why was I born, why fashioned, as they say,
So fairly, if so soon to be destroyed,
Reduced to sable ashes? This white form
To disappear like snow; this blood’s swift fervor
Be as brief summer heat; this gushing heart
To dry up as the pool; these limbs to warp
And roll themselves up like a scorching scroll.
Nay, father, mock me not with idle tales
Of how you doated on me at my birth;
Love seems not love that does not love forever,
And you, indeed, at length have ceased to love me.
Yet spare me; let me live and still love you,
Though heaven frown on me thus living, loving.
Spare me, oh, spare me, Father, Jephthah, spare me!

She bemoans her fate.

Mother, I change; life changes into death;
Wastes, withers, dies. I look before me, and, [page 47] 
As all is brown and barren when the year
Falls into age, all white in winter, now,
Before my prescient and forecasting soul,
Life’s future seems an ancient battle-field,
Where my slain hopes lie like unburied bones;
And, as I look upon the lengthening lapse,
All is monotonous mortality.
Deep darkness gathers o’er my prospect, mother,
As vapor round the mountain-top or fog
Covers the sullen surface of the sea.
Nought is there seen save this sore sacrifice.
Where’er I gaze is set with fear and peril.
As the wrecked sailor, solitary seated
Upon a black and billow-beaten rock,
Sea-girt, looks wistfully for land or sail,
Yet nothing sees, save in the yeasty gulf
Scattered around him, grim and flinty spires,—
As he, the prisoner of the ocean, kept
By the impassable, tumultuous billows,
Dwells ever there, or, if he venture down,
Soon, shuddering, seeks again his slippery crag;
So I, upon this horrible dilemma,—
This sore, supernal task, to choose between
Mine own decease, my father’s foul dishonor,
Sit sad, surrounded by contrary currents,
And pale, opposing, spectral, dumb desires.
To live were to behold a constant dying;
To die were to encounter death itself,—
Which shall be chosen, which shall I elect
Again towards life, as the spent tidal wave
Recoils, rolled backward to the watery waste.
What shall I do since life appears so precious,
So odious the hated name of death?
Which shall be chosen, which shall I elect
To be my portion—say, which may I choose,
Where choice is none, nor to me left election?
How can I ‘scape since heaven has chosen me? [page 48]
How be denied, since it, indeed, demands?
Heaven does demand me.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

It is a bitter thing to die when young;
To be no more on earth, compelled to leave
The world and all its wonders unexplored,
Miss further friendship, lose the hope of love;
To leave all things we loved, admired, most cherished,
Forgot, perhaps, forgetting.

Her Resignation and Final Acceptance of her Fate.

But no more;
Less lovely now appears the face of years.
As the moth winds its way unto the flame,
Through lessening circles and infatuate rounds,
So I, impelled through meditation’s maze,
Approach unto the altar’s fiery goal,
Drawn, and it may be dazzled, by my doom.
Oh, doom delightful even as ‘tis dread!
Were it not great to die for Israel,— 
To free a father from a flood of woe?
Let me not need now disobey you, mother,
But give me leave to knock at death’s pale gate,
Whereat indeed I must, by duty drawn,
By nature shown the sacred way to yield.
Behold, the coasting cloud obeys the breeze;
The slanting smoke, the invisible, sweet air;
The towering tree its leafy limbs resigns
To the embraces of the wilful wind;
Shall I, then, wrong, resist the hand of Heaven?
Take me, my father, take, accept me, Heaven; 
Slay me or save me, even as you will.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Brief are the pangs of death; the bliss enduring
Of having bought my country her repose, [page 49] 
My sire some peace, and left him undishonored.
Herein consists the joy—for there is joy—
Amidst my sadness; to know that in this strait
I have obeyed him; conscious thus that I
Have saved my people, though have lost myself.
Joy! Joy! that unto me such strength is given,
To offer up my life, all that I have,
And to the last to love him who demands it.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Pass away, pale grief, for I
Would bide with thee no more; but let content
Convey me back upon careering clouds,
Into that land of absolute repose.
Father, methinks ‘tis but to go before you
Into that land of light, where all seem blest.
Cease sorrowing. Raise up my mother, now 
Fallen beneath the burden of this hour.
Oh, cherish her, my father! Jephthah, heal her
Great sickness by the medicinal power
The strong and good bear ever towards the weak.
Behold, she is reviving; gently raise her.
Oh, nurse her tenderly, and watch her age,
She who watched over me and nursed my youth!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Farewell, farewell,
To both, to all. All is now consummated.
Light, light, I leave thee;—yet am I a lamp,
Extinguished now, to be relit forever.
Life dies; but in its stead, death lives.
And now, ye waiting, venerable priests,
Behold me ready to your hands. Forth lead me,
As if in triumph, to my early grave;
Whereunto youth and maiden shall bring garlands [page 50]
Of yearly growth, and annual tribute pay
Of panegyric to my memory,
Shrined in their songs, before their fires rehearsed;
Recording how, inviolable, stood
The bounds of Israel, by my blood secured.
Nor more shall they thus celebrate myself
Than laud my sire; who in his day of might
Swore not in vain, unto the Lord, who gave
Him victory, although he took his child;—
Took her, but gave him, in her stead, his country,
With a renowned, imperishable name.


Oh, Fate supreme, Fate, tell me whence thou art?
   Speak, phantom; wert thou from the deep of time
Evoked? Or hast thou stood (as o’er that mart
   Of Rhodes once stood its colossus sublime)
Over Eternity’s dread, bankless sea?
   And have all things known thine encompassment?
And shall the future be the slave of thee,
   Thou Gorgon-visaged, dire necessity?
Who and what art thou, that thou shouldst me bind,
And seem the secret master of my mind?
I hate thee, Fate, and would ‘gainst thee rebel,
As ‘gainst the Omnipotent once the king of hell!
Yet, if thou be’est the name of God’s high will,
I do submit thy purpose to fulfill. [page 51]


Open, my heart, thy ruddy valves;
   It is thy master calls;
Let me go down, and, curious, trace
   Thy labyrinthine halls.
Open, O heart, and let me view
   The secrets of thy den;
Myself unto myself now show
   With introspective ken.
Expose thyself, thou covered nest
   Of passions, and be seen;
Stir up thy brood, that in unrest
   Are ever piping keen.
Ah! what a motley multitude,
   Magnanimous and mean!


See how the Morn awakes. Along the sky
   Proceeds she with her pale, increasing light,
And, from the depths of the dim canopy,
   Drives out the shadows of departing night,
Lo, the clouds break, and gradually more wide
   Morn openeth her bright, rejoicing gates;
And ever, as the orient valves divide,
   A costlier aspect on their breadth awaits.
Lo, the clouds break, and in each opened schism
   The coming Phoebus lays huge beams of gold,
And roseate fire, and glories that the prism
   Would vainly strive before us to unfold;
And, while I gaze, from out the bright abysm
   Sol’s flaming disc is to the horizon rolled. [page 52]


Hushed in a calm beyond mine utterance,
   See in the western sky the evening spread;
Suspended in its pale, serene expanse,
   Like scattered flames, the glowing cloudlets red.
Clear are those clouds; and that pure sky’s profound,
   Transparent as a lake of hyaline;
Nor motion, nor the faintest breath of sound,
   Disturbs the steadfast beauty of the scene.
Far o‘er the vault the winnowed welkin wide,
   From the bronzed east unto the whitened west,
Moored seem, in their sweet, tranquil, roseate pride,
   Those clouds the fabled islands of the blest;
The lands where pious spirits breathe in joy,
And love and worship all their hours employ.


How great unto the living seem the dead!
   How sacred, solemn; how heroic grown;
How vast and vague, as they obscurely tread
   The shadowy confines of the dim unknown!
For they have met the monster that we dread,
   Have learned the secret not to mortals shown.
E’en as gigantic shadows on the wall
   The spirit of the daunted child amaze,
So on us thoughts of the departed fall,
   And with phantasma fill our gloomy gaze.
Awe and deep wonder lend the living lines,
   And hope and ecstasy the borrowed beams;
While fitful fancy the full form divines,
   And all is what imagination dreams. [page 53]


What of the Past remains to bless the Present?
The memory of good deeds.
But what of great ones? Ambition to ambition leads,
And each step higher but cries, “Aspire,”
And restless step to restless step succeeds.
What is the boasted bubble, reputation?
To-day it is the world’s loud cry,
Which may to-morrow die,
Or roll from generation unto generation,
And magnify, and grow to fame,
That quenchless glory round a great man’s name.
what is the good man’s adequate reward?
Sense of his rectitude, and felt beatitude
Of God’s regard. [page 54]



   Reading the few and hastily written poems left us by Sir John Hawkins Hagarty, late Chief Justice of Ontario, we are conscious of a regret that the cares of state and the demands of his profession should have left in the life of this gifted man so little leisure to devote to literature.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, December 17th, 1816, he was educated at Trinity College there. He came to Toronto in 1835 and was called to the Bar of Ontario five years later. For some time he was a member of the Law Faculty of Trinity University, which institution conferred upon him the honorary degree of D. C. L. Created a Q. C. in 1850, his promotion was rapid, becoming a Puisne Judge of the Common Pleas in 1856, a Judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench in 1862, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in 1868, Chief Justice of the Queen’s Bench in 1878, and President of the Court of Appeal and of the Supreme Court of Judicature, with the title of Chief Justice of Ontario, in 1882. He declined knighthood in 1887, but accepted it ten years later on the occasion of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. In that same year he retired from public life. At the time that his friend and compatriot, the late [page 55] Rev. John McCaul, LL.D., was editor of The Maple Leaf, Judge Hagarty contributed a number of poems to that magazine. “A Legend of Marathon” was printed for private circulation in 1888. His death took place in Toronto, in 1901.


(Dec. 15, 1840.)

Cold and brilliant streams the sunlight on the wintry banks of Seine;
Gloriously the imperial city rears her pride of tower and fane;
Solemnly with deep voice pealeth Notre Dame, thine ancient chime;
Minute guns the death-bell answer in the same deep, measured time.

On the unwonted stillness gather sounds of advancing host,
As the rising tempest chafeth on St. Helen’s far-off coast;
Nearer rolls a mighty pageant—clearer swells the funeral strain,
From the barrier arch of Neuilly pours the giant burial train.

Dark with eagles is the sunlight—darkly on the golden air
Flap the folds of faded standards, eloquently mourning there;
O’er the pomp of glittering thousands, like a battle-phantom flits
Tatter’d flag of Jena, Friendland, Arcola, and Austerlitz. [page 56] 

Eagle-crown’d and garland circled, slowly moves the stately car
‘Mid a sea of plumes and horsemen—all the burial pomp of war.
Riderless, a war-worn charger follows his dead master’s bier;
Long since battle-trumpet roused him—he but lived to follow here.

From his grave ‘mid ocean’s dirges, moaning surge and sparkling foam,
Lo, the Imperial Dead returneth! lo, the Hero dust comes home!
He hath left the Atlantic island, lonely vale and willow tree,
‘Neath the Invalides to slumber, ‘mid the Gallic chivalry.

Glorious tomb o’er glorious sleepers! gallant fellowship to share—
Paladin and peer and marshal—France, thy noblest dust is there!
Names that light thy battle annals, names that shook the heart of earth!
Stars in crimson War’s horizon—synonyms for martial worth!

Room within that shrine of heroes! place, pale spectres of the past!
Homage yield, ye battle-phantoms! Lo, your mightiest comes at last!
Was his course the Woe out-thunder’d from prophetic trumpet’s lips?
Was his type the ghostly horseman shadow’d in the Apocalypse? [page 57] 

Gray-hair’d soldiers gather round him, relics of an age of war,
Followers of the Victor-Eagle, when his flight was wild and far:
Men who panted in the death-strife on Rodrigo’s bloody ridge,
Hearts that sicken’d at the death-shriek from the Russian’s shatter’d bridge;

Men who heard the immortal war-cry of the wild Egyptian fight—
“Forty centuries o’erlook us from yon Pyramid’s gray height!”
They who heard the moans of Jaffa, and the breach of Acre knew,
They who rushed their foaming war-steeds on the squares of Waterloo;

They who loved him, they who fear’d him, they who in his dark hour fled,
Round the mighty burial gather, spell-bound by the awful Dead!
Churchmen, princes, statesmen, warriors—all a kingdom’s chief array,
And the Fox stands, crowned mourner, by the Eagle’s hero clay!

But the last high rite is paid him, and the last deep knell is rung,
And the cannon’s iron voices have their thunder-requiem sung;
And, ‘mid banners idly drooping, silent gloom and mouldering state,
Shall the trampler of the world upon the Judgment-trumpet wait. [page 58] 

Yet his ancient foes had given him nobler monumental pile,
Where the everlasting dirges moan’d around the burial isle;
Pyramid upheaved by Ocean in his loneliest wilds afar,
For the War-King thunder-stricken from his fiery battle-car!


          The sea! the sea!
For the light of thy waves we bless thee;
   For the foam on thine ancient brow;
For the winds, whose bold wings caress thee,
   Old Ocean! we bless thee now!
Oh, welcome thy long-lost minstrelsy;
Thy thousand voices; the wild, the free,
The fresh, cool breeze o’er thy sparkling breast,
The sunlit foam on each billow’s crest,
Thy joyous rush up the sounding shore,
Thy song of Freedom forevermore,
And thy glad waves shouting, “Rejoice! Rejoice!”
Old Ocean! welcome thy glorious voice!

          The sea! the sea!
We bless thee; we bless thee, Ocean!
   Bright goal of our weary track,
With the exile’s rapt devotion,
   To the home of his love come back.
When gloom lay deep on our fainting hearts;
When the air was dark with the Persian darts;
When the desert rung with the ceaseless war,
And the wish’d for fountain and palm afar, [page 59] 
In Memory’s dreaming, in Fancy’s ear,
The chime of thy joyous waves was near,
And the last fond prayer of each troubled night
Was for thee and thine islands of love and light.

          The sea! the sea!
Sing on thy majestic pæan;
   Leap up in the Delian’s smiles;
We will dream of the blue Ægean,
   Of the breath of Ionia’s isles;
Of the hunter’s shout through the Thracian woods;
Of the shepherd’s song by the Dorian floods;
Of the naiad springing by Attic fount;
Of the satyr’s dance by the Cretan mount;
Of the sun-bright gardens, the bending vines,
Our virgins’ songs by the flower-hung shrines;
Of the dread Olympian’s majestic domes,
Our father’s graves and our own free homes.

          The sea! the sea!
We bless thee, we bless thee, Ocean!
   Bright goal of our stormy track,
With the exile’s rapt devotion,
   To the home of his love come back.


“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”—Jeremiah 8:20.

The summer’s past; O Life, O Time,
Thy morn hath veiled its golden prime,
No more wild youth’s ecstatic tune
Floats thro’ the odorous woods of June;
No more through life’s slow darkening skies
Will gleam dawn’s sun-flushed paradise. [page 60] 
The first star’s birth, the song of rills,
The rainbow o’er the glittering hills,
The flowers’ sweet breath, the spring winds’ sigh,
Speak not to Hope, but Memory;
And autumn echoes waft the moan:
“We are not saved, O summer flown!”

The harvest’s ended—“Earth hath pour’d
Her wealth to swell the rich man’s hoard;
On barns thrice-fill’d, on garners piled,
Brown autumn’s mellow sun hath smiled.
Life’s battle, long and bravely fought,
The victor’s common spoil hath brought—
Wealth’s golden flood, Fame’s glistening prize,
The dazzled world’s approving eyes.
Breathe music’s spell, wreathe glittering flowers;
Wealth, splendor, beauty—all are ours.
Joy’s cup is drained, night closeth fast,
“We are not saved, O harvest past!”

O summer flown! O harvest lost!
O soul on life’s cold waters toss’d!
Vain thy high dreams, thy world’s brave strife,
Thine “eye’s desire,” thy pride of life;
Earth weaves no spell whose glorious truth
Brings back Spring’s freshness, renews Love’s youth;
Faith droops; Hope veils her trustful eyes;
The iris fades from autumn skies.
And nearer, clearer from the verge
Of Death’s “dark river” floats the dirge,
While Love, Joy, Beauty join the moan;
“O harvest lost! O summer flown!”

Pierce the cold gloom, O Eastern Star;
Light the dark waters clear and far;
O’er life’s wild sea of toil and loss
Guide onward to the Eternal Cross. [page 61] 
There, earth-stain’d soul, thy burden cast;
There white-robed Peace is thine at last.
From Life’s sad dream the freed soul wakes;
Through Death’s dark gate the vision breaks—
Bright robes, green palms, the illumin’d zone,
The rainbow round the great white throne,
Eternal summer lights thy brow,
The Lord of Harvest clasps thee now!



City of Gods! Upon thy storied brow
Day’s last magnificence is streaming now;
O’er earth and sea thy sunset glories weave
Their arch of splendor round the dying eve—
A violet flush upon Hymettus’ steep,
A lingering crimson on Ægina’s deep;
Thron’d in thy place of pride, the sunset’s kiss
Fires thy white crest, shrine-crown’d Acropolis.
The East grows dim, but round thy marbled height
Yet floats the filmy crown of violet light.
The sunset charm, the air-born splendor, given
To make thy lucid sky fit mask for heaven.

Faultless and pure, each shafted temple’s crest
Sleeps on the violet air’s pellucid breast;
Vision of beauty, born in poet’s heart,
Shaped into life by old enchantment’s art!
High above all, in splendor soft and warm,
Looms the tall semblance of a martial form,
A warrior-phantom, queen-like and alone,
The champion goddess on her Attic throne; [page 62] 
The dying sun yet leaves one burning glance,
To flame upon her zenith-pointing lance
As in her grasp a lightning flash it glow’d,
So watched Athenae above her loved abode!

The rose flush fades, on Eastern hill and stream
The earliest stars through twilight mantle gleam.
And the full summer moon hangs fair and still
On the far outline of the Pentelic hill,
As if, in truth, the minstrel legend told
The graceful fiction of the nights of old,
How, mortal-like, upon that sylvan brow
She paused to her an earthly lover’s vow. [page 63] 



    This fearless champion of justice and right was born in Johnstone, Renfrewshire, Scotland, August 12th, 1820. The son of a mechanic, he himself belonged to the working people, whose cause he was ever ready to defend. In 1840 he came to hew out a home for himself in the wilds of Upper Canada. For some years he labored in the bush, clearing the land and facing manfully the countless hardships cast in the lot of the pioneer. Later, settling in the town of Erin, Ont., he devoted more of his time to literature. In 1863 he was sent by the Canadian Government to lecture in Great Britain in favor of emigration. Subsequently he became well known throughout Canada as a lecturer on various subjects, mainly literary. One of his great aims was to build up a national literature in Canada. He was a pronounced radical, but, though always disposed to fight injustice and oppression, his natural geniality of temperament and kindness of heart kept from his work the least suggestion of bitterness or acrimony. He died at Orangeville, Ont. March 20th, 1896. His published poems were: “Lyrics,” 1858; “The Emigrant, and Other Poems.” 1861; “Poems and Songs,” 1888. His complete poems, with memoir, were published in 1901. [page 64]


Who’ll sing the song of the starry throng,
   The song of the sun and sky?
The angels bright on their thrones of light,
   Not a mortal such as I.
   How vast, how deep, how infinite,
   Are the wonders spread abroad
On the outward walls of the azure halls
   Of the city of our God!

Men seldom look on the marvellous book
   Which God writes on the sky,
But they cry for food as the only good,
   Like the beasts which eat and die.
Awake! and gaze on the glorious maze!
   For every day and night,
God paints on air these pictures rare
   To thrill us with delight.

Oh, come with me! Oh, let us flee
   Across the dewy lawn,
And see unrolled in realms of gold
   The glories of the dawn.
Behold, she streaks the mountain peaks
   With the faintest tinge of gray,
But the glory hies, and the mists arise,
   And the shadows flee away.

The stars rush back from the conqueror’s track,
   And the night away is driven,
While the King of Day mounts on his way
   Through the golden gates of Heaven,
And his heralds fly athwart the sky
   With a lovely rainbow hue,
Or hang around the deeps profound,
   The unfathomed gulfs of blue. [page 65] 

The great vault reels ‘neath his chariot wheels,
   And the thunder-clouds are riven,
Till they expire in crimson fire
   On the burning floor of Heaven.
And then, O then! every hill and glen,
   Every peak and mountain old,
With a diadem of glory swims
   In a living sea of gold.

With his gorgeous train, through the blue domain
   He rushes on and on,
Till with a round of glory crowned
   He mounts his noonday throne.
Then his burning beams with their golden gleams
   He scatters in showers abroad,
Till we cannot gaze on the glorious blaze
   Of the garments of the god.

Then from his throne, with an azure zone,
   The conqueror descends;
In robes of white, through realms of light,
   His downward course he bends
‘Mid great white domes, like the happy homes
   Of the ransomed souls at rest,
Whose work is done, whose crowns are won,
   And they dwell among the blest.

How calm, how still, how beautiful!
   The very soul of peace
Seems breathing there her secret prayer
   That strife and sin may cease.
Then in the west he sinks to rest
   Far down in his ocean bed;
And he disappears, amid evening’s tears,
   With a halo on his head. [page 66] 

But I cannot write of the marvellous sight
   At his setting last I saw;
I can only feel, I can only kneel,
   With a trembling fear and awe.
Who’ll sing the song of the starry throng,
   The song of the sun and sky?
The angels bright on their thrones of light,
   Not a mortal such as I.


Come forth, ye wise ones; ye who can
Decipher Nature’s mystic plan;
Come sound me but the depths of man.

What am I, and whence have I come?
No answer, save a dreary hum.
Oh, why, ye wise ones, are ye dumb?

What is this house in which I dwell?
Alas! alas! there’s none can tell;
Oh, Nature keeps her secret well!

And all I hear, and touch, and see,
Time, and creation, are to me
A marvel and a mystery!

Great Ruler of the earth and sky!
O, from my spirit’s depth I cry,
Almighty Father, “What am I?”

And what is all this world I see?
Is it what it appears to be,
An awful, stern reality? [page 67] 

And are these men that come and go,
Or but the shades of joy and woe,
All flitting through this vale below?

And what is Time, with all her cares,
Her wrinkles, furrows, and gray hairs,
The hag that swallows all she bears?

The mystic where, the when and how,
The awful, everlasting now,
The funeral wreath upon my brow?

And for what purpose am I here,
A stranger in an unknown sphere,
A thing of doubt, of hope and fear;

A waif on time all tempest-toss’d,
A stranger on an unknown coast,
A weary, wand’ring, wond’ring ghost?

Did’st Thou not, Father, shape my course?
Or am I but a causeless force,
A stream that issues from no source?

Ah, no! within myself I see
An endless realm of mystery,
A great, a vast infinity!

A house of flesh, a frail abode,
Where dwell the demon and the god,
A soaring seraph and a clod;

The hall of the celestial nine,
The filthy sty of grovelling swine,
The animal and the divine; [page 68] 

Creation’s puzzle! false and true,
The light and dark, the old and new,
The slave, and yet the sovereign too.

Angel and demon, Nero, Paul,
And creeping things upon the wall,
I am the brother of them all.

A part of all things, first and last;
Linked to the future and the past,
At my own soul I glare aghast.

A spark from the eternal caught,
A living, loving thing of thought,
A miracle in me is wrought!

A being that can never die,
More wonderful than earth and sky,
A terror to myself am I.

My spirit’s sweep shall have no bound,
Oh, I shall sail the deep profound,
A terror, with a glory crowned!

And from this dust and demon free,
All glorified, these eyes shall see
The All in All eternally.


Hurrah! for the grand old forest land,
   Where Freedom spreads her pinion;
Hurrah! with me for the maple tree,
   Hurrah! for the new Dominion! [page 69] 

Be hers the light, and hers the might,
   Which Liberty engenders;
Sons of the free, come join with me,
   Hurrah! for her defenders.

And be their fame in loud acclaim,
   In grateful songs ascending—
The fame of those who met her foes,
   And died, her soil defending.

Hurrah! for the grand old forest land
   Where freedom spreads her pinion;
Hurrah! with me, for the maple tree,
   Hurrah! for the new Dominion!


          Mystery! mystery!
          All is a mystery!
Mountain and valley, and woodland and stream;
          Man’s troubled history,
          Man’s mortal destiny,
Are but a phase of the soul’s troubled dream.

          Mystery! mystery!
          All is a mystery!
Heart-throbs of anguish and joy’s gentle dew
          Fall from a fountain
          Beyond the great mountain
Whose summits forever are lost in the blue.

          Mystery! mystery!
          All is a mystery!
The sigh of the night wind, the song of the waves, [page 70]
          The visions that borrow
          Their brightness from sorrow,
The tales which flowers tell us, the voices of graves.

          Mystery! mystery!
          All is a mystery!
Ah! there is nothing we wholly see through!
          We are all weary,
          The night’s long and dreary;
Without hope of morning, oh, what would we do?


There is a lonely spirit
   Which wanders through the wood,
And tells its mournful story
   In every solitude.
It comes abroad at eventide,
   And hangs beside the rill,
And murmurs to the passer-by,

O, ‘tis a hapless spirit
   In likeness of a bird!
A grief that cannot utter
   Another woful word.
A soul that seeks for sympathy,
   A woe that won’t be still;
A wandering sorrow murmuring,
                                “Whip-poor-will.” [page 71]



   Edward J. Chapman, Ph.D., was born in England in 1821. His education was received mainly in France. He served for some time with the army in Algiers, and after his return to England studied engineering. In 1853 he came to Canada to take the professorship of Mineralogy and Geology in University College, Toronto. Retiring from this position in 1895, he returned to England, where he died in 1904. Besides “Songs of Charity,” issued in England in 1839, Professor Chapman was the author of “A Song of Charity,” Toronto, 1857; “A Memory, by E. J. C.,” 1874; “East and West, a Summer’s Idleness,” 1887; and “A Drama of Two Lives, the Snake Witch, and Other Poems,” 1899.



Art thou the old dream dreaming?
   Poor heart, of the morrow beware;
Death may lurk in the brown eyes’ veil’d gleaming,
   In the white throat so wondrously fair.
The tones that wild heart-throbs awaken,
   The sheen of the gold-showered hair,
The touch that thy soul hath so shaken,
   May lure thee and leave thee—ah, where? [page 72] 

Trust it not, the wild, treacherous gladness;
   The twin hounds of passion and pain
Are swift to arise—in their madness
   They rend, and they rest not again!
The day-dream is sweet in the dreaming,
   But dreamless the night’s dull despair,
When the voice, and the touch, and the gleaming,
   Have lured thee, and left thee—ah, where?



The sultry day is well-nigh done,
Aflame is all the fiery west;
The giant snow-peaks, one by one,
Are crimson’d by the great red sun
Whose glory gilds each gleaming crest.
And far upon the golden sky,
A black fleck floating silently,
A solitary eagle sweeps
Its way across those trackless deeps,
As trackless as a frozen sea
Whose waves have never stir nor sound
In all its weird immensity.
Below, the foot-hills stretch around
Mile after mile—untracked, untraced,
A desolate and dreary waste
Of shattered rock and clinging pine,
Deep-cleft by many a jagged line
Of lonely gulch and cavern hoar,
Where night is in the noon of day,
And months and years go on alway.
And still, as in the days that were,
Those western hills are wild and bare,
The eagle’s home, the lean wolf’s lair—
Unchanged, and changeless evermore! [page 73]



The world goes ever on and on;
   What boots it, friend, to thee or me?
It still will go when we are gone,
   And go no jot less merrily.
The wild, mad longing lost or won,
   The fond heart’s hidden praise or blame,
What recks it as the world goes on,
   And thou an unremembered name?
The faces all have shadows grown,
   The voices faint as evening’s sigh,
The world, a world of ghosts alone,
   But still the motley rush goes by;
Ever new, and ever old,
With the wherefore still untold.

George Martin was born at Kilrae, County Derry, Ireland, in 1822. He was brought to Canada when he was ten years old and educated at the Black River Literary Institute, Watertown, N.Y., afterwards studying medicine for three years. Returning to Canada, he engaged in business in Montreal. A man of broad views, he took an active interest in all questions touching the public weal. He was a member of the Literary Club of Montreal, to which many men well known in Canadian literature about the middle of last century belonged. The often-told story of his unique and most unselfish proof of friendship for gentle Charles Heavysege makes our hearts go out to George Martin. In 1887 he published “Marguerite; or, The Isle of Demons, and Other Poems.” This volume was very [page 74] favorably received both here and in the old land. Mr. Martin died on August 8th, 1900, in Montreal.


A man of worth, a man of mind,
Has bidd’n farewell to human kind.
No pomp, no sound of muffled drum,
No multitudes’ uncertain hum
Has stirred the air; but stifled sighs,
And gleaming tears and shaded eyes
Are tokens of a reverence felt
For one who to the Muses knelt
In fealty with noblest vow,
And rose with garland on his brow.

So child-like, modest, reticent,
With head in meditation bent,
He walked our streets! and no one knew
That something of celestial hue
Had passed along; a toil-worn man
Was seen, no more; the fire that ran
Electric through his veins and wrought
Sublimity of soul and thought,
And kindled into song, no eye
Beheld until a foreign sky
Reflected back the wondrous light,
And heralded the poet’s might.

Though doomed to less of sun than shade,
No weak complaint he ever made;
But bravely lived, content to let
The great world roar, and fume, and fret.
In visions of the days of eld [page 75] 
He revelled, and in joy beheld
The glory of the Hebrew sages,
Whose utterance has toned the ages.
The sacred mount, the cave, the stream
Where holy seers were wont to dream,
He knew and loved, and summoned thence
The agents of Omnipotence;
Fantastic sprites, and buried men
To fight gray battles o’er again.

Behold dread Samuel’s shade appear!
Behold Goliath’s mighty spear!
And lithe-limbed David’s sling and stone,
And Saul’s fierce madness; one by one
They rise before us, march, or stand,
Obedient to the Poet’s wand.

Dear friend, adieu! if Malzah-like
An adverse fate ordained to strike
Beset thee on life’s weary way,
And followed close from day to day,
He failed to conquer, failed to wrest
One murmur from thy manly breast.
Companion of my happiest hours,
Would that my words were fadeless flowers!
That I might lay them on thy tomb
To mitigate its lasting gloom,
And evermore above thee bloom.


The years roll on, and with them roll
The burden of the human soul,
     The ache and pain
      Of heart and brain,
That hear far off a solemn night-bell toll. [page 76] 

List! ringing clear, another sound
Reverberates the world around.
     The rapt soul listens;
     A tear-drop glistens
Down her pale cheek and trickles to the ground.

A tear of joy, for she hath heard
The promise of the ancient Word
     Over the dark
     Prevailing: hark!
“All thy hopes, wan Soul, now sere and blurred,

“Shall surely yet rebud and bloom;
Discard they self-spun robe of gloom,
     Awake! arise!
     More just and wise,
Thy failing lamp with higher life relume.

“The prophecy of ages past
Shall be fulfilled at last;
     Lo! man shall rise
     With fadeless glory in his eyes,
His knowledge clarified, illumed and vast.

“Thou wert of old, thou art, shalt be,
A thing unbound and ever free
     To work and will,
     A throb, a thrill,
A joyous breath of immortality.” [page 77]



    Charles Sangster has been called “The National Poet of Canada,” and certainly, for keen appreciation and graceful and graphic description of the natural beauties of our land as well as for the spirit of devoted patriotism that breathes through his work, he stands easily first among our pre-Confederation poets, and holds, beyond dispute, a foremost place on the list of Canadian poets up to the present day.

The grandson of a United Empire Loyalist, he was born at the Navy Yard, Point Frederick, Kingston, on the 16th of July, 1822. When he was only two years old he lost his father, who was employed at one of the naval stations on the Great Lakes, As a consequence he was obliged to leave school at the age of fifteen and go to work, that he might contribute towards the support of his widowed mother and younger members of the family. At first he found employment in the naval laboratory at Fort Henry, and later in the Ordnance Office, Kingston. In 1840 he went to Amherstburg, where for a few months he edited the Courier. In the following year he returned to Kingston and took a position in the office of the Whig. In 1864 he joined the staff of the Daily News of the same city. It was during the time of his journalistic career in Kingston that his [page 78] [unnumbered page, includes illustration: CHARLES SANGSTER] [blank page] best literary work was done. The volume, “The St. Lawrence and the Saguenay, and Other Poems,” was published by subscription in 1856. The poem which gives its name to the book, though marred frequently by faulty versification, looseness of construction and an over-straining after effect, faults easily attributable to defective education in youth, nevertheless abounds in really beautiful descriptions of our great water highway, and shows forth unmistakably the born poet, the passionate lover of Nature and all things beautiful. “Hesperus, and Other Poems and Lyrics” was published in 1860. “Hesperus,” the opening poem and longest in the book, shows more careful handling and closer study of correct forms than former work, but the main interest of the volume centres in the shorter poems. In fact, Charles Sangster is generally at his best in his songs and lyrics. In 1868 Sangster took a position in the Post Office Department at Ottawa. This move does not appear to have been a wise or a happy one. The endless drudgery, the lack of leisure and the sordid worries of an ill-paid position seem to have sapped ambition and energy. The poet did little literary work after leaving Kingston. He died in 1893.



Here the Spirit of Beauty keepeth
   Jubilee for evermore;
Here the voice of Gladness leapeth, [page 79]
   Echoing from shore to shore.
O’er the hidden watery valley,
   O’er each buried wood and glade,
Dances our delighted galley,
   Through the sunlight and the shade;
      Dances o’er the granite cells,
      Where the soul of Beauty dwells;

Here the flowers are ever springing,
   While the summer breezes blow;
Here the Hours are ever clinging,
   Loitering before they go;
Playing round each beauteous islet,
   Loath to leave the sunny shore,
Where, upon her couch of violet,
   Beauty sits for evermore;
      Sits and smiles by day and night,
      Hand in hand with pure Delight.

Here the Spirit of Beauty dwelleth
   In each palpitating tree,
In each amber wave that welleth
   From its home beneath the sea;
In the moss upon the granite,
   In each calm, secluded bay,
With the zephyr trains that fan it
   With their sweet breaths all the day—
      On the waters, on the shore,
      Beauty dwelleth evermore!


God of the early morning light!
   Whose hand the gates of dawn unbars;
God of the evening and the night,
   Who guides the chariots of the stars— [page 80]
We thank Thee for the air we breathe,
   The waves that roll, the winds that rise,
For all Thy wond’rous works beneath,
   For all the glories of the skies.

We bless Thee for the soothing calm
   That broods below the evening’s wings,
We bless Thee for the spirit-balm
   The gentle-footed twilight brings.
Promptings of hope, and joy, and love
   Exalt our minds and set them free,
And prayer-wreaths white as Aaron’s dove
   Ascend like incense up to Thee.



Dreamer in the realms aerial,
Searcher for the true and good,
Hoper for the high ethereal
Limit of beatitude,
Lift thy heart to heaven, for there
Is embalmed thy spirit-prayer;
Not in words is shrined thy prayer,
But thy Thought awaits thee there.
God loves the silent worshipper.
The grandest hymn
That Nature chants—the litany
Of the rejoicing stars––is silent praise.
Their nightly anthems stir
The souls of lofty seraphim
In the remotest heaven. The melody
Descends in throbbings of celestial light
Into the heart of man, whose upward gaze, [page 81] 
And meditative aspect, tell
Of the heart’s incense passing up the night.
Above the crystalline height
The theme of thoughtful praise ascends.
Not from the wildest swell
Of the vexed ocean soars the fullest psalm;
But in the evening calm,
In the solemn midnight, silence blends
With silence, and to the ear
Attuned to harmony divine
Begets a strain
Whose trance-like stillness wakes delicious pain.

*     *     *     *     *    *    *    *

He loves God most who worships most
In the obedient heart.
The thunder’s noisome boast,
What is it to the violet lightning thought?
So with the burning passion of the stars—
Creation’s diamond sands,
Strewn along the pearly strands,
And far-extending corridors
Of heaven’s blooming shores;
No scintil of their jewelled flame
But wafts the exquisite essence
Of prayer to the Eternal Presence,
Of praise to the Eternal Name.
The silent prayer unbars
The gates of Paradise, while the too-intimate
Self-righteous’ boast strikes rudely at the gate
Of heaven, unknowing why it does not open to
Their summons, as they see pale Silence passing through. [page 82]



A song, a song for the good old flail,
   And the brawny arms that wield it;
Hearty and hale, in our yeoman mail,
   Like intrepid knights we’ll shield it.
         We are old Nature’s peers,
         Right royal cavaliers!
Knights of the Plough! for no Golden Fleece we sail,
We’re princes in our own right—our sceptre is the flail.

A song, a song for the golden grain
   As it woos the flail’s embraces
In wavy sheaves like a golden main,
   With its bright spray in our faces.
         Mirth hastens at our call,
         Jovial hearts have we all!
Knights of the Plough! for no Golden Fleece we sail,
We’re princes in our own right—our sceptre if the flail.

A song, a song for the good old flail
   That our fathers used before us;
A song for the flail, and the faces hale
   Of the queenly dames that bore us!
           We are old Nature’s peers,
           Right royal cavaliers!
Knights of the Plough! for no Golden Fleece we sail,
We’re princes in our own right—our sceptre is the flail.



No maiden dream, nor fancy theme,
   Brown Labour’s muse would sing;
Her stately mien and russet sheen
   Demand a stronger wing. [page 83] 
Long ages since, the sage, the prince,
   The man of lordly brow,
All honor gave that army brave,
   The Soldiers of the Plough!
      Kind heaven speed the plough!
      And bless the hands that guide it;
         God gives the seed—
         The bread we need,
      Man’s labor must provide it.

In every land, the toiling hand
   Is blest as it deserves;
Not so the race who, in disgrace,
   From honest labor swerves.
From fairest bowers bring rarest flowers
   To deck the swarthy brow
Of him whose toil improves the soil—
   The Soldier of the Plough.
      Kind heaven speed the plough!
      And bless the hands that guide it;
         God gives the seed—
         The bread we need,
      Man’s labor must provide it.

Blest is his lot, in hall or cot,
   Who lives as Nature wills,
Who pours his corn from Ceres’ horn,
   And quaffs his native rills!
No breeze that sweeps trade’s stormy deeps
   Can touch his golden prow;
Their foes are few, their lives are true,
   The Soldiers of the Plough.
      Kind heaven speed the plough!
      And bless the hands that guide it;
          God gives the seed—
         The bread we need,
      Man’s labor must provide it. [page 84]


I have laid my cheek to Nature’s, placed my puny hand in hers,
   Felt a kindred spirit warming all the life-blood of my face,
Moved amid the very foremost of her truest worshippers,
   Studying each curve of beauty, marking every minute grace;
Loved not less the mountain cedar than the flowers at its feet,
   Looking skyward from the valley, open-lipped as if in prayer,
Felt a pleasure in the brooklet singing of its wild retreat,
   But I knelt before the splendor of the thunderous Chaudière.

All my manhood waked within me, every nerve had tenfold force.
   And my soul stood up rejoicing, looking on with cheerful eyes,
Watching the resistless waters speeding on their downward course,
   Titan strength and queenly beauty diademed with rainbow dyes.
Eye and ear, with spirit quickened, mingled with the lovely strife,
   Saw the living Genius shrined within her sanctuary fair,
Heard her voice of sweetness singing, peered into her hidden life,
   And discerned the tuneful secret of the jubilant Chadière:

“Within my pearl-roofed shell,
   Whose floor is woven with the iris bright, [page 85] 
Genius and Queen of the Chaudière I dwell,
   As in a world of immaterial light.

“My throne an ancient rock,
   Marked by the feet of ages long departed,
My joy the cataract’s stupendous shock,
   Whose roll is music to the grateful-hearted.

“I’ve seen the eras glide
With muffled tread to their eternal dreams,
While I have lived in vale and mountain side,
   With leaping torrents and sweet purling streams.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

“God made the ancient hills,
   The valleys and the solemn wildernesses,
The merry-hearted and melodious rills,
   And strung with diamond dews the pine-trees’ tresses;

“But man’s hand built the palace,
   And he that reigns therein is simply man;
Man turns God’s gifts to poison in the chalice
   That brimmed with nectar in the primal plan.

“Here I abide alone—
   The wild Chaudière’s eternal jubilee
Has such sweet divination in its tone,
   And utters Nature’s truest prophecy

“In thunderings of zeal!
   I’ve seen the atheist in terror start,
Awed to contrition by the strong appeal
   That waken conviction in his doubting heart; [page 86] 

“Teachers speak throughout all nature,
   From the womb of silence born,
Heed ye not their words, O Scoffer,
   Flinging back thy scorn for scorn!
To the desert spring that leapeth,
   Pulsing from the parchèd sod,
Points the famished trav’ler, saying—
   ‘Brothers, here indeed is God!’

“From the patriarchal fountains,
   Sending forth their tribes of rills,
From the cedar-shadowed lakelets
   In the hearts of distant hills,
Whispers softer than the moonbeams
   Wisdom’s gentle heart have awed,
Till his lips approved the cadence—
   ‘Surely here, indeed, is God!’

“Lo! o’er all, the torrent prophet,
   An inspired Demosthenes,
To the doubter’s soul appealing,
   Louder than the preacher seas;
Dreamer! wouldst have Nature spurn thee
   For a dumb, insensate clod?
Dare to doubt and these shall teach thee
   ‘Of a truth there lives a God!’”

*     *     *     *     *     *     *    *    *    *     *     *

Still I heard the mellow sweetness of her voice at intervals,
   Mingling with the fall of waters, rising with the snowy spray,
Ringing through the sportive current like the joy of waterfalls,
   Sending up their hearty vespers at the balmy close of day. [page 87] 
Loath to leave the scene of beauty, lover-like I stayed, and stayed,
   Folding to my eager bosom memories beyond compare;
Deeper, stronger, more enduring than my dreams of wood and glade,
   Were the eloquent appeals of the magnificent Chaudière.

E’en the solid bridge was trembling, whence I took my last farewell,
   Dizzy with the roar and trampling of the mighty herd of waves,
Speeding past the rocky island, steadfast as a sentinel,
   Towards the loveliest bay that ever mirrored the Algonquin braves.
Soul of beauty! Genius! Spirit! Priestess of the lovely strife!
   In my heart thy words are shrined, as in a sanctuary fair;
Echoes of thy voice of sweetness, rousing all my better life,
   Ever haunt my wildest visions of the jubilant Chaudière.


Within Fancy’s halls I sit, and quaff
   Rich draughts of the wine of Song;
      And I drink, and drink,
      To the very brink
   Of delirium wild and strong,
Till I lose all sense of the outer world,
   And see not the human throng.

The lyral chords each rising thought
   Are wept by a hand unseen; [page 88] 
      And I glide and glide,
      With my music bride,
   Where few spiritless souls have been;
And I soar afar on wings of sound,
   With my fair Aeolian queen.

Deep, deeper still, from the springs of Thought
   I quaff till the fount is dry;
      And I climb, and climb,
      To a height sublime,
   Up the stars of some lyric sky,
Where I seem to rise upon airs that melt
   Into song as they pass by.

Millennial rounds of bliss I live,
   Withdrawn from my cumb’rous clay,
      As I sweep, and sweep,
      Through infinite deep
   On deep of that starry spray;
Myself a sound on its world-wide round,
   A tone on its spheral way.

And wheresoe’er through the wond’rous space
   My soul wings its noiseless flight,
      On their astral rounds
      Float divinest sounds,
   Unseen, save by spirit-sight,
Obeying some wise, eternal law,
   As fixed as the law of light.

But, oh, when my cup of dainty bliss
   Is drained of the wine of Song,
      How I fall, and fall,
      At the sober call
   Of the body, that waiteth long
To hurry me back to its cares terrene,
   And earth’s spiritless human throng. [page 89]


           All peacefully gliding,
          The waters dividing,
The indolent batteau moved slowly along,
          The rowers, light-hearted,
          From sorrow long parted,
Beguiled the dull moments with laughter and song;
   “Hurrah for the rapid! that merrily, merrily
      Gambols and leaps on its tortuous way;
   Soon we will enter it cheerily, cheerily,
   Pleased with its freshness, and wet with its spray.”

          More swiftly careering,
          The wild rapid nearing,
They dash down the stream like a terrified steed;
          The surges delight them,
          No terrors affright them,
Their voices keep pace with their quickening speed;
   “Hurrah for the rapid! that merrily, merrily
      Shivers its arrows against us in play;
   Now we have entered it, cheerily, cheerily,
      Our spirits as light as its feathery spray.”

          Fast downward they’re dashing,
          Each fearless eye flashing,
Though danger awaits them on every side;
          Yon rock—see it frowning!
          They strike—they are drowning!
But downward they speed with the merciless tide;
   No voice cheers the rapid, that angrily, angrily
      Shivers their bark in its maddening play;
   Gaily they entered it—heedlessly, recklessly,
      Mingling their lives with its treacherous spray! [page 90]



All my mind has sat in state,
   Pond’ring on the deathless soul;
   What must be the perfect whole,
When the atom is so great!

God! I fall in spirit down,
   Low as Persian to the sun;
   All my senses, one by one,
In the stream of thought must drown.

On the tide of mystery,
   Like a waif, I’m seaward borne;
   Ever looking for the morn
That will yet interpret Thee.

Opening my blinded eyes,
   That have striv’n to look within,
   ‘Whelmed in clouds of doubt and sin,
Sinking where I dared to rise;

Could I trace one spirit’s flight,
   Track it to its final goal,
   Know that “spirit” meant “the soul,”
I must perish in the light.

All in vain I search, and cry:
   “What, O Soul, and whence art thou?”
   Lower than the earth I bow,
Stricken with the grave reply:

“Would’st thou ope what God has sealed—
   Sealed in mercy here below?
   What is best for man to know,
Shall more surely be revealed!” [page 91] 

Deep on deep of mystery!
   Ask the sage, he knows no more
   Of the soul’s unspoken lore
Than the child upon his knee!

Cannot tell me whence the thought
   That is passing through my mind!
   Where the mystic soul is shrined,
Wherewith all my life is fraught.

Knows not how the brain conceives
   Images almost divine;
   Cannot work my mental mine,
Cannot bind my golden sheaves.

Is he wiser, then, than I,
   Seeing he can read the stars?
   I have ridd’n in fancy’s cars
Leagues beyond his farthest sky!

Some old rabbi, dreaming o’er
   The sweet legends of his race—
   Ask him for some certain trace
Of the far, eternal shore.

No. The Talmud page is dark,
   Though it burn with quenchless fire;
   And the insight must pierce higher
That would find the vital spark.

O, my soul, be firm and wait,
   Hoping with the zealous few,
   Till the Shekinah of the true
Lead thee through the golden gate. [page 92]


   Erratic soul of some great purpose, doomed
To track the wild, illimitable space,
Till sure propitiation has been made
For the divine commission unperformed!
What was thy crime? Ahasuerus’ curse
Were not more stern on earth than thine in heaven!

   Art thou the spirit of some angel world,
For grave rebellion banished from thy peers,
Compelled to watch the calm, immortal stars,
Circling in rapture the celestial void,
While the avenger follows in thy train
To spur thee on to wretchedness eterne?

   Or one of Nature’s wildest phantasies,
From which she flies in terror so profound
And with such whirl of torment in her breast
That mighty earthquakes yawn where’er she treads,
While war makes red its terrible right hand
And famine stalks abroad all lean and wan?

   To us thou art as exquisitely fair
As the ideal visions of the seer,
Or the gentlest fancy that e’er floated down
Imagination’s bright, unruffled stream,
Wedding the thought that was too deep for words
To the low breathings of inspired song.

   When the stars sang together o’er the birth
Of the poor Babe of Bethlehem, that lay
In the coarse manger at the crowded inn,
Didst thou, perhaps a bright, exalted star,
Refuse to swell the grand, harmonious lay,
Jealous as Herod of the birth divine? [page 93] 

   Or when the crown of thorns on Calvary
Pierced the Redeemer’s brow, didst thou disdain
To weep, when all the planetary worlds
Were blinded by the fullness of their tears?
E’en to the flaming sun, that hid his face
At the loud cry, “Lama Sabachthani!”

   No rest! No rest! The very damned have that
In the dark counsels of remotest hell,
Where the dread scheme was perfected that sealed
Thy disobedience and accruing doom.
Like Adam’s sons, hast thou, too, forfeited
The blest repose that never pillowed Sin?

   No! None can tell thy fate, thou wandering sphinx!
Pale Science, searching by the midnight lamp
Through the vexed mazes of the human brain
Still fails to read the secret of its soul
As the superb enigma flashes by,
A loosed Prometheus burning with disdain.



A beautiful land is the Land of Dreams,
   Green hills and valleys, and deep lagoons,
Swift-rushing torrents and gentle streams,
   Glassing a myriad silver moons;
Mirror-like lakelets with lovely isles,
   And verdurous headlands looking down
On the nereid shapes, whose smiles
   Were worth the price of a peaceful crown. [page 94] 
We clutch at the silvery bars
Flung from the motionless stars,
     And climb far into space,
     Defying the race
Who ride in aerial cars.

We take up the harp of the mind,
   And finger its delicate strings;
      The notes, soft and light,
      As a moonbeam’s flight,
   Departing on viewless wings.
Afar in some fanciful bower,
   Some region of exquisite calm,
Where the starlight falls in a gleaming shower,
      We sink to repose
      On our couch of rose,
   Inhaling no mortal balm.
The worlds are no longer unknown,
   We pass through the uttermost sky,
      Our eyelids are kissed
      By a gentle mist,
         And we feel the tone
         Of a calmer zone,
   As if heaven were wond’rous nigh.

A fanciful land is the Land of Dreams,
   Where earth and heaven are clasping hands;
      No heaven—no earth,
      But one wide, new birth,
Where Beauty, and Goodness, and human worth,
Make earth of heaven and heaven of earth;
   And angels are walking on golden strands. [page 95]


I sat within the temple of her heart,
And watched the living Soul as it passed through,
Arrayed in pearly vestments, white and pure.
The calm, immortal presence made me start.
It searched through all the chambers of her mind
With one mild glance of love, and smiled to view
The fastnesses of feeling, strong, secure,
And safe from all surprise. It sits enshrined
And offers incense in her heart, as on
An altar sacred unto God. The dawn
Of an imperishable love passed through
The lattice of my senses, and I, too,
Did offer incense in that solemn place—
A woman’s heart made pure and sanctified by grace. [page 96]



    Mrs. J. C. Yule (Pamelia S. Vining) was born in Clarendon, N.Y., on the 9th of April, 1825. Her early life was spent on a farm in the midst of beautiful scenery. To this fact and to the fostering care of her mother, who is spoken of as a woman of superior intellect, is attributable in great measure the early development of her own natural gifts. Miss Vining’s education was finished at Albion College, Michigan, and for some time after graduation she was on the teaching staff of that institution. Later, after the removal of her family to Canada, she became teacher of English Literature and Art in the newly-opened Canadian Literary Institute at Woodstock. About the year 1866 she married James C. Yule, a ministerial student at the college. Her life after this is said to have been one continuous act of unselfish devotion. Besides writing a large number of tales and articles on various subjects, Mrs. Yule contributed poems—sacred, grave and humorous—to many periodicals. A volume of verse was published in 1881. Of her poetry E. H. Dewart writes: “It contains beautiful imagery, a sound and elevated philosophy of suffering, great depth and tenderness of feeling, and a rich, exquisite [page 97] rhythmic music that lingers in the chambers of the brain like the memory of a speechless joy.” Mrs. Yule died in Ingersoll on the 6th of March, 1897.


Over my window in pencillings white,
Stealthily traced in the silence of night—
Traced with a pencil as viewless as air,
By an artist unseen, when the starbeams were fair,
Came wonderful pictures, so life-like and true
That I’m filled with amaze as the marvel I view.

Like, yet unlike, the things I have seen,—
Feathery ferns in the forest-depths green,
Delicate mosses that hide from the light,
Snow-drops, and lilies, and hyacinths white,
Fringes, and feathers, and half-open flowers,
Closely twined branches of dim cedar bowers—
Strange, that one hand should so deftly combine
Such numberless charms in so quaint a design.

O wond’rous creation of silence and night!
I watch as ye fade in the clear morning light,—
As ye melt into tear-drops and trickle away
From the keen, searching eyes of inquisitive Day.
While I gaze ye are gone, and I see you depart—
With a wistful regret lying deep at my heart,—
A longing for something that will not decay,
Or melt like these frost-flowers in tear-drops away,—
A passionate yearning of heart for that shore
Where beauty unfading shall last evermore;
Nor e’en, as we gaze, from our vision be lost
Like the beautiful things that are pencilled in frost! [page 98]


 Up from the spirit-depths ringing,
   Softly your melody swells,
Sweet as a seraphim’s singing,
   Tender-toned memory-bells!
      The laughter of childhood,
      The song of the wildwood,
The tinkle of streams through the echoing dell,
      The voice of a mother,
      The shout of a brother,
Up from life’s morning melodiously swell.

Up from the spirit-depths ringing,
   Richly your melody swells,
Sweet reminiscences bringing,
   Joyous-toned memory-bells!
      Youth’s beautiful bowers,
      Her dew-spangled flowers,
The pictures which Hope of futurity drew—
      Love’s rapturous vision
      Of regions Elysian,
In glowing perspective unfolding to view.

Up from the spirit-depths ringing,
   Sadly your melody swells,
Tears with its mournful tones bringing,
   Sorrowful memory-bells!
      The first heart-link broken,
      The first farewell spoken,
The first flow’ret crushed in life’s desolate track—
      The agonized yearning
      O’er joys unreturning,
All, all with your low, wailing music come back. [page 99] 

Up from the spirit-depths ringing,
   Dirge-like your melody swells;
 But Hope wipes the tears that are springing,
   Mournful-toned memory-bells!
      Above your deep knelling,
      Her soft voice is swelling,
Sweeter than angel-tones, silvery clear,
      Singing, “In Heaven above,
      All is unchanging love,
Mourner, look upward, thy home is not here!”


Landward the tide setteth buoyantly, breezily,
   Landward the waves ripple sparkling and free.
Ho, the proud ship, like a thing of life, easily,
   Gracefully sweeps o’er the white-crested sea!
In from the far-away lands she is steering now,
   Straight for her anchorage, fearless and free,
Lo, as I gaze, how she seems to be nearing now,
   Sun-lighted shores, a still haven, and me!

Landward the tide setteth!—mark my proud argosy
   As the breeze flutters her pennons of snow,
Wafting from far the glad mariner’s melody
   O’er the blue waters in rhythmical flow!
Tell me, O soul of mine, what is the freightage fair
   ‘Neath her white wings that she beareth to thee?
Treasures of golden ore, gems from Golconda’s shore,
   Lo, she is bringing me over the sea!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     * [page 100]

Seaward the tide setteth hoarsely and heavily,
   Seaward the tide setteth steady and stern;
Oh, my proud ship!—she has missed the still haven! see,
   Baffled and drifting, far out she is borne!
Far from the shore, and the weak arms that helplessly,
   Wildly, are stretched toward the lessening sail!
Far, far from shore, and the white hands that hopelessly
   Flutter in vain in the loud-shrieking gale!

Seaward the tide setteth—oh my rich argosy,
   Freighted with treasures ungrasped and unwon!
Oh, the dark rocks! the dread crash! the fierce agony!
   And seaward more madly the tide rushes on!
Gems and red gold won from earth’s richest treasury
   Strew the dark floor of the pitiless sea,
Buried for aye—and my wealth-freighted argosy
   Fades like the mist from the ocean and me!


I saw how the patient Sun
   Hasted untiringly
The self-same old race to run;
   Never aspiringly
Seeking some other road
   Through the blue heaven
Than the one path which God
   Long since had given;—
      And I said, “Patient Sun,
      Teach me my race to run,
      Even as thine is done,
         Steadfastly ever;
      Weakly, impatiently
         Wandering never!” [page 101] 

I saw how the patient Earth
   Sat uncomplainingly,
While in his boisterous mirth,
   Winter disdainingly
Mocked at her steadfast trust
      That from its icy chain
Spring her imprisoned dust
   Soon would release again;—
      And I said, “Patient Earth,
      Biding thy hour of dearth,
      Waiting the voice of mirth
         Soon to re-waken,
      Teach me like thee to trust,
         Steadfast, unshaken!”

I saw how the patient stream
   Hasted unceasingly,
Mindless of shade or gleam,
   Onward increasingly,—
Widening, deepening
   Its rocky bed ever,
That it might thus take in
   River by river;
      And I said, “Patient stream,
      Hasting through shade and gleam,
      Careless of noontide beam,
         Loitering never,
      So teach thou me to press
         Onward forever!” 

I saw how the Holiest One
   Sat in the Heaven,
Watching each earth-born son
   Sin-tossed and driven,
Watching war’s madd’ning strife—
   Brother ‘gainst brother, [page 102] 
Reckless of love and life,
   Slaying each other;
      And I said, “Patient One,
      On thy exalted throne,
      Never impatient grown
         With our dark sinning,
      Though all its depth Thou’st known
         From the beginning;

“Though thy fair earth has been
   Blood-dyed for ages,
Though in her valleys green
   Carnage still rages,
Thou, o’er whose brow serene,
   Calmest and Holiest!
Angel has never seen,
   E’en towards earth’s lowliest,
      Shadows impatient sweep,
      Teach me, like thee, to keep
      In my soul, still and deep,
         Wavering never,
      Patience—a steady light,
         Burning forever!” [page 103]



    Hon. Thomas D’Arcy McGee, writer, orator and statesman, was a native of Carlingford, Ireland, where he was born on the 13th of April, 1825. He was educated in Wexford. From his mother he imbibed early a great love of poetry and an acquaintance with the folklore of his country. He came to the United States when he was seventeen years old, and at once obtained a position on the Boston Pilot, of which paper he became chief editor two years later. At the request of Daniel O’Connell, the Irish “Liberator,” he returned to Ireland in 1845, to join the staff of the Dublin Freeman’s Journal. He became subsequently a leading spirit in the party known as “Young Ireland.” The precipitous and ill-advised course of these young zealots and its disastrous results are matters of history. Eluding arrest, McGee succeeded in escaping to America in October, 1848, and took up again his journalistic work. With the experience of time and sober reflection, his early views and ideas underwent a complete change. He became, indeed, not less of a patriot, but a wiser guide. Instead of inciting his countrymen to worse than useless rebellion, he strove now to better their condition by [page 104] encouraging amongst them the arts of peace and by making them, by education and culture, the equals of their oppressors. He came to Canada in 1857, and settled in Montreal, where he edited The New Era. Within a year after his arrival in this country he was returned to Parliament as one of the members for Montreal. He was at different times President of the Executive Council, Minister of Agriculture, etc. He was a strenuous advocate of Confederation, and took a leading part in the deliberations on that question. While his popularity with the great mass of the people grew apace, he nevertheless made bitter enemies by his continued opposition to the Fenian movement. The persistent enmity and persecution of that malevolent body culminated in his assassination at Ottawa on the night of April 6th, 1868.

Though known as a writer mainly by his prose works, Mr. McGee wrote some really good poetry. “Canadian Ballads and Occasional Verses” was published in 1858, and “Sebastian, or the Roman Martyr,” in 1861. A complete volume of his poems, with a memoir by Mrs. Sadlier, was issued in 1870.


We worship the spirit that walks unseen
   Through our land of ice and snow:
We know not His face, we know not His place,
   But His presence and power we know. [page 105] 

Does the buffalo need the pale-face’s word
   To find his pathway far?
What guide has he to the hidden ford,
   Or where the green pastures are?

Who teacheth the moose that the hunter’s gun
   Is peering out of the shade?
Who teacheth the doe and the fawn to run
   In the track the moose has made?

Him do we follow, Him do we fear—
   Spirit of earth and sky;
Who hears with the Wapiti’s eager ear
   His poor red children’s cry.

Whose whisper we note in every breeze
   That stirs the birch canoe;
Who hangs the reindeer moss on the trees
   For the food of the caribou.

That Spirit we worship who walks, unseen,
   Through our land of ice and snow:
We know not His face, we know not His place,
   But His presence and power we know.


Men know not when they are most blest,
          But all—alway—
Pursue the phantom future’s quest,
          Anxious to stray;
As young birds long to leave the nest
          And fly away. [page 106] 

Blessed is he who learns to bound
          The spirit’s range;
Whose joy is neither sought nor found
          In love of change;
A tiller of his own right ground,
          This world his grange.

So would I live beyond the crowd,
          Where party strife
And hollow hearts and laughter loud
          Embitter life;
Where hangs upon the sun the coal-black cloud
          With sorrow rife.

Fain would I live beneath a rural roof,
          By whose broad porch
Children might play, nor poor men keep aloof—
          Whose artless arch
The ivy should o’ergrow without reproof,
          And cares should march.

The drowsy drip of water falling near
          Should lull the brain;
The rustling leaves should reach the ear;
          The simplest swain
Should sing his simplest song, and never fear
          A censure of his strain.

But why these wishes? Does contentment grow,
          Even as the vine,
Only in soil o’er which the south winds blow
          Warm from the Line?
Wherefore, in cities, if I will it so,
          May’t not be mine? [page 107] 

Come, dove-eyed Peace, come, ivy-crownèd sprite!
          Come from thy grot,
And make thy home with me by day and night,
          And share my lot;
And I shall have thee ever in my sight,
          Though the world sees thee not.


Why are children’s eyes so bright?
          Tell me why?
‘Tis because the Infinite
Which they’ve left, is still in sight,
And they know no earthly blight—
     Therefore ‘tis their eyes are bright.

Why do children laugh so gay?
          Tell me why?
‘Tis because their hearts have play
In their bosoms, every day,
Free from sin and sorrow’s sway—
     Therefore ‘tis they laugh so gay.

Why do children speak so free?
          Tell me why?
‘Tis because from fallacy,
Cant, and seeming, they are free,
Hearts, not lips, their organs be—
     Therefore ‘tis they speak so free. [page 108] 

Why do children love so true?
          Tell me why?
‘Tis because they cleave unto
A familiar, favorite few,
Without art or self in view—
     Therefore children love so true.


In the seaport of St. Malo, ‘twas a smiling morn in May,
When the Commodore Jacques Cartier to the westward sailed away;
In the crowded old Cathedral all the town were on their knees,
For the safe return of kinsmen from the undiscovered seas;
And every autumn blast that swept o’er pinnacle and pier
Filled manly hearts with sorrow, and gentle hearts with fear. 

A year passed o’er St. Malo—again came round the day
When the Commodore Jacques Cartier to the westward sailed away;
But no tidings from the absent had come the way they went,
And tearful were the vigils that many a maiden spent;
And manly hearts were filled with gloom, and gentle hearts with fear,
When no tidings came from Cartier at the closing of the year. [page 109] 

But the earth is as the future, it hath its hidden side,
And the Captain of St. Malo was rejoicing in his pride;
In the forests of the North—while his townsmen mourned his loss—
He was rearing on Mount Royal the fleur-de-lis and cross;
And when two months were over, and added to the year,
St. Malo hailed him home again, cheer answering to cheer.

He told them of a region, hard, iron-bound and cold,
Nor seas of pearl abounded, nor mines of shining gold;
Where the wind from Thule freezes the word upon the lip,
And the ice in spring comes sailing athwart the early ship;
He told them of the frozen scene, until they thrilled with fear,
And piled fresh fuel on the hearth to make him better cheer.

But then he changed the strain—he told how soon are cast
In early spring the fetters that hold the waters fast;
And rills and rivers sing with pride the anthem of the free;
How the magic wand of summer clad the landscape to his eyes
Like the dry bones of the just, when they wake in paradise.

He told them of the Algonquin braves, the hunters of the wild,
Of how the Indian mother in the forest rocks her child;
Of how, poor souls! they fancy in every living thing
A spirit good or evil, that claims their worshipping; [page 110] 
Of how they brought their sick and maimed for him to breathe upon,
And of the wonders wrought for them through the Gospel of St. John.

He told them of the river whose mighty current gave
Its freshness for a hundred leagues to Ocean’s briny wave;
He told them of the glorious scene presented to his sight,
What time he reared the cross and crown on Hochelaga’s height,
And of the fortress cliff that keeps of Canada the key,
And they welcomed back Jacques Cartier from his perils o’er the sea.


Twice have I sailed the Atlantic o’er,
   Twice dwelt an exile in the West;
Twice did kind Nature’s skill restore
   The quiet of my troubled breast.
As moss upon a rifted tree,
   So time its gentle cloaking did,
But though the wound no eye could see,
   Deep in my heart the barb was hid.

I felt a weight where’er I went—
   I felt a void within my brain;
My day-hopes and my dreams were blent
   With sable threads of mental pain;
My eye delighted not to look
   On forest old or rapids grand;
The stranger’s joy I scarce could brook—
   My heart was in my own dear land. [page 111]

Where’er I turned, some emblem still
   Roused consciousness upon my track;
Some hill was like an Irish hill,
   Some wild bird’s whistle call’d me back;
A sea-bound ship bore off my peace
   Between its white, cold wings of woe;
Oh! if I had but wings like these,
   Where my peace went I, too, would go. [page 112]



    Mrs. Faulkner (Rhoda Ann Page) was born at Harkney, England, in 1826. Coming to the wilds of Upper Canada while still only a child, she had few educational facilities, but her home surroundings were such as to foster a natural fondness for reading. Poetry especially was her delight. A volume of verse, entitled “Wild Notes from the Backwoods,” was published in 1850. She was married in 1856, and then, as H. J. Morgan says: “Her family and other cares usurped the place of poesy, and, with the exception of one or two stray pieces, her pen was comparatively idle.” She died near Cobourg, Ont., in 1863.


Dreams, mystic dreams, whence do ye come?
In what far land is your fairy home?
From whence at night do ye hither stray?
Where do ye flee at the dawn of day?
Ye never can fold your wand’ring wings,
Ye wild, unfathomable things. [page 113] 

Come ye from a beautiful world afar?
The land where the lost and loved ones are,
That ye bring back so oft in your shadowy reign,
The sound of their voices to earth again,
And their sunny smiles, and their looks of light,
In the silent hours of the quiet night?

Ye have brought again to the mother’s breast
The child she hath lain in his grave to rest,
And she hears him prattling at her knee,
And she watches with joy his infant glee,
And kisses again that fair young brow
That meets but a worm’s caresses now.

Ye have opened the captive’s prison door,
And he stands on his own hearth-stone once more;
His sire is there with words of blessing,
His mother with tears and fond caressing,
And his sister’s form to his heart is clasped,
And a brother’s hand in his own is grasped,
And he feels nor fetter, nor galling chain,—
He is safe! He is free! He is home again!

The murderer lies in his murky den,
His crime is hidden from human ken,
Few of his victim’s fate may know,
None may tell who hath struck the blow,
But ye have brought to his sight again
Him, whom his own red hand has slain—
With ghastly smile and with glassy eye,
And finger pointing in mockery.
Dreams, ye are strange and fearful things,
When ye come in the might of conscience-stings.

The child lies down in his cradle bed;
His soft hand pillows his drowsy head, [page 114] 
And his parted lips have a cherub smile,
Untouched by sorrow, unstained by guile;
Falls Heaven’s light on his baby brow,
And he lists to the “Angel’s whisper” now.
Dreams, ye are bright and beautiful things
When ye visit the child on seraph’s wings.

Not in the hours of sleep alone,
Dreams, is your airy empire won.
Wild tho’ the phantoms of midnight are,
Our waking visions are wilder far,
Wilder and vainer; and wise is he
Who taketh them not for reality.

The soldier dreams of the laurel wreath
As he rushes on to the field of death;
The minstrel dreams of the fadeless bay,
While pouring his soul in his fervid lay;
And the soldier lies with thousands as brave,
And the minstrel filleth a nameless grave.

The statesman dreams of ambition’s dower,
Of the pride of wealth and the pomp of power,
Of a people’s trust and a people’s love,
That the waning years of his life may prove;
And when age hath palsied both brain and limb,
Oh, sad is the waking awaiting him!

The lover dreams of a mortal brow
That shall shine ever blest and bright as now,
Of an earthly love which no power may change,
No sorrow darken, no time estrange,
That shall know no shadow, no fear, no fall—
Oh, his is the wildest dream of all! [page 115] 

We are dreamers all, we shall still dream on,
Till the vision of life itself be done,
Till the weary race to the goal is run—
Till the fevered pulses are checked and chilled,
Till the fluttering heart is forever stilled,
Till the final struggle at length is o’er,
And we lie down in quiet to dream no more.

< a name=MrsWMLawson>
Mrs. William Lawson (Mary Jane Katzmann) was born near Dartmouth, N.S., on January 15th, 1828. She was for two years editress of the Provincial Magazine. In 1887 her history of the townships of Dartmouth, Preston and Lawrencetown won the Aikins Historical prize of King’s College. She wrote a considerable amount of fugitive verse, much of which was collected and edited by Mr. Henry Piers and Miss Constance Fairbanks, under the title of “Frankincense and Myrrh,” in 1893, three years after the author’s death.


 Dec. 31, 1882.

We stood on the bridge of the Ages—
   The current of Time upon earth.
The Old Year was sealing its record,
   The New Year had come to the birth.
In silence we stood by the ebb-tide
   And watched it melt into the sea— [page 116] 
A drop in that infinite ocean
   That has been and ever shall be.

The Old Year looked back on the schedule
   It had filled, and was filing away,
Laid up for the doom of the coming assize,
   To be used by the Judge in that day.
What a record of sorrow it held,
   Of fire, of famine, and flood;
So much of it blistered with tears,
   So much of it written in blood.

The signs which no skill could decipher,
   The problems no mortal could read,
Of ignorance, folly and weakness,
   Of suffering, wonder and need!
It was but a fragment at best,
   Yet the touch of its pages was flame;
And he shrank from the scroll with a blush,
   And his dying soul shivered with shame.

The great solemn stars of the midnight
   Like the face of the Sphinx were set
They sang at the birth of creation,
   Hold they clue to its mystery yet?
As we stood on the Bridge of the Ages,
   They were floating away in the blue,
And their calm, tender eyes watched with us,
   As the Old and the New Year passed through!

The Old Year was fading in death,
   The New Year was come to the birth;
And one was ashamed, and one was afraid,
   And the travail was sore upon earth. [page 117] 
Death-agony met with birth-anguish; in fear
   The old mother’s bosom was stirred;
And the struggle for life, and the sob of despair,
   In the sound of the earthquake were heard. 

A shiver of sympathy thrilled the dark veins;
   Earth shook to her innermost soul;
A moment the stars ceased their shining, the next
   As a parchment was rolled the weird scroll.
The Old Year was silent forever,
   The New Year went forth to fulfil;
And not in the earthquake, and not in the cloud,
   We heard a voice tender and still:

“Leave future and past in the Hand
   Which can guide, direct, and control;
Man, walking in shadow, sees on in part,
   God looks on the perfected whole!
Our years rise and fall—His years are the same;
   He knows, and His knowledge is best;
Earth’s distant to-morrows, His yesterdays all,
   And we in His wisdom can rest!”


I come from the depths in my ebon robe,
Winding its folds round the silent globe;
Bringing cool dews to the drooping flower,
Giving to Nature a resting hour.
I come with slumber, and calm, and peace;
Toil folds its hands as the echoes cease;
I hold the restless in gentle thrall,
But I come not with blessing and peace to all. [page 118] 

The idle, the vain, and the evil see
A veil for their craft and their sins in me;
Beneath my silence and mantle grey
The ruffian seeks his lawless prey.
The fierce debauch, and the guilty deed,
Find in my shadow the cloak they need;
And many a wild and unhallowed rite
Makes darker still the solemn night.

I come with conscience, remorse and fear,
Till the false heart quails at the record drear;
I open the book of the darkened past,
Where memory rules an empire vast;
And the humblest spirit strives to still
The voices that rise at my judgment will,
Till it cowers condemned in its lonely fright
From the secrets unveiled by the searcher, Night.

I come with holier things than these,
As a priest I hallow life’s mysteries;
I come with repentance, and praise, and prayer,
Sweet voices that thrill through the listening air.
I come with beauty, and calm, and rest,
To tired pilgrims a holy guest;
With dreams of love, and hope’s loveliest things,
For the young heart slumbering beneath my wings.

All Nature has temples and altars fair,
And I am the priestess who ministers there;
My lamps are the holy stars above,
Pure vestals of beauty, and praise, and love.
My vigil hymn is the low-voiced breeze,
As it sighs through the leaves of the watching trees;
And the prayer that is asking for help and light,
Is heard in the hush of the holy night. [page 119]



   It is a lamentable duty to give place in this work, treating of the departed poetry-writers of our country, to one whose interest, advice and encouragement were of invaluable assistance in its inception, and who throughout was always ready to give from his inexhaustible store of information and experience such help as was from time to time needed.

George Murray, B.A., A.K.C., F.R.C.S., educationist, journalist and poet, undoubtedly one of the most finished classical scholars on the American continent, passed away at his home in Montreal on the 13th of March of the current year (1910).

The son of James Murray, foreign editor of the London Times, George Murray was born in London, Eng., March 23rd, 1830. He first attended the school of Dr. Greig, Walthamshire, Surrey, and, later, King’s College, London, where he was distinguished as the winner of several prizes for English and Latin verse and a classical scholarship. He took his B.A. degree at Oxford in 1850. Shortly after his arrival in Canada, in [page 120] 1859, he was appointed Senior Classical Master in the Montreal High School. He continued to discharge the duties of this position with marked ability and success until the year 1892, when he retired. He was literary editor of the Montreal Star for almost thirty years. His poem, “The Thistle,” won for him the gold medal of the St. Andrew’s Society of Ottawa in 1869, and in 1874 he was the winner of a prize offered by the Montreal Witness for the best poem on any incident in Canadian history, his poem for this latter occasion relating the story of the heroic sacrifice by which seventeen young French-Canadians saved the town of Montreal from destruction by the Iroquois in May, 1660. Mr. Murray was one of the original members of the Royal Society of Canada appointed at its formation. The last literary venture with which he was conspicuously connected was the Montreal Standard, established in 1905, and still flourishing. “Verses and Versions,” a collection of his poems and translations, was published in 1891. He was much better known as an educationist, prose writer and literary critic than as a poet. His poems were written as a recreation, and he himself did not take them seriously. It always amused him when he heard himself referred to as a “poet.” But, thorough master as he was of French and English, his translations from the poems of Hugo, De Musset and others are undeniably triumphs of art, and are unsurpassed in our language, if indeed they can be said to be equalled.

The news of this eminent scholar’s death caused widespread regret, and it is a sad and safe conjecture that the place he has left vacant will not soon be filled. [page 121]


Once, at a battle’s close, a soldier met
A youthful comrade whom his eyes had missed
Amid the dust and tumult of the strife.
Flushed with the glow of victory, and proud
Of wounds received in presence of his chief,
He spake in tones of triumph to the boy:
“I did not see thee in the battle’s flame”;
The stripling answered: “I was in the smoke.”
Then, with his hand upon his bleeding heart,
He closed his eyes, and suddenly fell dead!
So countless heroes, oft unheeded, fight
In Life’s grim battle, hidden by the smoke.
With patient martyrdom they ply the tasks
That God assigns them. Words of sympathy 
From human lips too seldom cheer their toil,
Or help them to be victors over pain.
Few mark their struggle in the crowded world,
Few soothe their anguish while they inly bleed,
And, when they answer to the call of Death,
Their names are syllabled on earth no more.


Ghastly and strange was the relic found
By swarthy pitmen below the ground:

They were hard, rough men, but each heart beat quick,
Each voice with horror was hoarse and thick,

For never perchance since the world began,
Had sight so solemn been seen by man! [page 122] 

The pitman foremost to see the sight
Had shrieked out wildly and swooned with fright;

His comrades heard, for the shrill, sacred cry
Rang through each gallery, low and high,

So they clutched their picks and they clustered round
And gazed with awe at the thing they found,

For never perchance since the world began
Had sight so solemn been seen by man!

It lay alone in a dark recess;
How long it had lain there none might guess.

They held above it a gleaming lamp,
But the air of the cavern was chill and damp,

So they carried it up to the blaze of day,
And set the thing in the sun’s bright ray.

‘Twas the corpse of a miner in manhood’s bloom,
An image dismal in glare or gloom.

Awful it seemed in its stillness there,
With its calm, wide eyes and its jet-black hair,

Cold as some effigy carved in stone
And clad in raiment that matched their own;

But none of the miners who looked could trace
Friend, son, or brother in that pale face.

What marvel! a century’s half had rolled
Since that strong body grew stiff and cold; [page 123] 

In youth’s blithe summer-time robbed of breath
By vapors winged with electric death.

Many, who felt that their mate was slain,
Probed earth’s deep heart for his corpse, in vain;

And when naught was found, after years had fled,
Few still shed tears for the stripling dead,

Save one true maiden, who kept the vows
Pledged oft to Willie, her promised spouse.

Now cold he lieth for whom she pined,
A soulless body, deaf, dumb and blind,

But still untainted, with flesh all firm,
Untravelled o’er by the charnel-worm.

‘Twas as though some treacherous element
Had strangled a life, and then, ill-content,

Had, pitying sorely the poor dead clay,
Embalmed the body to balk decay,

Striving to keep, when the breath was o’er,
A semblance of that which had been before.

So it came to pass, that there lay in the sun,
Stared at by many but claimed by none,

A corpse, unsullied, and life-like still,
Though its heart, years fifty since, was chill.

But ho! ye miners, call forth your old,
Let men and matrons the corpse behold, [page 124] 

Before the hour cometh, as come it must,
When the flesh shall crumble and fall to dust;

Some dame or grey-beard may chance to know
This lad, who perished so long ago.

The summons sped like a wind-blown flame;
From cot and cabin each inmate came.

Veteran miners, a white-haired crew,
Limped, crawled and tottered the dead to view,

(Some supporting companions sick,
Leaning themselves upon crutch or stick),

With wrinkled groups of decrepit crones,
Wearily dragging their palsied bones.

‘Twas a quaint, sad sight to see, that day,
A crowd so withered, and gaunt, and gray.

And each stoops downward in turn, and pries
Into its visage with purblind eyes;

Mind and memory from some are gone,
Aghast and silent, they all look on.

But lo! there cometh a dark-robed dame,
With care-worn features and age-bowed frame,

Bearing dim traces of beauty yet,
As light still lingers when day has set.

She nears the corpse, and the crowd give way,
For “’Tis her lover,” some old men say, [page 125] 

Her lover Willie, who, while his bride
Decked the white robe for her wedding, died—

Died at his work in the coal-seam, smit
By fumes that poisoned the baleful pit!

One piercing shriek! she has seen the face
And clings to the body with strict embrace.

‘Tis he, to whose pleading in bygone years
She yielded to her heart, while she wept glad tears,

The same brave Willie, that once she knew,
To whom she was ever, and still is, true.

Unchanged each feature, undimmed each tress;
He is clasped, as of old, in a close caress.

Many an eye in that throng was wet,
The pitmen say they can ne’er forget

The wild, deep sorrow and yearning love
Of her who lay moaning that corpse above.

She smoothed his hair and she stroked his cheek,
She half forgot that he could not speak;

And fondly whispered endearing words
In murmur sweet as the song of birds:

“Willie, O Willie, my bonny lad,
Was ever meeting so strange and sad?

Four and fifty lone years have passed
Since i’ the flesh I beheld thee last. [page 126] 

Thou art comely still, as i’ the days o’ yore,
And the girl-love wells i’ my heart once more.

I thank Thee, Lord, that Thy tender ruth
Suffers mine arms to enfold this youth,

For I loved him much…I am now on the brink
O’er the cold, cold grave, and I didna think,

When the lad so long i’ the pit had lain,
These lips would ever press his again!

Willie, strange thoughts i’ my soul arise
While thus I caress thee with loving eyes;

We meet, one lifeless, one living yet,
As lover ne’er i’ this world have met.

We are both well-nigh of one age, but thou
Hast coal-black curls and a smooth, fair brow.

While I, thy chosen, beside thee lie,
Grey-haired and wrinkled and fain to die!”

So sobbed the woman; and all the crowd
Lifted their voices and wept aloud,

Wept to behold her, as there she clung,
One so aged, to one so young.

And surely pathos more deep or keen
In earthly contrast was never seen.

Both had been youthful, long years ago,
When neither dreamed of the coming woe;

But time with the maiden had onward sped,
Standing still with her lover dead! [page 127]


With limbs at rest on the earth’s green breast
   In a dim and solemn wood,
A proud form lay, on a summer day,
   In listless, dreaming mood.

A streamlet slow in the brake below
   Went sadly wailing on,
With murmurs wild, like a restless child
   That seeketh something gone.

The dreamer rose from his vain repose
   With stern and sullen look,
And scornful ire blazed forth like fire,
   As he cursed the simple brook;

“Thy murmurs deep disturb my sleep—
   Be still, thou streamlet hoarse!
Small right hast thou of voice, I trow,
   To tell thy foolish course.”

The waters stirred, for a spirit heard—
   The spirit of the streams—
And a voice replied, that softly sighed
   Like a voice we hear in dreams:

“If the sleeper fear my voice to hear,
   Let him move each rocky stone,
Whose cruel force impedes my course,
   And makes my waters moan.

*     *     *     *     *    *     *

Oft in my heart strange fancies start,
   And a voice in plaintive strain
Sings, sadly sings, that earthly things
   Were shadowed to my brain; [page 128] 

That wealth and birth on God’s free earth
   Oft curse the noise and strife
Which poor men make, as they strive to break
   Through the rugged ways of life.

The sad voice sings, that ermined kings
   Dream on in stately halls,
With curses deep for their broken sleep
   When an anguished people calls;

And when sharp stones wake human moans,
   They hear, but never move,
Nor lend men strength to win at length
   The liberty they love. [page 129]



   John Hunter-Duvar, the “Bard of Hernwood,” was born in Scotland, Aug. 29th, 1830. He came to Canada early in life, and soon became thoroughly Canadian. He was Lieutenant-Colonel of the 3rd Brigade, Halifax Garrison Artillery, and afterwards commanded the Prince County, P.E.I., Battalion of active militia. For ten years he held the position of Dominion Inspector of Fisheries for Prince Edward Island. Besides a mass of scattered prose work, he wrote “The Enamorado, a Drama,” which appeared in 1879; “De Roberval, a Drama,”; also “The Emigration of the Fairies,” and “The Triumph of Constancy, A Romaunt,” in 1888. He likewise had printed for private circulation some lyrical poems under the title, “John A’Var, His Lais.” For many years he lived in comparative retirement at his home, “Hernwood,” Fortune Cove, P.E.I., where he died Jan. 25th, 1899.

It is hardly likely that the poems of John Hunter-Duvar will ever attain very wide popularity outside of the Maritime Provinces, where he was known. While, like his prose work, they bear unmistakable testimony to a highly cultured mind and natural ability of no mean order, there is yet that about them which seems to set [page 130] them without the pale of popular fancy. Perhaps it is the humanizing touch they lack. They are the work of the recluse of Hernwood, the man who, content with the companionship of his books and his own thoughts, lived his life in the past, giving full play to his romantic fancies, almost heedless of the great life-drama being enacted in the world around him.


In the Rheingan standeth Aix,
   And in Aix is La Chapelle;
On a royal marble dais,
      Underneath a vaulted dome,
      With his feet upon a tomb,
   Sits a dread and fearsome Thing
As ever minstrel-poet sang!
   Dead two hundred years! A King
On his throne sits Charlemagne
   In his capital of Aix!

In awful state that mighty Shade
   Sitteth in its chair of stone;
      In the hand, long ages dead,
The sword with unsheathed blade
   And sceptre bright with gems;
      On the breast a cross of lead,
On the form a golden gown,
      And encircling on his head
   The French and German diadems
And the Lombard crown! [page 131] 

And throughout the centuries old,
   Underneath the vaulted dome,
   With his feet upon a tomb,
Alone and ghastly, stern and cold,
   In silence save when midnight tolls
   And its heavy murmur rolls
All among the columns round
   With a solemn measured clang;
In the silentness profound
   Sits the shade of Charlemagne
Armed and crowned!



Sound of heart and fancy free
   Rode the gallant knight,
Forth to prince’s joust rode he
   In his armor bright;
Of Yolante, the peerless,
   Heedless was he quite.

Queen Yolante, the splendor-eyed,
   Sate with many a dame,
When her beauty he descried
   Flashed his heart aflame,—
To Yolante, the peerless,
   Captive fell the knight.

Fair Yolante, the golden-tressed,
   Met one burning glance,
And love’s smart within her breast
   Was like prick of lance;
For love is found withouten quest,
   And Love is life’s unrest. [page 132]


Never, never, never
   Can you tell
Whether love will last forever,
   And ‘tis well;
Who would ever have before them
   Thoughts of death?
Who would aye have hanging o’er them
   Troubles’ breath?
Therefore ever, ever
   Think ‘tis well
To believe love dieth never,
   Clara belle!


Fly out, O rosy banner, on the breeze!
   Clash, music! in a tempest wild and free;
Ring out, O bells! above the waving trees,
   Shine sun, earth smile, and add thy voice, O sea!
          My lady—lady loves me.

Ye lisping streams that flash in currents strong!
   Hill echoes! founts that plashing purl and ream!
Sweet singing birds that twitter all day long
   For very wantonness, be this the theme:
          My lady—lady loves me.

O unseen spirits! faery ministers
   That swirl in summer cloud-land, and rejoice
And stream your flowing hair, less bright than hers,
   Join in the chorus with your unheard voice:
          My lady—lady loves me. [page 133]


Adieu to France! my latest glance
   Falls on thy port and bay, Rochelle;
The sun-rays on the surf-curls dance,
   And spring-time, like a pleasing spell,
Harmonious holds the land and sea.
   How long, alas, I cannot tell,
Ere this scene will come back to me.

The hours fleet fast, and on the mast
   Soon shall I hoist the parting sail;
Soon will the outer bay be passed,
   And on the sky-line eyes will fail
To see a streak that means the land.
   On, then! before the tides and gale,
Hope at the helm, and in God’s hand.

What doom I meet, my heart will beat
   For France, the debonnaire and gay.
She ever will in memory’s seat
   Be present to my mind alway.
Hope whispers my return to you,
   Dear land, but should fate say me nay,
And this should be my latest view.
Fair France, loved France, my France, adieu!
Salut à la France! Salut!


The mountain peaks put on their hoods,
          Good night!
And the long shadows of the woods
   Would fain the landscape cover quite; [page 134] 
The timid pigeons homeward fly,
Scared by the whoop-owl’s eerie cry,
          Whoo-oop! whoo-oop!
As like a fiend he flitteth by;
   The ox to stall, the fowl to coop,
The old man to his nightcap warm,
   Young men and maids to slumbers light,—
Sweet Mary, keep our souls from harm!
          Good night! good night!


A gallant fleet sailed out to sea
With the pennons streaming merrily.
     On the hulls the tempest lit,
     And the great ships split
        In the gale,
And the foaming fierce sea-horses
Hurled the fragments in their forces
     To the ocean deeps,
     Where the kraken sleeps,
        And the whale.

The men are in the ledges’ clefts,
   Dead, but with motion of living guise
      Their bodies are rocking there,
Monstrous sea-fish and efts
   Stare at them with glassy eyes
       As their limbs are stirred, and their hair,

               Moan, O sea!
O death at once and the grave,
And sorrow in passing, O cruel wave! [page 135] 
   Let the resonant sea-caves ring,
   And the sorrowful surges sing,
For the dead men rest but restlessly.

We do keep account of them
And sing an ocean requiem
          For the brave. [page 136]



   Theodore H. Rand, D.C.L., educationist, was born in Cornwallis, N.S., February 8th, 1835. He was Superintendent of Education successively in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, in both of which provinces he was instrumental in organizing the system of free schools. He filled the chair of Education and History in Acadia College for two years, removing to Toronto in 1885 to fill the chair of Didactics and Apologetics in McMaster Hall. The following year he became Principal of the Baptist College, Woodstock. In 1888 he returned to McMaster Hall, which had been in the meantime raised to the rank of a university. He became its chancellor in 1892. This office he resigned in 1895 on account of ill-health. He published “At Minas Basin, and Other Poems” in 1897; a second edition, enlarged, in 1898; and “Song Waves” in 1900. In this latter year he also brought out a new and useful Canadian anthology, entitled “A Treasury of Canadian Verse.” This book was issued only a few weeks before Dr. Rand’s death. [page 137]


A pearly boat am I,
   From Silver Crag I hail,
Wrought of the sea and sky,
   Freighted with moonbeams pale.

I hoist my purple sails
   To catch the starbeam’s gold,
And furl them in the gales
   The sun blows overbold.

Rainbows and flying tints,
   The sunset’s crimson glow,
A thousand gleams and glints
   All day do come and go.

But as the silver moon
   Rolls up the breathless blue,
And all the stars in swoon
   Are hidden from my view,

I ope my hatches wide
   And lade with pearl and sheen,
To deck my home-bound bride,
   The Basin’s peerless queen.

 “I AM.”

I am, and therefore these;
   Existence is by me,—
Flux of pendulous seas,
   The stable, free. [page 138] 

I am in blush of the rose,
   The shimmer of dawn;
Am girdle Orion knows,
   The fount undrawn.

I am earth’s potency,
   The chemic ray’s, the rain’s,
The reciprocity
   That loads the wains.

I am, or the heavens fall!
   I dwell in my woven tent,
Am immanent in all,—

I am the life in life,
   Impact and verve of thought,
The reason’s lens and knife,
   The ethic “Ought.”

I am of being the stress,
   I am the brooding Dove,
I am the blessing in “bless,”
   The Love in “love.”

I am the living thrill
   And fire of poet and seer,
The breath of man’s good will,
   The Father near;

Am end of the way men grope,
   Core of the ceaseless strife,
I am man’s bread of hope,
   Water of life. [page 139] 

I am the root of faith,
   Substance of vision, too,
Spirit shadowed in wraith,
   Urim in dew.

I am the soul’s white Sun,
   Love’s slain, enthronèd Lamb,
I am the Holy One,
   I am I Am!


The fitful rustle of thy sea-green leaves
   Tells of the homeward tide, and free-blown air
   Upturns thy gleaming leafage like a share,—
A silvery foam thy bosom, as it heaves!
   O peasant tree, the regal Bay doth bare
Its throbbing breast to ebbs and floods—and grieves.
O slender fronds, pale as a moonbeam weaves,
   Joy woke your strain that trembles to despair!

Willow of Normandy, say, do the birds
   Of motherland ‘plain in thy sea-chant low,
      Or voice of those who brought thee in the ships
To tidal vales of Acadie?—Vain words!
   Grief unassuaged makes moan that Gaspereau
      Bore on its flood the fleet with iron lips!


Fair hero, brave hero of sea—
   The sea in its darkness of wrath!
I run down the breaker with thee,
   I mount the next in its path. [page 140] 

Our hearts beat together, charmed one,
   Lift their wings as fearless as free,
Ride the gloom as if ‘twere the sun,
   Gold-bridled for you and for me.

Summer rain, the cold, drifting sleet
   That whistles as spiteful as hail!
A roadstead, the billows that fleet
   Under the black lash of the gale!

We laugh at their seething, their roar,
   Draw our breath full in their face;
We have wings, we know we can soar—
   Your secret and mine in embrace!

(Wings, wings, the soul of our life!
   Outspread they victory tell,—
Upliftings ‘mid dark gulfs of strife,
   Wafts of heaven that keep us from hell!)

Brave hero, winged hero of sea—
   The sea with black tempest in breast,
Here we mount on the breakers free,
   Soon to soar into calm, into rest.


In autumn’s dreamy ear, as suns go by
   Whose yellow beams are dulled with languorous motes,
   The deep vibrations of the cosmic notes
Are the voice of those that prophesy.
Her spirit kindles, and her filmy eye!
   In haste the fluttering robe, whose glory floats
   In pictured folds, her eager soul devotes—
Lo, she with her winged harper sweeps the sky! [page 141] 

Splendors of blossomed time, like poppies red,
   Distil dull slumbers o’er the engagèd soul
      And thrall with sensuous pomp its azured dower;
      Till, roused by vibrant touch from the unseen Power,
The spirit keen, freed from the painted dead,
   On wings mounts up to reach its living Goal. [page 142]



    Charles Pelham Mulvaney, M.A., M.D., a classical scholar of distinction, was born in Dublin, Ireland, May 20th, 1835, and was educated at Trinity College in his native city. He came to Canada while still a young man, and joined the Queen’s Own Rifles in 1866. His prose writings show the touch of the scholar and the artist, and there is that in his poetry, too, which bears testimony to gifts and abilities above the average, but the evident carelessness with which his verses were struck off debars him from the place which we feel a little thought and effort must have won for him in poetical literature. Conjointly with A. H. Chandler, of Dorchester, N. B., he published “Lyrics, Songs and Sonnets” in 1880. Dr. Mulvaney died in Toronto, May 31st, 1885.


At the Theatre.

Dark tresses made rich with all treasures,
   Earth’s gold-dust, and pearls of the sea,—
She is splendid as Rome that was Caesar’s,
   And cruel as Rome that was free! [page 143] 

Could I paint her but once as I found her,
   From her porphyry couch let her lean,
With the reek of the circus around her—
   Who is centre and soul of the scene:

Grey eyes that glance keen as the eagle
   When he swoops to his prey from on high;
Bold arms by the red gold made regal—
   White breast never vexed with a sigh;

And haughty her mien as of any
   Her sires whom the foemen knew well,
As they rode through the grey mist at Cannæ,
   Ere consul with consular fell.

Unabashed in her beauty of figure—
   Heavy limbs and thick tresses uncurled
To our gaze, give the grace and the vigor
   Of the race that has conquered the world.

And fierce with the blood of the heroes
   In their sins and their virtues sublime—
Sits the Queen of the world that is Nero’s.
   And as keen for a kiss or a crime!

But the game that amuses her leisure
   Loses zest as the weaker gives way;
And the victor looks up for her pleasure—
   Shall he spare with the swordpoint or slay?

Half-grieving she gathers her tresses,
   Now the hour for the game has gone by.
And those soft arms, so sweet for caresses,
   Point prone as she signs, “Let him die!” [page 144]


By Pollux! no time to wait, for the gathering crowds are rolled
From Phæon’s ivory gate to Cæsar’s House of Gold!
For to-night a new delight, new pleasures the good gods send—
If away from the feast to-night thou art not Cæsar’s friend.
From forum and temple gates behold how the torches rise,
Fair as the Emperor’s fates and bright as are Acte’s eyes!
Gay with shouting and song are the wide illumined ways—
Each hour to the passing throng a festival wreath displays.
From the Esquiline and the camp they are flocking by Tiber’s side;
Sublime with many a lamp Suburra lights on the tide
No room for the laggard who waits, so fast the crowds are whirled
To Poppæa’s garden gates, where Cæsar shall feast the world.

The gods give us stars for light, but Cæsar, a god below,
Giving us day for night, bids all to the banquet go,—
Spread in the gardens fair, where the stately gates stand wide,
And for all is room and to spare, and never is guest denied.
Virtue is welcome, and vice, each class-distinction that springs
From old-world notions too nice for the stage when Cæsar sings! [page 145] 
Patrician ladies in state, on the necks of slaves upborne,
And brides of the Arch, who wait where bride-veil never was worn!
All Rome’s pride and her pests, her glory and greed and shame,
To-night shall be Cæsar’s guests, “Circenses and bread” may claim. [page 146] 



   John Talon Lesperance, for years a recognized force in the Canadian world of periodical literature, was born in St. Louis, Mo., October 3rd, 1838, of a family of French-Canadian origin. His education, begun in St. Louis, was finished in Frieburg, Germany. He took part, on the Southern side, in the American Civil War. Coming to Canada in 1868, he settled in St. Johns, Quebec. During several years he wrote for the St. Johns News, the Montreal press, and the magazines. He became connected with the Montreal Gazette in 1872. Later he took charge of the Illustrated Canadian News, which he edited successfully for several years. He was appointed Provincial Immigration Agent at Montreal in 1882. This position he held till 1888, when he became editor of the Dominion Illustrated. Mr. Lesperance was the author of several novels and a large number of short stories. But he was best known by his popular contributions to the Montreal Gazette, under the nom-de-plume “Leclede.” He was one of the first twenty members of the second section of the Royal Society of Canada appointed by the Marquis of Lorne, and he contributed [page 147] some valuable papers to the literature of the society.

This writer is spoken of by his contemporaries as a man of gentle and lovable disposition, a scholar with a well-stored mind and broad sympathies, and a critic of rare discernment. He died at Montreal on March 10th, 1892.

The poems reproduced here cannot be said to have been a selection from, or, all considered, even a fair sample of, Mr. Lesperance’s work. His poems were never collected or preserved, and, under the circumstances, the few pieces procurable leave little scope for selection “The Bride of Death” is thought by his friends to have reference to a favorite daughter, the shock of whose premature death shadowed the closing years of his life.


Shall we break the plight of youth,
   And pledge us to an alien love?
No! We hold our faith and truth,
   Trusting to the God above.
      Stand, Canadians, firmly stand
      Round the flag of fatherland!

Britain bore us in her flank,
   Britain nursed us at our birth,
Britain reared us to our rank
   ‘Mid the nations of the earth.
      Stand, Canadians, firmly stand
       Round the flag of fatherland! [page 148] 

In the hour of pain and dread,
   In the gathering of the storm,
Britain raised above our head
   Her broad shield and sheltering arm.
      Stand, Canadians, firmly stand
      Round the flag of fatherland!

O triune kingdom of the brave,
   O sea-girt island of the free,
O empire of the land and wave,
   Our hearts, our hands, are all for thee!
      Stand, Canadians, firmly stand
      Round the flag of fatherland!


See where the dwarf acacia’s branches shower
Their milk-white blossoms on a sodded grave;
Bury me here at sunset’s holy hour;
     The bride of death would slumber
     Where the grey shadows wave.

Tell me not, pray, of gems and orange blossoms,
Of golden marriage bells, so soft and sweet,
Of flashing eyes and palpitating bosoms,
     And music faintly chiming
     To swiftly glancing feet.

Tell me not either of the nameless blessings
That consecrate the cares and toils of home;
Maternal thrills at infants’ fond caressings,
     Murmurs of love that gushing
     From husband’s heart-deeps come. [page 149] 

I am the Bride of Death. No earthly lover
May set the ring upon this cold white hand;
The swart death-angel’s pinions o’er me hover
     Bearing my hopes, and leading
     Into the shadowy land.

Behind me in the world I leave no token,
No rosy child to lisp a mother’s name;
Nought save a wealth of love unknown, unspoken,
     And memory untarnished
     By blot or blame.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

The darkness deepens in the misty valleys,
The acacia’s blossoms strew our Minnie’s grave,
A dreamy silence haunts the funeral alleys,
     The Bride of Death is sleeping
     Where the grey shadows wave.


Like a wail on the desolate sea-shore, that cold wild gust of December
   Makes moan round the gable at midnight, the last of the year;
And, like the grin of a ghost, the light of a smouldering ember
   Flits in my empty face, and mocks me with visions of cheer. [page 150] 

O where are the dreams that we dreamed? and where the delirious follies
   We loved when the butterflies fluttered in the warmth and fragrance of May?
And where are the vows that we made—those clusters of fiery hollies,
   Brightest and fairest to see on the very eve of decay?

The young man croons at his work, the maiden sings in the bower,
   And the air pulsates with the throbs of a cosmic, infinite love;
But the feet are cold that have met in the sunset’s sensuous hour,
   And the red leaves cover the trysting-seat in the grove.

The old man crosses his hands, and droops his head in the shadows;
   The good wife stops at her wheel, for her eyes are heavy and dim;
But O, on the fringe of the wood, and out on the billowy meadows,
   The great gold light is floating in a celestial dream.

The odor of lilacs still clings to the leaves of the family missal,
   And the date of our bridal is there—I remember ‘twas writ in my blood;
Ah me! yet ‘tis only this morning that I heard the cardinal’s whistle,
   Up in the sumach that sheltered her grave, and where the hydrangea stood.

The rains of the autumn fall chill on the purple slope, where together
   The bones of my babes are enlaced in the roots of that funeral tree; [page 151] 
But still when I look out for them, in the buoyant crystalline weather,
   Their sweet white faces are radiant and smile upon me.

Such is the life of man—a shifting of scenes, with the ranges
   From one extreme to the next—the rise and ebb of the soul;
And what is our bliss ‘mid it all? Why, always to change with the changes,
   Though our single purpose is fixed on the one immutable goal.

Then, to-night, I will chase my sorrow, with that last wild gust of December;
   The gloom where I sit is gone, and the gleams of the morning appear;
The past shall be buried anew in the dust of the smouldering ember,
   For the future rises before me in the flush of the dawning year.

John F. McDonnell, lawyer and journalist, was born in Quebec in 1838. At the age of eighteen he was doing regular journalistic work on the staff of The New Era, a Montreal paper published and edited by the Honourable Thomas D’Arcy McGee. Later he took a position on the Quebec Morning Chronicle, of which latter journal he ultimately became chief editor. He was admitted to the Bar of Lower Canada in 1862. Most of his poems, contributed to various Canadian and [page 152] American periodicals, were written before the age of twenty-five, his later years being overcrowded with the multifarious duties of his dual calling. Rev. Aeneas McDonnell Dawson, in a lecture on Canadian poetry, delivered before the French-Canadian Institute of Ottawa, said of this clever young journalist: “Why should he confine himself to the prosaic labor of editing a newspaper? I, with my old-country notions, would rather see such abilities as Mr. McDonnell is known to possess employed in a wider and more congenial field.” Mr. McDonnell died in his native city of April 30th, 1868.


(A pathetic interest is lent to this poem by the fact that the author died at the hour therein desired.)

‘Tis joy to gaze upon the west
When sinks the glorious sun to rest
Above the sleeping ocean’s breast,
          In purple even;
When crimson clouds are backward rolled,
Like some gay banner’s ‘broidered fold,
From the wide arch of shaded gold—
          As bright as heaven.

The splendor of the evening’s rays
Upon the rippling water plays
Far brighter than the dazzling blaze
          Of rich gems’ glory. [page 153] 

The island summit crowned with pines,
Bathed in its gorgeous tints, outshines
The lustre of all fabled shrines
          In song or story.

And gently still the twilight fades
Beneath the twisted old oak’s shades,
And the dim forest’s leafy glades
          Are sunk in shadow.
So lingeringly the faint gray light
Withdraws its rays—erst dazzling bright—
From mountain crest and rocky height,
           From hill and meadow.

Thus when we glide unto our rest—
Oh, may it be when in the west
The sunset gilds the ocean crest,
          In purple even;
When crimson clouds are backward rolled
From the wide arch of shaded gold,
On some such eve may we behold
          First glimpse of heaven.


Oft when sunset’s mellow crimson
   Through the open casement streams,
Then, in spirit, far I wander
   To the magic land of dreams.

Oft when moonlight, mild and tender,
   O’er the silent city shines,
Then my soul, entrancèd, worships
   At Imagination’s shrines. [page 154] 

Forms of beauty, far surpassing
   All the hours of the East,
Starry eyes, and ringlets golden
   Come unto my fancy’s feast.

Sweetest perfumes fill my chamber
   With their odors rich and rare,
Like the scent of flowers of Eden
   Wafted through the summer air.

Spirits beauteous throng around me,
   Angels bright, with golden lyres;
And I feel the soul within me
   Kindled by their unseen fires.

Seraph-anthems—ah, how tuneless
   Sweetest earthly voices roll,
To this grand and sublime choral,
To this music of the soul!

And I dream of warlike glory—
   Patriot soul and poet tongue;
And I dream of mild-eyed beauty,
   Ever smiling, ever young.

But like snow beneath the spring sun,
   Or the night when morn is nigh;
Or the flowers when autumn cometh—
   All my brightest fancies die.

And I wake again to sorrow
   While Hope’s airy castles fall;
But one dream of happy moments
   Is a guerdon for it all. [page 155] 

Ah! though Fortune frown forever
   Upon my pathway lone,
On the golden shores of Dreamland
   There’s a glory all my own! [page 156]



This well-known Irish-Canadian statesman and journalist was born at Kilfinane, County Limerick, Ireland, January 13th, 1843. His education was begun under private tuition; later he went to Queen’s College, Cork, and finally to a college affiliated to London University. He was called to the Bar of the Middle Temple, London, in 1868. Coming to Canada in 1872, he became leader writer on European literary and social questions for the Toronto Globe; but his leanings being Conservative, he soon left that paper, and later joined the staff of the Mail. He was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1872, and subsequently to that of the North-West Territories. He was created a Q.C. in 1890. During the Conservative régime at Ottawa he held many responsible positions in the Government. Settling in Regina in 1882, he established there the Leader, the first paper issued in Assiniboia.

Mr. Davin was a man of rare and scholarly attainments, well known all over the Dominion as a writer and lecturer. He was the author of a number of able works in prose. His poetical contributions to Canadian literature were: “Album Verses, and Other Poems,” [page 157] 1882; “Eos, a Prairie Drama,” 1884; “Eos, an Epic of the Dawn,” 1889. Of these poems, Mr. MacMurchy, of Toronto, writes: “They reveal the man scholarly, witty, with fine touches, yet at times sacrificing nature, or true art, to the requirements of classical rules.” Mr. Davin died in Winnipeg in 1901.


 (From “Eos, an Epic of the Dawn.”)

 Illusion makes the better part of life.
Happy self-conjurers, deceived, we win
Delight, and, ruled by fancy, live in dreams.
The mood, the hour, the standpoint, rules the scene;
The past, the present, the to-be weave charms;
White-flashing memory’s fleet footsteps fly,
And all the borders of her way are pied
With flowers full glad e’en when their roots touch quick
With pain. With tears upon his dimpled cheek
Forth steps the infant joy, and, laughing, mocks
At care. In time smiles play upon the cheek
Of pale Regret, who grows transformed, and stands
A pensive queen, more fair than boisterous Mirth.
The present’s odorous with leaves of trees
Long dead, and dead defacing woods and thorns,
And past the cloud that glowered, the blast that smote,
And out form never-to-be-trodden days
Hope smiles, and airs from dawns we’re never doomed
To see, come rich with fragrance, fresh with power,
Profuse of promises of golden days,
And join the necromancy of the past,
Mingling the magic which makes up our lives. [page 158]


A star—a star upon the sea,
A star so far, so cold to me.
A star on snowy landscape bold, 
A star more near, a star less cold.
What could it mean, that star for me
That once I saw down by the sea?

What may it bode, that star so bright,
That glimmers ‘cross the crusty white?
I cannot tell. I only know,
It sweetly shines across the snow.

It may be but a passing gleam
Upon my life’s sad-flowing stream;
It may be Destiny’s own glow
That beckons me across the snow,

I do not know; I only feel
Its influence through my bosom steal,
And, as by magic, o’er me throw
A sense of summer spite of snow.


Tell me did He hear thee, maiden?
   Did He grant thy gentle prayer?
Does He rest the heavy-laden?
   Is there balm for wounding there? [page 159] 

Beyond voids no science bridges,
   Beyond suns no glass can sight,
Beyond calm, eternal ridges,
   Casting shadows infinite,

Where He dwells in vast seclusion,
   Which not fancy’s wing can reach,
Does He heed the fond illusions
  That He recks man’s feeble speech?

Say, did bright-robed angels flutter
   O’er thy young form bending there?
Did some voice mysterious utter,
   Sure responses to thy prayer?

*     *     *     *     *     *     *    *    *    *   *   *

Angels bright-robed may have fluttered
   O’er me bowed in sorrow there,
But no voice mysterious uttered
   Aught responsive to my prayer.

Only in my heart I felt where
   Softly Jesus gently stirred
And around me as I knelt there,
   All the effluence of the Word.

Yes, Lord! coarse sense failed to hear Thee,
   Sense made dull by sin’s black wine,
Yet, my God, I knew Thee near me,
   And my spirit touched by Thine. [page 160]


Sweet is the moon above old English trees,
   And sweet her light on dewy velvet lawns,
   And sweet her pallid shade in purple dawns,
And passing sweet her sheen on languid seas,
O’er sleeping kine on broad-extending leas,
   Dispersèd o’er the darkling green like pawns,
   Her light is sweet, and sweet when deep down yawns
The abyss, or whitens far wide prairies.

So friendship whereso’er we go is sweet;
   Whate’er of loss or triumph we may share;
   Whatever we endure, or do, or dare;
Nor can fate all be dark, if round our feet
   Its rays are shed; however ‘mersed in care,
Beauty and peace amid life’s shadows meet.


The cold, cruel gods who forever
   Sway men’s destinies, doomed we should meet.
The cold, cruel gods!—who now sever
   Two wild hearts which bound but to greet;
And then bound as the lark from his low bed,
   And sing as he sings when on high,
When the sun o’er the earth hath his glow shed,
   And his splendor is broad in the sky.

The flush of thy cheek was as morning,
   As her star the sweet light in thine eyes
To a heart wrapped in darkness deforming,
   And tos’t in a tempest of sighs; [page 161] 
And I dreamed in a sleep, sweet to sadness,
   As thy red lips in fancy I prest,
That that heart should beat high with noon’s gladness,
   And should bask in the beams of the West.

But lo! ere the dayspring is dewless,
   Ere the shrill lark’s loud matin is o’er,
I look for thy form, but ‘tis viewless,
   For thy voice, but I hear it no more;
And Night, with the boom of her beetles,
  Dethrones Day, with the songs of her birds;
There are death-knells from shadowy steeples,
   And wailings too wild for all words;

And I roam like some soul banned from blessing
   Amid scenes where joy’s cup used o’er-brim,
And am mocked of a phantom caressing,
   And the ghost of a conjugal hymn;
There’s a night in my heart past fate’s scorning,
   Since above it no morrow shall rise,
For the flush of thy cheek was my morning,
   My day-star, the light in thine eyes. [page 162]



In enumerating the works of Grant Allen, bibliographers frequently omit to mention a little book of poems called “The Lower Slopes,” published in 1894, for it is chiefly as novelist and naturalist that Mr. Allen is remembered in Canada. He was the son of the late Rev. Joseph Antisell Allen, and was born February 24th, 1848, at Alwington House, Kingston, Ont. His education, which was commenced under his father’s direction, was finished in Merton College, Oxford. After teaching for a short time in a college in Jamaica he returned to England, and, to quote Mr. MacMurchy, of Toronto, “made an attempt to study and write on scientific subjects, but found the financial return inadequate for a bare living. He was induced by his friends to adopt the writing of stories, and thus he found how to please the multitude and make a fair livelihood. In this manner he discovered ‘that he was an artist in an art which he did not love.’” The few poems he has left us show him a scholarly man, deeply thoughtful and keenly sympathetic, a hater of oppression and wrong. He died October 25th, 1899, at Surrey, England. [page 163]


    (Introduction to a group of poems still mostly unpublished.—Author’s Note.)

Servant, awake and arise, for the people have slept overlong;
   Sing with the tongue that I bid thee a new and unlovable lay;
Sing of a pitiless race, and the blight of a terrible wrong,
   Ancient as infinite ages, and young as the morn of to-day.

Sing of the maiden, thy sister, whom men, thy brothers, have sold,
   Cast on the merciless world, on the tide of the ravening years;
Bought with a price in the market, and paid with dishonor and gold;
   Courted and loved and betrayed, and deserted to desolate tears.

Master, I pray thee, forbear; for some other is fitter than I,
   Louder and clearer of tone to declare what thou wilt to the earth.
Mine is a fledgling of song, and its pinions are feeble to fly;
   Let me but listen in peace to the minstrels of love and of mirth.

May I not lie in the garden where singers before me have lain,
   Set to the sun and the summer, the edge of a flowery slope,
Far from the chills of the North and the whisper of sorrow and pain, [page 164] 
   Flooded with violet’s odor and perfume of heliotrope?

May I not nourish my fancy with visions of rapturous bliss,
   Resonant echoes of Eden and phantoms of shadowy air?
May I not sing of the sweetness and cover the sting of a kiss?
   Tell of the honey of passion, and bury the gall of despair?

Nay, for I bid thee arise with a sword in thy hand for a pen;
   Sharp be thy mouth as thou singest, and bitter the song thou shalt sing.
Weird with the wailing of women and cruel caresses of men.
   Others may tell of the honey of passion, but thou of the sting.

Hast thou not heard Me of old in the feverish watches of night,
   Tossing awake on thy bed, how I whispered My word in thy ear?
Have I not thundered it forth in the street in the fullness of light,
   Drowning the clamorous din of the city, and wilt thou not hear?

Now, as I bid thee, arise on the timorous wings of thy song,
   Feeble and callow, but stayed by the might of the right for a stay;
Sing of a pitiless race and the blast of a terrible wrong,
   Poisonous, fiery, venomous.
Master, I hear and obey! [page 165]


Her soft white hand lay tremulous, clasped in his;
   Her soft grey eye with pearly dew was wet:
He said, “Though all things else, yet never this
      Will I forget.”

He went his way, and seeking his own rest
   Forgot love’s little, tender, stifled sigh,
Forgot the upheavel of that throbbing breast
      Once clasped so nigh.

And bending o’er an unmarked, uncared grave,
   Too late for any penance save regret,
He said, “The single sin God ne’er forgave
      Is, to forget.”


On the crimson cloth
   Of my study desk
A lustrous moth
   Poised statuesque.
Of a waxen mould
   Were its light limbs shaped,
And in scales of gold
   Its body was draped:
While its luminous wings
   Were netted and veined
With silvery strings,
   Or golden grained, [page 166]
Through whose filmy maze
   In tremulous flight
Danced quivering rays
   Of the gladsome light.

On the desk hard by
   A taper burned,
Towards which the eye
   Of the insect turned.
In its vague little mind
   A faint desire
Rose, undefined,
   For the beautiful fire.
Lightly it spread
   Each silken van;
Then away it sped
   For a moment’s span.
And a strange delight
   Lured on its course
With resistless might
   Towards the central source:
And it followed the spell
   Through an eddying maze,
Till it fluttered and fell
   In the deadly blaze.

Dazzled and stunned
   By the scalding pain,
One moment it swooned,
   Then rose again;
And again the fire
   Drew it on with its charms
To a living pyre
   In its awful arms;
And now it lies [page 167] 
   On the table here
Before my eyes
   Shrivelled and sere.

As I sit and muse
   On its fiery fate,
What themes abstruse
   Might I meditate!
For the pangs that thrilled
   Through that martyred frame
As its veins were filled
   With the scorching flame,
A riddle enclose
   That living or dead,
In rhyme or in prose,
   No seer has read.

“But a moth,” you cry,
   “Is a thing so small!”
Ah, yes! but why
   Should it suffer at all?
Why should a sob
   For the vaguest smart
One moment throb
   Through the tiniest heart?
Why in the whole
   Wide universe
Should a single soul
   Feel that primal curse?
Not all the throes
   Of mightiest mind,
Nor the heaviest woes
   Of human kind,
Are of deeper weight
   In the riddle of things
Than that insect’s fate
   With the mangled wings. [page 168] 

But if only I
   In my simple song
Could tell you the why
   Of that one little wrong,
I could tell you more
   Than the deepest page
Of saintliest lore
   Or of wisest sage,
For never as yet
   In its wordy strife
Could Philosophy get
   At the import of life;
And Theology’s saws
   Have still to explain
The inscrutable cause
   For the being of pain.
So I somehow fear
   That in spite of both,
We are baffled here
   By this one singed moth.


    “But there! no man ever loved any woman well enough to love her only.”—Extract from a Letter.

The shallow pool content to woo the charms
   Of one coy mead, gapes dry in August days:
The mightiest ocean winds enamoured arms
   Round countless capes in deep caressing bays.

I hold that heart full poor that owns its boast
   To throb in tune with but one throbbing breast.
Who numbers many friends, loves friendship most;
   Who numbers many loves, loves each love best. [page 169] 


A crownèd caprice is god of this world;
On his stony breast are his white wings furled.
No ear to listen, no eye to see,
No heart to feel for a man hath he.
But his pitiless arm is swift to smite;
And his mute lips utter one word of might,
Mid the clash of gentler souls and rougher,
“Wrong must thou do, or wrong must suffer.”
Then grant, O dumb, blind god, at least that we
Rather the sufferers than the doers be. [page 170]



    Edward Burrough Brownlow, for several years a bank clerk in Montreal, and a favorite in literary circles there, was a native of London, England, where he was born on November 27th, 1857. He was the editor of Arcadia, a fortnightly publication devoted to literature and art. Notwithstanding its short existence (it lasted something less than a year) this journal was one of the best of its kind ever produced in Canada. Mr. Brownlow died in Montreal on September 8th, 1895. The following year his fellow-members of the Pen and Pencil Club of that city collected and edited his poetry in a volume entitled “Orpheus, and Other Poems.”


When early shades of evening’s close
   The air with solemn darkness fill,
Before the moonlight softly throws
   Its fairy mantle o’er the hill,
         A sad sound goes
            In plaintive thrill;
         Who hears it knows
            The whip-poor-will. [page 171]

The nightingale unto the rose
   His tale of love may fondly trill;
No love-tale this—‘tis grief that flows
   With pain that never can be still,
         The sad sound goes
            In plaintive thrill;
         Who hears it knows
            The whip-poor-will.

Repeated oft, it never grows
   Familiar; but is sadder still,
As though a spirit sought repose
   From some pursuing endless ill.
         The sad sound goes
            In plaintive thrill;
         Who hears it knows
            The whip-poor-will.


Year after year I see the trees unfold
   Their baby leaves to the maturing sun;
   Then tender birth of blossoms, one by one,
From parent stems that still their nurture hold;
Later the tall green corn takes on its gold,
   Crowned with the glory of a purpose done;
   And last, the sands of beauty being run,
All things decline into the common mould.
Age after age whirls on the appointed round
   Of mortal destiny; old thoughts take bloom;
      And new minds battle in the time-worn strife,
Death’s winter nips before the task is crowned,
   And, soon or late, within Oblivion’s tomb
      Men fall like leaves from God’s great tree of life. [page 172]


     Persephone! Persephone!
Give back my lost delight to me!
By thy great love for thy great lord,
By each sweet thought for him adored,
     By love that thrills and love that fills
     Thy heart as with a thousand rills
     Of joy, break down his frozen breast
     And lull his vengeful mood to rest,
Till mighty Pluto joyfully
Shall, from his very love for thee,
Give back my soul’s delight to me—
     Eurydice! Eurydice!

     Persephone! Persephone!
Recall thy lord’s great love for thee,
When in sweet Enna’s golden meads
Thou heard’st that rustling of the reeds,
     And in thy hands the love-crushed flowers
     Were grasped with fear, as from earth’s bowers
     He strained thee to his mighty breast,
     And bore thee, senseless, to the West,
Beyond the opalescent sea
That nightly sings its song of thee;
Give back my soul’s delight to me—
     Eurydice! Eurydice!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

     Persephone! Persephone!
Mark how thy lord yet frowns on me,
Behold the tightening of his lip—
Kiss—kiss his mouth lest there may slip [page 173] 
     One word of doom to dash my hope;
     Bend down on him thine eyes and cope
     With love the gleams that in them shine,
     The while I summon to me, mine;
Break—break—by love and memory
The bonds of Hades, set me free
Her soul, that is the soul of me—
     Eurydice! Eurydice!

     Persephone! Persephone!
Clasp him so close he may not see;
Look deep into his soul with love
That from thine eyes he shall not move
     His own;—ah! thus I gazed on her
     That night and heard no serpent stir,
     For love, once thrilling all the mind,
     Makes all the little senses blind;
‘Tis well! he drinks love’s alchemy!
Where’er in Hades thou may’st be—
Come back! my love! come back to me,
     Eurydice! Eurydice!

     Persephone! Persephone!
Lull him with love that unto me
No thought may leap with sudden ire,
And steal again my heart’s desire
     When she shall come. Ye gods! that light
     It shone when on that fatal night
     The daemons took her from my side;
     ‘Tis she! they bring her back my bride!
Let Pluto wake! let Jove decree!
Myself—my soul—come back to me
My joy in life and death to be—
     Eurydice! Eurydice! [page 174] 

     Persephone! Persephone!
A moment more and we are free;
I feel the breath of outer air,
I see the upper stars so fair,
     I hear the lapping of salt waves,
     I see the light of day that saves,
     I feel the pulsing heart-throbs run
     Through her fair limbs, I watch the sun
Uprising in her eyes—and see!
Its living light thrills into me;
She has come back—come back to me!
     Eurydice! Eurydice!


The sonnet is a diamond flashing round
   From every facet true rose-colored lights;
   A gem of thought carved in poetic nights
To grace the brow of art by fancy crowned;
A miniature of soul wherein are found
   Marvels of beauty and resplendent sights;
   A drop of blood with which a lover writes
His heart’s sad epitaph in its own bound;
A pearl gained from dark waters when the deep
   Rocked in its frenzied passion; the last note
   Heard from a heaven-saluting skylark’s throat;
A cascade small flung in a canyon steep,
   With crystal music. At this shrine of song
   High priests of poesy have worshipped long. [page 175]



Brief and pathetic, but one of the most brilliant in the annals of the literature of Canada, is the chapter that records the life-work of Isabella Valancy Crawford.

This gifted child of Nature was born near Dublin, Ireland, on Chistmas Eve, 1850. Eight years later her father, Stephen Crawford, a physician and a gentleman of culture and scholarly attainments, removed to Canada, settling first at Paisley, on the Saugeen River. Here, as in Lakefield, where he moved some years later, he kept up a continuous and unequal struggle with poverty and domestic affliction, losing, in quick succession, all but two out of a family of twelve children. The last years of Miss Crawford’s life were spent in Toronto, where she died on February 12th, 1887.

Her first volume of poems, “Old Spookses’ Pass, Malcolm’s Katie, and Other Poems,” was published in 1884. The story of the chilling reception accord this little book, with its gems of poetic beauty, rare in our young literature, has been rehearsed so often that the reproach stings now like a much-probed wound. The indifference and utter lack of appreciation of her country-people was a bitter disappointment to the high-spirited, [page 176] [unnumbered page, includes illustration: ISABELLA VALANCY CRAWFORD] [blank page] sensitive girl we readily believe, but the statement that it was, even indirectly, responsible for her untimely death, we are not willing to accept. Her collected poems, edited by J. W. Garvin, B.A., and with an introduction by Miss Ethelwyn Wetherald, were published by William Briggs, of Toronto, in 1905.


“Speak!” cried the King, “O seer, arise and speak,
   For I am sick of revelry to-night;
Strange discords seem above the harps to break,
   The wine itself hath lost its ruddy light,
The dancers’ feet are lead, the lutes but sigh;
Arise, O seer, arise, and prophesy!”

The ancient seer, with mild, majestic grace,
   In the swift silence of the banquet halls
Rose white-robed, silver-bearded, in his place,
   Gazed on the monarch, nobles, guests and thralls,
And clearly came his low and keen reply:
“O King, what wilt thou that I prophesy?

“For I am ready, but—thou give the theme.”
   Rolled round the hall the monarch’s careless eyes.
“Well, since thou wilt not else, dream, seer—ay, dream
   What garments wait on kings in paradise—
If crowns await them, and the purple dye—
Kings, sacred here—now, old man, prophesy!” [page 177] 

The watchful harpers touched the sweetest strings
   Their tall harps owned; such soothing, dream-like notes
As murmur in the cups of deep, dusk springs
   In dreamy woods. The strain seductive floats
In trancing sounds, which, as they melting die
In ear and soul, breathe softly, “Prophesy!”

Loud cried the seer,—such passion thrilled his frame,
   Half sprang the monarch from his rich divan,
And paled his nobles as the bold words came:
   “I know no king to-night—thou art a man;
A man! and thou wert born and thou shalt die;
Of thy soul’s garments must I prophesy.

“Doth Tyrian purple wait thy naked soul?
   O crownèd fool, beyond the Stygian gloom
That rolls its bitter billows ‘tween thy goal
   In Paradise and thee I see a loom
And One who weaves thereat! I hear Him cry:
‘Spare not, spare not, but loudly prophesy!’

“Yet, who shall name the terrors of His brow,
   The awful might of His resistless hand,
His unstained garments, whiter than the snow
   That crowns high mountains in a hilly land?
How shall a man dare raise his voice on high,
And of this flawless Weaver prophesy?

“To speak of that terrific loom who dare?
   Clearer than crystal, without mote or flaw,
It stands eternal in celestial air.
   And He who weaves thereat, His name is Law;
Star-like His fiery shuttles shoot and fly,
Weaving thy robes of which I prophesy. [page 178] 

“Whence come the warp, the woof? Behold, O King!
   From every deed of thine I see arise
Long filaments, dusk as the raven’s wing
   That blots the melting azure of the skies;
Thy battles, murders, wine-red blasphemy
Yield warp and woof of which I prophesy.

“With hand that swerves not, just and most divine,
   Law weaves from these the garments of thy soul,
Black, black as hell; and thine, O tyrant, thine
   To wear them while remorseful ages roll,
Happy if in their mournful folds thou spy
One thread of gold! Thus, king, I prophesy!”



The South Wind laid his moccasins aside,
Broke his gay calumet of flowers, and cast
His useless wampum, beaded with cool dews,
Far from him northward; his long, ruddy spear
Flung sunward, whence it came, and his soft locks
Of warm, fine haze grew silvery as the birch.
His wigwam of green leaves began to shake;
The crackling rice-beds scolded harsh like squaws;
The small ponds pouted up their silvery lips;
The great lakes eyed the mountains, whispered “Ugh!
Are ye so tall, O chiefs? Not taller than
Our plumes can reach.” And rose a little way,
As panthers stretch to try their velvet limbs
And then retreat to purr and bide their time.

At morn the sharp breath of the night arose
From the wide prairies, in deep-struggling seas, [page 179] 
In rolling breakers, bursting to the sky;
In tumbling surfs, all yellowed faintly thro’
Voiced with low thunder from the hairy throats
Of the mist-buried herds. And for a man
To stand amid the cloudy roll and moil,
The phantom waters breaking overhead,
Shades of vexed billows breaking on his breast,
Torn caves of mist walled with a sudden gold,
Resealed as swift as seen—broad, shaggy fronts,
Fire-eyed, and tossing on impatient horns
The wave impalpable—was but to think
A dream of phantoms held him as he stood.
The late, last thunders of the summer crashed
Where shrieked great eagles, lords of naked cliffs.
The pulseless forest, locked and interlocked
So closely bough with bough and leaf with leaf,
So serfed by its own wealth, that while from high
The moons of summer kissed its green-glossed locks,
And round its knees the merry West Wind danced,
And round its ring, compacted emerald,
The South Wind crept on moccasins of flame,
And the red fingers of the impatient Sun
Plucked at its outmost fringes, its dim veins
Beat with no life, its deep and dusky heart
In a deep trance of shadow felt no throb
To such soft, wooing answer. Thro’ its dream
Brown rivers of deep waters sunless stole;
Small creeks sprang from its mosses, and, amazed,
Like children in a wigwam curtained close
Above the great, dead heart of some red chief,
Slipped on soft feet, swift stealing through the gloom,
Eager for light and for the frolic winds.

In this shrill moon the scouts of Winter ran
From the ice-belted north, and whistling shafts [page 180] 
Struck maple and struck sumach, and a blaze
Ran swift from leaf to leaf, from bough to bough,
Till round the forest flashed a belt of flame,
And inward licked its tongues of red and gold
To the deep–crannied inmost heart of all.
Roused the still heart—but all too late, too late!
Too late the branches, welded fast with leaves,
Tossed, loosened, to the winds; to late the sun
Poured his last vigor to the deep, dark cells
Of the dim wood. The keen, two-bladed Moon
Of Falling Leaves rolled up on crested mists,
And where the lush, rank boughs had foiled the Sun
In his red prime, her pale, sharp fingers crept
After the wind and felt about the moss,
And seemed to pluck from shrinking twig and stem
The burning leaves, while groaned the shuddering wood.

Who journeyed where the prairies made a pause
Saw burnished ramparts flaming in the sun
With beacon-fires, tall on their rustling walls.
And when the vast horned herds at sunset drew
Their sullen masses into one black cloud,
Rolling thund’rous o’er the quick pulsating plain,
They seemed to sweep between two fierce, red suns
Which, hunter-wise, shot at their glaring balls
Keen shafts with scarlet feathers and gold barbs.



There came a morn the Moon of Falling Leaves
With her twin silver blades had only hung
Above the low-set cedars of the swamp
For one brief quarter, when the Sun arose [page 181] 
Lusty with light and full of summer heat,
And, pointing with his arrows at the blue
Closed wigwam curtains of the sleeping Moon,
Laughed with the noise of arching cataracts,
And with the dove-like cooing of the woods,
And with the shrill cry of the diving loon,
And with the wash of saltless rounded seats,
And mocked the white Moon of the Falling Leaves:
“Esa! Esa! shame upon you, Pale Face!
Shame upon you, Moon of Evil Witches!
Have you killed the happy, laughing Summer?
Have you slain the mother of the flowers
With your icy spells of might and magic?
Have you laid her dead within my arms?
Wrapped her, mocking, in a rainbow blanket?
Drowned her in the frost-mists of your anger?
She is gone a little way before me;
Gone an arrow’s flight beyond my vision.
She will turn again and come to meet me
With the ghosts of all the stricken flowers,
In a blue mist round her shining tresses,
In a blue smoke in her naked forests.
She will linger, kissing all the branches;
She will linger touching all the places,
Bare and naked, with her golden fingers,
Saying, ‘Sleep and dream of me, my children;
Dream of me, the mystic Indian Summer,
I who, slain by the cold Moon of Terror,
Can return across the path of spirits,
Bearing still my heart of love and fire,
Looking with my eyes of warmth and splendor,
Whispering lowly through your sleep of sunshine.
I, the laughing Summer, am not turnèd
Into dry dust, whirling on the prairies,
Into red clay, crushed beneath the snowdrifts.
I am still the mother of sweet flowers
Growing but an arrow’s flight beyond you [page 182] 
In the Happy Hunting-Ground—the quiver
Of great Manitou, where all the arrows
He has shot from His great bow of Power,
With its clear, bright, singing cord of Wisdom,
Are re-gathered, plumed again and brightened,
And shot out, re-barbed with Love and Wisdom;
Always shot, and evermore returning.
Sleep, my children, smiling in your heart-seeds
At the spirit-words of Indian Summer.’
Thus, O Moon of Falling Leaves, I mock you!
Have you slain my gold-eyed squaw, the Summer?”


   I marvel if my heart
   Hath any room apart,
Built secretly its mystic walls within,
   With subtly warded key
   Ne’er yielded unto me,
Where even I have surely never been.

   Ah! surely I know all
   The bright and cheerful hall,
With the fire ever red upon its hearth;
   My friends dwell with me there,
   Nor comes the step of Care
To sadden down its music and its mirth.

   Full well I know as mine
   The little cloistered shrine
No foot but mine alone hath ever trod;
   There come the shining wings,
   The face of One who brings
The prayers of men before the throne of God. [page 183] 

   Any many know full well
   The busy, busy cell
Where I toil at the work I have to do;
   Nor is the portal fast
   Where stand phantoms of the past,
Or grow the bitter plants of darksome rue.

   I know the dainty spot
   Ah, who doth know it not?
Where pure young Love his lily-cradle made,
   And nestled some sweet springs
   With lily-spangled wings—
Forget-me-nots upon his bier I laid.

   Yet marvel I, my soul,
   Know I thy very whole,
Or dost thou hide a chamber still from me?
   Is it built upon the wall?
   Is it spacious? Is it small?
Is it God, or man, or I, who hold the key?


“Bite deep and wide, O Axe, the tree!
What doth thy bold voice promise me?”

“I promise thee all joyous things
That furnish forth the lives of kings;

“For every silver ringing blow
Cities and palaces shall grow.”

“Bite deep and wide, O Axe, the tree!
Tell wider prophecies to me.” [page 184] 

“When rust hath gnawed me deep and red
A nation strong shall lift his head.

“His crown the very heavens shall smite,
Aeons shall build him in his might.”

“Bite deep and wide, O Axe, the tree!
Bright seer, help on thy prophecy!”


Low the sun beat on the land,
   Red on wine and plain and wood;
With the wine-cup in his hand,
   Vast the Helot herdsman stood.

Quenched the fierce Achean gaze
   Dorian foeman paused before,
Where cold Sparta snatched her bays
   At Achea’s stubborn door.

Still with thews of iron bound,
   Vastly the Achean rose
Godward from the brazen ground,
   High before his Spartan foes.

Still the strength his fathers knew
   (Dauntless when the foe they faced)
Vein and muscle bounded through,
   Tense his Helot sinews braced. [page 185] 

Still the constant womb of Earth
   Blindly moulded all her part,
As when to a lordly birth
   Achean freeman left her heart.

Still insensate mother bore
   Goodly sons for Helot graves;
Iron necks that meekly wore
   Sparta’s yoke as Sparta’s slaves.

Still, O god-mocked mother! she
   Smiled upon her sons of clay,
Nursed them on her breast and knee,
   Shameless in the shameful day;

Knew not old Achea’s fire
   Burnt no more in souls or veins,
Godlike hosts of high desire
   Died to clank of Spartan chains.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

“Drink, dull slave!” the Spartan cried,
   Meek the Helot touched the brim,
Scented all the purple tide,
   Drew the Bacchic soul to him.

Cold the thin-lipped Spartan smiled;
   Couched beneath the weighted vine,
Large-eyed gazed the Spartan child
   On the Helot and the wine.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Clanged the brazen goblet down;
   Marble-bred, loud echoes stirred.
With fixed fingers, knotted, brown,
   Dumb the Helot grasped his beard. [page 186] 

Wide his nostrils as a stag’s
   Drew the hot wind’s fiery bliss;
Red his lips as river flags
   From the strong Caecuban kiss.

On his swarthy temples grew
   Purple veins, like clustered grapes;
Past his rolling pupils blew
   Wine-born, fierce, lascivious shapes.

Cold the haughty Spartan smiled—
   His the power to knit that day
Bacchic fires, insensate, wild,
   To the grand Achean clay;

His the might—hence his the right;
   Who should bid him pause? Nor Fate,
Warning passed before his sight,
   Dark-robed and articulate.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

“Lo!” he said, “he maddens now;
   Flames divine do scathe the clod;
Round his reeling Helot brow
   Stings the garland of the god.

“Mark, my Hermos, turn to steel
   The soft tendons of thy soul;
Watch the god beneath the heel
   Of the strong brute swooning roll!

“Nay, behold! breed Spartan scorn
   Of the red lust of the wine;
Watch the god himself down-borne
   By the brutish rush of swine. [page 187] 

“Lo, the magic of the drink!
   At the nimble wine’s pursuit,
See the man-halfed satyr sink
   All the human in the brute.

“Lo, the magic of the cup!
   Watch the frothing Helot rave!
As great buildings labour up
   From the corpse of slaughtered slave.

“Build the Spartan virtues high
   From the Helot’s wine-dead soul;
Scorn the wild, hot flames that fly
   From the purple-hearted bowl.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

“Lo, my Hermos, laugh and mark!
   See the swift mock of the wine;
Faints the primal, god-born spark,
   Trodden by the rush of swine.

“Gods, ye love our Sparta! Ye
   Gave with vine that leaps and runs
O’er her slopes, these slaves to be
   Mocks and warning to her sons.”

Reeled the mote-swarmed haze, and thick
   Beat the hot pulse of the air;
In the Helot, fierce and quick,
   All his soul sprang from its lair.

As the drowsing tiger, deep
   In the dim cell, hears the shout
From the arena—from his sleep
   Launches to its thunders out— [page 188] 

So to fierce calls of the wine
   (Strong the red Caecuban bowl!)
From its slumber deep, supine,
   Panted up the Helot soul,

At his blood-flushed eye-balls reared.
   (Mad and sweet came pipes and songs!)
Roused at last, the wild soul glared,
   Spear-thrust with a million wrongs.

Past—the primal, senseless bliss;
   Past—red laughter of the grapes;
Past—the wine’s first honeyed kiss;
   Past—the wine-born, wanton shapes!

Still the Helot stands, his feet
   Set like oak-roots; in his gaze
Black clouds roll and lightnings meet,
   Flames from old Achean days.

Who may quench the god-born fire
   Pulsing at the soul’s deep root?
Tyrant, grind it in the mire,
   Lo, it vivifies the brute!

Stings the chain-embruted clay,
   Senseless to his yoke-bound shame;
Goads him on to rend and slay,
   Knowing not the spurring flame!

Tyrant, changeless stand the gods,
   Nor their calm might yielded thee;
Not beneath thy chains and rods
   Dies man’s god-gift, Liberty! [page 189] 

Bruteward lash the Helots, hold
   Brain and soul and clay in gyves,
Coin their blood and sweat in gold,
   Build thy cities on their lives,—

Comes a day the spark divine
   Answers to the gods who gave;
Fierce the hot flames pant and shine
   In the bruised breast of the slave.

Changeless stand the gods!—nor he
   Knows he answers their behest,
Feels the might of their decree
   In the blind rage of his breast.

Tyrant, tremble when ye tread
   Down the servile Helot clods!
Under despot heel is bred
   The white anger of the gods.

Through the shackle-cankered dust,
   Through the gyved soul, foul and dark,
Force they, changeless gods and just,
   Up the bright, eternal spark.

Till, like lightnings vast and fierce,
   On the land its terror smites;
Till its flames the tyrant pierce,
   Till the dust the despot bites.

Day was at its chief unrest.
   Stone from stone the Helot rose;
Fixed his eyes; his naked breast
   Iron-walled his inner throes. [page 190] 

Rose-white in the dusky leaves
   Shone the frank-eyed Spartan child.
Lo, the pale doves on the eaves
   Made their soft moan, sweet and wild.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Sprang the Helot, roared the vine,
   Rent from grey, long-wedded stones,
From pale shaft and dusky pine;
   Beat the fury of his groans.

Thunders inarticulate,
   Wordless curses, deep and wild;
Reached the long-poised sword of Fate
   To the Spartan through his child.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Lo, the tyrant’s iron might!
   Lo, the Helot’s yokes and chains!
Slave-slain in the throbbing light
   Lay the sole child of his veins.

Laughed the Helot loud and full,
   Gazing at his tyrant’s face;
Lowered his front like captive bull,
   Bellowing from the fields of Thrace.

Rose the pale shaft redly flushed,
   Red with Bacchic light and blood;
On its stone the Helot rushed—
   Stone the tyrant Spartan stood.

Lo, the magic of the wine
   From far Marsh of Amyclae!
Biered upon the ruddy vine,
   Spartan dust and Helot clay! [page 191]

Spouse of Bacchus, reeled the day,
   Red-tracked on the throbbing sods;
Dead—but free—the Helot lay.
   Just and changeless stand the gods.


When Spring in sunny woodland lay,
   And gilded buds were sparely set
On oak tree and the thorny may,
   I gave my love a violet.
“O Love,” she said, and kissed my mouth
   With one light, tender maiden kiss,
“There are no rich blooms in the south
   So fair to me as this!”

When Summer reared her haughty crest,
   We paused beneath the ruddy stars;
I placed a rose upon her breast,
   Plucked from the modest casement bars.
“O Love,” she said, and kissed my mouth—
   Heart, heart, rememb’rest thou the bliss?
“In east or west, in north or south,
   I know no rose but this!”

When Autumn raised the purple fruit
   In clusters to his bearded lips,
I laid a heartsease on the lute
   That sang beneath her finger-tips.
“O Love,” she said—and fair her eyes
   Smiled through the dusk upon the lea—
“No heartsease glows beneath the skies
   But this thou givest me!” [page 192] 

When Winter wept at shaking doors,
   And holly trimmed his ermine vest,
And wild winds maddened on the moors,
   I laid a flower upon her breast.
“Dear heart!” I whispered to the clay,
   Which stilly smiled, yet answered not,
“Bear thou to heaven itself away
   True Love’s Forget-me-not.”


 (From “Malcolm’s Katie.”)

Who curseth sorrow knows her not at all.
Dark matrix she, from which the human soul
Has its last birth; whence it, with misty thews
Close knitted in her blackness, issues out
Strong for immortal toil up such great heights
As crown o’er crown rise through Eternity.
Without the loud, deep clamor of her wail,
The iron of her hands, the biting brine
Of her black tears, the soul, but lightly built
Of indeterminate spirit, like a mist
Would lapse to chaos in soft, gilded dreams,
As mists fade in the gazing of the sun.
Sorrow, dark mother of the soul, arise!
Be crowned with spheres where thy blest children dwell,
Who, but for thee, were not. No lesser seat
Be thine, thou helper of the universe,
Than planet on planet piled—thou instrument
Close clasped within the great Creative Hand! [page 193]



Oh, Love builds on the azure sea,
   And Love builds on the golden sand,
And Love builds on the rose-winged cloud,
   And sometimes Love builds on the land!

Oh, if Love build on sparkling sea,
   And if Love build on golden strand,
And if Love build on rosy cloud,
   To Love these are the solid land!

Oh, Love will build his lily walls,
   And Love his pearly roof will rear
On cloud, or land, or mist, or sea—
   Love’s solid land is everywhere! [page 194]



Born at New Glasgow, N.S, on September 4th, 1854, George Frederick Cameron was educated at New Glasgow, Boston University, and Queen’s College, Kingston. He was editor of the Kingston News at the time of his death, September 17th, 1885, at the early age of thirty-one. His contribution to the American press was considerable. His brother, Rev. Charles J. Cameron, edited his “Lyrics of Freedom, Love and Death” in 1887. Also, in 1889, was brought out a new military opera in four acts, entitled “Leo, the Royal Cadet,” with libretto by G. F. Cameron and music by Oscar F. Telgmann. Throughout Mr. Cameron’s work breathes a spirit of hatred and opposition to oppression in every form, and a fearless championship of liberty and right.


Why fruitlessly mourn we—why chase at our chain?
   Know we not, link by link, every chain will decay?
Why weep we in sorrow, why shrink we in pain?
                These things pass away. [page 195] 

Why thus do the noblest created despair?
   The ill as the good hath its “go” as its “stay”;
For the good and the ill, and the foul and the fair
                Shall all pass away.

And the hope, and the fear, and the care, and the toil
   Are but threads wov’n into this mantle of clay,
And alike, being Time’s and Oblivion’s spoil,
                Shall all pass away.


The Past! in even our oldest songs
   Regret for older past appears—
The Past with all its bitter wrongs,
   And bitter, buried years.

With all its woes and crimes and shames—
   Its rule of sword, and king, and cowl—
Its scourges, tortures, axes, flames,
   And myriad murders foul!

The Future! To our latest lays
   A common strain of longing clings
For future nights, and future days,
   And future thoughts and things.

The Future!—who of us will see
   This Future!—in its brightness bask?
Ye ask the Future!—let it be!
   Ye know not what ye ask. [page 196] 

‘Tis best—let Folly still lament
   The Past, or for the Future yearn,
With this large Present well content,
   To watch, and work, and learn!

Assured that if we do aright
   What must by us to-day be done,
The three shall open to our sight—
   Past, Present, Future—One!


“They had lived and loved, and walked and worked in their own way, and the world went by them. Between them and it a great gulf was fixed; it cared nothing for them, and they met its every catastrophe with the ‘Quid Refert?’ of the philosophers.”—De la Roque.

What care we for the winter weather,—
   What care we for set of sun,—
We, who have wrought and thought together,
   And know our work well done?

What do we care though glad stars glitter
   For others only? Though mist and rain
Be over our heads? Though life be bitter,
   And peace be pledged to pain?

What care we? Is the world worth minding,—
   The sad, mad world with its hate and sin?
Is the key worth seeking for, or finding,
   Of the Cretan maze we wander in? [page 197] 

What care we though all be riddle,—
   Both sea and shore, both earth and skies?
Let others read it! we walk that middle
   Unquestioning way where safety lies.

And care not any for winter weather,
   And care no more for set of sun,—
We who have wrought and thought together,
   And know our work well done!


Lord God Almighty! Thou who art
   The sire of all the orbs that roll,
The head of each, the hand, the heart,
   The centre and the soul!

My Refuge, Rock, and dear Desire,
   While ills on ills about me throng,
Shall I not come to Thee, the Fire
   And Fount of all my song?

And as Thou didst from wrath of Saul
   Deliver David, forced to flee,
So, when in pain to Thee I call,
   I know Thou’lt succor me! [page 198]


Anticipation is the oil that feeds
   The flame of life. It is the siren fair
That sings at twilight in the hollow reeds,
   And drowns the moaning discord of despair.
Nay, now in darkest night it comes to me,—
   It dulls the edge of present care:
Blots from the tablets of the memory
   What hath been ill, or is inscribing there
In golden letters that which yet may be
   Of earth’s good things my individual share.
And should the days be drear in age,
   And disappointment part of mine estate,
With Fortune I shall not a warfare wage,
   But sing my song as now—as now anticipate. [page 199] 



A wave of sorrow, such as might follow some national calamity, swept through the country when the news of the death of Dr. William Henry Drummond, the poet of the “Habitant,” was flashed over the Dominion. This great-hearted, upright man seemed to have won more real love in his little day than falls to the lot of the majority.

He was born in the village of Mohill, County Leitrim, Ireland, on April 13th, 1854. A little time later his father, an officer in the Royal Irish Constabulary, moved to a village called Tawley, on the Bay of Donegal. Here his education commenced under the village schoolmaster, a man of character and principle, as well as attainments which seem to have been worthy of a higher position. Of this teacher the poet thought and spoke throughout his life with affection and gratitude. He was still a boy when his parents removed to Canada, and within a few months of their arrival in the country the father died, leaving the mother to struggle alone, in a strange land, and on exceedingly limited means, to bring and educate the children. So it was that the future poet, the eldest of the family, at a very early age felt himself obliged to leave school and find [page 200] [unnumbered page, includes illustration: DR. W. H. DRUMMOND.] [blank page] some work that would enable him to help his mother and younger brothers. Learning telegraphy, he obtained employment at Borde à Plouffe, a little village on the Rivière des Prairies, near Montreal. It was here he first became acquainted with the speech and customs of the “habitant,” whom, with the kindliest intents, he has portrayed to the life. As soon as he felt that the circumstances of the family would warrant, he returned once more to his studies in Montreal, first at the High School, later at McGill, and finally at Bishop’s College, where he graduated M.D. in 1884. For four years he practised in the country about Brome, returning in 1888 to Montreal, where he continued to live up to the time of his death. He married, in 1894, Miss May Harvey, of Savannah la Mar, Jamaica. One of his earliest poems, “Le Vieux Temps,” he read, with many misgivings, at a dinner of the Shakespeare Club of Montreal. “This,” as Mrs. Drummond says in her memoir of her husband, “was the beginning of a long series of triumphs of a like nature, triumphs which owed little to elocutionary art, much to the natural gift of a voice rare alike in strength, quality and variety of tone, but, most of all, to the fact that the characters he delineated were not mere creations of a vivid imagination. They were portraits, tenderly drawn by the master hand of a true artist, and one who knew and loved the originals.” “The Habitant, and Other French-Canadian Poems” was published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons in 1898, and became at once immensely popular. This was followed by “Johnny Courteau, and Other Poems,” in 1901, “Phil-o’-Rum’s Canoe and [page 201] Madeleine Vercheres” in 1903, and “The Voyageur, and Other Poems” in 1905. The poems that remained unpublished at the time of his death were edited by his wife, with the memoir from which the above quotations were taken, during the summer of 1909.

In reference to a feeling that existed amongst some of the French-Canadian people of the Province of Quebec that Dr. Drummond had amused himself and his friends at the expense of their countrymen, we quote again from Mrs. Drummond: “Such was by no means the case, and I have been told many times of good plots and ideas offered to Dr. Drummond and rejected because they contained a suggestion of ridicule.” And she concludes her vindication of her husband by giving his own words: “I would rather cut off my right arm than speak disparagingly of the French-Canadian people.”

During the last two years of his life the doctor was much in the Cobalt District, having acquired an interest there. About Easter time, 1907, hearing that smallpox had broken out in the mining camp, he hurried to the assistance of the men. A week after his arrival in Cobalt he was stricken with cerebral hemorrhage, and passed away on the morning of April 6th. His remains were conveyed to Montreal and laid in Mount Royal Cemetery.

It may be argued that the work of William Henry Drummond is not poetry. In the strict sense of the word it is not. Yet, because it voices so faithfully and tenderly the thoughts and doings, the joys and sorrows of a large section of our people, who were the builders and are now the backbone of the oldest province in the [page 202] Dominion, we have no hesitation in reproducing as many of them here as our space permits, feeling that no anthology of Canadian poetry would be complete without the name of William Henry Drummond.


I’m sleepin’ las’ night w’en I dream a dream,
An’ a wonderful wan it seem—
For I’m off on de road I was never see,
Too long an’ hard for a man lak me,
So ole he can only wait de call
Is sooner or later come to all.

De night is dark an’ de portage dere
Got plaintee o’ log lyin’ ev’ryw’ere,
Black bush aroun’ on de right an’ lef’,
A step from de road an’ you los’ you’se’f,
De moon an’ de star above is gone,
But somet’ing tell me I mus’ go on.

An’ off in front of me as I go,
Light as a dreef of de fallin’ snow—
Who is dat leetle boy dancin’ dere
Can see hees w’ite dress an’ curly hair,
An’ almos’ touch heem, so near to me
In an’ out dere among de tree?

An’ den I’m hearin’ a voice is say,
“Come along, fader, don’t min’ de way;
De boss on de camp he sen’ for you,
So your leetle boy’s goin’ to tak you t’roo.
It’s easy for me, for de road I know,
‘Cos I travel it many long year ago.” [page 203] 

An’ oh! mon Dieu! w’en he turn hees head
I’m seein’ de face of ma boy is dead—
Dead wit’ de young blood in hees vein—
An’ dere he’s comin’ wance more again
Wit’ de curly hair an’ dark blue eye,
So lak de blue of de summer sky—

An’ now no more for de road I  care,
An’ slippery log lyin’ ev’ryw’ere,
De swamp on de valley, de mountain too,
But climb it jus’ as I use to do—
Don’t stop on de road, for I need no res’
So long as I see de leetle w’ite dress.

An’ I foller it on, an’ wance in a w’ile
He turn again wit’ de baby smile,
An’ say, “Dear fader, I’m here, you see,
We’re bote togedder, jus’ you an’ me—
Very dark to you, but to me it’s light,
De road we travel so far to-night.

“De boss on de camp w’ere I alway stay
Since ever de tam I was go away,
He welcome de poores’ man dat call,
But love de leetle wan bes’ of all,
So dat’s de reason I spik for you 
An’ come to-night to bring you t’roo.”

Lak de young Jesu’ w’en He’s here below
De face of ma leetle son look jus’ so—
Den off beyon’ on de bush I see
We w’ite dress fadin’ among de tree—
Was it dream I dream las’ night
Is goin’ away on de mornin’ light? [page 204]


To me, whose paddle-blade has cleft
   The wave where great St. Lawrence flows—
To me, whose ears have heard the scream
   Of eagle, high above the snows,
Where Frazer darts among the hills—
   What is this tiny stream to me?
   And what the little melody
My soul with rapture fills,
Like some old, half-forgotten croon?
   A cradle-song of long ago—
   A mother’s song so sweet and low—
         Hush! it is the Doon!


I see Josette on de car to-day,
   Leetle Josette Couture,
An’ it’s easy tellin’ she’s been away
   On market of Bonsecours—
‘Cos dere’s de blueberry on de pail
   Wit’ more t’ing lyin’ about,
An dere’s de basket wit’ de tail
   Of de chicken stickin’ out.

Ev’ry conductor along de road
   Help her de bes’ he can,
An’ I see dem sweat wit’ de heavy load,
   Many a beeg, strong man—
But it’s differen’ t’ing w’en she tak’ hol’,
   Leavin’ dem watchin’ dere—
For wedder de win’ blow hot or cold
   Josette never turn a hair. [page 205] 

Wonderful woman for seexty five—
   Smart leetle woman sure!
An’ if he’s wantin’ to kip alive
   On church of de Bonsecours
De pries’ he mus’ rise ‘fore de rooster crow,
   Or mebbe he’ll be too late
For seein’ dere on de street below
   Josette comin’ in de gate.

An’ half of de mornin’ she don’t spen’ dere
   Hangin’ aroun’ dew pew—
Bodderin’ God wit’ de long, long prayer—
   For bote of dem got to do
Plaintee work ‘fore de day’s gone by,
   An’ well she know, Josette—
No matter an’ hard she try,
   De work’s never finish yet.

An’ well he knows it, de habitant,
   Who is it ketch heem w’en
He’s drivin’ along from St. Laurent—
   For it’s easier bargain den—
Cos if de habitant only sol’
   De whole of hees load dat way—
Of course he’s savin’ de market toll
   An’ not’ing at all to pay.

Dey call her “ole maid,” but I can’t tell—me—
   De chil’ren she has got;
No fader, no moder, dat’s way dey be—
   You never see such a lot—
An’ if you ax how she fin’ de clothes
   An’ food for de young wan dere—
She say: “Wit de help of God, I s’pose,
   An’ de leetle shop downstair.” [page 206] 

Comin’ an’ goin’ mos’ all de tam,
   Helpin’ dem all along,
Jus’ lak de ole sheep watch de lamb
   Till dey are beeg an’ strong—
Not’ing lak dat I be seein’ yet,
   An’ it’s hard to beat for sure—
So dat’s de reason dey call Josette
   Leetle Sister of de Poor.


De place I get born, me, is up on de reever
   Near foot of de rapide dat’s call Cheval Blanc,
Beeg mountain behin’ it, so high you can’t climb it,
   An’ whole place she’s mebbe two honder arpent.

De fader of me, he was habitant farmer,
   Ma gran’fader too an’ hees fader also,
Dey don’t mak’ no monee, but dat isn’t fonny
   For it’s not easy get ev’ryt’ing, you must know—

All de sam’ dere is somet’ing dey got ev’ry-boddy,
   Dat’s plaintee good healt’, what de monee can’t geev,
So I’m workin’ away dere, an’ happy for stay dere
   On farm by de reever so long I was leev.

Oh, dat was de place w’en de spring-time she’s comin’,
   W’en snow go away, an’ de sky is all blue—
W’en ice lef’ de water, an’ sun is get hotter
   An’ back on de medder is sing de gou-glou—

W’en small sheep is firs’ comin’ out on de pasture
   Deir nice leetle tail stickin’ up on deir back,
Dey ronne wit’ deir moder, an’ play wit’ each oder
   An’ jomp all de tam jus’ de same dey was crack—[page 207] 

An’ ole cow also, she’s glad winter is over,
   So she kick herse’f up, an’ start off on de race
Wit’ de two-year-ole heifer, dat’s purty soon lef’ her,—
   W’y, ev’ryt’ing’s crazee all over de place!

An’ down on de reever de wil’ duck is quackin’,
   Along by de shore leetle san’piper ronne—
De bullfrog he’s gr-rompin’ an doré is jompin’,
   Dey all got deir own way for mak’ it de fonne.

But spring’s in beeg hurry, an’ don’t stay long wit’ us
   An’ firs’ t’ing we know, she go till nex’ year,
Den bee commence hummin’, for summer is comin’,
   An’ purty soon corn’s gettin ripe on de ear.

Dat’s very nice tam for wak’ up on de mornin’
   An’ lissen de rossignol sing ev’ry place,
Feel sout’ win’ a-blowin’, see clover a-growin’
   An’ all de worl’ laughin’ itse’f on de face.

Mos’ ev’ry day raf’ it is pass on de rapide,
   De voyageurs singin’ some ole chanson
‘Bout girl down de reever—too bad dey mus’ leave her,
   But comin’ back soon wit’ beacoup d’argent.

An’ den w’en de fall an’ de winter come roun’ us,
   An’ bird of de summer is all fly away,
W’en mebbe she’s snowin’ an’ nort’ win’ is blowin’
   An’ night is mos’ t’ree tam so long as de day—

You t’ink it was bodder de habitant farmer?
   Not at all—he is happy an’ feel satisfy,
An’ col’ may las’ good w’ile, so long as de wood-pile
   Is ready for burn on de stove by an’ bye. [page 208] 

W’en I got plaintee hay put away on de stable
   So de sheep an’ de cow, dey got no chance to freeze,
An’ de hen all tegedder—I don’t min’ de wedder—
   De nort’ win’ may blow jus’ so moche as she please.

An’ some cole winter night how I wish you can see us,
   W’en I smoke on de pipe, an’ de ole woman sew
By de stove of T’ree Reever—ma wife’s fader geev her
   On de day we get marry, dat’s long tam ago—

De boy an’ de girl, dey was readin’ its lesson,
   De cat on de corner she’s bite heem de pup,
Ole “Carleau” he’s snorin’ an’ beeg stove is roarin’
   So loud dat I’m scare purty soon she bus’ up.

Philomene—dat’s de oldes’—is sit on de winder
   An’ kip jus’ so quiet lak’ wan leetle mouse,
She say de more finer moon never was shiner—
   Very fonny, for moon isn’t dat side de house.

But purty soon den we hear foot on de outside,
   An’ some-wan is place it hees han’ on de latch,
Dat’s Isidore Goulay, las’ fall on de Brulé
   He’s tak’ it firs’ prize on de grand ploughin’ match.

Ha! ha! Philomene!—dat was smart trick you play us,
   Come help de young feller tak’ snow from hees neck,
Dere’s not’ing for hinder you come off de winder
   W’en moon you was look for is come, I expec’—

Isidore, he is tole us de news on de parish:
   ‘Bout hees Lajeunesse colt—travel two-forty, sure,
‘Bout Jeremie Choquette, come back from Woonsocket,
   An’ t’ree new leetle twin on Madame Vaillancour.” [page 209] 

But nine o’clock strike, an’ de chil’ren is sleepy,
   Mese’f an’ ole woman can’t stay up no more,
So alone by de fire—‘cos dey say dey ain’t tire—
   We lef’ Philomene an’ de young Isidore.

I s’pose dey be talkin’ beeg lot on de kitchen
   ‘Bout all de nice moon dey was see on de sky,
For Philomene’s takin’ long tam get awaken
   Nex’ day she’s so sleepy on bot’ of de eye.

Dat’s wan of dem t’ings ev’ry tam on de fashion,
   An’ bout nices’ t’ing dat was never be seen;
Got not’ing for say me—I spark it sam’ way me
   W’en I go see de moder ma girl Philomene.

We leev very quiet ‘way back on de contree,
   Don’t put on de sam’ style lak de beeg village,
W’en we don’t get de monee you t’ink dat is fonny
   An’ mak’ plaintee sport on de Bottes Sauvages.

But I tole you—dat’s true—I don’t go on de city
   If you geev de fine house an’ beaucoup d’argent—
I rader be stay me, an’ spen’ de las’ day me
   On farm by de rapide dat’s call Cheval Blanc.


Hs-sh! Look at ba-bee on de little blue chair,
   W’at you t’ink he’s tryin’ to do
Wit’ pole on de han’ lak’ de lumberman,
   A-shovin’ along canoe?
Dere’s purty strong current behin’ de stove
   W’ere it’s passin’ de chimley-stone,
But he’ll come roun’ yet, if he don’t upset,
   So long he was lef’ alone. [page 210] 

Dat’s way ev’ry boy on de house begin
   No sooner he’s twelve mont’ ole;
He’ll play canoe up an’ down de Soo
   An’ paddle an’ push de pole.
Den haul de log all about de place
   Till dey’re fillin’ up mos’ de room,
An’ say it’s all right, for de storm las’ night
   Was carry away de boom.

Mebbe you see heem, de young loon bird,
   Wit’ half of de shell hangin’ on,
Tak’ hees firs’ slide to de water-side,
   An’ off on de lake he’s gone.
Out of de cradle dey’re goin’ sam way
   On de reever and lake and sea;
For born to de trade, dat’s how dey’re made,
   De familee Laramie.

An’ de reever she’s lyin’ so handy dere
   On foot of de hill below,
Dancin’ along and singin’ de song
   As away to de sea she go.
No wonder I never can lak dat song,
   For soon it is comin’ w’en
Dey’ll lissen de call, leetle Pierre and Paul,
   An’ w’ere will de moder be den?

She’ll sit by de shore w’en de evenin’s come,
   An’ spik to de reever too;
“O reever, you know how dey love you so,
   Since ever dey’re seein’ you.
For sake of dat love bring de leetle boy home
   Wance more to de moder’s knee,”
An’ mebbe de prayer I be makin’ dere
   Will help bring dem back to me. [page 211] 



On wan dark night on Lac St. Pierre,
   De win’ she blow, blow, blow,
An’ de crew of de wood-scow “Julie Plante”
   Got scar’t an’ run below—
For de win’ she blow lak’ hurricane,
   Bimeby she blow some more,
An’ de scow bus’ up on Lac St. Pierre
   Wan arpent from de shore.

De captinne walk on de front deck,
   An’ walk de hin’ deck too—
He call de crew from up de hole,
   He call de cook also.
De cook she’s name was Rosie,
   She come from Montreal,
Was chambermaid on lumber-barge
   On de Grande Lachine Canal.

De win’ she blow from nor’-eas’-wes’-,
   De sout’ win’ she blow too,
W’en Rosie cry, “Mon cher captinne,
   Mon cher, w’at I shall do?”
De captinne t’row de beeg ankerre,
   But still de scow she dreef;
De crew he can’t pass on de shore
   Becos’ he los’ hees skeef.

De night was dark lak’ wan black cat,
   De wave run high an’ fas’,
W’en de captinne tak’ de Rosie girl
   An’ tie her to de mas’. [page 212] 
Den he also tak’ de life-preserve,
   An’ jomp off on de lak’,
An’ say “Good-bye, my Rosie dear,
   I go drown for your sak’!”

Nex’ mornin’ very early
   ‘Bout ha’f pas’ two—t’ree—four—
De captinne—scow—an’ de poor Rosie
   Was corpses on de shore.
For de win’ she blow lak’ hurricane
   Bimeby she blow some more,
An’ de scow bus’ up on Lac St. Pierre
   Wan arpent from de shore.


Now all good wood-scow sailor-man,
   Tak’ warning by dat storm
An’ go an’ marry some nice French girl
   An’ leev on wav beeg farm.
De win’ can blow lak’ hurricane
   An’ s’pose she blow some more,
You can’t get drown’ on Lac St. Pierre
   So long you stay on shore. [page 213]



    Arthur Weir, another promising young Canadian whose early death we lament as a loss in the world of letters, was born on June 17th, 1864. Educated at the High School in Montreal, his native city, he graduated at McGill University, where he took the degree of B.A.Sc. in 1886. Taking up journalism, he was for several years on the editorial staff of the Montreal Star, and later on that of the Journal of Commerce. He did considerable prose work, for the most part on commercial subjects. On his poems, however, rests mainly his title to a place of honor in literature. His three published volumes of verse were: “Fleurs de Lys, and Other Poems,” in 1887; “The Romance of Sir Richard, Sonnets and Other Poems,” 1890; and “The Snowflake, and Other Poems,” 1897. These poems, especially some contained in the two latter books, have received the highest commendation from competent critics. Mr. Weir died in 1902. [page 214]


Swift troopers twain ride side by side
     Throughout life’s long campaign.
They make a jest of all man’s pride,
And oh, the havoc! As they ride,
      They cannot count their slain.

The one is young and debonair,
     And laughing swings his blade.
The zephyrs toss his golden hair,
His eyes are blue; he is so fair
     He seems a masking maid.

The other is a warrior grim,
     Dark as a midnight storm.
There is no man can cope with him,
We shrink and tremble in each limb
     Before his awful form.

Yet though men fear the sombre foe
     More than the gold-tressed youth,
The boy with every careless blow
More than the trooper grim lays low,
     And causes earth more ruth.

Keener his mocking sword doth prove
     Than flame or winter’s breath.
Men bear his wounds to the realm above,
For the little trooper’s name is Love,
     His comrade’s only Death. [page 215]


Be thine own image-builder, nor have fear
   To overthrow the idols of past days.
   Test all by thine own touchstone; Truth displays
Her beauty in the light of doubt most clear,
To be a man thy Maker sent thee here:
   Then swerve not from thy truth, fall blame or praise
   On thee from fools who follow in the ways
Of pilot minds. In all things be sincere.

There is none other wholly like to thee:
   Thou hast a task none other man may do,
Nor canst thou do it if thou dost not wage
   Eternal strife with all thou think’st untrue;
Be faithful to thyself and of thine age
   Thou shalt become the grand epitome.


Down the bright pathway of life, where joy, like the throstle, was singing,
   She passed, like a sungleam at dawn, through mist-lands of sorrow and fears,
Seeking the soul of the babe at her bosom now nursing and clinging,
   And stood in the valley of death, gloomed with the shadow of tears. [page 216] 

Ghost glided past after ghost, and shook ghastly arms at the mortal
   Who dared to the valley of pain go down for the winning of life.
Hour after hour trembled by, as we crouched in our woe at the portal,
   Made strangers to her whom we loved by strangers who looked on her strife.

Angels spake hope to her there, as she stood in the vale of the shadow,
   Demons snarled at her heels, she was haunted by visions abhorred;
But Love was a lamp to her feet as she passed through the woe-blossomed meadow,
   Seeking the soul of her child. She was brave, for her trust was the Lord.

Death turned his sword as she came, and she passed through the gateways of heaven,
   Treading the pavements of pearl and haloed with shimmering gleams,
On, till the veil hung between immortal and mortal was riven,
   And she brought from the garden of God the blue-eyed flower of her dreams.


Where, in an ancient temple of the East,
   Before rude carvings kneel idolators,
   Along the roof a cloud of incense pours
From a huge fane; and by the fire a priest [page 217] 

Stands mummering on fresh fagots; nor has ceased
   For years one numbers by the hundred scores
   Of those that once knelt on the foot-worn floors,
The fire to burn in honor of some beast.

Priestess of Life is Nature, and its fire
   Mysterious she feeds with flesh. Forms die,
      Yet life dies never. Like the ruddy flames
Which burn forever on the pagan pyre,
   Life changes but its shape; what life have I
      Long aeons since quickened ancestral frames.


Life with life is woven in,
   Neither sorrow nor delight,
Neither nobleness nor sin,
         Known to one
         But falls upon
   All men with its grace or blight.

He who sinks into despair,
   He who from his task recoils,
Makes his fellow-laborers bear
         On life’s road
         A heavier load.
   Some one for each sluggard toils.

What thou failure crown our task!
   ‘Tis the portal to success;
Often Fortune wears a mask.
         Face the strife
         And live your life;
   Be no coward in distress! [page 218]


Mind and body, warp and woof
   With each other are entwined,—
Body living not aloof,
   Living not aloof the mind.

Force and matter, what they are
   To each other, so are these;
As its light is to a star,
   Organ to its melodies.

Quench the steady burning light,
   Vanishes the star we see
Into interstellar night;
   From existence it may be.

Still the organ, what remains,
   Save the metal and the wood?
Silent are the heavenly strains,
   Lost in empty solitude.

Brother, rule the restless mind,
   That like starlight it may shine;
Rule the body, lest you find
   Hushed the melody divine.


Say what you will,
Though passion have its fill,
     It never is content, nor has delight,
     If love come not to sanctify the rite. [page 219] 

Harmonious flesh and spirit, 
These only shall inherit
     The joys of earth, and in the dread To Be
     Not death itself shall break that unity.

Woe to the narrow heart
Would strive these twain to part;
     Look down the ages, through the world’s mad din,
     This is the one unpardonable sin. [page 220]



By the removal of these three young writers just at the outset of what in each case promised to be a most brilliant career, we can safely conjecture that our literature has been robbed of some of its brightest pages.

Thomas Brown Phillips Stewart, a native of Ontario, was born in 1864. His education was finished at the University of Toronto, where he took the degree of LL.B. in 1891. Most of his work is marked by a brooding sadness, probably traceable to the blight of ill-health which shadowed much of his life. He died at Toronto on February 2nd, 1892. A volume of poems from his pen was published in London in 1887.


In shadowy calm the boat
   Sleeps by the dreaming oar,
The green hills are afloat
   Beside the silver shore. [page 221] 

Youth hoists the white-winged sail,
   Love takes the longing oar—
The oft-told fairy tale
   Beside the silver shore.

Soft lip to lip and heart
   To heart, and hand to hand,
And wistful eyes depart
   Unto another strand.

And lovely as a star
   They tremble o’er the wave,
With eager wings afar,
   Unto the joys they crave.

In a sweet trance they fare
   Unto the wind and rain,
With wind-tossed waves of hair,
   And ne’er return again.

And at the drifting side,
   Changed faces in the deep
They see, and changing tide,
   Like phantoms in a sleep.

Slow hands furl the torn sail
   Without one silver gleam,
And sad, and wan, and pale,
   They gaze into a dream. [page 222]



True greatness is the struggle to be free,
And he who would be truly great must bear
A thorny heart for lovely Freedom’s sake.
Ignominy and gloom, curses, blind lies,
The scorn of little minds, the bitter hemlock bowl,
Are all he wins in life. Hail, noble queen,
Thy reign is growing larger every hour!
Hail to the light of thine eternal brow!
The little lights must fade in thee as moths
Dissolve in flame—the little lights must die.
Is it a sin to doubt the past, that speaks
The darkened mind? Hail, light unquenchable!
From thee priestcraft and superstition skulk
Into oblivion, and caves of night,
And mumbling mouths that mourn the outworn past.
The rights and lives of men are but half built.
When inhumanity hath greater power
Than Love, what wonder that the world is full
Of clanking chains, and rayless cells of gloom!



Life is a precious book whose pages are
The years, whose thoughts the deeds that speak the heart—
A little book hid on the dusty shelf
Of Time, where some young wanderer may come [page 223] 
And read into his life its silent thoughts,
To bless or curse the memory of the dead.
A little, little book!—and oftentimes
The fairest bound contains the meanest thought.
Yet naught can perish in this world of change;
Forgetfulness is not our doom, though forms
May perish outwardly. All things abide
Forever in the changeless mind, and like
The dew upon the sleeping rose, and like
The winds that bear a thousand flowers to deck
The coming year, unseen we live again
In other hearts; our bodies have an end,
Our thoughts and memories are infinite.

    Miss Alma Frances McCollum was born in Kent County, near Chatham, December 7th, 1879. When she was twelve years old the family removed to Peterborough, Ont., which continued to be her home to within a few months of her death. She received her education in a Ladies’ College in Toronto, and at the School of Expression of the Toronto Conservatory of Music. “Flower Legends, and Other Poems” was published in 1902. She was the composer of several beautiful operettas. A long poem, entitled “The Melodist,” was unfinished at the time of her death, which occurred in Toronto, March 21st, 1906. [page 224]


The lakelet lapped its pebbled beach
   In rhythmic ebb and flow,
Accordant with the melody
   The forest whispered low;
The arborvitae’s spicy breath
   With fragrance filled the glade,
As o’er a rustic kissing-gate
   It cast protecting shade;
There, Love, you waited ardently
The precious toll to take from me.

To-day the song is softly crooned
   In minor undertone,
As through the wood I sadly stroll
   Alone, my love, alone.
An eerie wind has caught the gate
   And open flung it wide;
O Love, I would the great Beyond
   Were just the other side!
Where we could find some restful spot
And feel the peace the world gives not.

Has Heaven glowing jasper walls,
   And golden portal tall?
Tell me there is a forest lake,
   And glad sky over all;
That arborvitaes thickly mass
   And waft their incense sweet
Above an olden trysting-place,
   Where we were wont to meet;
Tell me there is a kissing-gate,
Where you, O love, my love, will wait! [page 225]


When sight and sound, by Pain’s oppressive hand,
   Were dim, and low the shaded night-light burned,
   A Presence came beside my bed, and yearned
To clasp and bear me to another land,
But whispered gently, “It is not so planned.”
   In sweet compassion was the soft glance turned
   On mine, till senses quickened and I learned
The tenderness within the eyes that scanned.
“O Angel of the Sombre Cowl! close fold
   My hand and lead me into peace,” I prayed;
But with a glowing glance of love untold
   Alone to the Unknown he passed. Now stayed
Is former dread; whatever life may hold
   I follow to the end, all unafraid.


   My friend was like my shadow,
   For when the sun shone bright
      We wandered on together
      In merry sunny weather,
Through all my day’s short sunshine,
   Till fell the dreary night.

My friend was like my shadow,
   For, when day’s course had run,
      She vanished with the light
      As shadows fade at night;
I found she had not loved me,
   But only loved the sun. [page 226] 

Ah, friend, my fickle shadow!
   If sunshine come once more,
      It ne’er will seem as bright,
      Nor this heart be as light,
For I shall miss the shadow
   That circled me of yore.

    Born October 9th, 1885, at Newcastle, N.B., where his father was then managing the branch of the Royal Bank of Canada, Eric McKay Yeoman was educated at a school in Halifax and at Dalhousie University. Entering early the field of journalism, he had already, at the time of his death in February, 1909, made for himself an assured place in the calling of his choice. His poems, contributed to various periodicals during the past six years, are being collected for publication in the near future.


Sing low, wild bird!—thine is the only sound
That stirs the holy hush that broods around
   The quiet place beneath whose grasses lie
The bed of forms gone into dust and death.
 Blend a low note with the faint west wind’s sigh,
And breathe a dirge for life that perisheth! [page 227] 

Sing low, wild bird, and sing a requiem o’er
For symphonies of life that are no more!—
   Laughter of children, and the patient song
Of crooning mothers, and the love-hushed tone
   Of red-lipped lovers, murmuring low and long.
Sing low!—their lips are dust, and they are gone.

Sing low, wild bird!—they are all sunk beneath
These violets that languish unto death.
   Gone to man’s bourne are they, and secret Doom
Hath shown his pathway to their anxious eyes,
   That haply leads to empty realms of gloom,
And haply to proud mansions in the skies.


What woman art thou in the church-yard here,
Alone in the even gloom?
O, I am a woman full of sin,
And I lie by my small babe’s tomb.

But what woman art thou by a small babe’s tomb
Filled long and long ago?
O my heart it dies for my small babe’s eyes,
And my soul is spent with woe.

But what woman art thou that weepest here
By a tomb so old and small?
O, ‘tis many a year since they laid him here,
And in sin I have spent them all. [page 228]

But what woman art thou that smilest now
Through tears of thy misery?
O, my small babe’s eyes have come out of the skies,
And he smileth down on me.

His hands they are pink as the meadow rose,
Blue are his eyes as the sea;
His face is bright like the morning light
With the love he beareth me.

But what woman art thou that weepest so?
And why are ye weeping now?
O, his bright eyes see in their purity
The sin-stains on my brow.

He dwelleth in God’s dwelling-place,
Where but the pure go in,
And God shall see the stains on me,
And turn me away for my sin.

But what woman art thou that smilest now,
Dead on the cold, cold sod?
O, a babe from the skies filled her heart with his eyes,
And she’s gone away pure to God. [page 229]



    In addition to the names recorded in the foregoing pages, there still remain a very large number of poetry writers, many of them of considerable merit, whose work has appeared, in one form or another, since the middle of the last century and who have now passed from our midst.

First amongst these, according to the chronological arrangement, comes Evan MacColl, the sturdy Gaelic-English “Bard of Loch Fyne.” It is almost altogether on his work in Gaelic that this writer’s title to the name of “poet” rests. His English verse is characterized by manly vigor and rollicking good cheer. The independent spirit of the man who believed that

“The Gael true alone is he
Who what he thinks speaks frankly free,
And to God only bends the knee,”

is evidenced throughout. The cause that appealed to his sense of right and justice always found in him a fearless champion.

Born on September 21st, 1808, at Kenmore, Lochfyneside, Argyllshire, Scotland, Evan MacColl’s educational advantages were few, but from his father he absorbed [page 230] [3 illustrations] REV. E. H. DEWART. WM. McDONNELL. REV. J. A. ALLEN. [unnumbered page] [blank page] early a rich store of Celtic songs and an intimate acquaintance with their writers. He published considerable, both in Gaelic and English, before leaving his native country. Coming to Canada in 1850, he obtained a position in the Customs at Kingston, where he continued till superannuated in 1880.  His “Poems and Songs, Chiefly Written in Canada,” was published in 1883, with a second edition in 1888. He died in Toronto on July 24th, 1898, and was buried at Kingston. The stanzas given here show something of a departure from his usual method.


“Fairest and rarest gem
   Placed in Night’s diadem!
Morn’s happy usher! who would not with joy
   Welcome thy presence bright
   Over yon distant height,
Queenly resuming thy place in the sky?

“The dawn-loving lark now
   Is stirring—and hark now
The joyful ado at thy coming she makes!
   While, glad at thy showing,
   The darkness now going,
The amorous black-cock his harem awakes.

“The elfin knights prancing
   The elfin maids dancing,
The witch at her cantrips, thou fill’st with dismay;
   Ghosts from thy presence fly,
   Owlets no longer cry.
Wand’rer benighted, now smile on thy way! [page 231] 

“Star of the golden gleams,
   Where dost thou hide thy beams
When the young Morn her fair eyelids unclose?
   Charms such as hers to see
   Well worth thy while might be
Exit less hasty thus from us to choose.

“Lo, in the twilight gray
   Vanish thy sisters gay;
Soon must thou also be lost to my view!
   Harbinger dutiful
   Of the Dawn beautiful,
Now, till thy next glad returning, adieu!”

Another Scotch-Canadian, a contemporary of the preceding, amply dowered, too, with the courage of his convictions, but otherwise a totally different type, was Rev. Aeneas McDonnell Dawson. During nearly half of last century Father Dawson was a conspicuous figure in literary circles in Ottawa. Born at Redhaven, Banffshire, Scotland, on July 30th, 1810, he was connected through both parents with some of the families most renowned in Scottish history, notably the ancient house of Glengarry. Having completed his ecclesiastical studies at the Diocesan Seminary, Paris, he was ordained to the ministry of the Roman Catholic Church in 1835. He came to Canada in 1854, and took charge successively of St. Andrew’s Parish and the Cathedral in the city of Ottawa. He did a large amount of literary work, both prose and verse, and he was also well known as a lecturer. Besides a poem in blank verse published in the Old Country in 1844, he was the author of “Lament for the Rt. Rev. James Gillies, D. D., [page 232] Bishop of Edinburgh, and Other Poems,” issued in 1864; “Solitude,” in 1866; “Our Strength and Their Strength,” in 1870; “Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra,” in 1883; and “Dominion Day, Caractacus, Malcolm and Margaret,” in 1886. His work bears the impress of the scholar and the thinker. There is a quaint dignity and a suggestion of the classic about his poetry. In Byronian stanzas he celebrates the grandeur of the Chaudière:

                       “’Tis not the ocean’s roar.
    Hearken attentive! Still come soothing sounds
Borne as on zephyrs from some distant shore.
   The cataract in the still night resounds.
Roll on, thou foaming Ottawa! ever roll!
   How many thousand years have silent flowed
Since thou in forests where no human soul
   Had learned to dwell, hast ceaseless murm’ring glowed.
Sweet is the music of thy boiling wave;
   Sweet to the woodsman as adown the stream
Homeward he hies; sweet to the patriots brave,
   Of dangers past and battles won who dream;
Sweet to the traveller from distant clime,
   Who hears thee and is glad.  Sweet more to me
In solitary hour, thy cauldron’s chime,
   When voice nor sound beside lends harmony.”

Father Dawson died at Ottawa on December 29th, 1896, at the advanced age of ninety-six.

Still another Scotchman of unusual gifts and tireless energy was Rev. Robert Jackson Macgeorge, known in Canada as “The Solomon of Streetsville.” Descended from an old family, originally Irish, he was [page 233] born near Glasgow in 1811. He was educated at the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh and was admitted to Holy Orders in the Church of England in 1839. Two years later he came to Canada, and shortly after his arrival in the country was given charge of Trinity Church, Streetsville, in Upper Canada. He soon became known throughout that section for his zeal in the ministry and his undoubted ability. He assumed the editorship of the Streetsville Review, which, under his direction, became one of the most popular papers in the province. He also wrote extensively for the press of Upper Canada. Reference has already been made in the opening chapter of this book to the collection of poems, entitled “The Canadian Christian Offering,” which he gathered together and had published in 1848 for the benefit of the church in Streetsville. A small collection of his pieces in prose and verse was published in 1858 under the title, “Tales, Sketches and Lyrics.” Mr. Macgeorge’s verse was evidently written hurriedly; he was too busy a man to give to poetry the attention it demands. A couple of sonnets have been taken at random from his book for reproduction here:—



“In vain did pontiff, priest and augur plead
   Before the conquering exile. Proudly cold
   His eye beheld Rome’s turrets tinged with gold
By the bright morning’s sun. The factious deed [page 234] 
Which drove him from his father’s hearth had frozen
   Each ruthful fountain in his rankling breast.
   “Hence, coward minions, hence!—my stern behest
Not Jove himself can alter. Ye have chosen
To spurn me from you like a felon wolf.
   And therefore come I steel’d against all pity—
With feverish ardor thirsting to engulph
   In ruin infinite your hated city!
To-morrow, on the yellow Tiber’s shore,
The herald Fates shall shriek—‘Rome was—Rome is no more!’”


“Thoughtful at twilight’s hour before his tent,
   The Roman leader of Rome’s foemen stood,
   While clad in sackcloth and funereal hood
A tearful female train before him bent.
His heart is strangely stirred! A voice he hears
   ‘Mid that sad matron band, ne’er heard unloved—
His mother’s gentle voice! Bright, guileless years
   Return, long banished, at the sound. Unmoved
He saw a nation’s agony!—but now
   His wrongs are all forgot—ambition dies—
The fever leaves his brain—the cloud his brow—
   Veturia smiles—‘The victory is won!’
He clasps her in his trembling arms and cries,
   ‘Sweet mother!—Rome you’ve saved—but lost your son!’”

And now come two Irish-Canadian writers, well known in their day, though in very different fields of endeavor, whose life-stories ran concurrently—Rev. Joseph Antisell Allen and Mr. William McDonnell. Both were born in 1814, and, after a span of eighty-six [page 235] years, both died in 1900, within four months of each other.

The former, Rev. J. A. Allen, was a native of Arbor Hill, County Tipperary, Ireland. He was educated at private schools and at Trinity College, Dublin. Coming to Canada in 1842, he was admitted to Holy Orders in the Anglican Church by the late Bishop Mountain of Quebec. With the exception of a short sojourn in the States, most of his life after coming to this country was spent at his home, Alwington House, Kingston. Besides a number of prose works he was the author of “Day-dreams by a Butterfly,” in 1854; “The Lambdanu Tercentenary Poem on Shakespeare,” 1864, and “The True and Romantic Love Story of Colonel and Mrs. Hutchinson,” a drama in verse, in 1884. That Mr. Allen was a thinker, busy with all the unanswerable questions, is plain from the tenor of the poem, “Day-dreams by a butterfly,” from which the following verses have been copied:—

“What art Thou, O Lord,
By whose forming word
   This vast panorama arose,
Whose pillars sustain
The great starry frame,
   And whose arms all nature enclose?

“In the starlit sky,
Thou art surely nigh,
   ‘Mid the glittering hosts of Heaven;
In yon blue expanse,
Where bright seraphs dance,
   The privilege high must be given [page 236] 

“To behold Thy face
In that glorious place
   Where the cherubim veil their eyes
From the dazzling light
Of the star-lamps bright,
   Which light up their paths thro’ the skies.

“Or are stars the gems
Of the diadems
   Of the brilliants that angels wear,
When, through systems above,
Thy behests of love
   From empire to empire they bear?

“Or are they the seams
Through which glory beams
   From the spirit-trod floor of Heaven?
Or some eyelets bright,
In Thy robe of  night,
   In mercy to mortals giv’n?

“Or live we in Thee
And move; Life’s great sea,
A wave of Thy Being, roll on?
Do the stars sweep through
The unbounded blue,
   The scintils of thought from its throne?

“In the flower and snow
Dost Thou bud and blow?
   Dost throb in our innermost heart?
Alike in the tree 
As the galaxy,
  Of thy Being each atom a part? [page 237] 

“Are the storm and the flood
The palace of God,
   And rides He on the hurricane’s wings,
In the thunder’s roar,
In the earthquake’s power,
   In all fearful and awful things?

“Or in sunshine or calm
Dwells the great ‘I Am,’
   In the breathings of infant love,
In the purling stream,
In the poet’s dream,
   On this earth, as in Heaven above?

“Is His throne, then, here?
It is everywhere:
   His palace is boundless space;
He lives in the wind,
In the lofty mind,
   Here, in Heaven, in every place!”

William McDonnell, one of the founders and the first mayor of the town of Lindsay, was born in Cork, Ireland, and as we have already said, in 1814. He came to Canada when a boy and settled in Victoria County, Ontario, where he became one of the pioneers of civilization. He was the author of a number of novels, some of which attained a wide circulation, and by their able and fearless handling of questions religious and social, created a marked sensation at the time of their appearance. His lyric poems, contributed to journals in Canada, the United States and Great Britain, were not preserved. “Manita,” a poem based on an Indian legend of Sturgeon Lake, in Victoria County, and [page 238] “Marina,” an operatic romance, were published in 1883. Mr. McDonnell’s work, or such of itas is procurable at this date, does not lend itself readily to quotation.

Sir Daniel Wilson, the widely known educationist, was born in Edinburgh, June 5th, 1816. Educated at the High School and subsequently at the University of his native city, he devoted himself to literature and educational work. Receiving the appointment of Professor of Science and Literature in University College, Toronto, he came to Canada in 1853. On the retirement of the late Dr. McCaul from the presidency of the University in 1881, Dr. Wilson was chosen to succeed him. He continued in this position up to the time of his death, August 6th, 1892. Sir Daniel Wilson is much better known through his large amount of valuable prose work than as a poet. Two small volumes of verse, called “Spring Wild Flowers,” were published in 1875.

William Kirby, the poet of the United Empire Loyalists, was a native of Hull, England, where he was born October 13th, 1817. Coming to Canada at the age of fifteen, his education was completed in Cincinnati, Ohio. After a short residence in Montreal, he settled in 1839 at Niagara, where he spent practically the remainder of his long life. For over a quarter of a century he edited and published the Niagara Mail. In 1871 he received the appointment of Collector of Customs for Niagara, from which position he retired in 1895. His death took place at Niagara, June 23rd, [page 239] 1906. Mr. Kirby’s literary output was very large and varied. He was deeply interested in the history of his adopted country, that portion of it particularly which deals with the incoming of the Loyalists. His poem, “The U. E.; a Tale of Upper Canada,” was issued from the office of the Mail, Niagara, in 1859. This work is especially interesting to Canadians for its frequent allusions to people and events of local and historic importance. “Canadian Idylls,” a collection of poems, most of which had already appeared separately, was published in 1888, and a second edition in 1894. But his greatest work, that which made the name of William Kirby known throughout England and America, was his novel of early Quebec, “Le Chien d’Or.”

Alexander H. Wingfield, a mechanic, for many years in the employ of the Great Western Railway, seems to have been a man of far more than average endowments, but the circumstances of his life left little chance for the cultivation or use of his gifts. He was a native of Lanarkshire, Scotland, born in 1818. His parents were, evidently, very poor, for we are told that at the age of ten years he was already at work in a cotton factory in Glasgow. He came to America in 1847, and three years after settled finally in Hamilton, where he spent the remainder of his life and where he died on August 8th, 1896. In his choice of subjects, as well as in his treatment of them, Mr. Wingfield is, as a rule, eminently practical, as, for instance:—[page 240]

“Frien’ship has charms for the leal an’ the true,
There’s but few things can beat the hale warld thro’
But ye’ll gey aften find that the best frien’ ava
Is that white-headed callan’ a shillin’ or twa.
Eh, man, it’s a fine thing, a shillin’ or twa!
Hech, man, it’s a gran’ thing, a shillin’ or twa!
It keeps up your spirits, it adds to your merits,
If ye but inherit a shillin’ or twa.”

But there are poems in his book that present him in another light. Such is the one entitled “Crape on the Door,” of which we give the first three verses:—

“There’s a little white cottage that stan’s ‘mang the trees,
Whaur the humming-bird comes to sip sweets wi’ the bees,
Whaur the bright morning-glories grow up o’er the eaves,
An’ the wee birdies nestle amang the green leaves.
But there’s something about it to-day that seems sad,
It hasna’ that look o’ contentment it had;
There’s gloom whaur there used to be sunshine before;
Its windows are darkened—there’s crape on the door.

“There’s crape on the door—all is silent within;
There are nae merry children there makin’ a din;
For the ane that was merriest aye o’ them a’
Is laid out in robes that look white as the sna’.
But yesterday morn, when the sun shone sae bright,
Nae step bounded freer, nae heart was mair light;
When the gloamin’ cam’ roun’ a’ his playing was o’er,
He was drowned in the burn—sae there’s crape on the door. [page 241] 

“Nae mair will he skip like a lamb o’er the lea,
Or pu’ the wild flowers, or gang chasin’ the bee;
He’ll be missed by the bairns when they come hame frae schule,
For he met them ilk day comin’ down o’er the hill.
Beside his wee coffin his lone mither kneels,
An’ she breathes forth a prayer for sorrow she feels;
Her puir widowed heart has been seared to the core,
For not long sinsyne there was crape on the door.”

Richard Huntingdon, known for many years as the able editor of the Yarmouth Tribune, several members of whose family figure, more or less conspicuously, in Canadian history, was born at Yarmouth, N.S., February 13th, 1819. Some of his verse, contributed to the journals of his time, attracted wide notice. We are not aware that any collection of his poems was made either before or since his death, which took place at Yarmouth, May 13th, 1883.

A little volume bearing the title, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus, and Other Poems,” was printed in Port Hope, Ontario, in 1895, nine years after the death of the author, Joseph Scriven. Some of the pieces contained in this book, especially the one which gives it its name, have become very popular as church hymns. Mr. Scriven was native of Dublin, Ireland, born in 1821. His education was received in the schools and at the university of his native city. In 1856 he came to Canada and taught for some years in the vicinity of Rice Lake. Later he moved to Port Hope, where he died August 10th, 1886.

There passed away about the close of last century an [page 242] aged lady, who in its middle years was a well-known figure in the literary life of Canada. Miss Louisa Murray, the daughter of an officer in the Prince Regent’s Regiment, who served in the war of 1812, was born at Carisbrooks, Isle of Wight, in 1822. She was a contributor to the chief periodicals of her time, both in Canada and Great Britain, and was also the author of a number of novels and other prose works. Of her verse Dr. Morgan wrote in the “Bibliotheca Canadensis”; “Some of the sweetest as well as the most tender little lyrics that we have seen in the Canadian periodical press have emanated from her pen.” “Merlin’s Cave,” her most ambitious poem, has been referred to most flatteringly by competent critics.

Rev. Archibald Gray, a Church of England clergyman of Digby, N.S., published in 1852 “Shades of the Hamlet, and Other Poems,” a volume which drew forth from many critics expressions of praise and appreciation.

A writer who commanded widespread esteem in Canada about the middle of last century was Thomas McQueen, a native of Ayrshire, Scotland. He came to Upper Canada in 1842, and from that time till his death in 1861, he took an active interest in the affairs of the province. He was connected, either as editor or contributor, with several influential journals, and did a great deal of telling prose work. His poems written in Canada were never collected. Rev. William Wye Smith wrote of them: “Some of his Canadian pieces in verse, which are not numerous, are very beautiful.” Of these [page 243] we remember “Our Own Broad Lake,” and others. Of this poem we have space to quote only one stanza:—

“I cannot feel as I have felt
   When life with hope and fire was teeming;
Nor kneel as I have often knelt
   At beauty’s shrine, devoutly dreaming.
Some younger hand must strike the string,
   To tell of Huron’s awful grandeur:
Her smooth and moonlight slumbering,
   Her tempest voices loud as thunder;
Some loftier lyre than mine must wake,
   To sing our own broad gleaming lake!”

Another Scotchman who won attention as a poet in Canada was William Murdoch. He was born in Paisley in 1823, and emigrated to this country when he was eleven years old, settling in St. John, N.B. For some years he was engaged in journalism. He published three volumes of poetry. The first two, both entitled “Poems and Songs,” were issued in 1860 and 1872 respectively; the third, “Discursory Ruminations,” a fireside drama, appeared in 1876. Mr. Murdoch died on May 4th, 1877.

The sisters, Mary E. and Sara Herbert, for some years prominent in journalistic circles in Nova Scotia, were born in Ireland in the first quarter of last century. Their poetry, contributed to journals mostly in their own province, elicited warm praise from many admirers. “Æolian Harp, or Miscellaneous Poems,” by Sara and Mary E. Herbert, was published in 1857.

Another Nova Scotia lady who contributed a mass of excellent work to the periodical press of her province [page 244] was Miss Clotilda Jennings. A poem of hers written at the time of the Burns Centenary was brought to the notice of the London Committee and by them included in “The Burns’ Centenary Wreath.” Under the penname “Maude,” she published “Linden Rhymes,” a book of verse, in 1864.

Pierce Stevens Hamilton, journalist, was born at Brookfield, N.B., January 23rd, 1826. He studied for the legal profession and was called to the Bar in 1851. For some years he was editor of the Acadian Record, and subsequently became Chief Commissioner of Mines for Nova Scotia. He was the author of “Solitaire,” a dramatic poem, also “The Feast of St. Anne, and Other Poems,” published in 1890. He died February 22nd, 1893. His work is uneven and sometimes marred by faulty versification. He has beautiful ideas and is never at a loss for language in which to dress them. The poem, “The Feast of St. Anne,” opens with a description of the island of Cape Breton:

“That sentinel advanced of Canada, 
To watch what cometh from the Atlantic main—
Which nomenclature meaningless, and mean,
And uninventive, hath ‘Cape Breton’ called;
But which, beneath the loving sway of France,
The prouder title bore ‘Isle Royale!’
As meet domain or residence of kings.
For Nature there has, with most lavish hand,
Spread forth her treasures both of soil and mine,
And driven to its haven-grited shores
The exhaustless living wealth of teeming seas,
Providing all which industry requires
To minister to earthly wants of man. [page 245] 
All meetly, too, is moulded and adorned
The casket plenished with such priceless gems.
An isle whose variedly inviting shores,
Firmly against the ocean storms embattled,
Infold a very pearl of inland seas—
Yet with a tide of ocean pulsating—
With ample room, and scope, and shelter safe
To gather in the navies of an empire,
And there manoeuvre them in arts of war
In all the calm security of peace.
There broad, deep bays, with smiling bosoms, woo
The mariner, and not with treacherous face.
There labyrinthine inlets, gemmed with isles,
By overtopping promontories wind
Far into the deep recesses of the hills,
Where e’en the proudest bark that rides the main
May moor herself amid the growing pines
That spire as loftily as her tallest mast.
The sinuous shores are ribanded with hills,
Oft towering grandly with a mountain mien,
Though clad in densest mass of greenery,—
Oft bending gracefully to sweet, low plains
Of swarded intervale, outspreading far
‘Twixt buttresses of deepest emerald,
Or deep, wild glens, wherein the golden light
Is strained through foliage most deliciously,
Which woo the weary pilgrim of the world
To find a haven in their solitudes.
It is a land of beauties exquisite,
In lake and hill, dark glen and sounding shore,
And is to worshipper of Nature’s charms
A stately temple of a thousand shrines.”

Rev. Duncan Ander, a clergyman of the Presbyterian Church, and also well known as an ornithologist, was born at Rayne, Scotland, in 1828. He was [page 246] educated at local schools and at King’s College and University, Aberdeen. He entered the ministry in 1854, and in that same year became pastor of St. Andrew’s Church, Levis, Quebec, where he continued till 1886, when he retired from active church work. In 1890 he published “Lays of Canada, and Other Poems.”

For the really great service he rendered to pioneer Canadian poetry by the publication of his “Selection from Canadian Poets,” all students of the subject remember gratefully the name of Edward Hartley Dewart. Born in the County Cavan, Ireland, in 1828, he came with his family to Canada while he was a child and settled in Peterborough County, in Upper Canada. He was called to the ministry of the Methodist Church in 1851 and ordained in 1855. For twenty-five years he was editor of The Christian Guardian. The degree of D.D. was conferred upon him by Victoria University in 1879. “Songs of Life,” a volume of original verse, was issued in 1869, and “Essays for the Times,” which contains some later poems, in addition to an essay on the poet Sangster, in 1898. Dr. Dewart was a scholar and capable critic. His poetry is pervaded by a devotional strain, which, however, rather impresses than intrudes itself upon the reader. His descriptions of nature and natural scenery are sometimes very beautiful. His apostrophe to Niagara Falls, which has been much admired, is fair sample:—

“Stupendous power! thy thunder’s solemn hymn
Whose tones rebuke the shallow unbeliefs
Of men, is still immutably the same.
Ages ere mortal eyes beheld thy glory, [page 247] 
Thy waves made music for the listening stars,
And angels paused in wonder as they passed,
To gaze upon thy weird and awful beauty,
Amazed to see such grandeur this side heaven.
Thousands, who once have here enraptured stood,
Forgotten lie in death’s lone, pulseless sleep;
And when each beating heart on earth is stilled,
Thy tide shall roll, unchanged by flight of years,
Bright with the beauty of eternal youth.

“Thy face, half-veiled in rainbows, mist, and foam,
Awakens thoughts of all the beautiful,
The grand of earth, which stand through time and change
As witnesses of God’s omnipotence.
The misty mountain, stern in regal pride,
The birth-place of the avalanche of death—
The grand old forest, through whose solemn isles
The wintry winds their mournful requiems chant—
The mighty rivers rushing to the sea—
The thunder’s peal, the lightning’s awful glare—
The deep, wide sea, whose melancholy dirge,
From age to age yields melody divine—
The star-lit heavens, magnificent and vast,
Where suns and worlds in quenchless splendor blaze—
All terrible and beauteous things create
Are linked in holy brotherhood with thee,
And speak in tones above the din of earth
Of Him unseen, whose word created all.”

“On the River,” a poem which we regret that lack of space prevents us from reproducing in full, contains some graceful imagery:—

“As down the river I dreamily glide—
   The sparkling and moonlit river—[page 248] 
Not a ripple disturbs the glassy tide,
   Not a leaf is seen to quiver:
      The lamps of night
      Shed their trembling light,
With a tranquil and silvery glory,
      Over river and dell,
      Where the zephyrs tell

In the department of emotional and reflective poetry, Dr. Dewart has done some of his best work.


“I awoke from the dreams of the night, 
   From restful and tranquil repose,
And looked where the sunbeams lay bright,
   To see what the morn might disclose
My window looked out on the east,
   And opened to welcome the sun,
As he rose, from the darkness released,
   All girded, his journey to run.
      I watched, as I lay,
      The leaf-shadows play—
For the trees were still mantled in green—
      As they silently danced,
      Curvetted and pranced,
On the curtain suspended between.

“Then I said to my soul: Here’s some thought
   For thee to decipher and read;
Every form, that in nature is wrought,
   Bears some lesson to those who give heed.
Between our weak eyes and the light
   A thick-woven curtain is spread; [page 249] 
And the future it screens from our sight,
   And the home and the fate of the dead.
      The phantoms which still
      With perplexity chill,
Which doubting despondency brings,
      Are cast, as they shine,
      By the sunbeams divine,
And are shadows of beautiful things.

“Then I drew the broad curtain aside,
   And looked out on the beautiful world;
The dewdrops were flashing, and wide
   Were the banners of beauty unfurled.
The leaves that had silently flung
   Their shadows to darken my room,
Each answered with musical tongue
   To the zephyrs that played with its bloom.
      And thus it may be
      At life’s ending with me,
When death rends the curtain away;
      I may rise to behold
      In beauty unrolled
The morn of a shadowless day.”

A large number of gifted women writers figured in Canadian periodical literature about the middle of the nineteenth century. Happily, some of these are still with us. Amongst those who have passed away, besides some elsewhere noticed, were Miss Annie L. Walker, Miss Augusta Baldwyn, Mrs. J. L. Leprohon, Mrs. Sara Anne Curzon, and Miss Helen M. Johnson.

Miss Walker published anonymously in Montreal in 1861, “Leaves From the Canadian Backwoods.” The first edition of this book was quickly exhausted and a second edition issued a year or so later. [page 250]

Miss Baldwyn, the daughter of an Anglican clergyman of St. John’s, Quebec, was a prolific contributor to Canadian and American magazines. She published a volume of poems in 1859.

Mrs. (Dr.) Leprohon (Rose R. Mullins) was a very popular writer in her day. Born in Montreal in 1832, she was educated under the direction of the Sisters of the Congregation de Notre Dame. In 1851 she was married to the late Dr. J. L. Leprohon, a celebrated Canadian physician. She died in Montreal on September 20th, 1879. Mrs. Leprohon is best remembered as a writer of popular tales. In the preface to the little volume of her poems published two years after her death, we read, “It contains the emotional record of a blameless and beautiful life, the outcome of a mind that thought no evil of anyone, but overflowed with loving-kindness to all.” And, reading her pretty, tender little home lyrics, just so would we have judged her, a gentle, womanly woman, a fond mother, and a faithful wife.


“The world had chafed his spirit proud
   By its wearing, crushing strife,
The censure of the thoughtless crowd
   Had touched a blameless life;
Like the dove of old, from the waters’ foam
He wearily turned to the ark of home.

“Hopes he had cherished with joyous heart,
   Had toiled for many a day [page 251] 
With body and spirit and patient art,
   Like mists had melted away.
O’er day-dreams vanished, o’er fond hopes flown,
He sat him down to mourn alone.

“But not alone, for soft fingers rest
   On his hot and aching brow,
Back the damp hair is tenderly pressed,
   While a sweet voice whispers low:
‘Thy joys have I shared, O my husband true!
And shall I not share thy sorrows too?’

“What though false friends should turn aside,
   Or chill with icy look;
What though he meet the pitying pride
   The proud heart ill can brook?
There are depths of love in one gentle heart,
Whose faith with death alone will part.

“Aye! well may thy brow relax its gloom,
   For a talisman hast thou
‘Gainst hopes that are blighted in their bloom,
   ‘Gainst scornful look or brow—
Her heart is a high and holy throne
Where, monarch supreme, thou reignest alone.”

Mrs. Sara Anne Curzon was born near Birmingham, England, in 1833. She married in 1858 the late Robert Curzon of Norfolk, and came with him to Canada two or three years after. A strenuous advocate of the right of women to all the college and university privileges in Arts, Science and Medicine, her ready pen was ever at the service of the cause. During nearly forty years she contributed, in prose and verse, to most of the Upper Canada periodicals. With true patriotic [page 252] zeal, she studied the history of her adopted country and identified herself with its interests. In 1887 she published “Laura Secord, the Heroine of 1812,” a drama dealing with a well-known episode in Canadian history. The sufferings and sacrifices of the United Empire Loyalists appealed especially to her sympathies.

“O ye, who with your blood and sweat
   Watered the furrows of this land,—
See where upon a nation’s brow
   In honour’s front, ye proudly stand!

“Who for her pride abased your own
   And gladly on her altar laid
All bounty of the older world,
   All memories that your glory made.

“And to her service bowed your strength,
   Took labor for your shield and crest;
See where upon a nation’s brow
   Her diadem, ye proudly rest!”

Referring to Helen M. Johnson, Dr. Dewart, in his “Selections from Canadian Poets,” writes: “The love of poetry, which early developed itself, in spite of circumstances the most unpropitious, proved a perennial source of solace and joy to a life distinguished by more than an ordinary share of pain and suffering.” Miss Johnson was born at Magog, Quebec, in 1835. She was, as we have said, a contributor, mainly of verse, to several publications. One volume of her poems was published in Boston before her death, and a second collection, called “Canadian Wild-Flowers,” nearly [page 253] twenty-one years after. She died at Magog, Quebec, in March, 1863.


“Night comes, but he comes not! I fear
The treacherous ice; what do I hear?
Bells? nay, I am deceived again,—
‘Tis but the ringing in my brain.
Oh, how the wind goes shrieking past!
Was it a voice upon the blast?
A cry for aid? my God, protect!
Preserve his life—his course direct!
How suddenly it has grown dark—
How very dark without—hush! hark!
‘Tis but the creaking of the door;
It opens wide and nothing more.
The wind and snow came in; I thought
Some straggler food and shelter sought;
But more I feared, for fear is weak,
That some one came of him to speak.
To tell how long he braved the storm,
How long he kept his bosom warm
With thoughts of home, how long he cheered
His weary horse that plunged and reared,
And wallowed through the drifted snow
Till daylight faded, and the glow
Of hope went out, how almost blind
He peered around, below, behind,—
No road, no track, the very shore
All blotted out,—one struggle more,
It is thy last, perchance, brave heart!
O God, a reef! the masses part
Of snow and ice, and dark and deep
The waters lie in death-like sleep;—
He sees too late the chasm yawn;
Sleigh, horse, and driver, all are gone!
Father in heaven! It may be thus! [page 254]
But Thou art gracious,—pity us.
Save him, and me in mercy spare
What ‘twould be worse than death to bear!
Hark! hush! am I deceived again?
Nay, ‘tis no ringing in my brain,
My pulses leap—my bosom swells—
Thank God! it is, it is his bells!”

Donald McCaig, an educationist of Ontario, published in 1894 a little volume of verses called “Milestone Moods and Memories,” in which are contained some poems of more than average merit. Mr. McCraig belonged to the island of Cape Breton, where he was born on May 15th, 1832, of Scottish parents. While he was still a child a family moved to Western Ontario, where Mr. McCraig was educated and where most of his life was spent. In the preface to his book, he writes: “All I have ever hoped for in my most sanguine moments has been, that when Canada has outgrown her novitiate, when she has a literature of her own, and a standing among the nations of the earth, I might be recognized as one who had in her then, long ago, seen some beauty in Nature, some grandeur in country and home, some greatness in God, and something of heaven in the face of woman.” In 1885 he received the prize of the Toronto Caledonian Society for his poem, “The Moods of Burns.’ The poem we have chosen amongst others equally meritorious, bears the title, more expressive than euphonious, “Not a Poet”:—

“Not a poet? no, he sings not;
   Are not poets sometimes mute?
Is he greater, he whose bosom
   Feels the thrill or plays the lute? [page 255] 

“Is the blare of brazen trumpet,
   Sounded in the ear of Art,
Strong as silver chord that vibrates
   Through the chambers of the heart?

“Is the voice of Alpine thunder,
   Calling from its cloud retreat,
Stronger than the brook that murmurs
   All its music at our feet?

“Is the sigh from wave of ocean,
   Beating ‘gainst life’s hither shore,
Stronger as it sinks to silence,
   Or amid the tempest’s roar?

“Thrills not all life’s solemn music
   Through the soul’s strange woof and warp;
From the monotones of Nature
   On her great Æolian harp?

“And the poet, he who gathers
   All the sad and solemn strain;
Though the why and whence of being,
   Still but ‘why’ and ‘whence’ remain;

“Stands he by the Caves of Silence,
   Where the night-winds come and go;
Asking still that awful question,
   Answering winds, ‘We do not know.’

“Waits he still in time-bound fetters,
   Gazing through his prison bars;
Calling out in helpless pleading
   To the cold and voiceless stars. [page 256] 

“Thus adown the cycling ages,
   Kneels he at some heathen throne,
Hands upraised to Baal or Moloch,
   Reaching tothe Great Unknown.

“But the awful ‘if’ that meets him,
   Drifting hopeless from the shore;
Into utter, outer darkness,
If ‘tis darkness, evermore!

“But do not the wings of morning
   Wait upon the darkest night?
Is there not a sun still shining
   Always on the shores of light?

“Judge him kindly if he wanders
   From the line so plain to thee,
What to some its truth unquestioned
   He may strangely fail to see.

“You may stand where others left you,
   He has on and onward trod,
Till no chart will show his bearings—
   Is he farther, then, from God?”

After the death of James DeMille, the popular Nova Scotia novelist and educationist, there was found amongst his papers a fanciful poem entitled, “Behind the Veil.” Some years later surviving members of the family had this poem published. It contains many beautiful passages, displaying considerable ability in versification as well as unusual power of imagination:

“‘Son of Light,’ I murmured lowly,
‘All my heart is known to Thee—
Known unto Thy vision holy—[page 257] 
All my longing and my yearning for the Loved One lost to me,—
May these eyes again behold her? And the Shape said, ‘Come and see.’

     “’Twas a voice whose intonation
        Through my feeble being thrilled
     With a solemn, sweet vibration,
And at once a holy calmness all my wakeful senses stilled,
And my heart beat faint and fainter, with a dying languor filled.

     “Then a sudden sharp convulsion
        Seized me with resistless might,
     Till before that fierce compulsion
All mortality departed; like a thought, a thing of light,
All my spirit darted up to an immeasurable height.

     “I beheld bright visions darting
        Past, in long and quick review,
     Quick arriving, quick departing;
Mortal sense had grown immortal, and I saw not, but I knew,
And that spiritual sense was Knowledge, absolute and true.”

Mr. DeMille was born in St. John, N.B., in 1834. He was educated at Horton Academy, Acadia College, and Brown University. For some time he was engaged in commercial pursuits, but finally turned his whole attention to education and literature. He held the professorship of Classics at Acadia College and subsequently that of English Literature and History at Dalhousie University. A number of tales and other prose [page 258] works were the product of his pen. He died at Halifax on January 28th, 1880.

Walter Norton Evans, a native of Wolverhampton, England, born in 1836, published in Montreal in 1886 a poem called “Mount Royal”; a second edition, illustrated, was issued in 1893. He also published “Cartier and Hochelaga; Maisonneuve and Ville Marie,” two historic poems, in 1895. Mr. Evans died in Montreal in 1896.

Samuel James Watson, the late librarian of the Ontario Legislature, was born in Ireland in 1837 and educated at the Belfast Academy. Coming to Canada in 1857, he entered the field of journalism, serving, at one time or another, on some of the most influential Canadian newspapers. In 1871 he received the appointment of Librarian of the Legislature at Toronto. In this position, for which he was well qualified and which he held up to the time of his death in 1881, he did a great deal of valuable work. Besides a number of prose works, he published in 1876, “The Legend of the Roses, a Poem; and Ravlan, a Drama.” Many thoughtful passages, some of them of real merit as poetry, occur in the opening poem, which is an epic of early Rome:

“There is no death; for that which we call death,
For want of knowledge of all modes of work
Wherewith the Almighty works, for want of words
To picture well the little that we know—
What we call death is nothing but divorcement;
The keen sword from the worn and fretted scabbard,
The oil and wick and flame from the weak lamp,
The breath of God ta’en back again to heaven [page 259]
After it warmed a portion of the world.
There is no death. A noble thought ne’er dies,
A good deed never dies, nor a good word,
Nor anything which, since the world began,
Ever did good, even in the humblest way,
Unto humanity. There is no death in nature,
Nor in man’s body, nor unto man’s soul.
There is no death in anything but doubting.”

The following is Mr. Watson’s conception of the scene at the tomb of Lazarus:—

“Silent, a space, the mighty Prophet stood,
Gazing upon the weepers and the grave,
And then, towards heaven, which, looking on His face,
Saw a diviner heaven reflected there;
For the Man’s heart, conquering the God within,
Sent up a mist upon His countenance,
A mist of tearful tenderness; and so,
Almighty strength, yielding to human grief,
Stooped to humanity, and thus stooping down,
Stamped man’s and woman’s sorrow, from that hour,
With the unchangeable and holy seal
Of most inviolate majesty.

“The Prophet went up close unto the tomb;
And unto the dead friend who slept within 
Whom He had loved in life, and now in death,
He spake this marvel: ‘Lazarus, come forth!’
These words, which, on the ears of those who heard,
Fell soft as summer dew upon a rose,
Thundered with life, and flashed like lightning
O’er the abysm ‘twixt the quick and the dead,
And shook all Hades with a might ungiven
Unto ten thousand thunderbolts. A bird,
Pluming herself upon the tomb, ne’er fluttered;
Not one blade of the brown grass where we stood [page 260] 
Was moved aside at these soft words. But he
Who, for four suns and watches of the stars,
Lay locked in granite, heard them; for they drove
Through the deaf stone, and reached the dead man’s ear,
And he walked forth into the light and sight,
A trophy won from death.”

John J. Proctor, the veteran journalist, who passed away at the beginning of the present year (1910), published in 1861, “Voices of the Night, and Other Poems.” Mr. Proctor was born in Liverpool, England, in 1838, and educated at Sedburgh in Yorkshire. For some time after coming to Canada he was on the teaching staff of the University of Bishop’s College, Lennoxville, but eventually taking up journalism, he gave his whole attention to literature. He was at the time of his death editor of the Quebec Morning Chronicle. Dr. Dewart, in his “Selections,” quotes freely from this writer, and, indeed there is much to admire in his verse, much beauty of thought and grace and refinement of expression, though it is too often tinged by a deep shade of sadness:—

“Oh, let me dream for a while
   Under the winter sky;
Dream of the light of a vanished smile,
   And the hopes of a day gone by;
Dream of a lovely face,
   And the grace of a lovely head,
And the form that I clasped in a fond embrace—
   Let me dream for a while of the dead. [page 261] 

“Dead! can it be I am here
   Whispering this to my heart?
Dead! and I have not one welcome tear
   To soften the inward smart!
Dead! and I cannot pray,
   For I think of my love that is gone,
And the hope that was withered in one short day
   Has blasted my heart to stone.

“What have I left but to dream
   Of my love that is laid in her rest,
To live as I live, for my life’s years seem
   But an empty dream at the best!
Everything round is still
   And white as a new-made shroud,
From the snow-clad lea to the pines on the hill,
   And the fleecy veil of the cloud.

“Here on the snow I lie
   Seeking a balm for care,
Looking up to the blank of the sky,
   And the blue of the fathomless air.
Hark! how the chill winds wail,
   And shiver and moan in their flight;
What a depth of woe in the sorrowful tale
   They tell in the ear of the night!

“What is I that makes them sad?
   Do they miss the grace of the flowers,
And sigh for the time when their breath was glad
   With the sweets of the summer hours?
Ye do well, chill winds, to rave,
   For the day of your brides has fled,
The earth lies heavy and cold on their grave,
   They are dead—and she too is dead!” [page 262]

Carroll Ryan, who passed away in Montreal on March 23rd, 1910, was for many years a familiar figure in Canadian journalism. He was born in Toronto in February, 1839, and received his education in that city. He served in the Crimean War in the 3rd Jager British-German Legion under Colonel Bowdes, and later he served with the 100th Prince of Wales Royal Canadian Regiment at Gibraltar and Malta. He returned to his native land in 1866 and took up journalism as his life-work. For twenty-five years he was a member of the Press Gallery of the House of Commons, being for some time its president. Amongst other journals he was connected editorially with the Volunteer Review and the Ottawa Free Press. During the last years of his life he resided in Montreal, contributing largely to the press of that city. He published four volumes of poetry, entitled respectively, “Oscar, and Other Poems,” 1857; “Songs of a Wanderer,” 1867; “Picture Poems,” 1884, and “Poems, Songs and Ballads,” 1900.

Dr. Rand, in his sketch of Alexander Rae Garvie, refers to him as “a singularly interesting man,” and, judging from such specimens of his work as have been preserved in the posthumous volume of poems and essays, entitled “Thistledown,” published in 1875, we readily accept the description as fitting. Rev. Alex. Garvie was born in Demerara, British Guiana, in 1839. For several years he labored as a clergyman in the Maritime Provinces. His death took place in Montreal in 1874. [page 263]


“When you and I were younger
   Life’s herald was Love’s hope;
Grief gave us not heart-hunger.
   Since then, alas! we grope
      Because of eyes tear-blinded.

“When you and I are older,
   And in the vale forlorn,
Should Death’s breath seem the colder,
   All in God’s golden morn
      The gates of pearl will glimmer.

“When you and I were stronger
   We heeded not hard ways;
But now the road looks longer
   To our far-reaching gaze,
      Because we are care-wearied.

“When you and I are weaker,
   Christ’s strength will serve our need;
And we, through suffering meeker
   Than any bruised reed,
      Shall find and fold our Darling!”

Mr. Rae’s descriptions are graphic, calling up a realistic picture of the scene portrayed before the reader’s mind, as in his “Storm Piece,” from which we can only quote one stanza:—

“Through the fearful night sat fisher-folk
   By the mangled, wet-haired corses;
And at morn when the little children woke,
   They watched the great, gray sea-horses [page 264] 
Plunging around the steadfast shore—
   Pawing madly upon the beach.
Afar on green clefts the foam lay frore—
Here a tattered hat, there a shattered oar;
   Whilst fitfully came from a distant reach:
      ‘Hurrah, my shore-shakers!
         Hurrah, ye woe-makers!’
The shouts of King Neptune, full stern in his way,
Who guides the fierce horses that ruthlessly slay.”

Sir James David Edgar, well known in the arena of Canadian politics, was a frequent contributor to the periodical press of the country. “This Canada of Ours,” which we reproduce here, won the prize for Canadian national songs in 1874. The descendant of a loyal Jacobite family, he was born at Hatley, Quebec, in 1841 and educated at Lennoxville Grammar School and in Quebec. He studied law and was called to the Bar in 1864 in Toronto, where he practised for many years. Entering Parliament as Liberal member for Monck in 1872, he soon became an acknowledged force there. In 1896 he was elected Speaker of the Commons, and sworn a member of the Privy Council in 1897. He was for some time on the directorate of the Toronto Globe. In addition to a number of prose works, dealing mostly with questions of law, he published in 1885 “The White Stone Canoe, a Legend of the Ottawa,” and in 1893, “This Canada of Ours, and Other Poems.” He died at Toronto, July 31st, 1899. [page 265]


“Let other tongues in older lands
   Loud vaunt their claims to glory,
And chaunt in triumph of the past,
   Content to live in story.
Tho’ boasting no baronial halls,
   Nor ivy-crested towers,
What past can match thy glorious youth,
         Fair Canada of ours?
            Fair Canada,
            Dear Canada,
         This Canada of ours!

“We love those far-off ocean isles
   Where Britain’s monarch reigns;
We’ll ne’er forget the good old blood
   That courses through our veins;
Proud Scotia’s fame, old Erin’s name,
   And haughty Albion’s powers,
Reflect their matchless lustre on
         This Canada of ours.
            Fair Canada,
            Dear Canada,
         This Canada of ours!

“May our Dominion flourish then,
   A goodly land and free,
Where Celt and Saxon, hand in hand,
   Hold sway from sea to sea.
Strong arms shall guard our cherished homes
   When darkest danger lowers,
And with our life-blood we’ll defend
         This Canada of ours.
            Fair Canada,
            Dear Canada,
         This Canada of ours! [page 266]

His Grace, Cornelius O’Brien, late Archbishop of Halifax, was born in New Glasgow, P.E.I., May 4th, 1843. He studied for the priesthood at St. Dunstan’s College, Charlottetown, and at the College of the Propaganda, Rome, and was ordained in 1871. After laboring in the ministry for upwards of eleven years he was raised to the Archbishopric of Halifax in 1883. In the midst of the many and onerous responsibilities of his high office the Archbishop found time to add to the literature of his country a number of valuable works, mainly prose. Many of his fugitive poems found their way into contemporary journals. “Aminta, a Modern Life Drama,” was published in New York in 1890. He was elected in 1896 president of the Royal Society of Canada. Of this prelate and accomplished gentleman it has been said that “he was one of the most lovable, kindly, refined ecclesiastical personalities in the Lower Provinces.” He died at Halifax in 1906.


“A shell lies silent on a lonely shore,
High rocks and barren stand with frowning brow;
   Hither no freighted ship e’er turn their prow
Their treasures on the fated sand to pour.
Afar the white-robed sea-gull loves to soar;
   But, pure as victim for a nation’s vow,
   A lovely maiden strikes the shell, and now
Its music charms, and sadness reigns no more.

“Thus, Christian Poesy, thus on pagan coast
   For ages mute had lain thy sacred lyre,
      Untouched since from the prophet’s hand it fell, [page 267] 
Till fair Cecilia, taught by angel hosts,
   Attuned its music to the heavenly choir,
      And gave a Christian voice to Clio’s shell.”

    It is a matter of real regret that we have been unable to procure any of the serious poems, which we have heard spoken of as very beautiful, written at rare intervals by George T. Lanigan, the brilliant “George Washington Æsop” of “The Fables Out of the World.” His many humorous ballads, contributed to the Montreal Star and other journals, though irresistibly amusing and showing forth unmistakably the touch of the hand of genius, cannot strictly be classed as poetry, and his translations of the French-Canadian “chansons,” written when he was seventeen, should not, we feel, be presented as a sample of this gifted man’s ability as a poet. George T. Lanigan was born December 10th, 1845, at St. Charles, Quebec. His before-mentioned school-boy translations of the French-Canadian ballads were published in book form in 1864. He did a very large amount of work for the Montreal press, helping to found The Free Lance, a humorous paper, and the Montreal Daily Star. In 1872 he went to New York, where he became connected with the World, in which the well-known “Fables” first appeared. Some time later he was doing journalistic work in Chicago, and, finally in Philadelphia, where he died on February 5th, 1886.

Another genius that flashed like a meteor across the [page 268] sky of Canadian journalism was Alex. McGregor Rose, known on this continent under the assumed name of “Gordon.” Born in Banffshire, Scotland, his education, commenced in local schools, was finished at the University of Aberdeen. Some time later he was ordained to the Congregational ministry and labored for four years in the parish of Evie. In 1870, owing to financial reverses, he gave up his charge and left his native land. For nearly fifteen years he lived in the Southern States, becoming well known as a remarkably clever journalist. The closing years of his life were spent in Canada, where his contributions to the press, both prose and verse, became very popular. He died in Montreal on May 10th, 1898. It is from no lack of appreciation of the powers or deserts of this nomadic scholar, this brilliant humorist, that we have not quoted at length from his poems, a collected edition of which was published in England after his death. On the waves of chance he drifted in amongst us, and while it is true that some of his very best work was done in Canada, we feel that the mere fact of the last sad chapter of his pathetic life-story having been closed in our midst does not justify us in claiming him as a Canadian poet.

Dr. Charles Edwin Jakeway was born at Holland Landing, Ontario, in 1847. After graduating in Toronto in 1871 he practised his profession in Stayner, Ontario, where he died in 1906. “The Lion and the Lilies, and Other Poems,” a collection of his verse, was published in 1897. It contains many patriotic pieces. Some of Dr. Jakeway’s descriptions are graceful and [page 269] graphic, as that of nightfall in “An Unfinished Prophecy”:—

“The river’s rippling monotone—
The low-voiced chant of zephyrs lone,
That swung like censers through the halls
By leafage arched, with leafage walls—
The lazy hum of insect song—
All seemed to woo the shades along
The golden rim of eventide,
As back and forth her paddle plied
Through solemn symphonies of gloom
Into the night-enshrouded tomb
Of recent day. The throbbing stars
Rose one by one above the bars
Of dark abysmal to sea
Of heaven and the mystery 
Of Nature’s silence robed her round
With garments threaded by the sound
Of marsh-bird’s wail, or pine-wood’s moan.
At length she turned, and towards the zone
Of blackness, girding round the stream
As Lethe coils around a dream,
She swerved the course of the canoe,
And through the grasses, damp with dew,
That held their arms down from the bank
To fondle with the rushes rank,
Propelled its prow against the sand,
And silently sprang to the land.”

John Imrie, born in Glasgow, Scotland, towards the middle of last century, came to Canada in 1871 and settled in Toronto. In 1884, in connection with D. L. Graham, he founded the printing house of Imrie & Graham. He began the publication of The Scottish-Canadian in 1890. The first edition of his verse was [page 270] issued in 1888. This was followed by four other editions, each enlarged by the addition of new material, appearing in 1891, 1894, 1902 and 1906, respectively. He died in Toronto in 1902. It will be seen that the last issue was a posthumous collection. Much of Mr. Imrie’s verse has devotional strain. It is plainly the work of a man actuated by noble aspirations and lofty principles.

George John Romanes, a distinguished scientist and author, was a native of Kingston, Ontario, born on May 24th, 1848, his father being on the staff of Queen’s University. His education was begun under private tuition and completed at Cambridge. A number of interesting and valuable prose works, chiefly biological, were the product of his pen. He was a profound thinker, deeply engrossed with questions bearing on spiritual subjects. After much study and long conflict, he returned before his death to the communion of the Church of England, which he seemed for a time to have abandoned. He died at Oxford, England, in 1894. Two years after his death some of his poems were collected and published with an introduction by T. Herbert Warren, President of Magdalen College, Oxford. Some of these are well worthy of reproduction.

Five books of verse, as follows: “The Canadian Lyre,” 1859 (when the author was only ten years of age); “Win-on-ah, or The Forest Light, and Other Poems,” 1869; “One Quiet Day,” prose and verse, 1873; “I Shall Not Tell” and “Muriel, the Foundling, and Other Original Poems,” 1869; “One Quiet Day,” prose and verse, 1873; “I Shall Not Tell” and “Muriel, the Foundling, and Other Original Poems,” 1886, were all by Andrew [page 271] J. Ramsay, a house decorator of Westover, Ontario, who was born in 1849 and died in 1901. His poetry is uneven, but some of it is very meritorious. One stanza from “Atkinson’s Mill” is all space will permit us to quote:

“No more will the big wheel revolve with a clatter,
   No more the bolts turn with a turbulent clank,
Nor down the dim flume rush the wonderful water
   To burst forth in foam by the green-colored bank.
The blue flag is gone from the shore that we cherish,
   The song of the graybird in autumn is still,
Yet memory kindles the blossoms that perish,
   Like hope that was happy by Atkinson’s Mill.”

William McLennan, a member of an old Glengarry family, was born in Montreal in 1856. He graduated B.C.L. at McGill University in 1880. He practised his profession for a number of years in Montreal, where he held at various times many responsible positions. His health failing, however, he was obliged to go abroad. His death took place in Vallambrosa, Italy, in 1904. Mr. McLennan’s title to fame as an author depends mainly on his contributions to prose literature, though a volume of translations of old French-Canadian chansons published in 1886, under the title, “Songs of Old Canada,” became very popular. His original poems, contributed to contemporary magazines, from which the stanzas given below have been taken, have not, to our knowledge, been preserved in book form: [page 272]


“The Day hath burst exuberant from out the pearl-grey Dawn.
   She flings aside her crimson robe behind the golden hills,
And comes in all her nakedness, her every veil with-drawn,
   In glory so effulgent that it troubles as it thrills.

“The cicada is screaming high her pæn to the heat,
   The tender morning flowers have hid their faces from the glare,
As dancing through the swooning land Day reels with burning feet,
   The red hibiscus flaunting in her iridescent hair.”

Archibald Lampman has been spoken of as “Keats re-incarnated” and the phrase may not ill described him. Quick with the subtle touch of genius, his work proclaims through the poet “born, not made.”  But we prefer to think of him as standing alone, the unique product of our own young land, with nothing to gain by comparison with any other.

Clearness of vision, keen insight into the purposes of existence and the workings of the human mind, and a rare command of language, which enabled him to put his beautiful thoughts before us with appealing directness and unaffected simplicity, are his characteristics, and they give him title to a foremost place amongst the poets Canada has so far produced. His poetry was the natural and inevitable overflow of the music within his soul. Song was as the breath of life to him:—[page 273]

“Strange Spirit, leave me not too long,
   Nor stint to give,
For if my soul have no sweet song,
   It cannot live.”

The faults that, at times, mar his work, notably occasional defective versification and a liability to drop, in the midst of his most exalted flights, into commonplace, are readily traceable to the unfavorable conditions under which he labored. Lack of leisure, enforced uncongenial employment in the midst of distraction and tumult, and the continual pressure of sordid cares, make a combination of circumstances ill-calculated to foster poetic inspiration, and our fullest sympathy goes out to the poet in his yearning for

“A life of leisure and broad hours,
   To think and dream, to put away small things,
      This world’s perpetual leaguer of dull naughts;
To wander like the bee among the flowers
   Till old age find us weary, feet and wings
      Grown heavy with the gold of many thoughts.”

Of German Loyalist extraction, Archibald Lampman was born at Morpeth, Ontario, November 17th, 1861. It is thought a very severe illness in his childhood undermined his constitution, which does not seem ever to have been robust. He attended various schools, notably that of F. W. Barron of Gore’s Landing; the Collegiate Institute, Cobourg; Trinity College School, Port Hope, and finally Trinity College, Toronto, where he graduated in 1882. He was employed for a short time as Assistant Master in the Orangeville High School. But teaching was very distasteful to him, [page 274] and when, thanks to the good offices of a college chum, he was offered a clerkship in the Post Office Department at Ottawa, he gladly relinquished his uncongenial occupation, and, like others of our Canadian writers, took refuge in the Civil Service. In 1887 he married Emma Maud, daughter of the late Edward Playter, M.D., of Toronto. “Among the Millet, and Other Poems,” his first volume of verse, was published in Ottawa in 1888, and the second, “Lyrics of Earth,” in Boston, Mass., in 1895. In this latter year he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Another book, “Alcyone,” was in the hands of the printer when the poet was stricken with his last illness. He died February 10th, 1899, and was laid to rest in Beechwood Cemetery.

Loving Nature with a passionate devotion, the spirit of this gentle singer chafed at the fetters that bound him to the grimy city, longing always to nestle close to the great Mother’s heart, gleaning her lore and garnering her wisdom:

“Out of the heart of the city begotten
   Of the labor of men and their manifold hands,
      Whose souls, that were sprung from the earth in her morning,
      No longer regard or remember her warning,
Whose hearts in the furnace of care have forgotten
   Forever the scent and the hue of her lands;

“Out of the heat of the usurer’s hold,
   From the horrible crash of the strong man’s feet;
      Out of the shadow where pity is dying;
      Out of the clamour where beauty is lying,
Dead in the depth of the struggle for gold;
   Out of the din and the glare of the street; [page 275] 

“Into the arms of our mother we come,
   Our broad, strong mother, the innocent earth,
      Mother of all things beautiful, blameless,
      Mother of hopes that her strength makes tameless,
Where the voices of grief and of battle are dumb,
   And the whole world laughs with the light of her mirth.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *

“Over the meadow lands sprouting with thistle,
   Where the humming wings of the blackbird pass,
      Where the hollows are banked with the violets flowering,
      And the long-limbed, pendulous elms are towering,
Where the robins are loud with their voluble whistle,
   And the ground-sparrow scurries away through the grass.

“Where the restless bobolink loiters and woos
   Down in the hollows and over the swells,
      Dropping in and out of the shadows,
      Sprinkling his music about the meadows,
Whistles and little checks and coos,
   And the tinkle of glassy bells;

“Into the dim woods full of the tombs
   Of the dead trees soft in their sepulchres,
      Where the pensive throats of the shy birds hidden
      Pipe to us strangely entering unbidden,
And tenderly still in the tremulous glooms
   The trilliums scatter their white-winged stars;

“Up to the hills where our tired hearts rest,
   Loosen, and halt, and regather their dreams: [page 276] 
      Up to the hills, where the winds restore us,
      Closing our eyes to the beauty before us,
Earth with the glory of life on her breast,
   Earth with the gleam of her cities and streams.

“Here we shall commune with her and no other;
   Care and the battle of lifeshall cease;
      Men, her degenerate children, behind us,
      Only the might of her beauty shall bind us,
Full of rest as we gaze on the face of our mother,
   Earth in the health and the strength of her peace.”

Every blade of grass, every tree and shrub and living thing was new joy to him and his all-embracing regard assigned to each a place and purpose in God’s wonderful Creation. The frogs, piping in the marshes, were the messengers of Nature, commissioned to teach her secrets:

“Often to me, who heard you in your day,
   With close rapt ears, it could not choose but seem
That earth, our mother, searching in what way
   Men’s hearts might know her spirit’s inmost dream;
      Ever at rest beneath life’s change and stir,
      Made you her soul, and bade you pipe for her.”

But it is, perhaps, in the department of didactic and reflective poetry that Archibald Lampman is at his very best. His “Largest Life,” of which we give the two concluding stanzas, is one of the most beautiful poems in our literature:

“Nay, never once to feel we are alone,
   While the great human heart around us lies;
To make the smile on other lips our own,
   To live upon the light in others’ eyes: [page 277] 

To breathe without a doubt the limpid air
   Of that most perfect love that knows no pain:
To say ‘I love you’ only, and not care
   Whether the love come back to us again,
Divinest self-forgetfulness, at first
   A task, and then a tonic, then a need;
To greet with open hands the best and worst,
   And only for another’s wound to bleed:
This is to see the beauty that God meant,
   Wrapped round with life, ineffably content.

“There is a beauty at the goal of life,
   A beauty growing since the world began,
Through every age and race, through lapse and strife,
  Till the great human soul complete her span.
Beneath the waves of storm that lash and burn,
   The currents of blind passion that appal,
To listen and keep watch till we discern
   The tide of sovereign truth that guides it all;
So to address our spirits to the height,
   And so attune them to the valiant whole,
   That the great light be clearer for our light,
   And the great soul the stronger for our soul:
To have done this is to have lived, though fame
   Remember us with no familiar name.”

With persistent reiteration, but with never an approach to wearisomeness in the repetition, he impresses the life-lessons that, plainly, he himself had learned well:

   “For insight and splendour of mind
Not that they are yielding and lovers of ease shall find,
But only of strength comes wisdom, only of faith comes truth.” [page 278] 
“Even one little deed of weak untruth
Is like a drop of quenchless venom cast,
A liquid thread into life’s feeding stream,
Woven forever with its crystal gleam,
   Bearing the seed of death and woe at last.”

“Not to be conquered by these headlong days,
   But to stand free; to keep the mind at brood
   On life’s deep meaning, nature’s altitude
Of loveliness, and time’s mysterious ways;
At every thought and deed to clear the haze
   Out of our eyes, considering only this,
   What man, what life, what love, what beauty is.
This is to live, and win the final praise,
Though strife, ill fortune and harsh human need
   Beat down the soul, at moments blind and dumb
   With agony.”

Peace-loving above all things, his sensitive soul sickened at the rage of human passion, the endless strife and struggle in the world about him. In the midst of din disquiet his fancy created an ideal world where strife was unknown and love was the only law:>

“Methought I journeyed along ways that led forever
Throughout a happy land where strife and care were dead,
And life went flowing by me like a placid river
Past sandy eyots where the shifting shoals make head.

“A land where beauty dwelt supreme, and right, the donor
Of peaceful days; a land of equal gifts and deeds,
Of limitless fair fields and plenty had with honor;
A land of kindly tillage and untroubled meads. [page 279]

“Of gardens, and great fields, and dreaming, rose-wreathed alleys,
Wherein at dawn and dusk the vesper sparrows sang;
O cities set far off on hills down vista’d valleys,
And floods so vast and old, men wist not whence they sprang.

“Of groves, and forest depths, and fountains softly welling,
And roads that ran soft-shadowed past the open doors
Of mighty palaces and many lofty dwelling,
Where all men entered and no master trod their floors.

“A land of lovely speech, where every tone was fashioned
By generations of emotion high and sweet,
Of thought and deed and bearing lofty and impassioned;
A land of golden calm, grave forms, and fretless feet.

“And every mode and saying of that land gave token
Of limits where no death or evil fortune fell,
And men lived out long lives in proud content unbroken,
For there no man was rich, none poor, but all were well.

“And all the earth was common, and no base contriving
Of money of coined gold was needed there or known,
But all men wrought together without greed or striving,
And all the store of all to each man was his own. [page 280]

“From all that busy land, gray town, and peaceful village,
Where never jar was heard, nor wail nor cry of strife,
From every laden stream and all the fields of tillage,
Arose the murmur and the kindly hum of life.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *

“In all their great fair cities there was neither seeking
   For power of gold, nor greed of lust, nor desperate pain
Of multitudes that starve, or in hoarse anger breaking,
   Beat at the doors of princes, break and fall in vain.

“But all the children of that peaceful land, like brothers,
   Lofty of spirit, wise, and ever set to learn
The chart of neighboring souls, the bent the bent and need of others,
   Thought only of good deeds, sweet speech, and just return.

“And there was no prison, power of arms, nor palace,
   Where prince or judge held sway, for none was needed there;
Long ages since the very names of fraud and malice 
   Had vanished from men’s tongues, and died from all men’s care.

“And there were no bonds of contract, deed of marriage,
   No oath, nor any form, to make the word more sure,
For no man dreamed of hurt, dishonor, or miscarriage,
   Where every thought was truth, and every heart was pure. [page 281] 

“There were no castes of rich or poor, of slave or master,
   Where all were brothers, and the curse of gold was dead,
But all that wise, fair race to kindlier ends and vaster
   Moved on together with the same majestic tread.

“And all the men and women of that land were fairer
   Than even the mightiest of our meaner race can be;
The men, like gentle children great of limb, yet rare
   For wisdom and high thought, like kings for majesty.

“And all the women through great ages of bright living,
   Grown goodlier of stature, strong, and subtly wise,
Stood equal with the men, calm counsellors, ever giving
   The fire and succour of proud faith and dauntless eyes.”

An apt pupil in life’s great training school, we are fain to think of this great inspired singer as winning an early release, and, all the lessons learned, all the tasks accomplished, passing out “from this world of stormy hands” to find the peace for which his gentle spirit yearned.

James Alex. Tucker, a young journalist, of Owen Sound, Ontario, was born in 1872. He was educated at the Owen Sound Collegiate Institute and at the University of Toronto, and immediately after finishing his course, entered the field of journalism. His untimely and lamented death occurred on December 22nd, 1904, his thirty-second birthday. A few months after his [page 282] death a collection of his poems with a memoir by Arthur J. Stringer was published by William Briggs of Toronto. The following extract is taken from a poem called “Life’s Shaping Moments”:

“Things we deemed greatest, looked at from the distance,
   Have oft had little bearing on life’s course;
The trivial (as we judge), with strange insistence,
   Doth tinge the years with gladness or remorse.

“Forward we press, towards some enchanted bower
   That beckons us to come and taste its shade,
And lo! beside our path a little flower,
   Unlooked-for, makes the farther vision fade.

“To yonder great man came life’s wished-for honor,
   Which neither helped or stayed him from the goal,
But in the throng that night he gazed upon her,
   And that one glance made history for his soul!”

Amongst a host of others, who, writing since the middle of last century, won, in some cases, more than local attention, were: John H. Garnier, Silas T. Rand, Alfred B. Street, Daniel Carey, William Rice, D. McIntosh, William Stewart Darling, Frederick Wright, Rev. John May, Rev. M. A. Wallace, Rev. Ezra A. Stafford, S. P. Ford, William Pittman Lett, Mark F. Bigney, Jane Porter, Henry F. Darnell, R. S. Patterson, Lydia Ann Appleton, Peter J. Allan, Andrew Wanless, William Forsyth, John Lepage, J. A. Richey, Rev. James Breckenridge, William Horsnell, Mrs. Catherine Hayward, Miss Fairbanks, Rev. D. F. Hutchinson, [page 283] Judge Cornwallis Monck, Archibald McKillop, John Fraser, James Gay, Mrs. C. McNiven, Richard Griffin Starke (author of “The Lord of Lanorie,” who died late in December, 1909), Sergt. Alex. Walker, Andrew L. Spedon, Mrs. J. P. Grant, Mrs. Mary E. Muchall, Francis D. Waters and Leslie Loring Davison. [page 284]

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