The Confederation Poets
Poems for the Time






William Henry Cumpston

(Author of “Glimmerings of Truth”)

THE CALL: “Who knows whether thou art come to The Kingdom for such a time as this.”—"Esther.” 


THE MESSAGE: Exorcise the spirit of pride and lust from the hearts of the sons of men, that there be no more war on Earth, but peace.

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* * * * Is it not appalling to think that the exquisitely sensitive and delicate which the Creator has ordained to be the means of peopling Earth, and even Heaven; nay, more, the very vehicles of His Word and Will should be spoiled and corrupted! * *

    When one considers the selfish prurience attending human conception and generation, and the hereditary evil effects of which it is The Cause, it is no marvel that man must be born again before the Spirit of Holies can have much part with him * * * *




Methought I lay upon a narrow bed,

    ’Twas not the bed of death within the tomb,

    Where all is cold, and damp, and dismal gloom,

For here, pure rays of Gospel hope were shed

That famished soul, and fainting spirit, fed.

    And yet ‘twas not within a spacious room,

    But it did seem more like another womb

Than the dark swelling of the silent dead

Wherein I patient lay, until the Power

    That palced it there should set the embryo free,

    Bless it with strength to bear its liberty,

And stay for years the scythe that spoils the flower!

Yea, ‘twas a womb, and not a lonely grave,

And what the first did lack, the second gave.



Entered according to the act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year Nineteen Hundred and Fifteen, by William Henry Cumpston, Montreal, Que., in the Office of the Minister of Agriculture.

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A DYING QUEEN. – “Victoria the Good”


EDWARD VII. – A Prayer


EDWARD VII, KING. – Coronation Sonnets, I and II.




HIS MOTHER. – Re-United.




A HERO’S DEATH. – “Edward the Peacemaker.”


GEORGE V. – “God Save The King.”










TWO SONNETS. – “Father of Mercies.” “Peace.”








A HEROINE’S DEATH. – Sarah Maxwell.






TO HIS WIDOW. – Consolidation.


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BELIEVING that in this way he can be of some small service to humanity, at the present awful crisis in the World’s history, the Author has thought it well to collect the following poems, many of which have, from time to time, appeared in the public press, and to present them in this form.




         June 3rd,


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Oh, blood and carnage, suffering, woe and pain,

    Death and Destruction glut them to their fill!

    Slaughter, red-handed, stalks in lust to kill,

While Earth, in sorrow, bosoms all her slain!

Fond, loving hearts are broken; precious lives,

    Robbed of a greater usefulness, are lost,

    Regardless of he love and care they cost,

Torn from the arms of mothers, children, wives.

And yet, a nobler call, a mightier cause

    Than Earth’s affections, stirs the spirit deep,

    Rousing the best within us from their sleep,

Rising above fond Nature and her laws!

Take then our lives ! May God defend the right;

For God’s eternal principles we fight! [page V]

God of the Living.

God of the multitude of living souls

    Suffering the tortures of an earthly hell!

    Let out by bayonet, bullet, shot and shell!—

Who man’s immortal destiny controls,

As each from death to life eternal rolls,

    The darkness from their hearts and lives dispel,

    And take them, fearless, home with Thee to dwell,

Awhile the booming guns their death-kneel tolls!

Assuage the anguish of each broken life

    That freely pours itself in blood for Thee,

    And, as the darkness gathers, let them see

The face of Him Who confronts in the strife!

God of the living, lead them in Thy light

    Who, suffering, fall in this most awful fight [page VI]


O, glorious freedom from the bonds of sin!

    Mount upward now to realms of endless bliss!

    O, ecstasy of being such as this;

Love filling every part, without, within l

While Life abundant doth its work begin;

    And Health and Strength, embracing with a Kiss

    Of pure and holy love, in ecstasies

Of new-born joy, forget what erst hath been!

Life, liberty, and love without alloy,

    Sincerity and truth in every part,

    With kindred sweet communion, heart to heart,

And perfect pleasures that can never cloy!

Eternal immorality, to praise

The great good Giver, all the endless Days! [page VII]

A Dying Queen.

Victoria the Good.


Heart-broken mother, widow, empress, queen,

    Friend of the fallen, helper of the weak,

    Womanly woman, modest, kind, and meek,

Thoughtful and humble, placid and serene,

Faithful and good, merciful has been

    That great heart, broken now, and God doth seek

    To bind and heal thy wounds, to softly speak

His own sweet words, and calm thy anguish keen!

The crown awaits thee, and thou wilt not weep

    To wear the Heavenly, though the earthy crown

    Which moved to tears, hath crushed thy great life down,

And soon may give to thee thy long last sleep,

For, o’er the sea, His gracious voice calls: “Come!

I am awaiting thee in thy fair Home!” [page VIII]

Edward vii.

A Prayer.

O, Father, strengthen him to bear the crown,

That thou hast placed upon his noble brow!

Let Thine own ministers his counsellors be!

Choose Thou the hearts and souls that shall be near

His side, to comfort, to sustain, and bless!

Evil, far, far away from him remove!

Give him Thy grace in fulness to obey

Thy loving word and will! Hold thou his hand,

That, childlike, in Thy paths he may be led!

Give unto him the spirit that discerns

The just, the true, the false, the vain, the pure,

And grace that he may cleave to what is good,

And evil in its hideousness abhor!

Let Mercy crown his crown, and Christian love

Rule in his heart of hearts to help and bless!

Give him his peoples’ purest prayers and love

Begotten of the love himself shall shew!

Upon his grateful heart good measure heap,

Unstintingly – ungrudgingly – press down,

That he may find it not so hard to bear

The cross that humbly he has taken up.

And quicken Thou his eyes, his ears, his heart,

To the perception of things spiritual,

And give to him Thine own abundant peace!

So, Albert Edward shall be brave and strong

To do the right, and to discomfort wrong;

His mother’s fervent prayers shall answered be,

As she beholds his run of destiny,

And, in the steps of her sweet womanhood,

His heart’s first wish shall be, “I WILL BE GOOD!”

That, in the end, when Thy will shall be done,

His eyes may rest upon The Father’s Son!
Grant this, O, Father, for Thy dear Son’s sake.


[page IX]

Edward vii, King.

Coronation Sonnets.


Crown him!—He loves the poor—his heart is right,

    And big enough to feel another’s pain!

    Crown him, a king of men! Long may he reign,

And may his years be prosperous and bright,

His arm be strengthened for the regal fight,

    His brow the glittering burden to sustain,

    The weight of service, and the strenuous strain,

Strengthened for all with more than human might!

‘Tis no light thing, this crowning of a king,

    When he, the crowned, so well doth realize

    To what ideals, as king, he fain must rise,

And, in his train, his willing subjects bring!

Crown him! And may his loving people gladly share

The heavy weight now given him to bear!


But there’s a better crown, for, by his side,

    There stands his fair companion, and his Queen;

    She, who through all the trying years hath been

The gentle helpmeet, and the faithful bride—

    As fair a soul the world has ever seen,

    Calm, modest, gracious, loving, and serene—

A previous jewel, trusted, true, and tried!

QUEEN ALEXANDRA! Blessed be that name!

    Henceforth for evermore may she be blest

    With peace and joy abiding in her breast,

Her life a living, pure, and holy flame!

And may she crown and bless his future life,

As loved and loving, true and trusted wife! [page X]


God makes the man, as in old time He made

    David and Saul, and put them in their place;

    He gives His chosen ones sufficient grace,

And, while His laws are kept, His will obeyed,

He firm upholds them, while as kings arrayed;

    He knows each man, and fits him for the space

    Of time that he shall run his regal race,

So that His purposes shall be displayed.

While His Omniscient eye the future scans—

    His eye that wanders ceaseless thro’ the earth—

    He brings His mighty purposes to birth,

And, silently, unfolds His secret plans,

And, as Earth’s great events to being spring,

    He moulds the mind and conscience of the king. [page XI]

His Mother.



Queens have but human lives, and human hearts,

    And human souls, and human feelings too,

    Queens also have their human tasks to do;

They feel the stings of sorrow, and the smarts

Of pain, and from their eyes the tear-drop starts,

    Wrung from their fount by anguish keen and true ;

    They know the aches, and travail, bitter rue

That have their source in misery’s fell darts!

And, surely, she, that silent suffering queen,

    First daughter of our gracious queen asleep,

    Hath known full well her share of sorrows deep,

Hath ever borne them with a calm serene!

And now her suffering soul hath found release,

She, reunited, rests in joy and peace! [page XII]


Behold yon gloomy figure, lone, and sad,

    Gazing with horror on a scene of woe

    Where tears of pain and anguish ceaseless flow,

And God’s despairing souls are driven mad,

Mourning the loss of all the good they had;

    Fathers and brothers, sons and friends laid low,

    Mingling their bones with firm yet pitying foe,

Together done to death, the good, the bad!

And who is he, now shock’ the truth to see,

    With horror gleaming from his startled eyes,

    Whose darkened conscience, wakened in surprise,

Beholds his gods of Greed, and Bigotry?

‘T is one who juggled with men’s weaker state

To feed a monstrous, proud, and cruel hate.

        (1902) [page XIII]

A Hero’s Death.

Edward the Peacemaker.


O, noble, dying King, struggling to live

    That he might help and bless his fellow men,

    With aching head and heart, and trembling pen,

Urging the wearied body still to give!

O, noble, dying man, yearning to stay

    With loved ones dearer than a kingly crown,

    Yet glad to lay the heavy burden down,

And be, once more, with loved ones far away!

O, noble son, striving to do the part

    He promised when his mother left for home,

    Yet pleased to hear the tender calling “come”

Which falls like balm upon a breaking heart!

And then that “All is Over” like the cry

Of One, more mighty, who taught how to die! [page XIV]

George V.

God Save The King. 


It is the heart of millions crying loud

That God would help them thro’ a human King !

That thus to man He may His blessings bring

To heavy hearts and souls, sin-laden, bowed.

And so they pray their king be well endowed

With godliness, that from his heart may spring

Compassion for the weak and suffering.

Such love and mercy as a human crowd

Once brought unto the eyes of Hum whose name

Is Love, and made Him weep at the sad sight!

They pray that strength be given to do the right,

Rooted in Him from whom all goodness came.

The people’s vision is that George, the man,

Is made a king to help God’s gracious plan. [page XV]


Soldier, an instrument of Providence,

Endowed with energy of will, and force

To cope with Britain’s vampire enemy,

And lay his blood-gorged head low in the dust,

To sternly crush a boasting, rebel crew,

Who hurl defiance at their would-be friends,

Defiance haught, and insolently bold,

And proffer’d mercy murderously brave.

Gird thee with strength, thou mighty warrior

Who carest not for the ignoble wiles

Of sneering jealousy, and two-faced pride

That fain would turn thee from stern duty’s path!

Nerve thou thine arm, thy firm, unflinching will,

With conscience clean of blood selfwilful spill’d

For dire Necessity hath sprung to life,

Born of a stubborn tyrant’s wicked will,

And bares her fateful arm to make an end!

Be not deterred, thou silent man of strength;

To conquer senseless Hated thou wast born,

And, tho’ thy tender, human heart should burst

To bear the ravages of naked war,

Thou art a soldier, and thou hast a foe

Who gleams and hisses: “Tis my life or thine!”

The sword is bared, the rubicon is passed,

Sweet, soft-eyed Peace, and Mercy are outdone,

And leave the scene. Go on! The cause is just,

And safely in His strength shall be thy trust.

The day of mercy has been foully braved!
Destroy the body, that the soul be saved.
[page XVI]


England, this fallen world doth sorely need

    The leavening influence of thy righteous soul,

    For there are consciences that need control

By some strong arm which forces them to heed;

And there are souls that suffer, hearts that bleed,

    While Tyranny strides haught from pole to pole,

    And heavy Might o’er Right would ruthless roll—

Humanity is bruised and crushed, indeed!—

O, righteous England, thou art brave and strong,

    For thou dost draw thy strength from God’s own word.

    That word which like a sharp and two-edged sword

Cuts tho’ and lacerates the pride of Wrong;

    So, when the meek by ravening wolves are rent,

    Thy Sense of Right He makes His instrument. [page XVII]

Land of the Brave.

Land of the brave, the fearless, just, and free,

    Of Heaven favor’d, shielded, guarded, blest,

    At this sad time of tumult, and unrest,

Tears, born of love and sorrow, flow for thee!

Erstwhile so bright, dark threatening clouds we see

    Now shadowing thy fair form, and in thy breast

    An aching heart heaves, heavily opprest

With pitying pain at human misery!

Blood, Death, and Treachery, Scorn and bitter Hate,

    Envy’s malignant gleam, and horrid frown,

    Seem to combine to crush thy great heart down,

And dim thy name so gloriously great!

But England in His strength shall stand alone,

While salt remains to keep her on the throne. [page XVIII]

“To Arms!”

Is England wrong, or right? If right, then fight!

    Fight! Let your valour make the whole world ring!

    Arm ye, ye braves, and fight for Home and King!

England is braved! May God defend the right,

And help her on to victory thro’ His might!

    Let your best blood, ye Sons of England, spring

    To active vigorous life, and proudly bring

The pluck and daring of your sires to sight!

Has England only left to her a name?

    Is’t all in vain she has suffered, mourned and bled?

    Defied and outraged, stern she lifts her head,

Her eyes all-sparking with the old-time flame,

Her heart aglow with energy anew!

    “Have at ye all!” She cries: “ye maudlin crew !”

        (1901) [page XIX]

Two Sonnets.


“Father of Mercies.”

Source of all kindliness and pitying Love

    That fills and moves the minds and souls of Earth,

    Great Cause, Whose brooding Spirit brought to birth

In hearts of men the grace that swells above,

Softly descending as the gentle dove,

    Whence spring all words and deeds of noblest worth

    That give to Earth-born souls a Heaven-born mirth,

And all their weary sorrowings remove!

O, Perfect Father of that perfect Man

    Who did Thy tender love so well reveal,

    Who showed us how the Father well could feel

As forth to meet the Prodigal He ran,

And by the deeds of that Samaritan

    Who nursed his wounded enemy to heal.



Thro’ blood, and death, heart-breakings, teas and cries,

    Thro’ woes and pains, and hellish shrieks and sights,

    Where man with brother man in fierceness fights,

And victor, following victim, sinks and dies,

Heap’d up a mass of howling miseries,

    Which plainly prove how keen the Serpent bites,

    And how his zealous servants he requites,

As, gleefully, and scorning, he defies!

Forth from his carnage, steps a fair young maid,

    Pure as an angel, radiant as the sun,

    And soft proclaims a new reign is begun,

So quiet, in her modest robes arrayed;

While, lovingly, she bids all tumult cease:

And sounds, like distant music, murmur “PEACE!” [page XX]

The Wreck of the “Titanic.”

The Everlasting Arms.


Into the depths of Ocean’s waters cold,

    The strong, the faithful, and the manly brave,

    Willing to lose themselves the weak to save,

Denied in fond farewell their loved to enfold,

Nor even by parting word of hope consoled,

    All that for which their human hearts so crave,

    Borne slowly from them on the silent wave,

And yet by more than human strength made bold!

Into the depths of ocean, with the ship

    That should have borne them safe to love and home.

    With palpitating heart, and quivering lip,

Down to a fairer haven now they come!

Stilled are all fears, and trembling, wild alarms,

As, quietly, they fall into His arms! [page XXI]

Helen Keller.

O, wondrous soul, content to dwell within

    A house so incomplete in every sense,

    Doors, windows, closed and barred, darkness so dense,

So lonesome there in silence all shut in,

‘T would seem impossible to live therein;

    Each avenue seems closed and useless, whence

    Thy tender soul, seeking some recompense,

Might saunter forth, another soul for the win!

So it would seem, but He who takes away,

    In love and mercy doth abundance give,

    And thou canst hear and see, rejoice and live,

And feel the brightness of each glorious day.

Thy tender touch, drawn to a pitch intense,

Is eye, and ear, and tongue, and every sense. [page XXII]

Andrew Carnegie.

With energy, and earnestness, and zeal,

    And sweat of brow, and hard intensest thought,

    Thou, son of toil, unceasingly has wrought

With will and mind of iron, and soul of steel!

Thy early orphan struggles did appeal

    To Mercy’s loving heart, and so He caught

    Thee in His arms so strong, and for thy welfare fought,

Thy welfare, that thou might’st for others feel!

And now, thy noblest powers of heart and brain,

    Moved by that self-same energy which fired

    To gather in till vast the wealth acquired,

Unlock the golden gates, and give it out again,

    Then shower thy blessings with a hand as free

    As that Almighty Worker showered on thee! [page XXIII]

A Heroine’s Death.

Sarah Maxwell

Who, at the moment that opportunity was presented to save her own life, sacrificed herself in endeavour to save her little school children in her care.


    “They must be saved!” And so they were, brave heart!

     Saved, with thyself, for ever and for aye,

     Even at the moment of that sad dismay

Which smote thy woman’s breast with poignant dart,

And made those anguished words in terror start

     From thy pure lips, and bade thee with them stay,

     Those tender lambs with whom thou oft didst pray,

And now from whom ‘twere worse than death to part!

O noble soul, filled with the light of love,

    Of love divine, all willing to lay down

    The earthly cross, and win the heavenly crown,

Saved, too, art thou,—saved with those lambs above!

That anguished cry pierced through the smoke and fire,

And Love, in answer, grants thy heart’s desire. [page XXIV]

The Visit.

Written on the occasion of the visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales to Canada in 1901.


Far from Old England’s shores, but very near,

      So very close to England’s yearning heart

      That, tearful, saw ye for a while depart,

Leaving your home, your gentle children dear,

And her asleep whose memory we revere!

      Yielding, all-willing, and obedient, ye

      To Duty’s sacred call, put out to sea,

Content to face or joy or sorrow drear!

O sacrifice of self, and self-control,

      Not all unmindful we, His people here,

      And, under skies so bright, so fair, so clear,

A grand, heart-swelling welcome far doth roll!

While thankful hearts to Him we silent raise

Whose all the glory is, and all the praise! [page XXV]


Written immediately on hearing of the assassination of the late President of the United States, William McKinley.


‘Tis Satan’s hellish work, he knows full well

      The good that men have done, and fain would do,

      He knows the influence of the good and true

That rescues men from Slavery, Sin, and Hell;

He knows where noble hearts and spirits dwell,

      Those saintly souls in Christ, and, to his view,

      Nought is more maddening than the Creature new

Which makes his breast with raging hatred swell.

And so, he finds him out some human soul

      So dead in sin that it believes a lie,

      And whispers to that soul that men should die

Who try to keep vile passions in control,

Until that soul in whom those passions lurk,

Demented, yields, and does the Devil’s work. [page XXVI]

To His Widow.



There’s only One can gauge thy depth of woe,

      Thou childless widow of a love bereft!

      Alone, and sad, and stricken, thou art left,

And Sympathy’s pure tears whith thine do flow!

But there’s one only heart can fully know,

      A Heart which strengthen’d thee, when, swift and deft,

      Death struck thy love! That heart for thee was cleft,

And bled for thee when heavy fell the blow!

And now, within the vale of sorrow, He

      So softly whispers to thy breaking heart

      That there’s a land where lovers never part,

But dwell for aye in bliss and purity!

Recall those tender words, as heart to heart ye prest:

“God’s will be done, His way, not ours, is best!” [page XXVII]

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PRESS OPINIONS OF Glimmerings of Truth.

    “We have been looking forward to seeing this volume of excellent poems, by our young townsman, Mr. W. H. Cumpston, for some time. It contains much graceful verse. It has been dedicated by the author to Mrs. Arthur Wilson, of Tranby Croft, ‘as a slight token of respect for her many good qualities and truly benevolent heart.’ We think the book well worthy the acceptance of the lady to whom it is dedicated. In his preface, the author remarks that he had ‘had it under his consideration whether or not to publish many of the poems that have been inserted.’ For our own part, we are glad that he dedicated to publish all that he has written up to the present, and we think the public will be of the same opinion. The poetry is in many instances extremely graceful, and, if here and there, we find, as in the poem on ‘Cremation,” advanced ideas, we at least find them placed before the reader in such guise that whatever may be his, or her, preconceived ideas, on this matter, they will receive no rude shock. It would not be fair to say that ‘Cremation’ is the best poem, but it is one of the best. ‘Truth’ is beautiful, and there are two poems which those who heard the late E. H. Brooke in Hull as the ‘Silver King,’ and who have seen Madame Modjeska, and who ae lovers of the stage as well, will highly appreciate. There are many of the sonnets that we much admire, and, before concluding this brief notice, we congratulate heartily, once more, Mr. Cumpston on the good quality of his work. He has soared high into the regions of the Unknown, but he has not signed his wings.”

—Hull Daily Mail.

    “The pieces are on a variety of subjects, and all are gracefully treated. Some of the poems are extremely dramatic, displaying gifts of no ordinary kind. This volume entitles the author to take a high place amongst Yorkshire poets.” – Hull Miscellany. 

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    “Some of Mr. Cumpston’s best work is to be found amongst his sonnets, of which there are nearly one hundred in volume. Many of these sonnets are both beautiful in sentiment and graceful in expression. Lovers of poetry will find much to interest them in this little book, which goes a long way to show that the author is capable of much higher and better work as he gains experience.” – Eastern Morning News.

   “We have before us a neatly bound and well printed volume of poems by Mr. W. H. Cumpston, of this town, which has just been issued. The principal feature in the work is that which comprises the sonnets, many of which are written with great force, being full of tender pathos. The sonnets on Byron, Burns, Dickens, Wilson, Barrett, etc., are full of beautiful imagery of language, and prove the author to be possessed of genius of no mean order. Throughout the book there are many poems of great merit, and nearly all of them display traces of deep thought. Althogether, the volume is a most welcome addition to local literature, and we hope, and have no doubt, that it will meet with that patronage and success which it so justly merits and deserves.” – Hull Critic. 

    “Whoever rings to the perusal of this work an unbiased mind, will find it much to please * * * There is certainly the ring of true poetry in Mr. Cumpston’s writings, and the book is one which will well repay perusal by lovers of poetry. We heartly congratulate our young townsman on the excellence of this his first – but we trust not his last – volume of poems.” – Hull News.

    “Good thoughts * * * * decidedly pleasing.” – The Scotsman.


    * * * “It is a strange book” – Southampton Newspaper. [unnumbered page]

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