These notes record all editorial emendations in the present edition to the text of Talbot Road: A Poem that appeared in the Niagara Spectator on July [31 ] and August 6, 1818. The present text adopts those handwritten changes made by Burwell in the newspaper clipping of the poem that is pasted into the copy of Michael Smith's A Geographical View of the Province of Upper Canada; and Promiscuous Remarks on the govern­ment; in Two Parts, 3rd. ed. ([Philadelphia]: Printed by J. Bioren, October, 1813) in the Baldwin Room of the Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library. Each entry below contains the reading of the present text before the "]" and the reading of the original, newspaper printing after the "]". Thus "33 Thames'] Thame's" indicates that in the present text the apostrophe has been placed after the "s" instead of before, where it appears in the first printing. When an emendation has been made on the authority of Burwell's handwritten revisions, it is designated by "(1820)", this being the date stamped on the first and last pages of the poem in the Baldwin Room copy of Smith's Geographical View. Where additions have been made to Burwell's handwritten revisions, they have been set off in square brackets.


The Poem


with hallowed ] prophetic (1820)


Thames' ] Thame's


Rolls round ] Rolling (1820)


vast ] broad (1820)


divide ] divides (1820)


hand; ] hand


pours ] pour (1820)


roars ] roar (1820)


*Until the survey of Talbot Road (1820; inserted)


Then ] There (1820)


her ] its (1820)


Opening quotation marks have been added to these lines as indicated by Burwell in 1820.


again; ] again; (1820)


Espies the treasures' bounteous yield;] Espies what Ceres' golden treasures yield; (1820). Burwell has scored through the earlier version of the line, including the rhyme-word "yield", and written "Espies the treasures bounteous". On the assumption that the scoring through of "yield" was a slip of the pen, this word has been retained and "treasures" emended accordingly.


quick-rais'd ] quick rais'd


rest, ] rest.


with ] his (1820)


the ] their (1820)


served ] [unintelligible] (1820)


serves ] saves (1820)


Or ] On (1820)


on ] and (1820)


their ] the (1820)


light; ] light 284 far other ] another (1820)


fork ] forks


Th'assiduous ] Th'industrious (1820)


golden treasures Ceres yields; ] treasures Ceres bounty yields; (1820)


strictly mark the promises ] closely mark each pleasing word (1820)


by attention true, ] with [. ..(unintelligible)] (1820)


destroy'd; ] destroy'd,


is a treasure which at usury lies,-- ]like a treasure, far beyond us lies-- (1820)


The ] Its (1820) 339 principal ] principle (1820)


prey; ] prey.


profound, ] profound;


prey, ] prey,­-


sounds ] song (1820)


new soldier's ] soldiers (1820)


cartridge ] catridge


in ] with (1820)


'tis ] tis


gore, ] gore


mounted ] [unintelligible] (1820)


silver-throated ] silver throated


man. ] man,


break.] break,


brave.] brave,


and ] &


and ] &


angel's ] angels'


I would ] Let me (1820)


day] days


people's ] peoples


Erie's ] Eries


damsel's ] damsels


setting ] evening (1820)


velvet ] [verdure?] (1820)


ramblers ] rambles (1820)


assay ] essay (1820)


phantoms ] phantom's


watch-dog ] watch dog


foot-step ] foot step


ill, ] ill. (1820)


While meek Religion in sweet accents calls / The pilgrim home to heavenly Zion's halls (1820; inserted). Sense has dictated the addition of "Th" and a period to these lines as written by Burwell.


violet-cover'd ] violet cover'd





The primary purpose of these Explanatory Notes is threefold: to help explain certain words and phrases that may be unfamiliar to the reader of Talbot Road; to illuminate the historical and mythical milieus in which the poem is set; and to call attention to words, phrases, and passages in Burwell's work which allude to or are derived from other writers. In this latter category, these notes are intended to complement the Introduction where there is less emphasis on particular verbal and phrasal echoes than on the larger patterns, assumptions and attitudes that link Talbot Road, not only to later works in the Canadian continuum, but also with the writers and ideas of the early nineteenth century and earlier. Quotations from Milton, Dryden, Pope, Goldsmith, and Thomson are taken from the following texts: Merrit Y. Hughes edition of Paradise Lost (New York: The Odyssey Press, 1962); George R. Noyes edition of Dryden's Poetical Works, Second Edition, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1950); John Butt's edition of The Poems of Alexander Pope (London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1963); Arthur Friedman's The Collected Works of Oliver Goldsmith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966); and, James Sambrook's edition of The Seasons (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981). Other quotations are taken from standard or definitive editions of the poets' works.

Colonel Talbot and the Talbot Settlement have been the subject of a number of historical and biographical works. Especially useful in compiling these Explanatory Notes have been Edward Ermatinger's Life of Colonel Talbot and the Talbot Settlement (St. Thomas, Ont.: The Home Journal Office of A. MacLachlan, 1859; rpt. Mika Silk Screening, 1972); C.O. Ermatinger's The Talbot Regime (St. Thomas, Ont.: The Municipal World Ltd., 1904); Fred Coyne Hamil's Lake Erie Baron: The Story of Colonel Thomas Talbot (Toronto: Macmillan Company of Canada, Ltd., 1955); and Wayne Paddon's The Story of the Talbot Settlement, 7803-7840: a frontier history of southwestern Ontario ([s.l. : s.n.], 1975). Also useful has been James Coyne's two-volume collection, The Talbot Papers (Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, 1907, 1909) which reprints a number of letters and documents from the Talbot archives.

A number of "emigrant guides" and travel books contain accounts of the Talbot Settlement, and several of these have proved valuable: Isaac Weld's Travels through the States of North America,and the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada,during the Years 1795, 1796, and 1797, 4th ed. (1807. rpt. New York and London: Johnson Reprint Corporation, 1968), Michael Smith's A Geographical View of the Province of Upper Canada, 3rd. ed. (Philadelphia: Printed by J. Bioren, 1813), a popular account which went through at least six editions between 1813 and 1816; James Strachan's A Visit to the Province of Upper Canada, in 1819 (Aberdeen: Printed by D. Chalmers and Co., 1820; rpt. Yorkshire: S.R. Publishers, 1968); John Howison's A Sketch of Upper Canada (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd; London: G. and W.B. Whittaker, 1821; rpt. Johnson Reprint Corporation, 1965); Robert Gourlay's Statistical Account of Upper Canada, Vols. I and II, (London: Simpkins and Mashall Stationers Court, 1822; rpt. Yorkshire: S.R. Publishers Ltd., 1966); E.A. Talbot's Five Years' Residence in the Canadas (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green, 1824; rpt. Yorkshire: S.R. Publishers, 1968); and Anna Jameson's Winter Studies and Summer Rambles (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1923), which contains her experiences in the Talbot Settlement during a visit in 1837 and includes Talbot's reminiscences about his life in the Settlement.

In compiling these notes a great number of reference books were consulted, including the The Dictionary of National Biography, The Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Sir Paul Harvey's Oxford Companion to Classical Literature (1937), the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, F.C. Cross, ed. (London: Oxford University Press, 1958), Dr. Samuel Johnson's Dictionary (London: Times Books, 1983) and, of course, the Oxford English Dictionary. A large number of historical works, national, regional and local, have also been consulted. Particularly useful have been: Frederick Armstrong's Handbook of Upper Canadian Chronology (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1985), Donald Creighton's Dominion of the North: A History of Canada (Toronto: Macmillan Co. of Canada, 1957); Gerald M. Craig's Upper Canada: The Formative Years, 1784‑1841 (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 1963); E.R. Cruickshank's The Documentary History of the Campaign upon the Niagara Frontier in the year 1812 (Printed for the Society, 1899; Welland: The Tribune Office); Edwin C. Guillet's Early Life in Upper Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1963); and Fred Coyne Hamil's Valley of the Lower Thames (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1951) which is an excellent study of the history of settlement in Canada West, and contains valuable information pertinent to the founding of the Talbot Settlement. A number of miscellaneous works contributed useful facts, descriptions, and quotations which help to enlarge the reader's understanding of the historical, geographical, and political milieus in which the poem resides. Of these the following were especially useful: Perspective on Landscape and Settlement in Nineteenth Century Ontario, J. David Wood, ed., (Toronto: The Macmillan Company of Canada, Ltd., 1978); Mrs. Simcoe's Diary, Mary Quayle Innis, ed., (Toronto: Macmillan Company of Canada, Ltd., 1965); Archibald Blue's Mahlon Burwell, Land Surveyor (Proceedings of the Canadian Institute, 1899); James S. Brierley's collection of historical essays, A Pioneer History of Elgin County (St. Thomas, Ont., 1896; rpt. Petrolia, Ont., 1971); the PAC, Militia, Reports for Essex, Oxford, Norfolk, C 703, 1787‑1839); Ontario Historical Society, Vol. IX (Toronto: Published by the Society, 1910); American Historical Review, Vol. 17 (1912); The Collected Works of Benjamin Franklin (New York: Haskell House, 1970); and Margaret Ann Doody's The Daring Muse: Augustan Poetry Reconsidered (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985); Carl F. Klinck's Literary History of Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965) has been indispensable as a broad overview of pre-Confederation literary history. Finally, the notes from two previous editions in the Canadian Poetry Press series have also been helpful in preparing the explanatory notes for this edition: Thomas Cary's Abram's Plains: A Poem, ed. D.M.R. Bentley (London, Ont.: Canadian Poetry Press, 1986) and J. Mackay's Quebec Hill; or Canadian Scenery, ed. D.M.R. Bentley (London, Ont.: Canadian Poetry Press, 1988).




Like other region- or district-poems written in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the title of Talbot Road: A Poem refers to that particular region or area which the poet has chosen to praise. "Talbot Road" designated a large tract of land which stretched along the north shore of Lake Erie, from present-day Norfolk County in the east, to Essex County in the west; and bordered by Lake Erie on the south and the River Thames in the north. In 1803, Colonel Thomas Talbot's land application to the British Government was successful, and he received a "field officer's grant" of five thousand acres of land in Upper Canada, as well as the settlement rights. Talbot's foresight, ingenuity, and political savvy helped to develop the area into one

of the most successful settlement projects in the country. Its praises were sung far and wide, but Talbot Road is the only known poetical account of the region. The following prose description is taken from John Howison's account in his Sketches of Upper Canada after a visit to the Settlement in 1818-1819: "The Talbot Settlement . . . commences about thirty miles beyond Long Point, and forms the only monument of the colonizing exertions of an individual, that Upper Canada exhibits .... It shews how much can be accomplished by the well-directed energies of an enterprising person, and . . . it is the land of promise to which emigrants, native Americans, and Canadians, are daily flocking in vast numbers .... The Talbot Settlement lies parallel to the shore of Lake Erie, and consists of two great roads, which extend seventy or eighty miles, besides back settlements. The object in giving it such a longitudinal form was, that a road might be opened to the head of Lake Erie, and this has consequently been effected, much to the advantage of the Province in general .... The settler is obliged to clear ten acres of land, to build a house of certain dimensions, and to open one half of

the road in front of his farm, within the space of three years; regulations equally beneficial to the country in general, and advantageous to the occupier of the lot" (Howison, Sketches of Upper Canada, pp. 168-169).

By 1830, Talbot and his settlers had cut a road almost three hundred miles long. The Talbot Road was the connecting link that ran the length of the Settlement and it was the key to the Settlement's success. The interior lands of the Talbot Settlement could only be opened up if a road was built which would connect the settlers with each other and the rest of the country. The road provided a quicker route through the province and complemented the shipping routes, thus enabling the area to become a viable participant in the world of commerce and trade. The Talbot Road, however beneficial, was also the source of much of Talbot's political woes. Gerald Craig explains: "In theory, local roads were to be built under the direction of District officials, particularly the Justices of the Peace, relying heavily on statute labour . . . .Members of the Assembly early turned to efforts to get provincial funds for roads in their communities, with the result that road-building and political manoeuvring were soon closely intermixed" (Craig, Upper Canada: The Formative Years, 1784-1847, p. 53). Surveyed, to a great extent, by Mahlon Burwell, elder brother to the poet, Talbot Road was opened up by the statute labour of the settlers, who were required to clear, not only their own lots, but also a road allowance in front of their lots. "If a man failed to obey Talbot's regulations," writes Craig, "he was summarily dispossessed and his land given to someone else" (Craig, Upper Canada, p. 143). The Talbot Road became revered throughout the country and in England, where it was lauded as one of the best roads in the colonies. Even an ardent critic of Upper Canadian roads, Anna Jameson, complimented the state of the roads in the Settlement: "The roads are good all round; and the Talbot road, carried directly through the town [St. Thomas], is the finest in the province . . . .The goodness of the road is owing to the systematic regulations of Colonel Talbot" (Jameson, Winter Studies and Summer Rambles, pp. 159-160).


Milton and Pope (amongst others) appended "Arguments" to their major works (see, for example, Paradise Lost and Essay on Man), outlining what was to come, as though assisting the reader in following the "story." The ordered arrangement suggests a parallel between the order which Burwell seeks in his poem, and the order imposed on the wilderness by settlement and civilization. The Argument also provides a topographical and historical survey of Talbot Road, as well as a shorter version of the journey in the main body of the poem. Inherent in this "journey" is a moral and spiritual assessment of man as revealed by the sequential depiction of human activites in the settlement and the influence of events upon him.


Burwell dedicates the poem to Talbot who, at the time, was in England attempting to lobby for political support in the British Government (Talbot left Port Talbot in November 1817 and returned in June 1818). At the time, the Provincial Government was complaining that Talbot had too much power over the settlement and was ignoring its directives as to how land was to be granted. In Talbot's absence, the Government sent agents to inspect the settlement and its inhabitants, hoping to find an excuse for curtailing Talbot's growing independence. In light of this fact, and judging by the echoes from Milton's Paradise Lost and Pope's Essay on Man, Talbot Road can be viewed as a "justification [or "vindication"] of the ways" of Colonel Talbot. Since Burwell is not mentioned in any of Talbot's papers (nor is Talbot referred to again by Burwell) the nature of their relationship beyond what is implied in Talbot Road remains unknown.

The Poem


Awake my muse! awake the tuneful lyre Cf. Psalm 57:8-9: "Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early. / I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations." See Burwell poem, "Take, O take the martial Lyre," (Appendix B), 53: "Wake, O wake the trembling wire"; and 67: "Wake then, wake the martial lyre." See Pope, Essay on Man, 1: "Awake my St. John! leave all meaner things . . . ." The imperative tone of Burwell's invocation, like Pope's, indicates the urgency and energy with which the poet undertakes his poetic task. Cf. Gray, The Progress of Poetry, 1-2: "Awake, Aeolian lyre, awake, / And give rapture all thy trembling strings." See also Thomson, "Winter," 530-533:


. . . those Shades, whose skilful Touch Pathetic drew th'impassion'd Heart, and charm'd Transported Athens with the MORAL SCENE: Nor Those who, tuneful, wak'd th'enchanting LYRE.


Burwell's invocation also echoes the sentiments of American poet James Kirk Paulding (1778-1860) who advocated in his poem, The Back­woodsman (1818), that native poets strive "to rouse the dozing spirit of the Muse." See also, George Longmore's The Charivari (1824) for a similar opening used for a more ironic effect: "Awake my muse, whatever might be my mould" (1). A lyre, of course, is an ancient musical instrument, possibly Greek in origin, with strings stretched on a U-shaped frame. The lyre is synonymous with the lyric tradition in literature and is characteristic of passionate poetry.


numbers Verses.


hallowed fire An intense image of sacred or holy inspiration commonly associated with prophetic vision. The fire is also symbolic of spiritual purification. See Goldsmith, The Traveller, 219-220: "Unknown these powers that raise the soul to flame, / Catch every nerve and vibrate through the frame." hallowed blessed, sanctified.


warm with new life my heart See Thomson, "Winter," 550-552:


Or from the Muses' Hill will POPE descend,
To raise the sacred Hour, to bid it smile,
And with the social Spirit warm the Heart.



arduous Hard to accomplish or achieve.


mental worth Intellectual excellence or virtue.


See Pope, Essay on Man, IV, 135-136: "The good must merit God's peculiar care; / But who, but God, can tell us who they are?" See also, Milton, Paradise Lost, III, 183-184: "Some I have chosen of peculiar grace / Elect above the rest; so is my will."


deign Think fit; bestow or grant.


peculiar Particular; special.


For Talbot Road, say first, what master hand . . . Cf. Milton, Paradise Lost, I, 27-29:


Say first, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view
Nor the deep Tract of Hell, say first what cause
Mov'd our Grand Parents in that happy State.


See also Pope, Essay on Man, I, 17-18: "Say first, of God above, or Man below, / What can we reason, but from what we know?"


 projected Put forth as a project; planned or devised.


resign To relinquish or surrender.


rudest Most harsh and rugged, uncultivated and wild.


springing Coming forth.


desert A wild, uninhabited and uncultivated tract of land.


TALBOT Colonel Thomas Talbot (1771-1853) was born into aristocracy at Malahide Castle in Ireland. After an exemplary military career in Europe, including service with the Marquis of Buckingham (a relative of the family and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland), Talbot was drafted by Lieutenant‑Governor Simcoe as his aide and social secretary in Canada. On November 11, 1791 Talbot accompanied Mrs. Simcoe ashore at Quebec and began a relationship with her as her social companion (see Mrs. Simcoe's Diary, p. 42). Talbot impressed Mrs. Simcoe with his knowledge of the country and charmed her with his romantic boyishness. On one occasion, Mrs. Simcoe writes that "Mr. Talbot gave a shilling to liberate some wood pidgeons I must otherwise have seen and heard fluttering most disagreeably" (Innis, Mrs. Simcoe's Diary, p. 62). Talbot's penchant for freedom finally found its realization when he discovered the area that would later be identified with his name. While on a journey with Simcoe in 1795, Talbot decided that he would one day return to live on the shores of Lake Erie. Standing at the mouth of Kettle Creek, Talbot exclaimed to Simcoe, "Here will I roost and will soon make the forest tremble under the wings of the flock I will invite by my warblings around me!" (Ermatinger, The Life of Colonel Thomas Talbot, p. 15).

Talbot was a gregarious man, yet as private a man as he was public. After meeting him in 1818, E.A. Talbot (no relation) described the Colonel as "one of the most eccentric characters on the whole continent" (E.A. Talbot, Five Years' Residence in the Canadas, p. 105). "He not only lives a life of cheerless celibacy," writes Talbot, "but enjoys no human society whatever" (p. 105). Talbot has been the victim of many unfair comments and assessments. People seem either to have hated and despised him or found him most agreeable and become loyal supporters. Many of his detractors were members of the Provincial Government at York (present-day Toronto) who took issue with his increasing power and independence in one of the most advantageous areas of Upper Canada. Talbot's political acumen and aristocratic connections in England helped maintain his power until 1837, when both the British and Provincial governments conspired to dethrone him from what, to many eyes, had become his private principality. Nevertheless, in gratitude for what he had accomplished, and in honour of his loyal and patriotic career in Canada, Talbot was retired with a generous pension. He died in London, Upper Canada, in 1853.


patriot mind See Pope, Essay on Man, III, 283-286:


'Twas then, the studious head or gen'rous mind,
Follow'r of God or friend of human-kind,
Poet or Patriot, rose but to restore
The Faith and Moral, Nature gave before.



philanthropic Motivated by love of one's fellow-man; benevolent and humane.


warring Battling. A typically Miltonic term from Paradise Lost (see Book II, 424, 905; III, 396; and V, 566).


Erie's bank The shore of Lake Erie, the Great Lake on whose north shore Colonel Talbot first established the Talbot Settlement. By 1818, the Settlement stretched from Long Point in the east to Essex County in the west so that virtually all of the north shore was inhabited and under the control of Talbot.


tow'ring wood See Pope, Windsor‑Forest, 221: "... tow'ring Oaks . . . ."


blast A strong gust of wind.


sounding Emitting sound.


past Gone by in time.


See Pope, Essay on Man, IV, 95-96: "Who sees and follows that great scheme the best, / Best knows the blessing, and will most be blest."


spontaneous Coming into existence by natural processes or changes; as a quasi-adverb meaning "next." See Sir Walter Scott, Lady of the Lake, I, xxxii: "Till to her lips in measured frame / The minstrel verse spontaneous came."


The happiest country in the happiest clime In Paradise Lost, Milton uses the adjective "happy" ("happie seat of man" [III, 66 and 632], and "Eden's happie plains" [V, 143]) and its comparative form ("the happier Eden" [IV, 507]) when describing Eden and the situation of Adam and Eve in the Garden. In Book XII, Milton writes that "the Earth / Shall be Paradise, far happier place / Than this of Eden" (463-465), a prophecy which Burwell apparently assumes to have come true in the Talbot Settlement. See George Berkeley, "On the Prospects of Planting Arts and Learning in America," 5-6 and 9-10: "In happy Climes, where from the genial sun / And virginal Earth such Scenes ensue" and "In happy Climes the Seat of Innocence,/ Where Nature guides and Virtue rules." See also Goldsmith, The Traveller, 59-66:


And oft I wish, admidst the scene, to find

Some spot to real happiness consigned,

Where my worn soul, each wandering hope at rest,

May gather bliss to see my fellows blest.

Who can direct, when all pretend to know?

The shuddering tenant of the frigid zone

Boldly proclaims that happiest spot his own.



bounty Goodness shown in giving, usually attributed to God, or to the great and wealthy who have it in their power to give largely and liberally. Burwell sees Nature as a benevolent female who gives freely of her ample charms. Cf. Milton, Paradise Lost, V, 329-330: ". . . here on Earth / God hath dispenst his bounties as in Heav'n"; and, 398-401:


These bounties which our Nourisher, from whom

All perfect good unmeasur'd out, descends,

To us for food and for delight hath caus'd

The Earth to yield.


See also Pope, Essay on Man, IV, 371: "Earth smiles around, with boundless bounty blest."


"The climate of Upper Canada is favourable to health and longevity. At the first settlement, indeed, in common with all new countries, this was afflicted with the fevers incident to that stage of cultivation; but those effects ceased with their cause, and the country is now very healthy. This opinion is founded upon information of medical gentlemen and others, confirmed by observation and my own personal experience. I have found travelling and residing in it, to be salutary and restorative to a feeble constitution" (Gourlay, Statistical Account, p. 144). See Introduction, p. xxii for a further discussion of the health of the climate of Upper Canada.


nodding A swaying movement often associated with plants and trees. Such a motion was deemed picturesque. See Pope, Messiah, 26: ". . . nodding forests . . . ."


E.A. Talbot gives the following description of "Talbot Street" in his account of his trip, taken in 1818: "About forty miles Westward of Dundas, is the commencement of a great public road, fifty miles in length: It is called TALBOT STREET, and runs parallel to Lake Erie. The street passes through that extensive country designated `the Talbot Settlement,' which comprises an extent of territory enclosing within its limits about one million five hundred thousand acres. It is situate between 42 and 43 degrees North latitude, and between 80 and 81 degrees West longitude" (E.A. Talbot, Five Years' Residence in the Canadas, p. 121).


front Face.


bounded Bordered.


 leagues A "league" is an itinerary measure of distance, varying in different countries, but usually estimated roughly at about 3 miles; apparently the term was never in regular use in England, but it often occurs in poetical or rhetorical statements of distance. Thus, Burwell would be referring to a distance of some 180 miles or almost 288 kilometres.


The Thames River, formally named by Lieutenant‑Governor John Graves Simcoe on July 16, 1792, flows some 75 kilometres from Brodhagen, near Mitchell, Ont., to Lake St. Clair, near Sarnia. See Dryden's Annus Mirabilis, 925-928 for a similar personification of the English river, Thames. Both Thomson and Pope describe the waters of the Thames as having a silver colour (see Pope, "Summer," 2; and, Windsor-Forest, 330, 398).


beauteous A common epithet, chiefly poetical, to describe that which is exceedingly beautiful in appearance. Poets from Milton to Wordsworth and beyond use this adjective often to describe various forms of nature. Burwell makes liberal use of the word (see lines 39, 65, 108, 462 and 505).


rills Small streams.


receives the tribute See note to 62, below.


Otter Creek Also known as Big Otter Creek, this stream flows from its source near New Durham, for 30 kilometres to Lake Erie, where it empties into the lake at Port Burwell. In 1815, Mahlon Burwell sent a description of Big Otter Creek to the Surveyor General's office with the following comments: "Otter creek discharges more Water than all the small Rivers which disembogue themselves into the North side of lake Erie excepting the Grand River. When a few drifts are cleared out of it, Boats may descend from the Mills in Norwich to its mouth, at almost any Season of the year. There are beautiful Groves of White Pine Timber, on each side of the Creek, interspersed with Groves of other Timber .... It would appear as if Nature had intended the mouth of Big Otter Creek for a place of greater importance than any other in the District of London. [The town which Burwell surveyed at the mouth of Big Otter Creek was Port Burwell.]" (Blue, `Colonel Mahlon Burwell, Land Surveyor,' Proceedings of the Canadian Institute, p. 10).


beauteous scene See note to 33, above. In the following description, Burwell employs the eighteenth‑century aesthetic of the picturesque. "Blooming nature" is ordered by vertical "rising margins," "tow'ring pines" and "majestic hemlocks," and horizontal streams from "chrystal fountains" and wafting "summer breezes." To avoid stasis, Burwell animates the scene with such verbs as "wave," "bursting," "rippling," and "purling." For a prose description of the same area, see Michael Smith, A Geographical View of the Province of Upper Canada (1813), p. 7: "The district of London is certainly much the best part of Canada. It is sufficiently level, very rich, and beautifully variegated with small hills and fertile vallies, through which flow a number of pearly streams of almost the best water in the world."


margins Edges, borders or boundaries.


E.A. Talbot writes that "red and white pines (Pinus Scholeus) frequently attain the astonishing height of 250 feet, but they seldom exceed 18 feet in circumference. They tower above every other tree in the forest, and exhibit a most magnificent appearance. It is only, however, in the Western Districts of Upper Canada, where they grow to such an immense height" (p. 282). The boughs of the hemlock (Pinus Canadensis) are used by Canadians, writes Talbot, "as a substitute for tea" (p. 282).


chrystal Clear or transparent. A popular Popean epithet.


purling Swirling, rippling; undulating; murmuring. This adjective is a stock eighteenth-century epithet; see, for example, Pope, Essay on Man, I, 204: "The whispering Zephyr and the purling Rill."


unnumber'd hills See Pope, Essay on Man, I, 21-22: "Thro' worlds unnumber'd tho' the God be known, / 'Tis ours to trace him only in our own."


See Milton, Paradise Lost, IV, 247‑248: "A happy rural seat of various view: / Groves whose rich Trees wept odorous Gums and Balm."


Here blooming nature decks the vernal year Cf. Goldsmith's The Traveller, 115-116: "Whatever blooms in torrid tracts appear, / Whose bright succession decks the varied year." decks Arrays, attires or adorns. vernal Pertaining or belonging to the spring; spring-like; early, youthful, blooming. The phrase, "vernal year," is common to eighteenth-century poetry; see, for example, Thomson, "Summer," 129: "From land to land is flush'd the vernal year."


Gourlay describes the Canadian deer as able to "leap with great agility over fences and streams" (Gourlay, Statistical Account, p. 163).


ethereal plume A poetical image describing Nature as of alight and delicate appearance; heavenly.


Burwell echoes a common eighteenth-century belief (fact?) that the birds in the Americas were more colourful than those of Europe or the British Isles. He seems to disagree, however, with the eighteenth­century idea that North American birds were less melodious than British ones. Burwell also disagrees with Goldsmith's assertion that "the feathery inhabitants of the temperate zone are but little remarkable for the beauty of their plumage" (Goldsmith, Natural History [1774], p. 38). Chateaubriand, after a visit to North America in 1791, writes that "birds are more diversified and numerous in America than had been thought at first. So it was with Africa and Asia. The first travellers had been struck upon their arrival only by the large and brilliant feathered creatures which are like flowers in the trees; but in the intervening time, a host of little songbirds has been discovered whose voice is as sweet as that of our linnets" (Chateaubriand, Travels in America [1827], p. 78).


feathery choir A Thomsonian periphrasis for songbirds. Cf. Pope, "Autumn," 24: ". . . feather'd Quires . . ."


mellow Rich and soft in tone; full and pure without harshness.


drest Dressed.


gaudy Colourful and dazzling.


downy vest The soft underlayer of feathers on the bird's breast.


Catfish Catfish Creek (formerly known as Riviere Barbeau) originates near Tillsonburg and flows into Lake Erie at Port Bruce.


foamy tides A Thomsonian periphrasis descriptive of the "various branches" (57), or streams, which are tributaries of Catfish Creek. Burwell characterizes them as having a frothy appearance, derived, no doubt, from the action of a narrow, fast moving stream "o'er pebbly beds" (56).


Burwell divides this scene into two perspectives each in turn, according to picturesque description, into foreground, middleground, and background. The first looks inland from the "margin" (foreground, 61-64) to the "charming plain" (middle ground, 65-68) to the distant "hills and vales" (background, 69-70). The second looks out on the lake from the "billowy surges" (foreground, 71) to the "beaten cliffs" (middle ground, 72) to the "distant skies" (background, 73-76).


Kettle Creek Landing at the mouth of Kettle Creek in 1803, Talbot discovered that John Bostwick had already claimed land in the area (the present-day site of Port Stanley). Talbot moved several miles to the west and established Port Talbot in adjacent Southwold Township. Kettle Creek springs from the moraines around St. Thomas to the north and drains the land towards Lake Erie in the south.


wat'ry tribute A Draytonian periphrasis for the waters of Kettle Creek. Cf. Drayton, Poly-Olbion, 11, 173:". . . watry tribute . . ." See Pope, Windsor-Forest, 337-338: "Around his Throne the Sea-born Brothers stood, / Who swell with Tributary Urns his Flood." Watery tributes are also evident in early Canadian poetry; see J. Mackay, Quebec Hill, 93:"Between where Erie his wide tribute pours." See note to 36, above.


scaly myriads A Thomsonian periphrasis for schools of fish. In his Dictionary, Dr. Samuel Johnson defines "myriads" as "proverbially, any great number." Burwell's reference is to the famous spring run of smelt, a tasty delicacy, which still attracts hundreds of enthusiasts to Port Stanley every year. For other examples of similar periphrasis, see Drayton, Poly-Olbion, VII, 15:". . . scaly brood . . ."; Dryden, Annus Mirabilis, xv: ". . . scaly herd . . ."; and Pope, Windsor-Forest, 139: ". . . scaly breed . . . ."


revolving Occurring in cyclical fashion, as in the seasons.


countless Numberless. Seen note to 44, above.


shoals Schools of fish.


stated Fixed or regular.


beauteous vale See note to 39, above.


Where sports fair Flora . . . her fow'ry train In Roman mythology, Flora is a goddess of flowers and fertility. She had a temple near the Circus Maximus where games were held in her honour every Spring. See Pope, Windsor-Forest, 159-160, for a similar description, though of a different goddess: "Let old Arcadia boast her ample Plain, / Th' Immortal Huntress, and her Virgin Train."


Uninterrupted roves the careless eye . . . with the distant skies Cf. Thomson, "Spring," 518-525:


. . . the hurried Eye

Distracted wanders; . . .

Now meets the bending Sky, the River now,

Dimpling along, the breezy-ruffled Lake,

The Forest darkening round, the glittering Spire,

Th'etherial Mountain, and the distant Main.


In a similar scene, depicting the illusory quality of the horizon, Thomson observes that "the stretching Landskip into Smoke decays" ("Summer," 1438-1441).


careless Free from care, anxiety or apprehension.


gay perspective Bright in appearance; brilliant in colour.


Where oft the vessel glides . . . for the fav'ring gales Where boats frequently catch winds which would be favourable for sailing. Cf. Goldsmith, The Traveller, 47: "Ye lakes, whose vessels catch the busy, gale."


swelling Inflating, bellying. See Dryden, Aeneid, III, 692: "Breathe on our swelling Sails a prosp'rous Wind."


The picturesque components of this passage echo those in Thomson's "Spring," 951-953: "The bursting Prospect spreads immense around; / And snatch'd o'er Hill and Dale, and Wood and Lawn, / And verdant Field, and darkening Heath between." Burwell's description is derived, as were many eighteenth-century poetic landscapes, from Milton's description of Eden in Paradise Lost. Cf. Milton, Paradise Lost, IV, 242-243: ". . . but Nature boon, / Pour'd forth profuse on Hill and Dale and Plain."


bounties See note to 27, above.


lavish Unrestrained, effusive, bestowing without measure. Cf. Dryden, Virgil's Pastorals, VII, 76: "Lavish Nature laughs, and strews her stores around." See note to 11. 239-240.


profusion Abundance.


rills See Pope, Moral Essays: Epistle to Burlington, 85: "With silver­quiv'ring rills meander'd o'er--" See also note to 43, above.


Using the epic convention of the catalogue, Burwell presents a list of topographical and natural sights.


See Milton, Paradise Lost, VIII, 261-262: ". . . about me round I saw / Hill, Dale, and shady Woods, and sunny Plains." dales Valleys. Burwell is referring to the fertile soils of the various river valleys just described.


groves Small woods or groups of trees affording shade.


sylvan recesses Woody groves. See Milton, Paradise Lost, IV, 140: ". . . a sylvan scene . . ."


gambols Skips or prances.


wary deer See note to 48, above. Burwell seems to disagree with Gourlay, who claims that deer "are gentle in their nature, and easily domesticated" (Gourlay, Statistical Account, p. 163).


Cf. Goldsmith, The Traveller, 299-302:


Thus, while around the wave-subjected soil

Impels the native to repeated toil,

Industrious habits in each bosom reign,

And industry begets a love of gain.


Goldsmith's and Burwell's poetic maxims are common to both literature and Christian teaching. Hard work was also crucial if one was to survive in the New World. In his report to Robert Gourlay, Mahlon Burwell observed that "nothing could contribute more to the improvement of our settlement than their [the farms] being sold to active and industrious persons" (Gourlay, Statistical Account, p. 169). Burwell's sense of the word "industry" is in keeping with the eighteenth century view of useful and productive labour. These lines, along with the preceeding description, echo Pope's Windsor-Forest, 39-41:


Here Ceres' Gifts in waving Prospect stand,

And nodding tempt the joyful Reaper's Hand,

Rich Industry sits smiling on the Plains,

And Peace and Plenty tell, a STUART reigns.



delight That quality which causes pleasure, joy or gratification. Again, Burwell reiterates that nature's purpose is to provide man with delight and sustenance.


energetic worth Hard-working. Compare this phrase to the "mental worth" (8) required by the poet.


enterprising Hard-working and industrious.


freemen Those who are politically free and not subject to tyrannical rule. While many newcomers to the Settlement found a degree of freedom perhaps not previously enjoyed, many of the new settlers, especially the Scots, objected to Talbot's patriarchal attitude and often idiosyncratic rules and regulations.


desert Uninhabited. See Pope, Windsor-Forest, 26: "And 'midst the Desart fruitful Fields arise."


pierc'd Pierced; penetrated. See Introduction, pp. xx-xxi for a discussion of the sexual implications of this verb.


towns Townships.


geographic night Alluding to the Genesis myth of creation, Burwell describes Talbot as the "creator" of the Settlement. While the geographic locations of the townships had already been drawn up in a number of previous surveys, it is not until Talbot opens the townships up to settlement that they are brought into light.


Bayham and Mallahide Two of the eastern townships in the Talbot Settlement. Bayham township contains 56,704 acres and is approximately 14.5 miles long by 7 miles wide. In 1812, Joseph DeFields and James Gibbons built log cabins between the Otter Creeks, on the Talbot Road "which was at that time merely a blazed trail through the woods" (Brierley, Pioneer History, p. 21). Following the War of 1812-14, other settlers followed, including a number of families who, reportedly, rowed from New Brunswick (Brierley, Pioneer History, p. 21). Many settlers, such as the Burwells, moved here from the Niagara area. Mahlon Burwell had surveyed this area prior to the war and had purchased land here. Port Burwell, in Bayham Township, was later named in his honour. The township of Malahide received its name from Colonel Talbot's ancestral home in Ireland (see note to 15, above). One of the earliest settlers in Malahide was an Irishman, James McCausland who settled near the present-day site of the town of Aylmer. One local historian writes this account of Malahide: "Although most of the settlers came at the time of the war, most of the deeds were given in 1821 . . . . The farms were given to the settlers with the payment of 21 shillings, on condition they lived on the farm a certain length of time, grubbed a street two rods wide, slashed so many rods, and built a log shanty 16 x 20" (Brierley, Pioneer History, p. 94). Some of the settlers constructed mills along the banks of Catfish Creek. Around these sprung many of the first villages and towns. Port Bruce is one such town situated at the mouth of the Catfish Creek.


brought to light Again, Talbot is seen in terms of the Genesis myth in which God both creates light and then brings the world into the light.


canvass'd Scrutinized, examined and observed thoroughly; surveyed.


E.A. Talbot describes the "White Oak" as "the most useful timber in the country for general purposes" as opposed to the inferior "Black, the Yellow, and the Red Oaks" (E.A. Talbot, Five Year's Residence in the Canadas, p. 279).


variegated Characterized by variety and diversity of colour.


swarm A description of migration drawn from the insect world, where such creatures as bees gather in swarms. The OED states that "swarm" is "to collect, and depart from a hive in a body to form a new colony; said of bees."


beauteous zone. . . A region or tract of the world ("zone") distinguished by its beauty.


task See Thomas Cary, Abram's Plains, 54: "How blest the task, to tame the savage soil."


unmindful Careless or heedless.


pierc'd See note to 92, above.


devious Wandering or meandering. See note to 639, below.


hallowed smoke See note to line 2, above.


propitious Well-disposed, favourably inclined, or gracious.


celestial love Divine or heavenly love. Burwell depicts Talbot's scheme as being providentially ordained and sanctioned.


Many emigrant guides contained glowing reports of the Talbot Road Settlement. See, for example, Howison, Sketches of Upper Canada, pp. 167, 171-172, 173-174, 176: "The Talbot Settlement . . . forms the only monument of the colonizing exertions of an individual, that Upper Canada exhibits. This settlement is interesting in a double point of view, both as it shews how much can be accomplished by the well-directed energies of an enterprising person, and as it is the land of promise to which emigrants, native Americans, and Canadians, are daily flocking in vast numbers. The excellence of the soil, the condensed population, and the superiority of climate, which characterize this settlement, all combine to render it more agreeable, and better suited to the lower orders of Europeans, than any other part of the Province .... Nine-tenths of the inhabitants were extremely poor when they commenced their labours, but a few years' toil and perseverance has placed them beyond the reach of want .... I resided many months in the Talbot Settlement, and during that time enjoyed abundant opportunities of acquiring a knowledge of its inhabitants, who form a democracy, such as, I believe, is hardly to be met with in any other part of the world .... The utmost harmony prevails in the colony, and the intercourse of its people is characterised by politeness, respect, and even ceremony .... The time I lived in the Talbot Settlement comprehended, I believe, some of the happiest days I ever passed in the course of my life."


brazen Brassy; shameless and impudent. See Pope, "Messiah," 60: ". . . Brazen Trumpets . . . ."


trump Trumpet.


tidings News.


flock'd Gathered.


Compare Burwell's uplifting description of the emigrant's arrival with John Strachan's more troublesome account in A Visit to the Province of Upper Canada in 1819, p. 58: "The native of this country goes upon new lands without emotion; but to the emigrant it is, at first, terrific: to place himself in the midst of a wood--the trees heavy; not a ray of the sun able to penetrate; no neighbour, perhaps, within several miles, and only an axe in his hand--he is ready to despair."


blissful land In keeping with his Edenic theme, Burwell uses the common epithet, "blissful," to describe the new land. See Milton, Paradise Lost, I, 5: ". . . blissful Seat . . ."; IV, 208: ". . . blissful Paradise . . ."; IV, 690: ". . . blissful Bower . . . ." See also, Pope, "Spring," 1-2: "First in these Fields I try the Sylvan Strains, / Nor blush to sport on Windsor's blissful Plains."


This picturesque scene is similar to the one described at lines 39-44 (see note to line 39ff., above). Lines 134-136 echo lines 77-79, above.


lavish See note to line 78, above.


sweets Fragrances (associated with flowers). Cf. Pope, "Spring," 99­100: "The Turf with rural Dainties shall be Crown'd, / While opening Blooms diffuse their Sweets around."


purling See note to 43, above.


See note to 41, above.


Cf. Pope, Eloisa to Abelard, 142-143: "The moss-grown domes with spiry turrets crown'd, / Where awful arches make a noon-day night."


aspiring Rising or tapering upwards. The pines are imaged as "stately columns" (139) that rise as spires "to heaven's blue arch" (140). Burwell's architectural metaphors emphasize order and solemnity.


heaven's blue arch The upper reaches of the sky.


Liberty See Pope, Windsor-Forest, 91: "Fair Liberty, Brittania's Goddess . . . ."


fitted Suited.


chosen race A Biblical phrase well-suited to Burwell's image of the Talbot Settlement as a "promised land." See also, Milton, Paradise Lost, III, 183-184: "Some I have chosen of peculiar grace / Elect above the rest."


goddess i.e. Liberty.


Cf. Talbot's speech (lines 97-110), above.


Pope expresses similar sentiments in Windsor-Forest at line 355: "Hail Sacred Peace! hail long-expected Days."


teems Brings forth.


See Thomson, "Summer," 862-864:


. . . what their balmy Meads,

Their powerful Herbs, and Ceres void of Pain?

By vagrant Birds dispers'd . . . .


See Milton, Paradise Lost, IV, 981: " . . . a field of Ceres ripe for harvest . . . ."


Ceres The Roman goddess of fertility and agriculture, Ceres is often associated with crops and was a favourite of farmers and rural folk who, in Ancient Rome, celebrated her rites (the Cerealia) in the spring (April 12-19). See Pope, Windsor-Forest, 39: "Here Ceres' Gifts in waving Prospect stand"; see also, Gray, The Progress of Poesy, 9: ". . . and Ceres' golden reign . . . ."


feathered squadron Flock of birds; see note to line 51, above.


Invest Lay siege to.


various Diverse and individual.


Burwell refers to the different forms of transportation used by the pioneers. Some used ox-carts, some pulled wagons, some used horses or cattle, while others used boats, canoes, and barges. Many simply carried what they had on their backs.


household stuff Materials or stores necessary to the home; property of the household such as utensils and furniture.


winding Meandering.


spreading hemlock See Pope, "Autumn," 1: "Beneath the Shade a spreading Beech displays." Gourlay writes: "The forest trees most common are, beech, maple, birch, elm, bass, ash, oak, pine, hickory, butternut, balsam, hazel, hemlock, cherry, cedar, cypress, fir, poplar, sycamore . . . whitewood, willow, spruce" (Gourlay, Statistical Account of Upper Canada, 151). Interestingly, none of the townships in the London and Western districts that constituted the Talbot Settlement report the hemlock tree in their lists of timber native to their land. Pine and oak are frequently mentioned, however. Humberstone Township, which lies closer to Burwell's birthplace in Bertie Township in the Niagara district, does report hemlock as being native to the area. See also note to 41, above.


See note to 140, above.


midnight maze The forest is seen as a dark labyrinth, hostile to man. "Maze" also has Satanic connotations. See Milton, Paradise Lost, II, 246: ". . . wandering this woody maze . . . ."; and IX, 499: ". . . fold above fold a surging maze . . . ."


day-star The sun.


Phoebus In Greek mythology, Phoebus ("the bright one") was an epithet given to Apollo, son of Zeus and Leto. He was the god of light and youth.


On Erie's wave . . . / . . . the rolling deep Burwell refers to the unsettled nature of Lake Erie on a number of occasions (see also lines 444-446 and 569-570) in the poem. Many accounts exist describing the tempests on the lake and it was generally thought that because of the lake's shallowness, ships would be in greater peril during these storms. In his Travels Through North America, Isaac Weld explains the danger to marine travel: "Lake Erie is of an elliptical form; in length about three hundred miles, and in breadth, at the widest part, about ninety. The depth of water in this lake is not more than twenty fathoms, and in calm weather vessels may securely ride at anchor in any part of it; but when stormy, the anchorage in an open part of the lake is not safe, the sands at bottom not being firm, and the anchors apt therefore to lose their hold. Whenever there is a gale of wind, the waters immediately become turbid, owing to the quantity of yellow sand that is washed up from the bottom of the lake" (II, 157). Weld also explains "the frequency of storms on Lake Erie" as a result of "the very great irregularity of the height of the lands on both sides of [the lake]" (II, 159). (For a further account of a storm on Lake Erie, see Weld, II, 298ff.) See also Introduction, p. xxv for a further discussion of Burwell's debt to Weld.


amain In great haste.


liquid plain The lake. A common periphrasis for bodies of water like the ocean or sea. See Dryden, Aeneid, I, 223: ". . . liquid plains . . . ." Cf. Pope, Iliad (1718), I, 182: "We launch a bark to plough the watery plains." See note to 51, above.


watchword Rallying cry.


smiling land Cf. Goldsmith, The Traveller, II, 121-122: "While sea-born gales their gelid wings expand / To winnow fragrance round the smiling land." Sambrook notes, in his commentary on Thomson's "Spring," that the word "smiling" is "a common word in eighteenth-century pastoral .... In Thomson the word often has devotional overtones, as implying or directly referring to the beneficient activities of God: `Providence has imprinted so many smiles on Nature, that it is impossible for a mind which is not sunk in more gross and sensual delights to take a survey of them without several secret sensations of pleasure"' (Addison, Spectator, 393; qtd in Sambrook, p. 327). See Thomson, "Spring," 83-84: "In various Hues; but chiefly thee, gay Green! / Thou smiling Nature's universal Robe!" See also Pope, Windsor-Forest, 41: "Rich Industry sits smiling on the Plains"; and Essay on Man, II, 117: "Love, Hope, and Joy, fair pleasure's smiling train." For a similar example of the word used in early Canadian poetry, see J. Mackay, Quebec Hill, 270: "Where smiling plenty crowns the peasant's toil."


hies Hastens.


destin'd spot Talbot Road.


See note to 39, above.


incumbrance Encumbrance; impediment.


battaux Batteaux. Boats or ships.


The source of Otter Creek is near New Durham.


course The line or direction of the river's flow.


Norwich, Middleton and Bayham See the note 94, above, regarding the township of Bayham. Norwich and Middleton (Middle Town) are small townships which lie north-east of Yarmouth township. In the early years of the Talbot Settlement, they remained sparsely settled owing to their isolation from major routes. In his account of the area, written in 1813, Michael Smith notes that Norwich "lies west of Oxford on the beautiful river Thames, is very rich and exceedingly well-watered though tolerably thick set with timber" (Smith, A Geographical View, p. 16). Of Middleton, Smith writes that it "lies north or back of Houghton and Walsingham. In this township there are many plains and natural meadows--well watered, rich, and clear of stone, though as yet without improvement" (Smith, A Geographical View, pp. 13-14).


For comment on the use of "bounty" and its derivatives, see note to 27, above.


three leagues About 9 miles or 5 kilometres. See note to 32, above.


Talbot Street Another name for Talbot Road. "Street" and "road" are used interchangeably by Burwell, though "Road" usually has a more rural connotation than the more urban "street." "Road" implies a thoroughfare over a great distance; "street" describes a shorter distance usually marking the length and width of a lot or block of land. "Street" also suggests the presence of homes on either side.


contiguous Adjacent.


repair Return (from the Latin, repatriare, meaning "to return to one's own country").


throng Crowd with people.


animating Life-giving; inspiring, encouraging. See Thomson, "Summer," 239-240: ". . . to the Sun ally'd, / From him they draw their animating fire."


See Introduction, pp. xxviii-xxx, and Strachan, A Visit to the Province of Upper Canada in 7819, pp. 75-76, for a description of land-clearing: "The first thing is, to cut down the under-wood, or, as it is commonly called, brush, as close to the ground as possible. The trees are then cut down, as much as can be done in one direction; and they are chopped up into lengths of eight or ten feet, to enable them to be drawn together in order to be burnt. Soon after, and sometimes immediately, the brush and trees are collected into masses, which, being set on fire, the tops and limbs are commonly burnt, leaving the logs. When the fire is completely extinguished, the settler goes with his oxen, and draws all the remaining logs together, a second time, in heaps; they are again set on fire, and this second burning almost always consumes them .... The logs are piled during the day, and towards evening they are set on fire, and are generally suffered to burn, unattended, in the night; at which time, the burning masses, through a large extent of country, present a brilliant spectacle: and when it is considered that these are the first steps towards reducing a wilderness into a fruitful country, the scenery becomes powerfully interesting."


ardor Enthusiasm.


See note to 41, above.


E.A. Talbot writes: "Red and White Elm grow to a most astonishing size. The former is generally found hollow and of little value; but the latter is very durable and in much request among joiners and cabinet­makers" (E.A. Talbot, Five Years' Residence in the Canadas, p. 279).


See note to 101, above for Talbot's remarks on the oak. Regarding the "lofty ash," Talbot writes that the "Black and White Ash . . . are used principally for hoops, rails, and flooring" (E.A. Talbot, Five Years' Residence in the Canadas, p.. 279).


Boreas In Greek mythology, Boreas was god of the north wind.


fell Fierce, savage or dreadful.


ire Anger.


rifted Slit or cleft.


amain Violently. For a different use of the word, see note to 179, above.


shivered timbers Felled trees; shattered or split timber.


See Howison, Sketches of Upper Canada, pp. 247-248, for a description of cabins built in Upper Canada: "His first object then is to get a house built. If his lot lies in a settlement, his neighbours will assist him in doing this without being paid; but if far back in the woods, he must hire people to work for him. The usual dimensions of a house are eighteen feet by sixteen. The roof is covered with bark or shingles, and the floor with rough hewn planks, the interstices between the logs that compose the walls being filled up with pieces of wood and clay."


rude Primitive or rustic.


humblest Simple or unpretentious.


ample Substantial.


See note to 213, above regarding the "elms."


homely Simple or plain.


prospects Opportunities.


plenty Abundance; "Plenty" is a stock personification of nature's abundance.


providence Beneficient care and government of God.


And freedom . . . /. . . o'er so fair a land Cf. (in conjunction with 237, above) Gray, "Elegy written in a Country Church-Yard," 63: "To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land" and Thomson, "Summer," 1443-1445: ". . . LIBERTY abroad / Walks, unconfin'd, even to thy farthest Cotts, / And scatters Plenty with unsparing Hand." See also Goldsmith, The Traveller, 335-336: "Thine, Freedom, thine the blessings pictured here, / Thine are those charms that dazzle and endear."


freedom Liberty. See note to 141, above.


etherial watchtower A celestial vantage point from which the spirit of freedom can watch over the new land.


jealous Vigilant, intolerant of unfaithfulness, particularly with reference to God.


Burwell's patriotism and loyalty to the British cause, evident throughout the poem, is especially noticeable in these lines.


See note to 239, above.


glowing Burning with fervour of emotion.


strings Strengthens.


manly Courageous.


despot's Tyrant's.


instil Impart; convey.


rectitude Moral uprightness; integrity and virtue.


grim oppression Cf. Thomson, "Summer," 1477-1478: "The Dread of Tyrants, and the sole Resource / Of those that under grim Oppression groan."


Circean hand Circe is the Greek goddess and enchantress depicted in Homer's Odyssey (Books X-XII). She seduced Odysseus' companions and transformed them into swine. She is associated with temptation, sorcery, and evil domination.


power supreme! The British Government.


zeal Spirited enthusiasm.


vestal flame The vestal virgins were priestesses who were in charge of the sacred fire in the temple of Vesta in Rome. The allusion suggests the importance of vigilance and purity of mind and heart in maintaining the spirit of freedom in the new land.


bequest Bestowal.


The `cut and burn' method of clearing the land was quite common to the early settlement of eastern North America. See Isaac Weld, Travels, I, 422: "The common method of clearing land in America is to grab up all the brushwood and small trees merely, and to cut down the large trees about two feet above the ground: the remaining stumps rot in from six to ten years, according to the quality of the timber; in the meantime the farmer ploughs between them the best way he can."


See Howison, Sketches of Upper Canada, p. 249: "The clearing of land overgrown with timber is an operation so tedious and laborious that different plans have been divised for abridging it, and for obtaining a crop from the ground before it is completed." The most popular method was the "slash and burn" technique used in most primitive societies throughout the world. Howison also mentions "girdling," a method by which "a ring of bark is cut from the lower part of every tree; and, if this done in the autumn, the trees will be dead and destitute of foliage the ensuing spring" (p. 250). Despite the burning of timber, farmers were plagued with stubborn stumps which, Howison remarks, "disfigur[ed] the fields, and imped[ed] the effectual operation of the plough and harrow" (p. 250).


Fit Suited.


office Duty, service. The Latin, ofcium, implies service with religious or social significance.


dire Dreadful or mournful.


flaming brand Torch.


The Woodman The pioneer woodsman who, with his axe, was instrumental in clearing the forests and making way for homesteads, and later, communities. See Howison Sketches of Upper Canada, p. 249: "The Americans and Canadians doubtless excel all other people in the use of the axe."


brisk Quick and lively in movement.


See R. Louis Gentilcore and David Wood, "A Military Colony in the Wilderness: The Upper Canada Frontier," Perspective on Landscape and Settlement in Nineteenth Century Ontario, p. 36: "Land was cleared most commonly by cutting and burning, which might require from a settler one month or more of hard labour per acre."


plies Applies vigorously.


See note to 140 and 172, above.


shrouds Conceals or obscures.


conflagration A consuming and destructive fire.


Herculean labors An allusion to Heracles (Latin: Hercules), the hero of Greek mythology whose strength enabled him to perform the twelve labours given him by Eurystheus. See Introduction, pp. xxx-xxxi.


Well nerv'd Physically powerful.


pond'rous Ponderous: heavy or weighty; unwieldy.


clean the soil See note to 259-274, above for a description of clearing the land of timber and brush.


toil Severe or unremitting labour.


See Howison, Sketches of Upper Canada, p. 219: "The new settlers in Upper Canada are perfectly happy and contented in the midst of their severest hardships; and with reason, for a moment's observation must convince them that prosperity and abundance will, sooner or later, be the result of their labours and exertions."


glaring Dazzling.


sable hue Black and gloomy.


mantle Cloak.


dubious Doubtful, uncertain or ambiguous; questionable or suspected character. The word is also associated with Satan in Milton, Paradise Lost, 1, 97-105; 11, 1037-1044.


drear Gloomy, saddening.


assiduous Persevering or diligent.


trim the heaps The action of putting into proper order for burning, by removing any deposit or ash, and adding fresh fuel.


This task completed, . . . / . . . and time to take repose This scene is typical of the kind of rural domesticity depicted in much eighteenth­century poetry. See, for example, Goldsmith, The Traveller, 191-196:


At night returning, every labour sped,

He sits him down the monarch of a shed,

Smiles by his cheerful fire and round surveys

His children's looks, that brighten at the blaze;

While his loved partner, boastful of hef hoard,

Displays her cleanly platter on the board.



repose Rest.


repast Meal.


complacence Pleasure, delight; self-satisfaction. prospect See note to 236, above.


Gourlay reports that the apple is "the principal fruit of Upper Canada" and that "there are many considerable orchards" (Gourlay, Statistical Account of Upper Canada, p. 153). "The various species of this most useful of fruits," writes Gourlay, "grow in all districts; but most plentifully around Niagara, and thence westward to the Detroit, where they have been cultivated with emulation and success" (p. 153). A similar description can also be found in E.A. Talbot's Five Year's Residence in the Canadas, pp. 292-293.


judicious Wise or sensible.


See note to 152, above.


The Burwell farms in both Bertie Township and Southwold Township remained in the family for many years. The farm in Bertie was sold in the late nineteenth-century, while the farms in the Southwold area remained in the family well into the twentieth century.


O Hope! thou blest companion of mankind . .. Burwell's invocation to `Hope' is probably inspired by Thomas Campbell's The Pleasures of Hope (1799). In the poem, Campbell describes the "heav'nly light" (23) of `hope' as "a sacred gift to man" (44) which can both bless--"Hope is thy star, her light is ever thine" (200)--and charm--"a charm for every woe" (46)--man with its reconstitutive power. "Hope" accompanies man on his worldly adventures and travels, whether "on Atlantic's waves" (57), "on Behrring's [sic] rocks, or Greenland's naked isles" (62). "Hope", in company with "Improvement", also finds its way to "Erie's banks, where Tygers steal along, / And the dread Indian chaunts a dismal song" (325-326). This geographical affinity with Campbell's poem may have inspired Burwell to prove that "hope" was, indeed, responsible for giving the settlers of Talbot Road the courage and strength to build and defend their settlement. See Introduction, pp. xxxi-xxxii for a further discussion of this passage.


O Hope Hope is one of the three theological virtues (the others being Faith and Charity).


thou blest companion See Campbell, The Pleasures of Hope, 44: ". . . a sacred gift to man."


But by thy latent spark's . . . / We find a leading star . . . See Campbell, The Pleasures of Hope, 199-200: "So! heav'nly Genius, in thy course divine, / Hope is thy star, her light is ever thine."


latent Not manifested, exhibited or developed.


leading star This metaphor alludes to the biblical Star of Bethlehem which guided the wise men to the scene of Christ's nativity.


Burwell echoes Pope's poetic discussion of Hope in Windsor-Forest, 341-352: "For him alone, Hope leads from goal to goal . . . ."


betimes Quickly.


chase Pursuit.


Anticipation Expectation, apprehension.


handmaid Female attendant.


stipend Regular or expected payment.


Cf. Pope, Windsor-Forest, 285: "Each want of happiness by Hope supply'd."


bounty See note to 27, above.


prodigal Recklessly wasteful or extravagant; unmindful.


bankrupts Those unable to meet their liabilities or debts.


Burwell's reference is to 1810, about the time when the first major settlement began. This coincides with the time at which Mahlon Burwell began his first surveys of the Settlement.


terrestrial planet The earth. See Shakespeare, Richard II, III, ii, 41: ". . . terrestrial ball . . ." ; and Drayton, Poly-Olbion, VIII, 114: ". . . terrestrial Globe . . . ."


On June 18, 1812, American President James Madison declared war on Great Britain, thus jeopardizing the safety of the people of Upper Canada. The Americans anticipated an easy victory, expecting the inhabitants of Upper Canada to welcome them as liberators. They hoped that the great number of their countrymen living in the Province would be sympathetic to their cause, and that the British, burdened with another war with Napoleon would be unable to support her colonists. After almost three years of fighting (the fiercest battles took place in the Niagara and Western districts), a truce was signed on Christmas Eve, 1814. Upper Canada was still intact. The war consolidated antipathy towards the Americans in Upper Canada, and thus helped to shape Canadian identity.


trump Trumpet. See note 127, above.


assail'd Attacked or assaulted.


fell See note to 218, above.


drest Dressed.


o'erwhelming force Overpowering force. See Gerald M. Craig, Upper Canada: The Formative Years, p. 71: "There were only some 1,600 regulars in the province, about two-thirds of them consisting of the 41st Regiment, the only line battalion, then stationed across from Detroit. This was indubitably a tiny force to defend so large a province, yet it contained more trained fighting men than the American commanders could muster for the invasion of Upper Canada at the beginning of the war, or for some time afterward." See note to 411-418, below.


consternation Heightened anxiety and dismay.


confest Confessed.


Succour Timely aid or help.


desolating Devastating.


unstrung Unarmed. See note to 246, above.


 Harvest was nigh . . . Burwell may be alluding to Matthew 9.37: "The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few."


"However willing its members might be to face the enemy, and their zeal was often most intense, they were inevitably part-time soldiers, bound to drift away as harvest time approached, or when word came that their families might be in danger from American raiding parties or from resident Indians, supposedly friendly, but perhaps on the prowl." See Mahlon Burwell's comments in note t0 337-380, below (Craig, Upper Canada, p. 75).


train Here, a military procession.


amain In full force. See note to 179 and 220, above.


midnight prowler, or ruffian the band A reference, perhaps, to the spies who, during the War, provided information, concerning troop movements and the relative strength of the settlements, to American forces.


first suprise On July 12, 1812, the Americans, led by General William Hull, crossed the Detroit River intent on taking Fort Maiden [Amherstburgh], thus initiating the first invasion of Upper Canada. The invasion was unsuccessful, however, for Hull's inept leadership caused the Americans to wait too long to attack, allowing the British General Brock to arrive with regulars and repel the enemy. Brock followed his victory with the capture of Detroit.


martial fire War-like inspiration or fervour.


false alarms Distances often rendered communication difficult during the War of 1812. Rumours abounded about the imminent American attack and, on many occasions, the settlers prepared themselves for fighting.


Talbot was in charge of the 1st Middlesex Militia, made up mostly of volunteers from the surrounding district. Despite Burwell's rousing description, his brother, Mahlon, depicts a somewhat different situation. On May 21, 1813, he writes that "the inhabitants are now in the midst of their planting and it will be like drawing their eye teeth to call them out until they have done" (Cruickshank, The Documentary History of the Campaign upon the Niagara Frontier in the year 1812, p. 239).


suffrage Vote.


Legislative duty In Upper Canada, the Lieutenant-Governor appointed at least seven members to the Legislative Council. Each district also elected a representative to sit in the Legislative Assembly in York. Usually, the Assembly consisted of sixteen members who served four­year terms. Anyone could, in theory, run for these positions, although clergymen were excluded from this office. Members did not necessarily reside in York, but they would have to be available for meetings and important votes. The Honourable Thomas Talbot was appointed to the Council in September, 1809 and held the post until February, 1841. Federick Armstrong reports that "[Talbot] was neither sworn nor commissioned, nor did he ever attend; however, he assumed the dignity of the office and used `Hon.' before his name" (Armstrong, Handbook of Upper Canadian Chronology, p. 56n.). Mahlon Burwell served in the Legislative Assembly as the representative from Oxford and Middlesex (1812-1816; 1816-1820), Middlesex (1820-1824; 1830-1834), and the town of London (1836-1841).


wrathful vials Burwell uses the term "vials"-small vessels-in a religiously figurative sense. See Revelation 16:1: "And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth."


See Craig, Upper Canada: The Formative Years, p. 75: "In point of fact, the short-term militia raised in Upper Canada frequently proved to be little more reliable than their counterpart across the lakes. A large proportion of the population was of recent American origin, and many of these were disaffected or at least preferred to sit on the fence until prospects became clearer. Some of the American settlers quickly moved across the line, although in contrast, others became so angry at the invasion of their new home that they became flaming patriots, eager to kill as many of the intruders as came their way."


husbandry The business or occupation of a husbandman or farmer; tillage or cultivation of the soil.


cartridge-box The case in which a soldier carried his cartridges and gunpowder.


"tented field" See Shakespeare, Othello, I, iii, 84-85: "... they have used / Their dearest action in the tented field."


meed Reward or merit.


laurel wreathe Here an emblem of military victory or of distinction.


distilling Extracting.


Burwell seems to have in mind one of the several American attacks on Port Talbot during 1814. In a letter to the Loyal and Patriotic Society (published in Montreal in 1817), Colonel Talbot described the attacks of August 16 and September 20, 1814 upon his Settlement: "The enemy, amounting to upwards of one hundred men, composed of Indians and Americans painted, and disguised as the former, suprised the settlement of Port Talbot, where they committed the most wanton and atrocious acts of violence by robbing the undermentioned fifty heads of families of all their horses and every particle of wearing apparel and household furniture, leaving the sufferers naked and in the most wretched state" (Cruickshank, The Documentary History of the Campaign upon the Niagara Frontier in the year 7872, Part II, p. 331). Talbot's report also lists Mahlon, Robert, Samuel, and James Burwell as among those whose families suffered. In another letter, written in October, 1814, Talbot describes his own losses: "The vagabond enemy, not being satisfied with the plunder they carried off from Port Talbot on the 16th August, returned in greater force about the middle of September, when they burnt my mills and other buildings, destroyed all my flour and killed my sheep, etc. Poor Burwell's house and barn were likewise sacrificed; thence the enemy extended their violence down my road 15 miles" (Ibid., p. 294).


the cup of woe Poetic phrase expressing grief and misery.


irruptions irruptions Violent invasion or attack.


accents Language.


sanguine Bloody.


pinions Wings.


Electric influence In the late eighteenth-century, the works of American scientist and statesman, Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) had contributed to the knowledge and understanding of electricity. Electrical force was thought to be the energy with which electricity moved matter. Franklin also believed in an "electric fluid" or "electric fire" which he held to be the all-pervading medium which was the cause of electrical phenomena: "From electric fire . . . spirits may be kindled" (The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin, V, p. 296).


transports Ecstatic emotions.


avocations Occupations or callings.


destructive war See Pope, Essay on Criticism, 184: "Destructive War . . . ."


train Procession.


palsied energies Tremblings. Burwell refers to the nature of the initial labours after the war.


rear Raise.


Contrary to Burwell's poetic account, settlers did not just seek out and take "unlocated lands." Settlers had to apply for land from Colonel Talbot and, if approved, perform particular settlement duties for up to two years before acquiring a proper deed to the land.


unlocated lands Those lots not yet allocated to settlers.


a survey Proper determination of the form, extent and situation of a tract(s) of land. As noted earlier, Mahlon Burwell was the primary agent responsible for surveying the Talbot Settlement.


In 1811 Colonel Talbot received instructions to extend the Talbot Road west to Amherstburg. Mahlon Burwell carried out the survey as far as the township of Howard before his work was interrupted by the outbreak of war in 1812. In the summer of 1816, work was resumed, although the western terminus was now Sandwich rather than Amherstburg (Blue, "Mahlon Burwell," p. 11).


Amherstburg Formerly known as Fort Malden, this garrison town was an important naval base during the War of 1812. In 1815, it received its present name in honour of Lord Jeffrey Amherst, Governor-General of British North America from 1760 to 1763. Situated in Essex County, the town overlooks Detroit on the St. Clair River. Its location made it a strategic garrison and an important line of defense for Upper Canada during the War of 1812.

William K. Buell, who served in the American army under the command of General Hull in 1812, was captured by the British and confined to the schooner, Thames, at Amherstberg. Here, he kept a journal containing the following description of the local countryside and its inhabitants: "The view of Amherstberg, a small town below Fort Malden, though indifferently built, and the adjoining country, appeared beautiful. The green meadows and wheatfields were waving before the wind in a lovely and superior imitation of lake Erie, and everything appeared to wear the cheering smiles of peace and plenty [5 July 1812] . . . . Any person emigrating to this province, has if he wishes 200 acres of land granted or given him and his heirs in fee simple by the King, provided he takes the oath of allegiance. The Taxes are by no means oppressive. They are not so heavy as they are in the U[nited] States .... The people have every chance to live well here in times of Peace. The land is fertile and markets good; but in war it is different. Old and young are all pressed into the Militia and their farms, grain etc. is going to destruction for want of attendance and reaping [ 14 July 1812]" (American Historical Review, Vol. 17 (1912), pp. 787-797). See also, Gourlay, Statistical Account of Upper Canada, pp. 46-47: ". . .[T]he port of Amherstburgh, . . . is the safest and most commodious harbour in this part of the country, for naval or commercial purposes. The British fleet of lake Erie is stationed here; and it is an increasing depot of western commerce, in competition with Sandwich."


The year implied is 1816.


Pointe aux Pins A spit of land which projects out into Lake Erie from Harwich Township. Pointe aux Pins forms, in part, Rondeau Harbour, a haven for ships on the lake. In 1792, Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe divided Essex and Suffolk (later known as Kent) counties along a line that ran between Chatham and Pointe aux Pins. It was in the 1790s that the area around Pointe aux Pins was first surveyed and settled. Abraham Iredell, "a former surveyor and loyalist from Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, was appointed deputy-surveyor for the Western District in June 1795" (Hamil, Valley, p. 24). Iredell laid out townships and sections of land for both the clergy and the crown and surveyed the Communication Road that ran from Chatham to Rondeau Bay. "The high ridge I think is handsome land as I ever see in the country," Iredell wrote, "and will make a fine settlement when given out" ( Hamil, Valley, p. 27). One of the first settlers on the lake front was John Craford, who "settled in Howard Township east of Pointe aux Pins at the mouth of what is now called Patterson's Creek, in 1811" (Hamil, Valley, p. 113). Craford had been one of Talbot's earliest settlers, helping the Colonel to establish Port Talbot back in 1803. Mahlon Burwell was responsible for opening up the township for settlement with the completion of the Talbot Road survey in 1816.


While Burwell praises the harbour at Pointe aux Pins, other travellers to the area, like Weld, complained about the "deficiency of harbours" on the lake (see Weld's Travels, II, 159).


Owing to its being the shallowest of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie is renowned for its violent storms. See note 179-182, above.


Chatham This town is situated on the Thames River, in the township of Harwich. In 1794, Simcoe ordered a blockhouse to be built in Chatham as a small naval arsenal which would form a link in the chain of defence in Upper Canada's western frontier. Simcoe also hoped to draw Indian trade away from the Americans at Detroit. The Chatham post was abandoned in 1797, however, and moved westward to the town of Sandwich on the St. Clair River. A "Report of a Convention of the Inhabitants" of the surrounding townships reported to Robert Gourlay that in the summer of 1817 there were 114 farmers residing in the townships, and that 40,000 bushels of wheat were harvested. They also reported that "the lands in said townships [Dover, East and West, Chatham, Camden, Orford, Howard, and Harwich] will produce, in proportionable abundance, pease, oats, barley, Indian corn, hemp, and flax" (Gourlay, Statistical Account, 294).


Which will connect the River with the Bay / Where nature had ordained a Town to lay Burwell is, in all probability, referring to Communication Road, in Harwich Township, which connects the village of Chatham with the eastern end of Rondeau Bay. The town that "nature had ordained" probably refers to Blenheim. At the time, this road would have been little more than a blazed trail. Originally, it had been an old Indian trail.


North Branch of the Talbot Road . . . to Port Talbot join'd The North Branch of Talbot Road connected Westminster Township to the Settlement by a route which led south from the township to Talbotville, then west across Southwold Twp., through Iona in adjacent Dunwich Twp., where it was joined by the main Talbot Road a few kilometres west of Wallacetown. In March 1810, Simon Zelotes Watson, a surveyor from Montreal, came to visit Colonel Talbot at his house in Port Talbot. Watson, an opportunist who had supported the Americans during the War of 1812, was looking for land upon which to establish settlers from Lower Canada. Talbot offered Watson land in Southwold, but the Council in York recommended, instead, "that a Road should be made through the township of Westminster, and Settlement Duties performed by the said Mr. Watson and his followers, for the making of that Road" (Hamil, Valley, p. 64). Watson took up the survey and completed it in June of that year. In the fall of 1811, the survey of Talbot Road North was complete. Talbot gradually assumed control over the location of settlers on the road and in the rest of the township despite Watson's efforts to the contrary.

Controversey plagued Talbot once again that year with the discovery by Surveyor-General Ridout that Talbot had gone ahead and placed his settlers "where he decided the road to Westminster should go" (Hamil, Lake Erie Baron, p. 73). Well-aware that the road was the key to the Settlement's success, Talbot had instructed Mahlon Burwell as to its survey. In the fall of that year, Talbot received a letter from Ridout explaining that neither the survey of this road nor the settlement along the route had been confirmed. Talbot had usurped lands belonging to or promised to absentee owners in England or to military officers or civil officials in the province. To make matters worse, Ridout had discovered that Burwell had turned west at Talbotville, instead of running the road south to Kettle Creek as planned. Rather, Burwell had run the Branch parallel to the Main road westward across the township. Talbot claimed that he had received "verbal permission to do so from [Lieutenant­Governor] Gore because the old Talbot Road there was wet and unfit for settlement" (Ibid, p. 73; see Coyne, Talbot Papers, I, pp. 148-149). The Council, miffed at Talbot's impertinence, suspended his activities by ordering him to report on all lands settled and to cease any further placements. This dilemma was not resolved until Gore's return from England after the war in 1815.


copious Plentiful or abundant.


compact Close-knit or neatly arranged.


Southwold A township which lies between the townships of Dunwich on the west and Yarmouth on the east, Southwold is bounded by Delaware and Westminster on the north and Lake Erie on the south. Two main branches of the Talbot Road traverse the township, and settlement flourished along these routes following the War of 1812. Possibly as early as 1816, but certainly by early 1818, Adam Hood Burwell and his family were living in the township. Records show that he lived on the Talbot Road in the south-west corner of the township, on the south side of the road, on Lot. 4. His brother Mahlon and his family lived across the road. Down the road, across the townline, lived Colonel Talbot, and it is likely that Burwell was a frequent visitor. Miss Maggie McLennan of Fingal notes the following: "Col. Mahlon Burwell, government surveyor, settled on Lot No. 4, north Talbot Street, and built a log house, but afterwards constructed a brick residence across the townline, at which place the post office and registry office were kept for a number of years .... Adam Burwell settled on Lot No. 4, south Talbot Street. He lived there only a short time [actually 1818-1828], and then removed to Ottawa and became a minister of the English Church" (Brierley, Pioneer History, p. 118).

A cousin, James Burwell, had moved to Talbot Road in 1812 and lived on Lot No. 13 on the north side of the road (Brierley, Pioneer History, p. 118). Other members of the family are said to be buried on this farm. Church records in St. Thomas also show a number of the Burwell family to be living in Southwold at this time ("Register of Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths, at St. Thomas, U.C. commencing with the Establishment of the Mission in July, 1824," Ontario Historical Society, IX [1910], pp. 127-196).

In December 1817, Mahlon Burwell organized a meeting of the inhabitants of Southwold at the home of Alexander Ross. Here, they drew up a list of responses to Robert Gourlay's questionnaire regarding the conditions of the township. In their report, they describe the township as having excellent soil, a variety of timber and "several quarries of limestone" (Gourlay, Statistical Account, p. 168). They also wrote that "Roads are tolerable, and the statute labour improves them fast. Our settlement is near the borders of lake Erie, which is a good water communication toward Montreal" (Gourlay, p. 168). The committee complained that "nothing retards our settlement more than the lands of absentees, and the crown and clergy reserves being interspersed amongst our farms; and nothing could contribute more to the improvement of our settlement than their being sold to active and industrious persons" (Gourlay, Statistical Account, p. 169).


See note to 108, above.


virgin crops New crops where there were once only trees.


Westminster Westminster Township lies north of Yarmouth Township and east of Delaware Township. Talbot Road ran along a north-south route from Westminster to Kettle Creek.


tufted Adorned with tufts or clumps of trees or bushes. Cf. Pope, Windsor-Forest, 27: ". . . tufted Trees and springing Corn . . ." and Shakespeare, Richard II, II, iii, 53: ". . . tuft of trees. . . ." Burwell's description of "wide stretch'd plains," "tufted banks. . . riv'lets" and "shady trees, / That wave majestic" is an example of picturesque word painting. Cf. J. Mackay, Quebec Hill, I, 243-244, for a similar use of the picturesque.


pristine Unpolluted; innocent.


changeful Variable or inconstant.


A robe, more pleasing . . . See Thomson, "Spring," 83-84: "In various Hues; but chiefly thee, gay Green! / Thou smiling Nature's universal Robe!"


philanthropic See note to 16, above.


See note to 11, above.


single sheet Map.


Norfolk Burwell begins his survey in the east, noting the county of Norfolk, which includes the eastern townships of the Talbot Settlement--Rainham, Walpole, Woodhouse, Charlotteville, Walsingham, Houghton, Middleton, Windham, and Townsend. The main road was denoted as "Talbot Road East" until it reached the western township of Dunwich.


Middleton A small township in Norfolk County (see the previous note), bordered by Durham and Norwich on the north, Windham and Charlotteville on the east, Walsingham on the south, and Houghton on the west. The first settlers in Middleton, Fred and Henry Sovereen, came to the area in 1812. See Michael Smith, A Geographical View of the Province of Upper Canada, pp. 13-14: "In this township there are many plains and natural meadows--well watered, rich, and clear of stone, though as yet without improvement."


Middlesex, . . . Houghton Gore The District of London, in 1818, was composed of three counties--the County of Norfolk (see the note to 487, above), the County of Oxford, and the County of Middlesex. Middlesex included the townships of London, Westminster, Dorchester, Yarmouth, Southwold, Malahide, Bayham, Dunwich, Aldborough, and Delaware. Smith writes that this county "is exceedingly rich, well watered with a number of fine streams, is level, and almost entirely clear of stone. The common growth of timber is bass, black and white walnut, with hickory, maple, and oak" (Smith, A Geographical View, p. 17). Houghton Gore is a township which lies west of and adjacent to Middleton and Walsingham Townships. On December 8, 1817, John Coltman and a committee of inhabitants reported to Gourlay that "the whole of the townships of Middleton and Howton [sic] is reserved by government, except Talbot Street," a situation which they felt "hinders the improvement of this part of the country, as there is but one road through the said towns, and one bypath" (Gourlay, Statistical Account, p. 159). Gourlay indicated only six families living in Houghton township in 1817 (Gourlay, Statistical Account, p. 178).


Bayham See note to 94, above.


bridle path A path fit for the passage of a horse, but not of vehicles.


thence Otter Creek . . . of her Empire tries Otter Creek runs the length of Bayham township from Norwich in the north-east, to Port Burwell on the shore of Lake Erie in the south. In 1817, the inhabitants reported that this river "leading through the centre of the township, . . . is navigable for boats of 20 tons, for forty miles from the mouth" (Gourlay, Statistical Account, p. 165). The ability of ships to reach the various mills along the river enabled these commercial sites to become economically viable.


Norwich A township in the County of Oxford. Norwich lies north of and adjacent to Middleton. The first settlers arrived around 1808, but little progress was made until 1811 when the survey of the Talbot Road made farm land available and accessible. In 1818, the inhabitants reported to Gourlay that "roads [are] still bad, but capable of much improvement, at a moderate expence: water conveyance contemplated as attainable, by cutting and clearing drift wood out of the bed waters of the Otter creek, from near the centre of Norwich, into Lake Erie, which is about 30 miles" (Gourlay, Statistical Account, p. 161). Norwich was also known for its Quaker settlement. The first Quakers visited in 1809 from Pennsylvania; Peter Lossing and his brother-in-law, Peter DeJong, purchased 15,000 acres in 1810, and began to settle their families and friends in the following year. In 1817, the first Quaker meeting house was built in the township.


Town Township.


fair Commerce In his Dictionary, Johnson defines "commerce" as the "exchange of one thing for another; trade; traffick." He cites a passage from Dryden, Annus Mirabilis, 649-652:


Instructed ships shall sail to quick commerce,

By which remotest regions are ally'd;

Which makes one city of the universe,

Where some may gain, and all may be supply'd.


Burwell's personification of "Commerce" contributes to the mythology that he is creating for the Settlement. See Pope, Essay on Man, III, 205: "What War could ravish, Commerce could bestow." See also Thomson, "Autumn," 118ff. and Cary, Abram's Plains, 107ff. for further poetic depictions of Commerce.


easter Eastern.


Wellington mills Mills built on Catfish Creek in Malahide Township.


Yarmouth A township in Middlesex County (now part of Elgin County). Jonathan Doan, a Quaker from Pennsylvania, was one of the first settlers to move here during the War of 1812. In 1802, Talbot sought to secure 5,000 acres in this township "with a reservation of the remainder of the township, to be granted him at the rate of 200 acres for each family to whom he assigned fifty acres" (Hamil, Lake Erie Baron, p. 43). On February 15, 1803, Lord Hobart sent a dispatch to Lieutenant-Governor Hunter, outlining "the terms of an arrangement with Talbot" (Ibid, p. 43). Talbot would receive "an outright grant of 5,000 acres of land in Yarmouth or any other available township he might select," and "a proportion of the said Township immediately contiguous" (Ibid, pp. 43-44). He was also to receive a "further grant of two hundred acres for every family he may induce to settle there either from the Continent of Europe or America, provided he shall have surrendered fifty acres of his Original Grant" to each of these families (Ibid, pp.43­44). By 1811, Talbot received permission to superintend the settlement in Yarmouth from Lieutenant-Governor Gore. Gore's verbal promise was never authorized by the Executive Council and the discrepancy led to further dispute between Talbot and the Government (see note to lines 453-456 above). It was not until 1816 that Talbot regained legal control over settlement in the township (as well as in the townships of Bayham, Malahide, and the Talbot Roads West and North). In 1817, the inhabitants reported to Gourlay that "the crown and clergy reserves intervening so often amongst our farms, have a tendency to retard the improvement of our settlement very materially" (Gourlay, Statistical Account, p. 167). They complained about "an improper system" of emigration and hoped "that the introduction of men of capital" would improve matters (Gourlay, Statistical Account, p. 167).


translucent Clear.


verdant Green with vegetation.


St. Thomas' One of the villages first founded by Captain Daniel Rapelje (1774-1828) who had come from New York in 1802 to the Long Point Settlement, later bringing his family in 1810. Rapelje, a captain in the Middlesex Militia, established the village in 1814 on the banks of Kettle Creek in Yarmouth Township. The village was named in 1817 in honour of Colonel Thomas Talbot.


succeeds Follows.


Dunwich The township of Dunwich is west of and adjacent to Southwold. Colonel Talbot secured land in this township in 1803, and established Port Talbot on a creek that he named after himself. Talbot arrived on May 21, 1803 at the mouth of this creek, which the French had called Riviere de Tonti (Hamil, Lake Erie Baron, p. 48). In a letter to Simcoe, dated July 17, 1803, Talbot writes the following account of his residence: "Where I have fixed my residence is six miles to the westward of Kettle Creek in Dunwich in a fine Bay where vessels can come to an anchor with safety within 20 yards of the shore. The site of my but is elevated 150 feet above the waters having a view of the lake in front; on my left flank a beautiful river flows and empties itself into the Bay navigable for large boats 3 miles and for a short distance a sufficient depth for vessels, but like the other Rivers on these lakes is shut up with sand when the wind blows strong into the Bay" (Hamil, Lake Erie Baron, p. 49). In 1810, Mahlon Burwell cleared land on the northeast bank of Talbot Creek (Brierley, Pioneer History, p. 41). He continued his survey of the township while Talbot attended to placing settlers along the Talbot Road. Land sold for about three dollars an acre (Brierley, Pioneer History, p. 41). Talbot erected a sawmill and a grist mill (which were later destroyed by the Americans in 1814). In 1814, Burwell moved across the townline to Southwold; and, in 1816, the path between their two homes was expanded into a "four rods road" as part of the main Talbot Road (Brierley, Pioneer Society, p. 42).


Aldbro' Aldborough Township is in present-day Elgin County, but in 1818, was a part of Middlesex. One of the first settlers to arrive in the township was James Fleming. Fleming saw the area in the 1790s as a boatman for Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe. In 1796, he left his Niagara area home to settle in the township as did many others from that area after the war. A number of Americans were also attracted by the prospects of "free" land. During the war, a group of Scottish families moved from New York State to the region "wishing to retain their allegiance to Britain's King and laws" (Briefey, Pioneer Society, p. 9). Archibald McColl writes that "having heard of free grants of land were given to settlers in the western counties of Canada, they decided to remove there. Of course, they had heard of Col. Talbot and his power in the new land, so they called on the Colonel, stated their intention of settling near Rond Eau, in what is now the township of Harwich, and asked him for information which would be useful to them in selecting a new home. They were gruffly received by the Colonel, who said to them, `You are Yankees, the Government will not give you any free grant lands, but I have a township up west [Aldborough Township] and if you want to settle on it I will give you fifty acres each.' The men were in a dilemma, not having much means, and not knowing what to do or where to go, at last decided to accept the Colonel's offer and the hard terms he laid down" (Brierley, Pioneer Society, p. 9).


County Kent Burwell transports the reader westward from Middlesex County to the County of Kent (formerly known as Suffolk County). Kent County consisted of about one-third of the Western District of Upper Canada. In 1818, the county contained the townships of Dover, Chatham, Camden (west), the Moravian tract of land called Orford (north and south), Howard, Harwich, Raleigh, Romney, Tilbury (east and west), and according to Gourlay, "the Shawney Indians' town" [probably Fairfield or Moraviantown] (Gourlay, Statistical Account, p. 85). Deputy-surveyor Abraham Iredell undertook surveys of the county between 1795 and 1800. In 1803, Lord Selkirk received a five-year grant to establish a settlement in Dover Township. Twelve hundred acres were appropriated and became known as the Baldoon Settlement. Most of the settlers were Scottish, but despite their hard work and perseverance, they were besieged by insurmountable difficulties. Floods, malaria, lack of supplies, and poor management contributed to the eventual demise of the settlement. In July 1812, the American militia raided the settlers and carried off most of the livestock. The remaining settlers sought safety with their neighbours in the Talbot Settlement. Selkirk finally sold the property in 1818.


Orford This township lies adjacent to and west of Aldborough, in the County of Kent. It is bordered by the Thames on the north and Lake Erie on the south. In the eighteenth century, a group of Moravians fled persecution in the United States and settled on the banks of the Thames River. Fairfield or Moraviantown, as it was known, was a peaceful spiritual community of white settlers and Indians, until October 4, 1813 when American troops in pursuit of the British and Indian forces staged a small but bloody battle near the village. It was on this day, near the river, that the great Shawnee Chief, Tecumseh, was slain.

Prior to 1820, a number of mills were built; the mill on Clear Creek gave rise to the village of Clearville. Near the lake and Talbot Road, Clearville was an important milling centre and shipping port on Lake Erie (Hamil, Valley, p. 152).


Howard A township in the County of Kent. Howard lies adjacent to and west of Orford. About 1797, Surveyor-General William Smith reserved a number of lots in Howard, both near the Thames and close to the lake (Hamil, Valley, p. 27). In 1811, Mahlon Burwell surveyed and extended the Talbot Road through the townships and westwards to Sandwich. One of the early settlers the area was John Craford who built a cabin at the mouth of Patterson's Creek. Others followed after the war and "by 1817 only two lots on the Talbot Road in each of the townships of Raleigh and Howard were still not located" (Hamil, Valley, p. 114). Burwell finished the survey in 1823, while Talbot finally received official sanction to superintend the settlement of the township. By this time, hundreds of families were waiting to buy land. Talbot wrote to George Hillier, on February 20, 1824, about the situation: "Every hour of the days that I have been at home I have been beset by Battalions of applicants for the land in Howard, certainly not fewer than 1000, the third day 500 in a body, in consequence of which, and to get rid of the pest, I intend having a Lottery on the 1st of March, so as to give a general chance, but I will not include the Middle or Town Line Roads in it, keeping them for a more select description" (Hamil, Valley, pp. 115-116).


Harwich A township west of and adjacent to Howard Township, in the County of Kent. It is bordered by the Thames on the north and by Rondeau Bay, on Lake Erie, on the south. In 1816, Talbot had placed a number of settlers in the township, along the Talbot Road. In doing so, he ignored the deeds held by non-residents, and when the conflict came to the attention of the government, Talbot explained that he had used the survey plan with which Mahlon Burwell had surveyed the township in 1811 (which, of course, did not include any of the absentee­owner land grants). Burwell had reported this particular plan as being lost during the war, and he had been given a new plan with the absentee-owner land grants marked (i.e. those grants given by the government after 1811 but before Burwell's survey in 1816). In order to appease Talbot, the government offered the Harwich settlers land in other townships, but they (and Talbot) refused to be moved. In 1818, Talbot travelled to England to present the dispute to Lord Bathurst. As he so often did, Talbot won his case. Talbot's habit of going to England to fight his provincial battles infuriated the colonial government and created a number of political enemies who sought to dethrone the Colonel from his empire (Hamil, Lake Erie Baron, p. 97).


Raleigh A township in the County of Essex situated west of and adjacent to Harwich Township. In 1817, a committee of inhabitants reported the following to Gourlay: "The settlement of this township commenced as early as the year 1792; nevertheless, there are but 28 inhabited houses on the bank of the Thames at present, containing 198 souls, and a settlement commenced on the banks of Lake Erie last spring, inhabiting 25 houses, containing 75 souls [this settlement may have been the village and shipping port later known as Erieus, and later renamed Ouvry] . . . .The lands adjoining Harwich are nearly all dry, and fit for cultivation. On the whole, about one half of the township, in its present state, is fit for cultivation. A plain, or meadow, about a mile wide, crosses the township from Tilbury to Harwich, within half a mile of the Thames, part of which is considered of the best quality of land in the township" (Gourlay, Statistical Account, pp. 124, 137). Many of the early settlers in the southern parts of the township were French, having moved there from the area around Detroit. The rest of the township was settled by Loyalists, ex-soldiers, Americans, and a small number of blacks who had escaped from slavery in the United States (Hamil, Valley, pp. 21-22). Of this latter group, Hamil writes: "In 1793, there were six living in Raleigh Township alone (see PAC, Militia, Reports for Essex, Oxford, Norfolk, C 703, 1787-1839). Escaped slaves were already finding this region a haven, although now and then they were caught and returned to their masters" (Hamil, Valley,p. 22).


range Placed or arranged.


Tilb'ry Tilbury is a township in Essex County. It lies west of and adjacent to Raleigh Township and is bordered by Lake St. Clair on the north and Romney Township on the south. Many settlers raised cattle on the Tilbury plains and their export to the United States was quite profitable until the War of 1812 (Hamil, Valley, pp. 65-66). Gourlay reported, in 1817, that the inhabitants had considered cutting a canal from the Thames River to Lake Erie, "a distance only of 15 miles in extent." "If made," he wrote, "[it] will save a distance of 140 miles in the communication to Fort Erie, and will be the means of draining thousands of acres of land" (Gourlay, Statistical Account, p. 139).


Romney East and West Romney Township lies in Essex County, south of Tilbury and borders on Lake Erie. It includes the spit of land known as the South Foreland or Point Pelee, the most southerly of the British possessions after the War of 1812. The township was surveyed by Iredell between 1795 and 1800 although portions of it were not completed until Burwell's survey in 1829. The Talbot Road was extended through the township in 1816.


Mersea Mersea Township lies west of and adjacent to Romney Township, in Essex County. It is bordered by Rochester Township in the north and by Pidgeon Bay, on Lake Erie, in the south. Burwell carried his survey to the western borders of Mersea in the fall of 1816. In 1821, Talbot sought to have the Talbot Road extended westward from Mersea to Sandwich. It took eight years before it, and the Middle Road which extended north from the Talbot Road to the Thames and Lake St. Clair, were completed (Hamil, Lake Erie Baron, p. 126).


Essex The most westerly county in the Western District of Upper Canada. In 1817, Essex included "the townships of Rochester, Mersea, Gosfield, Maidstone, Sandwich, Colchester, Maiden, and the lands of the Hurons, and other Indians upon the strait" (Gourlay, Statistical Account, p. 85).


Burwell uses Thomson's model of lamenting the inability of language to express his feelings or to describe the wonders of Nature. See Thomson, "Spring," 467-479:


Behold yon breathing Prospect bids the Muse

Throw all her Beauty forth.  But who can paint

Like Nature? Can Imagination boast,

Amid its gay Creation, Hues like hers?

Or can it mix them with that matchless Skill,

And lose them in each other, as appears

In every Bud that blows? If Fancy then

Unequal fails beneath the pleasing Task;

Ah what shall Language do? Ah where find Words

Ting'd with so many Colours; and whose Power,

To Life approaching, may perfume my Lays

With that fine Oil, those aromatic Gales,

That inexhaustive flow continual round?



justice The quality of being morally just or righteous.


lays Verses.


seraph's fire Seraphs are considered the highest of the angelic order. For a contrary view to Burwell's, see Pope, Essay on Man, I, 109-110: "To Be, contents his natural desire, / He asks no Angel's wing, no Seraph's fire."


daring Bold or adventurous. Burwell's depiction of the muse soaring on "daring flights" recalls many eighteenth-century poets. Poets frequently sought for their imaginations to soar to the ethereal heights of the famed Mount Parnassus, home of the Muses and poetical inspiration.


tame Subdue.


See note to the invocation at line 1, above.


adamantine Incapable of being broken, dissolved or penetrated. Cf. Milton, Paradise Lost, II, 646-647: ". . . three [of the Gates of Hell] of Adamantine Rock, / Impenetrable . . . ."


humble muse See Pope, Windsor-Forest, 427-428: "My humble Muse, in unambitious Strains, / Paints the green Forests and the flow'ry Plains."


dark futurity Obscure or unknown events to come.


enraptur'd Enraptured: filled with delight.


people's choice Burwell is not referring to American democracy or republicanism. See note to 385, above.


Burwell's view of reason and order is consistent with an eighteenth­century view as held, for example, by Pope in the Essay on Man.


prise Prize: value or esteem highly.


Commerce See note to 493, above.


That opens a new creation . . . See Thomson, "Summer," 137-139: ". . . the nobler Works of Peace / Hence bless Mankind, and generous Commerce binds / The Round of Nations in a golden Chain."


That tames the hardy savage . . . / . . . for mutual good See Pope's first Epistle of the Essay on Man, where the "poor Indian" must accept his domestication for the benefit of an ordered and harmonious society (11. 99-112).


ample See note to 230, above.


gale In his Dictionary, Johnson defines "gale" as "a wind not tempestuous, yet stronger than a breeze."


The "India" to which Burwell refers is likely the West Indies. His economic vision of trade with the West Indies is similarly expressed in Isaac Weld's Travels. In his conclusion, Weld lauds the economic advantages of trade between Canada and the Caribbean colony: "A still greater trade would also be carried on then between Canada and the West Indies than at present, to the great advantage of both countries; a circumstance that would give employment to a greater number of British ships: as Canada increased in wealth, it would be enabled to defray the expenses of its own government, which at present fall so heavily upon the people of Great Britain" (1, 426). In a footnote to this passage Weld adds that "all these articles of American produce in demand in the West Indies may be had on much better terms in Canada than in the United States." See also Introduction, pp. xxvi-xxvii.


barque A small single-decked ship with three masts. Burwell's hope that ships would one day bring wealth from the far east would depend, of course, on the opening of Lake Erie to the Atlantic Coast. In 1817, work began on the Erie Canal designed to link the lake with the Hudson River and, hence, with the Atlantic seaboard. The Canal was completed in late 1825.


press "To go forward with violence to any object" (Johnson).


burning climes Tropical or desert regions of the earth.


tar Sailor.


Beneath the blessings . . . / . . . the Village shall be seen to rise The title of Oliver Goldsmith's The Rising Village, first published seven years after Talbot Road, may echo these lines and thus suggest that Goldsmith had read Burwell's poem, although no external evidence can be found to verify this. See also the Anglo-Irish Goldsmith's The Traveller, 405-406: "Have we not seen at pleasure's lordly call, / The smiling long-frequented village fall?"


Here and in lines 607-618, Burwell paints a picture of domestic order in what can be called (as did later Oliver Goldsmith) the "rising village". In his Travels, Weld also describes a similar order based on what he calls the "English style": "The dwelling house, a neat boarded little mansion painted white, together with the offices, were situated on a small eminence; to the right, at the bottom of the slope, stood the barn, the largest in all Canada, with a farm yard exactly in the English style; behind the barn was laid out a neat garden, at the bottom of which over a bed of gravel, ran a purling stream of the purest water, deep enough, except in a very dry season, to float a large canoe. A small lawn laid down in grass appeared in front of the house, ornamented with clumps of pines, and in its neighbourhood were about sixty acres of cleared land" (I, 421).


hall The residence of a territorial proprietor (Talbot, perhaps) or perhaps a large public gathering place for commercial or civic transactions.


labell'd Designated with a mark of ownership.


din Loud noise or resonant sound indicative of some activity; in line 581, this activity is defined as the "din of business."  


This scene is reminiscent of the "social glee" in Thomson's "Summer," 352ff. and the "rural Gambol" in "Winter," 617ff.. It also echoes forward to the "humble sports" of Oliver Goldsmith's, The Rising Village (1825), 283ff..


ruddy Blushing or reddish, as indicating good health. Cf. Thomson, "Summer," 355: ". . . the ruddy Maid ...."  


winged weapon Cupid's arrow.  


accents Language; poetry.  


Petrarch Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374), the Italian poet, who is best remembered for his love sonnets inspired by Laura.  


swain Poeticism common in eighteenth-century poetry: youth; countryman, shepherd, rustic.  


Cf. Thomson, "Winter," 622-627:  


. . . Rustic mirth goes round:

The simple Joke that takes the Shepherd's Heart,

Easily pleas'd; the long loud Laugh, sincere;

The Kiss, snatch'd hasty from the sidelong Maid,

On purpose guardless, or pretending Sleep;

The Leap, the Slap, the Haul.



repartee Ready and witty reply; quick and clever retort.


quip Sharp or sarcastic remark; clever or witty saying.


sally "Levity, frolick, wild gaiety" (Johnson).


Now see . . . / . . . with hues of fire See Weld, Travels, I, 336: "The churches are kept in the neatest repair, and most of them have spires, covered, according to the custom of the country, with tin, that, from being put on in a particular manner, never becomes rusty. It is pleasing beyond description to behold one of these villages opening to the view, as you sail around a point of land covered with trees, the houses in it overhanging the river, and the spires of the churches sparkling through the groves with which they are encircled, before the rays of the setting sun."


evening vapors Evening mists or clouds.


dun Murky or gloomy.


Phoebus . . . Sol The Greek and Latin words for "sun." See note to line 177, above.


A constant chain of . . . l . . . a thousand rural charms The farms of Talbot Road possess those "charms" which have "fled" Goldsmith's "Sweet Auburn." See Goldsmith, The Deserted Village, 10: ". . . the cultivated farms . . ."; and 35-36: "Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn, / Thy sports are fled and all thy charms withdrawn." This figure of the "great chain" (or the "Vast chain of Being") to signify divine, natural, and social order is common to eighteenth-century literature; see especially Pope's Essay on Man. See also Thomson, "Summer," 137­139:


. . . the nobler Works of Peace

Hence bless Mankind, and generous Commerce binds

The Round of Nations in a golden Chain.



fancy Imagination.


enough "In a sufficient degree" (Johnson).


use Quality which makes something proper and advantageous for any purpose.


Blest spot! sacred to . . . / . . . find the sweet employ Cf. Goldsmith, The Traveller, 13-14: "Blest be that spot, where cheerful guests retire / To pause from toil, and trim their evening fire." In the lines that follow, Goldsmith reiterates the blessings of simple domesticity which characterizes his concept of social harmony.


See note to 139-140, above.


tufted Thatched or clustered as with tufts of trees. See note to 468, above.


willowy shade Shade of the willow tree, a tree often associated with forlorn lovers.


assay Attempt.


The voice of the "trusty watch dog" is part of the musical choir which composes those "charms" which Goldsmith fondly associates with rural harmony. See Goldsmith, The Deserted Village, 121: "The watch-dog's voice that bayed the whispering wind." See Introduction, p. xi.


science Knowledge.


devious Straying or erring. See note to 117 and 287, above.


accents See note to 592, above.


Zion's halls Zion (Sion) is the name given to one of the hills of Jerusalem on which the city of David was built. It has become an important centre of Jewish life and worship, but is often used by religious poets as the location of the symbolic house of God, the New Jerusalem, and the Promised Land.


favor'd poet's song Burwell thought himself to be the destined great poet of Upper Canada. See Introduction, p. xiii.


"Aspen, Weeping Willow, and Lombardy Poplar, are but rarely seen; and yet they are the only trees in the country which contribute in the slightest degree to its ornament" (E.A. Talbot, Five Year's Residence in the Canadas, p. 283).


See Burwell's earlier poem published in the Upper Canada Gazette (York) on March 12, 1818, reprinted as Appendix A in the present edition.


Thus saith the Bard . . . / . . . may sure and certain prove Burwell's diction echoes the common Biblical phrase, "thus saith the Lord," found throughout both the Old and New Testaments. The phrase is also used to signify the end of a religious service or passage of scripture. Relating the words of the "Bard" to those of the Lord, elevates both the poem and the poet towards the divine, thus giving more importance to the subject and to the narrator.


prove Succeed; evince by argument or testimony.


Burwell's first use of the pseudonym in print was in the Upper Canada Gazette (York) on March 12, 1818. "Erieus" identified Burwell as the author of over thirty poems written between 1816 and 1826. In 1819, a proposed two hundred and fifty page volume of "The Original Poems of Erieus, by Adam Hood Burwell" was offered to the public. It was never completed. The last public appearance of "Erieus" occurred in The Gore Gazette (Ancaster, U.C.) on Tuesday, March 6, 1827 with the publication of "Farewell to the Shores of Erie," Burwell's last poem from the Talbot Settlement.