Editorial Emendations

These notes record all editorial emendations in the present text to the first edition of The St. Lawrence and the Saguenay. Each entry contains the reading of the present text before the "]" and the reading of the first edition after the."]". Thus "60 Nereids] Neriads" indicates that in line 60 the mis-spelled "Neriads" of the first edition has been correctly spelled "Nereids" in the present text.


Nereids] Neriads


cloud-pavilioned] cloud-pavillioned


has] had


Love] love


yon] you This emendation is based on the "Correction" that follows the table of contents in the first edition: "Stanza XXVIII `The St. Lawrence and the Saguenay' first line for `you queenly Moon,' read `yon queenly Moon."'








cried.] cried,


cloud.] cloud,




Les Caps] Le Caps


Anse] Ance


drear,] drear.


felicity] felicity;




The primary purpose of these Explanatory Notes is twofold: to explain or identify words and references which might be unfamiliar to modern readers of The St. Lawrence and the Saguenay and to call attention to phrases and passages in the poem that derive from or, as the case may be, allude to the works of other writers. In the latter category, the notes are intended to complement the Introduction, where emphasis is placed, not on local debts and echoes, but on the large patterns, assumptions and ideas that link The St. Lawrence and the Saguenay with earlier and later developments in the English tradition and the Canadian continuity. Quotations from Byron, Milton, and Shelley--the poets most frequently echoed in Sangster's poem--are from John Jump's corrected edition of Frederick Page's Byron: Poetical Works (London: Oxford University Press, 1970); George Edward Woodberry's edition of The Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley (Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin, 1901); and Merritt Y. Hughes' edition of John Milton's Complete Poems and Major Prose (New York: Odyssey, 1957). Quotations from the prose writers--Burr, Howison and Lanman--upon whom Sangster makes the most extensive levies are from the following editions: William Burr, Descriptive and Historical View of Burr's Moving Mirror of the Lakes, the Niagara, St. Lawrence, and Saguenay Rivers . . . (cover title: Burr's Pictorial Voyage to Canada, American Frontier, and the Saguenay . . . (Boston: Dutton and Wentworth, 1850); John Howison's Sketches of Upper Canada (Edinburgh: Oliver Boyd; London: G. and W. B. Whittaker, 1821); and Charles Lanman, A Tour to the River Saguenay in Lower Canada (Philadelphia: Carey and Hart, 1848). Quotations from Jacques Cartier are from the 1843 edition of the Voyages de decouverte au Canada, entre les annees 1534 et 1542 (Quebec: Societé Littéraire et Historique de Québec), as reprinted in the Textes et Documents Retrouvés series (Paris: Editions Anthropos, 1968). Other quotations are from standard or definitive editions of the writer's works.

In compiling these notes, extensive use has been made of the Oxford English Dictionary and of Sir Paul Harvey's Oxford Companion to Classical Literature (1937; rpt. 1966), as well as of numerous, more specialized works such as Robert W. Stuart Mackay's The Stranger's Guide to the Cities and Principal Towns of Canada . . . (Montreal: C. Bryson et al, 1854), Me Rodolphe Fournier's Lieux et monuments historiques de Quebec et environs (Quebec: Editions Garneau, 1976) and W. F. Ganong, "Crucial Maps in the Early Cartography and Place Nomenclature of the Atlantic Coast of Canada, VI," Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, 3rd. Ser., 28, Section 2 (1934), 205-264. Considerable use has also been made of the facsimile reproduction of Sangster's poem in The St. Lawrence and the Saguenay and Other Poems and Lyrics, Introduction by Gordon Johnston, in the Literature of Canada : Poetry and Prose in Reprint series of the University of Toronto Press (Toronto and Buffalo, 1972) and of the revised edition of it in The St. Lawrence and the Saguenay and Other Poems, ed. Frank M. Tierney (Ottawa: Tecumseh, 1984); the Notes to the latter have been cited under the name of Tierney, followed by the pertinent page and note number.


The St. Lawrence and the Saguenay. The title of Sangster's poem refers, of course, to two of the great rivers of eastern Canada--the St. Lawrence, which flows northeast out of Lake Ontario into the Gulf of the St. Lawrence, and the Saguenay, which flows east from Lake St. John in the province of Quebec to join the St. Lawrence at Tadoussac. See the Introduction, pp. xl-xlvi for discussions of the vogue for the scenery of the St. Lawrence and the Saguenay in Sangster's day and pp. xvii-xviii for a discussion of the symbolic significance of the two rivers in the poem.





dove-like passage A representation of the Holy Ghost, as well as a symbol of purity and peace, in Christian art, the Dove figures in two possibly pertinent passages in the Bible: Genesis 8 (where a dove, sent out from the ark by Noah, brings back in the form of an olive branch evidence that the waters have receded and that God has made peace with man) and in John 1.32 (where John sees "the spirit descending from heaven like a dove" to Christ at the time of his baptism). Cf. Milton, Paradise Lost, I, 21, where the Holy Spirit is described as "dove-like". A dove representing the Holy Ghost is frequently present in depictions of the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary. passage: movement from one place to another.


bower Arbour; shady recess; shelter made with branches or vines.


love's mysterious power Cf. Milton, Paradise Lost, IV, 750-752: "Hail wedded Love, mysterious Law, true source / Of human offspring, sole propriety / In Paradise of all things common else." Statements about the mysterious (supernatural, or merely extraordinary) power of love are legion, and neither can nor need be adduced here. As Richard Burton says in the Anatomy of Melancholy, III, 2, i, 2: "To enlarge or illustrate [the] power and effect of love is to set a candle in the sun."


languor Faintness, weariness, lassitude, fatigue, inertia. For this and the following line, Cf. Milton, Paradise Lost, I, 22-23: " . . . What in me is dark / Illumine, what is low raise and support . . . ."


Lazarus The story of the raising of "Lazarus from the tomb" by Christ is told in John 11 and briefly mentioned in John 12.1.


Maiden . . . eyes Cf. Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, II, i: "Come, blue-eyed maid of heaven!--but thou, alas, / Didst never yet one mortal song inspire-/ Goddess of Wisdom! here thy temple was .. . ."


intellectual eyes Gordon Johnson in his Introduction to the 1972 reprint of The St Lawrence and the Saguenay, and Other Poems, Hesperus and Other Poems and Lyrics suggests that Sangster here ". . . uses `intellectual' in one of its secondary meanings[:] `that appeals to or engages the intellect, apprehensible or apprehended only by the intellect.' So the phrase `intellectual eyes' has to do with [a] speechless form of communication . . . ." It may also (or alternatively) be, however, that the maiden's eyes indicate her possession of a high degree of intelligence or understanding, or her participation in the pursuits of the intellect.


Plume Furnish with feathers; prepare for flight. Cf. (with 14: "Conduct its flight . . . ") Milton, Paradise Lost, I, 12-14: ". . . I thence / Invoke thy aid to my advent'rous Song, / That with no middle flight intends to soar .. . .


exulting Greatly rejoicing.


guile Deceit, treachery, insidious cunning.


bark Barque: a sailing vessel. The geography and biographical context of the poem strongly suggest Kingston or its environs as the point of departure for the journey down the St. Lawrence and up the Saguenay.


love fraught Laden or filled with love.


the sea / Lies calm before us Cf. Calder Campbell, "Ossian's Serenade" (so called because it was popularized in Sangster's day by the American singer Ossian E. Dodge): ". . . come with me in my light canoe,/ Where the sea is calm and the sky is blue." Sangster's "sea" (here and at 160) is, of course, Lake Ontario, a body of water so large that, like the other Great Lakes, it has frequently been considered an inland sea.


Many an isle Just below Kingston, the St. Lawrence passes among the Thousand Islands, which are described as follows in Burr's Pictorial Voyage, p. 20: "Though this extensive group bears the name of the Thousand Isles, there are more than 1,500 of them, forming a perpetual succession of the most romantically beautiful and picturesque objects that can be imagined. The traveller is spell-bound [Cf. Sangster's `charmed mind,' 36], whilst viewing these matchless combinations of rock, wood, and water:--


Hail Lake of Thousand Isles!

Which clustered lie within thy circling arms,

Their flower-strewn shores kissed by the silver tide!

As fair art thou as aught

That ever in the lap of nature lay."


Between describing the Thousand Isles as a "fairy scene" and a "scene of enchantment," Burr quotes the passage from Warburton's Hochelaga which is given at 35, below.


verdure Green vegetation. Cf. the quotation from Howison's Sketches of Upper Canada at 37, below.


stately Imposing or majestic in size or proportions.


limpid Clear, translucent. See also the note to 149, below.


cloudlets Little clouds. Cf. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "First Advent of Love," 1-2: "O fair is Love's first hope to gentle mind!/As Eve's first star thro' fleecy cloudlet peeping . . . ."


tortuously In a winding or sinuous manner.


vistas Views, especially those seen through avenues of trees or similar openings.


smile Comprise a pleasant or pleasing prospect or sight.


Here nature, lavish of her wealth, did strew See Howison, Sketches of Upper Canada, p. 31: "Nature seems here [in the Thousand Islands area] to have thrown sportively from her hand a profusion of masses of the material world, that she might perceive what combinations of scenery would be produced, when they assumed their respective positions in the bosom of the waters."


panting islets Cf. the stanza quoted by Burr in the note to 20f., above.


breast / Of the admiring River Cf. the quotation from Howison at 32, above.


River The St. Lawrence (and see the note at 37, below).


shapes of Beauty Here, and in the "Lyric to the Isles" and the surrounding stanzas (56-97), Sangster's association of the Thousand Islands with "Beauty" was probably inspired by Burr's quotation of the following passage from [George] Warburton's Hochelaga; or, England in the New World, ed. Eliot Warburton (1846), I, 216-217 in his Pictorial Voyage, pp. 20-21: "Now we are among the mazes of the `Thousand Islands,' and pass so close to some of them that we can pull the leaves from the bending boughs of the trees, as the merciless wheels of the steamer dash to atoms their beautiful reflection in the mirror of the calm blue water. The eye does not weary to see, but the hand aches in ever writing the one word, beauty, wherever you steer over this great river--beauty, beauty still."


zest Agreeable flavour; piquant quality.


Visions of the Blest The "Blest" are those in paradise or Heaven, specifically the beatified saints, but see also Howison, Sketches of Upper Canada, p. 32: "The scene [in the Thousand Islands] reminded me of the beautiful description of the Happy Islands in the Vision of Mirzah, and I thought at the time, that if the Thousand Islands lay in the East, some chaste imagination would propose, that they should be made an asylum for suffering humanity . . . ." (Mirzah is the fictitious personage, created by Joseph Addison, who sees an allegorical vision of human life in The Spectator, No. 159; see also Appendix II, 3, (a), 18 for Sangster's explicit reference to Mirzah in the stanzas published in Longfellow's Poems of Places).


Lake As the stanza quoted by Burr at 20f., above indicates, the stretch of the St. Lawrence that passes through the Thousand Islands was known in Sangster's day and earlier as the Lake of the Thousand Islands (or Isles). Confirmation of this fact can be found in Howison's Sketches of Upper Canada (a work almost certainly known to Sangster; see the notes to 32 arid 33-34, above), p. 31: "We now entered that part of the river which is called the Lake of the Thousand Islands. The St. Lawrence expands into a large basin, the bosom of which is diversified by myriads of islands, and these are characterized by every conceivable aspect of nature, being fertile, barren, lofty, low, rocky, verdurous, wooded, and bare. They vary in size as much as in form. Some are a quarter of a mile long, and others only a few yards; and I believe, they collectively exhibit, on a small scale, a greater variety of bays, harbours, inlets, and channels, than are to be found throughout the whole continent of America." Echoes of this passage are found in Burr (see the note to 20f., above); moreover, the passage is quoted almost verbatim in Hugh Murray's Encyclopedia of Geography (1834), II, 1321 (Part III, Book IV, 5631), from which it finds its way into Samuel Strickland's Twenty-Seven Years in Canada West (1853), I, 14n..


zephyrs Poeticism: gentle winds; breezes. In Greek mythology, Zephyrus is the personification of the west wind, the bringer of rain and the fertility of spring. Cf. Milton, Paradise Lost, V, 16 (". . . as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes . . . ") and "L'Allegro," 19 (". . . Zephyr with Aurora playing. . . ").


birchen tree Poeticism: birch tree.


embossed Presumably raised or standing out in relief rather than carved or moulded (except possibly by the hand of God).


fantastic Fabulous; as if created by the imagination.


sentinels Sentries, with perhaps a gesture towards the "cherubim" who guard the entrance to ("God-Built") Eden after the Fall in Genesis 3.24.


Cf Howison, Sketches of Upper Canada, pp. 28-29: "The noise of the oars [as the boat ascended the St. Lawrence towards the Thousand Islands] sometimes startled the deer which were browzing along the banks, and I occasionally saw them thrust their beautiful heads through the branches, and then suddenly start away into the recesses of the forest."


rank Vigorous or luxuriant in growth.


wild enthusiast Someone with an intense, passionate-- even religious appreciation for untamed nature. Tierney, p. 248 (n. 14) suggests Joseph Warton's The Enthusiast; or, the Lover of Nature as a context for this phrase, and it is certainly true that the temperament placed on view in stanza VII of Sangster's poem prefers the ". . . unfrequented meads, and pathless wilds . . . " that Warton opposes to ". . . gardens deck'd with art's vain pomps" (3-4). An alternative context for the phrase is provided by James Beattie's The Minstrel; or the Progress of Genius where the poet Edwin is described as "The lone enthusiast" (I, liv) and simply "th'enthusiast" (II, lviii). But see also the note to 58-63 and 59, below and Byron's description of "wild Rousseau" in Childe Harold's Pilgrimmage, III, lxxvii-lxxviii.


Cf. Catherine Parr Traill, The Backwoods of Canada (1836), pp. 153155: "As to ghosts or spirits they appear totally banished from Canada. This is too matter-of-fact country for such supernaturals to visit. Here there are no historical associations, no legendary tales of those that came before us. Fancy would starve for lack of marvellous food to keep her alive in the backwoods. We have neither fay nor fairy, ghost nor bogle, satyr or wood-nymph; our very forests disdain to shelter dryad or hamadryad. Naiad haunts the rushy margin of our lakes, or hallows with her presence our forest-rills .... I heard a friend exclaim . . . `It is the most unpoetical of all lands; there is no scope for imagination; here all is new . . . .' This was the lamentation of a poet .... For myself, though I can easily enter into the feelings of the poet and the enthusiastic lover of the wild and the wonderful of historic lore, I can yet make myself very happy and contented in this country. If its volume of history is yet blank, that of Nature is open, and eloquently marked by the finger of God; and from its pages I can extract a thousand sources of amusement and interest whenever I take my walks in the forest or by the borders of the lakes."


Nymphic trains Groups or retinues of nymphs, creatures who, in Greek mythology, are the young and beautiful female personifications of various natural objects such as rivers and trees.


pale Ideal Worshipper / Of Beauty This is a difficult and contentious phrase, though Sangster seems to be referring pejoratively (the implication of the word "pale") to those who are devoted to "Beauty" in the abstract (and in a classical ["Nymphic"] form), rather than as an attribute of the real (and the here and now). A possible context for this passage is provided by some of Shelley's lyric poems, particularly the "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty" (and see the note to 64 and 84, below), where the poet characterizes himself as ". . . one who worships [the spirit of BEAUTY], / And every form containing [that Spirit] . . . " (81-82), and the "Lines Written Among the Euganean Hills," where he dreams of creating a "healing Paradise" on a "green" and "flowering" "isle" in the "deep wide sea of Misery" (1-2, 335 and 355). Another possible context for the passage is the discussion of the "Ideal theory" in the Chapter (VI) on "Idealism" in Ralph Waldo Emerson's Nature. See also Howison, Sketches of Upper Canada, p. 31 ("any person, whose romantic fancy might inspire him with the desire of possessing one [of the wilder Thousand Islands] . . . ") and the Introduction, pp. xxxv-xxxvii for a discussion of stanza VII of Sangster's poem.


Nereids In Greek mythology, beautiful and benevolent sea-maidens (hence Sangster's "from the deeps below"). Cf. Shelley, Prometheus Unbound, III, ii, 44-46: "Behold the Nereids under the green sea,/ Their wavering limbs . . . ,/ Their white arms . . . ."


Gnomes Dwarf-like spirits supposed by certain occultists to inhabit the interior of the earth and, in the words of Alexander Pope's Dedication to The Rape of the Lock, to "delight in Mischief."


crystal streams See Pope, Essay on Criticism, 352: ". . , Chrystal Streams with pleasing Murmurs creep . . . ."


clustering Isles The Thousand Islands. clustering: grouping together; closely connected.


A Romantic nature lyric with debts to Shelley and, to a lesser extent, Byron, "Lyric to the Isles" is written in a stanza form (ababcdcdee4) that echoes, through, as it were, in another key, the Spenserian stanza form (ababbcbcsc6) of the poem proper, thus facilitating the first of the shifts in The St. Lawrence and the Saguenay from the main narrative to the interspersed lyrics. See the first note to 35, above for the possible literary source of the emphasis on the beauty of the Thousand Islands that reaches a crescendo in "Lyric to the Isles."

64 and 84

Spirit of Beauty See Shelley, "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty," 13-15: "Spirit of BEAUTY, that doth consecrate / With thine own hues all thou dost shine upon/Of human thought or form . . . ."


Jubilee An occasion for joyful celebration or general rejoicing.


galley A boat propelled by sail or oars, and a word probably chosen for the purposes of rhyme.


cells Lonely nooks; a cell may be the dwelling of a hermit, a nun (or monk), or a wild animal--all pertinent associations in this context.


Here the flowers are ever springing Cf. the final verse paragraph (335-373) of Shelley's "Lines Written Among the Euganean Hills," with its description of "flowering," paradisial "isles" overgrown with "old forests" and "all flowers that breathe and shine . . . . "


Hours In Greek mythology, the female divinities who preside over the changes of the seasons.


couch of violet Either a couch made of cloth dyed the purplish-blue colour of the violet flower or a (figurative) couch of the flowers themselves.


Hand in hand Given the paradisial overtones of this stanza, a possible allusion to Milton's description of Adam and Eve walking "hand in hand" in Paradise Lost, IV, 689.


palpitating Throbbing or quivering, with a suggestion of the rapid beating of a heart.


amber Yellowish and translucent.


zephyr trains See the notes at 39 and 58, above.


Beauty dwelleth evermore Cf. John Keats, Endymion, I, 1: "A thing of beauty is a joy forever . . . ."


the Genius of Beauty The personification of beauty, and see also the quotation from Shelley at 64 and 84, above.


I worship Truth and Beauty in my soul. Shelley "worships" the "Spirit of BEAUTY" in the final stanza of the "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty" (see the quotation at 59, above) and, of course, Keats has the urn state that "`Beauty is truth, truth beauty"' in the final stanza of the "Ode on a Grecian Urn." See also Mark Akenside, The Pleasures of the Imagination, I, 371‑374: "Thus was Beauty sent from heaven, / The lovely ministress of truth and good / In this dark world: for truth and good are one, / And beauty dwells in them, and they in her . . . ." Sangster, it will be observed, does not identify "Truth" and "Beauty" but, like Akenside, offers in the remainder of stanza VIII a distinctly Christian aesthetic of the Book of Nature.


prismatic Varied or brightly coloured; brilliant.


globule Round drop (of water, presumably).


 psalmy Psalmic: having the character of a psalm (a sacred or religious song, specifically one of those in the Book of Psalms in the Bible).


Before the hurricane Cf. Shelley, Alastor, 311, 314-315: ". . . the wanderer . . . felt the boat speed o'er the tranquil sea/Like a torn cloud before the hurricane."


scroll Roll of paper or parchment, usually with writing upon it.


tomes Books, with the connotation of large, old volumes.


The dew-drop on the leaf Cf. Milton, Paradise Lost, V, 746-747: ". . . Stars of Morning, Dew-drops, which the Sun / Impearls on every leaf . . . ."


extol Praise highly.


Spirit-Mars Mars, named for the Greek god of war and distinguished by its red appearance, orbits the sun between the Earth (which is nearer to the Sun) and Jupiter. Like the term "Victor-Soul" in the ensuing line, the idea of a spirit-guardian may have been suggested to Sangster by Philip James Bailey, who writes in the second edition of Festus (1845) of "spirit-rulers" and "victor-brethren" (388) and in the third edition (1848) of "spirit stars" (336).


Victor-Soul See the previous annotation and 1 Corinthians 15.54: "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." And cf., in conjunction with the "Hours" of 76, Tennyson, In Memoriam, I, 13-14: ". . . the victor Hours should scorn / The long result of love . . . ."


Earth's prison bars Cf. Wordsworth, "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood," 64-68: ". . . we come / From God, who is our home:/ Heaven lies about us in our infancy!/ Shades of the prison-house begin to close / Upon the growing Boy . . . ." In this same stanza of the "Intimations Ode," Wordsworth writes of the ". . . The Soul [as] . . . our life's Star" (59).


The "Brigand Chief' (107) of these lines is the notorious, Canadian-born pirate Bill Johnston (1782-1870) and the "stately Maiden" (103) is his daughter Kate. In his Pictorial Voyage, p. 21, Burr recounts the best-known act of piracy attributed to the celebrated Bill Johnston: the robbing and burning in 1838 of the "British Steamer Sir Robert Peel." Johnston allied himself with the "patriots" during the rebellions of 1837, and, in earlier and later years, twice escaped from prison (once in Kingston, which he planned to attack in 1838, and once south of the border). His story is told in the chapter entitled "The Pirate of the Thousand Islands" in Harold Horwood and Edward Butts, Pirates anal Outlaws of Canada 1610-1932 (1984), pp. 141-152, where the following account of his daughter appears: "By the mid 1830s Johnston's gang included his sons . . . and his daughter Kate. Known to romantics as `The Queen of the Thousand Islands' (Sangster has `Queen of the Isles!' 112], Kate Johnston was a young woman who could handle a boat as skillfully as any of her brothers. From the Johnstons' base in French Creek [now Clayton, New York] she acted as spy and informant for her father and kept him supplied with provisions on those occasions when he had to go into hiding."


lightsome Luminous; radiant with light.


skiff Small boat.


mien Bearing, expression, demeanour.


Archipelago The Thousand Islands.


matins Morning _ prayer service (Church of England). Cf. Milton, Paradise Lost, V, 7-8: ". . . Matin Song / Of Birds on every bough . . . ."


lucent Shining, bright, luminous. Cf. Milton, Paradise Lost, III, 589: ". . . the Sun's lucent Orb . . . ."


choral hymn A song of praise to God sung by a choir (in this case of birds). Cf. Milton, Paradise Lost, II, 241-242: ". . . [Angels] celebrate his throne/With warbl'd Hymns . . . " and, in conjunction with the remainder of this line, V, 161-162: ". . . Angels . . . with songs / And choral symphonies . . . ."


See the Introduction, p. xxxi for a discussion of the Shelleyan characteristics of this stanza, and see, specifically, "Adonais," stanzas I-III, IX, XVI, AND XVII-XIX.


genial Conducive to growth; pleasantly warm; enlivening; cheering.


Crimsons Makes crimson (deep red).


rivulet Small river or stream.


rills Rivulets.


In describing the Ottawa River, Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 25, refers to the "Canadian Voyageurs" (French Canadians employed by the fur companies to transport goods and men between the fur-trading centres of Lower Canada, especially Montreal, and the remote stations to the west and northwest); he then quotes a stanza of Thomas Moore's famous "Canadian Boat Song Written on the St. Lawrence," commenting that "Many who have never seen and never will see the `Uttawa's tide' (to which Moore refers in the final stanza of the "Boat Song") have sung in cadence to its murmuring, till it has become almost a houshold word." In his note to "A Canadian Boat Song," The Poetical Works, ed. A. D. Godley (1915), p. 124, Moore refers to the "melody" of the song sung by the "voyageurs" as they conveyed him down the St. Lawrence "from Kingston to Montreal" as an "air" (Sangster has "romantic air," 140) and writes that ". . . there is not a note of [this air] which does not recall to [his] memory the dip of . . . oars in the St. Lawrence, the flight of [the] boat down the Rapids, and all those new and fanciful impressions to which [his] heart was alive during the whole of this very interesting voyage." In the "Boat Song" itself (Poetical Works, pp. 124-125), Moore refers both to the "oars" of the voyageurs and to the "moonlight" of the approaching night (see Sangster, 141).


batteaux French: the "flat-bottomed boats" used to transport "stores and goods" (Howison, Sketches of Upper Canada, p. 9) on the St. Lawrence. Howison comments that such boats were ". . . rowed up the river [from Lachine], with incredible labour, by Canadians . . . ."


rustic Of the country (as opposed to the town).


debonnair Happy; pleasant in appearance and demeanour.


accents Tones; sounds.


Although past the Thousand Islands themselves, the boat is probably still in the Lake of the Thousand Islands (see the note to 37, above); however, Tierney, pp. 250-251 (n. 26) suggests that Sangster is referring here to "Lac St-François 125 Kilometres downstream."


pellucid Translucent, transparent. The transparency of the waters in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system was frequently noted in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. See Howison, Sketches of Upper Canada, p. 29, Moore, Poetical Works, p. 126 (with a reference to Jonathon Carver's Travels through the Interior Parts of North America in the Years 1766, 1767, and 1768 in n.5) and Adam Kidd, The Huron Chief, ed. D.M.R. Bentley (1987), 876n.: "So pellucid are the Lakes in Canada . . . ." See also ibid., p. 79 (n. 238f) for evidence that Sangster knew The Huron Chief.


brake A place overgrown with ferns, shrubs, vines and the like.


The transition from calm to storm in these stanzas recalls Shelley, Alastor, 308-351. See also Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, III, ii and xcii-xcvii for descriptions of storms and lightning that may be behind these and subsequent stanzas.


fitfully Irregularly.


resound Echo; ring.


terror-stricken clouds / . . . pursuing hurricane See the quotation from Shelley's Alastor at 98, above and, for the entire stanza (XVI), the third stanza of the "Good Night" song that follows I, xiii in Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage:

Come hither, hither, my little page!

   Why dost thou weep and wail?

Or dost thou dread the billows' rage,

   Or tremble at the gale?

But dash the tear-drop from thine eye;

   Our ship is swift and strong,

Our fleetest falcon scarce can fly 

   More merrily along.


milky Milk-white.


main Ocean.


mark Observe, watch.


flaming arrows Cf. John Keble, Lyra Apostolica, 215: "Some flame-tipt arrow of the Almighty falls . . . ."


bow of wrath A Biblical phrase, both "wrath" and a "bow" (see Genesis 9.13: "1 do set my bow [rainbow] in the cloud . . . .") being associated with God.


 pavilioned Draped, as if by a tent or canopy (here cloud). Cf. Psalm 18.11: "He [God] made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds . . . ."


Cf. Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, III, xcvii: "Could I embody and unbosom now / That which is most within me . . . into one word,/ And that one word were Lightning, I would speak . . . ."


glory Rejoice.


 impulse Thrust or shock (of lightning or thunder), with a sense of the impact of these external forces on the mind. Cf. Wordsworth's markedly more gentle (and less resonantly Christian) ". . . impulse from a vernal wood. . ." in "The Tables Turned," 21.


founts Fountains.


Written in the most typical of hymn-meters (iambic tetrameter) but in a somewhat unusual rhyme-scheme for a hymn (abba), Sangster's "Hymn to the Lightning" treats of a frequent theme in the Calvinist and Anglican tradition of metrical psalmody and psalm-based hymnody: the insignificance of man in relation to the vastness of God. Specific parallels may be found in Issac Watts, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, II, 22, i ("The Lord Jehovah Reigns," based on Psalm 97; and see also II, 70 and IIX, 30, iv) and Psalms of David Imitated, No. 148. For God as thunder see, in addition to Psalm 97, Psalm 18 (see the note to 200, below), 108 and 148; for biblical comparisons between thunder and lightning and the wrath or glory of God, see 1 Samuel 7.10 and 12.17-18 and Psalms 29.3 and 77.18. See also Revelation 6.1, 8.5, 10.3-4, 11.19, 14.2-5 and 16.18 for thunder as part of the final apocalypse.


Flame-winged See the note at 180, above.


exultant Triumphantly joyful.


Thy temple There are many references to the temple of God in the Bible; see, for example, Psalm 27.4 and Revelation 7.15. Centrally in the background of the phrase and the ensuing stanza, however, may be Psalm 18.6-15, where God hears David's "voice out of his temple" and manifests His "wroth" in the form of thunder, "arrows" and "lightnings."


putrid Rotten, foul.


zone Belt, girdle. In conjunction with the remainder of this line, cf. Isaiah 11.5: "And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins" (two of many uses of "girdle" and its cognates in the Bible).


from quickest life to death Cf. Acts 10.42 (and related texts): ". . . God . . . the Judge of quick and dead."


atom A very tiny object. Cf. George Herbert, "Church Militant", 3: "The smallest ant or atome knows thy [God's] power."


insignific Insignificant: devoid of importance or moment, trivial; contemptible. Sangster has apparently dropped the final syllable of insignificant for the purposes of scansion. The word "insignific" is not listed in the OED.


eterne Eternal.


Thee and Thine God and, presumably, the Son.


harps The harp is the instrument of the Psalmist and of angels; see Psalm 49.4 and 137.2 and Revelation 14.2.


Thine eyes The eyes of the Maiden of 1. 10 of the poem; see also 1. 18.


grosser Coarser; more brutish; relatively lacking in decency, delicacy, or perceptiveness. Cf. Matthew 13.15-16: ". . . this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed .... But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear."


melodious whisperings Cf. Milton, Paradise Lost, V, 196: ". . . Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his [God's] praise."


Ethereal Heavenly; of unearthly delicacy or refinement: a word with strong Miltonic (and some Shelleyan) resonances.


pulsations Rythmical vibrations.


complainings Murmurings.


Eternal symphonies Cf. Milton, Paradise Lost, V, 161-162: ". . . Angels . . . with songs/And choral symphonies . . . ." The "Morning Hymn" of Adam and Eve in Paradise Lost, V, 153-208 (and see the note to 226, above) appears to lie in the background of this and surrounding stanzas.


treasure up Store (in the mind and memory); cherish.


Zephyrus See the note at 39, above.


visit them in sleep A Miltonic phrase; cf. Paradise Lost, III, 30-32 (". . . Thee Sion and the flow'ry Brooks beneath . . . Nightly I visit . . . ") and XII, 611 (". . . God is also in sleep . . . ").


Idyls Short poems of a pastoral character that depict the happy, peaceful lives of shepherds and other simple country people, idyls were first written by Theocritus (fl.c. 270 B. C.) about the country life of Sicily.


vales Tracts of land lying between ranges of hills; valleys, dales.


swart Dark in colour; swarthy; tanned.


rustic See the note to 143, above.


Anthems Although anthems may be of a national or religious nature, the context indicates that Sangster had in mind the latter, and in the general sense of a song of praise or reverence rather than in the restricted sense of an arrangement to music of words from the Bible (usually the Psalms).


dirge A song of mourning or lament; a song sung at a burial.


chantings Incantations with, again (see the note to 243, above), a religious connotation suggested by the context, a "chant" being a short melody to which a psalm, canticle or dirge can be sung during public worship.


Minstrel In the modern imagination, a minstrel is a medieval singer who travelled from place to place entertaining audiences by singing or reciting lyric poetry to the accompaniment of a stringed instrument.


Canzonet See the note to the "Canzonet" at 461-476, below.


Glee A musical composition for three or more voices in which words, either happy or sad, are sung either with or--if the term is strictly used--without accompaniment.


Psalmody / Of Voices This is an unusual usage of "psalmody," but Sangster's sense seems clear enough: the sounds or "Voices" of the forest constitute a collection of Psalms (see the note to 97, above) or, more broadly, an anthology of hymns, anthems and other types of sacred vocal music.


Choruses Although other meanings of chorus could be operative here (a refrain of a song, a simultaneous utterance by several singers), the context and capitalization suggest that Sangster's "Choruses" refers to the species of vocal composition that is written in various parts for a considerable body of singers (e.g., a Church choir).


Sangster's "Spirits of the Storm" resemble Genii (Jinn), the supernatural creatures of Mohammedan myth who possess angelic or demonic qualities.


weird Supernatural; uncanny.


innocent flowers Cf. Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1, v, 66-67: "Look like the innocent flower / But be the serpent under't."


uproll Move upwards by rolling.


obsequies Funeral rites or ceremonies.


Thunder-Car Thunder-carriage: in Scandanavian mythology, a name of the chariot of the God Thor (the god of thunder).


The reference here is, of course, to the first covenant: God's setting of a rainbow in the sky after the flood (see the quotation from Genesis 9.13 at 180, above) as a sign for mankind and a reminder to Himself that ". . . the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh" (see Genesis 9.11-17).


erst Not long ago.


stream Watercourse; river.


Like a white dove See the note at 4, above.


Nobly Of the two meanings of this word--gallantly, bravely and splendidly, finely--the latter seems more germane.


The Lake The Lake of the Thousand Islands (see the note to 37, above).


scenes that Fairy hands might weave See the quotation from Burr, Pictorial Voyage at 20f., above. Burr's comment (p. 21) on leaving the Lake of the Thousand Islands is also pertinent: "As we emerge from this scene of enchantment, the river contracts to about two miles in width." Also pertinent is the following from Howison's Sketches of Upper Canada, p. 32: "When [the cultivation of some of the Thousand Islands] takes place, the scene will realize all that fairy loveliness in which eastern historians have delighted to robe the objects of the material world."


Pale Hesper . . . Pioneer of Night Sangster's favourite star: Hesperus: the evening star. Cf. Milton, Paradise Lost, IX, 48-50 ("The Sun was sunk, and after him the star / Of Hesperus, whose Office is to bring / Twilight upon the Earth . . ."), Shelley, Queen Mab, I, 258-259 (". . . Some [star systems] shed a mild and silver beam / Like Hesperus o'er the western sea . . ."), and Tennyson, In Memoriam, CXXI, 1-4: "Sad Hesper . . . Thou watchest all things ever dim / And dimmer, and a glory done . . . ."


pinions Wings; more specifically, parts of a bird's or insect's wings.


pensive Vestal Nun Cf. Milton, "Il Penseroso," 31: "Come pensive Nun . . . ." Vestal: chaste, virginal.


Hours See the note to 76, above.


idyls See the note to 239, above.


cherub Angel or angelic creature.


zoned Encircled.


The collective thanksgiving for God's "wondrous works" (308) in Sangster's "Twilight Hymn" (especially in the opening verse) is strongly reminiscent of Psalm 8 (subtitled "God's glory magnified by his works . . .") and the Benedicite (subtitled "Omnia Opera"), but see also the "Evening worship" in Milton, Paradise Lost, IV, 720-735 and "Evening" in John Keble, The Christian Year. Keble's evening hymn is a Victorian classic that may well have influenced "Twilight Hymn" in several respects; both pieces use the commonplace association between nightfall and death and, in a manner echoed by Sangster, Keble is moved by the setting of the sun to meditate upon death and heaven and to trace "Wisdom, Power and Love" in the earth and sky. As both a type of the "Twilight of the Soul" (325) and a bringer of "Spirit-balin" (312), Sangster's twilight is more complex than Keble's evening, however, and may be the product of a marriage between its evidently Christian sources and the tendency among certain of the Romantics (notably Shelley and Keats) to portray death as curative and even desirable. Formalistically, "Twilight Hymn" recalls Keble's "Evening" in its metre (iambic tetrameter), but not in its double-quatrain (ababcdcd) configuration, an untypical form for hymns that is used, nevertheless, by John Wesley in the famous "Love divine, all loves excelling" (though with a trochaic metre).


Aaron's Dove No such creature is mentioned in the Bible; perhaps Sangster was driven to invent it by the need for a rhyme with "Love." See Exodus 30.7 (and elsewhere), however, for the use of incense by Aaron, the brother of Moses and the first High Priest, and Luke 3.24 for the sacrifice of "turtle doves" ". . . according to that which is said by the Lord . . . ."


Glooming Making dark or sombre.


philosophic vision The context indicates that Sangster is using the word "philosophic" here in the quite rare sense of scientific; moreover, by "philosophic vision" he seems to mean the vision made possible by the telescope. The gist of this stanza is that, because the moon apparently has no air or "atmosphere" (329), it is devoid of the various visual and aural phenomena that these things make possible on earth--"Twilight", "Song," "blue sky," and "echoes." Cf. William Cowper, The Task, III, 229-230: ". . . never yet did philosophic tube, / That brings the planets home into the eye / Of observation and discovers, else / Not visible . . . / Discover Him . . . . "


hallowed Sanctified, blessed.


Genii See the note to 257-265, above.


diapason Melody, especially a grand burst of harmony.


strain Tune.


Anon In a little while.


Carnival A season or course of feasting and indulgence, specifically the season preceeding Lent in certain Roman Catholic societies, when there is held a festive parade of the sort that furnishes the vehicle for the extended metaphor of stanza XXXII.


Fisher . . . piney flambeaux . . . . In The Backwoods of Canada, pp. 159-160, Traill offers the following description of night fishing in Canada: "It is a very pretty sight to see . . . little barks slowly stealing from some cove of the dark pine-clad shores, and manoeuvering among the islands on the lakes, rendered visible in the darkness by the blaze of light cast on the water from the jack--a sort of open grated iron basket, fixed to a long pole at the bows of the skiff or canoe. This is filled with a very combustible substance called fat-pine, which burns with a fierce and rapid flame, or else with birch-bark, which is also very easily ignited. The light from above renders objects distinctly visible below the surface of the water .... I delight in watching these torch--lighted canoes so quietly gliding over the calm waters, which are illuminated for yards with a bright track of light, by which we may distantly see the figure of the spearsman . . . . When four or five of these lighted vessels are seen at once on their fishing-ground, the effect is striking and splendid. The Indians are very expert in this kind of fishing . . . ."


finny prey A periphrasis for fish that had become a clich6 long before Sangster's day. See Pope, The Rape of the Lock, Il, 26: ". . . Finny Prey. . . ."


mimic bay Playful imitation of a real bay? Cf. Traill, The Backwoods of Canada, p. 304: ". . . masses of ice . . . shoot out in long points [into the half-frozen Lake], forming mimic bays and peninsulas."


banditti Bandits (from the Italian).


Two such tales (including that of Bill Johnston; see the note to 103-120, above) are told in Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 21.


See Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 23 for a remnant of the Iroquois encountered ". . . on a small portion of the hunting grounds of their once powerful nation . . . " at St. Regis, a village situated at the point where the St. Lawrence ceases to be the border between Canada and the United States and becomes an entirely Canadian river.


wave-zoned See the note to 204, above.


birchen fleet Birch-bark canoes (and see the note at 41, above).


pic-nic party Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 29 describes St. Helen's Island (below Montreal on the St. Lawrence) as a place whose ". . . pleasant green slopes and shady glens afford . . . delightful situations for pic-nic parties .. . ."


ambuscade Ambush.


In Shelley, Alastor, 396-451 the "wanderer" embarks on a "little shallop" (a shallop being here, as in Sangster, 392, a small sail-boat) which descends a ". . . black flood on whirlpool driven . . . As if [by] genii . . . ." Shelley compares ". . . the white ridges of the chafbd sea . . . [to] serpents struggling in a vulture's grasp." There is also a "shallop" in Byron, The Bride of Abydos, I, xix, 1.


well-nigh outstripped Very nearly outrun.


incurves Bends into a curved form; curves.


pliant Flexible; easily bent.


pilot Steer, guide, especially through difficult or dangerous waters.


Burr, Pictorial Voyage, pp. 22-24 offers descriptions of these rapids as they were in Sangster's day (and before the building of the St. Lawrence Seaway): "Once more [after passing Prescott and Ogdensburg] we are on the bosom of the noble river; and confiding in the skill of an experienced pilot, we fearlessly brave the `GALLOP RAPIDS,' and, hurried through the plunging, foaming billows, find ourselves again in smooth water. A succession of these dangerous rapids extends at intervals from this point to a little above Montreal; all of them are, however, navigable by steamers descending; but ascending, they are obliged to pass through a series of Canals .... [W]e pass successively the villages of East and West Williamsburg, and then for several miles are carried through the dangerous rapids of the LONG SAULT .... A few miles further [after `an expansion of the river thirty miles in length and seven in breadth, called Lake St. Francis'], the village of the Cedars is past, and here we behold the mighty St. Lawrence pent into several narrow channels, among wooded islands, and rushing fiercely along over its rocky bed: nothing can exceed the exciting spectacle of the Cedar Rapids, with its frantic billows capped with snowy plumes .... Steamboats pass down these rapids, though not without risk as may be imagined, when the rapid current sweeps them close to rocks and islands .... Latterly, however, the route has been rendered more safe by the discovery of a channel, which is said was used long ago by the French voyageurs. In the Cedar ,end Cascade Rapids there is a difference of sixty feet in the elevation in about sixteen miles, and the immense body of water rushes down at the rate of from twenty to thirty miles an hour . . . . Leaving behind us the Cascade Rapids, and passing the lighthouse, we find ourselves upon the bosom of the calm and glassy Lake St. Louis, another expansion of the River St. Lawrence, two and a half miles wide at this point."


love freighted Laden or filled with love (see also the note to 19, above).


Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 26 provides the following description of the rapids between Lachine arid Montreal: "After leaving Lachine, the St. Lawrence contracts, boils up [cf. Sangster's "the waters boil and leap" (394)], and foams in a most terrific manner amongst rocks and small islands, for nine miles, forming the RAPIDS OF LACHINE or Sault St. Louis. The current is forced through a variety of narrow channels in many places, at the rate of thirty miles per hour, and the roaring of the maddened waters may be heard for several miles. These are the most dangerous rapids along the course of the St. Lawrence; vessels descend them, although they often suffer for their temerity . . . ."


stentorian Very loud and far-reaching (see the quotation in the previous note).


As a strong eagle holds an oriole CC the final quotation from Shelley's Alastor in the note to 389-392, above. An oriole is a smallish, colourful bird found in the eastern regions of North America.


Under the heading of "MONTREAL, THE CAPITAL CITY OF UNITED CANADA," Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 27, provides the following description of mid-nineteenth-century Mount Royal: ". . . in the rear of the city, Mount Royal, studded with handsome villas [large houses: Sangster's `regal dwellings' (418)], looms up majestically to the height of 600 feet . . . ."


Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 21 (and see also the quotation at 385, above) describes St. Helen's Island, ". . . [i]n mid-channel, and one mile from the city [of Montreal] . . . ," as ". . . clothed with verdure and interspersed with fine trees, amidst which field-works and fortifications peep out . . . ."


Laved Bathed, washed.


enamored Full of the passion of love.


Hochelga's crest Mount Royal. Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 28 explains the connection: "On the second visit of Jacques Cartier to the country . . . he heard that there was a large settlement far up the great river called Hochelaga, and he determined to sail in quest of it. After a perilous voyage he discovered a fortified town, belonging to the Huron [in actual fact, the Iroquois] tribe . . . on a beautiful island, and under the shade of a mountain named Mont Royal, which time has changed to Montreal." See also Cartier, Voyages, p. 35ff.


Nimrod In Genesis 10.8-10, a "mighty hunter" and the ruler of a "kingdom... in the land of Shinar."


the vast city lay at rest;lIts great heart throbbing gently Cf. William Wordsworth, "Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802," 4-5, 13-14: ". . . This city now doth, like a garment, wear/ The beauty of the morning . . . . Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;/ And all that mighty heart is lying still!"


repose State of peace and quiet; freedom from disturbing influences.


The girl loved by Sangster in his "Boyhood's days" has yet to be identified. It is conceivable that there is no biographical basis for these lines.


paraphrase Practical exemplification. See also the note to 452-460, below.


clime Realm.


sublime Of the highest regions of thought or spirit. In its reference to the development of Love from the "beauteous" to the "sublime", the line recalls Edmund Burke's seminal Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful (1756). See the Introduction, p. xvii for a discussion of Sangster's association of the Saguenay with the sublime and the St. Lawrence with the picturesque and the beautiful.


earth a paradise A possible context for this phrase and the surrounding stanzas is the Earthly Paradise of Dante's Purgatorio, XXVII-XXVIII, where the poet sees four ladies: Rachel, Leah, Matilda and, finally, Beatrice, the love of his (early) life.


The movement of this stanza does not preclude the possibility that the speaker's "Boyhood" love and the "Maiden" are to be identified as one and the same.


Afar off have I worshipped her This is a variation on a common phrase (`I have worshipped her from afar'--that is, at a distance), but it has numerous resonances in the tradition of Petrarchan love (where the lady is frequently remote from the man), most notably in the relationships of Petrarch and Laura (see the notes to 494-495 and 496-497, below) and Dante and Beatrice (the latter as first told in the Vita Nuova and then resumed in the Earthly Paradise of the Purgatorio [see the note to 445, above]).


yonder Rapid Perhaps the "Rapids of St. Mary" (Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 29) a little below Montreal on the St. Lawrence. Cf. Adam Kidd, The Huron Chief, 172-174: ". . . my affections run as free, / As yon clear stream that winds along . . . ."


serpentine Having a direction or course that is snake-like; winding, sinuous, tortuous.


Rock after rock Cf. Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, IV, lxx, 6-7: ". . . how the giant element / From rock to rock leaps with delirious bound . . . ."


A canzonet is a brief song for a solo voice and its subject is usually light and cheerful. While Sangster's "Canzonet" ends on a positive note, an affirmation of the persistence of love after death, the poem as a whole is a complaint, a lyrical statement of the sadness caused by a lover's lack of response and intensified by the happiness and vitality evident in external nature. Formalistically, "Canzonet" is somewhat unusual, both in the configuration of its four quatrains (abc4b3), and in the fact that "tree" and "thee" furnish the rhymes for the entire poem.


balmy Mild, fragrant and soothing.


ardent Glowing with desire; passionate; eager.


flush Cause to blush or glow; suffuse or adorn with glowing colour.


Mellifluously Sweetly.


cot Cottage.


These lines (as well as 479-480) are a reworking, and, by turns, condensation and elaboration of Burr's account of the scenery and inhabitants on the shores of the St. Lawrence between Montreal and Quebec in Pictorial Voyage, pp. 29-30: "Village after village is now passed, each with its picturesque church; indeed, the whole banks of the river hence to Quebec, and 200 miles below that city, appear to be one continuous village, being thickly dotted with the white cottages, churches, and long white barns of the simple habitans. The French Canadian remains to this day in all his customs, as were his forefathers a century back: he makes no improvement either in the tilling of his land or his household habits. On his saint's day, or the Sabbath, he repairs to his village church clothed in the same style as his ancestors. During the summer he cultivates his land, and when the snows of winter cover the earth, he harnesses his little ponies, and accompanied by his happy family, visits his neighbours, and, seated round their large square stoves, made in the style of a past century, passes his long winter evenings in happiness, amusing himself with tales of `La Belle France.' Kind, hospitable, contented, he asks for no change of his condition, but only desires to be allowed to do as his fathers did before him. He dies--and his children divide his land, each taking a `nidlet' and live over the same old scenes again. There dwells not on the face of the earth a more happy, contented and honest people." It is worth noting that where Burr employs the word "picturesque" to describe the churches on the North and South shores of the St. Lawrence, Sangster (488-489) uses a stock device of picturesque description: the "Here"/ "There" direction.


Arcadian Arcadia is a mountainous area of Greece that has been conceived since classical times as an ideal region of rural contentment.


Sangster's theme of a rural/ retirement based on an "elegant Sufficiency" (James Thomson, "Spring," 1161) that is above poverty but below excess has many Augustan and post-Augustan precedents.


inordinate Immoderate; intemperate; excessive (and see the previous note).


felicity Happiness (and see the quotation at 488-489, above).


even he I Of lonely Vaucluse Probably Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca; 1304-1374), the Italian poet, who for some years after he moved there in 1337 (ten years after his first sight of Laura [see the note following] lived a life of solitary study in Vaucluse in the south-east of France. In Vaucluse, Petrarch apparently had two children by an unidentified woman--the "fair Psyche [whose] winning smile" tempted him "From his pure love's Penelope" (496-497)? It is possible, however, that Sangster mistakenly thought that another Italian poet and lover, Dante (1265-1321) lived at some time in Vaucluse, a suggestion prompted by the fact that, after the death of Beatrice in the Vita Nuova (see the note to 1261, below), Dante is briefly distracted from the contemplation of his "pure love's Penelope" by a young and very beautiful woman (the so-called "lady of the window"). See the ensuing note for further discussion of the identities of "Psyche" and "Penelope."


Psyche . . . Penelope In classical mythology (see Apuleius, The Golden Ass, IV-VI), Psyche (whose name means soul) is a young woman who is so beautiful that Venus is jealous of her and Cupid becomes her lover. Since Psyche does not figure in the story of Ulysses' slow and circuitous return to his wife Penelope in Homer's Odyssey, it is possible that Sangster confused Psyche with Circe, the enchantress who indeed "tempt[s]" the Greek hero temporarily to interrupt his voyage home. If the "he / Of lonely Vaucluse" (494-495) is Petrarch, then his "Penelope" is presumably Laura, the woman who became his abiding inspiration when he saw her in a church in Avignon on April 6, 1387. Petrarch's Canzoniere indicate that, like Penelope, Laura was a married woman, and that his relationship with her was not intimate--hence Sangster's "pure love" (497). See the previous note for other possible referents for "Penelope," "Psyche" and "he / Of lonely Vaucluse."


Immediately following the passage quoted at 486-494, above, Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 30 describes "Varennes, on the south bank of the St. Lawrence, . . . [as] a delightful place, famous for the mineral springs in its vicinity."


guile See the note to 18, above.


yon aged pile The "here" / "yon" (there) structure of 497-500 suggests that the old building to which Sangster is referring is not in Varennes (which does, however, have a chapel built in 1692 at its centre) but elsewhere--perhaps in Boucherville (also on the south shore and also mentioned by Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 29), where there was and is a relatively large and elaborate church with "bright spires"--the Church of Sainte-Famille, built in 1801.


Overlooking the St. Lawrence at Varennes is a gigantic wooden Calvary (the figure of Christ is on a cross nearly thirty metres high; the crosses of the two thieves are only marginally smaller) that was sculpted in 1776 by Michel Brisset. Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 30 does not give a name, as Sangster does, to the hill on which Brisset's Calvary is located, but he provides what is clearly the basis of the poet's description of "the HOLY MOUNTAIN OF ROUVILLE": "In the distance, the holy mountain, its summit crowned with the pilgrim's cross, which may be seen for many miles, imparts a grandeur to the scene. The cross was erected by the Bishop of Nancy. It is made of timber 100 feet high [an exaggeration], and covered with tin, which, in the dry atmosphere of this country, always retains its brightness, and many a pious habitant devoutly crosses himself when he beholds this emblem of his faith shining like burnished gold in the rays of the setting sun."


pinnace A small, light, sailing vessel generally with two masts.


Most of the landscape features referred to by Sangster in these lines are mentioned or described in Burr, Pictorial Voyage, pp. 30-31: "Fifteen miles further [along the south shore after the `holy mountain'], the St. Lawrence receives the Richelieu River . . . .Continuing through a cluster of wooded islands, we enter Lake St. Peter . . . another expansion of the mighty river [as Tierney, p. 265 n. 151 suggests, Sangster's `St. Pierre' is probably the Village of Saint-Pierre (-les-Becquets), on the south shore opposite Batiscan] . . . .On the north shore we now pass Cape Sante [Sangster's "CAP SAINTE"] . . . .The banks of the river have now almost a perpendicular elevation of from 100-300 feet, and from them extends back a beautiful level plain ["THE PLATEAU"] covered with the richest verdure." W. D. Hamilton, Charles Sangster (1971), p. 55 suggests that the poet has confused "L'AVENIR," a village not mentioned by Burr for the simple reason that it is not proximate to the St. Lawrence but "south-east of Drummondville, Quebec" (Tierney, p. 265 n. 152), with Lotbini6re, a village which is located on the south shore down river from St. Pierre and before Cap Sante (both the cape and the village).


strands Shores.


Whippoorwill A nocturnal goatsucker found in eastern Canada and the United States, the whip-poor-will (a name onomatopceic of what Sangster calls its "solitary triple cry" [525]) is a recurring "symbol of loneliness" (R. E. Rashley, Poetry in Canada: The First Three Steps [1958; rpt. 1979], p. 49) in early Canadian writing. In this stanza and the ensuing "madrigal," the poet expands the plaintive and haunting character of the whip-poor-will's song in various directions.


Ophelia The daughter of Polonius in Shakespeare's Hamlet, Ophelia loves Hamlet but is driven mad by his treatment of her and by her father's death. She kills herself by drowning in a river.


remorseless Devoid of regret or repentence; pitiless; cruel.


madrigals Short lyric poems, usually dealing with love or nature, that are intended or suitable for singing.


In an extended stanza (ababcdcdeee4) characteristic of Elizabethan madrigals (which, however, seldom exceed one such stanza in length), "The Whippoorwill" tells the story of a Maiden's betrayal by her lover and her forgiveness of him. In the final stanza, the "patience" of Jeannie and her forgiveness of Willie (for many modern readers, these diminutives will give the poem a bathetic effect) serve to exorcise the "noisy Whippoorwill" whose song "heartlessly" (545) reflects her feelings earlier in the poem.


tripped Walked, skipped, or ran with a light and lively motion.


fields of barley Cf. Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "The Lady of Shallot", 1-2 and 74: "On either side the river lie / Long fields of barley and of rye . . . " and "He [Sir Lancelot] rode between the barley sheaves . . . ."


silly Lacking in judgement or common-sense; foolish, with a possible allusion to the "silly women" of 2 Timothy 3.6.


Nevermore A word bearing the signature of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven" (which "Quoth . . . `Nevermore"'). Whereas in "The Whippoorwill" the bird is exorcised (see the note to 531-585, above) in Poe's poem the raven takes possession of the speaker's soul.


gloaming Evening; in the evening twilight.


silly The context suggests that the adjective now has more positive connotations than it does in 544 (see the note above). Tierney, p. 266 n. 159 suggests that in both places the word refers to Jeannies's "unsophisticated, simple attitude (the OED gives plain, simple, rustic and homely as one sense of silly] which expresses joy, contentment, pardon, and patience--values taught in the New Testament . . . ." Cf. Milton, "On the Morning of Christ's Nativity," VIII for the "silly thoughts" of the Shepherds about ". . . their loves, or else their sheep . . . ."


inconstant moon See Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, II, ii, 109-111 (Juliet is speaking): "Oh, swear not by the moon, th' inconstant moon,/ That monthly changes in her circled orb,/ Lest that thy love prove likewise variable." This allusion constitutes a bridge between "The Whippoorwill" and the main narrative.


CAPE DIAMOND On the north shore of the St. Lawrence, Cape Diamond rises above the city of Quebec and the Plains of Abraham (see the note to 601-603, below). Burr, Pictorial Voyage, pp. 32-33 refers repeatedly to Cape Diamond, noting that "THE CITADEL OF QUEBEC [o]ccupies . . . [its] highest point . . . being elevated 350 feet above the river, and presenting almost perpendicular cliffs towards the water."


bust A piece of sculpture representing a person's head, shoulders and chest.


pillar . . . Wolfe Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 32 describes the location of the "cenotaph" commemorating the victory and death of General James Wolfe (1725-1759) on the Plains of Abraham during the siege of Quebec in 1759: "Two miles above Quebec we reach WOLFE'S COVE, the spot where, after so many risks and difficulties, he landed his gallant army, and won a glorious grave in the arms of victory. The track is discerned by which he ascended the Plains of Abraham, and not far from the martello tower that stands before us [between the Plains--now Battlefields Park--and the river], is a monument erected by a grateful nation on the very spot where the lamented hero fell in his hour of triumph." An impressive stone column surmounted by a laurel, a sword and a Roman helmet, the monument that Burr and Sangster saw was erected in 1849 by the British Army in Canada. According to the inscription on its base, it is built above the remains of a much smaller and simpler monument that was erected in 1832 and subsequently "broken and defaced" as a result, in Sangster's view, of "the rebel's lust / For spoliation" (592-593).


Fane Temple.


sanguinary Bloody; characterized by slaughter.


France . . . England The British and the French were, of course, the principal adversaries in the Seven Years' War (1756-1763). The Battle of the Plains of Abraham and the subsequent fall of Quebec constituted a major defeat for France and a major victory for Britain in the North American segment of the Seven Years' War.


MONTCALM The Marquis de Montcalm (1712-1759) was the commander of the French forces during the siege of Quebec and was mortally wounded in the Battle of Abraham's Plains.


One graceful column to the noble twain The monument to Wolfe and Montcalm erected in 1828 at the suggestion of Lord Dalhousie. "This is a chaste and well-proportioned obelisk . . . built of grey stone, standing within the [Government or Public] garden . . . , and on the slope that is open towards the river, so that it is distinctly visible from thence," wrote James S. Buckingham in 1843; "A Latin Inscription [on its sarcophagus] records their [Wolfe's and Montcalm's] equal bravery, and similar death, and dedicates this monument of their common fame, to history and posterity" (Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Other British Provinces in North America, with a Plan of National Colonization, [1843], p. 233).


a nation's gratitude See the quotation from Burr at 589-594, above.


Behind these lines are two passages quoted by Burr, Pictorial Voyage, pp. 34-35 in his description of Quebec. The first is from Buckingham's Canada, pp. 164-165: "`As the weather was beautifully fine, and the country still verdant all around, the sight of so many ships [below Quebec] . . . with the fine extent of the country opposite, thickly dotted with villages and hamlets of the purest white, and the grandeur of the mountains in the distance . . . was beautiful and magnificent beyond expression."' The second is from Warburton's Hochelaga, I, 39: "`Take mountain and plain, sinuous river and broad tranquil waters, stately ship and tiny boat, gentle hill and shady valley, bold headland and rich fruitful fields, frowning battlements and cheerful villa, glittering dome and rural spire, flowery garden and sombre forest--group them all into the choicest picture of ideal beauty your fancy can create,--arch it over with a cloudless sky, light it up with a radiant sun, lest the scene should be too dazzling, hang a veil of light haze over all, to soften the light and perfect the repose--you will then have seen Quebec on this September morning."'


POINT LEVI . . . at the foot of the Old Hill Pointe Levi, now Levis, is the town on the south shore of the St. Lawrence opposite Quebec. It is overlooked by heights occupied by four forts.


Gardens and the Terraces Perhaps Sangster had particularly in mind the Government (or Public) Garden (see the note to 610, above) and the Durham Terrace, described as follows in Burr, Pictorial Voyage, pp. 33-34: "Quebec possesses one of the most beautiful promenades imaginable; it occupies the site of the Castle of St. Louis, of which [Samuel de] Champlain laid the foundation [and which was destroyed by fire in 1834] . . . . Lord Durham had the site cleared of . . . ruins, and the whole area floored with wood, and converted into a beautiful platform, commanding one of the most panoramic views that can be imagined."


Loire Loire is a specific area in central France, but Sangster may have had in mind all the regions of western as well as central France through which the Loire River flows.


and n. Quebec is located on the site of the old Indian town of Stadacona, visited by Cartier in 1535 and 1541, and first settled by Champlain as a trading post in 1608. Although this information was common knowledge in Sangster's day, the poet may well have gleaned it from the edition of Cartier's narratives published in 1843 by the Quebec Literary and Historical Society; see Cartier, Voyages, p. 40n. and elsewhere.


For several weeks before the Battle of the Plains of Abraham (see the notes to 589-594 and 601-603, above) the French forces in Quebec and the English forces at Pointe Levi pounded each other's positions with cannon fire.


Montmorency Falls, located about ten kilometres down river from Quebec on the north shore of the St. Lawrence, are described as follows in Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 31: "At a distance, this magnificent cataract appears like a motionless streak of snow upon the precipitous bank of the river; but now we are abreast of it, we see a mighty torrent projected with incredible velocity over the perpendicular rock . . . ." The loud noise of Montmorency Falls is a phenomenon frequently reported by early writers about Canada.


After describing Montmorency Falls, Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 36 offers the following account of the he d'Orl6ans, the large island downriver from Quebec: "The lovely Island of Orleans, nineteen miles in length and about five in breadth, here divides the river into the north and south channels. The upper part of it is covered with noble forest trees, while cultivated fields and beautiful gardens slope down to the water's edge at some points, and bold perpendicular banks are presented at others."


These lines rely heavily on the passage from Burr's Pictorial Voyage quoted at 486-494, above.


blanching Whitening.


glancing Gleaming, shining.


and n. The he d'Orleans was named for Bacchus (in Roman Mythology, the god of wine) by several early explorers and cartographers, including Richard Hakluyt and Jacques Cartier. See Cartier, Voyages, p. 35: ". . . y [ a la dite] Isle trouvasmes force vignes, ce que n'avions vu par ci-devant en toute la terre; et pour ce, la nommasmes L'Isle de Bacchus [`Aujourd'hui L'lle d'Orleans'] . . . ."


boon / Companion Cheerful comrade; drinking buddy.


vestments Garments, particularly those worn by aristocrats and ecclesiastics on ceremonial occasions.


the lone Isle The Île d'Orleans.


lee A nautical term: the side of the boat that is sheltered from the wind.


The three octave stanzas (aabbccdd4) of "Parting Song" are composed of tetrameter couplets that recall in form, usage, and content Byron's The Bride of Abydos, particularly in such lines as the following (spoken by Zuleika's father when he orders her to marry a man she has never met):


How dear this very day must tell,

When I forget my own distress,

In losing what I love so well,

To bid thee with another dwell­

Another! and a braver man

Was never seen in battle's van.

(I, vii, [194-199])


An oriental cognate of the story of Romeo and Juliet, The Bride of Abydos ends with both Zuleika and her true love Selim dead, he by her father's sword and she of a "broken heart" (II, xxvii, [640]). Despite its title, "Parting Song" is a passionate rebuttal of the notion that the lovers are "doomed to sever" (688), either in this world (the context suggested by 680-684) or in the world to come (the context suggested by the line "Rivers meet and mix forever" [687] and by the eschatological dimension of such phrases as "the heav'n of love" [697] and "our hope in hope" [700]). See the Introduction, pp. xii-xiii for a discussion of Sangster's hope for the continuation of personal love after death.


droop and languish Sink down and grow weak.


fiat From the Latin, `let it be done', with the general sense of an authoritative pronouncement or order, and a particular sense, perhaps, of a command from God (whose first fiat was the "Let there be light... " of Genesis 1.3).


an iron tongue hath spoken See Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, V, i, 370-371: "The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve./ Lovers to bed, 'Tis almost fairy time."


hope in hope A phrase with strong Christian resonances (see, for example, Titus 3.7 and Romans 4.18) that suggest a hope for the life to come--a hope for eternal love within the hope for eternal life?


rend Tear.


lie The echoes among the opening and closing lines of the first stanza and the closing lines of the second and the third stanzas of "Parting Song" suggest that the "lie" is an assertion or suggestion that the lovers will be parted at death.


CAPE TORMENTE See Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 37: "We are now [below the he d'Orleans] in sight of Mount Ton and Cape Tourment, bold promontories rising to the height of 2000 feet [on the north shores of the St. Lawrence]."


dells Deep valleys, usually with tree- or foliage-covered sides; ravines.


night-vapors Fog, mist.


swells Protruberances, bulges; uplands.


See the quotation from Burr, Pictorial Voyage at 486-494, above.


Some Recluse The Recluse is the long philosophical poem that Wordsworth only partially completed.


holiday Holy day. See the quotation from Burr, Pictorial Voyage at 486-494 above (a passage that is also pertinent to 725-726).


the Cape Cape Tormente.


See Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 37: ". . . here [in the vicinity of Cape Tormente] . . . the northern shore increasing in elevation, and covered with the forest, presents a wild and rugged appearance . . . .The scenery increases in interest [below Cape Tormente] . . . ; the lofty shores studded with cheerful residences, while hill above hill, and mountain above mountain rise up in the distance." Perhaps "the last" "group of dwellings" (731) is the village of Cap-Tourmente.


vassal Subject, subordinate.


GROSSE ISLE [and] . . . / Its subject-islands See Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 37: "Grosse Island, thirty miles below Quebec, is a quarantine station....Crane Isle, a fertile spot, is passed, and Goose Island .... And now we see the Pillars, a group of rocky isles . . . ."


glowing An unusual usage, but presumably warm, as if by passion.


Quickens Animates; restores; enlivens.


Orion The constellation named for the giant hunter of Greek mythology. Cf. Tennyson, "Locksley Hall," 7-8: "Many a night . . . / Did I look on great Orion sloping slowly to the West."


She wanders, like a Beauty Cf. Byron, "She Walks in Beauty, like the Night . . . " (the first line of one of the best-known of the Hebrew Melodies). The Roman goddess Diana is associated with the moon and with chastity (see the "lonely couch" of 752).


and n. See Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 37: "Near St. Paul's Bay [Baie-St.-Paul on the north shore of the St. Lawrence], sixty-five miles from Quebec, is the Isle aux Coudres, (Isle of Filberts), which received its name from Jaques [sic] Cartier, on account of the profusion of these delicious nuts which he observed on landing." See also the quotation from Burr in the following note, and Cartier, Voyages, p. 33: ". . . y a plusieurs Coudres franches que trouvasmes fort chargees de Noizilles . . . . Et pour ce la nommanes L'Isle a Coudres." Richard Hakluyt had earlier named the island for the "Filberds" found there.


Cf. Burr, Pictorial Voyage, pp. 37-38: "Continuous ranges of hills can now [downriver from Baie-St.-Paul] be seen in every direction. The grand and lofty mountain peaks of Cape Eagle [Cap L'Aigle] and Cape Salmon [Cap Saumon] here come into view . . . .Altogether, it is such a scene as cannot be met with in any other part of America, and probably not on the globe."


swells See the note at 713, above.


and n. EBOULEMENTS Les Eboulements, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence, is not mentioned in Burr's Pictorial Voyage, perhaps because it is located a little distance from the river. The cottages of 790 cannot be those of Les Eboulements.


gem-like beauty Lanman, A Tour to the River Saguenay, p. 138 describes Trinity Point and other landmarks on the Saguenay mentioned by Sangster later in the poem as ". . . perfect gems of scenery . . . ."


tremulous Tremblingly sensitive; responsive.


and n. Tierney, p. 278 n. 237 notes that "[t]here is no official name Les Caps in this area . . . [but] [t]here are a series of mountains such as Cap Martin, Cap Aux-Oles . . . ," and so on (none of which is mentioned in Burr's Pictorial Voyage).


The moonlight gleams l Full on the mossy slopes and banks Cf. Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, V, i, 54: "How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!"


beseems Befits: suits in appearance.


wherefore ask In view of 586 (see the note above), a possible echo of Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, II, ii, 34: ". . . wherefore art thou Romeo?" (wherefore: for what purpose. Why?).


beyond the veil In the next world. Hebrews 6.19 provides the context for this phrase and for the assertions about "Love" and "Hope" earlier in the stanza: "Which hope [of eternal life in the world to come] we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil." See also Tennyson, In Memoriam, LVI, 27-28: "What hope of answer, or redress?/ Behind the veil, behind the veil." In his note to these lines in The Poems of Tennyson, Christopher Ricks observes that "[t]he word [veil] was a favorite of Shelley's."


and n. The town of La Malbaie (in Sangster's day it was a large village) is situated on the north shore of the St. Lawrence, some hundred and fifty kilometers downriver from Quebec. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, an attempt was made to change the name of La Malbaie (which was bestowed by Champlain in 1608) to Murray Bay, in honour of James Murray, General Wolfe's successor. The attempt was neither officially successful nor, as Sangster's note indicates, entirely unsuccessful.


His chariot In Roman mythology, the sun was held to be the chariot of Phoebus (`the bright') Apollo. See also the notes to 917-920 and 1216, below.


one / Pale, solitary watcher The planet Venus when visible in the east before sunrise. Cf. (in conjunction with 812-813), Milton, "Song: On May Morning," 1-2: "Now the bright morning Star, Day's harbinger, / Comes dancing from the East . . . ." On the basis of Revelation 22.16 ("I am the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star"), the morning star is sometimes identified with Christ, an association that the "meek glance" of 821 (see Matthew 11.29: ". . . I am meek and lowly in heart . . . .") suggests may be operative here.


Jove A poetical name for Jupiter, the highest of the ancient Roman gods, who is associated with the sky, light, and lightning. Clearly, Sangster is using "Jove" in reference to the Christian God.


His sovereign Will The will of God, with many biblical resonances (for example Matthew 6.10 and John 6.39).


Master-Artist God, or David (the putative author of the Psalms)?


quenched in Unbelief Extinguished by religious disbelief. There are strong Carlylean resonances to Sangster's phrase and to the stanza(s) surrounding it. See particularly the following from the Chapter (VII) entitled "The Everlasting No" in Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus: "He himself says once, with more justice than originality: `Man is, properly speaking, based upon Hope, he has no other possession but Hope; the world of his is emphatically the `Place of Hope'. What, then, was our Professor's possession? We see him, for the present, quite shut out from Hope; looking not into the golden orient, but vaguely all round into a dim copper firmament .... Alas, shut-out from Hope, in a deeper sense than we yet dream of! For as he wanders wearisomely through this world, he has now lost all tidings of another and higher. Full of religion, or at least of religiosity, as our friend has since exhibited himself, he hides not that, in those days, he was wholly irreligious: `Doubt had darkened into Unbelief,' says he; `Shade after shade goes grimly over your soul, till you have the fixed, starless, Tartarean black."' Sangster's unnamed "man" (826) follows Professor Teufelsdrockh's journey from "The Everlasting No" of "Unbelief' to the "Everlasting Yea" of a strong faith.


like a palm / He flourished See Psalm 92. 12: "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree ...."


The Great 1 AM See Exodus 3.14: "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM . . . ."


new light . . . dark world These phrases and images have numerous biblical echoes (see, for example John 3.19 and 2 Peter 1.19).


Orient East. See the quotation from Carlyle's Sartor Resartus at 830, above.


pitchy Intensively dark.


These lines have numerous echoes in the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer, as well as in Milton and other Christian writers. See, for example, Paradise Lost, XII, 469-473:


O goodness infinite, goodness immense!

That all this good of evil shall produce,

And evil turn to good; more wonderful

Than that which by creation first brought forth

Light out of darkness!  


A catalogue of the scriptural and scripturally-based echoes of the language and imagery of Sangster's lines would be both tedious and pointless.


Morning Star The capitalization here could be seen as support for the allegorical reading of the morning star suggested at 819-820, above.


Herald Forerunner, precursor.


riven Split, torn.


lawn A kind of fine linen cloth.


saffron Reddish orange.


erst Earlier.


In a manner reminiscent of Milton and other Christian-humanists, Sangster here expounds a Christian theme in a classical form, a paean being originally a Greek choral lyric whose name derived from its invocation and refrain addressed to Apollo, the god of light (see the note to 812, above). "Paean to the Dawn" employs a refrain as the closing couplet in stanzas whose configuration (ababcdcd4ees) resembles that of "Lyric to the Isles" (see the note to 64-93, above), but has even more the appearance of a truncated Spenserian stanza (or Shakespearian sonnet). Thoroughly Christian in its association of ordinary light with divine light, "Paean to the Dawn" has an obvious source for its treatment of Edenic love in Milton's depiction of the relationship of Adam and Eve in Paradise Lost, IV, 689-775, where the couple is seen in their "blissful Bower" (cf. the "Eden's bowers" of 864). See also John Keble's hymn "The voice that breathed o'er Eden" (". . . The primal marriage blessing . . .").


gorgeous rose A reference perhaps to the rose of Dante's Paradiso, XXXI and f.


Evangel Proclaimer of the Christian gospel. Sangster is apparently referring to angels rather than evangelists.


starry round Cf. Milton, Paradise Lost, IV, 649 (". . . her starry train. . . ") and V, 709 (". . . starry flock. . .").


primal waking / . . . Eden's bowers See the quotations from Milton and Keble at 853-902, above.


Eden's flowers; / . . . Eden-nectar There are several references to flowers and nectar in Milton's descriptions of Eden in Paradise Lost; see, for example, IX, 192-193 (". . . sacred Light began to dawn in Eden on the humid Flow'rs . . . ") and IV, 239-241 (". . . under pendant shades / Ran Nectar . . . and fed / Flow'rs worthy of Paradise . . .").


midnight's spectre Cf. Milton, Paradise Lost, IX, 158-159: ". . . thus [Satan] wrapt in mist/ Of midnight vapor . . . ."


hallowed Consecrated; sanctified.


shriven Confessed and forgiven.


River . . . / . . . crystal sea Cf. Milton, Paradise Lost, IV, 261-263: ". . . a Lake . . . Her crystal mirror holds . . . ."


the changing purple screen Presumably the mist.


rills Small streams.


Loiter, hand in hand Cf Milton, Paradise Lost, XII, 636f., where "Our ling'ring Parents" pass "hand in hand with wand'ring steps and slow,/ Through Eden . . . ."


anthems of the spheres Cf. Milton, Paradise Regained, IV, 593-594: ". . . Angelic Choirs/ Sung Heavenly Anthems of his victory . . . ." According to Pythagoras, the heavenly bodies ("spheres") produced a music imperceptible to human ears.


The Song of Solomon, which includes a reference to "the singing of birds" (2.12), probably lies in the background of these lines.


crystal gates Cf. Milton, Paradise Regained, I, 81-82: ". . . Heav'n above the Clouds / unfold her Crystal Doors . . . ."


wan Pale; gloomy; sickly.


Behind Sangster's conception here and elsewhere in the poem of the "Sun" as a "Witness" to the existence of God lies a long Christian tradition of comparisons between ordinary and divine light (not to mention the sun/Son pun), but his sublime response to the light and hinterrain of the Saguenay appears to owe a particular debt to such passages as the following from Lanman's Tour to the River Saguenay, pp.128-129: "On again turning my eyes upward, I discovered that . . . the entire sky was covered with a crimson color, which resembled a lake of liquid fire, tossed into innumerable waves. Strange were my feelings as I looked upon this scene, and thought of the unknown wilderness before me, and of the Being whose ways are past finding out, and who holdeth the entire world, with its cities, mountains, rivers, and boundless wildernesses, in the hollow of His hand."


 as a dew-drop to the boundless sea Cf. Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, III, xii, 8-10: ". . . as petty to his ends / As is the moon dew on the myrtle leaf / To his grand sea."


plaudits Applause; praise.


In these lines Sangster expands on the classical notion of the sun as the chariot of the god Apollo to envisage the advent of the sun as a victory over other stars of equal magnitude ("myriads of compeers") in a cosmic chariot race.


the Hand Divine/ . . . waved thee into being See Genesis 1.16: "And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day . . . . "


See the quotation from Lanman's Tour to the River Saguenay at 912f., above.


Cf. Lanman, Tour to the River Saguenay, p. 37 (shortly before the ascent of the Saguenay): ". . . hill above hill, and mountain above mountain rise up in the distance . . . .Continuous ranges of hills can now be seen in every direction." See also p. 133: "The shores of this river [the Saguenay] are composed principally of granite, and every bend presents you with an imposing bluff . . . ."


Cf. Lanman, Tour to the River Saguenay, pp. 135-136: "The wilderness through which [the Saguenay] runs is of such a character that its shores can never be greatly changed in their external appearance. Only a small portion of its soil can ever be brought under cultivation; and, as its forests are a good deal stunted, its lumbering resources are far from being inexhaustible. The wealth which it contains is probably of a mineral character; and if the reports I hear are correct, it abounds in iron ore."


Although Sangster does not name the village described in this stanza, his description accords well with Lanman's account of Tadoussac in Tour to the River Saguenay, p. 138: "It is situated directly at the mouth of the Saguenay, and commands a fine prospect of that river, as well as of the St. Lawrence.... Immediately at the base of the hill upon which the hamlet stands, is a beautiful bay, hemmed in with mountains of solid rock. The place is composed of houses belonging to an Indian trading post, and another dwelling, occupied by a worthy Scotchman . . . . In a rock-bound bay, about half a mile north of . . . [this] residence, is an extensive lumbering establishment . . . ." Lanman proceeds to describe a picturesque curiousity in Tadoussac: the supposed "ruin of a Jesuit religious establishment" at the centre of which has "grown a cluster of pine trees . . . ." (pp. 138-139). See also the quotation from Lanman at 934-938, above, for the unsuitability for farming of the Saguenay country. Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 41 offers a description of Tadoussac that is obviously based on Lanman's, but adds "several stores, [and] a chapel" to the village.


Burr, Pictorial Voyage, pp. 37-38 describes the scene near the confluence of the St. Lawrence and Saguenay River as follows: ". . . the noble river is whitened with hundreds of ships . . . ; numerous shoals of white porpoises . . . frequent these waters, together with scores of seals, . . . and now and then a whale [the equivalent of Sangster's `gay grampus'] scatters the smaller fry as he approaches . . . ." See also Lanman, Tour to the River Saguenay, p. 135 for descriptions of the "seals" and "white porpoises," the latter "rolling their huge bodies along the waters, ever and anon spouting a shower of liquid diamonds into the air," in the Saguenay itself.


Cf. Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 40: "The tourist, while ascending the Saguenay and passing along the base of these mountain cliffs, whose rugged summits seem to penetrate the blue expanse above, is oppressed by a sense of loneliness and desolation." S. E. Dawson, Hand-Book for the Dominion of Canada (1884), p. 265 helps to explain Sangster's reference to L'Anse a 1'eau: "The entrance to the river [Saguenay] is somewhat intricate, but once past the line of shoal, it is not easy to find anchorage, so great is the depth of water . . . . The harbour [of Tadoussac] is on the north-east side of the river, and is separated from it by a rocky peninsula. The steamer does not enter the harbour, but stops at L'Anse A 1'eau [a small bay and village (see Tierney, p. 283 n. 256)], upon the river . . . . There are no roads and no carriages. Over the wilderness of cliffs no roads are possible."


Burr, Pictorial Voyage, pp. 39-40 quotes the following passage from Lanman, Tour to the River Saguenay, pp. 133-134: "Awful beyond expression, I can assure you, is the sensation which one experiences in sailing along the Saguenay, to raise his eye heavenward, and behold hanging, directly over his head, a mass of granite, apparently ready to totter and fall, and weighing, perhaps, a million tons. Terrible and sublime, beyond the imagery of the most daring poet, are these cliffs; and while they proclaim the omnipotent power of God, they, at the same time, whisper into the ear of man that he is but as the moth which flutters in the noontide air. And yet, is it not enough to fill the heart of man with holy pride and unbounded love, to remember that the soul within him shall have but commenced its existence, when all the mountains of the world shall have been consumed as a scroll?" Probably inspired by Lanman's account of a storm on the Saguenay (Tour to the River Saguenay, pp. 134-135), Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 40, imagines the "sensation of awe" produced in a "solitary voyageur" when, with "darkness closing in above like a pall" and turning "the already leaden-colored waters to the hue of ink," he floats between the "gigantic and everlasting hills" of the Saguenay.


iron Hills See the quotation from Lanman at 934-938, above, and also Tennyson, In Memoriam, LVI, 20: ". . . iron hills?"


drear Poeticism: dreary: dismal, gloomy.


Lanman, Tour to the River Saguenay, pp. 137-138 writes sadly of the fate of the (Montagnais) Indians of the Saguenay region: ". . . it is the duty of my pen to record the fact that, where once flourished a large nation of brave and heroic warriors, there now exists a little band of about one hundred families. Judging from what I have heard and seen, the Mountaineers were once the very flower of this northern wilderness . . . .The qualities . . . which make the history of this people interesting, are manifold; and it is sad to think of the rapidity with which they are withering away, even as the leaves of a premature autumn." See also Burr, Pictorial Voyage, pp. 42-43.


 birchen fleets See the note to 375, above.


inky waters Burr twice likens the uncannily dark waters of the Saguenay to ink: see the quotation at 957-974, above and the following from Pictorial Voyage, p. 38: "From the inky blackness of its waters, and the strange, wild, and romantic character of the scenery along its banks, [the Saguenay] may be considered unquestionably the most remarkable river on this continent."


refrain The burden (or chorus) of a song or poetic composition.


Cf. Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 40: "When [the tourist] raises his eyes to the vast height of the broken and misshapen masses which overhang and threaten momentarily to overwhelm him, the story of the Titans seems to be realized, and it appears to him as if they had succeeded, in this wild and primeval portion of the globe, in heaping Ossa upon Pelion, and Olympus upon Ossa." See also, Lanman, Tour to the River Saguenay, p. 134: ". . . the thought actually flew into my mind that I was on the point of passing the narrow gateway leading to hell. Soon, however, the wind ceased to blow, the thunder to roar, and the lightning to flash . . . ."


adamantine As if made of the hardest iron or steel; impenetrable. In conjunction with the quotation from Lanman at 977-984 above, see Milton's description of the "Gates" of Hell as "Adamantine" in Paradise Lost, II, 853.


apace Quickly.


Hills piled on rugged hills Cf. the quotation from Lanman's Tour to the River Saguenay at 931-933, above.


and f. But see A common enough locution, but one used by Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 40 shortly before his introduction of the Me de Boule, a remarkable "round mountain" about five kilometres upriver from Tadoussac and some distance downriver from the "two PROFILES," "strong outlines on the rocks, several hundred feet above the water, [that] strongly resemble the human face" (p. 41).


Magi Holy or wise men, originally with reference to ancient Persian priests. Sangster's sense would seem to require the singular "Magus."


See the Introduction, p. xxx for a discussion of the literary resonances of this interspersed lyric, and of the inappropriateness of its anapestic rhythm to the theme of "Vanished Hopes."


In conjunction with 1023-1026, cf. Lanman, Tour to the River Saguenay, p. 129: "Long and intently did I gaze upon this wonder of the North [the atmospheric effect described in the quotation at 912ff.]; and at the moment it was fading away, a wild swan passed over my head, sailing towards Hudson's Bay, and as his lonely song echoed along the silent air, I retraced my steps to the watch-fire and was soon a dreamer."


supine Inclined, sloping. Both Lanman (Tour to the River Saguenay, p. 133) and Burr (Pictorial Voyage, p. 39) comment on the fact that the cliffs rise perpendicularly from the water of the Saguenay.


One solitary sea gull Cf. Lanman, Tour to the River Saguenay, p. 135: ". . . let your eye follow an eagle sweeping along his airy pathway near the summit of the cliffs . . . ."


drugged giant See the quotation from Burr's Pictorial Voyage at 985-992, above.


dwarfed pines See the quotation from Lanman's Tour to the River Saguenay at 934-938, above.


liquid pearls See the quotation from Lanman's Tour to the River Saguenay at 948-954, above.


Both Lanman (see the quotation at 985-992, above) and Burr (Pictorial Voyage, pp. 40-41) report the experience of a "mariner" passing through a "portentous storm" on the Saguenay.


CC Lanman, Tour to the River Saguenay, p. 135: "From what I have written, my reader may be impressed with the idea that this river is incapable of yielding pleasurable sensations. Sail along its shores, on a pleasant day, when its cliffs are partly hidden in shadow, and covered with a gauze-like atmosphere, and they will fill your heart with images of beauty. Or, if you would enjoy a still greater variety, let your thoughts flow away upon the blue smoke which rises from an Indian encampment hidden in a dreamy cove . . . ."


frills Decorates or ruffles, as with an ornamental edging.


coquetting A word apparently coined by Sangster in place of coquette-like (A coquette being a woman who toys artfully with the feelings of men; a flirt).


two high rocks Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 41 describes "ETERNITY POINT and CAPE TRINITY" (the former explicitly mentioned by Sangster in stanza XCV and the latter in the note to C) as ". . . two tremendous masses of rock . . . rising from the water's edge to the height of nearly 2000 feet, and so abruptly that ships may sail close enough to their base for the hand to touch them."


like Patience at the feet of Death Tierney, p. 284, n.261 suggests that this simile evokes the following description of Olivia in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, II, iv, 117-118: ". . . She sat like Patience on a monument, / Smiling at grief . . . ." Since Shakespeare's lines probably refer to a figural representation of patience (the virtue of self-sacrificed suffering that is tested by death) on a tomb-sculpture, Sangster's lines are true to Olivia's image, but with one important twist: the suggestion of his allegorical tableau that "Patience" has been defeated by (or subordinated to) "Death".


Tierney (p. 284 n.262) glosses these lines with the story of Pandora (the Greek equivalent of Eve) whose curiosity prompted her to open a "box" from which escaped all the diseases and evils that have since afflicted the human race. Pandora was able to close the box in time to prevent the escape of Hope, man's solace in the face of suffering (see the first stanza of "Vanished Hopes" [1002-1113]).


pestilential Having the nature of the plague or some other infectious and deadly disease.


subtlest essence A phrase with distinctly occult overtones, "essence" being, in one of its meanings, the mysterious substance believed by the alchemists to be present in all bodies.


sapping Destroying, as if by some secret, hidden process.


ærial Produced by the (pure) air or atmosphere. Cf. Shelley, Prometheus Unbound, 11, v, 12-14: ". . . light/ . . . fills this vapour, as the aerëal hue/ of fountain-gazing roses fills the water . . . ."


Cf. Psalm 23.2: "he maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters."


lave Bathe.


ambrosial Delicious; fragrant. In Greek mythology, ambrosia is the food of the gods, and bestowed immortality on all those who partook of it.


scathe Injury; harm; damage.


sprite Spirit; specifically, perhaps, a fairy or elf.


sojourns Lives temporarily or as a stranger.


beetling Jutting, overhanging (often with a reference to prominent eyebrows). Cf. Shakespeare, Hamlet, I, iv, 70-71: ". . . the dreadful summit of the cliff/ . . . beetles o'er his base into the sea . . . ." And see Lanman, Tour to the River Saguenay,p. 133: ". . . generally speaking, these towaring bulwarks [the bluffs on the banks of the Saguenay] are not content to loom perpendicularly into the air, but they must needs bend over, as if to look at their own savage features reflected in the deep" and the quotations from Burr, Pictorial Voyage at, respectively, 1119-1120 and f. and 1185 and n. below.


phantom Apparition, spectre, ghost.


Scald An ancient Scandinavian (especially Norwegian or Icelandic) poet.


reverential Characterized by reverence or, in a less common sense that is not inconsistent with this context, inspiring reverence.


See the quotation from Lanman's Tour to the River Saguenay at 985-992, above.


human clay On the basis of Genesis 2.7, the human body as distinct from the soul.


knots Hills or summits.


evil spirits who have seen the sun By tradition sunlight is inimical to "evil spirits" and ghosts generally; as Horatio puts it in Shakespeare's Hamlet, I, i, 149-155: "I have heard / The cock . . . Awake the god of day, and at his warning . . . The extravagant and erring spirit hies / To his confine." 


face to face / Love looks on Love See 1 Corinthians 13. 12: "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face . . . ."


trace / Of Eden Vestige or indication of man's pre-fallen state. Cf. Cowper, The Task, III, 41-42 :"Domestic happiness, thou only bliss / Of Paradise that has survived the fall . . . ."


trace Discover; search out; ascertain by (scientific) investigation.


In contrast to "Vanished Hopes" (1002-1113), the lilting and frequently anapestic rhythms of this heterometrical "Song" (a4b3cc2b3 dd2e3ff2e4) are appropriate to its "cheerful" subject matter, as are its strong, even playful, rhymes. Both in its poetic effects and in its imagery (". . . dark Night no more/ Will obscure the shore . . . " [1094-1095], and so on), Sangster's "Song" recalls the William Blake of the Songs of Innocence and of Experience, but it is unlikely that the Canadian poet knew his English predecessor's poems of renovation (both spiritual and perceptual) through human love.


cope The concave or canopy of the sky, with a suggestion of the ecclesiastical garment resembling a cloak that is worn at various sacred functions, including processions, consecrations and communion (which in the Anglican Church is sometimes received by the bride and groom at the time of their marriage); see also 1114 and 1122.


Genius of Love See the note to 94, above.


reels Whirls.


astral lair Starry home.


and f. Cf. Burr, Pictorial Voyage, pp. 41-42: "The . . . huge pile of everlasting granite is well designated by the name Eternity Point [`Eternity Cape' in Lanman, Tour to the River Saguenay, p. 135]. Sheltered between these beetling and overhanging cliffs [Trinity Cape and Eternity Point] is a delightful recess in the shore, called Trinity Cove,--its retired and lonely beauty presents a striking contrast with the towering grandeur of the rest of the scene."


communion . . . cope See the note to 1092, above.


These lines recall the story of Prometheus, the Titan of Greek mythology, who stole fire from heaven (or hell, in another version, from Hephaestus) and carried it to the earth for the benefit of mankind, to whom he taught many arts.


See the quotation from Burr's Pictorial Voyage at 957-974 and 1119-1120 and f., above.


piney Of pine trees (and see the note to 366-370, above).


flushed See the note to 470, above.


monad By comparison with other words that Sangster could have used in this context (for example, "grain" of "speck"), the term "monad" has strong philosophical and theological overtones: an ultimate and indivisible unit of being, it has been applied to the number one (principally with reference to Pythagoras and other Greek philosophers) and to the Christian God (the more obvious context for Sangster's usage).


See Genesis 1. 26-27 and Milton, Paradise Lost, VII, 515-516: "...God supreme made him [Man] chief / Of all his works...."


monotone Unvaried sound.


See the quotation from Lanman, Tour to the River Saguenay at 957-974, above. Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 41 writes that "When the traveller raises his eyes to [the] vast height [of ETERNITY POINT and CAPE TRINITY], and then thinks of the deep abyss of waters rolling beneath him, he 'is overcome with awe, and shrinks as he becomes convinced of his own nothingness."


Lanman, Tour to the River Saguenay, p. 132 describes the church at Chicoutimi (some considerable distance upriver from Cape Eternity) as occupying ". . . the centre of a grassy lawn . . . and command[ing] a fine prospect, not only of the Saguenay, but also of a spacious bay, into which there empties a noble mountain stream . . . ."


Cf. Wordsworth, "Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802," 1-2, 11, 13: "Dull would he be of soul who could pass by / A sight so touching in its majesty . . . .Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep . . . .Dear God! the very houses seem asleep . . . ."


See the quotation from Burr, Pictorial Voyage at 1119-1120 and f., above.


umbrageous Shady. Cf. (in conjunction with 1173), Milton, Paradise Lost, IV, 257-258: ". . . umbrageous Grots and Caves/ Of cool recess . . ."


Cf the quotation from Lanman's Tour to the River Saguenay at 1060, above. In the background of these lines may be Keats's "The Eve of St. Agnes," especially stanzas 27-33 in which Porphyro gazes upon a Madeline who has succumbed to the "warmth of sleep" (237) after praying for "heaven's grace and boon" (219)--"visions of delight,/ And soft adorings" from her lover--to come to her in the "middle of the night" (47-49).


fraught See the note to 19, above.


Romans in the race Possibly a reference to the chariot races that were held in the Circus Maximus in ancient Rome.


and n. Burr, Pictorial Voyage, p. 41 describes "Trinity Cape as a "huge pile of everlasting granite" (and see also the quotation at 1041, above) with "three peaks on its summit resembling human heads."


the great Samson of the Saguenay See Introduction, p. xxv for a discussion of the significance of "Silence" in the final stanzas of The St. Lawrence and the Saguenay.


N.A.Woods, The Prince of Wales in Canada and the United States (1861), pp. 81-82, provides a description of Capes Trinity and Eternity that corroborates these lines and sheds light on Sangster's other accounts of them: "Than these two dreadful headlands nothing can be imagined more grand or more impressive. For one brief moment the rugged character of the river is partly softened, and, looking back into the deep valley between the capes, the land has an aspect of life and wild luxuriance which, though not rich, at least seems so in comparison with the previous awful barrenness. Cape Trinity . . . is pretty thickly clothed with fir and birch mingled together in a colour contrast which is beautiful enough, especially when the rocks show out among them, with their little cascades and waterfalls like strips of silver shining in the sun. But Cape Eternity well becomes its name, and is the very reverse of all this. It seems to frown in gloomy indignation on its brother cape for the weakness it betrays in allowing anything like life or verdure to shield its wild, uncouth deformity of strength. Cape Eternity certainly shows no sign of relaxing in this respect from its deep savage grandeur. It is one tremendous cliff of limestone . . . inclin[ing] forward . . . , brow-beating all beneath it, and seeming as if at any moment it would fall and overwhelm the deep, black stream which flows so cold, so deep and motionless below. High up on its rough grey brows a few stunted pines show like bristles their scathed white arms, giving an awful weird aspect to the mass, blanched here and there by the tempests of ages, stained and discoloured by little waterfalls, in blotchy and decaying spots, but all speaking mutely of a long-gone time when the Saguenay was old, silent and gloomy, before England was known or the name of Christianity understood."


glooms Darkens.


swarthy crest Dark top.


anatomic form, and triple crown The quotation from Burr, Pictorial Voyage at 1185 and n., above is obviously pertinent to this description of Trinity Rock. Other passages of Burr and Lanman that have already been quoted (for example, at 1060) are relevant to the stanza as a whole.


the goal is won . . . we must part. Cf. Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimmage, IV, clxxv: "My Pilgrim's shrine is won, / And he and I must part--so let it be ...."


young Phoebus The morning Sun (see the notes to 812 and 917-920, above).


heart of rose See the note to 854, above.


exhalted Elevated (in power, dignity, confidence, character and the like); elated; praised.


Ambrosial See the note to 1053, above.


celestial Heavenly; supremely excellent or delightful.


syllabl'ing words that bind / Our souls For a discussion of the epithalamic overtones of the conclusion of The St. Lawrence and the Saguenay see Introduction, pp. xxii-xxviii.


scale of being Degrees (or ladder) of existence, from the lowest to the highest creatures or states.


trifing Frivolous; trivial.


obscure career Imperfectly illuminated course.


crystalline Made of crystal, or transparent like crystal. Milton uses the word "crystalline" three times in Paradise Lost (see particularly III, 482 and IV, 772), but more pertinent to Sangster's "crystalline gates" are Milton's references to the opening of the "Crystal wall of heaven" in VI, 860 and, in Paradise Regained, I, 82 to the "Crystal Doors" of the "Clouds" that open at the time of Christ's baptism. See also Revelation 4.6, 21.11 and 22.1.


See the quotation from Burr, Pictorial Voyage at 1145-1154, above, and the following from Lanman, Tour to the River Saguenay, p. 133: "Imagine for a moment, an extensive country of rocky and thinly-clad mountains, suddenly separated by some convulsion of nature, so as to form an almost bottomless chasm . . . and then imagine this chasm suddenly half-filled with water . . . and you will have a pretty accurate idea of the Saguenay."


chamois Goat-like and extremely agile antelope inhabiting remote mountain regions in Europe and Western Asia.


hind Female deer.


the well The definite article suggests an allusion to a specific well, perhaps one of "the wells of salvation" in Isaiah 12.3 or the "well of . . . everlasting life" in John 4.14.


Cf. Tennyson, In Memoriam, LV, 13-16: "I falter where I firmly trod . . . Upon the great world's altar-stairs/ That slope through darkness up to God . . ." and [Epilogue], 142-144: ". . . One God, one law, one element,/ And one far-off divine event,/ To which the whole creation moves."


new life See Introduction, p. xxviii for this phrase as a possible echo of Dante's Vita Nuova (New Life).


 . . . Human Love Cf the final line of Beattie, The Minstrel, I: "I only wish to please the gentle mind, / Whom Nature's charms inspire, and love of human kind."