by D.M.R. Bentley
each essay and review, these Editorial Notes consist
of two parts: a headnote and annotations. The purpose
of each headnote is to designate the text of the essay
or review upon which the present edition is based, to
describe and discuss textual matters, and to provide
a general context for the essay or review and the ensuing
annotations. The purpose of the annotations is fourfold:
to identify and explain words and references that might
be obscure to modern readers; to describe significant
variants in the manuscripts of original printings of
the essays and reviews and the quotations that they
contain; to indicate parallels between the essays and
reviews and Lampman’s poems; and to call attention to
passages that derive from or, as the case may be, engage
with the work of other writers. In the last two categories,
the annotations are intended to complement the headnotes
and the Introduction, where emphasis is placed, not
on local debts and arguments, but on more general matters
of literary-critical context.
Revolt of Islam
Revolt of Islam" was published in Rouge et Noir
1 (December, 1880): 4-6, the text reprinted here. It
has been previously reprinted in Archibald Lampman:
Selected Prose, ed. Barrie Davies (Ottawa: Tecumseh,
Lampman was the son of an Anglican priest and Rouge
et Noir a publication of his Anglican college, there
is a degree of audacity in his decision to publish his
first article on a poet whose "atheistic opinions
and daring blasphemy" had indeed "closed"
"a large portion of his work to the Christian’s
ear" and, moreover, in his rehearsal of the features
of Christianity that led Shelley to seek "some
natural code of faith, which might to his mind conform
more closely to the workings of his only instructress
[,] nature’s self." Nevertheless, as the phrase
"to his mind" in this passage intimates, Lampman
is careful to distance himself from Shelley’s rejection
of Christianity, and only towards the end of the essay
does he intimate that Shelley is "his favourite
author," a position later occupied by Keats. "There
will always be a class of minds—and I confess myself
to be one of them—who do not find themselves drawn to
Shelley in the intensest degree," he would write
in his At the Mermaid Inn column in the Globe
(Toronto) on March 5, 1892. "I find myself often
a little repelled by the absence of something, which…I
would call ‘the human.’ Shelley appears to us not as
a normal being of this world, but as a spirit, strange,
radiant, and inspired, whose joy had in it the glow
of an unearthly light. …We miss in him that earthly
human heartiness and neighbourly warmth of touch which
render the great passages of Shakespeare so imperishably
beloved to all tender hearts of men, the quality that
glows in Keats and Wordsworth’s best, and lends the
sweetest charm to the greater poets of our own age"
(28-29, and see "The Poetry of Byron," "Poetic
Interpretation" and "The Modern School of
Poetry in England"). This is an older Lampman,
however, and "The Revolt of Islam"
contains no such reservations. On the contrary, Lampman’s
first published essay is unstinting in its admiration
of Shelley’s "etherial sweetness" and its
sympathy for his love of liberty and hatred of oppression.
Nor did this positive assessment quickly evaporate,
for sometime after his arrival in Ottawa in January
1883, he wrote to John Ritchie at Trinity College expressing,
if anything, increased admiration: "I have betaken
me lately back to my old love, Shelley, and I swear
that he is the greatest of them all. There is a sort
of tremendous, weird, unearthly majesty in his wilder
pieces which no one had ever approached, and in his
sweeter ones a fancy so delicate and fairy-like as to
be altogether astonishing, and out of the range of any
other man’s work that ever lived. You ought to read
the ‘Witch of Atlas.’ It is not very long, and it is
utterly indescribable" (qtd. in Connor 67).
observation in the final paragraph of "The Revolt
of Islam" that "much has been written
of late years about [Shelley] and his works" suggests
an extensive knowledge of biography and criticism about
the English Romantic poet whose youthful atheism and
political activism evidently appealed more to him that
the sensational stories surrounding his marriage to
Mary Shelley in 1816 and his death by drowning in 1822.
Nevertheless, the principal quarry for "The
Revolt of Islam" appears to have been John
Addington Symonds’ Shelley (1878), a study to
which Charles G.D. Roberts was also "rather more
indebted than he indicates" (Early, "Roberts
as Critic" 178n.). "All [Shelley’s] previous
experiences and all his aspirations…are blent together
and concentrated in the glowing cantos of this wonderful
romance," enthuses Symonds about The Revolt
of Islam; "[i]t is full of thrilling incidents
and lovely pictures. …[N]o one now can read the…tenth
canto, or the…fifth, without feeling that a young eagle
of poetry has here tried the full strength of his pinions
in their flight" (96-97). The text of The Revolt
of Islam would have been readily available to Lampman
in two Shelley editions published in the eighteen seventies,
H. Buxton Forman’s The Poetical Works (4 vols.,
1876-77) and William Michael Rossetti’s The Poetical
Works (2 vols., 1870), which, in addition to the
carefully revised and annotated texts of Shelley’s poems
and prefaces, contains Mary Shelley’s prefaces and notes,
an extensive Memoir by Rossetti, and "a list of
the principal authorities for the life of Shelley"
(clxxvi-clxxviii). It should be remembered that when
"The Revolt of Islam" was written Edward
Dowden’s influential Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1886) was several years in the future, as was Matthew
Arnold’s "Shelley" (1888), a review of Dowden’s
biography that ends with the assessment, echoed by Lampman
in his At the Mermaid Inn column, that "[t]he
man Shelley…is not entirely sane, and Shelley’s poetry
is not entirely sane either. The Shelley of actual life
is a vision of beauty and radiance, indeed, but availing
nothing, effecting nothing. And in poetry, no less than
in life, he is ‘a beautiful and ineffectual angel,
beating in the void his luminous wings in vain’"
(Complete Prose Works 11: 327, and see 9: 237).
nature like Shelley’s… Lampman’s
opening remarks are very general, but perhaps based
on Mary Shelley’s estimate of her husband’s character
in her Preface to the 1839 edition of his Poems,
which reads in part: "it cannot be wondered that
a nature as sensitive, as impetuous, and as generous,
as his, should put its whole force into the attempt
to alleviate for others the evils of those systems from
which he had himself suffered. …Perfectly gentle and
forbearing in manner, he suffered a good deal of internal
irritability. …The weight of thought and feeling burthened
him heavily; you read his sufferings in his attenuated
frame (1:xx-xxiii). Lampman may also have had in mind
part of Symonds’ concluding estimate of Shelley: "[t]here
was ever-present in his nature an effort, an aspiration
after a better than the best this world can show. …This
persistent upward striving, this earnestness, this passionate
intensity, this piety of soul and purity of inspiration,
give a quite unique spirituality to his poems"
of school fellows… W.M.
Rossetti gives details of Shelley’s harsh treatment
at Sion House and Eton College: "the system of
the house was mean; the reception accorded to Shelley
by his schoolfellows, and their subsequent treatment
of him, full of taunting and petty persecution…; and
his situation was one of proportional and acute misery.
…He passed to Eton in his fifteenth year, and experienced…much
the same bullying and uncongeniality that he had endured
at Sion House" (1:xxxv-xxxvi). Symonds refers to
Shelley’s "suffering among unsympathetic"
schoolmates who were "uncongenial to his gentle
college days…narrow bigotry
Lampman may have had in mind either (or both) Shelley’s
experience at Eton College (where he was dubbed "‘Shelley
the Atheist’") or his expulsion from University
College, Oxford (after he confessed to the authorship
of The Necessity of Atheism ) (see W.M.
Rossetti 1:xxxviii and xlix-li and Symonds 12-38).
Queen Mab… Written and published
during Shelley’s youthful period of political activism,
Queen Mab (1813) consists largely of attacks
on various forms of "oppression," including
monarchy, commerce, and religion. The four lines that
Lampman quotes (4:121-24; Rossetti ed. 1:24) are from
the attack on war. The quotation is accurate except
for the absence of a hyphen in "stranger soul".
wondrous study of nature… In her Preface
to Shelley’s posthumous poems (1824), Mary Shelley comments
at length on this aspect of his work: "[h]is life
was spent in the contemplation of nature, in arduous
study, or in acts of kindness and affection. …[H]e was
unrivalled in the justness and extent of his observations
on natural objects. …He made his study and reading-room
of the shadowed copse, the stream, the lake, and the
waterfall. …Such was his love for nature that every
page of his poetry is associated, in the minds of his
friends, with the loveliest scenes of the countries
which he inhabited" (xxvi). Symonds concludes his
chapter on Shelley’s "Birth and Childhood"
by presenting the poet as a "[l]oving, innocent,
[and] sensitive" being "secluded from the
vulgar concerns of his companions" and "drawing
his inspirations from Nature and from his own soul in
preface to The Revolt of Islam… Written
in 1817 under the title Laon and Cythna: or the Revolution
in the Golden City, a Vision of the Nineteenth Century,
The Revolt of Islam is a displaced treatment
of the French Revolution that aspires to epic both in
subject and form (twelve cantos). Set in the Orient,
it traces the vicissitudes of a rebellion staged by
an incestuous brother and sister, Laon and Cythna, from
its successful beginnings to its defeat by tyrants.
In the rebellion’s aftermath, Islam is wracked by plague
and famine and Laon and Cythna are burned at the stake.
The poem’s final, visionary canto has the pair and their
child sailing to the Hesperides. The passage that Lampman
quotes from Shelley’s Preface to The Revolt of Islam
concerns the "education peculiarly fitted for a
poet, without which genius and sensibility can hardly
fill the circle of their capacities" (Poetical
Works 1: 115). Symonds quotes exactly the same passage
to illustrate the "powerful impression…made upon
[Shelley] by…glaciers, and how he delighted in the element
of peril" (90). Lampman’s quotation is accurate
except for minor variations in punctuation and the omission
of the words "of men" after "multitudes".
He may well have had all or part of the passage in mind
when planning the stages of Richard Stahlberg’s education
in the second part of The Story of an Affinity
spirit whom I loved…delight Lampman is quoting
(accurately, but for the uncapitalized first letter
of "spirit") The Revolt of Islam IV,
heard…a tameless multitude Except for the
comma following "But" in the third line, Lampman’s
quotation of The Revolt of Islam, II, iv is accurate.
opinions and daring blasphemy. Both in Queen
Mab itself and in his copious notes to the poem
(see W.M. Rossetti ed. 1:64, 69-74, and 76-80), Shelley
rehearses his historical and doctrinal reasons for rejecting
Christianity. On the basis of Shelley’s unfinished "Essay
on Christianity" (see Mary Shelley, Memorials
271-308), Symonds argues that his "fierce tirades
against historic Christianity must be taken as directed
against an ecclesiastical system of spiritual tyranny,
hypocrisy, and superstition. …[H]e distinguished between
Christ…and those Christians, who would be the first
to crucify their Lord if he returned to earth"
(101). In "The Latest Development of Literary Poetry"
(1872), William John Courthorpe (see headnote to "The
Modern School of Poetry in England") observes that
"there is something frightful to the ears of Christians
in the energy of Shelley’s invective" (65).
vision of heaven and earth in a future time… The
future that Shelley envisages in Queen Mab is
characterized by atheism, republicanism, "free
love,…[and] vegetarianism" (Symonds 96).
was the slow necessity…earthly worshippers"
Lampman is quoting from the utopian vision of the Fairy
Queen in Queen Mab, lx, 57-64. Minor differences
of punctuation and spelling and, in the final line,
the substitution of "his" for "her"
separate the quotation from the original.
firmly to hope after…[t]he French revolution… In
his Preface to The Revolt of Islam, Shelley writes
that "[t]he panic which…seized upon all classes
of men during the excesses consequent upon the French
Revolution, is gradually giving place to sanity. It
has ceased to be believed that whole generations of
mankind ought to consign themselves to a hopeless inheritance
of ignorance and misery. …There is a reflux in the tides
of human things which bears the shipwrecked hopes of
men to a secure haven after the storms of the past.
Methinks, those who now lived have survived an age of
despair. …In that belief I have composed the following
poem" (Poetical Works 1: 113-14). Symonds,
quoting from Shelley’s Preface, remarks that "it
was his purpose to rekindle in the bosoms of his readers
‘a virtuous enthusiasm for those doctrines of liberty
and justice, that faith and hope in something good,
which neither violence, nor misrepresentation, nor prejudice,
can ever wholly extinguish among mankind’" (96).
the Revolt of Islam…not the most perfect
of his works… W.M. Rossetti observes of The
Revolt of Islam that "[i]t was a great effort,
and a near approach to a great poem…though its vast
scale and unmeasured ambition place it…in the category
of imperfect achievements. …[W]hatever its imperfections
of plan and execution, it is not only a marvellous well-head
of poetry, but a remarkably original work" (1:cii).
measure inexpressibly beautiful" Shelley
thus describes the Spenserian stanza in the Preface
to The Revolt of Islam (Poetical Works
description of Cythna See The Revolt of
Islam, I, xvi-xxi and f.
parting between her and Loan [sic] See The
Revolt of Islam, II, xlvii-xlix.
imprisonment See The Revolt of Islam,
return of the tyrants…desperate struggle These
events occur in Canto VI of The Revolt of Islam.
by Cythna See The Revolt of Islam,
VI, liii-lv and Canto VII.
rescues the father tyrant… See The Revolt
of Islam, V, xx-xxxvi.
wherefore…forgiven Lampman quotes The Revolt
of Islam, V, xi with several changes in punctuation
strange tale of Cythna’s imprisonment… Cythna
tells her tale to Laon in The Revolt of Islam
VII, xl-lx, xi.
by the female slave ship… Cythna recounts
the remainder of her tale in Canto VII, xl-lx, xi.
story…Golden city See The Revolt of Islam
desperate prayer…to God See The Revolt
of Islam, X, xxviii-xxix.
exhortation of the Iberian priest See The
Revolt of Islam, X, xxv-xxxix.
horrible preparation for Laon’s execution See
The Revolt of Islam, X, xlii-xlvii.
child…dancing before the tyrant See The
Revolt of Islam, V, xxi-xxiv.
first strikes the reader…extraordinary profusion of
imagery… Here, and in his earlier remarks on the
"marvelous yet easy profusion" of imagery
in The Revolt of Islam, Lampman is paraphrasing
Symonds’ comments on the "rapidity of movement…dazzling
brilliance" and "lovely pictures" of
a poem whose "central motive…is surrounded by so
radiant a photosphere of imagery and eloquence that
it is difficult to fix our gaze upon it, blinded as
we are by the excess of spendour" (96-97).
moved…dark stream Lampman quotes The Revolt
of Islam, II, xxiii with only minor variants in
form…faiths of men Lampman quotes from
the first four lines of The Revolt of Islam,
when evening descended…the embrace of night
Apart from minor variants of punctuation and orthography,
Lampman’s quotation of "The Sensitive Plant"
(1820), I, xxv-xxvi and xxviii is accurate.
has been called the poet of the future Lampman’s
reference is unidentified.
essay was published in Rouge et Noir 2 (February,
1881): 6-7, the text reprinted here. It has been previously
reprinted in Archibald Lampman: Selected Prose,
ed. Barrie Davies (Ottawa: Tecumseh, 1975), 17-18.
and the subject of friendship were always important
to Lampman and play central roles in several of his
narrative poems, most notably "An Athenian Reverie"
(Poems 90-104). No doubt, he was aware of several
of the august precedents for an essay on friendship,
from Cicero’s De Amicitia (Laelius) (44
BC) to Emerson’s "Friendship" (1841). (Francis
Bacon has an essay of the same title and Shelley’s fragmentary
"Essay on Friendship" is printed in Thomas
Jefferson Hogg’s Life 30-31.) But, as its opening
quotation suggests, the point of departure for "Friendship"
is Thomas Carlyle’s vision of the alienation of individuals
from one another in modern society, specifically his
view that relationships of mutual obligation are impossible
in an era dominated by mechanical and monetary systems.
"Signs of the Times" (1829) and Past and
Present (1843) are among the best-known expressions
of this view, which is brought to bear on the Scottish
poet Robert Burns in the early (1825) biographical essay
that furnishes Lampman with his opening quotation.
By way of explaining the fact that the elderly
Burns "sank unaided by any real help, uncheered
by any wise sympathy," Carlyle offers the explanation
from which Lampman draws his initial quotation: "[f]riendship,
in the old heroic sense of that term, no longer exists;
except in the cases of kindred or other legal affinity,
it is in reality no longer expected as a virtue among
men. …And thus…it has become the rule…that no one shall
look for effectual help to another; but that each shall
rest contented with what help he can afford himself.
Such, we say, is the principle of modern Honour"
(Works 28: 308).
stones at Carnac
A village on the east bank of the Nile River in
Egypt, Carnac or Karnac is the site of Thebes, which
is famous for its remains of antiquity, particularly
its Great Temple, begun as early as circa 2700 BC.
friendship as prompts men…to sacrifice…even life for
those they love
See John 15.13: "[g]reater love hath no man
than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
are selfish: he is striving for wealth, or power, or
fame… Lampman’s analysis of the effects of modern
economics on friendship here and later has a distinctly
Carlylean flavour. See, for example, "Signs of
the Times": "[i]t is no longer the moral,
religious, spiritual condition of the people that is
our concern, but their physical, practical and economic
condition. …Men are to be guided only by their self-interests.
…Political Philosophers deal exclusively with the Mechanical
province; and occupying themselves in counting-up and
estimating men’s motives, strive by…adjustments of Profit
and Loss to guide them to their true advantage"
(Works 27: 67, 69), and Past and Present:
"[n]ever, on this Earth, was the relation of man
to man long carried on by Cash-payment alone. If, at
any time, a philosophy of Laissez-faire, Competition
and Supply-and-demand, start up as the exponent of human
relations, expect that it will soon end. …Cash-payment
never was, or could except for a few years be, the union-bond
of man to man" (Works 10: 188).
the olden time it was different… This portion
of Lampman’s analysis is also strongly reminiscent of
Carlyle, who sees the "hard organic, but limited
Feudal Ages" as a time when men lived in closely
bonded communities: "[t]he Feudal Baron had a Man’s
Soul in him. …He felt it precious…to have men around
him who in heart loved him; whose life he watched over
with rigour yet with love; who were prepared to give
their life for him, if need came. …Isolation is the
sum-total of wretchedness to man. …To have neither superior,
nor inferior, nor equal, united manlike to you. Without
father, without child, without brother. Man knows no
sadder destiny" (Works: 10: 249, 274).
Confusion, on the basis of Babel, the city in
which, according to Genesis 11.9, "the Lord did…confound
the language of all the earth: and from thence scattered
[its builders] abroad upon the face of earth."
and immovable as the rest… There is perhaps
an intimation here of the "carved idols" and
the "grim Idiot" in "The City of the
End of Things" (Poems 181-82).
the great Italian Republics…first cast off the irksome
rule of the German Emperors… Between 952 when
the German King Otto I was crowned emperor in Rome,
and 1250, when the death of the Hohenstaufen emperor
Frederick II halted the drive towards a centralized
government in Italy, Venice, Florence, and other Italian
city-states were under German rule. In the late thirteenth
and early fourteenth centuries, the absence of imperial
rule in Italy led to civic instability and interstate
conflicts as well as to the commercial prosperity that
fuelled the artistic efflorescence of the Italian Renaissance.
Days Among Ourselves
series of four essays reprinted here in chronological
sequence was published under the title "College
Days Among Ourselves" in Rouge et Noir,
3 (February, 1882): 7-8; 3 (March, 1882): 6-8; 3 (November,
1882): 4-5; and 4 (February, 1883): 5-6. The first two
appear as "By an Undergraduate" and the second
two as "By a Graduate." In the present text,
these bylines and the phrases "To be Continued"
and "Continued" at the conclusion and/or the
beginning of the essays in the series have been omitted
and each essay has been preceded by an appropriate roman
numeral. The fact that the fourth essay is followed
by "To be Continued" indicates that Lampman
intended to prolong the series, which has not been previously
Days Among Ourselves" is attributed to Lampman
in an editorial note in Rouge et Noir 4.2 (February,
1883):9, which reprints a laudatory announcement of
his appointment to the "post-office department
in Ottawa" from the World (Toronto) with
the comment that "[w]e take the greatest pleasure
in transferring this little tribute…to the columns,
which, but a short time since, he edited in such an
able manner. Mr. Lampman’s contributions have always
been one of the most attractive features of our paper.
The series of articles under the title of ‘College Days
Among Ourselves,’ alone would convince any one of the
real ability of their author; but when we take into
consideration the other work he has already done, especially
in verse, though, for the most part as yet unknown to
the outside world, we can heartily endorse the hopes
for his future expressed by the World."
well as being one of the editors of Rouge et Noir
for an unknown length of time between his arrival at
Trinity College in 1879 and his graduation in 1882,
Lampman participated in several of the activities described
in "College Days Among Ourselves." Connor
suggests that "[o]ne of the first things that [he]
did after entering college as a freshman was to join
the …Literary Institute," an organization that
"met weekly for debates, readings and music"
and conducted itself in a "pseudo-parliamentary"
manner (41-42, and see notes below). For a time Lampman
was the "Institute librarian" (Connor 42)
and in the Fall of 1881 he was elected secretary of
its council ("The Institute" ). As Margaret
Whitridge observes, the Minutes of the Institute for
1879-1882 in the Trinity University Library record Lampman’s
participation in its activities and "some…are written
in his meticulous penmanship during [his] term as secretary…and
on the occasions when he took the chair for the absent
President" (36). Another of Lampman’s extra-curricular
activities was his role in 1881 and 1882 as the "Scribe"
for "Father Episkopon," the fictitious progenitor
of a humorous "students’ magazine [that was] never
printed, but read by the scribe with great solemnity
in a darkened room with the light of one candle"
(Sage 8, and see notes, below). According to Connor,
Lampman first assumed the role of Scribe in March 1881
and was so successful that "the next two volumes
in November 1881, and March 1882, were prepared by him"
of the appeal of "College Days Among Ourselves"
derives from the verve that apparently convinced Lampman’s
fellow students that he "was the best Scribe in
years" (Connor 53). The series is also interesting,
however, for the insights that it provides into Lampman’s
love of fellowship and tradition, aspects of his character
that are also evident in his essays on "Friendship"
and "German Patriotic Poetry." "[T]he
deepest reason why college reminiscences must linger
always very pleasantly somewhere in the heart of every
man…is that friendships…were formed there," he
writes towards the end of the first essay in the series
before meditating upon the "mysterious sympathy"
at the heart of such friendships and the Hartlean "train
of association" that will lead the "mind back…to
the place where…[they] were formed." Lampman’s
comment in the same paragraph that "long walks
beyond the Humber [River in Toronto] for botanizing
and geologizing purposes…ha[ve] died out of late in
College" speaks simultaneously of his scientific
interest in the natural world and the incipient nostalgia
that would draw him back to Trinity as "a Graduate"
to attend the St. Simon and St. Jude’s dinner in October
1882 (see notes, below) and to record his impressions
and reminiscences in the November 1882 and February
1883 numbers of Rouge et Noir. As letters written
after he moved to Ottawa in January 1883 repeatedly
attest, Lampman continued to miss the social life of
Trinity College to the extent that he was attempting
to arrange a reunion there in the Fall: "[w]e shall
occupy one end of a table at St. Simon and St. Jude’s…altogether
for the oysters and the sherry and the tobacco—and the
schemes we shall hatch…" (qtd. in Connor 73).
rambling Wandering about, particularly in
the natural world, without restraint or practical purpose.
institute Connor states that the Trinity College
Literary Institute that Lampman joined as a freshman
(see headnote) was "older than the college, since
it had its inception in 1849 in a debating society for
the members of the Theological School at Cobourg [Ontario],
from which the Divinity School of Trinity University
later sprang" (41). More precisely, the Institute
was founded in 1854, two years after the College, and,
according to Trinity, 1852-1952 (1952), "reached
its years of discretion during the period from 1852
and 1888" (22). Details of its activities in Lampman’s
day are provided by an article entitled "The Institute"
in an 1881 number of Rouge et Noir: "[o]ur
Institute…now in its 28th year seems flourishing as
never before. …We doubt if there be any college in Canada
which can boast an older society than this. …The weekly
meeting of the Institute with its Essays, Reading and
Debate, forms no small feature in the course of a College
term. All old graduates will remember stirring scenes
in the club of their day. Perhaps there were two evenly
divided parties in College, and a sudden attack would
result in direful overthrow of the unexpectant Conneil,
or perhaps, the Freshman year arose, prompted by mischief
loving seniors, and made a desperate snatch at equality
of rights. In looking over the Constitution, one can
see amendments and counter-amendments where these contests
have been won and lost. In fact from the time when as
a tyro he bows to the four corners of the room, and
is voted amidst much chaff into the body of the hall
till the evening, when he stands to deliver his valedictory,
the Institute exercises no small influence over the
improvement, the comfort, and the amusement of the undergraduate"
(6-7). The same article notes that at the first meeting
of the Michaelmas 1881 term, a new Council was elected
that included Lampman as secretary. See also "The
Literary Institute" (1881) and Trinity, 1852-1952
St. Simon and St. Jude’s dinner Details of
this rite and the preceding athletic event, which were
held annually in the autumn term on the feast day of
the "undergraduates’ patron saints," can be
found in Trinity, 1852-1952 (31, 65, 78) and
in several articles in Rouge et Noir; for example
"Episkopon" (1881) mentions "the St.
Simon and St. Jude steeple-chase…when the strong and
athletic of the college…muster courage…to pant and puff
over two miles of marshy ground through the October
mud and mist of the Ravine" and refers to the ensuing
dinner, which "to the luxurious student [is] the
most important event of the year" (9). See also
"About College" (1881), where the anonymous
writer (very likely Lampman) refers to the recent St.
Simon and St. Jude’s dinner as relatively unsuccessful
and urges it continuation, "[f]or it is these old
customs, especially when there is something of the charm
of by-gone usage about them, that fix college days indelibly
in the memory of a man and bind him to these walls"
(14). An editorial note in the Michaelmas 1882 number
of Rouge et Noir states that "[t]he annual
St. Simon and St. Jude’s dinner is not a University
dinner, but purely a College one, being given by the
graduates and undergraduates in residence. The guests,
with the exception of those invited by private individuals,
comprise the Provost, resident professors and all unmarried
graduates in arts."
old Provost The reference is to the Reverend
George Whitaker (1811-1882), the Provost and Professor
of Divinity at Trinity College from 1851 to October
1881, when he was replaced by the Reverend Charles William
Edmund Body. English-born and Cambridge-educated, Whitaker
was "an old-fashioned high churchman" whom
"[s]tudents found…dry, distant, reserved and endowed
with a ‘somewhat irascible temperament which, however,
he usually kept under, or brought under, the control
of a Christian spirit and a sound judgement’" (Headon
916). See Headon, Trinity, 1852-1952 (16-17),
C.E. Thomson’s valedictory in Rouge et Noir (1881),
and W. Stewart Wallace’s Macmillan Dictionary of
browed Dean William Jones (1838-1907).
Cambridge-educated like Whitaker, Jones was a native
of Toronto who held the professorship in mathematics
at Trinity College from 1863 to 1895. He became Dean
of the College after being ordained a priest of the
Church of England in 1863 (see Wallace).
robed Chancellor George William Allan (1822-1901).
The Chancellor of Trinity College from 1877 until his
death, the Hon. George William Allan was a Toronto (York)-born
lawyer, politician, and, after 1867, senator whose son
of the same name received his B.A. from the College
in 1880 (Wallace).
See headnote, above. A play on terms that refer
to a bishop (episcopal) and the muscles adjacent to
the skeleton (episkeletal), the history and function
of this character is described in "Episkopon"
(1881): "Revered Episkopon has been one of the
prevailing spirits among our residents ever since the
time, some twenty-three years ago, when Trinity men
invoked the jovial spectre to their aid, in driving
out dull melancholy and appointed a scribe, his high
priest here in terrestrial matters, to write out under
his mysterious guidance the results of his merry inspiration
working in the fertile brains of the humourously inclined;
which scribe was and is assisted by the counsels of
three editors unknown, who, being appointed by the secret
rite of Episkoponical succession, are to this day the
subject of endless speculation and unwearying research.
…Now this jolly male muse, unprepossessing though he
certainly be in his ungainly representation as a skeleton,
portrayed in ink on the title pages of his volumes…this
masculine muse…has from what is with us time immemorial
fulfilled a twofold function as amuser and instructor.
On…well remembered nights…his faithful friends and followers…gather…together…and
the wise and witty though often rather personal sallies
of the Episkopon, as they fall from the fond lips of
the scribe, are greeted with shouts of hearty laughter.
…His office as instructor is easily seen in the manifest
improvement in the subsequent conduct of those unfortunates
whose failings have been sternly but wisely reproved
by the witty tongue of the observant, and omnipresent
old invisible censor" (9). Connor adds that "[o]ne
of the events looked forward to eagerly in the year
at Trinity was the reading, usually on some night in
February, of the annual message from Father Episcopon,"
a "semi-deity" allegedly discovered in the
"belfry…in 1858. …Each year the Scribe, who was
selected by his predecessor, would post up a notice
to the effect that Father Episcopon had been heard from,
and that contributions would be received from students
and even from professors. …Only those contributions
showing personal animosity were barred by the editors,
who were a mysterious body of three, secretly appointed
by the out-going editors, and who made themselves known
to the Scribe, the only other person in the college
who knew their identity" (51-52). Sketches "from
Episkopon 1882" are reproduced in Trinity, 1852-1952
(21, 83, and see also 34-41 and 78-79).
An English variant of a stock character (Pulcinello,
Punchinello) in Italian popular comedy, Punch is a principal
character in the street puppet show Punch and Judy
and the namesake of the English humorous periodical
Horn A headland on the southern tip of Africa.
Little-go A colloquial name for the first
examination for the degree of Bachelor of Arts (OED).
In Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Nestor,
the King of Pylos, is a wise elder statesman who counsels
moderation and indulges in reminiscence.
Lampman is referring to Bohn’s Classical Library,
a series consisting of great works of classical literature
and Scott Henry George Liddell (1811-1898)
and Robert Scott (1811-1887) were the authors of A
Greek-English Lexicon (1843, with several editions
thereafter), which was the standard lexical tool for
reading Greek until the appearance in 1940 of the large
modern lexicon for which it provided the basis.
Drunken. In Roman mythology, Bacchus or Liber
was the god of wine and, hence, revelry.
and O’Keefe Two Canadian manufacturers of
brands of beer.
Pranks or tricks.
correctly arranged as the geographical specimens in
the College Museum In a letter to the editor
in the March 1880 number of Rouge et Noir, "Megatherium"
calls attention to the "conglomeration of articles"
in the vestibule of Trinity College that was "commonly
called the museum" and suggests two conclusions
that might be drawn from the "peculiar" disposition
of the display: "our geological collection is so
large that we can spare a piece of rare coral to prop
open the door, and…our Professor of Science differs
from all others as to the arrangement of his specimens."
the toil for life and the ceaseless tramp of hurrying
feet that knows not rest and peace This passage
simultaneously recalls "The ceaseless trample of
feet" and the "city toilers" (155, 157)
of Isabella Valancy Crawford’s "The City Tree,"
which was first published in the Toronto Evening
Telegram on September 4, 1880, and anticipates the
"ceaseless round…Where no thing rests" (Poems
180) of Lampman’s "The City of the End of Things,"
which was first published in the Atlantic Monthly
in March 1894. This phrase is a slightly incorrect
rendition of the words that begin one of the four stanzas
of a Greek song that was composed by a Trinitarian and
sung by the undergraduates to the rhythm of "Gaudeamus
Igitur" (see Trinity, 1852-1952, 25). The
text of the song is inscribed on one of the walls of
the College. The following is the relevant stanza with
a fairly literal translation by Christopher Brown:
Let us rush, brothers,
into (the) contest dire
to defeat every foe
Two-handled jars used by the ancient Greeks and
Romans for holding such liquids as wine.
or Falernian Celebrated wines from the Massico
and Campania regions of southern Italy.
grinding "Steady hard work; labour of
a monotonous kind, esp[ecially] close and hard study"
In the Bible, Dagon is the god of the Philistines (see
lexicon His Greek-English Lexicon (see
In Greek mythology, the king of Thebes, Oedipus
was fated to kill his father (Laius) and to marry his
mother (Jocasta). He is the subject of two tragedies
by Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus and Oedipus
The daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, Antigone
is the subject of the tragedy by Sophocles that bears
Liquid, perhaps with an ironical allusion to William
Cowper’s description of tea-drinking in The Task
(1785), 3:391-92: "Sipping calm the fragrant lymph
/ Which neatly she prepares."
J. …S. Not identified, but possibly the Jones and
Scaddings mentioned in the letter quoted in the note
June bug (?).
The Humber River, which flows through Toronto.
Before it moved to its present site in 1925, Trinity
College was located on West Queen Street at Strachan
Avenue in surroundings that, in Lampman’s day were still
very rural: "[o]n the northern horizon there was
a pine forest and to the south the open lake. From Trinity’s
site, glimpses of blue water in summer and snow and
ice in winter could be caught through the oak and elm
and maple that surrounded it, filled the ravine at its
back, and covered the sloping land to the lake"
(Trinity, 1852-1952, 8).
"Draughts of beer" (OED).
Z Not identified, and perhaps a reference
to the student who finishes last academically.
In the spring or early summer of 1883 Lampman
gave a version of his essay’s moral to his friend John
Ritchie, who was approaching his examinations at Trinity
College: "I hope…that you are grinding like a man
and a soldier. …Discard evening parties…keep moderate
hours…shun the cricket field…keep the door locked and
permit not Jones to occupy the coal box…shun the temptation
of Scadding’s; have your text ever before you, your
crib to the left and Lexicon to the right of you—let
the tobacco jar rest on the mantle-piece, not on the
table—if anyone knocks remain obdurately silent. These
are the parting instructions of an old and experienced
grinder" (qtd. in Connor 69-70). Connor identifies
Jones as "Wallace Jones, nephew of Professor Jones"
and Scadding as "Charles Scadding," later
"Curate of St. George’s, New York; Rector at the
Grange, near Chicago; and Bishop of Oregon" (70n.).
Patriotic Poetry" was published in Rouge et
Noir 3 (March, 1882): 4-6, the text reprinted here.
It has not previously been reprinted.
Lampman does not appear to have been able to speak or
write German, he had German ancestors on both sides
of the family (see Connor 13-17 and "Two Canadian
Poets[:] a Lecture," annotations). Moreover, his
mother, Susannah Charlotte (née Gesner) and his closest
sister, Sarah Isabelle (Belle), spent time in Germany
in the late eighteen eighties and may well have spoken
the language. Supplementing these family reasons for
the interest in German history, literature, and nationalism
that surfaces in several of Lampman’s poems, stories,
and essays (see especially and "The Last Sortie"
in the November 1882 number of Rouge et Noir,
"Hans Fingerhut’s Frog Lesson" in the November
1885 issue of Man [Toronto], and the opening
paragraph of "Two Canadian Poets") was the
influence of Thomas Carlyle, whose huge admiration for
German literature issued in a biography of Johann Christoph
Friedrich von Schiller (1825), numerous translations
(1824, 1827), and a series of essays such as the one
on Schiller that provided Lampman with a point of departure
for "The Modern School of Poetry in England."
Perhaps Lampman’s attention was drawn specifically to
German patriotic poetry by War Songs of the Germans,
with Historical Illustrations of the Liberation War
and the Rhine Boundary Question (1870), a short
collection of articles and translations by Carlyle’s
friend John Stuart Blackie, or by the section entitled
"Military and Patriotic Songs" (31-92) and
the Appendix containing similar materials (325-32) in
The Book of German Songs: from the Sixteenth to the
Nineteenth Century (1871), an anthology of translations
by H.W. Dulcken. For his translations he drew on neither
of these works, however, but on a variety of sources,
only one of which—Edward Chawner’s Gleanings from
the German and French Poets (1879)—has so far been
Once or twice in modern times the hard heel of the
conqueror… Lampman is referring to the invasion
of the German States by Austrian, French, and Russian
armies during the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) and their
conquest and occupation by Napoleon between 1800 and
1813. The term "‘Fatherland’" is a translation
of the German "Vaterland." Blackie observes
that "the prostration of Germany" by Napoleon
"proceeded from its division" and that its
rise was "connected with at least a temporary UNITY.
Many dreamed in those days of Henry the Hun-hunter [Frederick]
Barbarossa, and the Hohenstaufen [dynasty]" of
early German history (29).
of these periods of convulsion sprang…patriotic ballads.
… In his Introduction to The Book of German Songs,
Dulcken writes that "[t]he war of liberation in
Germany [in 1813] called forth a number of patriotic
lays. …Schenkendorf, Arnim, Eichendorff, Kleist, and
more than all, Moritz Arndt are representatives of this
school of song writers. …The songs written during the
war with Napoleon are far superior to any produced during
the Gleim period [i.e., the Seven Years’ War]. As specimens
may be cited Körner’s ‘Battle Prayer,’ Arndt’s ‘Der
Gott der Eisen washsen liess,’ and Schenkendorf’s ‘Erhebt
euch von der Erde.’ It is among the poets of the last
forty years, however, that we must look for the best
song writers. Uhland, G. Schwab…[and others] have contributed
plentifully to the fund of German song in all its departments"
the Rhine to the Niemen… The Rhine River forms the
southwest boundary of Germany and the Niemen (or Neman)
River flows through Prussia in its northeastern region.
children of Frederic The descendants of Frederick
II ("the Great") (1712-1786), the King of
Prussia from 1740 to 1786. In addition to being a military
genius whose tactical skills saved Prussia from destruction
during the Seven Years’ War, Frederick II was a talented
administrator and a generous patron of the arts. In
securing and enhancing Prussia’s status as a nation,
he helped to lay the foundation of modern Germany. He
is the subject of Carlyle’s History of Frederick
II of Prussia, Called Frederick the Great, which
was published in six volumes from 1858 to 1865.
King of the Huns from 434 to 453, Attila (406-453)
led an army that invaded and terrorized the Roman Empire
in Europe between 445 and 451.
Timur Lenk (or Lang) was the leader of the Mongols
who conquered large parts of Asia in the late fourteenth
and early fifteenth century. In Tamburlaine the Great
(1590) by Christopher Marlowe, he is characterized by
his ruthless cruelty to the conquered Turkish emperor
Bajazet and his empress Zabina.
bitter peace of Tilsit… Concluded on July
9, 1807 between France, Russia, and Prussia, the peace
of Tilsit was highly detrimental to Germany (Prussia
lost half its territory and was compelled to pay a huge
war indemnity to France). The King of Prussia at the
time was Frederick William III (1740-1840) and "his
beautiful Queen" was Louise (1776-1810). The dignity
and courage displayed by Queen Louise during the Napoleonic
Wars won her immense respect in Prussia and elsewhere.
came the rising… Blackie devotes the first
chapter of War Songs of the Germans to the "Songs
of the Liberation War" and describes the Prussian
songs of 1813 as the "practical" and "stirring"
poetry of "honest German breasts" (19). As
examples, he quotes translations of two songs by Ernst
Moritz Arndt (see below), "Der Kühne Schill"
("The Brave Schill") and "Was ist des
Deutschen Vaterland?" ("Where is the German’s
Fatherland?") (25-33, 136-41).
thou serve…the fame of thy sires." Lampman
quotes a translation by an unidentified translator of
the sixth and seventh stanzas of "Die alten und
die neuen Deutschen" ("The Older and the Newer
Germans") by Ernst Moritz Arndt.
Moritz Arndt… A German patriot and poet, Ernst
Moritz Arndt (1769-1860) was instrumental in awakening
German patriotism during the Napoleonic occupation.
A professor of history at Greifswald University when
he exhorted his countrymen to throw off the yoke of
French oppression in the first part of Geist der
Zeit (Spirit of the Times) (1808), he subsequently
fled to Sweden to save his life and, thence, to Russia
to continue the struggle against Napoleon. During the
post-Napoleonic era, Arndt, now a professor of modern
history at Bonn University, criticized the Prussian
government in the fourth part of Geist der Zeit
(1818), an act that led to his arrest and removal from
the university. In 1840 he was reinstated, however,
and in 1848 he became a member of the German national
assembly. In A Good German Conscience: the Life and
Time of Ernst Moritz Arndt, James Elstone Dow writes
that on Arndt’s ninetieth and last birthday in 1859
"it seemed that the whole world celebrated with
him" and that his funeral in Bonn on February 1,
1860 "was a grand and stately affair" (133-34).
Dulcken writes that "Arndt did incalculable service
to his country’s cause by the publication of his…Kriegslieder
(War Songs), which…inflame[d] the courage and
refresh[ed] the spirits of the Germans, who declaimed
and sang them round the evening watchfire" (65n.).
Deutcheste Deu[ts]che" German: the most
Koerner Dulcken ranks Theodor Koerner or Körner
(1791-1813) above Arndt as "the patriotic song-writer
of Germany ‘par excellence’" (65n.) and describes
him as "the poet-hero of the ‘War of Liberation’"
(61n.). In this Dulcken agrees with Blackie, who devotes
the second chapter of War Songs of the Germans
to Körner as a "hero of the heroic war," a
"gallant poet-soldier," and "the noblest
warrior of the Liberation War" (58-59, 70), and
provides translations and original texts of three of
his songs (72-84, 141-50). Körner was killed "in
a skirmish near the village of Gadebusch" on August
26, 1813 (Dulcken 61n.).
Von Schenkendorf Blackie dismisses Ferdinand
Max Gottfried von Schenkendorf (1783-1817) as an "amiable
enthusiast" (46n.), but Lampman is more conventional
in placing him with Arndt and Körner as one of the most
accomplished German poets of the War of Liberation.
sweetly…honest blows." Lampman quotes a translation
by an unidentified translator of the initial lines of
the fifth stanza of von Schenkendorf’s "Soldaten
as those of Schill…and Hofer… Both Blackie
(see note, above) and Dulcken (82-85) provide translations
of Arndt’s "Der kühne Schill" ("The Brave
Schill"), a ballad commemorating Ferdinand Baptista
von Schill (1776-1809), a Prussian soldier who led his
regiment in revolt against the French in 1809 and was
killed on May 31 of that year by Dutch and Danish troops.
Blackie quotes the German historian Wolfgang Menzel
to the effect that "‘the grand beauty of the German
heroes of those days, of Schill, Hofer, Speckbacker
[was that] they fought without a fee’" (24). Andreas
Hofer (1767-1810) was a leader of the fight for Tirol’s
freedom from foreign rule between 1805, when Tirol was
transferred from Austria to Bavaria, and 1810, when
he was captured and executed by Italian troops. Hofer’s
exploits and fate are commemorated in numerous German
poems, including von Schenkendorf’s "Andreas Hofer,"
and he is mentioned in Arndt’s "Wasist des Deutschen
Vaterland?" (see above), one of the songs that
Lampman would almost certainly have had in mind when
thinking of "the central dream of [German] ballad
music" as "the vision of a United Germany."
the minnesinger… Walther von der Vogelweide
(c. 1170-c. 1230) was a medieval German lyric poet and
champion of German independence. During the struggle
between papal and secular forces that began with the
death of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI in 1197, he
put his art at the service of various German princes
until he found in the Emperor Frederick II an imperial
representative of German aspirations. His political
poems include "Reichston" ("Song on the
Empire"), a lament for the absence of unity in
Germany that is usually regarded as the first important
German political poem.
dark days of 1848… A year of widespread political
unrest in Europe, 1848 saw both revolution and counter
revolution in Germany. Early in the year, the successes
of the revolutionary forces yielded several liberal
reforms and the promise that Prussia would merge itself
into Germany, but in September and October conservative
elements were in the ascendancy and, by the summer of
1849, Prussia had participated in the suppression of
revolutionary outbreaks by radical republicans and refused
to accept a constitution that included universal suffrage.
Both in 1848 and 1849, Prussian troops were used to
suppress uprisings, and in ensuing years Prussia assumed
a dominant position in the movement towards German unification.
Thiers… The French Statesman Louis Adolphe
Thiers (1797-1877) did not become president of France
until 1871, but when the revolution broke out in 1848
he was asked to assume power by the King and, in the
new Republic, he could be said to have anticipated the
imperialistic resurgence that led to the Franco-Prussian
War of 1870 by supporting the presidential candidacy
of Prince Louis Napoleon. Perhaps Lampman had in mind
the brief period in 1840 when Thiers was foreign minister
and parliamentary council president and, in Blackie’s
words, gave "occasion for alarm…to Europe, and
specially to Germany, by [his] bellicose preparations
and menaces" (122). Dulcken records that Arndt
"took a part, though not a conspicuous one"
(65n.), in the events of 1848-1849.
Ludwig Uhland (1787-1862) was a disciple of Arndt,
Körner, and von Schenkendorf and, like them, a proponent
of German patriotism in such poems as "Vorwärts!"
("Forward!")—an exhortation, written in 1814,
to German soldiers to fight in the cause of freedom.
in 1870…no Frenchman should again pass the Rhine…
Blackie devotes the final chapter of War Songs
of the Germans to the history of "the French
‘tendency towards the Rhine’" in order to prove
that France declared war in 1870 "for the purpose
of humbling Prussia, and giving the Rhine boundary to
France" and "to show…from what a deep root
of fact the Rhine songs [of 1870] have grown. It is
only, indeed, when they spring out of such a strong
reality that poetry and music possess…[an] excellent
virtue in national education" (91, 121-22).
terrible day in August, 1870… Lampman is referring
to the German defeat of the French armies under Patrice
de MacMahon at Wörth and Wissembourg in northeastern
France on August 4 and 6, 1870. He may also have remembered
that on August 16 and 18 another French army under Achille
François Bezaine was foiled in its attempt to break
out of Metz at the battles of Mars-la-Tour and Gravelotte.
The surrender of the French at Sedan on September 2,
1870 brought about the overthrow of Napoleon III (1808-1873),
a nephew of Napoleon I and the last Bonaparte to rule
the awful spirit from him that was possessed of a devil
Lampman is alluding to Matthew 12.22: "[t]hen
was brought unto [Jesus] one possessed with a devil,
blind and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the
blind and dumb both spoke and saw" (see also Matthew
long…never lose it more." Neither the author
nor the translator of this stanza have been identified.
A product of the Young Germany movement that fed
on the political unrest of the years surrounding 1848,
Ferdinand Freiligrath (1810-1876) wrote numerous poems
in support of political revolution and German nationalism.
Germany!…my Germany!" Lampman quotes
the final stanza of a translation of Freiligrath’s "Hurrah,
Germania" (written July 25, 1870) by an unidentified
Wife…we court the strife." This is the
penultimate stanza of the same translation of "Hurrah,
Marseillaise The French revolutionary hymn
composed by Rouget de Lisle in 1792 and sung by the
volunteers of Marseilles as they entered Paris on July
30, 1792 and when they marched to the storming of the
Tuileries, the Marseillaise is described by Carlyle
in The French Revolution as "grim"
in "melody and rhythm" but the "luckiest
musical-composition ever promulgated. The sound…will…make
the blood tingle in men’s veins; and whole Armies and
Assemblages will sing it, with eyes weeping and burning,
with hearts defiant of Death, Despot and Devil"
distinction between German and French courage…Carlyle…
In The French Revolution, Carlyle uses
the tropes of "Gallic fire" and "Teutonic
anthracite" to distinguish between French and German
courage: "there is a fire comparable to the burning
of dry-jungle and grass; most sudden, high-blazing:
and another fire which we liken to the burning of coal,
or even anthracite coal; difficult to kindle, but then
which no known thing will put out" (4:297-98).
He adds that "Gallic fire" is "admirable
for roasting eggs," that "Teutonic anthracite"
is "preferable for smelting metals," and that
Europe is fortunate to have both kinds (4:298). In his
At the Mermaid Inn column for May 7, 1892, Lampman
discusses the Marseillaise at length, remarking that
"[i]t is the most tremendous call to battle that
ever sprang to the lips of man…[b]ut like the military
fervour that gave it birth its passion is too high to
be maintained" and expressing a preference for
Arndt’s "‘The Watch on the Rhine’" as "a
much better ‘working’ battle song" that "represents
the feeling of a nation of serious, home-loving people,
who in the hour of solemn necessity go forth not to
conquer or even to win glory but simply to defend their
fatherland. …The Germans have a great many very fine
battle songs, most of them the product of the War of
Liberation. …They are tenderer, more human, more deeply
tragical than the French songs" (69-70).
German is bidden to stand by the Rhine… In
his chapter on "the Rhine Boundary," Blackie
includes three "Rhine songs" (124): "Sie
sollen inn nicht hahen" ("The Rhine-Song")
by Niklas Becker, "Die Wacht am Rhein" ("The
Watch on the Rhine") probably by Max Schneckenburger,
and "Am Rhein, am Rhein, da wachsen unsre reben"
("Come, crown your cups with leaves…"), a
"popular air" translated into English by Felicia
Hemans (124-34, 150-52). Chawner’s Gleanings from
the German and French Poets includes "The Rhine
Watch" by Arndt, who also wrote a monograph entitled
Der Rhein, Deutschlands Strom, aber nicht Deutschlands
Grenze (The Rhine, Germany’s River, but not Germany’s
The Jordan River flows south from the Anti-Lebanon
mountains through the Sea of Galilee into the Dead Sea
and has numerous associations in the Judaic and Christian
brave soldier…highest ornament." Lampman
quotes an unknown translator’s rendition of the following
passage from Arndt’s Kurzer Katechismus für teutsche
Soldaten (Short Catechism for German Soldiers)
(1812): "Ein wackerer Soldat soll nicht prunken
mit der äuBeren Ehre noch sich auf Eitelkeit blähen;
sondern die Treue gegen das Vaterland soll seine Ehre
sein und sein stiller Mut seine höchste Zierde"
rise up…And Thine the victory." Lampman
is quoting a translation of the first two stanzas of
von Schenkendorf’s "Soldaten Morgenlied" ("The
Soldier’s Morning Song") by an unidentified translator.
of day…many a comrade true." Unidentified
in Rice Lake
August 4, 1882, Lampman wrote from Thorold, Ontario
to his college friend John Ritchie that on September
1st he would be taking up a teaching post in Orangeville
north of Toronto. After sharing with Ritchie his "anticipations
of future beer-drinking evenings at [Trinity] [C]ollege,
news of [Joseph Edmund] Collins’ writings, and plans
about the management of Rouge et Noir" (Connor
58), he mentions sending an article to Forest and
Stream (New York): "[t]he scoundrels wrote
to me saying that they were very much pleased with my
performance, but they were not buying (orders of their
publishers); that, however, they will, if I like, print
it and send me their cursed paper, in return, for a
year. Though I don’t want it, I wrote and said yes,
for I knew not what to do with the article else"
(qtd. in Connor 58). As Carl Y. Connor states, "[t]he
article entitled "Fishing in Rice Lake" appeared
in Forest and Stream on August 10th, 1882,"
28-29 (Connor 58), the text reprinted here. It is signed
"A.L.," and has not been previously reprinted.
jocularly testy remarks to Ritchie suggest that "Fishing
in Rice Lake" was written specifically for Forest
and Stream, which later in 1882 and early in 1883
published the earliest nature essays of Charles G.D.
Roberts (see John Coldwell Adams, "Checklist"
239). It is more than likely that Forest and Stream
was suggested as an outlet to both writers by Collins,
who goes out of his way in the chapter on Canadian "Thought
and Literature" in The Life and Times of the
Right Honourable John A. Macdonald (1883), to mention
the New York periodical as "the only publication
that we know of which has a department devoted to fish-culture"
(450). Not only did Lampman review Collins’s biography
in 1883, but in 1882 he was probably reading the "proof-sheets"
of the book (see the headnote to "The Life and
Times of Sir John A. Macdonald"). Interestingly
enough the February to July 1883 issues of Forest
and Stream contain a series of articles by Canada’s
commissioner of fisheries, William Frederick Whitcher,
on the "Practical Results of Fish Culture in the
Dominion of Canada" (and see A.B. McCullough 1107).
Situated in Northumberland County north of Lake
Ontario near Port Hope and Cobourg, Rice Lake is a 69
square kilometer (27 square mile) body of water that
is still well-known for its recreational fishing. It
gets its name from the wild rice that grew profusely
in its shallow waters.
Still a "village," Gore’s Landing on
the south shore of Rice Lake is named for Sir Francis
Gore (1769-1852), the lieutenant governor of Upper Canada
from 1806 to 1811. In 1866, when Lampman was five years
old, his father was appointed rector of the Anglican
church at nearby Perrytown and, within a year, transferred
to Gore’s Landing, where the family stayed until 1874.
During these years, Lampman attended school at Gore’s
Landing, and, according to Connor and other biographers,
revelled in the village’s natural surroundings: "Archie
bec[ame] one of the best swimmers in the school. Rice
Lake was famous for its muskalonge and black
bass, and [his] luck as a fisherman was proverbial in
the family" (24; and see McDougall 514).
fat old gentleman…and a tough denizen of the neighbourhood…
Not identified, though it is conceivable that the former
is a caricature of Collins, whom Lampman referred to
at least once as "old Joseph Edmund" (qtd.
in Connor 76).
Lampman uses one of several English spellings
of the Canadian French word "masquinongé,"
which, in turn, derives from the Algonkian word for
the great pike found principally in the Great Lakes
and surrounding waters.
figures of Izaak Walton and many others… Izaak
Walton (1593-1683) wrote The Compleat Angler
(1653; 2nd ed. 1655), a much reprinted and much-loved
compendium of fishing lore, literary quotations, and
pastoral descriptions. Among the "many others"
in Lampman’s mind may have been Catharine Parr Traill
(1802-1899) whom, according to Connor (27-28), he knew
well during his years at Gore’s Landing. In The Backwoods
of Canada (1836) Traill describes Rice Lake in some
detail (see 99-163).
river Ottonabee In Forest and Stream,
the river’s name is given as "Ollonabee,"
presumably a typographical or editorial error. A short
stream that forms part of the Trent River and Canal
system, the Otonabee (or Ottonabee) empties into the
northwest end of Rice Lake.
Life and Times of Sir John A. Macdonald
signed review of J.E. Collins’s Life and Times of the
Right Honourable Sir John A. Macdonald, K.C.B., D.C.L.,
&c., Premier of the Dominion of Canada (Toronto:
Rose, 1883) was published in the Canadian Illustrated
News (Montreal), 27 (June 30, 1883), 402-03, the
text reprinted here. It has not been previously reprinted.
Y. Connor states that Lampman wrote his "four-column
review of his friend Collins’ book" while he was
living at 67, O’Connor Street in Ottawa (70-71)—that
is, between moving to the city on January 11, 1883 and
renting a cottage at 144, Nicholas Street in the fall
of the same year. At this time, he informed his friend
John Ritchie in Toronto that he was "meditating
a prose essay for the ‘Atlantic Monthly,’ or some other
like publication, [and] also prose to contribute to
[the] next ‘Rouge et Noir’ as [he] did not [to] the
last" (qtd. in Connor 70; and see the headnote
to "College Days Among Ourselves").
friendship with Joseph Edmund Collins (1855-1892) probably
began during the winter of 1880-1881 when Collins, a
native of Placentia, Newfoundland who had been working
as a newspaper publisher and editor in Fredericton and
Chatham, New Brunswick since 1878, moved to Toronto
to become an editor at the Globe. Since Collins
had become something of a mentor to Charles G.D. Roberts
prior to moving to Toronto (see John Coldwell Adams
8-9 and Taylor 204), he may well have been the "someone"
who, in May 1881, lent Lampman the copy of Roberts’s
Orion, and Other Poems that so inspired him (see
"Two Canadian Poets[:] a Lecture"). Certainly,
"it was Collins who established a corresponding
friendship between Lampman and Roberts" and, thus,
"stimulated, promoted, and drew together the two
central members of the group which would subsequently
be labelled the ‘Confederation poets’" (Taylor
204-05). "I suppose from your intimacy with Collins,
that you are one of us right through, a Canadian Republican!"
wrote Roberts to Lampman on September 23, 1882, "[w]e
want to get together literary and independent Young
Canada, and to spread our doctrines with untiring hands.
Does anything of the sort occupy large share in the
space you and Collins devote to castle building, in
evenings over your pipes and rye? …I am anxious…to get
to Toronto to live, where I would straightway begin
striving to put in execution many schemes. I hope under
those circumstances the close duet of C[ollins] and
I would become an equally inseparable trio, yourself
making the third of the triumvirate" (Collected
Letters 29). After Collins’s death on February 23,
1892 in New York, where he had been leading a life of
increasing dissipation since his move there in 1887,
Lampman remembered him as "almost the literary
father of some of the young men who are now winning
fame among us": "[t]o his helpful enthusiasm,
his kindly praise, his eager excitement, they owe the
courage and self-confidence which enabled them to take
the first daring step in the difficult and unpromising
path of literature" (At the Mermaid Inn
the Life and Times of the Right Honourable Sir John
A. Macdonald itself, Lampman’s review is partly
a product of the "triumvirate" envisaged by
Roberts. In the long essay on Canadian "Thought
and Literature" that constitutes the penultimate
chapter of Collins’s book (435-98) more than fifteen
pages are devoted to a fulsome discussion of Roberts’s
Orion, and Other Poems, culminating in the suggestion,
also mooted by Collins in a review of the book in the
February 1883 number of Rouge et Noir (13), that
the poet be offered a chair in English literature at
the University of Toronto (Life and Times 479).
Since Lampman had scarcely begun his publishing career
in 1883, he receives "kindly praise" rather
than extensive commentary in Collins’s essay: "[a]mong
our younger writers who show decided promise may be
mentioned Mr. Archibald Lampman, B.A., of Toronto; and
Mr. J.A. Ritchie, of Ottawa. …Mr. Lampman has an exquisite
touch, and has already written some lines of the very
highest merit. Mr. Ritchie has…a soft, mellow music,
that is large with promise of admirable things"
(496). That Lampman’s review was written in the same
friendly spirit is made clear by its opening reference
to his "[h]aving read through more than once with
great delight the proof-sheets" of Collins’s book
and his subsequent description of what is to follow
as "no severe and critical review." The fact
that in 1883 "Collins…commissioned him to write
some descriptions of scenery for his next book"
(Connor 72), Canada under the Administration of Lord
Lorne (1884), may indicate that Lampman did more
than read the proofs of the work that he hails as "very
able and delightful"; in any event, he was extremely
willing to repay in kind the "enthusiasm, …praise,
and…excitement" of the man who had done so much
to encourage him on "the path of literature."
printed in the Canadian Illustrated News, "The
Life and Times of Sir John A. Macdonald" contains
numerous errors, particularly in the quotations from
Collins’s book. When these are almost certainly typographical
(as in the case of repeated words), they have been corrected
and noted, but when they could as easily have originated
with Lampman they have been retained and noted.
"It was a battle…defend that right."
This is an accurate quotation except for minor
variations in punctuation and the substitution of "times"
for "tories" and "baleful" for "hateful"
In the sentence beginning "During a stormy…"
in the Canadian Illustrated News the phrase "of
those" appears after "portraits" as well
"great…Earl of Durham…report.
Except for minor variations of spelling and capitalization,
this is an accurate quotation from Collins’s description
(43-44) of John George Lambton, first Earl of Durham
(1792-1840), who came to Canada as governor general
in 1838 to study and report on the causes of the Rebellions
of 1837-1838, a mandate that he fulfilled in his Report
Charles Metcalfe… "…responsible government"
Except for a tense change ("looked"
to "looks") and the omission of "refractory"
before "reformers" (48), this is an accurate
quotation from Collins’s description of Sir Charles
Theophilus Metcalfe (1785-1846), the governor general
of British North America between 1843 and 1845. Metcalfe’s
mandate was to resist demands for responsible government
(that is, government by elected ministers), which he
sanguinary Sir George Arthur…" In describing
the administrative career of Sir George Arthur (1784-1854),
the lieutenant governor of Upper Canada (1838-1839)
who refused to prevent the "hang[ing] of [Samuel]
Lount" (44) and another participant in the Rebellions
of 1837-1838, Collins likens him to John Graham of Claverhouse,
Viscount Dundee (c.1649-1689), who is infamous for his
brutal suppression of the Covenanters’ rebellion in
Scotland in 1679-1681. Lampman substitutes "he"
for "Sir Charles" in the first sentence of
the quotation and omits what would have been the second
Francis Bond Head… The quotation from Collins’s
description of Sir Francis Bond Head (1793-1875), the
lieutenant governor of Upper Canada in 1836-1837, is
accurate except for a minor variation in punctuation
and the substitution of "among" for "amongst"
(40). Collins likens Head to Alexander the Great (356-326
BC), the Macedonian general and imperialist, and David
Garrick (1717-1729), the English actor and socialite.
Elgin… Lampman’s quotations from Collins’s
description of James Bruce, eighth Earl of Elgin (1811-1863),
the governor general of Canada from 1847 to 1854 whose
mandate was to concede responsible government, contain
numerous variations in punctuation and spelling, the
addition of "Lord Durham" in parentheses,
and the substitution of "looked on" for "looked
upon" (111-112). The sentence beginning "He
had studied…" also contains a repetition of "they".
of the most brazen demagogues…sympathy." This
quotation is accurate except for minor variations of
punctuation and capitalization and the omission of "open"
before "sympathy" (65).
was not unusual…party strife." Except
for minor variations of punctuation and the substitution
of "these meetings" for "one of these
gatherings" (62), this quotation is accurate. Collins
refers to radicals from Monaghan in northeastern Ireland
addressed meetings "…on the spot." This
quotation is accurate except for minor variations in
punctuation, the replacement of "not stand up"
by "stand not up," "chose" by "choose,"
and "upon the spot" by "on the spot"
(63). Collins refers to Shakespeare’s Mark Antony, whose
most famous political speech beginning "Friends,
Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears…" is in Julius
Caesar III, ii, 79-113.
is not to be wondered at…indifferently." Except
for minor variations in punctuation, this quotation
is accurate (the "austere reformer" appears
to be Henry Sherwood [1807-1855], who held a seat in
the House of Assembly from 1836 to 1842). Collins refers
to Edward Gibbon (1737-1794), the author of (The
History of the) Decline and Fall of the Roman
ashamed…primogeniture’" This quotation
contains numerous inaccuracies: "opinions"
is replaced by "openings," "vapours that"
by "vapours which," and the single quotation
marks surrounding the quotations within the quotation
are either doubled or omitted (79).
Beaconsfield and Peel Lampman refers to three
nineteenth-century British prime ministers: William
Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898), Benjamin Disraeli, the
Earl of Beaconsfield (1804-1881), and Sir Robert Peel
man…craft." Except for minor variations
in punctuation and the omission of "unto"
in "like unto one," this quotation is accurate
bill…Baldwin and Lafontaine In 1849 the reform
ministry of Robert Baldwin (1804-1864) and Sir Louis-Hippolyte
Lafontaine (1807-1864) introduced the Rebellion Losses
Act, a measure to provide a fund to compensate or indemnify
people in Canada East (Quebec) whose property had been
damaged or destroyed during the Rebellions of 1837-1838.
Blake…Sir Allan… On February 15 and 16, 1849,
William Hume Blake (1809-1870), a member of the Baldwin-Lafontaine
ministry, delivered a major speech on the Rebellion
Losses Bill that vigorously attacked the tories for
opposing the measure and rashly accused Sir Allan Napier
MacNab (1798-1862), the speaker of the House of Assembly,
of disloyalty to Canada. MacNab later became the leader
of the Liberal-Conservative party, which formed the
ministries (1854-1856) that immediately preceded those
of Macdonald. Blake’s speech and MacNab’s response to
it (which Lampman quotes accurately) appear in Collins’s
eighth chapter, "Ruling in Storm" (123-24).
disgraceful sack of the Parliament buildings… Collins
describes this and surrounding events in "Ruling
in Storm" (127-34).
troubles The resistance of the reactionary
groups of the Upper Canadian establishment (the Family
Compact) to the initiatives of the reformers.
sketch of Dominick Daly… Lampman’s quotation
of Collins’s description of Dominick Daly (1798-1860),
the provincial secretary first of Lower Canada and then
of Canada East from 1827 to 1848 and Metcalfe’s key
advisor in 1843-1844, contains several variations in
punctuation and several substantial inaccuracies: "benchman"
is substituted for "henchman," "his Crown"
for "the Crown," "Anseramhis" for
"amarantus," and "prefoment" for
this…modern liberal conservative party. Lampman
summarizes Collins’s chapters 9-11, which credit the
Globe (Toronto) newspaper with coining the term
"clear grit" to describe the new reform
party of Robert Christie (1788-1856), John Rolph (1793-1870)
and others (138). Sir Francis Hincks (1807-1885) was
a reformer who served as inspector general in two reform
ministries in the eighteen forties and ’fifties. The
"liberal conservative party," which formed
the "Great Coalition" ministry of 1864 that
prepared the way for Confederation, arose from the reconciliation
of the tories under Macdonald and the reformers under
Brown… Collins devotes a good deal of space
to the reform leader George Brown (1818-1880) in the
first half of his book. Lampman’s first quotation regarding
Brown is accurate except for the replacement of "refined
atmosphere, during" with "refined atmosphere.
During" (140). The second quotation regarding Brown’s
maiden speech is accurate except for minor variations
in punctuation (see 158). The third quotation regarding
Brown’s sense of duty contains variations of punctuation,
the substitution of "heaven" for "haven,"
and omits "finer" before "moral duty"
Globe-hunted Sir Edmund W. Head Collins
devotes several pages (211-20) to Sir Edmund Walker
Head (1805-1868), the lieutenant governor of New Brunswick
(1848-1854) and governor general of British North America
(1854-1861) who is sometimes called the "grandfather
of Confederation" for his support of Canadian unity
in a memorandum of 1851. He was criticized in the Toronto
Globe and elsewhere for tolerating the "double
shuffle" (see note, below).
onslaught on Roman Catholicism… "It may
be going too far…to say [Brown] was not intolerant,
because he did not banish the Roman Catholics out of
the country. But the spirit was willing if the flesh
was weak" (142) is one of Collins’s numerous observations
about the staunch Presbyterian who founded the Globe.
Mackenzie… Alexander Mackenzie (1822-1892),
the prime minister of Canada from 1873 to 1878 (and,
prior to that a member of legislatures of Canada East
and Ontario) wrote The Life and Speeches of Hon.
George Brown (1882), a laudatory biography that
Collins quotes with distaste (see 132 and 210-20).
famous "double shuffle" manoeuvre… Collins
devotes an entire chapter (13) to this gambit, which
permitted the Macdonald-Cartier government to retain
power without an election in 1858 "by accepting…other
offices than those held at the time of [their] resignation"
by population" Between 1851 and 1867,
Brown and other reformers advocated the principle that
"‘the representation of the people in parliament
should be based on population without regard to a separating
line between Upper and Lower Canada’" (qtd. in
very virtue…the greater for ever." Collins
makes this observation in the context of the pre-Confederation
debate over whether Upper and Lower Canada should have
representation by population in parliament. Except for
the substitution of "quality" for "equality"
and minor differences of punctuation, Lampman’s quotation
is accurate (237).
XVI… Collins’s chapter on the process leading
to Confederation is entitled "The Dominion of Canada."
he did do…demagogism" Except for minor
variations in punctuation, the omission of "instead"
in "shall, instead, endeavour," and the spelling
of "demagogism" as "damagogism"
this quotation is accurate. Collins is discussing Brown’s
willingness to abandon the principle of "representation
by population" in order to clear the path for Confederation
alone…victory had been won." This quotation
contains several variations in punctuation and wording:
"Yet" is omitted from the beginning of the
first sentence; "towards" becomes "toward";
"Macdonald had" becomes "Macdonald has";
and "coalition Macdonald saw" becomes "coalition
he saw" (286-87).
and Quebec These two cities were the sites
of the conferences in 1864-1865 that led to Confederation.
provinces In the Canadian Illustrated News,
"maritime provinces" appears as "maritime
Shea… A delegate to the Quebec conference
from Newfoundland, Sir Ambrose Shea (1815-1905) was
especially ridiculed, according to Collins, by Newfoundlanders
of "Irish birth or extraction" whose "speech
revealed their relationship to that land whence a certain
saint expelled the frogs and snakes" (294). Collins
quotes some of the "harrowing poetry" that
Newfoundland’s "fisherman-bards" directed
at Shea and records his own memories of the insults
hurled at the "stateman" when he attempted
to "visit…Placentia" (311-12).
virgin…wedlock." This quotation is a
conflation of two passages from Collins’s book: "we…must
tell in proper place how this cold virgin resented the
proposal for political wedlock" (295) and "out
on the edge of the Atlantic [Prince Edward Island’s
‘rugged sister’] was listless" (311).
Cartier Sir George-Étienne Cartier (1814-1873)
fought in the Rebellion of 1837 in Lower Canada and,
after forming the Macdonald-Cartier ministries in Canada
East in the eighteen fifties, held a position in the
"Great Coalition" (see note, above) and promoted
the cause of Confederation among his fellow French Canadians.
Cartier…reached its end" This quotation
contains several variations in punctuation and wording:
"M. Cartier" becomes "Mr. Cartier";
"however" is added between "these"
and "he"; "the" is added between
"were" and "inheritances"; "sets"
becomes "sits"; and "aside" becomes
H. Langevin…statesman Sir Hector-Louis Langevin
(1826-1906) was a supporter of Cartier and the Liberal-Conservative
party who, as solicitor general in the "Great Coalition,"
attended the Confederation conferences of 1864-1865.
On Cartier’s death in 1873, he succeeded to the leadership
of the Quebec conservative party. As Lampman indicates,
Collins accords him high praise: "to us, M. Langevin
in the role of second to M. Cartier, seems like
the sun acting satellite to the moon. As a statesman,
to M. Cartier we can only accord a second place; to
M. Langevin we give a first" (327).
Red River troubles The Red River Rebellion
of 1869-1870, which Collins examines in a chapter entitled
fisheries question In 1871-1872 tension developed
between, on one side, the United States and, on the
other, Canada and Britain over American "poaching"
within the three-mile limit off the coasts of Newfoundland
and the maritime provinces (see Collins 370-78).
great Pacific scandal. In April 1873 the Liberals
revealed that for the August 1872 federal election,
Macdonald, Cartier, and Langevin had solicited some
$360,000 in campaign funds from promoters, including
Sir Hugh Allan, who was subsequently awarded the contract
to build the Canadian Pacific Railway and had used American
money to bribe certain government officials. The government
survived a royal commission in the summer and fall of
1873, but in October it was forced to resign (see Collins
In the Canadian Illustrated News "disclosures"
appears as "diselosures".
administration of Mr. Mackenzie… Collins describes
Alexander Mackenzie’s years in office (1873-1878) in
part (407-420) of his chapter entitled "‘A Wet
Sheet in a Flowing Sea."’
passed In the Canadian Illustrated News
"is passed" appears as "as pass".
differ from Mr. Mackenzie…coffin." Except for
minor variations of punctuation, this quotation of Collins’s
judicious estimate of Mackenzie (409) is accurate.
Collins is an admirer…of Mr. Blake… Collins
considers Mackenzie’s successor as leader of the Liberal
party, Edward Blake (1833-1912), a "great party
leader" but a man whom "nature let…off her
hands without backbone" (431), and offers the assessments
and comparisons that Lampman quotes in the concluding
paragraphs (431-34) of "‘A Wet Sheet and Flowing
and Frechette As observed in the headnote,
more than fifteen pages of Collins’s chapter on "Thought
and Literature" is devoted to Charles G.D. Roberts
(1860-1945), who is described as "our greatest
Canadian poet" (465). "Next in order of merit
[Collins] take[s] M. Louis Honoré Fr[é]chette [1839-1908]
to whom the exclusive doors of the Institute of France
were opened [in 1880], and from whom he bore away the
laurels [that is, the Prix Montyon of the French Academy]…for
Les Fleurs Boreales  and Les Oiseaux
de Neige " (430). See also "Two
key note of his whole work…his earnest advocacy of Canadian
independence… See headnote. In the final paragraph
of "Thought and Literature," Collins states
his political beliefs unequivocally: "to the speculating
mind, one of three courses will be open [to Canada]:
Federation with the empire…; annexation with the United
Sates…and Canadian Independence. We need not repeat
what we have expressed so often, that for this latter
scheme we are heart and soul; that no other change will
satisfy the manly, yearning spirit of our young Canadians;
and that it is our duty now to bestir ourselves, to
organize, and to tire not nor rest till our Colonialism
shall have become a thing of the past, and our Canada
stand robust, and pure, and manly, and intelligent,
among the nations of the earth" (497-98).
essay, a Carlylean analysis of the career and character
of the French politician Léon Gambetta (1838-1882),
was published in Rouge et Noir 4 (July, 1883):
5-10, the text reprinted here. It has not been previously
in the aftermath of Gambetta’s death, Lampman’s essay
bears the deep imprint, not only of Carlyle’s On
Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History (1841),
but also of his The French Revolution: a History
(1837) and his "Mirabeau" (1837), a review-essay
published in Critical and Miscellaneous Essays
(see headnote to "Friendship"). Tacitly accepting
the "Great Men" approach to history embodied
in On Heroes (Works 5: 1-2), "Gambetta"
fleshes out its portrait of the hero as the "King"
of a revolutionary movement with parallels to Gabriel
Honoré Riquetti, Comte de Mirabeau (1749-1791), whom
Carlyle characterizes as a moderate and tragic hero
of the French Revolution. Several details of Lampman’s
essay, such as its repeated references to 1867, suggest
that he may have intended his readers to recognize certain
parallels between Gambetta’s France and John A. Macdonald’s
lawyer by training, Gambetta came to prominence in the
late eighteen sixties as an eloquent opponent of the
Second Empire of Napoleon III, a role that took him
to parliament as an opposition member in 1869. After
the Franco-Prussian War precipitated the collapse of
the Second Empire in 1870, he became prominent in the
provisional government, spearheading the political and
military forces of defense against the Germans, first
in Paris and then, after his famous escape from the
city in a balloon, in the surrounding countryside. Paris
capitulated and an armistice was declared in January
1871, but the refusal of the city to disarm led to the
Paris Commune, a second siege of the city (this time
by French forces), and, with the Treaty of Frankfurt
(May 1871), a new role for Gambetta as the proponent
of reconciliation and the architect of the republican
constitution of 1875. Under President Jules Grévy, he
became premier in 1881-1882, but his anti-clericalism
and his attempts at electoral reform were highly controversial.
He died of an accidentally self-inflicted gunshot wound
on December 31, 1882. As Lampman’s essay reveals, he
was the subject of admiration, harsh criticism, and
near apotheosis in the years immediately following his
a great extent "Gambetta" is a pastiche of
materials drawn from three of the articles mentioned
in the final paragraph of the essay, Frederic Harrison’s
"Leon Gambetta. A Positivist Discourse," Contemporary
Review 4 (March, 1883): 3-7; Gabriel Monod, "Contemporary
Life and Thought in France," Contemporary Review
4 (February, 1883): 1-7; and "Gambetta" by
"A Friend and Follower," Fortnightly
Review 4 (February, 1883): 42-45. To a much lesser
extent Lampman’s essay draws upon the other two articles
that he mentions, "Gambetta" by "A German,"
Contemporary Review 4 (February, 1883):
8-11; and R.W. Dale, "M. Gambetta: Positivism and
Christianity," Contemporary Review 4 (April,
…the new Religion of Humanity…Frederick Harrison…
An offshoot of the logical Positivism of the French
philosopher Auguste Comte, the Religion of Humanity
was an attempt by Frederic Harrison (1831-1923) and
others to create a system of ritual, dogma, and ethics
on a scientific rather than a spiritual basis. At its
heart was a faith in human reason, a belief in the evolution
of human civilization, and a commitment to the moral
principle of altruism. In 1881, Harrison established
a centre for instruction in the new religion at Newton
Hall in London’s Fetter Lane, outfitting it with a "Positivist
library of the two hundred and seventy volumes selected
by Comte himself," the ‘"busts of the great
men of all ages from Moses to Bichat, whose names are
in the New Calendar,"’ and "a grand piano,
once owned by Charles Darwin" (Buckley 194, quoting
Harrison). Harrison’s "Leon Gambetta. A Positivist
Discourse" was indeed "delivered at Newton
Hall on Sunday February 4, 1883," a week after
a lecture on Muhammed, the Prophet of Islam. In justifying
his inclusion of Gambetta in the "calendar…of our
great fathers, who are the true creators…of human civilization,"
Harrison observes that "he was the first statesman
of European importance formally to offer his public
homage to Comte as the greatest mind of the nineteenth
century; and formally to adopt, as his leading idea
in politics, Comte’s great aphorism: ‘Progress can only
arise out of the development of Order"’ (3). He
adds, however, that "it is not for this that Gambetta
holds a place of prime importance in our eyes. …He is
the first European statesman of this century who is
heart and soul Republican; the only one whose fiber
is entirely popular; who saw that the Republic implied
a real social reconstruction; he is the only European
statesman who is equally zealous for progress and for
order, and most assuredly he is the only statesman of
this century who has formally thrown away every kind
of theological crutch" (3).
one hand Christ, the Perfect one…on the other…Danton,
Hoch[e], Condorcet, Carrell [sic], and finally Leon
Lampman is drawing here from passages near the
beginning and at the conclusion of Harrison’s essay:
"[t]hat vague and unreal vision, the Christ, or
perfect man…we replace with the collective Host of the
real men who exhibit every trait of human greatness.
…[L]et us remember with honor the great citizen [Gambetta]
who has been borne to the premature grave, wherein were
laid the unrevealed future of Danton, and Hoche, and
Condorcet, and Carrell" (3,7).
John, St. Stephen and St. Paul
Lampman lists the (assumed) author of the Fourth
Gospel (St. John), the first Christian martyr (St. Stephen),
and the "Apostle to the Gentiles" (St. Paul).
St. Irenaeus (circa 130-circa 200) was the bishop
of Lyons and is generally regarded as the first great
Roman Catholic theologian.
of Hippo St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
was the Bishop of Hippo and is centrally important to
In Greek mythology, the Titans are the children
of Uranus and Ge. They are popularly imagined as a race
of giants who waged war against Jupiter for a period
of ten years, and were eventually conquered and imprisoned.
A leading figure in the French Revolution, Georges
Jacques Danton (1759-1794) was instrumental in overthrowing
the monarchy and establishing a republic. After advocating
a relaxation of the Reign of Terror and attacking the
dictatorship of the Committee for Public Safety, he
was charged with treason and guillotined.
A general in the French revolutionary wars, Louis
Lazare Hoche (1768-1797) commanded the forces that drove
the Austrians across the Rhine in 1793. After a brief
period of imprisonment on a charge of treason, he led
an abortive invasion of Ireland (1796) and a successful
campaign against Austria (1797).
Mark Jean Antoine Nicolas Caritat, Marquis de
Condorcet (1743-1794) was a French philosopher, mathematician
and political leader who died in prison after being
condemned for opposing the radical Jacobins.
[sic] A political leader of the American Revolution
and a signatory to the Declaration of Independence,
Charles Carroll (1737-1832) served as a United States
congressman and senator.
sacred Carroc[c]io In medieval Italy, the
carroccio was a chariot consisting of a platform
surmounted by an altar and a standard. Before battle,
priests held services on the altar of the carroccio
and during the battle it was fiercely protected.
and…Mirabeau Martin Luther (1453-1546), the
German founder of the Protestant Reformation, Oliver
Cromwell (1599-1658), the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth
(1653-1658) after the English Civil War, and Honoré
Gabriel Riquetti, Comte de Mirabeau (1749-1791), a moderate
opponent of monarchy who rose to prominence and died
in the early days of the French Revolution (see notes,
below), are all given heroic status by Carlyle in On
Heroes, Hero-worship and the Heroic in History (1841),
the first in "The Hero as Priest," the second
in "The Hero as King" and the third, also
in "The Hero as King" lecture, as a man gifted
with the capacity and the ambition "to develop
himself according to the magnitude which Nature has
made him of; to speak-out, to act-out, what Nature has
laid in him," an attribute that he defines as "the
summary of duties for a man. …To unfold your self,
to work what thing you have the faculty for" (Works
hollow "formula" In several places,
Carlyle distinguishes between "true" and "false"
"forms" and "formulas"—that is,
between words, rituals, institutions, and other human
creations that either emerge organically from and thus
correspond to "the real essence of things"
or "are consciously put round a substance"
and thus conceal rather than reveal an essence or truth
(see On Heroes [Works 5: 204-07], for
example, and Past and Present [Works 10:
126]). To Carlyle, revolutionary heroes such as Cromwell
and Luther had the capacity to recognize and eliminate
man with an "eye," as Carlyle would say
Lampman probably had in mind several passage in
On Heroes ("we have to note the decisive
practical eye of this man [Cromwell]; how he
drives towards the practical and practicable; has a
genuine insight into what is fact" [Works
5: 214-15]); Past and Present ("all of us,
…many of us, should acquire the true eye for
talent, which is dreadfully wanting at present"
[Works 10: 31]); and The French Revolution
("[t]his [Mirabeau] is no man of system…; he is…a
man of instincts and insights. …A man not with logic-spectacles;
but with an eye!" [Works 2: 140]).
1867 Gambetta was a young, struggling, advocate…
Lampman’s account of Gambetta’s political career
here and in the remainder of the paragraph relies heavily
on Harrison: "[i]n November, 1868, the date of
his famous speech, he was a briefless, unknown barrister.
In the early spring of 1869, he was the rival, the terror,
and the judge of the Empire. The Empire in these last
two years shook and cowered before a young lawyer. …That
one man, a young, unknown, penniless lawyer of thirty-two,
roused France from her slumber…made the French people
feel again they were a people, and planted in their
hearts the image of Republic instead of Empire. …He
was the one man known to all living Frenchmen—man, woman,
and child—and known as the inspirer of a new sense—love
of the country" (4). To Harrison’s account of the
occasion and results of Gambetta’s first speech, Lampman
adds details drawn from Monod: "[t]he Empire had
instituted proceedings against certain newspapers for
opening a subscription for the erection of a monument
to Baudin, a representative of the people who had been
killed on a barricade on the 4th of December, 1851.
Gambetta was one of the counsel for the defense, and,
without paying any heed to the matter itself, he made
a flaming speech against the December crime, which struck
the magistrates dumb with admiration and astonishment"
of the small grocer from Cahors Monod describes
Gambetta as "[t]he son of a small grocer of Cahors"
(1), a city in south central France.
1870 came the miserable collapse… Again, Lampman
draws heavily on Harrison: "[t]he Empire ended…in
an utter wreck; and…on the morrow of Sedan, the Republic
was the work of Gambetta. He planned it, he organized
it, he established it" (4).
Friend" Marat One of the most radical
and blood-thirsty of the leaders of the French Revolution,
Jean Paul Marat (1743-1793) is assigned the sobriquet
that Lampman quotes by Carlyle in The French Revolution:
"[l]one Marat…could see salvation in one thing
only: in the fall of ‘two-hundred and sixty thousand
Aristocratic heads.’ …But the world laughed, mocking
the severe-benevolence of a People’s Friend; and his
idea could not become an action, but only a fixed-idea"
(Works 3: 24).
dreamer Robespierre One of the most extreme
leaders of the French Revolution, Maximilien François
Marie Isidore de Robespierre (1758-1794) was the man
chiefly responsible for the Reign of Terror. After being
denounced by his revolutionary colleagues (who feared
that he had gone mad), he was guillotined in July 1794.
Blanc…rigid democracy… The advocate of a system
of national workshops that would prepare the way for
a utopian society in which all people would work according
to their aptitudes and consume according to their needs,
the French journalist and socialist Louis Blanc (1811-1882)
obtained a measure of political power in 1848 and after
1871. In the interim, he lived in England, writing a
radical history of the French Revolution. The contrast
that Lampman draws between Blanc and Gambetta derives
from Monod: "[w]hilst…Blanc shut himself up in
haughty inaction, content with enunciating principles
and dogmas, Gambetta threw himself into the heat of
political action, associated himself with every section
of the majority, engaged in a thousand negotiations,
a thousand intrigues…contrived, in an Assembly for the
most part composed of Monarchists, to get a majority
to proclaim the Republic" (2). Lampman’s "‘irreconcilable’
dogmatist, Louis Blanc" echoes Monod’s description
of the young Gambetta’s "attitude [as] irréconciliable"
(1) and "A German’s" reference to his "irreconcilable
opposition to the fundamental law of the country"
in 1877…M[a]cMahon’s insidious conspiracy… Lampman’s
account of this phase of what Harrison describes as
the second of "three successive epochs in which
Gambetta was the true author of the Republic: in 1868-9,
in 1870-1 in 1876-8" (4) derives principally from
Monod, who writes in part: "[w]hen the Parliamentary
coup d’etat of May 16, 1877, took place, and Marshall
[Marie Edmé Patrice de] MacMahon [1808-1893]…tried to
bring about a reactionary general election, Gambetta
found himself a second time the natural head of the
Republican party. …His ascendancy was such that the
strictest discipline reigned unbroken amongst the Republicans—his
counsels were all received as commands. …He knew the
nature of the electoral material…well. …MacMahon first
submitted, and then resigned—a result due in great measure
to…Gambetta’s cleverness, energy, and eloquence"
German writer…Gambetta and Mirabeau In "Gambetta,"
"A German finds an absence of all sense of proportion
and perspective" in comparisons made between Gambetta
and others, "for even Mirabeau has not been allowed
to escape comparison with the tribune of the nineteenth
Titan of the Assembly of 1791 In The French
Revolution, Carlyle repeatedly describes Mirabeau
as a "Titan" and as "Titanic" (see,
for example, Works 3: 131, 137, and 141).
"we shall"…brought chaos and tumult into silent
obedience… Lampman appears to be referring to an
incident on February 28, 1791, as described by Carlyle
in The French Revolution: "[t]he National
Assembly, in one of its stormiest moods, is debating
a Law against Emigration; Mirabeau declaring aloud,
‘I swear beforehand that I will not obey it’. …[H]e
rises into far-sounding melody of strength, triumphant,
which subdues all hearts. …‘Silence,’ he cries now…‘Silence,
the thirty voices, Silence aux trente voix!’—and
Robespierre and the thirty Voices die into mutterings;
and the Law is once more as Mirabeau would have it"
(Works 3: 131).
were the "swallowers of formulas" In
The French Revolution, Carlyle repeatedly credits
Mirabeau with this talent: "he has ‘made away with
(humé, swallowed, snuffed-up) all Formulas,’"
he is "[a] man who ‘ha[s] swallowed all formulas,’"
and, as a result, there is no "Formula…that will
express truly the plus and the minus of
him, give us the accurate result of him" (Works
2: 140; 1: 145).
last leonine flower…of the fire-blooded Riquetti
See Carlyle of Mirabeau after his death in The
French Revolution: "[h]e is gone: the flower
of the wild Riquetti. …So die the Mirabeaus" (Works
3: 147). Lampman’s remarks on Gambetta’s Italian temperament
derive from "Gambetta" by "A Friend and
Follower": "by race and temper he was far
more a Massabie (his mother’s maiden name) than a Gambetta.
Yet the adjunction of a few drops of Italian blood had
produced a deep impression on his Gascon nature. It
had thrown in a power of self-restraint, a depth of
calculation, and an indefinable charm of manner, the
contrast of which, when compared with his impetuous
and impulsive disposition and other attributes of southern
French blood, always surprised those who knew him longest
and best" (43). Monod remarks on Gambetta’s "southern
accent" (1). In The French Revolution, Carlyle
describes Mirabeau as being "[o]f a southern climate,
of wild southern blood: for the Riquettis…had to fly
from Florence…and settle…in Provence" (Works
most significant…scene in Danton’s life… Lampman
is referring to an incident that took place in the Assembly
on September 12, 1792, as described by Carlyle in The
French Revolution: "see Danton enter. …‘Legislators’
so speaks the stentor voice…‘it is not the alarm-cannon
that you hear: it is the pas-de-charge against
our enemies. To conquer them, to hurl them back, what
do we require? Il nous faut de l’audace, et encore
de l’audace, To dare, and again to dare, and without
end to dare!’" (Works 4: 23-24).
epic of Danton’s days In The French Revolution,
Carlyle frequently ascribes "Epic" qualities
to his subject; see, for example, Works 3: 147
little mother Mirabeau" This appears
to be a garbled rendition of Carlyle’s summary description
of Mirabeau in The French Revolution as "a
living Son of Nature our general Mother" (Works
famous balloon escape from Paris… Monod regards
Gambetta’s "flight from Paris in a balloon"
in October 1871 (when the city was surrounded by German
forces) as "the second startling incident"
that constituted the "drama and…poem" of his
life, the other two being his "political lawsuit"
of November 1868 and his "lawsuit during the political
campaign of the 16th of May " (1). After
his spectacular escape from Paris, Gambetta secured
the support of the French army but was unable to prevent
the capitulation of the city in January 1872. Lampman’s
description of the military events of 1871-1872 is an
elaboration of Monod’s account: "the enthusiasm
his arrival in the country occasioned, the amazing rapidity
with which…he organized the army of the Loire, the unlooked-for
victory at Coulmiers, all created an indelible impression
on the popular mind" (1).
French Leonidas The Spartan Leonidas was the
captain of the Greeks at Thermopylae, the narrow pass
in which they withstood the Persian invasion of 480
of Mecklinburg [sic]… Lampman has drawn on
an unidentified source similar to "The Invasion
of France" in the January 1871 number of the Quarterly
Review to describe the military events of 1870-1871.
Under Gambetta’s leadership, the French drove the Germans
out of Orleans in October 1870 and defeated them at
Coulmiers on November 7, but under Grand Duke Friedrich
Franz of Mecklenburg-Schwerin they recaptured Orleans
on December 4. Between December 5 and 11 there were
a series of engagements near the town of Beaugency in
which the Germans made little headway. Victory for the
Germans eventually came at Le Mans in July 1871. The
"défense nationale" that Gambetta inspired
had lasted for a little over eight months since Coulmiers.
Carl Y. Connor observes that Lampman’s interest in "certain
aspects of militarism" (51) in 1882-1883 is also
reflected in "The Last Sortie," a poem about
the Franco-Prussian war that was printed in Rouge
et Noir 3 (November, 1882), 4 but not included in
any of his published volumes.
is an Unconquerable…rights of man" Lampman’s
quotation is a slightly inaccurate version of part of
Carlyle’s statement in The French Revolution
that "[t]here is an Unconquerable in man, when
he stands on his Rights of Man: let Despots and Slaves
and all people know this, and only them that stand on
the wrongs of Man tremble to know it" (Works
See "German Patriotic Poetry."
Vulcans In early Roman times, Vulcan was a
fire-god and perhaps a god of the smithy and iron-workers.
a long conversation on the war," says Frederick
Harrison… With some changes in punctuation
and word order, and the substitution of "ground"
for "groaned," Lampman provides an accurate
rendition of the conversation as reported by Harrison
great and all-providing passion of patriotism… In
"Gambetta," "A Friend and Follower"
remarks that "[o]ne thing…never changed in him—his
extraordinary patriotism. His love for his country was
intense and overpowering" (43).
differ in political creed. …" Lampman’s
transcription of the quotation given by "A Friend
and Follower" in "Gambetta" (42) is largely
most dreaded skeleton in the closet… Modon
describes "the …fears his name inspired [outside
France]" as "an indirect homage to [Gambetta’s]
power" (1) but makes no reference to Otto Eduard
Leopold, Prince von Bismarck (1815-1890), the German
Chancellor (1871-1890) who orchestrated the 1870-1871
war with France.
funeral…no religious ceremonies… "It is a thing
which the world will remember one day," writes
Harrison of Gambetta’s funeral in Paris on January 6,
1882 "—such a funeral as no emperor ever had, a
day that recalled the gathering of the dawn of the Revolution
in 1789…and from first to last in that throng…no Catholic
emblem or priest was seen; not a thought but for the
great human loss and human sorrow, not a word but of
human and earthly hopes" (6). Monod adds that a
"hundred thousand persons…formed the imposing funeral
cortége…fifteen hundred thousand watched it pass, [and]
millions…sent wreaths and addresses from every part
of France" (3). Carlyle devotes an entire chapter
of The French Revolution to Mirabeau’s death
and the general mourning that followed (Works
the Dagon of a party In the Bible, Dagon
is the god of the Philistines (see Judges 16.23). "A
Friend and Follower" observes of Gambetta that
"[d]emocracy, in his eye, was not a sect, a church—not
even a party; it was France itself. …No personal or
political bias could keep him from extending his hand
to a foe who would contribute to the success of the
common cause. …Hence the extraordinary influence Gambetta
wielded even amongst the opponents of Republican institutions"
had Mirabeau lived one other year!" Carlyle’s
cry concludes the chapter entitled "Mirabeau"
in The French Revolution: "[o]ne can say
that, had Mirabeau lived, the History of France and
of the World had been different. …Had Mirabeau lived
one other year" (Works 3: 138-39).
his personal appearance… Lampman’s description
of Gambetta’s physique and physiognomy puts details
drawn from Monod (1) and "A Friend and Follower"—who
describes him as a "short, thick-set, bull-necked
athlete" with "his enormous head sunk in his
shoulders" (43)—at the service of phrenology, "the
width, protuberance and elevation of his brows,"
for example, being an indication of the extent of his
intellect. Lampman probably knew mechanically reproduced
portraits and drawings of Gambetta such as the one in
A. Bowman Blake’s "French Political Leaders"
glass eye… Monod states that "the glass
eye [that Gambetta] wore in place of the eye he lost
as a child, gave a certain fixedness and fascination
to his gaze" (1).
oratory he is described as the very child of passion…
"A Friend and Follower" suggests that
"[e]loquence in [Gambetta] was a native gift; it
came without preparation" and observes that with
"his hands clutching the marble slab of the tribune
as if he would crush it to powder, or raised above his
head in tragic gesture, he struck his hearers with fear,
anger, or admiration" (43). Lampman provides a
highly condensed version of the lengthy and detailed
account of Gambetta’s oratory by "A Friend and
Follower" (43-44), adding to it a version of Monod’s
observation that "[h]e was not a correct orator.
He would often lose himself in clumsy, ill-constructed
sentences; then, when some strong feeling took hold
of him, his eloquence would burst forth, and carry away
both himself and his audience" (4).
German writer speaks rather sneeringly of Gambetta’s
speeches… "His speeches…ought not to
be read in the collection of them he was imprudent enough
to publish," writes "A German"; "the
argumentation in them is poor, the composition loose,
the style careless, the repetitions so frequent as to
become tautologies, the invective is often in bad taste;
as for originality of ideas, we seek for it in vain.
What rendered these now unreadable speeches so powerful…was
the fire, the spontaneousness, the strength of conviction,
the wonderfully striking antitheses which he hurled
to the multitude, and which became their watchwords"
(9). "A Friend and a Follower" judges Gambetta’s
published speeches "[m]asterly" but concedes
that "they give…an incomplete impression of the
effect produced on those who listened to them"
active hostility to the church…the state
policy of the clergy Lampman is here summarizing the
analysis of Gambetta’s attitudes to religion by "A
Friend and Follower," who argues that his hero’s
"system of government was not directed against
the Church…[and] that one of its chief points consisted
in maintaining the State above the Church. …[T]he French
episcopacy…attack the Government from the pulpit, conspire
with pretenders, and recognize no other authority than
the Pope’s. …This chronic insurrection of the clergy,
their hostility to republican institutions, their defiance
of national supremacy is what is called in France clericalism;
and when Gambetta exclaimed, four years ago, "Cléricalisme,
voilà l’ennemi," he was not formulating an
excommunication against Roman Catholicism, but against
that sinister conspiracy which uses the forms of religion
to sap and extinguish free institutions in France"
Carlyle says of another greater man… In The
French Revolution, Carlyle writes of Mirabeau: "[t]hey
say he was ambitious, that he wanted to be Minister.
It is most true. And was he not simply the one man in
France who could have done any good as Minister? Not
vanity alone, not pride alone; far from that" (Works
3: 146). In Of Heroes he makes the same point
somewhat differently: "how shall we blame [Mirabeau’s
ambition to be Minister], if he were ‘the only man in
France that could have done any good there’?" (Works
pains he took to fill the offices of state with men
subservient to his influence… Lampman’s point
here is a variation of Monod’s observation that in the
years when he was President of the Chamber of Deputies
(1879-1881) Gambetta did not "confine…himself strictly
to the duties of his office" but, rather, chose
"to exert his influence in the appointment of functionaries
of all kinds, administrators, diplomatic and military
officials, and judges, [so] as to make sure of a large
following against the time of his becoming Minister
himself. …He successfully supported [several Ministers]…by
imposing his own conditions upon them…and compassed
their downfall when they tried to get independent of
him" (2-3). Monod also remarks that "he lent
arms to those who feigned to see in him the future Dictator"
de Liste Monod judges Gambetta "entirely
in the right" on the matter of the "scrutin
de liste"—the election of more than one member
to the Chamber of Deputies from each constituency—and
describes the failure of the measure: "[m]ost Republicans…were
afraid that, in accepting the scrutin de liste, they
would be putting too much power in Gambetta’s hands.
…It cost [him] untold efforts to get the scrutin de
liste accepted by the Chamber by a majority of only
four; and the Senate, in evident defiance of him, rejected
the proposed reform" (51).
regard to the charges of loose morality… "As
to his private life, there are things, perhaps, gross
and unworthy," concedes Harrison, "and a public
man has no private life. But unworthy if they be, they
were not of the kind which seriously disable a public
career. …He was a jovial, unabashed son of Paris; without
special refinement of life, or sensitive delicacy of
conscience" (3). Monod observes that Gambetta’s
"private life, never very correct, is reputed to
have been for a considerable time one of great irregularity"
Hugo…a great and powerful novel Lampman is
probably referring to Les Misérables (1862),
a novel about the poor and downtrodden of Paris, by
the French Romantic poet, dramatist, and novelist Victor
Marie Hugo (1802-1885).
died…comparatively poor…Republican journals "A
Friend and Follower" supplements a comment on Gambetta’s
personal generosity with an analysis of his finances:
"[h]e might have profited by his public position
to improve his private fortune; indeed he was credited
by a large portion of the public with having done so.
…[But] he leaves hardly a million francs—£40,000—entirely
derived from the premium realized on his shares in the
two newspapers inspired by him—the République Française
and Petite République. Under the circumstances,
no one will be surprised to hear that he was at some
pains, considering the requirements of his position,
to make both ends meet" (42-43).
are told of his indefatigable industry… "A
Friend and Follower" goes on to observe that Gambetta
"read hard and well, and never ceased to the last
day of his life to study and learn. …For years, and
particularly during his latest years, he seldom slept
more than four hours a night, throwing away, for the
benefit of his country, his strength, his health, and
powers of existence. …One small wound sufficed to cast
down his fatigued frame, and was as the drop of water
which makes the glass overflow" (43). Gambetta’s
wound was accidentally self-inflicted while he was "handling
a revolver" (Monod 3).
Modern School of Poetry in England
undated and unsigned holograph manuscript of this essay
is held in the National Archives (MG 29 D59 vol. 2,
680-693). Its 14 pages are consecutively numbered by
Lampman, and each sheet measures 20.1 x 32.5 cm. Pages
1, 8, 10, 11 and 12 are watermarked with chainlines
and "DOMINION OF CANADA" and pages 2-7, 9,
13 and 14 with chainlines and "A PIRIE & SONS
| Register". The paper, the ink, and the handwriting
of "The Modern School of Poetry in England"
are shared by "The Fairy Fountain. A Fairy Tale"
(MG 29 D59 vol. 1, 635-665), which suggests that the
two pieces were written at about the same time.
is confirmed in a letter of January 29, 1885 to May
McKeggie in which Lampman gives details of the essay’s
compositional circumstances (the previous "fairy
tale" to which he refers is almost certainly "Hans
Fingerhut’s Frog Lesson," published in Man
[Toronto], 1, [November, 1885]: 6-10):
my not having written…before. I have been very dull
and out of spirits—oppressed with innumerable things—debts;
ill success in everything, incapacity to write and
want of any hope of ever succeeding in it if I do.
I wrote another fairy tale the other day—much to mother’s
disgust; who is unlimited in her complaints of the
unpractical and outlandish character of my writings,
which indeed fetch no money—or even respect. As to
the story ["The Fairy Fountain"] I made
it in a dull lifeless state of mind, so I dare say
it is bad enough[.] I have also made 5 stanzas of
a poem on winter—one stanza of which is good—the rest
bad—very good and very bad—the majority bad however.
I have to read in March a paper to the Lit[erary]
and Sci[entific] Society here [in Ottawa] on "The
Modern School of Poetry in England" and I am
sorry I agreed to it, for my ideas are all going to
the winds—days and days pass over me without a swift
thought, idea or fancy entering my head. I am as dull
as a clod. I write this in my office [at the Post
Office] and here is some work at my elbow just
brought in to do.
lack of inspiration to which this letter refers helps
to explain the heavy reliance on secondary sources in
"The Modern School of Poetry in England."
Despite the fact that he wrote his first masterpiece,
"Among the Timothy," in the summer of 1885
(Early, "Chronology" 78), Lampman was still
in the doldrums in December of that year, though he
did concede earlier to May McKeggie that his work was
"get[ting] better…in some respects."
Modern School of Poetry" participates in the widespread
re-assessment of the Pre-Raphaelites that followed Dante
Gabriel Rossetti’s death in 1882. Its principal source
of information about Rossetti and his work, however,
is neither the affectionate biographies of T. Hall Caine
and William Sharp, both of which appeared in 1882, nor
the eulogistic obituaries and articles of Edmund W.
Gosse, Theodore Watts-Dunton and others, but Walter
Pater’s Introduction to Rossetti’s poetry in the fourth
volume of Thomas Humphry Ward’s The English Poets:
Selections with Critical Introductions by Various Writers
and a General Introduction by Matthew Arnold (1880),
the probable source also of his knowledge of Arnold’s
theory of poetry. Lampman’s discussion of Rossetti and,
subsequently, Algernon Charles Swinburne and William
Morris also draws heavily on several reviews and articles
that are more or less hostile to the Pre-Raphaelites,
especially William John Courthorpe’s "The Latest
Development of Literary Poetry" (1872), a scathing
review of Rossetti’s Poems (1870) Swinburne’s
Songs Before Sunrise (1871), and Morris’s The
Earthly Paradise: a Poem (1868-1870) that defines
the three poets as a "school" characterized
by, among other things, "morbid sensitiveness,"
a "failure…to appreciate the active life of their
time," and an indulgence in "the affectations
of thought and language" (63, 81). Evidently, Lampman,
like the John Campbell Shairp of "Aesthetic Poetry.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti" (1882) was distressed by
the "unwholesome sentiments…the esoteric vein of
thought…the exotic manner and too elaborated style"
of the Pre-Raphaelites and wanted modern poets "to
cultivate manlier thought and nobler sentiment in purer
and fresher diction, and to make their appeal, not to
the perfumed tastes of over-educated coteries, but to
the broader and healthier sympathies of universal man"
(12). "Contact with uninnocent emotions has unsettled"
the minds of the Pre-Raphaelite poets so that they are
"no longer capable of the clearest poetry,"
writes Lampman in his concluding paragraph; "[t]hat
is the reason why so much of our modern verse is gifted
with innumerable attributes of poetry, but is at the
soul, feverish and unmanly. …[The modern poets] have
sung for us the extremes of human joy and pain, but
never anything of manful trust or hearty endurance.
…[T]hey have done nothing to help mankind in the gradual
and eternal movement toward order and divine beauty
acknowledged point of departure for "The Modern
School of Poetry in England" is "Old and New
Canons of Poetical Criticism" (1882), a two part
answer to Arnold’s view of poetry as "a criticism
of life" by Alfred Austin, a poet and critic whose
name is almost synonymous with "manliness"
as a literary value. But if the first section of "The
Modern School of Poetry in England" is indebted
to Austin’s essay and, very likely, his collection of
masculinist diatribes on The Poetry of the Period
(1870), it is even more so to the opening chapter on
"The Province of Poetry" in Shairp’s Aspects
of Poetry, Being Lectures Delivered at Oxford (1882).
Defining "the genuine and healthy poetic nature"
in terms of "[h]uman-heartedness," Shairp
focuses his chapter on three questions: "[w]hat
is the object or material with which the poet deals.
What is the special power which he brings to bear on
that object. What is his true aim…the function which
he fulfils in human society" (4). The extent to
which Lampman’s views accord with Shairp’s answers to
these questions can be gauged from the following notes,
but part of the conclusion of "The Province of
Poetry" may be quoted here as a preliminary indication
of the idealistic view of poetry that helped to shape
"The Modern School of Poetry in England":
will not succumb before materialism, or agnosticism,
or any other cobweb of the sophisticated brain…for
it is an undying effluence of the soul of man.
That this effluence has on the whole been benign in
its tendency, who can doubt?…Imagination may be turned
to evil uses. It may minister, as it has sometimes
ministered, to the baser side of human nature, and
thrown enchantment over things that are vile. But
this has been a perversion, which depraves the nature
of poetry, and robs it of its finest grace. Naturally
it is the ally of all things high and pure; among
these it is at home; its nature is to lay hold of
these, and to bring them, with power and attractiveness,
home to our hearts. It is the prerogative of poetry
to convey to us, as nothing else can, the beauty that
is in all nature, to interpret the finer quality that
is hidden in the hearts of men, and to hint at a beauty
which lies behind these, a light "above the light
of setting suns," which is incommunicable. In
doing this it will fulfil now, as of old, the office
which [Sir Francis] Bacon assigned to it, and will
give some "shadow of satisfaction to the spirit
of man, longing for a more ample greatness, a more
perfect goodness, and a more absolute variety"
than here it is capable of. (30)
of the Invisible"
In "Schiller" (1831) in the second volume
of his Critical and Miscellaneous Essays (see
headnote to "Friendship"), Thomas Carlyle
writes that because the German dramatist is "a
true Poet, a genuine interpreter of the Invisible, Criticism
will have a great…duty to discharge for him. Every Poet…has
to struggle from the littleness and obstruction of an
Actual world, into the freedom and infinitude of an
Ideal; and the history of such struggle, which is the
history of his life, cannot be other than instructive"
(Works 27: 172-73). In "Signs of the Times"
(1829), Carlyle regrets that modern "Poetry has
no eye for the Invisible" (Works 27: 78)—that
is, for the transcendent realm of ideals that lies behind
the world of appearances.
Lampman is referring to the famous definition
and prognostication of Matthew Arnold (see note, below)
in "The Study of Poetry," which was first
published as the General Introduction to Ward’s English
Poets and subsequently reprinted as the opening
essay in Essays in Criticism, Second Series (1888):
"[i]n poetry, as a criticism of life under the
conditions fixed for such a criticism by the laws of
poetic truth and poetic beauty, the spirit of our race
will find…as time goes on and as other helps fail, its
consolation and stay. But the consolation and stay will
be of power in proportion to the power of the criticism
of life. And the criticism of life will be of power
in proportion as the poetry conveying it is excellent
rather than inferior, sound rather than unsound or half-sound,
true rather than untrue or half-true" (Complete
Prose Works 9: 163). Arnold’s first use of the phrase,
however, is in the Introduction to his selection of
Wordsworth’s poems in the Golden Treasury series (1879),
where he states that "poetry is at bottom a criticism
of life; that the greatness of a poet lies in his powerful
and beautiful application of ideas to life,—to the question:
How to live. …A poetry of revolt against moral ideas
is a poetry of revolt against life; a poetry
of indifference towards moral ideas is a poetry of indifference
towards life" (Complete Prose Works
touched by emotion"
Arnold defines religion in this way in the first
chapter of Literature and Dogma: an Essay Towards
a Better Understanding of the Bible (1873): "[r]eligion…is
ethics heightened, enkindled, lit up by feeling; the
passage from morality to religion is made when to morality
is applied emotion. And the true meaning of religion
is thus, not simply morality, but morality
touched by emotion" (Complete Prose Works
Transfiguration of Life" The full title
of the two-part article by the English poet, critic,
and, later, poet laureate (1869-1913), Alfred Austin
(1835-1913) from which this phrase is taken is "Old
and New Canons of Poetical Criticism," which was
reprinted from the Contemporary Review (London)
in the Living Age (Boston) 152, 5th ser. 37.
1963 (February 4, 1882): 323-32 and 387-98. The fact
that Austin was a Roman Catholic helps to explain the
religious dimension of his definition: "[p]oetry
is a transfiguration of life; in other words, an imaginative
representation in verse or rhythm, of whatever men perceive,
feel think, or do. …The spirit alone keeps alive,
or makes alive. The outer world…is dust to the ground…until
the poet or maker breathes into it the breath of real
life. Then it becomes living soul; then it becomes poetry"
(Living Age 389-90). Later in the article, Austin
uses the terms "etherial" and "glorified"
to describe materials touched by "the magic of
the transfiguring imagination" (391-92). As corollaries
to his definition of poetry, he proposes that "[t]he
relative greatness of a poet depends upon the amount
of life he has transfigured; in other words upon how
much of whatever men perceive, feel, think, or do, he
has, in verse or rhythm, represented imaginatively"
and that "[i]n valuing the amount of life a
poet has transfigured, in other words, in estimating
the relative greatness of a poet, the place of honor,
dignity, and importance must be assigned to action,
the next to thought, the next to emotion, and the last
to perception or observation" (394, 395). According
to these definitions, Austin classifies epic and drama
as the poetry of "the imaginative representation
of great action," "reflective poetry"
as "poetry of transfigured thought," "lyrical
poetry" as the "poetry of transfigured emotion,"
and "descriptive poetry" as "the poetry
of transfigured perception" (395). Using Arnold
as a foil throughout his argument, he concludes that
"there are both identity and divergence" between
their views: "whereas he [Arnold] affirms that
poetry is a criticism of life, and the greatness of
a poet depends upon how he has criticised it, I venture
to affirm that poetry is a representation of life, and
that the greatness of a poet depends on how much he
has represented" (395-96). In Aspects of Poetry,
Shairp states that "the whole range of existence,
or any part of it, when imaginatively apprehended, seized
on the side of its human interest, may be transfigured
into poetry. …[A] great poet must be a man made wise
by large experience, much feeling, and deep reflection:
above all, he must have a hold of the great central
truth of things" (4-5, 8).
is only after the change of many years…the universal
heart of man" Both at the beginning and
at the end of his article, Austin states his objective
as the provision of "certain critical canons, raised
above the bias of individual taste, and the prevailing
spirit of age"—canons based on the "permanent
laws of human nature" (396-97).
nature may be represented by the ancient Pan…striving
to be divine. In "The Poets," written
in June 1887 (Early, "Chronology" 79), Lampman
describes poets as "Children of Pan…Half brutish,
half divine, but all of earth, / Half-way ’twixt hell
and heaven, next to man" (Poems 113-14).
The ancient Greek god of shepherds and flocks, Pan is
usually represented as partly goat-like in form. See
also Bentley, The Gay] Grey Moose 236-50 for
a discussion of the roles of Pan in the work of the
main current of the human spirit… Here and
in the surrounding argument, Lampman seems to have had
in mind several passages in Shairp’s Aspects of Poetry:
"[t]o appeal to the higher side of human nature,
and to strengthen it, to come to its rescue, when it
is overborne by worldliness and material interests,
to support it by great truths, set forth in their most
attractive form,—this is the only worthy aim, the adequate
end, of all poetic endeavour. …The true end is to awaken
men to the divine side of things…to come to the help
of the generous, the noble, and the true. …[P]oetry…combines
its influence with all those benign tendencies which
are working in the world for the melioration of man
and the manifestation of the kingdom of God. It is adding
from age to age its own current to those great ‘tides
that are flowing / Right onward to the eternal shore’.
…If it be not the function of poetry…to give beautiful
expression to the finer impulses, to the higher side
of life, I see not that it has any function at all.
…[I]t naturally allies itself only with what is highest
and best in human nature. …[I]t is the ally of all things
high and pure" (12-30). Shairp maintains that sustained
effort to these ends "implies the presence of conscious
purpose" but he also concedes the presence of "some
unconscious influence from religion" in poets "consciously"
indifferent or hostile to Christianity (12, 28).
dilettante class… Shairp differentiates the
"true poet," who is characterized by "[h]uman-heartedness,"
from the "mere artist living only for art…[t]he
dreamer [and the] dilettante," and he deprecates
"coteries which test all things by some dominant
sentiment or short-lived fashion," urging "those
who would preserve catholicity of judgement [to] purge
their minds of all formulas and fashions, and [to] look
with open eye and ingenuous heart, alike on the boundless
range of past excellence, and on the hardly less boundless
field of future possibility" (Aspects of Poetry
and monotonous realism of almost all our present literature
In "The Latest Development of Literary Poetry,"
Courthorpe sees "materialistic feeling" (63)
as a principal characteristic of the "school"
of Rossetti Swinburne, and Morris.
qualities…variety or versatility and geniality…
"He is, above all things, a man among his
fellow men, with a heart that beats in sympathy with
theirs," write Shairp of the "true,"
"human-hearted" poet; "[h]e does not
feel differently from other men, but he feels more.
There is a larger field of things over which his feelings
range, and in which he takes vivid interest. If…sympathy
is the secret of all insight, this holds especially
true of poetic insight, which…derives its power of seeing
from sympathy with the object seen. …There is nothing
that exists, except things ignoble and mean, in which
the true poet may not find himself at home…in men’s
character and fortunes, their joys and sorrows, their
past history, their present experience, their future
destiny. All these we open to him who has the power
to enter in, and, by might of imaginative insight, to
possess them" (2-3, 5). To Shairp, Shakespeare
is the writer who has consummately "represent[ed]
life, in all its variety," who has "faithfully
set down" "[e]very side, every phase of human
nature" (though always with an emphasis on "the
higher and better side"), but he also uses Wordsworth
and Tennyson as illustrations of the "wide limits
within which two styles of expression, each perfect
after its kind, may range" (26-27, 21).
This is Lampman’s first surviving reference to
John Keats (1795-1821), the English Romantic poet whose
work was already exerting a powerful influence on his
own poetry (see, for example, "April," written
in May 1884 [Early, "Chronology" 78] [Poems,
4-6]). In the essay on Keats that prefaces the selection
of his poems in Ward’s English Poets, Arnold
characterizes his "achievement…[as] partial and
incomplete" but maintains that he "ranks with
Shakespeare" in "the faculty of naturalistic
interpretation" and, if time had permitted, would
have "ripe[ned]" in his "faculty for
moral interpretation" (Complete Prose Works
9: 214-15; and see "Poetic Interpretation,"
This is also Lampman’s first surviving reference
to Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), the British poet
laureate from 1850 to 1892 and another of Lampman’s
major influences (see "The Frogs," written
in May 1887 [Early, "Chronology" 79] for the
impact on him of "The Lotos Eaters"). Both
"The Lady of Shalott" and "The Lotos-Eaters"
were first published in Tennyson’s Poems (1832),
a volume severely criticized in 1833 for its insufficient
concern with social issues. "The Talking Oak,"
which was first published beside heavily revised versions
of "The Lady of Shallott" and "The Lotos-Eaters"
in Poems (1842), receives high praise from Austin
in The Poetry of the Period (1870) as a poem
that sounds "the key-note of nearly all Mr. Tennyson’s
latest and more extensive poetic labours. …[N]o posterity,
however distant, will allow ‘The Talking Oak’…to die"
Lampman may have encountered this recondite term
for the northwestern part of Gaul (now Brittany, France)
in Milton’s Paradise Lost 1: 580-81: "In
Fable or Romance of Uther’s Son [i.e.,
Arthur] / Begirt with British and Armoric
any of the famous poetry of the present day is like
this… After discussing poems by Wordsworth
and Tennyson, Shairp exclaims: "[h]ow many are
there in the present day, of more or less poetical faculty,
who can express admirably whatever they have to say,
but that amounts to little or nothing At best it is
but a collection of poetic prettiness, sometimes of
hysterical exaggerations and extravagances" (Aspects
of Poetry 25). He then proceeds to castigate contemporary
poets for failing to put their "fine faculty of
expression" at the service of "any one field
of thought…any subject for its own sake…and…any side
of human nature" (25).
poets of the Preraphaelite school While the
Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, the group of artists and
poets that surrounded Dante Gabriel Rossetti (see note,
below) in the late eighteen forties and early eighteen
fifties, existed for only a short time, it exerted a
strong influence on late nineteenth-and early twentieth-century
painting and poetry. A major reason for the literary
influence of the Pre-Raphaelites was the work and personality
of Rossetti, who gathered a second generation of Pre-Raphaelites,
including Morris and Swinburne, around him at Oxford
in the late ’fifties, and, more than a decade before
the appearance of his own Poems (1870), encouraged
his young admirers to produce work marked by the medievalism,
the stylization, the pictorial effects, and the emphasis
on love and death that became the hallmarks of poetry
in the Pre-Raphaelite manner. "We call them a school,"
writes Courthorpe of Rossetti, Morris, and Swinburne,
"because, though differing from each other in their
choice of subjects and in their style, a common antipathy
to society has produced in them a certain community
of perception, and even occasional resemblances of language"
(963). Among the other poets frequently dubbed "Pre-Raphaelite"
are Christina Rossetti, William Allingham, and Arthur
"L’Allegro" The Italian title of
Milton’s poem, first published in 1645, means "The
of them in especial…darkness of death Lampman
is probably referring to Swinburne (see note, below).
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), the American
poet whose Evangeline (1849) and The Song
of Hiawatha (1855) were especially well known in
Canada at this time.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), the American poet
and short-story writer whose "strange and fascinating"
poems include "The Raven" (1845) and "Annabel
Arnold’s "Forsaken Merman" This
is Lampman’s first surviving reference by name to the
English poet and critic who lies centrally in the background
of many of his subsequent essays (see, for example,
the headnote to "Poetic Interpretation") as
well as many of his poems. In February 1884, Arnold
(1822-1888) visited Ottawa as part of his North American
tour of 1883-84 and Lampman heard the anti-democratic
lecture on "Numbers" that later appeared in
Discourses in America (1885). "The Forsaken
Merman" (1849) is a poetic version of a Danish
ballad in which a merman vents his sorrow over his wife’s
abandonment of her husband and children.
Gabriel Ros[s]etti… One of the leaders of
the original Pre-Raphaelites (see note, above), Rossetti
(1828-1882) is succinctly and accurately described in
the biographical sketch in Ward’s English Poets as a
"poet and painter" who achieved fame in painting
"as an imaginative designer and a colourist of
the highest rank," who "passed his days in
much seclusion" and, latterly, "failing health,"
and who published three volumes of translations and
original poetry, Translations from the Early Italian
Poets (1861), Poems (1870), and Ballads
and Sonnets (1881)(4: 633). Pater supplements these
essential facts with several general observations that
Lampman weaves into his opening assessment of Rossetti:
he "had ever something about him of mystic isolation,"
his "perfect sincerity" issued in "the
most direct and unconventional expression," his
verse displayed a "structure…music…vocabulary…[and]
accent" that were "unmistakably novel"
even for "a time when poetic originality…might
seem to have had its utmost play," and "his
primary aim, as regards form or expression in…verse"
was to find the "exact equivalence to…data
within" (5: 205-06).
was fond of giving material shape to the inmost motions
of the heart and soul… "To [Dante]…the
material and the spiritual are fused and blent. …And
here…by force of instinct, Rossetti is one with him,"
writes Pater; "[l]ike Dante, he knows no region
of spirit which shall not be sensuous also, or material"
poems…peculiar moods… Pater refers "a
certain feverishness of soul in the moods" of two
of Rossetti’s poems (5: 209).
will have little appeal to mankind at large…food for
poets… In "The Poetry of Dante Gabriel
Rossetti" (1882), Thomas Bayne praises Rossetti’s
poetry for "subtle intricacies" that are,
however, unlikely to appeal to the "popular taste":
"he will be above all a poet’s poet" (384);
and in "Rossetti’s Poems" (1882), the anonymous
author argues that "all poetry which retains a
permanent hold over succeeding generations…has been
nourished upon the spontaneous feelings and aspirations
of its own age, and speaks without affectation"
Blessed Damosel [sic]"… Pater regards
"The Blessed Damozel, written at the age
of eighteen, [as] a prefigurement of the chief characteristics
of…[the Pre-Raphaelite] school" and calls attention
to its "definiteness of sensible imagery, which…was
strange…in a theme so profoundly visionary" (5:
205-07). In the first line of the stanza of "The
Blessed Damozel" (1807) that he quotes, Lampman
substitutes "shall" for "will" but
otherwise the quotation is substantially accurate.
Kingsley…in one of his letters The English
novelist and poet Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) was an
Anglican priest and a Christian socialist who is now
remembered primarily for The Water-Babies (1863).
He was greatly admired by many mid- and late Victorians,
however, as witness the publication of several "editions"
(printings) of His Letters and Memories of His Life
(1876) by F.E. Kingsley ("His Wife"). Lampman
may have been thinking of a passage in a letter of July
10, 1842: "[w]e need not henceforth to give up
the beautiful for the true, but to make the true the
test of the beautiful, and the beautiful the object
of the true, until to us God appears in perfect beauty.
Thus every word and every leaf which has beauty in it,
will be as loved as ever, but they will all be to us
impresses of the Divine hand, impresses of the Divine
mind" (1: 72).
Nocturn" and the "Stream" and…"Love-Lily"
All three of these poems, like "The Blessed
Damozel," are anthologized in Ward’s English
Poets. Pater comments extensively and enthusiastically
on the first two ("[o]ne seems to hear there a
really new kind of poetic utterance" and so on
Rossetti’s poem about a prostitute, first published
in Poems (1870), occasioned much controversy
and engendered several treatments of similar themes
by other writers. Admirers of the poem included Bayne
(381) and the H. Buxton Forman of Our Living Poets.
An Essay in Criticism (1870; 222-25). Detractors—with
whom Lampman aligns himself— included Shairp ("I
do not care to dwell now" on "Jenny"
["Aesthetic Poetry. Dante Gabriel Rossetti"
(1882): 9]), Courthorpe (for whom it represents "the
incapacity of the literary poet to deal with contemporary
themes in an effective and straightforward manner"
), and, most (in) famously, the Robert Buchanan
of The Fleshly School of Poetry and Other Phenomena
of the Day (1872).
"Last Confession"… Forman describes
"A Last Confession" (1870) as "a study
in morbid psychology" that shows remarkable "insight"
into "the brain of the haunted narrator" (216-20)
and Shairp considers its subject "a painful one"
("Aesthetic Poetry" 9). The speaker of "A
Last Confession" is a member of the Risorgimento,
the mid-nineteenth-century movement to liberate Italy
from the Austro-Hungarian empire.
fine sonneteer… Bayne describes Rossetti as
"one of the few really great sonneteers" (377)
and Shairp regards "the sonnet as the form in which
he could best express his favorite thoughts and sentiments"
("Aesthetic Poetry" ). The bulk of Rossetti’s
sonnets are included in The House of Life (1870,
1881), which includes several on "the value of
time" ("Lost Days," for example) and
one at least on "how some good thing should be
done…every day" ("The Choice, III" "Think
thou and act").
groundwork…quaint and mediæval In the former
category are such poems as "Jenny," "The
Burden of Nineveh" (1870), and "My Sister’s
Sleep" (1870); in the latter "The Blessed
Damozel," "The Bride’s Prelude" (1870),
and "The Staff and Scrip" (1870). Pater remarks
that Rossetti "turned…often from modern life to
the chronicle of the past" in order to treat of
themes "broadly human…such as one and all may realize"
Algernon Swinburne A friend of Rossetti’s
and a member of the Pre-Raphaelite group at Oxford in
the late ’forties Swinburne (1837-1909) came to prominence
with Atalanta in Calydon (1865) and Poems
and Ballads (1866), the former a drama on the classical
Greek model and the latter a bold mixture of anti-Christian
and Sadean themes that caused a public scandal. Songs
Before Sunrise (1871), a volume that still reveals
Rossetti’s influence, reflects Swinburne’s hatred for
religions and political authority and his support for
Mazzini’s Italian independence movement. His other works
of the ’sixties and ’seventies include a second series
of Poems and Ballads (1878) and several other
imitative dramatic works (including three on the subject
of Mary Queen of Scots, Chastelard , Bothwell
, and Mary Stuart ). Tristram
of Lyonesse, and Other Poems (1882) was one of over
twenty volumes that Swinburne published after 1879,
the year in which health problems caused by alcohol
abuse put him in the care of his friend Theodore Watts-Dunton
in Putney, London.
is a wonderful musician…riotous melody Whether
admiring or hostile, few critics fail to mention Swinburne’s
musicality and metrical skill. Lampman’s views accord
with those of Courthorpe, who sees Swinburne as "a
master of metre alone" and quotes him against himself
in admitting that he has "‘no skill…to sharpen
and slacken strings’" (66-67). Austin makes much
the same point but more elaborately, asserting that
such poems as "Dolores" (1866) are "shakes
and quavers, runnings up and down the scales displaying
wonderful felicity and flexibility, but giving us no
new air, nor even any genuine modification of the air"
(Poetry of the Period 110). In his approach to
both Swinburne and Morris, Lampman may have been influenced
by the American critic Edmund Clarence Stedman’s discussion
of them, with Rossetti, as "Latter-Day Singers"
in Victorian Poets (1875). Stedman praises all
three poets, but he finds a "somewhat limited range
of…vocabulary" in Morris’s work and, while noting
Swinburne’s "miraculous gift of rhythm," finds
fault with his "excessive richness of epithet and
sound [and]…redundancy of treatment" and concedes
that in Songs Before Sunrise "much is tumultuous
and ineffective. The prolonged earnestness fags the
reader" (379, 380-82, 400).
was I born…fail them never" Apart from
punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of the fifth stanza
of "Ex-Voto" in Poems and Ballads (1878)
Alluring but delusive charm—a word applied by
Shairp to Rossetti’s sonnets ("Aesthetic Poetry"
"The Last Oracle"… A poem addressed
to Apollo, the ancient Greek god of light, music, youth,
and prophecy (among other things), "A Last Oracle"
was published in Swinburne’s second series of Poems
and Ballads (1878). Lampman’s quotation of part
of its second stanza is accurate except for punctuation
and the substitution of "lips" for "tongues"
in the third line.
it may be…shall have light" Lampman’s
quotation of the opening lines of the third stanza of
"The Last Oracle" is substantially correct.
and the rabble The governor of Tarsus in Shakespeare’s
Pericles, Cleon is finally burned by the "rabble"
for his wickedness.
Veneris"… A poem addressed to Venus,
the goddess of love in ancient Roman religion, "Laus
Veneris" was published in Swinburne’s first volume
of Poems and Ballads (1866). Lampman misquotes
the opening lines of its fifth stanza: "Alas, Lord,
surely thou art great and fair. / But lo her wonderful
woven hair!" (1: 147)
C[h]astelard…Bothwell…Tristram of Lyonesse
See note, above.
ignis fatuus Will-’o-the-wisp: light
from the burning of marsh-gas that can lead travellers
into danger; hence, any delusive idea that leads people
Containing poisonous or noxious gases from rotting
Atalanta in Calydon See note, above.
Morris Also a friend of Rossetti and a member
of the Pre-Raphaelite group at Oxford in the late ’forties,
Morris (1834-1896) had a varied and influential career
as a poet, utopian socialist, and designer-manufacturer
of beautiful furnishings and books. His first volume
of poetry, The Defence of Guenevere, and Other Poems
(1858), was also the first volume to be published by
any member of the Pre-Raphaelite "school."
It was followed in the ’sixties by three other poetic
works—The Life and Death of Jason: a Poem (1867),
The Earthly Paradise: a Poem (3 vols., 1868-70),
and The Story of Sigurd the Volsung, and the Fall
of the Niblungs (1877)—but in the ’seventies Morris
turned more to prose and the decorative arts. The influence
of his prose utopian romance News from Nowhere
(1890) is evident in Lampman’s "The Land of Pallas"
(1899), written between circa August 1891 and February
1896 (Early, "Chronology" 84).
in imitation of Chaucer… Like Swinburne’s
musicality, Morris’s debts to Geoffrey Chaucer (circa
1342-1400) in The Earthly Paradise seldom escape
the attention of critics, one of whom rates Morris the
equal of the author of Canterbury Tales (see
Forman 24). Lampman’s view of Morris here and in succeeding
paragraphs is more consistent with that of Courthorpe,
who faults him for being "far more diffuse than
Chaucer," a poet who "shows the most vigorous
enjoyment of the activity and incident of life, from
which this fastidious scholar so delicately withdraws
himself" (80). "The natural languor of Mr.
Morris’s style makes his verse at once diffuse and tedious,"
writes Courthorpe; moreover, "[a]n incurable habit
of gossiping causes him to loiter in his narratives,
when he should be swift and stirring" and his poetry
is marred by the "decrepit love-longing…[that]
is the peculiar product of modern poetry" (79,
ship full of Norwegians… Lampman is quoting
and embellishing Morris’s prose Argument to The Earthly
Paradise "[c]ertain gentlemen and mariners
of Norway, having considered all that they had heard
of the Earthly Paradise, set sail to find it, and so
after many troubles and the lapse of many years came
old men to some western land, of which they had never
before heard: there they died, when they had dwelt there
certain years, much honoured of the strange people"
(3:3). Courthorpe also quotes from Morris’s Argument,
as does Andrew Lang in "The Poems of William Morris"
(1882), a generally positive assessment of The Life
and Death of Jason and The Story of Sigurd the
Volsung as well as The Earthly Paradise that
may have provided a foil for Lampman’s argument. Indeed,
part of Lampman’s précis appears to be adapted from
Lang’s: "[t]hey [the Greeks] and the mariners of
Norway amuse themselves by telling alternate stories
from the Greek and Teutonic stores of mythology and
The Life and Death of Jason See note,
The Story of Sigurd the Volsung See
note, above. In the manuscript "Tales of"
is replaced by "Story of" with no corresponding
change in verb.
of death and old age Lang concedes that "[n]o
poet has dwelt so constantly on the ideas of death,
of the lapse of time, of the approach of old age, as
Mr. Morris" (12).
art must be naive [and note] It is possible
that Lampman is alluding to Schiller’s essay "On
Naive and Sentimental Art" ("Ueber naive und
sentimentalische Dichtung" [1795-96]), which distinguishes
between poets who express nature naively or instinctively
and those who do so sentimentally or idealistically,
but sees the two reconciled in the simultaneously spontaneous
and controlled products of poetic genius. The context,
however, suggests that Lampman may merely mean that
true art must be unaffected and untainted. In his note,
Lampman quotes—accurately except for punctuation and
the transposition of "be ever"—the last three
lines of the opening stanza of "The Poet’s Mind"
(1830; Poems 224).
review of Ch[arles] J. Parham’s Lyrical Translations
from the Languages of Oc, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
and Provincial Dialects (Ottawa: n.p., 1887), "Lyrical
Translations" was published in The Week
(Toronto), December 8, 1887, 22. It has not been previously
a note dated "Ottawa, Nov. 1st., 1887" in
Lyrical Translations, Parham explains the origins
and contents of his slim volume:
than a year ago, with a fair knowledge of French and
Spanish, supplemented by a smattering of the Gascon
dialect, I began the study of mediaeval poets. Commencing
with the Troubadours, I devoted every leisure moment…to
the acquisition of languages and making translations,
so that by the end of October my little undertaking
reached its present dimensions, and in a few weeks
more would have attained the limit set for my first
venture—one hundred pages. Unfortunately, unforeseen
events have necessitated the premature publication
of the book, and the filling out of the concluding
pages with a variety of rubbish.
"variety of rubbish" to which Parham refers
is the section of his own poems entitled "Rhymes"
in the volume. Nothing more is known about the author
of Lyrical Translations except that it is dedicated
"To the Honorable Licentiate Don Hilario Santiago
Gabilondo in Testimony of Grateful Remembrance."
These are five of the headings in the Index (table
of contents) to Lyrical Translations, the other two
being "Melancholics" and "Rhymes."
In the body of the book the four genres are defined
as follows: "Tensons; or, Poetical Tournaments,
of which Gentle Dames of mutual choice were the Judges";
"Sirvante. Under the denomination of ‘Sirvante,’
the Troubadours comprehended all lyrical compositions
on any subject but love"; "Madrigals; or,
Erotic and Pastoral Songs"; "Letrillas. A
Letrilla is a Short Poem adapted to Music" and
"Canciones; or Lays."
of Bertrand de Born… "Be in play la douz
temps de pascor" ("Well pleased I am with
the vernal rays") is preceded by a note to the
effect that "[i]t was sung in the court of Richard
Coeur de Lion."
Prince of Equilache
Francisco de Borja, Prince of Esquilache (1580-1685).
A translation of his "Pastoral address to a nightingale"
(29n.) appears in Lyrical Translations, 29-31
and Lampman quotes a passage from it—"‘It is wrong
and distressing in him who sorrows to hear his complaints
in the rosy smiling morning’"—in a letter of March
25, 1895 to Edward William Thomson (Annotated Correspondence
Luis de Camoens (1524-1579).
Francesco Manoel de Melo (d. 1660).
Pietro Trapassi Metastasio (1698-1782).
Francisco de Riojo (d. 1658).
Vicento Gil Vicente (d. 1557).
Siesta" Parham’s own poem appears in
the "Rhymes" section of Lyrical Translations,
unsigned and undated holograph manuscript of "Style"
is held in the National Archives (MG 29 D59 vol. 1,
532-584). It is written in ink and consists of 53 sheets
measuring 20.4 cm. x 26.4 cm., each of them consecutively
numbered by Lampman. The paper is watermarked with chainlines,
a crescent moon cradling a five pointed star, and the
words "HOLYOKE LINEN". The "lines from
[Charles G.D. Roberts’s] "‘Tantramar Revisited’"
with which Lampman evidently concluded his recitation
of the essay, perhaps to the Ottawa Literary and Scientific
Society, are not included with the manuscript. Lampman
may have read them directly from Roberts’s In Divers
Tones (1886) or from Songs of the Great Dominion,
ed. W.D. Lighthall (1889) (see notes, below). A meticulous
edition of "Style" with an Introduction by
Sue Mothersill was published in Canadian Poetry:
Studies, Documents, Reviews, 7 (1980): 56-72.
pencilled draft of "Style" is contained in
a notebook that is also held in the National Archives
(MG 29 D59 vol. 3, 1566-1603). Although the notebook
is undated, the other item that it contains—an account
of the early stages of the trip "up the Lièvres"
River that Lampman undertook with Duncan Campbell Scott
in late July and early August 1885 (1594)—suggests that
the essay was begun at about that time. However, internal
evidence in the form of the verb tenses used to describe
Matthew Arnold (past) Robert Browning (past) and Alfred
Lord Tennyson (present) indicates that it was probably
completed and recited between December 12, 1889 (when
Browning died) and October 6, 1892 (when Tennyson died).
(Arnold died on April 15, 1888.)
"The Modern School of Poetry in England,"
which was written during the winter of 1884-1885, and
"Poetic Interpretation," which may date from
somewhat later, "Style" relies heavily on
the work of John Campbell Shairp, particularly Aspects
of Poetry, Being Lectures Delivered at Oxford (1882).
Several debts to other critics are recorded or suggested
in the notes to "Style" in the present edition,
but none is so extensive as that to the fifth chapter
of Aspects of Poetry, an essay on "Poetic
Style in Modern English Poetry" that also lies
centrally in the background of "Poetic Interpretation."
Near the beginning of his essay, Shairp eschews any
"attempt to characterize the style that is proper
to each of the great masters" of English literature
(108), but in his ensuing survey of poetic style from
Shakespeare to Tennyson he makes numerous observations
about the style of individual poets, particularly Wordsworth,
Coleridge, Byron, and Keats (but not Shelley, for "comments
on his poetry have of late been so rife [that] there
is less need" ). With its commentaries on
the style of both Shelley and Wordsworth, Browning
and Tennyson, Roberts and Rossetti, Lampman’s essay
is a supplement to Shairp that shows signs of increasing
intellectual confidence as it moves towards the present
from the past.
much an oral presentation rather than a polished essay,
"Style" suffers by comparison, for example,
with Walter Pater’s contemporaneous piece of the same
title (5: 5-38), but it provides numerous insights into
Lampman’s thinking on poetic style in the years surrounding
the publication of Among the Millet (1888). Especially
illuminating are the pointers that it provides towards
particular poems and passages in the work of the various
poets that Lampman admired. A mere juxtaposition of
one of the passages that he quotes to illustrate "Wordsworth’s…lofty
contemplation of external nature, and…reverent interest
in all the humble and laborious occupations of life"
and a stanza of "Heat," written in July 1887
(Early, "Chronology" 79), casts fresh light
on his poem and its sources:
is all nature as a resting wheel[.]
The kine are couched upon the dewy grass
The horse alone seen dimly as I pass
Is cropping audibly his later meal[.]
Where the far elm-tree shadows flood
Dark patches in the burning grass,
The cows, each with her peaceful cud,
Lie waiting for the heat to pass.
From somewhere on the slope near by
Into the pale depth of the noon
A wandering thrush slides leisurely
His thin revolving tune.
is surely no coincidence that the stanza form of "Heat"
almost identical to that of "To My Sister,"
which Lampman quotes to illustrate the same point and
praises as an instance of Wordsworth’s "plain and
simple…yet striking" manner. Dismayingly derivative
and superficial as it is in places, "Style"
is valuable for the light that it sheds, not only on
Lampman’s stylistic preferences, but also on his poetic
Style…might be defined…
Lampman’s definition of style appears to be an
elaboration of a dictionary definition such as that
found in Chambers’ Etymological Dictionary (1880):
"the distinctive manner peculiar to an author;
characteristic or peculiar mode of expression and execution
(in the fine arts)."
how noticeable…unnatural in others
After drawing a parallel between "manner…[in]
character and conduct" and "style…[in] thought
and sentiment" in the opening sentences of "Poetic
Style in Modern English Poetry," Shairp observes
that "[w]e all know what is meant by saying that
a man has a good manner; and we know too, in some measure,
how he has come by it. It implies first that there exist
in his nature qualities which are admirable, dispositions
which are lovable, and next, that to these have been
superadded courtesy, or the gift of expressing naturally
and felicitously the feelings that are within him. Where
these dispositions exist, what is needed is that a man
during his pliable youth should have lived in good society.
…It is of course possible…that a man may have good outward
manners, which yet cover a soul inwardly unbeautiful"
(Aspects of Poetry 104).
distinction…artists and writers
Shairp’s second paragraph reads: "[a]ll this
may be transferred from character and social life to
literature and its works. A man reveals himself—what
he really is—in many ways; by his countenance, by his
voice, by his gait, and not least by the style in which
he writes. This last, though a more conscious and deliberate,
is as genuine an expression of himself as anything else
that he does" (Aspects of Poetry 104-05).
In his next paragraph, Shairp argues that in "all
literature which is genuine, substance or matter…and…style…are
inseparable. The style is not something superadded from
without…but…breathed from within, and is instinct with
the personality of the writer" (105).
can be more effective…than this artificial manner of
society… Whereas Shairp distinguishes between
the "genuine" and the "superadded,"
Lampman uses the terms "artificial and customary."
Nevertheless, his terminology echoes Shairp’s comment
that "a man…may…adopt…the external economy of manners
which rightly belongs to genuine worth, and…may wear
these as a veneer over what is really a coarse and ignoble
nature. And if the polish has been skilfully put on,
it requires a practised eye to detect the deception;
but in time it is detected" (Aspects of Poetry
fact true style…the expression of genius… In
this and the next two paragraphs, Lampman’s point of
departure appears to be the fourth paragraph of "Poetic
Style in Modern English Poetry," which reads in
part: "[w]hen it is said that one of the chief
merits of a style is to be natural, some are apt to
fancy that this means that it should be wholly effortless
and unconscious. But a little thought will show that
this cannot be. …To use effort, and yet to preserve
truth and naturalness, is the main difficulty in all
composition. To be able to be natural, yet artistic,
it is this which distinguishes true literary genius"
(105-06). Lampman’s description of style as a "peculiar
development" that hinders "absolute expression"
echoes Shairp’s assertion that "[g]enuine literature
expresses not abstract conceptions…but thoughts and
things, as these are seen by some individual mind, colored
with all the views, associations, memories, and emotions
which belong to that mind" (Aspects of Poetry
style is liable to…decay…expression has become incessant
and too habitual Shairp describes "conventionalism"—the
use of "words and phrases" that have become
so "worn and faded" that they elicit "a
sense of commonness and fatigue"—as a "malady"
to which "poetic expression is…particularly exposed,"
and he suggests that "high-pitched imagination
and vivid emotion" tend to "shape themselves"
into expressions that "strike the ear and rivet
the attention" (Aspects of Poetry 109).
Shairp is discussing developments in literary history
rather than individual style, however, and—anticipating
subsequent paragraphs of Lampman’s essay— he proceeds
to illustrate his argument with reference to the stylistic
shifts between Milton and Pope and Pope and the "precursors"
of Romanticism (110-12).
style… In "The Province of Poetry"
(see notes to "The Modern School of Poetry in England"),
Shairp praises Shakespeare and other dramatists for
their ability "to represent life, in all its variety,
just as it is" (Aspects of Poetry 26). Lampman’s
comments include an allusion to Coleridge’s famous observation
in the February 17, 1833 entry in Table Talk
(1836) that "Shakespeare is universal, and, in
fact, has no manner" (214).
of the minor poets…occult regions of feeling… "The
Modern School of Poetry in England" would suggest
that Lampman was thinking specifically of Dante Gabriel
the end…every powerful and original artist…absorbing
mastery… "[W]hen once a man is master
of himself…[and] sets himself to speak…simply and sincerely…[his]
language will be true to his thought, true to the man
himself. Free from self-consciousness, free from mannerism,
it will bear the impress of whatever is best in his
individuality" (Aspects of Poetry 134).
in every age…a broadly perceptible character… In
this paragraph and his ensuing comments on the "dramatists
who wrote under Elizabeth and James," Lampman draws
heavily on Percy Bysshe Shelley’s remarks on "style"
in the Preface to The Revolt of Islam: "there
must be a resemblance, which does not depend upon their
own will, between all the writers of a particular age.
They cannot escape from subjection to a common influence
which arises out of an infinite combination of circumstances
belonging to the times in which they live; though each
is in a degree the author of the very influence by which
his being is thus pervaded. Thus, the tragic poets of
the age of Pericles; the Italian revivers of ancient
learning; those mighty intellects of our own country
that succeeded the Reformation, the translators of the
Bible, Shakspeare [sic], Spenser, the dramatists of
the reign of Elizabeth, and Lord Bacon; the colder spirits
of the interval that succeeded;—all resemble each other,
and differ from every other in their several classes.
In this view of things, Ford can no more be viewed as
the imitator of Shakspeare than Shakspeare the imitator
of Ford. There were perhaps few other points of resemblance
between these two men than that which the universal
and inevitable influence of their age produced. And
this is an influence which neither the meanest scribbler
nor the sublimest genius of any era can escape; and
which I have not attempted to escape" (Poetical
Works 1: 115). Shelley adds in a note that "Milton
stands alone in the age which he illumined."
Cathedral Constructed between 1220 and 1260
in a uniform, early Gothic style, the cathedral at Salisbury
in southern England is considered to be one of the most
beautiful of British churches.
of Strasburg The cathedral at Strasbourg in
eastern France was built between the eleventh and fifteenth
centuries, mainly in the Gothic style but with Romanesque
old mosque at Cordova La Misquita, the former
central mosque of the western caliphate, is the most
remarkable building in Córdoba in southern Spain. Begun
in the eighth century, it was enlarged in the ninth
and tenth centuries until it became the largest sacred
building of Islam after the Kaaba at Mecca.
Parthenon or the Temple of Apollo at Phigalia The
Parthenon (the Temple of Athena on the Acropolis at
Athens, Greece) and the temple of Apollo Epicunus at
Bassae (near Phigalia) in Arcadia, Greece were built
in the fifth century BC, probably from designs by the
same architect, Ictinus. Parts of both temples are included
in the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum.
Aboo Lampman is probably referring to Medina
(in present-day Saudi Arabia), the city to which Muhammed
escaped in 622. The principal building in Medina is
the Prophet’s Mosque, and the city is surrounded by
double walls with large bastions and gates.
A village on the east bank of the Nile River in
Egypt, Karnak is the site of the ancient city of Thebes.
It is famous for its complex of monuments, particularly
for the great Temple of Amun, which may have been begun
as early as circa 2700 BC.
Taj Mahal Completed in circa 1648 at Agra
on the Jumna River in northern India by the Mogul emperor
Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal is a mausoleum and memorial
for the emperor’s favourite wife.
Aphrodite of Praxiletes [sic] The Aphrodite
of Cnidus by the ancient Greek sculptor Praxiteles
(circa 390 BC - ?) has not survived, but it was celebrated
by the ancients as a work of great beauty.
Moses of Michel Angelo The statue of Moses
by the Italian sculptor and painter Michelangelo Buonarrotti
(1475-1565) is now in the Louvre in Paris.
Europe… In "Hebraism and Hellenism"
in Culture and Anarchy (1869), Arnold presents
his versions of Christian and Greek culture as the parallel
"forces" that have shaped Western civilization,
defining the former in terms of a "preoccup[ation]
with…the difficulties which oppose themselves to man’s
pursuit or attainment of…perfection" and the latter
as an idealistic vision of human life in which "beauty,"
"aërial ease, clearness, …radiancy" and "rationalness"
predominate: "[a]s one passes and repasses from
Hellenism to Hebraism, from Plato to St. Paul, one feels
inclined to rub one’s eyes and ask oneself whether man
is indeed a gentle and simple being, showing the traces
of a noble and divine nature; or an unhappy chained
captive, labouring with groanings that cannot be uttered
to free himself from the body of this death" (Complete
Prose Works 5: 167-69).
Oedipus Coloneus [sic] Oedipus at
Colonus: a tragedy by Sophocles that was first performed
in 401 BC.
Song of Roland Chanson de Roland
is an anonymous French romance of the early twelfth
Vita Nuova A series of poems interspersed
with a prose narrative, the Vita Nouva (New
Life) was written by Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)
in the final decade of the twelfth century.
and James Elizabeth I (1533-1603) was Queen
of England and Ireland from 1558 to 1603, when she was
succeeded by James I (1566-1625), who was also King
of Scotland from 1567 to 1625.
[sic] Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593), William
Shakespeare (1564-1616), John Ford (1586- after 1639),
and Ben Jonson (circa 1572-1637) were dramatists of
the Elizabethan and/or Jacobean periods.
Euphues, a prose romance by John Lyly published
in two parts in 1578 and 1580, gave its name to Euphuism,
a style characterized by "an affectation of excessive
refinement of language [and] high-flown expressions"
John Milton (1608-1674), published Paradise
Lost in 1667 and Paradise Regained in 1671,
but several of his minor poems date from the late sixteen
Titan gods After waging war for ten years
against Jove, the Titans of Greek mythology were imprisoned
in a cavern near Tartarus.
Henry IV apostrophises sleep See Henry
IV, Part 2 III. i. 5-31 ("O Sleep, O Gentle
Sleep, / Nature’s soft nurse. …Uneasy lies the head
that wears a crown").
and wayward…thy company [?]" Lampman’s
quotation of Richard III, IV. iv. 168-74 is accurate
except for punctuation and lines 170-71 ("‘Thy
age confirmed, proud, subtle, bloody, treacherous, /
More mild, but yet more harmful…’").
sometimes loads his phrases with an abundance of curious
conceits… In a letter to May McKeggie of December
10, 1884 Lampman thanks her for "the Shakespeare"
that she has given him and states that he has been reading
and re-reading "the comedies. …Oh they be marvellous—
What a brilliant, startlingly clever fellow is our father
William at every turn. One becomes altogether bewildered
sometimes with the rapid fire of his sharp sayings.
To read 10 lines almost anywhere in Shakespeare is to
run the gauntlet of as many sudden and enchanting surprises."
In the essay more than in this letter, Lampman acknowledges
Arnold’s argument in the Preface to his Poems
(1853) that, for all his skill in "intimately associating
himself with a character," Shakespeare sometimes
yields to a "fondness for curiosity of expression,
…an irritability of fancy, which seems to make it impossible
for him to say a thing plainly" (Complete Prose
Works l: 11).
comfort let no man speak. …I am a king?" Except
for punctuation and spelling, Lampman’s quotation of
Richard II, III, ii. 144-77 is accurate.
spake the Son…a shelter from his ire[.] Except
for punctuation and spelling, Lampman’s quotation of
Paradise Lost, VI. 824-43 is accurate.
calls the grand manner Here, and in the passage
preceding the quotation from Paradise Lost, Lampman
is drawing upon Arnold’s definition of the "grand
style" in "On Translating Homer" (1861):
"[t]he grand style arises in poetry, when a
noble nature, poetically gifted, treats
with simplicity or with sincerity or with severity a
serious subject" (Complete Prose Works
1: 188). In "Poetic Style in Modern English Poetry,"
Shairp remarks that "Milton…moulded for himself
a ‘grand style,’" adding that "[w]hat Milton
did for blank verse, Pope did for the heroic couplet—left
it as a tradition from which no poet of the last century
could entirely escape" (Aspects of Poetry
110-11). The "great events and strenuous cause"
with which Milton was connected were, of course, the
English Civil War of 1642-1649—the "Puritan rebellion"
of the next paragraph.
Congreve, Pope John Dryden (1631-1700), William
Congreve (1670-1729), and Alexander Pope (1688-1674)
were writers of the Restoration or Neo-Classical period
(1660-1700) that Lampman calls pejoratively the "sententious"—that
is excessively aphoristic—"age."
these gay thoughts…none can live to these[.] Lampman’s
quotation of the opening lines of Pope’s "Epistle
to Miss Blount, With the Works of Voiture" (1712)
contains numerous variants of spelling and punctuation
and omits two couplets: "Til Fate scarce felt his
gentle Breath supprest, / As smiling Infants sport themselves
to Rest" (13-14) and "The Smiles and
Loves had hy’d in Voiture’s Death, / But that for ever
in his Lines they breath" (19-20). Vincent de Voiture
(1598-1648) was a French writer.
age of Queen Anne Anne (1664-1714) was queen
of England and Scotland (Great Britain after 1707) and
Ireland from 1702 to 1714, the opening years of the
transition age—the age of Johnson, Addison, Fielding
and Sterne, of Thompson [sic], Grey [sic] and Cowper…
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), Joseph Addison (1672-1719),
Henry Fielding (1707-1754), Laurence Sterne (1713-1768),
James Thomson (1700-1748), Thomas Gray (1716-1771),
and William Cowper (1731-1800) were eighteenth-century
writers whose works do, in different degrees and ways,
mark a "transition" from the Neo-Classicism
of the Restoration period (1660-1700) to the Romanticism
of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
In "Poetic Style in Modern English Poetry,"
Shairp sees Cowper and Robert Burns as "the precursors
of a revolt against the tyrant tradition [of Pope].
The return they began towards a freer, more natural
diction came from an unconscious instinct for nature.
…The end of the old poetic régime came with the great
outburst of new and original poetry which marked the
last decade of the former century, and the first two
decades of the present" (Aspects of Poetry
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), the French
philosopher whose Du contrat social (1762) has
been described as "the Bible of the [French] Revolution"
and whose Les Confessions (1781-1788) was an
influential manifestation of Romantic subjectivity.
The French writer François-Marie Arouet (1694-1778)
who used the pseudonym Voltaire was the presiding genius
of the Enlightenment, the eighteenth-century philosophical
and literary movement that helped to engender the French
Revolution and Romanticism.
genuine criticism of life See the opening
notes to "The Modern School of Poetry in England"
for the Arnoldian sources of this phrase.
Coleridge, Southey, Wordsworth [and] Keats… Percy
Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), George Gordon, Lord Byron
(1788-1824), Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1824), Robert
Southey (1774-1843), William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
and John Keats (1795-1821) were English poets of the
Romantic period (1798-1832), though Southey and Wordsworth
lived on well into the Victorian era (1832-1901). Lampman’s
list of the major Romantic poets differs from that of
Shairp, which includes Sir Walter Scott rather than
Southey (see Aspects of Poetry 113). Lampman’s
perception of Keats as "separated from his age"
may have been influenced by William John Courthorpe’s
characterization of him in "The Latest Development
of Literary Poetry" (1872) as a "strange example
of literary reaction" whose poems treat of "the
remote tales of Greek mythology" and contain "not…a
single allusion to passing events" (61-62).
See the headnote and notes to "The Revolt of
Islam" for Lampman’s attitude and approach
to Shelley and his work. In Shelley (1878), John
Addington Symonds describes Alastor (1816), the
visionary poem that arose from Shelley’s inspirational
and liberating travels in England in 1815, as "the
first of his compositions which revealed the greatness
of his genius. …[T]he versification, tremulous with
lyrical vibrations, is such as only Shelley could have
produced. …It expresses the longing for perfect sympathy
in an ideal love, which the sense of divine beauty has
stirred in the poet’s heart" (86-87). "In
Alastor," observes William Michael Rossetti,
"we at last have the genuine, the immortal Shelley…the
greatest Englishman of his age" (lxxxii).
every side…the passing winds[.] Except for
punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of Alastor 543-70;
(Poetical Works 1: 107) is accurate.
Harold… See the headnote and notes to
"The Poetry of Byron."
did she hold the gorgeous East…everlasting sea[.]
Except for punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of
the octave of "On the Extinction of the Venetian
Republic" (1807) is accurate.
voices are there…heard by thee[.] In the third
line of "Thoughts of a Briton on the Subjugation
of Switzerland" (1807), Lampman substitutes "each"
for Wordsworth’s "both" and in the seventh
line "thine" for "thy" (3: 115).
Otherwise, except for punctuation and capitalization,
the quotation is accurate.
is the first wild day of March…green field Except
for punctuation and capitalization, Lampman’s quotation
of the first eight lines of "To My Sister"
(1798) is accurate.
Knight…summer’s cloud[.] Lampman’s quotation
of the first two lines of "Hart-Leap Well"
(1800) is accurate.
things…her mirth[.] Except for punctuation,
Lampman’s quotation of lines 8-11 of "Resolution
and Independence" (1807) (see note, below) is accurate.
bills[.] Except for punctuation and the substitution
of "the" for "that" after "Bees,"
Lampman’s quotation of lines 5-7 of "Nuns fret
not at their convent’s narrow room…" (1807) is
meal[.] Except for punctuation, Lampman’s
quotation of the first four lines of "Written in
Early Youth" (1807), the second part of "Extract
from the Conclusion of a Poem, Composed in Anticipation
of Leaving School" is accurate.
whether…reading in a book. In addition to
the usual variants of punctuation and capitalization,
Lampman’s quotation of stanza 8 and following of "Resolution
and Independence" deviates from standard texts
of the poem by the inclusion of two lines and a stanza
from editions of 1807-1815: "Where [which should
read ‘When’] up and down my fancy thus was driven /
And I with these untoward thoughts had striven"
and the stanza beginning "My course I stopped.
…" In editions after 1815, the earlier lines are
revised to "When I with these untoward thoughts
had striven, / Beside a pool bare to the eye of heaven…"
and the ensuing stanza is omitted. Lampman’s "their
pilgrimage" (rather than "life’s pilgrimage"),
"his body, limbs and face" (rather than "limbs,
body, and pale face") and "Beside the little
pond or" (rather than "Upon the margin of
that") are also consistent with early editions
of Wordsworth (see Poetical Works 2: 237-38).
In letters of December 2 and 10, 1884 to May McKeggie,
Lampman asks her to "[s]alute" and "thank"
Gretchen (Blackstock?) for "an excellent"
and apparently expensive copy of Wordsworth.
our own age…followers of certain schools… In
"Poetic Style in Modern English Poetry," Shairp
observes that "[i]n the poetry of the last fifty
years many notes have been struck, so many and so different,
that it would not be easy to characterize them all"
but proceeds to differentiate between "two main
branches of poetic tendency…one which carries on the
impulse and the style derived from Keats and Shelley,
[and] one which more or less is representative of Wordsworth’s
influence" (Aspects of Poetry 127). See
"The Modern School of Poetry in England" for
Lampman’s analysis of the Pre-Raphaelite "school."
"Revenge" "The Revenge"
(1880), subtitled "A Ballad for the Fleet,"
celebrates the bravery of Sir Richard Grenville against
the Spanish armada in 1591.
the main Tennyson… In his analysis of the
"composite and richly-wrought style of Alfred Lord
Tennyson (1809-1892), Shairp finds in "some of
his idyls the plainness of Wordsworth" but maintains
(see note, above) that "the subtle music of Shelley
has fascinated his ear…[and] Keats, with his rich sensuous
coloring, is the master whose style he has caught and
prolonged" (Aspects of Poetry 130).
genius…inner working of human emotion… This
is a common enough insight, but it is developed at length
by the University of Toronto’s first English professor,
William John Alexander, in An Introduction to the
Poetry of Robert Browning (1889): "Browning…is
a man who is possessed of the keenest eye for the inner
life, whose interest in outer action is subordinate
to an interest in the inner drama of the soul. …As is
illustrated in ["My Last Duchess," which Alexander
analyses in detail], the depicting of character and
of psychological situation is his main object. …[T]he
interest…[is] centred on the course of the inner, not
of the outer life" and so on (9-14).
once prepared…fresh Inferno[.] Except for
punctuation and the elimination of the stanza break
between lines 49 and 50, Lampman’s quotation of the
fifth and sixth stanzas (32-52) of "One Word More.
To E.B.B." (1855) is accurate.
the majestic river…Aral sea" Except for
punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of the final lines
of "Sohrab and Rustum" (1853) is accurate.
The same lines are quoted by Edmund Clarence Stedman
in Victorian Poets (1875) and W.J. Dawson in
The Makers of Modern English (1891); the former
remarks that "for diction and breadth of tone [they]
would do honour to any living poet" (94) and the
latter that "they are an admirable illustration
of the two qualities in which Arnold most excelled,
the qualities of simplicity and severity" (337-38).
Dawson sees "[a] pervading sadness and despair…[as
the] most memorable feature" of Arnold’s best poetry
Gabriel Ros[s]etti…Charles Algernon Swinburne…William
Morris…the Preraphaelite school… See the notes
to "The Modern School of Poetry in England."
and subtle effects…imagination… "In common
with Coleridge and Keats [Rossetti] possesses a curious
power of exciting the imagination into intensity of
vision. …[T]here is a subtlety, a magic, a charm of
imagination investing [his poetry], which rivets the
attention and fascinates the fancy. …‘Glamour’ best
describes it" (Dawson 350-51).
Sea Limits…all in each." Except for punctuation
and capitalization, Lampman’s quotation of "The
Sea-Limits" is accurate. In "Aesthetic Poetry.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti" (1882), Shairp quotes "The
Sea-Limits" as an admirable expression of "the
feeling that there is one life pervading all things
in some mysterious way" (11).
the beginning of years…holy spirit of man[.] Except
for punctuation and the omission of the second "the"
from the line "From under the feet of the years"
(7: 280), Lampman’s quotation of the opening lines of
the second long chorus in Atalanta in Calydon
(1865) is accurate. The same lines are cited by H. Buxton
Forman in Our Living Poets (1871) as "hold[ing]
in…small dimensions and under…mellow music a piece of
genuine and sad paganism" (357).
"Woodspurge" First published in
Poems (1870), "The Woodspurge" follows
a speaker to the disturbing conclusion that sorrow does
not bring knowledge and flowers do not contain sermons:
perfect grief there need not be
Wisdom or even memory:
One thing then learnt remains to me,—
The woodspurge has a cup of three.
G.D. Roberts of Windsor, N.S. The Canadian
writer Charles G.D. Roberts (1860-1945), whose Orion,
and Other Poems (1880) had profoundly affected Lampman
in 1881 (see "Two Canadian Poets"), became
the Professor of Modern Languages at King’s College,
Windsor, Nova Scotia in the fall of 1885 and occupied
that position until the spring of 1895. Lampman had
been corresponding with him sporadically since at least
September 1882 and had benefitted greatly from his promotion
of Among the Millet (1888) in the Maritimes (see
Roberts, Collected Letters 28, 93-94, and 97).
"Tantramar Revisited" was first published
as "Westmorland Revisited" in the December
20, 1883 issue of The Week (Toronto) and
then as "The Tantramar Revisited" in Roberts’s
In Divers Tones volume of 1886 and in Songs
of the Great Dominion, ed. W.D. Lighthall (1889).
Canadian Poets[:] a Lecture
holograph manuscript of "Two Canadian Poets[:]
a Lecture" is held by the National Archives (MG29
D59 vol. 7, 2967-3035). The following note in Lampman’s
handwriting appears below the signature on the final
on the evening of the 19th Febr. 1891 at the library
of the Literary and Scientific Society, Ottawa[.]
The above lecture was concluded with a reading
of two of Cameron’s most spirited poems "The
Week vs. Wendell Philips" and "The Way
of the World".
manuscript also contains annotations by Charles J. Cameron
(the brother and editor of George F. Cameron) that are
given in the notes below. Although written in pencil,
"Two Canadian Poets" presents few transcriptional
difficulties. It has been previously published as "Two
Canadian Poets: a Lecture by Archibald Lampman"
with a Prefatory Note by E.K. Brown in the University
of Toronto Quarterly, 13 (July, 1944): 406-23 and,
from there, reprinted in Masks of Canadian Poetry,
ed. A.J.M. Smith (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1962),
rough draft of "Two Canadian Poets" is contained
in a notebook of circa. 1891 that is also held by the
National Archives (MG29 D59 vol.7, 3112-3168). The same
notebook contains a rough draft of the first part of
"The Character and Poetry of Keats." Another
notebook that is undated but contains a draft of "April
Voices," a poem written in about 1889 (see Early,
"Chronology" 80), includes some preliminary
paragraphs on George F. Cameron and his poetry (National
Archives, MG29 D59 vol. 3, 1346-1351).
final draft of the lecture occupies the first 67 pages
of a notebook that also contains a preliminary draft
of "Happiness." The notebook has a dark brown
cover printed, on the front, with the words "200
PAGES. | ROSE BUD | PRAC•TIC•E BOOK | ROBERTSON BROS.,
Books and Stationary, 69 Rideau Street, Ottawa."
and, on the back "ROBERTSON BROS., | 69 RIDEAU
STREET,—OTTAWA. | DEALERS IN | School Books and Stationary."
The front cover is embellished with an etching of a
young woman and a rose branch; the back carries a set
of arithmetical tables. The pages of the notebook measure
16.5 x 25.4 cm.
addition to some "notable" but not entirely
original "ideas about the nation and the national
literature," "Two Canadian Poets" contains
"a many-sided judgement" of Charles G.D. Roberts
and an "enthusiastic tribute" to Cameron that
both singly and together comprise Lampman’s most extensive
commentary on Canadian poetry (Brown 406). As Brown’s
summary and its opening paragraphs intimate, Lampman’s
lecture on Roberts and Cameron took place in an atmosphere
of intense debate about the prospects for Canada and
Canadian literature. "[T]he future presents to
us three possibilities," Roberts would write in
his 1897 History of Canada, "—absorption
by the United States, Independence, or a federal union
with the rest of the British Empire" (439). Before
they were starkly juxtaposed in Alexander Morris’s Nova
Britannia; or, British North America, Its Extent and
Future (1858), Roberts’s three "possibilities"
had dictated some of the critical terms of political
debate in Canada for many years, but in Ottawa on February
19, 1891 they were especially imminent on account of
the federal election that culminated less than a month
later. Not only was the election of March 1891 fought
by Sir John A. Macdonald on "patriotic grounds,
by meeting head on the Liberal call for unrestricted
reciprocity with the United Sates," but on February
17 in an address in Toronto Macdonald had "colour[ed]
Liberal schemes of unrestricted reciprocity as fundamentally
annexationist" (Johnson and Waite 610). Ten days
earlier, on February 7, Macdonald had delivered himself
of the famous statement "I am a British subject
and British born, and a British subject I hope to die,"
which as J.K. Johnson and P.B. Waite observe, has to
be read in its historical context more "as an expression
of Canadian nationalism than as any lofty imperial sentiment"
(610). That the opening paragraphs of "Two Canadian
Poets" are also such an expression is perhaps to
be expected since Lampman was a civil servant with good
reason to keep on the right side of Macdonald (see the
headnote to "Mr. Thomson’s Old Man Savarin").
Far from being a simple endorsement of nationalism,
however, Lampman’s preliminary remarks carefully differentiate
between "the true spirit of patriotism" and
a patriotism driven by self-interest: the poet who had
recently written "The Modern Politician" and
who would soon write "To a Millionaire" (see
Early, "Chronology" 81) was unlikely to have
been unaware of the allegations of corruption that surrounded
two prominent members of Macdonald’s government in 1890-1891
and were soon to erupt in the Langevin-McGreevy scandal
of April 1891. In the tact with which it negotiates
the issues of national and personal interest, "Two
Canadian Poets" is very much the product of a civil
servant and an incipient socialist.
Lampman writes in his opening paragraph of the threats
to the "independent existence" of Canada he
probably had in mind, not the Liberals, but the annexationists,
a group led by the likes of Erastus Wiman (a Canadian
entrepreneur living in New York), Henry W. Darling (the
president of the Toronto Board of Trade), and Edward
Ferrar, a journalist for the Toronto Daily Mail
who unwittingly gave Macdonald a pretext for the election
of 1891 in the form of a pamphlet "on how American
policies could be devised for driving Canada into annexation"
(Johnson and Waite 610). In the late ’eighties and early
’nineties, the annexationist movement had two highly
literate and literary spokesmen in Goldwin Smith, the
founding editor of The Week (Toronto) (1883-1896)
and his assistant Graeme Mercer Adam, whose many writings
include the "Outline of Canadian literature"
in William Henry Withrow’s Popular History of the
Dominion of Canada (1878). A Handbook of Commercial
Union compiled by Adam and introduced by Smith was
published in 1888, and in 1891, while the general election
was in progress, Smith saw "through the press"
(300) his Canada and the Canadian Question (1891),
a survey of Canadian history and the various economic
and political options available to the country that
concludes by advocating union with the United States.
In the pages of The Week and elsewhere between
1887 and 1890, Adam published several literary articles
which, while staunch in their advocacy of Canadian literature
as a stimulus to the country’s "nationward impulses,"
tend to emphasize the crippling lack of "literary
men or anything of a literature" in "English-speaking
Canada" (118-19; and see Bentley, Checklist
1-24). Adams’s articles and others like them by such
writers as Sarah Jeannette Duncan ("We are still
an eminently unliterary people" ), Agnes
Ethelwyn Wetherald ("Unliterary People" ),
L. O’Loane ("Our Chances for a Literature"
), and Smith himself ("‘What is the Matter
with Canadian Literature?’" ) constitute
the backdrop against which Lampman addresses the issue
of "whether a Canadian Literature exists"
and envisages the "qualities" that such a
literature might exhibit.
the politically and culturally charged time when Lampman
delivered his lecture, Charles G.D. Roberts (1861-1945)
had barely begun his literary career and George Frederick
Cameron (1845-1885) had only been dead for six years.
An inspirational influence on Lampman’s own poetic career,
as the best-known passage of "Two Canadian Poets"
makes eloquently clear, Roberts had published only two
volumes of poetry in 1891, Orion, and Other Poems
(1880) and In Divers Tones (1886). The bulk of
his poetry, as well as his novels and his collections
of animal stories, lay in the future, and there was
little intimation of what was to come in the few dozen
lyrics and stories that had appeared in various Canadian
and American periodicals (see John Coldwell Adams 221-22,
229-30). This helps to explain Lampman’s placement of
Roberts below Cameron in the "order of excellence,"
for the latter’s Lyrics on Freedom, Love and Death
(1887), posthumously edited by his brother, runs to
nearly three hundred pages and, according to its editor,
"represents one fourth of his life work" ([xv]).
"If it is well received," continues Charles
J. Cameron in his Preface, "the rest will follow
in due course." Lampman acknowledged that "Cameron’s
work…is often faulty…incomplete…[and] facile,"
but believed that, in the aggregate, it constituted
"the same sort of gift that [Heinrich] Heine left
to the world, the picture of a brilliant passionate
imperfect human soul, and the record of its eager contact
with the world."
quantity and cumulation only partly account for Lampman’s
preference for Cameron over Roberts. Both at the beginning
and at the conclusion of his discussion of Orion,
and Other Poems and In Divers Tones, Lampman
finds Roberts’s work deficient in two of the qualities
set out in "The Modern School of Poetry in England"
and other essays, namely "variety" ("only
three or four really different notes are struck")
and a lack of elevation (he "never attempts to
lead us to any of the grander levels of thought and
feeling"). Moreover, Roberts sacrifices "spontaneity"
to "workmanship" and, in his love poems, "genuine
tenderness, and…delicacy of feeling" to "pitiless
egotism" and "brawny passion." (Interestingly
enough, Roberts never again included the two poems at
which these last charges were levelled—"Tout ou
Rien" and "In Notre Dame"—in one of his
collections.) In 1881 Lampman had been galvanized by
Orion, and Other Poems but a decade later, and
even while protesting that "personal feeling perhaps
induces [him] to place a higher estimate on [Roberts’s
poetry] than [his] hearers will care to accept,"
several facets of his "many-sided judgement"
of his mentor are less than favourable. In contrast,
Lampman works hard to cast Cameron’s work in a positive
light by emphasizing its spontaneity, nobility and—his
new term for variety— elasticity. Lampman’s judgement
of Cameron is far from one-sided, however, for he readily
but gently admits his "frequent weaknesses and
blemishes," his pervasive melancholy and consequent
despair and, in the final analysis, his affinity with
Roberts in his failure to have "actually taught
us many things in a certain sense." No more than
Roberts was Cameron the "perfect poet" prophesied
at the conclusion of the essay on "Style,"
but he would continue to occupy a high place in Lampman’s
poetic hierarchy. Cameron is "the poet of most
genuine and fervid poetic energy that this country has
yet produced," he told J.E. Wetherell in November
1892; "[t]here are a half dozen things of his that
I would not give for all that the rest of us have written.
I can get a better effect upon people by reading them
some of Cameron’s poems than those of any other Canadian
writer; and that I have always found is the true test"
(qtd. in Annotated Correspondence 85-86n.).
…the enthusiasm of Fatherland…
As the opening paragraph of "German Patriotic
Poetry" makes apparent, the word "Fatherland"
(German: vaterland) had become specifically associated
with Germany in Lampman’s day. On both his father’s
and his mother’s side, Lampman was of German and Swiss-German
descent; moreover, he had great-grandfathers on both
sides of his family who had "lived and died upon…soil"
that became Canada (see Connor 13-17). In "Numbers,"
the paper that Lampman heard him deliver in Ottawa in
February 1884, Matthew Arnold sees "German stock"
as a redemptive presence in American democratic society
(see Collected Prose Works 10: 163-64).
or…enthusiasm for the advancement of all mankind…
Fed by sources as diverse as socialism and imperialism,
the desire to transcend national attachments and limitations
was indeed widespread in the latter part of the nineteenth
century. One Canadian who enthusiastically endorsed
the prospect of a "Federation of the world…lapt
in universal law" that Alfred Lord Tennyson had
glimpsed in "Locksley Hall" (1842; Poems
696) was William Douw Lighthall, who dedicated Songs
of the Great Dominion (1889) "To that Sublime
Cause, the Union of Mankind" and credited Canadians
in his Introduction to the anthology with espousing
as "an Ideal…[the] broad-minded advance" towards
the "voluntary Federation of Mankind" (xxiii).
Lampman, of course, had several poems in Songs of
the Great Dominion, and, since 1888, had been a
friend of Lighthall (the two visited one another in
Montreal and Ottawa in 1890).
Johnson’s old saying about patriotism…
The saying to which Lampman alludes—"‘Patriotism
is the last refuge of a scoundrel"— appears in
James Boswell’s Life (1791) of Samuel Johnson
(1709-1784) under the date of April 7, 1775. It is often
taken as an aspersion on patriotism, but, as Boswell
observes, Johnson "did not mean a real and generous
love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which
so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak
for self-interest" (2: 158-59). Arnold uses Johnson’s
often (mis-)quoted remark at the beginning of "Numbers"
to differentiate between dishonourable (self-centred)
and "honourable patriotism" (Collected
Prose Works 10:143).
Pogram and Jefferson Brick In Charles Dickens’
Martin Chuzzlewit (1843), Elijah Pogram is an
unattractive American congressman and public benefactor
and Jefferson Brick, though mild and youthful in appearance,
holds extremely strong political views.
this time when our country’s destiny… See
good deal is being said about Canadian literature…
age of Longfellow and Hawthorne Henry Wadsworth
Longfellow (1807-1882) and Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)
were classmates at Bowdoin College and produced the
bulk of their best work in the period preceding the
American Civil War (1861-1865).
marked American race…American peculiarities of mind
and character… Since Lampman restricts the
emergence of these "peculiarities" to "the
last twenty-five or thirty years" (that is, since
the American Civil War), he was probably not thinking
of the traits described in the essays in The Home
Book of the Picturesque (1852)(see notes, below).
Perhaps he had in mind John Burroughs’ theory in Winter
Sunshine (1875) that the rigours of the American
climate had produced a distinctively American set of
racial and literary characteristics: "[o]ur climate
is more heady and less stomachic than the English; sharpens
the wit, but dries up the fluids and viscera; favors
an irregular, nervous energy, but exhausts the spirits.
…[O]ur climate gives us no rest, but goads us day and
night; and the consequent wear and tear of life is no
doubt greater in this country than in any other on the
globe. …To some, the differences which I note may appear
a difference in favour of the greater ’cuteness, wideawakeness,
and enterprise of the American, but is simply a difference
expressive of our greater forwardness. We are a forward
people, and the god we worship is Smartness. In…an impudent,
superficial, journalistic intellectuality and glibness,
America, in her polite and literary circles, …leads
all other nations" (2: 148-49, 174-75).
country is still in the house-building land-breaking
stage… Lampman’s analysis of Canada’s social and
literary development echoes and engages that of several
writers in post- (and, indeed, pre-) Confederation Canada.
It is possible, however, that he was thinking specifically
of Sara Jeannette Duncan’s column on Canadians as "an
eminently unliterary people" (1886), which attempts
to refute several of the theories advanced to account
for Canada’s barren literary horizon: the "idea
that the Canadian climate reduces the Canadian brain
to a condition of torpor during six months of the year
may be dismissed. …Nor can we place the slightest responsibility…upon
our educational system. …So great…are our facilities
for education that our farm lands lie untilled while
our offices are filled to unprofitable repletion. …We
are a well-developed and well-educated people; but we
do not write books. ‘No, for that we are not rich enough,’
you say. ‘The cultivation of letters demands wealth
and a leisure class. We have a professional market in
view for our hard-bought college training. …’ A leisure
class is a valuable stimulus to literary production.
But money and the moneyed can neither command nor forbid
the divine afflatus. …When the great Canadian littérateur
recognizes himself, he will not pause to weigh the possibilities
of Canada’s literary market before he writes the novel
or the poem that is to redeem our literary reputation.
…We are indifferent [to literature]; we go about our
business and boast of the practical nature of our aspiration.
…The Province of Ontario is one great camp of Philistines.
…We are swayed by no patriotic sentiment that might
unite our diverse provincial interests in the common
cause of our country. …A national literature cannot
be looked for as an outcome of anything less than a
complete national existence" (707-08). "We
have all heard of Miss Sara Jeannette Duncan…and have
read more or less of her entertaining and popular work,"
Lampman writes in his At the Mermaid Inn column
for March 4, 1893; "[h]er success has been phenomenal,
and her name meets the eye in almost every newspaper"
know that climatic and scenic conditions have much to
do with the moulding of national character… Since
post- (and pre-) Confederation writing is rich in environmental
explanations of the Canadian "character" and
its literary productions, Lampman’s analysis in this
paragraph echoes numerous texts, particularly those
stemming from R.G. Haliburton’s The Men of the North
and their Place in History (1869), which argue that
Canada’s distinctiveness resides in its being "a
Northern country inhabited by descendants of Northern
races" (2). As Carl Berger has pointed out (62-63,
28-33), Haliburton’s notion of Canadians as "the
Northmen of the New World" (10), was picked
up by several writers of the Canada first and Imperialist
movements, including William A. Foster, whose "Canada
First; or, Our New Nationality" (1871) was reprinted
in 1890 in Canada First: a Memorial of the Late William
A. Foster, Q.C. (13-47). But the specific terms
in which Lampman defines a future Canadian character
and literature suggest that his primary source was The
Home Book of the Picturesque (1852), an American
compendium in which E.L. Magoon argues that "national
intellect" and "national works of art"
"receive…a prevailing tone from the peculiar scenery"
and "climate of a country" (thus "England,
and the kindred regions of Germany, have in their…climates
a depth of gloom which is known to characterize the
northern spirit") (4, 34) and Washington Irving,
writing of the Catskill Mountain region, suggests that
"if…changes from hot to cold…[annoy us occasionally],
they give us the brilliant sunshine of the south of
Europe with the fresh verdure of the north. … Our seasons
are all poetical; the phenomena of our heavens are full
of sublimity and beauty. Winter with us has none of
its poetical gloom. …[I]t has long intervals of cloudless
sunshine, when the snow-clad earth gives redoubled brightness
to the day" (74-75). Lampman may also have had
in mind Burroughs’ description in Winter Sunshine
of the "bright, evenly tempered" winter days
in Washington, D.C.—"southern days with northern
blood in their veins, exhilarating, elastic, full of
the action, the hyperborean oxygen of the North tempered
by the dazzling sun of the South" (2:3).
Haliburton Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1796-1865)
was and is best known as the author of The Clockmaker;
or, the Sayings and Doings of Samuel Slick, of Slickville
(1836) and its sequels. Between 1829 and 1856 he was
a judge, first for the Interior Court of Common Pleas
and then for the Superior Court in his native Nova Scotia.
Heavysege A poet and dramatist who emigrated
to Canada from England in 1853, Charles Heavysege (1816-1876)
was admired in Lampman’s day for some of his Sonnets
(1855) and for his verse dramas, particularly Saul
Kingsford A man of many professions and interests,
the English-born William Kingsford (1819-1898) founded
the short-lived Montreal Times (1844-1845) and
thereafter contributed articles and reviews to the Daily
Colonist (Toronto) and the Montreal Herald.
In 1887, he published A History of Canada which,
among other things, generated controversy around the
figure of Dollard des Ormeaux (Daulac), the hero of
Lampman’s "At the Long Sault: May, 1660" (see
Kennedy 54). Duncan Campbell Scott quotes Kingsford’s
account of "[t]he affair of Dollard on the Ottawa"
in his At the Mermaid Inn column for April 9,
Bourinot The Nova Scotia born journalist,
historian, and man of letters John George Bourinot (1836-1902)
was an expert on parliamentary and constitutional matters
who achieved prominence with Parliamentary Procedure
and Practice…in the Dominion of Canada (1884) and
A Manual of the Constitutional History of Canada
(1888). His Our Intellectual Strengths and Weaknesses:
a Short Historical and Critical Review of Literature,
Art and Education in Canada was published in 1893.
Lesueur Like Lampman, an employee of the Post
Office Department in Ottawa (1888-1902), the Lower Canada
born William Dawson Lesueur (1840-1917) contributed
numerous essays to Canadian, British, and American periodicals
on a variety of literary, philosophical, and scientific
Casgrain Henri-Raymond Casgrain (1831-1903),
a priest, publisher, and historian born in Lower Canada,
was the author and editor of numerous historical and
literary works published from 1860 onwards, including
Légendes canadiennes (1861), Un pèlerinage
au pays d’Evangeline (1887), and the Oeuvres
complètes (1882) of Octave Crémazie. His Montcalm
et Lévis appeared in 1891 in the middle of his tenure
as a professor of history at Université Laval (1887-1895).
William Dawson The Nova Scotia born geologist
and paleontologist, John William Dawson (1820-1899)
was a professor at McGill University who published numerous
articles in and around his fields of specialization,
including Modern Science in Bible Lands (1887)
and Modern Ideas of Evolution (1890).
Cremazie [sic] Joseph-Octave Crémazie (1827-1879)
was born in Lower Canada and emigrated to France, where
he died, in 1862. In the eighteen forties and ’fifties
he wrote numerous patriotic poems that became widely
known with the publication of his Oeuvres complètes
The Lower Canada born Louis Fréchette (1836-1908)
was known in Lampman’s day as a controversial journalist,
politician, and poet who had recently been appointed
clerk of the Quebec Legislative Council. He published
several dramatic works and poetry collections in the
eighteen sixties, ’seventies, and ’eighties, latterly
La Légende d’un peuple (1887) and Feuilles
Alexander William John Alexander (1855-1944)
was a Hamilton, Ontario born professor of English at
University College, Toronto who contributed articles
to various British, American, and Canadian periodicals
(including The Week) and, in 1889, published
An Introduction to the Poetry of Robert Browning
(see notes to "Style").
Roberts Charles G.D. Roberts was a professor
at King’s College in Windsor, Nova Scotia at this time
(see notes to "Style" and the headnote, above).
Machar Under her own name and the pseudonym
"Fidelis," the Kingston born Agnes Maule Machar
(1837-1927) published numerous essays, poems, and works
of history and fiction in The Week and elsewhere.
Several of her historical sketches had recently appeared
in Stories of New France (1890).
Duvar A Scottish-born resident of Prince Edward
Island, John Hunter-Duvar (1830-1899) was the author
of several works of drama, poetry, and prose, including
De Roberval: a Drama (1888) and The Emigration
of the Fairies and The Triumph of Constancy, a Romaunt
is natural that the poet… Lampman’s conviction
that poetry rather than prose is the natural product
of a "new country" was widely held in the
late nineteenth century. "Poetry is the natural
progeny of a nation’s youth," proclaimed Daniel
Wilson in 1858, though he went on to argue that Canada’s
"singular position" as an heir to European
achievements and a colony in the process of settlement
militated against "the lyrical or epic muse inspiring
for us the lay that is born of nature in the true poet’s
heart" (17-18). The expression of similar apprehensions
in articles in The Week and elsewhere in the
late ’eighties and early ’nineties (see, for example,
Adam, "Retarding Influences on Canadian Literature"
 and O’Loane "Our Chances for a Literature"
)" prompted Basil Tempest in the October
2, 1891 issue of The Week to counter the spate
of "foolish writing upon the unfitness of our surroundings
here in Canada to produce poetic art" with the
assertion that "wherever nature spreads her changing
panorama of sky, field and flood, there will be a theme
for the poet" (705). Lampman argues in much the
same spirit, with an eye towards the end of the paragraph,
perhaps, on Duncan’s suggestion (also a critical commonplace
of the time) that Canada has emerged too late as a nation
"to produce an epic poet or a dramatist" (707).
In pointing to the "history of old French Canada"
as a repository of dramatic subjects, Lampman may also
have had his eye on another critical commonplace as
expressed, for example, by Adam in "Nationalism
and the Literary Spirit" (1888): "[i]n Canada
we have a history full of adventure, replete with dramatic
incident, thrilling in many passages in the career of
the two great nations that contended for the prize of
the continent. …What material is here for her literary
men beyond what has already been wrought into the page
of history or limned on the canvas of poet or novelist"
G.D. Roberts and George Frederick Cameron See
founder of a school, the originator of a new era in
our poetic activity In the Introduction to
Songs of the Great Dominion, Lighthall hails
Roberts as "[t]he foremost name in Canadian song
at the present day" (xxiv), but in W. Blackburn
Harte’s "Some Canadian Writers of Today" (1890),
he is not even included in the "new school of poetry
being formed in Canada" (22)—indeed, Harte singles
out Lampman as "[t]he sweetest and strongest of
this little group of singers" (37). While Roberts’s
status as the "founder of [the] school" that
has come to be known as the Confederation poets was
not universally evident in 1891, his role in inspiring
and consolidating the group would certainly have been
apparent to Bliss Carman, Duncan Campbell Scott, William
Wilfred Campbell, and other Canadian writers of their
generation in Ontario and the Maritimes. See also the
headnote to "The Life and Times of Sir John
was almost ten years ago…Orion and Other Poems…
In the manuscript, this paragraph is enclosed
in square brackets. A copy of Roberts’s Orion, and
Other Poems, which was published by J.B. Lippincolt
in Philadelphia in 1880, was evidently lent to Lampman
in May 1881, perhaps by Joseph Edmund Collins, whom
Roberts had known since circa 1879 (see Roberts, Collected
Letters 23 and the headnote to "The Life
and Times of Sir John A. Macdonald"). Collins’s
belated and anonymous review of Orion, and Other
Poems in the February 1883 issue of Rouge et
Noir calls attention to the praise accorded to the
volume by periodicals and newspapers in England and
the United States, expresses pride in Roberts "because
he is of ourselves—a Canadian," and calls upon
"College authorities…[to] set apart for him a chair
of English literature" (12, 13).
Greekish flavour In Greek mythology, Orion,
the subject of the title poem of Roberts’s first volume,
is a giant Boeotian hunter who is the subject of various
legends, two of which—his love for Eos (the Dawn) and
his blinding by Œnopion and Dionysus—provide the basis
for "Orion" (see notes, below).
"Energy, vigour, buoyancy of mind or character;
capacity for resisting or overcoming depression"
and/or "[c]apacity for being ‘stretched’; expansiveness,
flexibility, accommodatingness" (OED).
Lampman well knew that this was an aspect of poetry
that Roberts himself valued very highly: "I suppose
[Collins] told you what I thought of the last two poems
of yours," Roberts had written on September 23,
1882; "[t]here was still, I think, an evidency
of haste, and too little of determined perplexing and
polishing. …At the same time your spontaneity…was…apparent"
(Collected Letters 30).
Saul…Heavysege… See note, above.
Roberts’ work… As A.J.M. Smith notes, Lampman
makes "two slight errors of chronology with respect
to Roberts. Orion was published when the poet
was twenty. In Divers Tones was published in
1886, not 1887" (44). Lampman’s confusion on the
latter score probably stems from the fact that the American
edition of In Divers Tones was published by Lothrop
in Boston in 1886 and the Canadian edition by Dawson
Brothers in Montreal in 1887.
and…"Ode to Drowsihood"…Dr. Holland…Century…
Roberts’s two poems were published in, respectively,
the June and November 1879 numbers of The Century
(New York), a periodical established in 1870 under the
title Scribner’s Monthly by a group that included
the historian, poet, and journalist Josiah Gilbert Holland
(1819-1881), who edited it until his death.
classical legend… "Orion"…"Acteon [sic]"…
See note above, for the mythological subject of
"Orion." In "Actæon. A Woman of Platæa
Speaks," Roberts treats of the Greek hunter who
happened upon the goddess Artemis (Diana) when she was
bathing and, as a result, was turned by her into a stag
and killed by his own hounds.
Dead" In "Balder Dead," a long
poem in blank verse first published in 1855, Arnold
imitates numerous passages and devices in the Iliad
and Odyssey (see Poems, 379-421).
A large Greek island off the coast of Asia Minor,
Chios claimed to be the birthplace of Homer and was
famous for its wine and figs.
of the foamless sea…They two with him." Except
for a very few minor differences of punctuation and
capitalization, Lampman’s quotation of "Orion"
184-220 is accurate.
cliffs are rent…he heeded not." Except
for a very few minor differences of punctuation, Lampman’s
quotation of "Orion" 394-425 is accurate.
"Oenone" Much revised between its
first and second appearances (1832, 1842), "Œnone"
also treats of a mythological subject— the love the
Greek nymph of its title for Paris—in blank verse. Its
opening lines contributed a great deal to Roberts’s
"The Pipes of Pan."
A town in Boeotia, northwest of Athens.
have lived long…the utmost verge." Except
for a very few minor differences of punctuation and
capitalization, Lampman’s quotation of the final lines
of "Actæon" is accurate.
Revisited"…"The Pipes of Pan…Elegiac Distich
of Tibullus and Ovid… Both "The Tantramar
Revisited" and "The Pipes of Pan" appear
in Roberts’s In Divers Tones and both are written
in distichs (pairs) of alternating hexameter and pentameter
lines, a form used by the Roman poets Albius Tibullus
(circa 60-19 BC) and Ovid (43 BC-AD 18). In A Handbook
of Poetics for Students of English Verse (1885),
Francis B. Gummere observes that "[t]he classical
lament was written in alternate hexameter and pentameter;
this was called elegiac verse. It came to be used for
any reflective poetry; hence ‘elegiac’ refers more to
the metre than to the subject. In English we understand
it generally to mean solemn or plaintive poetry"
(49-50). A letter of March 22, 1886 indicates that Gummere’s
Handbook was on the course in English literature
that Roberts taught at King’s College (see Collected
on miles…the gloom of the loft." Except
for a very few variations in punctuation, Lampman’s
quotation of "The Tantramar Revisited" 25-36
is a nook…mix with the god’s." Except
for variations in punctuation and spelling and the substitution
of "steep" for "sleep" (Collected
Poems 77), Lampman’s quotation of "The Pipes
of Pan" 17-26 is accurate.
Fawcett Roberts and the American poet and
novelist Edgar Fawcett (1847-1904) were mutual admirers:
in 1882, Fawcett had written to Roberts "hailing
him as a leader of the choir and saying many charming
things" (Collected Letters 33) and in 1884
Roberts repayed the compliment with articles on Fawcett
in the June 26 issue of The Week and the June
28 issue of The Current. Roberts did not
admire Fawcett unreservedly, however (see Collected
Letters 59-60), and Lampman regarded him as "brilliant,
ingenious, productive, but artificial, overstrained,
and devoid of tenderness"—a "destructive…product
of New York, or…the modern metropolis in general"
(At the Mermaid Inn 316, and see also 152). Fawcett’s
collections of poetry include Romance and Revery
(1886) and Blooms and Brambles (1889).
mortals…wonderful things." Except for
a few minor variations of punctuation and the omission
of the "s" in "depths" (Collected
Poems 77), Lampman’s quotation of the concluding
lines of "The Pipes of Pan" is accurate.
startled meadow-hen…down-pour." Lampman’s
quotation of the third and fourth stanzas of "Ode
to Drowsihood" contains minor variations of punctuation
and spelling and substitutes "liquid" for
"linkéd," "my weft" for "thy
weft," "wakened" for "awakened"
and "songs of Nereids" for "song of Nereids"
(Collected Poems 9-10). Several of the "happy
phrases" in the two stanzas raise echoes in Lampman’s
poems of high summer, particularly "Heat"
(1888) and "Among the Timothy" (1888).
moment throbs…palm-tree tower!" Except
for minor variations of punctuation and spelling, Lampman’s
quotation of the third stanza of "The Isles—an
Ode" is accurate.
of the summer afternoon…the grey hawk wheels on high[.]"
Except for a very few variations in punctuation, Lampman’s
quotations from "In the Afternoon" 1-8 and
31-40 in In Divers Tones are accurate.
scents of various grasses…A king fisher down launches[.]"
Except for minor variations in punctuation, Lampman’s
quotation of the eighth, ninth, and eleventh stanzas
of "On the Creek" in In Divers Tones
old story of Ulysses and the Syrens… In Book
11 of Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus (Ulysses) tells
the story of how he escaped the lure of the sirens by
filling his men’s ears with wax and having himself lashed
to the mast of his ship before it came within earshot
of their island and alluring song.
the King…no heed!" Lampman’s quotation
of the sixth stanza of "Off Pelorus" in In
Divers Tones is accurate.
lines as the following… The sources and significant
variations of Lampman’s quotations are as follows:
"Oh tenderly…new speeches[.]": "The Maple,"
1-4, Orion, and Other Poems, with the substitution
of "blooms" for glooms in line
1 and the addition of italics;
(2) "The yellow willows…bloom[.]": "To
Fredericton in May-Time," 8, In Divers Tones;
(3) "The sleepless ocean…monotone[.]": "Out
of Pompeii," final lines, In Divers Tones;
(4) "Far down the south…notes of bells[.]":
"Out of Pompeii," 5-8, In Divers Tones,
with the substitution of "Far" for "Low"
(Collected Poems 59);
(5) "A yellow-sanded pool…hanging over[.]":
"Actæon," 104-106, In Divers Tones,
with the substitution of "With" for "From"
(Collected Poems 69);
(6) "But this mount…dearest to him[.]": "Actæon,"
154-58, In Divers Tones;
(7) "the everlasting gods…perpetual peace[.]":
"Actæon," 50, 52, In Divers Tones (line
51 is omitted);
(8) "Yellow beach-grass…blown foam[.]": "Orion,"
36-37, Orion, and Other Poems, with the omission
of "Of" before "yellow" (Collected
(9) "The echo-peopled crags[.]": "Orion,"
94, Orion and Other Poems;
(10) "The star-consulting silent pinnacles[.]":
"Orion," 124, with the substitution of "The"
for "From" (Collected Poems 20);
(11) "The sun…moted rows[.]": "Launcelot
and the Four Queens," 3: 124-26, Orion, and
(12) "The wealth…better to keep[.]": "Ballad
of the Poet’s Thought," refrain, Orion, and
Other Poems, with the substi- tution of "is"
for "was" (Collected Poems 32);
(13) "When the veering wind…daylight down[.]":
"To Winter," 38-39, Orion, and Other Poems,
with the substitution of "the" for "a"
(Collected Poems 4).
matter…sorrow of age begun[.]" Lampman’s
quotation of "Reckoning" from In Divers
Tones is accurate.
Millet’s famous picture Le semeur (The
Sower) by the French artist Jean-François Millet
(1814-1875) was first exhibited in 1850 and became well-known
through engraved reproductions. In his At the Mermaid
Inn column for July 1, 1893, William Wilfred Campbell
would satirize contemporary sonnets for their "Millet-like…realism"
brown sad-colored hillside…mankind" Except
for a very few variations in punctuation, Lampman’s
quotation of "The Sower" from In Divers
Tones is accurate.
Roberts…rousing patriotic poems… The first
two poems in In Divers Tones are "Collect
for Dominion Day" and "Canada," both
of which had been previously printed and were widely
reprinted (in Songs of the Great Dominion, for
example). See "German Patriotic Poetry."
ou Rien" and "In Notre Dame" Both
poems appear in In Divers Tones and neither was
or Ros[s]etti Edgar Allan Poe and Dante Gabriel
Rossetti. See the notes to "The Modern School of
Poetry in England."
Cameron of Kingston Cameron was born and "received
his preliminary education" in New Glasgow, Nova
Scotia and "entered Queen’s University" in
Kingston in 1882. "In March of… he became
Editor of the Kingston News, which position he
held until a few weeks before his death" (Charles
J. Cameron, "His Life" [xix]).
quality… See "The Poetry of Byron."
thirty-one In the manuscript, Charles J. Cameron
has underlined "thirty," scored through and
placed an asterisk above "one," and added
the following note on the facing page: "Not
thirty one. Thirty past. Born 1854 Sept. 24th
/ died 1885 September 17th. Just lacked one week
of being 31. C.J.C."
me!…all the inhumanities[.]" Lampman’s
quotation of all three stanzas of the first of the "Lyrics
in Pleasant Places and Other Places" in Cameron’s
Lyrics on Freedom, Love and Death is accurate
except for minor variations of punctuation. The poem
is dated "1885."
immortal…no right divine." "Wisdom—a
Sonnet" follows "Ah, me!" the mighty
love that I have borne…" in Cameron’s Lyrics
on Freedom, Love and Death. Except for a very few
variations of punctuation and capitalization, Lampman’s
quotation is accurate.
name not casting…soul is thine!" Except
for variations in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of
"John Milton" is accurate.
on tiptoe…with the stars[.]" Except for
variations in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of "Standing
on Tiptoe," which is dated "Sept. 1885,"
famous quatrain… Except for variations in
punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of the "Dying
Speech of an Old Philosopher" (1853) by the English
poet Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864) is accurate.
heart-sick…total is death!" Except for
variations of punctuation and capitalization, Lampman’s
quotation of the first two and last stanzas of "All
Heart-Sick" is accurate. He omits two stanzas.
all my singing…the happy flower." Except
for variations in punctuation and the substitution of
"has" for "had" in the third to
last line (Lyrics 216), Lampman’s quotation of
"With All My Singing" is accurate.
let us dream…’twill not be known[.]" Except
for variations in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of
the opening lines of the sixth stanza of "To Louise"
is accurate, as are his quotations of the ninth and
second stanzas of the poem.
matters it" Cameron’s brother includes
"What Matters It?" among "His Last Lyrics."
future…future—one!" Except for several
variations in punctuation and capitalization, Lampman’s
quotation of the second half of "Past and Future"
is accurate. In the manuscript, Cameron’s brother has
placed a line and an asterisk beside the first four
lines of the poem’s final stanza and written on facing
and following pages,
Present! Ah, the mightiest mind
Holds only that! We may not see
The dim days, in the undefined
And unformed ages yet to be:
Enough for us that if we do
The present deed that sh[oul]d be done
The three shall open to our view,
Past, present, future—One!"
the West Wind…Give her this!"
Except for minor variations in punctuation and
spelling, Lampman’s quotation of "To the West Wind"
wrote a great number of love lyrics
Cameron’s "Lyrics of Love" occupy seventy-five
pages of Lyrics on Freedom, Love and Death.
how I go…Woe!"
Except for minor variations of punctuation and
the absence of italics (or emphasis) on "Woe"
(see Lyrics 79), Lampman’s quotation of "Amoris
Finis" is accurate.
of liberty… "Lyrics of Freedom,"
with subheadings on Cuba, Russia, France, Columbia,
and Erin, occupies the first sixty pages of Cameron’s
Lyrics on Freedom, Love and Death. For
Lampman’s views on Percy Bysshe Shelley, see especially
"The Revolt of Islam."
The German poet and man of letters Heinrich Heine
(1797-1856) is the subject of one of Arnold’s essays
in Essays in Criticism, first series (1865) and
his poem "Heine’s Grave" (1867). In the former,
Heine is characterized as a "most effective soldier
in the Liberation War of humanity" (Complete
Prose Works 3: 107), in the other as a man who "Had
every other gift, but wanted love" (Poems
Cameron’s life… In addition to the information
given in the note, above, Cameron’s brother records
that the poet moved "with his family to Boston
in the spring of 1869…[and] entered the Boston University
of Law, in 1872. After graduation, he entered the law
office of Dean, Butler and Abbott in the same city.
From this period until 1882 his attention was mainly
devoted to literature and he was a frequent contributor
to the Commercial Bulletin, Traveller,
Courier and Transcript of the new Athens
of America" ("His Life," xix).
Week vs. Wendell Philips" and "The Way of
the World" The two poems with which Lampman
concluded his lecture (see headnote) both appear in
Cameron’s Lyrics on Freedom, Love and Death (the
correct title of the former is "The ‘Week’ vs.
Poetry of Byron
essay was probably written for delivery to the Ottawa
Literary and Scientific Society in the early eighteen
nineties. The undated but signed holograph manuscript
in the National Archives (MG 29 D59 vol. 2, 694-717)
consists of twenty-three sheets measuring 21.3 x 27.3
cm., all but one of them consecutively numbered by Lampman.
The unnumbered sheet precedes the essay proper and carries
the following introductory note:
I chose the subject of Byron for my paper to-night
I of course did not intend to deal with it in any
extended or detailed manner. I could not touch his
life at all; it was too difficult a subject. I have
limited myself merely to a very brief and general
consideration of the value of the poet’s work. The
title of this paper is "The Poetry of Byron".
is the case with "Poetic Interpretation,"
the paper on which "The Poetry of Byron" is
written is watermarked with chain lines, a sceptre surmounted
by a crown, and the words "STANDARD LINEN BANK".
"The Poetry of Byron" was first published,
with a Prefatory Note by D.M.R. Bentley, in the Queen’s
Quarterly 83 (1976): 623-32.
Gordon, the sixth Lord Byron (1788-1824), was the Romantic
poet whom Lampman least admired. The son of Captain
John "Mad Jack" Byron, whose other child,
Augusta, was his half-sister, Byron was educated at
Harrow School and Cambridge University, where he began
his literary life with Hours of Idleness (1807)
and embarked on a life-long and notorious career of
debauchery. As a result of a harsh review of his first
volume of poems in the Edinburgh Review, he wrote
English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809), a
satirical attack, not only on his reviewers, but also
on William Wordsworth and other Romantic poets. In 1812,
after the tour of Europe in which he swam the Hellespont
and acquired an ambition to help Greece to achieve freedom
from Turkish rule, he published the first two cantos
of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and quickly became
the darling of London society. Several poems followed
in rapid succession (see notes, below) as did notorious
love affairs (Augusta gave birth to a child generally
believed to be his) and growing financial problems.
Plagued by scandal and debt, he left England permanently
in 1816, thereafter living briefly in Switzerland (where
he wrote "The Prisoner of Chillon," the third
canto of Childe Harold, and two acts of Manfred)
and then in various cities in Italy (where he continued
his unconventional life and wrote prodigiously, completing
the fourth and final canto of Childe Harold and
numerous other poems, including his mock-heroic masterpiece,
Don Juan [1819-1824]). In 1822, the deaths of
Allegra, his daughter by Claire Claremont, and Percy
Bysshe Shelley, his host in Geneva and Pisa, were sources
of great grief and, very likely, contributed to his
decision to enter the fight for Greek independence.
Before seeing serious military action but after courting
the affections of his Greek page, Loukas, he died of
fever at Missolonghi in April 1824. His body was refused
burial in both Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
life and work continued to generate controversy throughout
the nineteenth century. Collections of his Works
began to appear as early as 1814 and included editions
by J.W. Lake (1825), Sir Walter Scott (1859), and William
Michael Rossetti (1870). His Letters and Journals,
compiled by Thomas Moore, went through six editions
between 1830 and 1875. Countless critical studies were
published in Britain, Europe, and the United States,
many of them by very prominent poets and scholars such
as, in Germany, Johannes Scherr (1854) and, in France,
Hippolyte Taine (1863-1864; trans. 1873-1874). It was
in considerable part due to European scholars, particularly
Taine, that Byron’s first modern biographer, John Nichol,
could assert in 1880 that "Byron is resuming his
place: his spirit has come again to our atmosphere;
and every budding critic, as in 1820, is impelled to
pronounce a verdict on his genius and character. …[M]ore
than our fathers, we are inclined to sympathize with
our grandfathers" (202-03). Among those more positively
disposed to the romantic proponents of "strong
will and passion and defiant independence" (Nichol
203) than most early and mid-Victorians were Algernon
Charles Swinburne and Matthew Arnold: Swinburne’s Selection
from the Works of Lord Byron was published in 1866
and reissued in 1885 and Arnold’s Poetry of Byron
appeared in 1881. Whether as a preface to the latter
selection or in Essays in Criticism, Second Series
(1888), Arnold’s influential essay on Byron
was evidently well known to Lampman, as was one of the
principal products of late Victorian interest in the
poet that it helped to sustain and increase, Roden Noel’s
Life of Byron (1890).
aim in selecting and presenting Byron’s "verse
of…high quality" was "to do a service…to [his]
reputation, and to the poetic glory" of England
(Complete Prose Works 9: 235). "[A]s our…present
world …shows itself more clearly," he believed,
"we shall turn our eyes again, and to more purpose,
upon this passionate and dauntless soldier…who…waged
against the conservation of the old impossible world
so fiery battle" (9: 236). Siding with Taine, Nichol,
and Swinburne against those who underrated the energizing
vitality of Byron’s work—"the excellence of
sincerity and strength" that "covers all
his offences and outweighs all his defects" (Swinburne
qtd. in Arnold 9: 234)—Arnold nevertheless acknowledges
his weaknesses as both man and poet: "[t]rue, as
a man, Byron could not manage himself, could not guide
his ways aright, but was always astray. True, he has
no light, cannot lead us from the past to the future;
‘the moment he reflects, [as Goethe argues] he is a
child.’ The way out of the false state of things which
enraged him he did not see,—the slow and laborious way
upward; he had not the patience, knowledge, self-discipline,
virtue, requisite for seeing it. True, also, as a poet,
he has no fine and exact sense for word and structure
and rhythm; he has not the artist’s nature and gifts"
(9: 234). Arnold also concedes that "[a]s a man,
Shelley is at a number of points immeasurably Byron’s
superior; …a beautiful and enchanting spirit, whose
vision…has far more loveliness, more charm for our soul,
than the vision of Byron," that "Wordsworth
has an insight into permanent sources of joy and consolation
for mankind which Byron has not," and that "Keats
had probably…a more consummate poetic gift" than
either Wordsworth or Byron (9: 218, 236). Lampman’s
essay is saved from being a mere elaboration of these
judgements by the fact that, rather than tipping the
balance away from Byron’s "offences…and defects,"
it weighs these heavily against his contributions to
the "divine progress" of "human nature"
and concludes that "the value set upon [his] verse
will not be so great in the future as it is now."
In its concessive tone, "The Poetry of Byron"
is Arnoldian, but in its fundamental rejection of Byron’s
poetry as "a disturbing influence to human progress
and…therefore of no real value to us" the essay
owes more to the Thomas Carlyle of Sartor Resartus
(1834) and On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic
in History (1841), who counselled his audience to
set aside the poet who had revealed "[n]o genuine
good thought…to mankind" (see Works 1: 153
and 5: 163, 167).
the framework provided by the liberalism of Arnold and
the conservatism of Carlyle, Lampman drew upon Noel
(and perhaps also Nichol and Rossetti) for many of the
specific judgements, details, and foils for his argument.
Lampman’s admiration of Manfred, Heaven and
Earth, and Cain, for example, reflects Noel’s
great admiration for these works (see 121, 160, 165),
and his reference to "the depravity of the Palazzo
Mocenigo" echoes the biographer’s comment that
"at the Palazzo Mocenigo on the Grand Canal [in
Venice, Byron’s] sensual excesses gave much occasion
for scandal. …His debaucheries brought him to the verge
of the grave…—together with low diet and fasting, alternated
with immoderate drinking" (133). And in dismissing
the "apostrophe to the sea" near the end of
the fourth canto of Childe Harold as a "coldly
sententious piece of rhythmical commonplace," Lampman
surely had in mind Noel’s claim that Byron’s "
Address to the Ocean" is a passage of "descriptive
poetry" that "can perish only with the language"
(132). Even Lampman’s opening contention that "art
is no more the instrument of God than the Devil"
may owe a debt to Noel’s sense that Byron contained
"a little of both" "Angel [and] demon"
(16). Indeed "The Poetry of Byron" could be
construed as his response to Noel’s assertion in the
opening chapter of his Life of Byron that "[w]hether
the influence of this poet has been for good or evil
will always be a debated point" (15).
The definitive discussion of these terms is Edmund
Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of
Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful (1756).
As defined by Lampman, however, "Beauty" is
a quality that induces serenity and pleasure in the
spectator or reader and, by appealing through the senses
to moral and spiritual ideals of purity and order, contributes
to the development of right thinking and proper conduct.
Beauty that is "sublime"—that is, elevated
in thought and style—would be especially effective in
directing the "human soul" and "human
nature" towards high ideals and goals.
of the poet is a dual one…
Byron’s dissolute life made the relationship between
biography and art a vexed matter for his nineteenth-century
critics and biographers. "His verse and prose is
alike biographical," observes Nichol, "and
the inequalities of his style are those of his career"
(205). Arnold agreed ("the man in Byron is in many
respects as unsatisfactory as the poet" [Complete
Prose Works 9: 224]), as did Noel ("[t]here
is the same turbid, troubled, unpure element…in the
poetry as in this life" ).
life of the worldly man
In the manuscript, "worldly" is written
above "bodily" but the latter is not scored
inexplicable tangle In the manuscript, "inexplicable"
replaces "inextricable", which has been scored
ruling instinct The question of whether Byron’s
"life and art" were the product of a governing
impulse or philosophy was, again, vexed for his nineteenth-century
critics and biographers. As Noel puts it, "[t]here
are…two great ideas in Byron, though both Goethe and…Arnold
are disposed to deny him any; these are Individuality,
and Popular Freedom" (163).
is truth…all ye need to know" Lampman
is misquoting the final lines of "Ode on a Grecian
Urn": "Beauty is truth, truth beauty,— that
is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
See headnote, above for Arnold’s comparison
of Byron with both of these Romantic poets, as well
as with Keats (see also Nichol 214).
god…wreathèd horn Lampman’s quotation of the
sestet of Wordsworth’s "The World is too much with
us…" is accurate except for the substitution of
"coming" for "rising" in the penultimate
line and various changes in punctuation (Wordsworth
has an exclamation mark after "Great God"
and semi-colons after "outworn," "forlorn,"
and "sea"; he also capitalizes the first letter
painting in [Byron’s] poems… See Nichol 212-14
for a more positive assessment of Byron’s poetry of
loud-tongued apostrophe to the sea…of Childe Harold
Before announcing the completion of his "task"
and bidding farewell to the reader in the fourth and
final canto of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Byron’s
narrator addresses four stanzas to the "Ocean"
(see headnote, above).
famous last line of James Thompson’s [sic] Sophonisba
In the first edition (1730) of his tragedy about
the Cartheginian general’s daughter who took poison
to avoid captivity, the Scottish poet James Thomson
(1700-1748) gave her bereaved lover the play’s orotund
final words, "Oh! Sophonisba; Sophonisba, Oh!"
The line was quickly parodied by Henry Fielding in Tom
Thumb (1730) as "O Huncamunca, Huncamunca O!"
In later versions of the play, it was changed to "Oh
Sophonisba, I am wholly thine!"
Bertuccio and Philip Calendaro in Marino Faliero
In Byron’s poetic drama, Marino Faliero; Doge
of Venice (1821), the two characters that Lampman
mentions are among the conspirators to overthrow the
Venetian constitution. Nichol notes that a section of
the pair’s dialogue has "been pointed out as embodying
some of Byron’s spirit of protest against the mere selfish
‘greasy domesticity’ of the Georgian era" but faults
Byron for spoiling the "passage…after his wont…by
and universal justice. See the note, above on "single
of struggles and self-sacrifices…in which…he always
beheld himself the central and glorified figure
Noel is more charitable to Byron: "Is not
much good and great work done in the world by men who…build
one altar to the ideal, another to human welfare, and
a third to personal aggrandizement? There is just as
little doubt that Byron cared for human welfare, and
for the ideal, as that he cared for personal honour"
address to his wife…on hearing of her illness "Lines
on Hearing that Lady Byron Was Ill," written in
1816 and first published in 1832.
opening stanzas of Childe Harold…degraded
dissipations Lampman is referring to Childe
Harold’s Pilgrimage I, ii-xi, which describe Childe
Harold’s fondness for "concubines…carnal companies"
and other pleasures.
Special relish and enjoyment.
Don Juan Sporadically published in
installments from 1819 to 1824, the sixteen cantos of
Byron’s mock-epic masterpiece chronicle with great wit
and numerous digressions the many adventures of the
charming, handsome, and unprincipled young man from
Seville who furnishes its title.
Beppo Published in 1818, Beppo:
a Venetian Story is the poem in which Byron developed
the mock-heroic tone and ottava rima form of
Don Juan. Against the backdrop of the pre-Lenten
Carnival in Venice, it tells of Beppo’s discovery and
urbane acceptance of his wife Laura’s love affair with
an aristocratic "‘Cavalier Serventes’" (xxxvi).
in one of his letters that he did not consider poetry
his true vocation Nichol cites the letter
to which Lampman refers: "‘[i]f I live ten years
longer,’ [Byron] writes in 1822, ‘you will see that
it is not all over with me. I don’t mean in literature,
for that is nothing—and I do not think it was my vocation;
but I shall do something"’ (184).
English Bards and Scotch Reviewers See
The Gi[a]our, The Bride of Abydos,
The Corsair and Lara… Nichol chronicles
the publication and summarizes the plots of these poems:
"the Giaour, [published in May 1813, was]
the first of the flood of verse romances which, during
the three succeeding years, he poured forth with impetuous
fluency, and which were received with almost unrestrained
applause. The plots and sentiments and imagery are similar
in them all. The Giaour steals the mistress of Hassan,
who revenges his honour by drowning her. The Giaour
escapes; returns, kills Hassan, and then goes to a monastery.
In the Bride of Abydos, published in the December
of the same year, Giaffir wants to marry his daughter
Zuleika to Carasman Pasha. She runs off with Selim,
her reputed brother—in reality her cousin, and so at
last her legitimate lover. They are caught; he is slain
in fight; she dies, to slow music. In the Corsair,
published January, 1814, Conrad, a pirate, ‘linked with
one virtue and a thousand crimes!’ is beloved by Medora,
who on his predatory expeditions, sits waiting for him…in
a tower. On one of these he attacks Seyd Pasha, and
is overborne by superior force; but Gulnare, a female
lover of Seyd, kills her master, and runs off with Conrad,
who finds Medora dead and vanishes. In Lara,
the sequel of this—written in May and June, published
in August—a man of mystery appears in the Morea [in
Spain], with a page, Kaled. After adventures worthy
of Mrs. Radcliffe…Lara falls in battle with his deadly
foe, Ezzelin, and turns out to be Conrad, while Kaled
is of course Gulnare. …These romances…all exhibit a
command of words, a sense of melody, and a flow of rhythm
and rhyme. …None of them are wanting in passages…which
strike deep. …But there is an air of melodrama in them
all. Harmonious delights of novel readers, they will
not stand against the winnowing wind of deliberate criticism.
They harp on the same string. …They are potentially
endless reproductions of one phase of an ill-regulated
mind. …Mr. Carlyle compares [them] to the screaming
of a meat-jack" (74-76). Noel finds more to admire
in Byron’s poems of 1813-1814 but concedes that they
are not "subtle or piercing enough for permanence.
…[T]he greater Byron is not here—the volcanic force
and fire; the defiance, the immense disdain of all mortal
things. …But all this was in embryo" (82-83).
of person Nichol refers to Byron’s "personal
a later year when Byron left England…Byron Nichol
gives a detailed account of the "burst of British
virtue" (see headnote, above) that led to Byron’s
departure for Europe in April 1816 (100-02), as does
Noel, with the observation that "from the Continent
[he sent] forth the melodious wail of his wounded, wrathful,
sullen genius, with compass immeasurably fuller from
opposition, desertion, and despair. …[H]e avenged himself
in the English cantos of ‘Don Juan’" (110-11).
Lament of Tasso Published in 1817,
this poem was inspired by the imprisonment in Ferrara
of the Italian poet Torquato Tasso (1544-1595) and treats
of his love for Leonora d’Este and the writing of his
Gerusalemme Liberata (Jerusalem Delivered).
Noel describes Byron’s poem as "a fine, strongly
realized work" (129).
Prophesy of Dante Published in 1821
as a companion to the Lament of Tasso and with
a similar inspiration (the tomb of the Italian poet
Dante Alighieri [1263-1321] in Ravenna), The Prophesy
of Dante focuses on Dante’s years of exile from
his native Florence and gives to him a vision of the
future of Italy. Noel describes it as "on the whole
the finest of [Byron’s] reflective, semi-dramatic compositions"
influence to human progress In the manuscript
"progress" replaces "society," which
has been scored through.
Corsair and Medora The hero (Conrad) and the
heroine of The Corsair (see note, above).
came frequently in contact with Shelley Byron
first met Shelley at Geneva in 1816 and the two poets
remained close friends until Shelley’s death in 1822
(see headnote, above). "Byron was always at his
best with Shelley," writes Noel; "that strange,
volatile, yet ideal-loving, and ethereal spirit touched
[Byron’s] robuster and earthier soul…to finer issues,
so that he became more serious and thoughtful in his
companionship. Indeed, the influence of Shelley (as
well as of Wordsworth, whom Shelley made him read) is
to be felt in the subtler touches of the later ‘Childe
Manfred Byron’s poetic drama about
a reclusive, Faustian figure tortured by guilt about
his incestuous love for his sister Astarte, was published
in 1817. After being saved by a hunter from a suicide
leap over an alpine cliff, Manfred summons the Witch
of the Alp, descends to the underworld, and confronts
a vision of Astarte. With her promise of his imminent
death, he returns to his castle and, after rejecting
the counsels of an abbot and the power of the infernal
spirits, he dies. Noel considers Manfred "one
of the poet’s finer works…the expiring groan of self-centred
Heaven and Earth Another poetic drama,
Heaven and Earth: a Mystery was published in
1822. Based on the Biblical account of the Flood, it
treats of the creation of new species out of the marriage
of angels and human women. Noel considers it "a
very beautiful and unique composition, more in the spiritual
and ideal region than anything else of Byron’s"
Cain Published in 1821, Cain anticipates
Heaven and Earth in genre (poetic drama) and
subtitle ("a Mystery"), as well as in its
bold use of Biblical material. Oppressed by Adam’s legacy
of toil and encouraged by Lucifer to rebel, Cain kills
Abel and receives God’s punishment—exile to the "wilderness"
"Eastward from Eden" with his wife and children.
Noel considers Cain "Byron’s great dramatic
Ariosto and Tasso For Dante and Tasso, see
notes, above. Lampman was probably thinking primarily
of Dante’s Divina Commedia (Divine Comedy),
and Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata (Jerusalem
Delivered). Also an Italian poet, Ludovico Ariosto
(1474-1535) is most remembered for Orlando Furioso.
Lampman’s inclusion of Ariosto among the poets Byron
studied in Italy is conjectural since he is not mentioned
either in Byron’s Life, Letters, and Journals
or by Nichol, Noel, and other biographers.
of strangers in solitude and bitterness Lampman
is alluding to Shakespeare, Richard II, III,
i, 21: "You have…Eaten the bitter bread of banishment."
passages of Don Juan…Marino Faliero…
Noel follows his remarks on the Palazzo Mocenigo
(see headnote) by observing that Byron "now wrote
‘Beppo,’ ‘Mazeppa,’ and the early books of ‘Don Juan.’
…These poems were a fascinating hodge-podge of grave
and gay" (134-35). According to Nichol, Marino
Faliero (see note, above) was begun April, finished
July, 1820" (142), but Noel, who regards it as
"perhaps…underrated" (159) dates it somewhat
architypes of himself… Nichol discerns in
Byron’s romances of 1813-1814 (see note, above) "the
picture of the same quasi-melancholy vengeful man…the
exile who cannot flee from himself, ‘the wandering outlaw
of his own dark mind,’ who has not loved the world nor
the world him" (76) and Noel remarks that "Conrad,
Lara, Cain, Manfred, were made out of one mood of himself
Faliero…Prophesy of Dante Noel describes
"The Dream," published in 1816, as a "beautiful
poem, written…at Diodati [in Coligny, Switzerland] ‘amid
a flood of tears’" caused by Byron’s unrequited
love for Mary Charworth (48). He also discusses the
autobiographical dimension of the incest theme in Manfred
(102-03), discerns elements of Byron’s "own conflicting
nature" in Marino Faliero (159), and dwells
on the "inward loneliness, and proud-infolding
of solitary genius, rejected by the world" in The
Prophesy of Dante (150-51). See also notes, above,
and Nichol 117.
Catherine up to Aurora Raby Both Nichol and
Noel discuss Byron’s perceptions and portraits of women,
the former contrasting his denigrating remarks about
"‘the female sex’" to "the moods in which
he drew his pictures of Angiolina, and Haidee, and Aurora
Raby, and wrote the invocations to the shade of Astarte,
and his letters in prose and verse to Augusta"
(86-87) and the latter conceding that "‘Let us
have wine and women, wine and laughter; / Sermons and
soda-water the day after!’ does not…express an ideal
view of women" but praising his depiction of Adah
in Cain as "one of the most exquisite sketches
of a good and self-sacrificing woman ever drawn by any
writer" and his "lines about Aurora Raby,
in ‘Don Juan,’ [for their] ideal loveliness" (187).
See Don Juan 9: 449f. for Byron’s description
of Empress Catherine of Russia and 15: 353f. for that
of Aurora Raby.
and Aurora Raby… The latter is indeed introduced
in "the last canto" of Don Juan, but
Lady Adeline Amundeville makes her first appearance
in the second stanza of Canto 13. (An ink blot after
"last canto" in the manuscript suggests that
Lampman may have contemplated writing "cantos".)
Nichol remarks that there is "no analysis of female
character so subtle as that of Lady Adeline" and
finds "towards the close of [Don Juan]…an
echo of home and country, a half involuntary cry after…‘higher
things and better days’" (178). Noel enthuses about
"the accurate knowledge of women, and of the world…in
the sketch of Lady Adelaide [sic] Amudeville!"
and provides a catalogue of female characters in Don
Juan and other poems to refute the view that Byron
"could only paint one man, and one woman"
and circulating monstrous stories about himself
Lampman appears to be misinterpreting Noel’s comment
that "the most hideous lies were invented…, as
usual, about [Byron’s] misconduct [at La Mira, Italy
in 1817-1819], being malignant distortions of real facts,
or else pure inventions. …He was provoked to cynicism
(and thus was partly affected) by the lies in question"
(144). In another context, however, Noel observes that
"Byron’s impish love of practical joking
was excessive all through his life. …Byron and Shelley…versified
their own experiences a great deal, of course embroidering
fanciful inventions upon them; but they seem to have
imagined or invented more or less, also, in recalling
their experiences to themselves, and in relating them
to others" (95-96).
wit of Don Juan… Noel calls attention
to what Lampman calls the "riotous abundance"
of Don Juan (136) and Nichol brings the wit of
"the cleverest of English verse compositions"
into comparison with that of other works and authors:
"Byron was not, in the highest sense, a great humourist;
he does not blend together [smiles (and) sorrow, tears
(and) laughter], as they are blended in single sentences
or whole chapters in Sterne [and other writers]…but
he comes near to produce the same effect by his unequalled
power of alternating them. His wit is seldom hard, never
dry, for it is moistened by the constant juxtaposition
of sentiment" (175-76). While Nichol anticipates
Lampman in likening Byron to the author of Tristram
Shandy (1759-1767) and A Sentimental Journey
(1768), the other authors that he mentions (Carlyle
and Johann Paul Friedrich Richter) do not figure in
Lampman’s humorous pantheon of Shakespeare, Saavedra
Cervantes (1547-1616), and Charles Dickens (1812-1870).
Both Lampman’s list of humourists and its underlying
idea of humour recall Carlyle’s essay on Richter (1827),
where Shakespeare, Sterne, and Cervantes ("the
purest of all humorists") are ranked with reference
to a definition of "[t]rue humour…[as] sensibility;
warm, tender fellow-feeling with all forms of existence.
…True humour springs not more from the head than from
the heart; it is not contempt, its essence is love;
it issues not in laughter but in still smiles, which
lie far deeper. …It is, in fact, the bloom and perfume…of
a deep, fine and loving nature" (Works 26:
16-17). In On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic
in History (1841), Carlyle adds that "[l]aughter
means sympathy; good laughter is not ‘the crackling
of thorns under the pot.’ Even at stupidity and pretension…Shakspeare
[sic] does not laugh otherwise than genially. …Such
laughter, like sunshine on the deep sea, is very beautiful
to me" (Works 5: 109).
metrical gift Both Nichol (173-74) and Noel
(138) comment favourably on Byron’s mastery of metre,
diction, and versification, and both point to negative
aspects of his compositional style: "[h]e is habitually
rapid and slovenly" (Nichol 211) and often "perpetrated
bad blank verse…and indifferent metre" (Noel 132).
Before citing a few examples of the "high quality"
of much of Byron’s verse, Arnold is less flattering:
"Byron is so negligent in his poetical style…so
slovenly, slipshod, and infelicitous…so little haunted
by the true artist’s fine passion for the correct use
and consummate management of words, that he may be described
as having for this artistic gift the insensibility of
the barbarian" (Complete Prose Works 9:
value…no merit at all Lampman’s judgement
resonates with Arnold’s observation that "the praise
often given to Byron has been so exaggerated as to provoke,
perhaps, a reaction in which he is unduly disparaged"
(Complete Prose Works 9: 222).
taught us little…Titanic strife" Lampman
concludes his essay by quoting from the second verse
paragraph of Arnold’s "Memorial Verses" (1852),
which were written shortly after Wordsworth’s death
on April 23, 1850. The quotation omits the first two
lines of the paragraph ("When Byron’s eyes were
shut in death, / We bow’d our head and held our breath")
and it is accurate except that in the original "felt"
is italicized, the "e" in "watched"
is elided, and "life" is not followed by a
undated holograph manuscript of "Poetic Interpretation"
is held in the National Archives (MG 29 D 59 vol. 1,
585-622). It consists of 38 sheets measuring 21.4 cm
x 27.4 cm., all but the first of which are numbered
by Lampman. As is the case with "The Poetry of
Byron," the paper is watermarked with chain lines,
a sceptre surmounted by a crown, and the words "STANDARD
LINEN BANK". Because the essay is clearly written
in ink, it has posed few difficulties of transcription,
but tears in the manuscript have resulted in some lacunae;
part of Lampman’s signature is missing, for example,
as is the final word of the essay. This has necessitated
more than a usual amount of editorial interpolation
(see especially the notes to the final paragraphs, below).
"Poetic Interpretation" has been previously
published in Archibald Lampman: Selected Prose,
ed. Barrie Davies (Ottawa: Tecumseh, 1975), 87-91, albeit
in a severely truncated form.
is possible that "Poetic Interpretation" and
"The Poetry of Byron" were among the essays
about which Lampman wrote to Thomson on September 30,
1895: "I shall write those essays—or at least one
of them—in the course of the next month or so—but I
do not anticipate any success for them literary or financial"
(Annotated Correspondence 152). On October 9
Lampman was able to report that he had "pretty
nearly finished one of [the] essays—…‘Happiness’"
and on October 30 that he had written "one of [his]
essays, and sent it to Scribner’s," adding that
"if they accept [it], I shall write some more;
if they don’t I shall drop it" (Annotated Correspondence
154, 158). Since no essay by Lampman appeared in Scribner’s
Magazine, the supposition has been that both of
these letters refer to "Happiness," which
was eventually published in Harper’s Magazine
in July 1896 (see headnote). If, as seems likely, Lampman
wrote no other essays in the fall of 1895 or, indeed,
in the remaining few years of his life, then "Poetic
Interpretation" and "The Poetry of Byron"
must date from earlier—a conclusion supported, as observed
in the Introduction (xxvii-xxviii), by their resemblance
to "The Modern School of Poetry in England"
subject-matter and, to a considerable extent, in approach
"Poetic Interpretation" seems to be a continuation
of Lampman’s literary essays of the mid-to-late ’eighties
and early ’nineties. Although "illustrated…altogether
from Keats and Wordsworth," it concludes with a
brief survey of most of the poets discussed in "The
Modern School of Poetry in England" and "Style"
that essentially repeats the arguments and judgements
made at greater length in those essays; for example,
Swinburne’s Songs Before Sunrise are "so
many harpings upon one cracked string" in "The
Modern School of Poetry in England" and in "Poetic
Interpretation" "Swinburne is without varie[ty][,]
being absorbed and carried away by a single strain of
riotous melody which he applies to everything."
Moreover, "Poetic Interpretation" resembles
"The Modern School of Poetry in England" and
"Style" in its heavy indebtedness to the criticism
of John Campbell Shairp, particularly to the chapter
on "Poetic Style in Modern English Poetry"
in Aspects of Poetry, Being Lectures Delivered at
Oxford (1882) and the chapter on "The Sources
of Poetry" in Poetic Interpretation of Nature
(1877). Lampman’s view that poets differ from ordinary
people only in the intensity of their feeling is, of
course, thoroughly Wordsworthian, but as stated in the
opening paragraph of "Poetic Interpretation"
it has accretions derived from Shairp’s view that the
"aspect of Nature, th[e] truth of the external
world, with which Poetry has [most] to do" is "Beauty,
that strange and wonderful entity with which all creation
is…pervaded and penetrated as if by a subtle essence,
inwrought into its inmost fibre. The Poet is the man
to whom is given the eye that sees this more instinctively,
the heart that feels it more intensely, than other men
do; and who has the power to express it and bring it
home to his fellow-men" (Poetic Interpretation
of Nature 15-16).
more of a presence than Shairp in "Poetic Interpretation"
is the writer whom Lampman describes near the conclusion
of "Style" as "the most modern of poets,
and to men of our generation more interesting than any
other": Matthew Arnold. Obviously responding on
September 23, 1882 to a reference in a lost letter from
Lampman, Charles G.D. Roberts refers to Arnold as "second
to no living English writer in prose or verse"
and strongly recommends his prose works, especially
Essays in Criticism, First Series (1865):
"if you are not already familiar with them, you
will find the richest of intellectual fruits. That on
‘Heine’; on ‘Translating Homer’; on ‘Maurice de Guerin,’
with others, are quite incomparable" (Collected
Letters 30). If not by this time, then probably
soon after, Lampman must have encountered Arnold’s enormously
influential definition of "poetic interpretation"
in "Maurice de Guérin":
grand power of poetry is in its interpretative power;
by which I mean, not a power of drawing out in black
and white an explanation of the mystery of the universe,
but the power of so dealing with things as to awaken
in us a wonderfully full, new, and intimate sense
of them, and of our relations with them. When this
sense is awakened in us, as to objects without us,
we feel ourselves to be in contact with the essential
nature of those objects, to be no longer bewildered
and oppressed by them, but to have their secret, and
to be in harmony with them; and this feeling calms
and satisfies us as no other can.
(Complete Prose Works 3: 12-13)
goes on to differentiate between poetry that interprets
the "natural" or "outward world"
and poetry that interprets the "inward world of
man’s moral and spiritual nature" (3:30, 33), a
distinction that he invokes in his Introduction to Keats
in The English Poets (1880):
one of the two great modes by which poetry interprets,
in the faculty of naturalistic interpretation…[Keats]
ranks with Shakespeare. …No one else in English poetry,
save Shakespeare, has in expression quite the fascinating
felicity of Keats, his perfection of loveliness. …For
the second great half of poetic interpretation, for…moral
interpretation…, Keats was not ripe. …His Endymion,
as he himself well saw, is a failure, and his Hyperion,
fine things as it contains, is not a success. But
in shorter things, where the matured power of moral
interpretation, and the high architectonics which
go with complete poetic development, are not required,
he is perfect.
(Complete Prose Works 9: 214-15)
all the poets of the present century, Keats, it seems
to me, was the most perfect," agrees Lampman; "[h]e
died very young…but everything that his imagination
handled came from it in a shape…nearly perfect."
third Arnold essay that figures largely in "Poetic
Interpretation" is the influential Introduction
to The Poems of Wordsworth (1879) that he edited
for the Golden Treasury series. Lampman ranks Wordsworth
lower than Keats "in the truth of poetic interpretation,"
but in according him the status of "the greatest"
of "all our later poets" he follows Arnold,
who believed that, despite "[a] mass of inferior
work," "the poetical performance of Wordsworth
is, after that of Shakespeare and Milton, …undoubtedly
the most considerable in our language from the Elizabethan
age to the present time" (Complete Prose Works
9: 42, 40). Arnold’s contention that Wordsworth "has
no assured poetical style of his own" is not endorsed
by Lampman either in "Style" (where he discerns
a "peculiar manner in his verse") or in "Poetic
Interpretation" (where he writes of his "quiet
tones"), but at the heart of both essays is an
acceptance of the Arnoldian view that "Wordsworth’s
poetry is great because of the extraordinary power with
which Wordsworth feels the joy offered to us in nature,
the joy offered to us in the simple primary affections
and duties; and because of the extraordinary power with
which, in case after case, he shows us this joy, and
renders it so as to make us share it" (9:51). In
"Poetic Interpretation," Lampman offers alternatives
to some of Arnold’s statements about Keats and Wordsworth
but rests largely content within the framework provided
by the one writer of "this last age" whose
"genius" he characterized in his At the
Mermaid Inn column of June 25, 1892 as "that
rare combination of philosophy and the poetic impulse
in the highest degree" (97).
various aspects of the discussion of both Keats and
Wordsworth in "Poetic Interpretation" suggest
that Lampman may also have been drawing on Samuel Taylor
Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria (1817), particularly
the chapters (14 and 17-22) that focus on Wordworth’s
poetry in relation to the theories expressed in his
prefaces to Lyrical Ballads (1798, 1800). This
is scarcely surprising in an essay that treats of Wordsworth
in detail, but it throws into crisp relief the extent
to which Lampman’s critical writing of the mid-to-late
’eighties and early ’nineties participates in the continuity
of admiration and argument that stretches back through
Shairp, Pater, Arnold, Carlyle and others to the origins
of Romantic-Victorian thinking about the properties
and purposes of poetry.
There is nothing in the world…we call poets See
the quotation from Shairp in the headnote. Shairp makes
much the same point several times in Aspects of Poetry,
for example in his chapter on "The Spiritual Side
of Poetry": "What is it in Nature that especially
attracts the poet, that he is gifted beyond other men
to feel, to interpret, and express? Is it not the beauty
that is in the face of Nature?" (60).
phenomenon… After distinguishing between "Physical
Science" (which "deals with the outward object
alone") and Poetry (which "has to do with
the object plus the soul of man") in "The
Sources of Poetry," Shairp asserts that "[a]ny
real object, vividly apprehended…will awaken in an intelligent
and emotional being a response which is the beginning
of poetry. The depth and breadth and volume of that
response will, of course, be proportioned to the nobility
of the object which evokes it, and to the responsive
capacity of the mind to which it makes its appeal"
(Poetic Interpretation of Nature 26-27). In "The
Spiritual Side of Poetry," he offers "a beautiful
sunrise, or a gorgeous sunset, or the starry heavens
on a cloudless night" as examples of natural phenomena
that produce aesthetic and moral "impressions"
in sensitive observers (Aspects of Poetry 61;
and see 167-68 for more on the kinship between emotion
and music). Lampman’s paragraph may also owe a debt
to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s "Nature" (1836),
particularly Part 1 ("Nature") and Part 3
feeling…musical accompaniment…musical instrument…
As L.R. Early has pointed out (Archibald Lampman
46), when "Lampman…th[ought] of the poetic soul
as a wind-harp that responds to the particulars of experience,"
he was probably remembering the "symbol" of
"the Aeolian harp, an instrument designed to produce
musical sounds when set in an open breeze" in Shelley’s
"A Defense of Poetry" (1840), and, for that
matter, in Coleridge’s "The Eolian Harp" (1797).
But Lampman’s most likely inspiration for the notion
of "answering harmon[ies]" is Carlyle. In
"Jean Paul Friedrich Richter" (1827), the
essay upon which Lampman drew for his conception of
humour in " The Poetry of Byron" (see notes),
Carlyle presents Richter as "a man of feeling…[who]
loves all living with the heart of a brother. …Every
gentle and generous affection, every thrill of mercy,
every glow of nobleness, awakens in his bosom a response;
nay, strikes his spirit into harmony; a wild music as
of wind-harps. …His is the spirit which gives life and
beauty to whatever it embraces. Inanimate Nature itself
is no longer an insensible assemblage of colours and
perfumes, but a mysterious Presence, with which he communes
in unutterable sympathies" (Works 26: 15-16).
And in Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History
(1841), Carlyle prefaces his famous definition of poetry
as "musical Thought" by defining a
"musical thought…[as] one spoken by a mind
that has penetrated into the inmost heart of the thing;
detected the inmost mystery of it, namely the melody
that lies hidden in it; the inward harmony or coherence
which is its soul. …All inmost things…are melodious"
(Works 5: 83). In thinking of the "harmonic
nature…[of] the poetic soul," Lampman may also
have been remembering Shairp’s observations on the "essential
kinship" between "excited feelings within
the breast, the heaving of the soul under the power
of emotion, and a corresponding rhythmical cadence in
the words which utter it:" "[t]he poet is
the man whose emotions, intenser than those of other
men, naturally find a vent for themselves in some form
of harmonious words. …As Wordsworth tells us, …the true
poet…‘murmurs near the running brooks, / A sweeter music
than their own’" (Poetic Interpretation of Nature
30-31). In Aspects of Poetry, Shairp writes of
imagination as possessing both an "interpretative"
and a "harmonizing power" and defines the
"pure style" as a poet’s capacity to produce
a "total impression" by "reducing all…materials,
however diverse, into harmony with one sentiment"
(6-7, 131-32), "[T]he pure style in full perfection
is not possible," he argues, without the "power
of intense sincerity, of total absorption in an object
which is not self": "the writer sees his object,
and this only; is so absorbed in it, lost in it, that
he altogether forgets himself and his style, and cares
only, in fewest and most vital words, to convey to others
the vision his own soul sees" (132).
listening ear…the intently listening soul… As
indicated in the notes to "Style," Shairp
(and Alfred Austin) repeatedly comment on the breadth
of sympathy and experience manifested by the greatest
writers. See also Poetic Interpretation of Nature,
43-44: "[f]or the soul to apprehend all that Nature
contains of meaning, there must be present not only
the eye keenly observing, and tenderly sensitive to
natural beauty, but behind this must be a heart feelingly
alive to all that is most affecting in human life, sentiment,
and destiny" (43-44).
perfect poet…would have no set style… As observed
in the headnote, Arnold argues that Wordsworth has "no
style," "no assured poetic style of his own,
like Milton"; however, he does credit Wordsworth
with "a style of perfect plainness," a "nobly
plain manner," that is "truly expressive"
of its subject: "Nature herself seems…to take the
pen out of his hand, and to write for him with her own
bare, sheer, penetrating power" (Complete Prose
Works 9: 52-53). Shairp, who argues that all "great
poets" have their "own characteristic style…that
[is] perfect according to its kind and aim," disputes
Arnold’s claim that Wordsworth has no style, countering
that "[i]f by poetic style we mean the expression
of the best thoughts in the best and most beautiful
words, and with the most appropriate melody of rhythm,
…[then] Wordsworth, when at his best, has a style of
his own, which is perfect after its kind" (24,
or Ros[s]etti Edgar Allan Poe and Dante Gabriel
Rossetti; see the notes to "The Modern School of
Poetry in England."
perfect poet would not necessarily be great…Keats…Wordsworth
See the quotations and discussions reflecting Arnold’s
estimations of Keats and Wordsworth in the headnote.
Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) is most remembered
for The Faerie Queene (1590, 1593), but wrote
numerous shorter poems including those in The Shepheardes
Algernon Charles Swinburne; see the notes to "The
Modern School of Poetry in England."
governed by no theory…surrender himself completely…
In Aspects of Poetry, Shairp approaches Wordsworth
and Coleridge as poet-critics who were to an extent
governed by "theory" (see 116-22), but sees
Byron and Keats as "exclusively…poet[s]" (124-30).
Apparently, Lampman did not regard Keats’s concept of
"negative capability"—the capacity of certain
writers, especially Shakespeare, to identify themselves
completely with their subjects—as a "theory."
See the notes to "The Character and Poetry of Keats."
Endymion See Arnold’s comment on Endymion
(1818) as "a failure" in the headnote and
the notes to "The Character and Poetry of Keats."
In his Preface to Endymion, Keats described it
as "a feverish attempt, rather than a deed accomplished"
( 2: 11).
Based by way of Robert Burton’s Anatomy
of Melancholy on a passage in Philostratus (the
name of a Greek family of writers who flourished in
the second and third centuries AD), "Lamia"
(1820) is a narrative poem about the love of a young
scholar (Lycius) of the fabled Greek city of Corinth
for a beautiful woman (Lamia) who is in fact a sorceress
and serpent transformed by Hermes. The transformation
of Lamia, her journey from Cenchrea to Corinth, and
her meeting with Lycius are recounted in Part 1 of the
poem, as is the couple’s journey through "the twi-light
city" to the "purple-lined palace of sweet
sun" where, at the beginning of Part 2, they are
depicted reclining on a couch. The "piteous catastrophe"
to which Lampman refers occurs in Part 2 when, at a
bridal feast rashly arranged by Lycius, his curmudgeonly
mentor, the mystic and sophist Apollonius, penetrates
Lamia’s disguise and "with a frightful scream she
vanishe[s]," causing Lycius to die "that same
night" of a shattered ideal (2: 306-08).
Hyperion In the opening books of Hyperion
(1820), an epic fragment that Shairp calls "great"
but Arnold judges "not a success" (see headnote),
Keats presents the scene that Lampman paraphrases: in
a gloomy lair, the fallen Titan Saturn (the Cronos of
Greek mythology) laments the loss of his kingdom after
his defeat by Jove and debates a course of action with
the other fallen Titans (Enceladus, Clymene, Thea, and
others), concluding that their only hope lies with the
Huge, gigantic, monstrous, like the Cyclopes of
Oh! …labouring up." Except for punctuation,
spelling and capitalization, Lampman’s quotation of
Hyperion 1: 34-41 is accurate, as is his preceding
quotation of 1: 95.
was a den…nest of woe." Except for punctuation
and spelling, Lampman’s quotation of Hyperion
2: 5-14 is accurate.
far her voice…supreme contempt." Except
for punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of Hyperion
2: 300-08 is accurate.
a splendour…Hyperion." In the manuscript,
two Xs signal the elision of the word "Till"
at the beginning of the first line of Hyperion
2: 357-67. Except for punctuation and the substitution
of "places" for "spaces" (2: 359)
the quotation is accurate.
was a listening fear…laboring up[.]" Except
for spelling and the absence of terminal punctuation,
Lampman’s quotation of Hyperion 1: 37-41 is accurate.
these lines might be changed…perfect poetic utterance…
Here and in his subsequent comment on the "blameless"
opening lines of the final stanza of "Ode on a
Grecian Urn," Lampman may have had in mind Coleridge’s
definition of a "blameless style" in Chapter
22 of Biographia Literaria (1817): "[i]n
poetry, in which every line, every phrase, may pass
the ordeal of deliberation and deliberate choice, it
is possible, and barely possible, to attain the ultimatum
which I have ventured to propose as the infallible test
of a blameless style; its untranslatableness
in words of the same language without injury to the
meaning. …I include in the meaning of a word
not only its correspondent object, but likewise all
the associations which it recalls" (2: 115; and
see also 1: 15 [Chapter 1] on the faultless style of
Milton and Shakespeare).
Agnes’ Eve…he saith." Except for punctuation,
Lampman’s quotation of the opening stanza of "The
Eve of St. Agnes" (1820) is accurate.
all the house…gusty floor[.]" Except
for punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of the concluding
lines of stanza XL (356-60) of "The Eve of St.
Agnes" is accurate.
they are gone…ashes cold." Except for
punctuation and spelling, Lampman’s quotation of the
final stanza of "The Eve of St. Agnes" is
See "The Modern School of Poetry in England."
far away…beyond to-morrow." Except for
spelling, capitalization, and punctuation, Lampman’s
quotation of the third stanza of "Ode to a Nightingale"
(1820) is accurate.
Attic shape…all ye need to know." Except
for spelling, capitalization and punctuation, Lampman’s
quotation of the final stanza of "Ode on a Grecian
Urn" (1820) is accurate.
thing of beauty is a joy for ever’" This
is the opening line of Endymion.
great lyric poem…perfume from a flower At
several points in Aspects of Poetry, Shairp ponders
the process of poetic creation, preferring Wordsworth’s
definition of poetry as "‘emotion recollected in
tranquility’" (qtd. 167) to the view that "the
poet, in the first flush of emotion, project[s] [a lyric]
into language perfect and complete" (166, and see
Wordsworth must have been hardly conscious of the
great disparity of his work As observed in
the headnote, Arnold was acutely aware of Wordsworth’s
unevenness as a poet: "in his seven volumes the
pieces of high merit are mingled with a mass of pieces
very inferior to them; so inferior…that it seems wonderful
how the same poet should have produced both. …Work altogether
inferior, work quite uninspired, flat and dull, is produced
by him with evident unconsciousness of its defects,
and he presents it to us with the same faith and seriousness
as his best work" (Complete Prose Works
9: 42; and see Shairp, Aspects of Poetry 121-22).
In acknowledging the unevenness of Wordsworth’s poetry,
both Arnold and Shairp follow the Coleridge of Chapter
22 of Biographia Literaria, which Lampman may
have known directly (see notes, above and below).
"INCONSTANCY of…style" is the
first of the "prominent defects of [Wordsworth’s]
poems" that Coleridge discusses in terms of a "disharmony"
and "incongruity" in levels of diction (2:
had a theory… As noted above, Shairp treats
both Wordsworth and Coleridge as poet-critics with "a
theory" (Aspects of Poetry 114-22). "Even
if Wordsworth in some points pressed his theory too
far," he suggests, "no one who cares for such
matters can read the reasoning of the…two prefaces [to
Lyrical Ballads] without instruction" (115).
In Chapters 17 to 20 of Biographia Literaria,
Coleridge provides a critique of Wordsworth’s poetic
theories, concluding that "were there excluded
from…[his] poetic compositions all, that a literal adherence
to the Theory of his preface would exclude, two-thirds
at least of the marked beauties of his poetry must be
erased. …[A] far greater number of lines would be sacrificed
than in any other recent poet" (2: 84).
"The Leechgatherer," "Ruth"…
Arnold includes "Michael: a Pastoral Poem"
(1800) and "The Leech Gatherer" ("Resolution
and Independence"; see notes to "Style")
among Wordsworth’s best poems, remarking that if the
expression of the latter is "bald…it is bald as
the bare mountain tops are bald, with a baldness which
is full of grandeur" (Complete Prose Works
9: 53-54). "Ruth" (1815), one of the few poems
by Wordsworth that have a North American component,
also treats of humble people and rural landscapes.
was a roaring…her mirth." Except for
a very few differences of punctuation and capitalization,
Lampman’s quotation of the opening lines of "Resolution
and Independence" is accurate. In Aspects of
Poetry, Shairp observes of "Resolution and
Independence" that it "sets forth that alternation
of two opposite moods to which imaginative natures are
exposed,—the highest exaltation, rejoicing in sympathy
with the joy of Nature, quickly succeeded by the deepest
of curiosa felicitas…noted by Coleridge After
listing the "defects of [Wordsworth’s] poems"
in Chapter 22 of Biographia Literaria, Coleridge
turns to their excellences, the first and fourth of
these being "a perfect appropriateness of the words
to the meaning" and "the perfect truth of
nature in his images and descriptions" (2: 115,
121). Coleridge also considers "a laborious minuteness
and fidelity in the representation of objects"
to be a defect of Wordsworth’s poetry (2: 101). In his
chapter on "Thought and Literature" in the
Life and Times of the Right Honourable Sir John A.
Macdonald (1883), Joseph Edmund Collins applies
the term "curiosa felicitas of expression"
to the prose of Goldwin Smith, defining it in the process
as "the aptitude for coining [the] new and telling
phrase that at once reveals itself as a master-stroke"
(460; and see the headnote to "The Life and
Times of Sir John A. Macdonald").
saw a man…if it move at all." Here, as
in "Style," Lampman is quoting from an early
version of the poem (see notes to "Style").
Except for punctuation, capitalization, and the substitution
of "altogether" for "all together"
(Poetical Works 2: 237), the quotation of lines
55-56 and 64-77 is accurate. In the manuscript, Lampman
signals the omission of a stanza (9) and the beginning
of a line (64) with three Xs, which have been replaced
with dots in the present text.
little poems on the "Small Celandine"
"To the Small Celandine" (1807) and
"To the Same Flower" (1807) are poems 11 and
12 in Wordsworth’s "Poems of the Fancy."
loose and redundant verbiage of…"The Thorn"
and "Goody Blake" "The Thorn"
and "Goody Blake and Harry Gill: a True Story"
were both published in Lyrical Ballads (1798).
The former is subjected to a withering critique by Coleridge
in Chapter 17 of Biographia Literaria on the
grounds that it descends to "dullness and garrulity"
and that several of its lines are "felt by many
unprejudiced and unsophisticated hearts, as sudden and
unpleasant sinkings from the height to which the poet
had previously lifted them" (2: 36-38). In the
paragraph that precedes these remarks Coleridge expresses
reservations about "The Idiot Boy," which
he links with "Harry Gill" as a poem "pitched
at a lower note than "The Brothers’" or "Michael"
a leaf…the tiny square." As is the case
with "Resolution and Independence" (see notes
above and in "Style"), Lampman is quoting
from early versions of "To the Small Celandine"
and "To the Same Flower." Thus his quotation
of lines 25-32 ("E’er a leaf…none[.]") of
the former has "its nest" rather than the
"her nest" of later (1832) versions and his
quotation of lines 57-64 of the same poem has "Singing…
/ In the lanes my thoughts pursuing" rather than
"Serving… / Tasks that are no tasks renewing"
(1836) (Poetical Works 2: 143-33). The third
stanza of "To the Same Flower," which he quotes
after the break (signalled by three dots), contains
no similar variants. Except for punctuation and capitalization,
the quotations are accurate.
rock of stone…this poor thorn forever." Once
again, Lampman is drawing his quotation from an early
text (the "wire bent" of the seventh line
becomes "are bent" after 1832; see Poetical
Works 2: 240). Except for punctuation, capitalization,
and the substitution of "had" for "have"
in the penultimate line, stanza 2 of "The Thorn"
is accurately reproduced (the italics are Lampman’s).
lines of The Corsair… See "The
Poetry of Byron" for a full expression of Lampman’s
negative views of Lord Byron and his work. The opening
lines of The Corsair (1814), a description of
the sun setting "Along Morea’s hills" also
appear as the opening lines of "The Curse of Minerva"
(1828). In a note to them, Byron writes that they "have,
perhaps, little business here [in The Corsair],
and were annexed to an unpublished…poem [‘The Curse
of Minerva’]; but they were written on the spot, in
the Spring of 1811, and—I scarce know why—the reader
must excuse their appearance here—if he can" (1025).
was a phantom of delight"… The untitled
poem that begins with this line was first published
in 1807 and subsequently included as the eighth piece
in "Poems of the Imagination."
Tennyson’s "Isabel" (1830) is a fulsome
description of the young poet’s mother as "the
crown and head, / The stately flower of female fortitude,
/ Of perfect wifehood and pure lowlihead" (!) (184).
now I see…an angel light." Except for
capitalization and punctuation, Lampman’s quotation
is an accurate reproduction of an early (1807-1827)
version of the third stanza of "She was a Phantom
of delight.…" In later versions, "betwixt"
became "between" and "angel light"
"angelic" (Poetical Works 2: 214).
years she grew in sun and shower," The
tenth piece in "Poems of the Imagination,"
"Three years she grew in sun and shower…"
(1800) is popularly considered to be one of Wordsworth’s
stars…into her face." Except for a variant
in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of the fifth stanza
of the poem is accurate (the italics are his).
Prelude and the Excursion The
Prelude: or, Growth of a Poet’s Mind, Wordsworth’s
long autobiographical poem, was published posthumously
in its thirteen book form in 1850 and The Excursion,
the middle portion of a projected three-part poem "on
man…nature and…human life" to be called "The
Recluse," in 1814. Both are in blank verse.
rustic life…dearer to Wordsworth’s heart than…more complex…human
society… In Aspects of Poetry, Shairp
makes this point at length, arguing that Wordsworth
"cared…but little for that culture, literary, aesthetic,
and scientific, of which so much is made nowadays"
because "he had found something worthier than all
class culture, often among the lowliest and most despised.
…Inasmuch, however, as he valued only that which is
intrinsically and essentially the best in men, he may
be said to have upheld a moral and spiritual aristocracy"
from the ceiling…summer flies." Once
again, Lampman is drawing his quotation of lines 110-28
of "Michael" from an early text ("Did
with a huge projection overbrow" became "With
huge and black projection overbrowed" in 1836;
see Poetical Works 2: 83-84). Except for punctuation,
capitalization, and the substitution of "Which"
for "That" in the second line, the quotation
is accurate (the italics are Lampman’s).
times even garrulous See the quotation from
Coleridge in the note to "…the loose and redundant
prefatory sonnet on the sonnet Lampman is
referring to "Nuns fret not at their convent’s
narrow room…" (1807), the opening poem in Part
1 of Wordsworth’s Miscellaneous Sonnets (1820).
flock of sheep…joyous health." Except
for a few variations in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation
of "A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by…"
(1807), sonnet 14 in Part 1 of Miscellaneous Sonnets
(1820) is an accurate reproduction of the 1807-1820
version of the poem (see Poetical Works 3: 8-9).
on Etna" and "Sohrab and Rustum"…
The first and the third of Arnold’s poems are
briefly discussed in "The Modern School of Poetry
in England" and "Style." The ending of
the second, the title poem in Empedocles on Etna,
and Other Poems (1852), consists of the last words
of Empedocles before he throws himself into the crater
of the volcano.
sufficiently simple and ingenuous In Aspects
of Poetry, Shairp considers Tennyson’s style to
be "composite…richly wrought" and "elaborate,"
and, as such, more in the line of Keats than Wordsworth
(129-30). See also "Style."
See "The Revolt of Islam" and
Browning… See "Style."
See "The Modern School of Poetry in England"
[sic]"…the "Rhyme [sic] of the Ancient Mariner"
In Aspects of Poetry, Shairp endorses Swinburne’s
view in "Coleridge" (1869) that "Christabel"
(1816), "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"
(1798), and "Kubla Khan" are Coleridge’s "best
pieces," but he places the first two poems on a
higher plane than the third, and he remarks of "Christabel"
that "[t]he movement of its subtle cadences has
a union of grace and power, which only the finest lines
of Shakespeare can parallel" (123). Walter Pater
is marginally less extravagant in his praise of "Christabel"
and "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" in his
Introduction to Coleridge in The English Poets (1880),
but he gives the two poems pride of place in Coleridge’s
oeuvre by discussing them together and at length
(see 5: 109-14).
Shairp proceeds from Coleridge to Byron in Aspects
of Poetry, offering a largely negative critique
of the latter’s character and style: "[h]is cadences
were few, but they were strong and impressive. …[A]ll
the variety of [his] moods, and his most characteristic
style, are faithfully embodied in…Don Juan. [He]…often
affected gloom and played with misanthropy, and his
poems reflecting these moods are all, more of less,
in a falsetto tone" (125-26). See also "The
Poetry of Byron."
See "The Modern School of Poetry in England"
The Character and Poetry
holograph manuscript of "The Character and Poetry
of Keats," Lampman’s longest essay, is the centrepiece
of the Lampman Papers in the W.A.C. Bennett Library
at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia.
Unsigned but dated "Jan. 1893," the manuscript
consists of 132 unnumbered pages sewn through with string
and contained in a booklet with brown cardboard covers
and a black-taped spine (Ms C 184.108.40.206.). The sheets
measure 20.7 x 27.6 cm. and show neither a watermark
nor chainlines. Since the essay is clearly written in
ink it has posed no difficulties of transcription. It
has been previously published in a severely truncated
form and with a prefatory note by E.K. Brown in the
University of Toronto Quarterly 15 (June, 1946):
Character and Poetry of Keats" appears to have
developed out of "The Poets," an essay that
achieved only draft form in a notebook of circa 1891
in the National Archives (MG 29 D59 vol. 7, 3061-3118).
After a brief general survey of "the greatest poets"
(3061), "The Poets" narrows its focus to Keats
and quickly becomes an examination of his life and writing
to about 1817. A draft of much of the remainder of "The
Character and Poetry of Keats" survives in another
manuscript book in the National Archives (MG 29 D 59
vol. 7, 3170-3202) and takes Keats from "the spring
of 1819" to his burial in "the Protestant
cemetery at Rome" (3170, 3201). Since "The
Character and Poetry of Keats" was finished in
January 1893, the date assigned to this manuscript book,
"circa 1894-95," is probably incorrect. A
third notebook of circa 1892-1893 contains a draft of
the opening lines of The Story of an Affinity
(1900), the long poem that Lampman began in the fall
of 1892 (see Bentley, "Introduction" xi-xii),
and a full draft of "The Character and Poetry of
Keats" (MG 29 D 59 vol. 5, 2148-226).
letters to Edward William Thomson between October 1892
and May 1893 provide an index of the evolution of "The
Character and Poetry of Keats" from a lecture to
a monograph. "I am on to deliver a lecture on Keats
next winter and that is beginning to occupy my attention,"
Lampman told his friend on October 12, 1892; "I
deliver it at Kingston and I trust they will pay me
something for it" (Annotated Correspondence
50). Unfortunately, the vagueness of the "they"
to whom this letter refers—possibly a society in Kingston
or at Queen’s University—did not prompt Thomson to seek
clarification in his reply of October 17, which suggests
another venue for the lecture: "[w]hy do you not
come to Boston with your Keats lecture. Drop a line
that you will and we can get things ready by salting
the press with Lampman paragraphs. You could make a
hit here—don’t doubt it, Mr. Modesty. And the boom you’d
get might well result in a prolonged lecture tour that
would forever relieve you from the office. I counsel
you as is in me to come to Boston with that lecture.
If you want an invitation it can easily be worked up,
and you should not be too dignified to let your friends
use some ordinary devices" (51-52). Lampman’s reply
of October 20 indicates the importance that he was beginning
to attach to the lecture: "[a]s to the lecture,
I am full of gratitude to you and my other kind friends
for the suggestion and the offer of assistance—but—not
this time. I must have time to prepare something as
good as I can make it before I go lecturing in Boston.
My Keats lecture is not written yet and I do not know
whether it will be any good or not. If it pleases me,
I will work it up more carefully next year, and then
you can invite me to deliver it at the ‘Hub’ [i.e.,
Boston]" (52-53). In his two remaining letters
of 1892 to Thomson, both of which are obviously replies
to letters that have been lost, Lampman reports the
slow progress of his lecture and expresses grave misgivings,
not only about its content, but also about his abilities
as a lecturer. "I do not know whether I can lecture
at all yet to anyone’s satisfaction," he writes
on November 9; "I will have to try myself on some
thing nearer home. Besides I have been seized with a
fit of poetry…and my lecture has gone to the wall and
will stay there till the fit of verse writing passes
off" (55). And on December 24: "[a]s to that
lecture I will let you know what I think later on. I
shall certainly not venture on it unless I am satisfied
with my paper. I have not yet finished it, and so far
I am anything but satisfied with it; in fact I am disgusted
with myself and it. It does me good however to know
that you take so much kindly interest in the matter.
I am indeed infinitely obliged to you" (57).
his next surviving letter to Thomson, dated February
10, 1893, Lampman pronounces himself "fairly satisfied
with [his] winter’s activities": "I have written
a large quantity of a story in verse [The Story of
an Affinity (1900)] besides my paper on Keats, upon
which I spent a good deal of conscientious labour and
which is a failure viewed from the point of view of
our proposed delivery of it in Boston" (58). Apparently
Thomson’s wish "to read the Keats lecture"
in his reply of February 14 came true when the two friends
spent a couple of weeks together in Boston in late April
and early May, for on April 24, Lampman wrote home to
his wife that "Thomson thinks I may sell my Essay
on Keats. I intend to try. It is rather too long for
a magazine, but might be published in a small book or
as a monograph" (Lampman Papers, Simon Fraser University).
From Lampman’s next, and final reference to "The
Character and Poetry of Keats" it is evident that
Thomson’s high estimation of it was not fully echoed
by Horace Scudder, an editor of the Atlantic Monthly,
a reader for Houghton, Mifflin (Boston), and the author
of, among other things, a collection of essays on English
and American literature (Men and Letters ).
"I am afraid your valuation of my prose efforts
and prose capacity is extravagant, and would not be
borne out by experience," Lampman told Thomson
on May 18, 1893; "[m]y first attempt anyway is
a failure. Mr. Scudder cannot make any use, he says,
in any form of my paper on Keats. He gives it at the
same time some cautious praise, and agrees that it is
good as a lecture" (Annotated Correspondence
hope during his stay in Boston that he might be able
to publish his essay "as a small book or…monograph"
may have been encouraged, not only by Thomson and his
circle, but also by the extraordinary interest in Keats
in Boston literary circles in the early ’nineties. Led
by Fred Hall Day, a Wildean aesthete whose publishing
house, Copeland and Day, would eventually print Lampman’s
Lyrics of Earth (1895), and Louise Imogen Guiney,
a poet and a critic whose intense anglophilia would
eventually take her permanently to England, a campaign
had been underway since 1891 to erect "an American
memorial to Keats, a marble bust by the Boston Sculptor
Anna Payne Whitney, …in the parish church in Hampstead,
England" where the poet had spent his most creative
years (Gibran 42). After a three-year fund-raising drive,
the Keats Memorial was dedicated in July 1894 and "reported
throughout the English-speaking world" (43). Of
Lampman’s knowledge of this campaign, there can be no
doubt, for he calls attention to it in his At the
Mermaid Inn column of January 28, 1893:
is a strange fact that, although seventy-one years
have elapsed since the death of Keats, no monument
of any sort to his memory has been erected upon
English soil. Other poets of less power, but greater
worldly fortune, have been crowned with every species
of honour, and a corner of Westminster Abbey packed
with the memorials of their genius. Yet the fame
of this poet, almost the brightest of all, has been
curiously neglected. We learn, therefore, with satisfaction
that a very beautiful bust of Keats, by Miss Anne
Whitney, an American is about to be placed in the
parish church at Hampstead, London, where Keats
lived and wrote many of his best pieces. The expense
of this memorial is being borne by a number of American
literary people, who have thus undertaken a duty
which should have been performed long ago by the
poet’s countrymen. (247)
fact that within weeks of the appearance of this column,
Lampman was able to tell Thomson that he had completed
his "paper on Keats" but that it was "a
failure" as a lecture for "delivery…in Boston"
may indicate that early in 1893 he had already begun
to think of it as a long essay or "short book"
that might achieve speedy publication on account of
the interest generated by the Keats Memorial.
then, did "The Character and Poetry of Keats"
not find its way into print? One factor may well have
been its length: at a full forty pages in the present
edition, it is long for an essay and short for a book
(though pieces of a similar length are by no means uncommon
in either format). Another factor is its sheer lack
of originality, which would surely have been evident
to an editor and scholar of Scudder’s experience. As
the annotations in the present edition attest, few portions
of "The Character and Poetry of Keats" can
escape the charge of being a paraphrase or a pastiche
of other works on Keats, particularly Richard Monckton
Milnes’ Life, Letters, and Literary Remains of John
Keats (1848; rev. ed. 1867), a germinal document
in the Keats revival that took place in the second half
of the nineteenth century, and Sidney Colvin’s Keats
(1887; rpt. 1889), an important advance in the study
of Keats’s life and work that is particularly significant
and persuasive in arguing that, far from being the detached
aesthete envisaged by William John Courthorpe and others,
Keats was profoundly aware of "the human mission
and responsibility of his art" (189). Colvin agrees
with Milnes that Keats was "the true Marcellus…of
the realm of English song" (the allusion is to
the promising youth whose premature death is mourned
by Virgil in the Aeneid 6: 861-87), with Matthew
Arnold that "he was the most Shakspearean spirit
that has lived since Shakspeare," and with John
Campbell Shairp that, with Wordsworth, he lies centrally
in the background of Tennyson and other major Victorian
poets (218-20). Lampman’s essay thus stands in a continuity
of admiration for Keats that sees the "Protean"
variety of his mind and art, his "openness"
to "the whole range of life and imagination,"
as a golden link between "the great poets of the
[Elizabethan] age" and those of the Victorian era
(Colvin 218-20). A comparison between Lampman’s approaches
to Keats in the essays of the mid-to-late ’eighties
(see the discussions of his work in "Style,"
"Poetic Interpretation" and "The Modern
School of Poetry in England") and that of "The
Character and Poetry of Keats" can leave little,
if any, doubt that Colvin’s work exercised a major influence
on his thinking about the poet who had taken up a central
position in his critical and creative writing in the
Y. Connor cites Lampman’s classical training, his distrust
of "dogma, creed, [and] formula," and even
a "haunting premonition of his own early death"
as reasons for "his unusual affinity for Keats"
(139-40). Whatever the case, there can be no doubt of
Keats’s importance for Lampman from at least the spring
of 1884, when he wrote the intensely Keatsian "April"
(Poems 4-6; Early, "Chronology" 78)
to well after the spring of 1895, when he answered Thomson’s
criticism that the opening lines of his unpublished
poem "Lisa" are "too strongly suggestive
of the diction and method of Keats" (Annotated
Correspondence 117) with an apologia that helps
to explain his apparent inability in the early ’nineties
to distance himself from Keats and his biographer-critics:
"[t]he Keats at the beginning [of "Lisa"]
was very natural, for I could not write anything at
that time with[out] writing Keats. I am only just now
getting quite clear of the spell of that marvellous
person; and it has taken me ten years to do it. Keats
has always had such a fascination for me and has so
permeated my whole mental outfit that I have an idea
that he has found a sort of faint reincarnation in me.
I should not write the poem that way, if I were writing
it now—but then I should not be writing it at all"
(119). As well as being the most telling, this is the
last reference to Keats in Lampman’s published or unpublished
work: by 1894 a preoccupation that had indeed "permeated
[his] whole mental outfit" was losing its fascination
many of the quotations from Keats’s poems and all of
the quotations from his letters in "The Character
and Poetry of Keats" may have been taken from Milnes
and/or Colvin, Lampman must have owned one or more of
the editions of the poems and letters that were published
in the decades preceding the writing of his essay. These
included editions of the Poetical Works by Milnes
(Lord Houghton) (1854, 1876) and William T. Arnold (1884),
of his Letters and Poems by John Gilmer Speed
(1883), and of his Letters…to Fanny Brawne by
H. Buxton Forman (1878). In the present edition, quotations
of Keats’s poems and letters are referred as necessary
to Milnes and, under its editor’s name, to a modern
edition of the work which, in Colvin’s view, "might
for the purpose of the student be final" (vii),
Forman’s four-volume Poetical Works and Other Writings
of John Keats (1883).
"A thing of Beauty…and all ye need to know[.]"
Except for capitalization and punctuation, Lampman’s
quotations are accurate (see also "Poetic Interpretation").
this lofty sense must also be good In "Aesthetic
Poetry. Dante Gabriel Rossetti" (1882), John Campbell
Shairp quotes Cardinal Newman to the effect that "‘the
highest beauty and moral goodness are unseperably connected’"
and then chastises recent poets for paying insufficient
attention to Keats’s aspiration towards beauty allied
to truth (7-8). Again using Keats as an example, Shairp
elaborates these arguments in his chapter on "The
Spiritual Side of Poetry" in Aspects of Poetry
(1882), placing different responses to beauty in "Nature,
and in Works of Art," on a Platonic ladder that
ascends from the "mere exhilaration of the animal
spirits," through the "enjoyment which aesthetic
natures feel," to the "higher," "moral
stage" where "visible beauty" "awakens…moral
emotion" and permits "a glimpse into the Divine
order and beauty…[and] greater nearness to Him who makes
that order and beauty" (61-64). Lampman’s association
of "Beauty…in that clear and lofty sense"
with "white light" and "golden quietude"
is resonantly (neo-)Platonic, as is his invocation of
"Beauty…Goodness [and]…Truth" (a triad embodied
in the heroine of The Story of an Affinity ,
which was written between October 1892 and April 1894,
and expounded in "Beauty" , which was
written circa June 1892 [see Bentley, "Introduction."
xi-xiii and xvii and Early, "Chronology" 82]).
See also "The Modern School of Poetry in England,"
"Poetic Interpretation," "The Poetry
of Byron," and Lampman’s "Notes from Ruskin/Lectures
on Art" (Appendix).
for art’s sake A translation of "l’art
pour l’art," a phrase first used by the French
writer Théophile Gautier, "art for art’s sake"
is the doctrine and attitude that painters, poets, and
other artists should not concern themselves with social
and moral issues but devote themselves to nothing other
than the perfection of their art. Prominent English
"devotees of art for art’s sake" in the final
decades of the nineteenth century were Walter Pater,
who writes of "the desire of beauty, the love of
art for its own sake" (1: 239) in the Conclusion
to The Renaissance (1873) and Oscar Wilde, who,
like other aesthetes, viewed Keats as a literary ancestor
(see "The Garden of Eros"  [9: 46-47]).
American exemplars included Fred Holland Day (see headnote).
realists During the eighteen eighties and
’nineties there was much debate in Canada and the United
States about whether poetry, fiction, and drama should
adhere to the rules of realism or romance. Was it the
purpose of literature to represent the human and natural
worlds objectively or idealistically? Are the actions
of animals and people governed by mechanical laws (such
as sexual reproduction and the "survival of the
fittest") or are they part of a Providential scheme
that patterns all aspects of existence? Several of Sara
Jeannette Duncan’s columns in The Week address
these and related issues (see, for instance, "Outworn
Literary Methods"  and "The Modern Stage"
), as do William Wilfred Campbell’s At the
Mermaid Inn columns of July 1893 (see 341-44). (Duncan,
like the American fiction writers William Dean Howells
and Hamlin Garland [see the headnote to "[Socialism],"]
proposed a compromise in the form of an "idealistic
realism" [Jane Johnson xxi] or "veritism"
that would both reflect reality and, in Garland’s words
"hasten the age of beauty and peace" [Crumbling
Idols (1894), 44].) In a letter of July 31, 1893
to Thomson, Lampman writes that, while the French novelist
Honoré de Balzac "understood human nature with
the heart," "[o]ur novelists of to-day are
all too busy studying out the minute and intricate machinery
of the soul, and describing it in a scientific way,
that they lose all faculty of love; you never find your
own heart going out to their characters with a passionate
or joyful sympathy. They are very clever, and very tiresome,
most of them" (Annotated Correspondence
91). Lampman’s remarks place him very much on the side
of the idealists.
Carlisle [sic]…Tennyson…dead dogs" No
source for this quotation has yet been found, but Lampman
may have been thinking of one or more of Thomas Carlyle’s
uses of animal images in relation to British writers,
as, for example, in "On Biography" (1832):
"[n]othing but a pitiful Image of their own pitiful
self, with all its vanities, and grudgings, and ravenous
hunger of all kinds, hangs forever painted on the retinas
of these unfortunate persona [the army of British authors];
so that the starry ALL…does but appear
as some expanded magic-lantern shadow of that same Image,—and
naturally looks pitiful enough" (Works 28:
impulse…the Divine Creator… In Chapter 13
of the Biographia Literaria (1817), Samuel Taylor
Coleridge defines "[t]he primary IMAGINATION…[as]
the living Power and prime Agent of all human Perception,
and as a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal
act of creation in the infinite I AM" (1: 202).
humanity…toward love and knowledge and peace… The
concluding sentence of Lampman’s second paragraph recalls
several statements in "The Modern School of Poetry
in England," "Poetic Interpretation,"
and "The Poetry of Byron" and, hence, the
passages in Shairp’s Aspects of Poetry with which
those statements resonate (see notes, especially to
"The Modern School of Poetry in England").
Tennyson and to Browning… As observed in the
notes to "Style," Shairp designates Keats
"more than any other poet" as "the master
whose style [Tennyson] has caught and prolonged"
(Aspects of Poetry 130). Lampman discusses both
Tennyson and Browning in "Style" and in "Poetic
"One morning star of Song"… In the
second stanza of "A Dream of Fair Women" (1832),
Tennyson describes Geoffrey Chaucer (circa 1343-1400)
as "the morning star of song" (441). Probably
the best-known of Chaucer’s "lines and couplets,
in which are mentioned…flowers…birds…[and] rain"
occur at the beginning of the General Prologue to The
Canterbury Tales. See also Lampman’s 1894 sonnet
who comprehended all things… See the notes
to Lampman’s discussion of Shakespeare in "Style."
in the chronicles…your master now." Except
for the pluralization of "chronicle" (1614)
and the omission of one comma, Lampman’s quotation of
Shakespeare’s Sonnet 106 (1609) is accurate.
Shakespeare… In his Introduction to Keats
in The English Poets (1880), Matthew Arnold ranks
him after Shakespeare in "expression" and
"perfection of loveliness" (Complete Prose
Works 9: 215).
Monc[k]ton Milnes thought…Keats… drama Richard
Monckton Milnes (1809-1885), Lord Houghton, was a poet,
biographer, and social reformer who was a close friend
of several Victorian writers, including Tennyson, the
Brownings, William Makepeace Thackeray, Algernon Charles
Swinburne and Walter Savage Landor. In his Life,
Letters, and Literary Remains of John Keats (1848)
(see headnote) he dwells repeatedly on the fact that
the work Keats "produced was rather a promise than
an accomplishment" (1, and see 222), concluding
that beyond his poems "there is nothing…but the
thought of what he might have become. …There is…progress…in
the works of Keats, but it is towards his own ideal
of a poet, not towards any defined and tangible model.
All that we can do is to transfer that ideal to ourselves,
and to believe that if Keats had lived, that is what
he would have been" (253).
was enchanted from the first with…Elizabethan pastoral…
Here and in his ensuing remarks, Lampman is elaborating
upon Milnes’ observation that Endymion is "imbued
with the spirit of Spenser, Fletcher, and Ben Jonson"
and that, while Hyperion displays the influence
of Paradise Lost, Keats was initially "attracted
[by]…those poems which Milton had drawn out of the heart
of old mythology, ‘Lycidas’ and ‘Comus’; and…the ‘Penseroso’
and ‘Allegro’" (63, and see notes, below).
Endymion The first of Keats’s long
poems, Endymion was written in 1817 and published
in 1818 (see "Style" and notes, below).
Forsaken Shepherdess of Beaumont and Fletcher
The Faithful Shepherdess (circa 1610) is
thought to have been written solely by John Fletcher
(1579-1625) rather than by Fletcher in collaboration
with his fellow English dramatist Sir Francis Beaumont
(1584-1616). Colvin mentions the "idyllic and lyric"
Fletcher of "the Faithful Shepherd"
as "a writer with whom Keats was very familiar,
and whose inspiration…is closely kindred to his own"
Sad Shepherd of Ben Jonson The Sad
Shepherd; or a Tale of Robin Hood (1641) is the
last and unfinished play of the English dramatist Ben
Jonson (circa 1572-1637).
Fairie [sic] Queen [sic] of Edmund
Spencer [sic]… Milnes records that "in the
beginning of 1812," Keats asked his friend Charles
Cowden Clarke (see note, below) for "the loan of
Spenser’s ‘Fairy Queen’" and that "[t]he effect…produced
on him by that great work of ideality was electrical:
…he would now speak of nothing but Spenser. A new world
of delight seemed revealed to him. …This, in fact, was
not only his open presentation at the Court of the Muses
(for [his] lines in imitation of Spenser…are the earliest
known verses of his composition,) but it was the great
impulse of his poetic life, and the stream of his inspiration
remained long colored by the rich soil over which it
first had flowed" (18-19). Written in the stanza
form invented by Edmund Spenser (circa 1552-1599), The
Faerie Queene is a richly detailed, allegorical,
and unfinished romance that was first published in 1590
(books 1-3) and 1596 (books 4-6).
and Lycidas, "L’Allegro," "Il
Penseroso" See the note, above in which Milnes
speculates about Keats’s attraction to the shorter poems
of John Milton (1608-1674), specifically: Comus,
a Maske (1637) and Lycidas (1638) a pastoral
elegy, "L’Allegro" and "Il Penseroso"
(1645), a pair of poems that describe, respectively,
the active and the contemplative life. Milnes does not
include Milton’s sonnets in his remarks.
pilgrim footsteps clad in amice grey’" Lampman
misquotes Milton’s description of "morning fair"
in Paradise Regained 4: 426: "with Pilgrim
steps in amice gray" (an "amice" is a
fur-lined hood or cape worn by certain monastic orders).
See "Style" for a brief discussion of Lampman’s
sense of the place of Milton and Paradise Lost
in the English literary tradition.
Hyperion Hyperion: a Fragment
and its successor, The Fall of Hyperion, are
aborted attempts at epic that were written in 1818-1819.
The former was published in 1820 and the latter posthumously
strongest other influences which affected the poetry
of Keats… Lampman lists three "influences"
that require separate comment:
"the political and literary atmosphere of his
own age": see "Style" for the contrary
view, based partly on William John Courthorpe’s "The
Latest Development of Literary Poetry" (1872),
that Keats…stands separated from his age." Apparently
Lampman changed his mind about the importance of the
French Revolution and the Romantic movement for Keats.
Colvin quotes Keats’s friend George Felton Mathew to
the effect that the poet "‘was of the sceptical
and republican school…an advocate for the innovations
which were making progress in his time—a faultfinder
with everything established’" (20)
"the introduction to classical mythology…natural
affinity": after describing Keats’s youthful
attraction to Virgil’s Aeneid, Milnes states
that "[Andrew] Tooke’s ‘Pantheon,’ [Joseph] Spence’s
Polymetis,’ and [John] Lemprière’s ‘Dictionary,’ were
sufficient fully to introduce his imagination to the
enchanted world of old mythology; with this, at once,
he became intimately acquainted, and a natural
consanguity, so to say, of intellect, soon domesticated
him with the ancient ideal life, so that his scanty
scholarship…led the way to that wonderful reconstruction
of Grecian feeling and fancy, of which his mind became
afterwards capable" (17). As the title of The
Story of an Affinity (see headnote) indicates, Lampman
was perhaps under the influence of Johann Wolfgang von
Goethe’s Die Wahlverwandtschaften (The
Elective Affinities) (1809; trans 1872), in the
early eighteen nineties.
"the sufferings of mind and body…":
From the fall of 1817, when his first volume of poetry
was harshly reviewed, to his death of tuberculosis in
February 1821, Keats endured mental and physical sufferings
that became legendary (see notes, below).
was born shortly after the close of that long intermediary
period… See "Style" for a parallel
discussion of the relationship of the Romantic period
(1798-1832) to what Lampman there calls the "transition
age" of the eighteenth century. The only figure
mentioned here but not in "Style" is James
Henry Leigh Hunt (1784-1859), the poet, dramatist, and
essayist who befriended Keats in 1816 and thereafter
championed his work. Hunt is best remembered for his
support of other writers, but The Story of Rimini
(1816), A Legend of Florence (1840), and his
Autobiography (1850) were much admired in his
youthful Titans…promethean spirit In Greek
mythology, the Titans, one of whose sons was Prometheus,
are a race of giants who rebelled against the gods and
were variously punished for their impudence. They provided
subjects and analogies for numerous Romantic and Victorian
writers, including Keats (Hyperion), Shelley
(Prometheus Unbound), and Carlyle (The French
Revolution) (see "Gambetta," "Style,"
and other essays).
1830 and 1840 when Tennyson and Browning came… Tennyson’s
Poems, Chiefly Lyrical appeared in 1830 (he had
earlier contributed to Poems of Two Brothers
) and Robert Browning’s Sordello appeared
in 1840 (he had previously published three other books,
beginning with the anonymous Pauline ).
them was the full light of mid-day… Lampman’s
use of a diurnal metaphor to describe the relationship
between the Victorian poets and their Romantic predecessors
may owe something to Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s "Old
and New Art" sonnets, where the early Christians
are envisaged practicing their art "Before the
husk of darkness was well burst" and their technically
accomplished successors as working "past noon"
the year 1812…Charles Cowden Clarke…Fairie
[sic] Queen [sic]… See note, above. In his "Epistle
to Charles Cowden-Clarke" (1817), Keats expresses
his gratitude to his generous friend, who subsequently
became a prolific editor and lecturer. Recollections
of Writers, a memoir of Keats and other writers
by Cowden-Clarke (1787-1877) and his wife, appeared
school companions…the unusual vigor and pugnacity of
his disposition… Both Colvin (8-9) and Forman
(1: xxix-xxx) quote lengthy reminiscences by Keats’s
school friends, Cowden-Clarke and Edward Holmes, about
his "penchant…for fighting" and his
"highly pugnacious spirit," and Milnes (15-17)
makes the same point. Lampman paraphrases Holmes, who
remarks that "Keats in childhood was not attached
to books. …He was a boy whom any one from his extraordinary
vivacity and personal beauty might easily fancy would
become great—but rather in some military capacity than
in literature. …[His] violence and vehemence [his] pugnacity
and generosity of disposition…will help to paint Keats
in boyhood" (qtd. in Colvin 8 and Forman 1: xxix-xxx).
varied and elaborate imagery…of Spencer’s [sic] poems…
See note, above. Milnes writes that Keats
"reveled in the gorgeousness of the imagery"
of The Faerie Queene.
the beginning of 1817…he cast aside his medical studies
Milnes chronicles the gradual displacement of
medicine by poetry in Keats’s life (see 21-22) and Colvin
states that he "gave way gradually to his growing
passion for poetry" between 1814 and April, 1817"
Hunt, and…that company of young poets and artists…
After reviewing the somewhat contradictory evidence,
Colvin writes that "[t]he introduction [of Hunt
and Keats] seems to have taken place early in the spring
of 1816" (34), and proceeds to review the "congenial
spirits" whom Keats met through Hunt: John Hamilton
Reynolds, James Rice, Benjamin Robert Haydon, Shelley
and others (36-46, and see Milnes 25-29). Colvin discusses
Hunt’s theories of "versification" in detail
and with little sympathy, observing that "the rhythmical
form…of Endymion" is usually said to have
been influenced by The Story of Rimini and commenting
on Hunt’s "vivacious airs" and "sentimental
optimism" (27-35). He also suggests that in some
of the poems written at the time of his blossoming friendship
with Hunt, Keats attempted "to express…the pleasures
of nature as he felt them in straying about the beautiful,
then rural Hampstead woods and slopes" (35)—Hampstead
being an area north (and now a suburb) of London.
"Epistle to George Felton Matthew [sic]"…
Keats’s verse letter to George Felton Mathew (1795-1854)
is the first of the "Epistles" in his Poems
(1817). It is discussed by both Milnes, who discerns
in it "[t]hat freedom from the bonds of conventional
phraseology which so clearly designates true genius"
(22), and by Colvin, who discerns in Poems as
a whole a "vital poetic faculty and instinct"
contaminated by "much that only illustrates…crudity
of taste" (52). Colvin goes on to describe Keats’s
first volume as a manifestation of his "newly-awakened
literary faculty" and "character as a poet"
last poem, "Sleep and Poetry"… Colvin
describes this poem, which does, indeed, conclude Poems
(1817), as "the most personal and interesting,
as well as probably the last-written…in the volume"
(52). It is dated "November, 1815" (1: 56).
the second Epistle… Dated "August, 1816"
(1: 62), Keats’s epistle "To my Brother George"
is the specific subject of Colvin’s remarks about Keats’s
"newly-awakened literary faculty" (see note,
above) and carries the biographer’s praise for the "rhythmical
movement attempted in [some of its] lines" and
the "touch…[of] Keats’s …exquisite perception and
enjoyment of external nature" in one of its passages
times ’tis true…hidden treasure[.]" Except
for a few variations in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation
of "To my Brother George" 113-16 is accurate.
Milnes quotes the same lines (without the first few
words) and adduces their "foretaste of fame"
as evidence of a healthy "intellectual ambition"
third epistle to…Clarke… Dated "September,
1816" (1: 68), "To Charles Cowden Clark"
(1817) begins with a description of a swan and proceeds
to the lines paraphrased by Lampman: "I have never
penn’d a line to thee: / Because my thoughts were never
free, and clear, / And little fit to please a classic
ear" and so on (1: 63-64). At line 53, Keats credits
Cowden-Clarke with teaching him "all the sweets
vowels…Saturn’s ring?" Except for the
misspelling of "Spenserian" and a few variations
in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of "To Charles
Cowden Clark" (56-67) is accurate. Milnes quotes
individual lines from the same passage, remarking that
the epistle of which they are a part is "written
in a bolder and freer strain than the others; the Poet
in excusing himself for not having addressed his Muse
to Mr. Clarke before…implies that he is growing conscious
of a possible brotherhood" with "the great
masters of song" and reveals a "justness of
perception…allied with redundancy of fancy" (24-25).
Colvin quotes the entire passage (54).
stood tiptoe upon a little hill"… Forman
notes that this poem was finished in December 1816 (1:
9n.) and Colvin calls attention to the "lingering
trains of peaceful summer imagery, and loving inventories
of ‘Nature’s gentle doings’" in the longer pieces
in Poems (1817), speculating that the "London-born
and Middlesex-bred [Keats] was gifted…as if by some
mysterious birthright, with a delighted insight into
all the beauties, and sympathy with all the life, of
the woods and fields" (57).
stories of Psyche and Endymion… The tale of
Cupid’s love for the beautiful Psyche and its laborious
but ultimately happy consequences, is told in books
4-6 of Apuleius’ Golden Ass (circa 155). Somewhat
analogously, Endymion was a handsome shepherd who engendered
the love of Selene (Keats’s Cynthia), who descended
every night to entrance him while he slept. In "I
stood tip-toe upon a little hill" 141-242, Keats
touches upon these and other portions of the "Greek
mythology" with which, in Colvin’s words, he had
"a natural sympathy" (see also notes, above);
indeed, Colvin regards part of the poem as "a sort
of prelude" to Endymion (see "Style"
and notes, below).
are sweet peas…tiny rings." Except for
a few variations in punctuation and the substitution
of "above" for "about" (1: 14),
Lampman’s quotation of "I stood tip-toe…"
57-60 is accurate.
versification is still crude and boyish… Lampman
is paraphrasing Colvin: ‘[t]here is obviously a great
immaturity and uncertainty in all these outpourings,
an intensity and effervescence of emotion out of proportion
as yet both to the intellectual and the voluntary powers,
much confusion of idea, and not a little of expression.
Yet in the first book of Keats there is much that the
lover of poetry will always cherish. Literature…hardly
affords another example of work at once so crude and
attractive" (60-61). Colvin continues in this vein
and, as noted above, focuses continually on Keats’s
the calm grandeur…hawthorn glade." Except
for a variation in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation
of "I stood tip-toe…" 127-30 is accurate.
Milnes quotes the same passage (26).
he knew nothing of Greek and very little of Latin…ordinary
compendiums of mythology… Like Milnes, who
names the compendiums (see note, above), Colvin remarks
that at school Keats "had not gone beyond Latin,
and…did…[not] acquire Greek" (58). Colvin also
remarks on Keats’s "delight in the…beauty"
of Greek myths and his "sympathy with the phase
of imagination that engendered them" (58). Moreover,
he quotes a large part of the "passage conjuring
up the wonders and beneficences of [Endymion and Cynthia’s]
bridal night" as an example of Keats’s "sympathetic
touch for the collective feelings and predicaments of
evening weather…never may be broken" Lampman’s
quotation of "I stood tip-toe…" 215-38 contains
several variations in punctuation and spelling and two
substitutions: "the placid" for "their
placid" and "With arms" for "With
hands" (1: 23-24).
and Poetry" Colvin quotes lines 162-229
of the long poem that concludes Keats’s Poems
(1817), describing them as "the central expression
of the spirit of literary emancipation then militant
and about to triumph in England. The two great captains
of revolution, Coleridge and Wordsworth, have both expounded
their cause, in prose. …But neither has left any enunciation
of theory having power to thrill the ear and haunt the
memory like the rhymes of this young untrained recruit
in the cause of poetic liberty and the return to nature"
singing robes about him… In The Reason
of Church Government (1642), Milton suggests that
"the cool element of prose" does not permit
a poet to "speak…of himself" as he can when
"soaring in the high region of his fancies with
his garland and singing robes about him" (667).
I do hide myself…the most heart-easing things."
The line numbers and significant variations of
Lampman’s quotations from "Sleep and Poetry"
(1: 102-08) are as follows:
"If I do hide myself…The end and aim of poesy[.]":
lines 275-80 and 285-93, with the substitution
of "I shall" for "I will" and "there
will" for "there shall." Colvin also
quotes lines 281-91.
"First the realm…my fancy sees[.]": lines
"Can I ever…human hearts[.]": lines
121-25, with the omission of "And" before
"Is there so small…of old?": lines 162-65.
"Ah, dismal souled…awake?": lines 187-93.
"Now tis a fairer season…and glad.": lines
221-24 and 228-29. In the manuscript, the omission of
lines 225-27 is signalled by "x"s.
"Yet in truth…the grand sea.": lines
"A drainless shower…the thoughts of man[.]":
lines 235-47, with the omission of "of"
from "supreme of power".
"They shall be…things[.]": lines 267-68,
with the omission of "And" before "they".
new evangel A new gospel or doctrine of salvation.
had no sympathy with the art, which aims only to excite…
See "The Modern School of Poetry in England"
and "The Poetry of Byron."
he says, "…‘I am a primrose!’" Except
for variations in punctuation and the omission of "it"
from "startle it or," Lampman’s quotation
from Keats’s letter of February 3, 1818 to Reynolds
is accurate (Milnes 65-66; Forman 6: 137-38).
"Hadst thou lived in days of old"…
"To * * * * "
in Poems (1817) is composed in the same form
(tetrameter couplets) as "L’Allegro" and "Il
of the downward smile and sidelong glance"…
"To G.A.W.," Sonnet 6 in Poems
(1817). Prior to 1935, both poems were indeed assumed
to have been addressed to Georgiana Augusta Wylie, who
later married Keats’s brother George, but "Hadst
thou lived…" is now known to have been addressed
to Mary Frogley (see Forman 1: 41-42 and 79). George
and Georgiana Keats emigrated in May 1818 and the poet
did occasionally write to her rather than to his brother
or to them both (see, for example, Milnes 218-20).
First Looking into Chapman’s Homer"… Milnes
says of some of the sonnets in Poems (1817) that
they are "as noble in thought, rich in expression,
and harmonious in rhythm as any in the language, and
among the best may be ranked that "On first looking
into Chapman’s Homer’ [Sonnet 11]" (23-24).
my Brother George" Sonnet 1 in Poems
ocean…what has been[.]" Except for variations
in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of "To my Brother
George," 5-8 is accurate.
fitful gusts are whispering here and there"…
Sonnet 9 in Poems (1817). Forman notes
that, according to Cowden-Clarke, "this sonnet
was written on the occasion of Keats’s first becoming
acquainted with Leigh Hunt at the Cottage in the vale
of Health, Hampstead" (1: 83n.).
sonnets addressed to Haydon… Sonnets 13 and
14 in Poems (1817) are addressed to the historical
painter Benjamin Robert Haydon (1786-1846), "one
of [Keats’s] chief companions and correspondents"
and the subject of "painful associations"
and a lengthy tribute by Milnes because his "high
talents" and "passion for lofty art"
failed to secure artistic success and social recognition
(28-29). Forman notes that Haydon "died by his
own hand" (1: 90).
Hunt circle…Haydon’s studio…"Great spirits now
on earth are sojourning"… Lampman is
paraphrasing Milnes: "Keats was in the habit of
frequently passing the evening in his friend’s painting-room,
where many men of genius were wont to meet, and, sitting
before some picture on which he was engaged, criticize,
argue, defend, attack, and quote their favorite writers.
…The morning after one of these innocent and happy symposia,
Haydon received a note inclosing the picturesque sonnet
‘Great spirits now on Earth are sojourning’ [Sonnet
14]. …Haydon in his acknowledgment…mentioned that he
would forward it to Wordsworth" (30-31). Milnes
quotes Keats’s reply in which he states his "reverence"
for Wordsworth and remarks on his perspicacity in penetrating
"the veil of prejudice then hanging over that now-honored
Arnold…perfect flexibility… Lampman was doubtless
thinking of Arnold’s high estimate of Keats in his Introduction
of 1880 (see "Poetic Interpretation" and "Style"),
but in differentiating Keats from Shelley and Wordsworth
in terms of his "open[ness] to all impressions"
he probably also had in mind comments by Shairp (see
the notes to the same essays) and Colvin, particularly
the latter’s analysis of Keats’s "tone of reserve"
with regard to Shelley: "with his strong vein of
every-day humanity, sense, and humour, and his innate
openness of mind, [Keats] may well have been as much
repelled as attracted by the unearthly ways and accents
of Shelley, his passionate negation of the world’s creeds
and the world’s law, and his intense proselytizing ardour"
(39). Colvin writes of the Keats of Poems (1817)
that "[h]e has grasped and vehemently asserts the
principle that poetry should not strive to enforce particular
doctrines… but that…its aim [is] the creation of beauty"
he says, "…scarcely cared to visit them[.]"
Lampman’s quotation of Keats’s letter of February
3, 1818 is accurate except for variations in punctuation,
the substitution of "and" for "or"
after "imaginative" and "in" for
"into" before "breeches", the omission
of a sentence between "himself" and "We,"
and the addition of "own" between "his"
and "petty" (Milnes 65-66; Forman 6: 137-38).
Colvin quotes extensively from the same letter to illustrate
Keats’s belief in "the necessity, for a poet, of
an all-embracing receptivity and openness of mind"
(216-17). An "Elector of Hanover" was one
of the princes and archbishops of the German Empire
who had the right to elect an new emperor.
to return to Keats[’] first volume… In this
paragraph, Lampman reiterates some of Colvin’s insights
and arguments (see notes, above) in order to propose
the notion of the "effect of contrast" as
an alternative explanation of Keats’s "freshness
in 1817…give up the study of medicine… Lampman’s
description of Keats’s medical experiences is a digest
of Milnes’ account, which he reads in part: "[t]he
uncongenial profession to which Keats had attached himself
now became every day more repulsive. …[O]n presenting
himself for examination at Apothecaries’ Hall…he passed.
…[A]lthough successful in all his operations, he found
his mind so oppressed…with an over-wrought apprehension
of the possibility of doing harm, that he came to the
determined conviction that he was unfit for [the medical
profession]. …‘My dexterity,’ he said, ‘used to seem
to me a miracle, and I resolved never to take up a surgical
instrument again’" (31-32).
find I cannot…leviathan" Lampman omits
several words between "eternal poetry" and
"I began" but his quotation from Keats’s letter
of April 17-18, 1817 to Reynolds is substantially accurate
(Milnes 35; Forman 6: 29-30; and see Colvin 16).
sooner had he abandoned medicine…important work in verse…
"I shall forthwith begin my ‘Endymion,’ Keats told
Reynolds in his letter of April 17-18, 1817 (Milnes
35; Forman 6: 30).
long poem…rudder." This quotation, which
is accurate except for variations of punctuation and
capitalization, is drawn from an extract of a letter
to his brother George that Keats included in a letter
to Reynolds on October 8, 1817 (Milnes 52; Forman 6:
is no greater sin…balanced." Lampman’s
quotation of a letter of May 1817 is accurate except
for variations in spelling and punctuation, and the
substitution of "oneself with" for "one’s
self into" and "a heavy" for "its
heavy" (Milnes 38; Forman 6:44).
April 1817…the advice of Haydon…Isle of Wight "Mr.
Haydon seems to have been…a wise and prudent counselor,
and to have encouraged him to brace his powers by undistracted
study…[and] to leave London for awhile" (Milnes
32). On April 17-18, 1817, Keats wrote to Reynolds from
Carisbrook on the Isle of Wight off the south coast
of England that he would be beginning Endymion
"forthwith" (Milnes 35; Forman 6: 30), and
he discusses its progress in subsequent letters from
different locations in southern England. "‘Endymion’
was finished at Burford Bridge, on the 28th of November,
1817," states Milnes; "so records the still
existing manuscript" (58).
Endymion…profusion of imaginative riches…royal
mastery of versification… Lampman echoes Milnes
and Colvin in his estimate of Endymion. "It…shows
the confidence of the poet in his own profusion of diction,"
writes Milnes (58), and Colvin: "even where [the]
verse runs most diffusely, [Keats] rarely fails in delicacy
of musical and metrical ear, or in variety and elasticity
of sentence structure" (109). In his lengthy discussion
of the Endymion myth and Keats’s literary sources, Colvin
remarks that "[t]he divine vision which haunts
Endymion in dreams is for Keats symbolical of Beauty
itself, and it is the passion of the human soul for
beauty which he attempts…to shadow forth in the quest
of the shepherd-prince after his love" (95). Colvin
also remarks that a "thread of allegoric thought
and purpose…seems to run loosely through the poem as
a whole" (97).
lies happiness? …heaven!’" Except for
minor variations in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation
of Endymion 1: 777-81 is accurate.
I will begin…make an end." Except for
minor variations of punctuation and capitalization,
Lampman’s quotation of Endymion 1: 39-57 is accurate.
then the opening scene… Even Lampman’s syntax
in this paragraph echoes Colvin’s account of the first
book of Endymion, which reads in part: "[Keats]
interweaves with his central Endymion myth whatever
others pleased him best, as those of Pan, of Venus and
Adonis, of Cybele…of Glaucus and Scylla, of Circe, of
Neptune, and of Bacchus; leading us through labyrinthine
transformations, and on endless journeyings by subterranean
antres and aërial gulfs and over the floor of the ocean.
…The account of the feast of Pan contains passages which
in the quality of direct nature-interpretation are scarcely
to be surpassed in poetry. …What can be more fresh and
stirring?—what happier in rhythmical movement?—or what
more characteristic of the true instinct…[of] Keats…?"
Episode of Adonis… In Book 2, Endymion is
conducted by a Naiad to a lavish underground temple
where he encounters Adonis, the "youth / Of fondest
beauty" (2: 393-94) beloved by Venus, the goddess
of love, who arrives to give Endymion encouragement
(1: 387-669). Colvin regards the "subterranean
temple" of the episode as "most un-Grecian"
in its "magnificence" (101).
turned…above his head!" Lampman omits
a line between the fourth and fifth lines of his quotation,
drops the "s" from "Towards," and
introduces variations in punctuation, but otherwise
accurately quotes Endymion 2: 1018-23 (the concluding
lines of the book). Colvin quotes the same passage,
In Greek mythology, Glaucus is a sea god who became
immortal through eating a magical herb. Colvin observes
that "Keats handles th[e]…legend [of Glaucus and
Scylla, the lover of Poseidon] with great freedom, omitting
its main point, the transformation of Scylla by Circe
into a devouring monster, and making the enchantress
punish her rival not by this vile metamorphosis, but
by death, from which after many ages Glaucus is enabled
by Endymion’s help to rescue her, and together with
her the whole sorrowful fellowship of true lovers [is]
drowned at sea" (102). Keats gives "[t]he
story of Glaucus" in Endymion 3: 191-1032.
image of sleep in the fourth book" Endymion
Keats wrote Endymion… Here, as in his
earlier estimate of Endymion, Lampman echoes
his secondary resources. Milnes quotes Hunt to the effect
that Keats "‘broke up his lines in order to distribute
the rhyme properly…and not having yet settled with himself
any principle of versification, the very exuberance
of his ideas led him to make use of the first rhymes
that offered’"(58) and Colvin, who also refers
to Hunt’s criticisms, cites several instances of "hardly
tolerable blemishes of execution and of taste"
in the poem, as well as a "tendency to linger and
luxuriate over every imagined pleasure with an over-fine
and doting relish" (107-09).
following…passages… The line numbers and significant
variations of Lampman’s illustrative quotations from
Endymion are as follows:
"‘The Morphean fount…quality[.]"’: 1: 747-54,
with the omission of "s" from "channels";
"For in good truth…mushrooms[?]": 1: 212-15;
"‘Be still…naked brain[.]"’: 1: 293-96;
"‘Prythee…sweet son!"’: 3: 916-21, with "‘Cytherea’"
instead of "‘Cythera"’, "‘well-nurtured’"
instead of "‘well-natured’", and ‘"blessings"’
instead of "‘blesses"’;
"It was a sounding grotto…storm.": 2: 878-83,
with the substitution of "harbour" for "arbour";
"At this maddened stare…the morn.": 2: 195-98;
"‘Thy bright team…heaven[.]"’: 3: 955-59;
"As when a new…indolence.": 2: 347-50, with
the substitution of "as when a new" for "as
when heav’d anew", "lengthening" for
"lengthened", and "to shore" for
"to the shore".
one was more acutely aware…than Keats himself… Colvin
regards Keats’s self-deprecating Preface to Endymion:
a Poetic Romance (1818) as the "best criticism"
of the poem and its "best defence…[as] a letter
he wrote six months after it was printed" (110).
Before quoting (accurately, except for the addition
of the "I" in "thereby I have")
a different passage from the same letter of October
9, 1818 to James Augustus Hessey (Milnes 145-46; Forman
7: 122), Lampman quotes (accurately) a letter of September
28, 1817 to Haydon (Milnes 50-51, Forman 6: 72-73).
preface Forman prints both the published and
the original prefaces (2: 11-15), and Milnes indicates
that it was "Reynolds [who] seems to have objected"
to the latter (88).
have not the slightest…hostility" Except
for a few variations in punctuation and capitalization,
Lampman quotes accurately from Keats’s defence of his
original preface in a letter of April 9, 1818 to Reynolds
(Milnes 88; Forman 6: 186-87).
had better not come at all[.]"’ In addition
to numerous variations in punctuation, spelling, and
capitalization, Lampman’s quotation from Keats’s letter
of February 27, 1818 to John Taylor expands the poet’s
"1st" and "2nd," adds "and"
after "progress," and replaces the words between
"twilight" and "that if Poetry"
("but it is easier to think what poetry should
be than to write it—and this leads me to another axiom")
with "And lastly" (Milnes 88; Forman 6: 154-55).
early month of the winter of 1817-18… "Keats
passed the winter of 1817-18 at Hampstead, gayly enough
among his friends; his society was much sought after,
from the delightful combination of earnestness and pleasantry
which distinguished his intercourse with men. …He joked
well or ill, as it happened, and with a laugh which
still echoes sweetly in many ears; but at the mention
of oppression or wrong…he rose into grave manliness
at once, and seemed like a tall man. His habitual gentleness
made his occasional looks of indignation terrible"
(Milnes 58-59, and see Colvin 80-81). Lampman’s acknowledged
quotation from Milnes (59) (Lord Houghton) contains
several variations of punctuation.
for a life of sensations…essential Beauty[.]"
Except for numerous variations of punctuation
and capitalization and the omission of "of"
from "but of the holiness," Lampman’s quotations
from Keats’s letter of November 22, 1817 to Benjamin
Bailey are accurate (Milnes 53-54; Forman 6: 97-98).
have original minds…forest trees." In
addition to minor variations of spelling and punctuation,
Lampman’s quotation from Keats’s February 19, 1818 letter
to Reynolds omits "almost" from "that
almost any man," replaces "in" with "at"
in "other in numberless points," and substitutes
"briers" for "briar" (Milnes 68;
Forman 6: 148-49).
has been said…that his was the most Shakespearian genius
since Shakespeare… This is said by Matthew
Arnold in his Introduction to Keats in Ward’s English
Poets (1880); see Complete Prose Works 9:
The distinction that Lampman makes here recalls
the arguments and sources of his essay on "Poetic
Interpretation," as well as those of the early
part of the present essay.
to the poetical character…children[.]"’ Except
for some variations in punctuation and the silent omission
of a sentence between "identical nature" and
"When," Lampman’s quotation from Keats’s October
27, 1818 letter to Richard Woodhouse is accurate (Milnes
149-50; Forman 7: 129-30). In the manuscript, the ellipses
are signalled by crosses. It is interesting that one
of the sentences elided (after Imogen) contains one
of Keats’s best known phrases, "the camelion Poet."
Iago is the malignant villain in Shakespeare’s Othello
and Imogen the innocent victim in his Cymbeline.
Procter…Hazlitt’s lectures…glorious sight."
Except for variations in punctuation and the omission
of "of" from "side of his face"
Lampman’s quotation is accurate. Milnes attributes the
description to "[a] lady" who saw Keats in
1818 at the lectures of the critic William Hazlitt (1778-1830),
and Colvin attributes it to "Mrs. Proctor"
(47), which he spells "Procter" in a note
disputing her account of the colour of Keats’s eyes
and hair (224). (In the manuscript, Lampman has overwritten
the second "o" in the name with "e".)
The "personal descriptions" by Hunt, Haydon,
and the anonymous pedestrian that Lampman quotes (accurately)
are assembled by Colvin (46-47). That of the painter
Joseph Severn (1793-1879), who executed several portraits
of Keats and was with him at his death, appears in William
Sharp’s Life and Letters of Joseph Severn (1892),
21 (Lampman quotes it accurately except for the substitution
of "who" for which).
was now at all times in Keats’ character… In
his summary chapter on Keats’s "Character and Genius,"
Colvin asserts that "[i]n all ordinary relations
of life, his character was conspicuous alike for manly
spirit and sweetness" and he goes to some lengths
to credit the poet with resisting what he himself recognized
as a "‘horrid morbidity of temperament’" and
a "perilous capacity and appetite for pleasure"
sort of probity…this world."’ Lampman
accurately quotes Keats’s letter of January 13, 1818
to his brothers George and Thomas (Forman 6: 115).
March 1818…Teignmouth in Devonshire… In this
paragraph Lampman is paraphrasing Colvin (86-87, 148)
and Milnes (93); the former records that Keats had "agreed
with Reynolds that they should each write some metrical
tales from [the Italian writer Giovanni] Boccaccio [1313-1375],
and publish them in a joint volume" and both mention
that two such tales appeared in Reynolds’ Garden
of Florence (1821) and that "Isabella; or,
the Pot of Basil" (1820) was the only one that
"The Pot of Basil"…full maturity… Colvin
finds that "[f]alse touches and misplaced beauties
are…not wanting" in "Isabella" but that,
on the whole, the poem is a success: Keats’s "powers
of imagination and of expression have alike gained strength
and discipline. …[He] handles the measure flowingly
and well in a manner suited to his tale of pathos. Over
the purely musical and emotional resources of his art
he shows a singular command" (149-50). Although
Lampman disagrees with Colvin on "the human pathos
and passion" (160) of the poem, he clearly agrees
that in it Keats has thrown off "the weakness and
ineffectiveness" of his early poetry—its "worn-out
verbal currency" and the dictates of "rhyme"—
and shines "for the first time with a full ‘effluence’"
(147-48). To an extent, Lampman’s views also echo and
engage those of Arnold in the Preface to his Poems
(1853): "Isabella…is a perfect treasure-house
of graceful and felicitous words and images…vivid and
picturesque turns of expression. …But the action, the
story…is…so feebly…conceived…so loosely constructed,
that the effect produced by it…is absolutely null"
(Complete Prose Works 1: 10).
Eve of St. Agnes"… Colvin enthuses at
length about this poem, which he considers an "unsurpassed
example…of the pure charm of coloured and romantic narrative
in English verse" (160, and see 160-63). Lampman
writes of "The Eve of St. Agnes" (1820) at
greater length in "Poetic Interpretation."
this time the darkness begins to gather… In
this paragraph, Lampman rehearses information drawn
from Milnes (146, 163-64) and Colvin (90-91, 127-28,
132). Thomas Keats died in December 1818 and George
Keats emigrated in May of the same year. Keats had indeed
"suffered some disillusionment as to the success
of his poems": the reviews of Endymion (1818)
included vitriolic attacks in the August issue of Blackwood’s
Magazine and the April (September publication) issue
of the Quarterly Review (see Milnes 133-45; Forman
2: 244-67; Colvin 121-27).
of temperament’"…‘"Burden of the Mystery’"
These phrases occur in a letter of May 10-11,
1817 to Haydon and May 3, 1818 to Reynolds (Milnes 37,
96, 99; Forman 6: 43, 7: 5, 10). The latter is taken
from Wordsworth’s "Tintern Abbey" 38, and
refers to the unintelligibility of existence.
first we step into…‘Burden of Mystery’." Except
for variations in punctuation and capitalization, Lampman’s
quotation of Keats’s May 3, 1818 letter to Reynolds
is accurate (Milnes 98-99; Forman 7: 9-10).
extensive knowledge…without fear." This
quotation from Keats’s May 3, 1818 letter to Reynolds
is also accurate, except for variations in punctuation,
the omission of part of a sentence (between "little"
and "The difference") and the replacement
of "and" by "or" in "with and
without knowledge" (Milnes 96; Forman 7: 5).
walking tour to…Scotland…George Armitage Brown…
Milnes documents this "walking tour through
the lakes and Highlands with…[Charles] Brown" in
some detail (107-33), as does Colvin (111-20), who notes
Keats’s responses to the Scottish scenery and blames
the "Scotch tour" for "the first distinct
and settled symptoms of failure in [his] health, and
the development of his hereditary tendency to consumption.
In [a]…letter to his brother…he speaks of a ‘slight
soar [sic] throat’". …[H]is throat-trouble, the
premonitory sign of worse, never really or for any length
of time left him afterwards" (120).
had become another target for the…northern reviewers…
See note, above. Colvin discusses the "Cockney
School of Poetry" review in Blackwood’s Magazine
and the "Quarterly article on Endymion"
at some length, attributing the former to either John
Gibson Lockhart (1794-1854), a principal contributor
to Blackwood’s and the author of Memoirs of
the Life of Sir Walter Scott (1837-1838), or a colleague
(John Wilson) and the latter to William Gifford (1756-1826),
the editor of the Quarterly and, like Lockhart,
an arch-Tory (121-27). Colvin also cites Byron on the
"‘homicidal’" effect of these reviews and
mentions Shelley’s belief that "the critics…killed"
or blame…what is fine[.]" Except for
variations of punctuation and capitalization, Lampman’s
quotation of Keats’s letter of October 9, 1818 to James
Augustus Hessey is accurate (Milnes 145; Forman 7: 121-22).
Colvin remarks that Keats "took his treatment at
the…hands [of the reviewers] more coolly than older
and less sensitive men had taken the like," and
quotes the same passage from his letter to Hessey (125-26).
Assassins, with a possible allusion to Shelley,
Queen Mab 4: 178-79: "The hired bravos who
defend / The tyrant’s throne."
to this Keats…unfortunate love passion… Milnes
is restrained and non-judgemental in his discussion
of Keats’s relationship with Fanny Brawne (1800-1865),
the woman with whom he fell in love in 1818 (see 162-63,
210, 226), but Colvin, taking his cue, perhaps, from
Arnold’s tone of disapproval in his Introduction in
Ward’s English Poets, condemns the relationship
as "unlucky": "[t]he passion wrought
fiercely in his already fevered blood; its alternations
of doubt and torment and tantalizing rapture sapped
his powers, and redoubled every strain to which bereavement,
shaken health, and anticipations of poverty, exposed
them" (132, and see 142). In his Preface, Colvin
disapproves of the publication by Forman of the Letters
of John Keats to Fanny Brawne (1878) (vi). Lampman
echoes Colvin’s view that "though kind and constant
to her lover…[Fanny Brawne] did not fully realize what
manner of man he was" (131).
can I do…peace again[?]" Milnes introduces
the fragment "To___" from which these lines
are accurately quoted as "an interesting study
of the human heart" (210).
soul—…blind!" Except for variations in
punctuation Lampman accurately quotes the last six lines
of "I cry your mercy—pity— love—aye, love!,"
which Milnes numbers Sonnet 19 and dates 1819 (392).
with his friend Brown at Hampstead…" "When
Keats was left alone by his brother’s death [in December
1818]…Brown pressed on him to…reside entirely in his
house: this he consented to do, and the cheerful society
of his friend seemed to bring back his spirits, and
at the same time to excite him to fresh poetical exertions.
It was then he began ‘Hyperion’…" (163). Colvin
adds that Keats had "already begun to work [on
Hyperion] before his brother died" (129).
See "Poetic Interpretation," where Lampman
discusses Hyperion in detail.
form and manner…of Paradise Lost… After
quoting Keats’s letter on "the Miltonic inversions"
in Hyperion (see note, below), Colvin discusses
its debts to Milton at length, making points similar
to Lampman’s: "[t]he influence, and something of
the majesty, of Paradise Lost are in Hyperion.
…But Miltonic the poem hardly is in any stricter sense.
…As to diction and the poetic use of words, Keats shows
almost as masterly an instinct as Milton himself. …Miltonic
echoes occur in Hyperion…[b]ut they are not frequent,
nor had Keats adopted as much of Milton’s technical
manner as he seems to have supposed" (157-59).
am convinced…like a lover[.]" Except
for variations in spelling and punctuation, Lampman’s
quotation from Keats’s letter of August 14, 1819 to
Bailey is accurate (Milnes 197; Forman 8: 25-26).
have given up Hyperion…sensations."
Except for variations in punctuation and spelling,
Lampman’s quotation of Keats’s letter of September 21,
1819 to Reynolds is accurate (Milnes 205; Forman 8:
49; and see note, above regarding Colvin’s quotation
of the same passage).
Flexible, adaptable, versatile (OED).
was a goddess…the early Gods." Except
for differences in punctuation, spelling, and capitalization,
Lampman’s quotation of Hyperion 1: 26-51 is accurate,
as, apart from the addition of "the"—is the
introductory phrase from 1: 95. Lampman uses both quotations
in "Poetic Interpretation."
far her voice…supreme contempt[.]" Except
for variations in punctuation, Lampman accurately quotes
Hyperion 2: 300-08, a passage that also appears
in "Poetic Interpretation." Colvin cites the
same passage as an example of Keats’s "Masterly…choice
of similitudes, drawn from the vast inarticulate sounds
of nature" (156).
January Keats wrote the "Eve of St. Agnes"…
"[H]e laid [Hyperion] aside in January
to take up the composition of "St. Agnes’ Eve,
that unsurpassed example…of the pure charm of coloured
and romantic narrative" (Colvin 160, and see note,
above). Lampman also echoes Colvin’s view that "[f]rom
the opening stanza…to the close, where the lovers make
their way past the sleeping porter and the friendly
bloodhound into the night, the poetry seems to throb
in every line with the life of imagination and beauty"
hurried…slept among his ashes cold." Lampman’s
quotation of the last three stanzas of "The Eve
of St. Agnes" is accurate except for variations
in punctuation, spelling, capitalization, the substitution
of "the" for "his" in the first
line, and the addition of "there" in the fifth.
(Forman 3: 135-38). The final stanza is quoted in "Poetic
"Saint Agnes Eve…was acold[.]" Colvin
argues that "the unique charm" of "The
Eve of St. Agnes" lies "in the richness and
vitality of the accessory and decorative images"
and suggests that "the opening stanza…makes us
feel the chill of the season to our bones" (163,
161). The opening lines of the poem, which Lampman quotes
very carelessly, read "St. Agnes’ Eve—Ah, bitter
chill it was! / The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;"
(Forman 3: 97).
boisterous…noise is gone[.]" Except for
variations in punctuation and the substitution of "clarionet"
for "clarinet," Lampman’s quotation of "The
Eve of St. Agnes" 258-61 is accurate (Forman 3:
the end of January…the "Eve of S[ain]t Mark"…
Colvin discusses this poem immediately after "The
Eve of St. Agnes," noting that it was "begun
or planned in the January [of 1819]" (145). Milnes
includes it among Keats’s "Miscellaneous Poems,"
labelling it "unfinished" and dating it 1819,
and Forman includes it among the Posthumous and Fugitive
Poems—that is, the poems not included in Keats’s
three published volumes or his Poetical Works
a Sabbath…aguish hills." Lampman’s quotation
of the opening lines of "The Eve of Saint Mark"
is accurate except for variations in punctuation and
spelling and the substitution of "With" for
"From" in the fifth line (Milnes 377; Forman
imageries" Lampman’s quotation of "The
Eve of Saint Mark" 39-56 is accurate except for
variations in spelling and punctuation and the substitution
of "Dazed with" for "And dazed"
in the final line (Milnes 378-79; Forman 4: 171-72).
spring of 1819…five at least of the odes."
"[I]t was on the odes…that he was chiefly occupied
in the spring months of 1819. …Of the five composed
in the spring of 1819, two, those on Psyche and
the Grecian Urn, are inspired by the old Greek
world of imagination and art; two, those on Melancholy
and the Nightingale, by moods of the poet’s own
mind; while the fifth, that on Indolence, partakes
in a weaker degree of both inspirations" (Colvin
170-71). In Aspects of Poetry, Shairp sees Keats
"leaving behind him all traces of early mannerism
[in the odes], and attaining to that large utterance…which
was worthy of himself. …In his later poems, from behind
the love of sensuous beauty…there was coming out a deeper
thoughtfulness and humanity (127-28).
nightingale had built her nest… "The
admirable ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ was suggested by the
continual song of the bird that, in the spring of 1819,
had built her nest close to the house, and which often
threw Keats into a sort of trance of tranquil pleasure.
One morning he took his chair from the breakfast-table,
placed it upon the grass-plot under a plum-tree, and
sat there for two or three hours with some scraps of
paper in his hands. Shortly afterwards…Brown saw him
thrusting them away, as waste paper, behind some books,
and had considerable difficulty in putting together
and arranging the stanzas of the ode" (Milnes 163-64;
and see Colvin 175-76).
far away…fairy lands forlorn." Except
for variations of punctuation and spelling, Lampman’s
quotation of the third and seventh stanzas of "Ode
to a Nightingale" (1820) is accurate (Forman 3:
Ode on a Grecian Urn"…marbles in the British Museum…
Colvin suggests that "[t]he sight, or the imagination,
of a piece of ancient sculpture" (172) prompted
"Ode on a Grecian Urn" (1820) and that in
"Ode to Indolence" (1848) Keats "again
calls up the image of a marble urn," but he rejects
the notion that either poem was inspired by a "single
specimen of antiquity"—as, indeed, he rejects the
idea that "Ode to a Nightingale" invokes a
"particular nightingale" (172-75).
of Fair Women"…"Palace of Art" In
the final pages of Life and Letters, Milnes sees
Keats as a "direct influence" on Tennyson
(253-54) and in Aspects of Poetry, Shairp sees
Keats as the principal source of the "rich-melodied
and highly-colored style" of which Tennyson is
the "master" and many other Victorian poets
"lesser" practitioners (130). "A Dream
of Fair Women," the first stanza of which mentions
Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women, was published
in 1832, as was "The Palace of Art." See also
"Style" and "Poetic Interpretation."
Both of Arnold’s poems, published in, respectively,
1867 and 1853, do indeed owe debts to Keats, not least
in their elaborate stanza forms.
are those…and all ye need to know[.]" Except
for variations in punctuation, capitalization, and spelling,
Lampman’s quotation of the fourth and fifth stanzas
of "Ode on a Grecian Urn" are accurate, the
exception being lines 7-8 of stanza 3, which should
read "Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
/ And, little town, thy streets for evermore" (Forman
3: 156). See also "Poetic Interpretation."
to Psyche," upon which we are told by the poet
himself… In a letter of February 13-May 3,
1819 to his brother and sister-in-law, Keats encloses
a copy of the "Ode to Psyche," commenting
that it is "the first and only [poem] with which
[he] ha[s] taken even moderate pains" (Milnes 180;
Forman 7: 289). Colvin regards the "Ode to Psyche"
as "disfigured" and "strained" (171-72).
date of the fragmentary "Ode to Melancholy"…
Neither Milnes (190-91) nor Colvin (175) nor Forman
(3: 184-86) dates the "Ode on Melancholy"
(1820). Colvin praises its "characteristic easy
magnificence of imagery and style" and quotes the
same passage as Lampman (175).
in the very temple…trophies hung." Except
for variations in spelling and punctuation, Lampman’s
quotation of the final lines of the "Ode on Melancholy"
are accurate. Interestingly enough, Colvin also has
"sovereign" rather than the "sovran"
of the original (Forman 3: 186).
was apparently also about this time…"La Belle Dame
Sans Merci"…the school of Ros[s]etti… Colvin,
unaware that a transcript of "La Belle dame sans
merci" (1848) was included in Keats’s letter of
February 14-May 3, 1819 (see note, above, and Forman
7: 276-78), states that it was written "in the
course of the spring or summer (1819)" and discusses
its date of composition in a note (230). He precedes
his discussion of it by noting that in "The Eve
of Saint Mark," Keats "anticipates in a remarkable
degree the feeling and method of the modern pre-Raphaelite
schools," particularly "the spirit of [Dante
Gabriel] Rossetti [1828-1882]" and "the tones
and cadences of [William] Morris in some tale[s] of
the Earthly Paradise" (165) (and see "the
Modern School of Poetry in England"). Lampman evidently
agreed with Colvin’s concluding estimate of the poem:
"the union of infinite tenderness with a weird
intensity, the conciseness and purity of the poetic
form, the wild yet simple magic of the cadences, the
perfect ‘inevitable’ union of sound and sense, make
of La Belle Dame Sans Merci the master-piece,
not only among the shorter poems of Keats, but even…among
them all" (166-67). "La Belle dame sans merci"
is included in Milnes’ Life, Letters, and Literary
Remains (1848) and in subsequent editions of the
summer of 1819…Keats and Brown together at Shanklin…"King
Otho"… Lampman’s discussion of the composition,
fate, and limitations of "King Otho" (1848),
a historical drama based on the life of the roman Emperor
Marcus Salvius Otho (32-69), combines information and
wording drawn from Milnes (191-93) and Colvin (143,
178-79), but is particularly indebted to the former,
who comments at length on the weaknesses of such joint
ventures, the "unfitness of the tragedy for representation"
on stage, and "the beauty and power of [the] passages"
written by Keats: "[t]here is scarce a page without
some touch of a great poet, and the contrast between
the glory of the diction and the poverty of the invention
is very striking" (192-93).
Stephen"… "As soon as Keats had
finished ‘Otho,’…Brown suggested to him the character
and reign of King Stephen [circa 1097-1154, King of
England from 1135-1154]…as a fit subject for an English
historical tragedy. This Keats undertook…and wrote some
hundred and thirty lines; this task, however, soon gave
place to the impressive tale of ‘Lamia’" (Milnes
193). "Of the second historical play, King Stephen,
which Keats began by himself at Winchester…[t]he few
scenes he finished are not only marked by his characteristic
splendour and felicity of phrase: they are full of a
spirit of heady action and the stir of battle: qualities
which he had not shown in any previous work" (Colvin
is perhaps Keats’ supreme triumph in metrical skill…Dryden…
Milnes writes that "Lamia" (1820) was
written "after much study of [John] Dryden’s versification"
(193) and Colvin states that its "rhymed heroics"
are handled, "not as in Endymion, but in
a manner founded on that of Dryden" (167). Hero
and Leander (1598), by Christopher Marlowe, (1564-1593)
is a tragedy that Keats might have read during the composition
of his own aborted plays, but there is no evidence to
support Lampman’s speculation (although Colvin does
find "some of the speeches" in "King
Otho" "strikingly" reminiscent of Marlowe
). See "Poetic Interpretation" (and notes)
for a more detailed discussion of "Lamia,"
and "Style" for Lampman’s observations on
men talk in a dream…colonnade[.]" Except
for a few variations in punctuation and spelling, Lampman’s
quotation of "Lamia" 1: 350-61 is accurate.
Colvin quotes the same passage as "an instance
of the power and reality of scenic imagination"
not all charms…melt into a shade[.]" Except
for a few variations in punctuation and capitalization,
Lampman’s quotation of "Lamia" 2: 229-38 is
beautiful the season…I composed upon it." In
his letter from Winchester to Reynolds of September
22, 1819 (Milnes 205; Forman 2: 418), Keats follows
the remarks that Lampman quotes (accurately, but, as
usual, with variations in punctuation) with the opening
line of "To Autumn" (1820) or "Ode to
Autumn." Milnes observes that Winchester "was
always a favorite residence of Keats: the noble cathedral
and its quiet close—the green-sward and elm-walks, were
especially agreeable to him" (196).
the summer and autumn of 1819 passed away… In
this paragraph, Lampman draws on the letters assembled
by Milnes (196-210) for the period from August to November
1819, during which Keats expressed bitter feelings about
the reading public and the publishing world: "[o]ne
of my ambitions is…to upset the drawling of the blue-stocking
literary world" (197); "I shall now consider
them (the people) as debtors to me for verses, not myself
to them for admiration, which I can do without. …I…look
with hate and contempt upon the literary world"
(198); "I feel it in my power to become a popular
writer. I feel it in my power to refuse the poisonous
suffrage of a public" (199) and so on. At the same
time, as this last excerpt indicates, Keats mooted plans
to earn money "by temporary writing in periodical
works" and, to further this end, to move to "cheap
lodgings in town…[to] be in the reach of books and information"
(200-201, 207). "I will write, on the liberal side
of the question, for whoever will pay me," he told
Brown on September 23, 1819; "I shall apply to
Hazlitt, who knows the market as well as anyone, for
something to bring me in a few pounds as soon as possible"
(207-08). Milnes observes that Keats "took possession
of his new abode" in London but had "miscalculated
his…powers of endurance" and that "a still
stronger impulse [towards Fanny Brawne] drew him back
to Hampstead" (210). He also states that Keats’s
study of Ludovico Ariosto (1475-1534)—presumably his
dramas as well as Orlando Furioso (1532)—led
to the writing of "The Cap and Bells" (1848),
which Colvin characterizes as a mixture of "fairy
fancy" and "worldly flippancy" that contains
much of Keats’s "suppleness and grace. …The story…turn[s]
on the perverse loves of a fairy emperor and a fairy
princess of the East. The two are unwillingly betrothed,
each being meanwhile enamoured of a mortal. The eighty-eight
stanzas, which were all that Keats wrote of the poem,
only carry us as far as the flight of the emperor Elfinian
to England…" (182-83).
pathetic attempt to remodel Hyperion… In
this paragraph, Lampman continues to draw on Colvin:
"[b]esides his morning task…on the Cap and Bells,
Keats…‘was deeply engaged in re-modelling… Hyperion. …’
The result…is of a singular and pathetic interest in
Keats’s history. …Now, in the decline of his powers,
he…began to re-write [Hyperion]…partly…to give
expression to thoughts and feelings which were pressing
on his mind. …[H]e now identifies th[e] Greek Mnemosyne,
the mother of the Muses, with the Roman Moneta [Juno
in her role as counsellor]; and…makes his Mnemosyne-Moneta
the priestess and guardian of Saturn’s temple"
(185-86). Colvin suggests that "the especial interest
of the poem lies in the light which it throws on the
inward distresses of his mind, and on the conception
he had by this time come to entertain of the poet’s
character and lot" (187). To make his point, he
quotes and analyses the passage in which the dreamer,
after ascending the stairs in the temple, "learns
from [Mnemosyne-Moneta] the meaning of the ordeal"—the
passage that introduces and includes the lines quoted
by Lampman (187-88).
whom thou spakest of…these temples[.]"’ Lampman’s
quotation of The Fall of Hyperion 1: 161-80 contains
many variations of punctuation and capitalization from
the version published by Milnes (now Lord Houghton)
in the second edition of The Life and Letters of
John Keats (1867) and quoted by Colvin (see previous
note), and a comparison of the passage in all three
texts suggests that Lampman may have taken his quotation
from Colvin rather than Houghton. For a nineteenth-century
discussion of the provenance and bibliographical complexities
of The Fall of Hyperion, see Forman 3: 257-82.
was the fatal result… In this paragraph, Lampman
echoes Colvin’s analysis of the lines that they both
quote: "the poet, [Keats] means, is one who to
indulge in dreams withdraws himself from the wholesome
activities of ordinary men. …If he is a trifler indifferent
to the troubles of his fellow men, he is condemned to
perish swiftly and be forgotten. …In the conception
Keats here expresses of the human mission and responsibility
of his art there is nothing new. Almost from the first
dawning of his ambition, he had looked beyond the mere
sweets of poetry towards ‘a nobler life, / Where I may
find the agonies, the strife / Of human hearts’"
(188-89). Lampman’s commentary reflects his awareness
of the portion of Moneta’s speech that precedes the
lines that he quotes from Colvin’s excerpt: "‘None
can usurp this height…But those to whom the miseries
of the world / Are misery, and will not let them rest,"’
to which the dreamer replies "‘Are there not thousands…Who
feel the giant agony of the world, / And…like slaves
to poor humanity, / Labour for mortal good?"’ (qtd.
in Colvin 187-88).
the 3d of February 1820…spitting of blood… In
quoting Brown’s account of the onset of the final stages
of Keats’s tuberculosis as given by Milnes (222), Colvin
adds Brown’s name and the date of "Feb. 3"
(193). Lampman’s quotation reflects variations on Milnes’
account that appear in Colvin’s rehearsal of the exchange
between Keats and Brown, but also contains additional
variations of punctuation and the substitution of "mistaken"
rallied, however,… In this paragraph, Lampman
reworks Colvin’s account of the "winter and spring"
of 1819-1820, which reads, in part: "[d]uring the
first weeks of his illness [Keats] had been strictly
enjoined to avoid not only the excitement of writing,
but even that of reading, poetry. …Passion with lack
of hope were working havoc in his blood, and frustrating
any efforts of nature towards recovery. The relapse
was not long delayed. Fresh haemorrhages occurred on
the 22nd and 23rd of June. …In writing to Fanny Brawne
he at times cannot disguise nor control his misery,
but breaks into piteous outcries, the complaints of
one who feels himself chained and desperate while mistress
and friends are free, and whose heart is racked between
desire and helplessness, and a thousand daily pangs
of half-frantic jealousy and suspicion" (196-97).
Milnes describes Severn’s offer to accompany Keats to
Italy at a time when his "future prospects"
as a painter looked better than ever as a "sacrifice"
(232) and Colvin gives the date of their departure from
London as "Sept. 18" (199). Both provide details
of the two weeks’ bad weather encountered by the vessel
in the English Channel, and both record that Keats wrote
"Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art…"
(1848) after a brief respite on the "Dorchester
coast" during which his spirits and inspiration
were revived by the beauty of the scenery (Milnes 233;
Colvin 201). Lampman follows Colvin, however, in quoting
the entire sonnet (which Milnes saves to conclude the
Literary Remains) and in asserting that it was
written, not as Milnes claims "in a copy of Shakespeare’s
Poems he had given to Severn a few days before"
(233), but "on a blank leaf of the folio copy of
Shakespeare’s poems which had been given him by Reynolds"
(201). (In fact, both Milnes and Colvin are correct:
Reynolds gave a copy of Shakespeare’s Poetical Works
to Keats who, in turn, gave it to Severn.)
star…swoon to death[.]" Except for variations
in spelling, punctuation, and capitalization, Lampman’s
quotation of "Keats’s Last Sonnet" (Milnes
393) or "Keats’s last verses" (Colvin 202)
is accurate (see also Forman 4: 235-36).
a short sojourn in Naples… In this paragraph,
as in the previous one, Lampman reworks Colvin’s account,
which includes the sentence that he quotes (accurately)
from Keats’s letter of November 1, 1820 to Brown as
given by Milnes (237, but see Forman 8: 252), and reads
in part: "in the Bay of Naples [the vessel] was…subjected
to ten days’ quarantine. …At Naples…[t]he political
state and servile temper of the people…grated on Keats’s
liberal instincts. …Reaching Rome, [Keats and Severn]
settled at once in lodgings which Dr. (afterwards Sir
James) Clark had taken for them. …On Dec. 10 came a
relapse which left no doubt of the issue. Haemorrhage…and
then came a period of violent fever, with scenes the
most piteous and distressing" (202-05). Milnes
alludes to "the love and care of Mr. Severn and
Dr. Clark" (239) and quotes extensively from Severn’s
letters of December 14, 1820 to February 27, 1821, which
include the passage that Lampman quotes with the omission
of "eyes" and the substitution of "on"
for "upon" (246). (Colvin quotes the same
passage and makes the same substitution [see 208].)
Bailey…Reynolds…Haydon… The testimonials that
Lampman assembles are excerpted from Colvin’s concluding
chapter on Keats’s "Character and Genius"
(213-14). Colvin gives Houghton’s manuscripts as the
source of the testimonials, and states that the one
from "Archdeacon Bailey" was written after
the appearance of the Life, Letters, and Literary
Remains in 1848. Lampman truncates one of Colvin’s
quotations by omitting "griefs and" between
"the" and "distresses" (Colvin 214).
a grassy slope…innumerable violets. Lampman’s
final paragraph contains some numerical and temporal
information appropriate to the date of his essay but
in all other respects is a reworking of Milnes’ more
extensive description of Keats’s grave, which reads
in part: "Keats was buried in the Protestant cemetery
at Rome, one of the most beautiful spots on which the
eye and heart of man can rest. It is a grassy slope,
amid verdurous ruins…and surmounted by the pyramidal
tomb…ascribed to…Caius Cestius, a tribune of the people.
…In one of those mental voyages into the past, which
often precede death, Keats had told Severn that ‘he
thought the intensest pleasure he had received in life
was in watching the growth of flowers;" and another
time, after lying a while still and peaceful, he said
‘I feel the flowers growing over me.’ And they do grow,
even all the winter long—violets and daisies mingling
with the fresh herbage, and, in the words of Shelley,
‘making one in love with death, to think that one should
be buried in so sweet a place’" (248).
Thomson’s Old Man Savarin
review of Edward William Thomson’s Old Man Savarin
and Other Stories (Toronto: William Briggs, 1895)
was published in The Week (Toronto), August 9,
1895: 880-881, the text reprinted here. It has been
previously reprinted in The Letters of Edward William
Thomson to Archibald Lampman (1891-1897),
ed. Arthur S. Bourinot (Ottawa: Bourinot, 1957): 33-34.
probably wrote "Mr. Thomson’s Old Man Savarin"
in the last couple of weeks of July 1895. On the 18th
of that month he informed Thomson that he had "just
received ‘Old Man Savarin’ but ha[d] only had time…to
read three of the tales—all of them very good. ‘The
Privilege of the Limits’ I read again with great satisfaction.
It is a delightful piece of humour" (Annotated
Correspondence 147). A little over a month later,
on August 22, he sent Thomson a "copy of ‘The Week’
with [the] notice in it," explaining that he had
been away on "four weeks’ vacation" at Montebello,
Quebec "when it appeared, and they did not send
me down any papers—hence my delay in forwarding the
paper to you" (88).
the review was published in The Week,
Lampman and Thomson (1849-1924) had been friends for
some five years. A political journalist and, later,
editorial writer for the Globe (Toronto) from
1878 to 1891, Thomson was impressed enough by Among
the Millet to address an editorial in the March
12, 1890 issue of the newspaper to Sir John A. Macdonald
suggesting that the government should foster Canadian
talent by appointing Lampman to a better paid and less
"laborious" position in the civil service.
On March 28, 1890, Lampman wrote to thank Thomson for
his "friendly editorial" (Annotated Edition
1), "thus beginning a friendship and a correspondence
which were to endure until Lampman’s death in 1899"
(Lynn xii). In the spring of 1891, Lampman attempted
to further Thomson’s literary ambitions by introducing
one of his short stories to Scribner’s Magazine
(New York) and Harper’s New Monthly Magazine
(New York). After Thomson assumed an editorial position
with the Youth’s Companion in Boston in June
of the same year, Lampman’s poems began appearing regularly
in that periodical, and in ensuing years the two friends
visited back and forth several times. It was largely
through Thomson’s efforts that Lampman’s Lyrics of
Earth (1895) was accepted for publication by Copeland
and Day of Boston and it may have been partly a result
of Lampman’s encouragement that Thomson put together
a collection of short stories. "I have chust exactly
been reading your tale of the ‘Privilege of the Limits’
mirofer," Lampman wrote on October 4, 1891 in imitation
of Thomson’s use of dialect for local colour; "I
think it is an excellent tale, genuinely humourous,
and effectively told. You ought indeed to think of collecting
together a little volume, a little miscellany of tales
in different veins. If you would, as I told you before,
I should take infinite pleasure in writing articles
upon it in whatsoever papers I could get at" (Annotated
Correspondence 19). "Mr. Thomson’s Old Man
Savarin," then, is but one manifestation of
a continuum of mutual admiration and support.
experiences prior to his journalistic career provided
the raw material for several of the short stories in
Old Man Savarin. In the eighteen sixties, he
served briefly in the Union Army in the American Civil
War and in the Queen’s Own Rifles during the Fenian
Raids on Canada. After studying civil engineering in
the late ’sixties and early ’seventies, he worked for
several years as a surveyor in eastern Ontario, a profession
to which he returned in 1883-1884 during the Manitoba
land boom. The knowledge of French and Scottish Canadian
life that he would have gained in eastern Ontario was
doubtless supplemented by a stint as Montreal correspondent
for the Globe.
Man Savarin and Other Stories
is Thomson’s first and, arguably, most accomplished
book. It was followed by several other collections of
short stories and poems (see McMullen).
"the blue eyes…silent as a sword"
Lampman is quoting from "Great Godfrey’s
Lament" (74, 81).
ingenious tale of…two Russian Nihilists
Lampman is referring to "Verbitzsky’s Stratagem."
tales of the American Civil War "The
Ride by Night," "Drafted," and "A
following sentences of description from "Drafted"
Lampman quotes two paragraphs from pp. 184-85
of Old Man Savarin and Other Stories. In the
final sentence of the quotation, he has substituted
"penetrating" for Thomson’s "punctuating".
untitled, undated, and unsigned essay that begins "The
cause of Socialism" is pencil-written in a notebook
held in the National Archives (MG 29 D 59 vol. 6, 2500-2510).
On the front cover of the notebook is an etching of
a beaver by C.R.H. Moore and, in a mixture of typefaces,
"The 200-PAGE | SCRIBBLING BOOK | [line] | J. DURIE
& SON, | Importers, Booksellers, Stationers, and
Publishers, | 33 & 35 SPARKS STREET, | OTTAWA. |
"; on the back cover are several arithmetical tables
and a multiplication table. The pages of the notebook
measure 19 x 24.4 cm. As "Untitled Essay on Socialism,"
the essay has been previously published in Archibald
Lampman: Selected Prose, ed. Barrie Davies (Ottawa:
Tecumseh, 1975): 51-54.
the front cover of the notebook containing the essay
are scrawled in red pencil and probably not in Lampman’s
handwriting "1895" and "Sapphics."
At the front of the notebook is an undated draft of
"Lisa," an unpublished narrative poem that
Lampman evidently sent to Edward William Thomson in
late March or early April 1894 (see Annotated Correspondence
115-19). The notebook also contains a prose note on
"Dollard des Ormeaux" (the subject of "At
the Long Sault: May, 1660" [circa August, 1898-January,
1899 (Early, "Chronology" 85)]), drafts of
several poems (including "Sapphics") dated
from December 28, 1895 to March 4, 1896, and a draft
of the optimistic ending of "The Land of Pallas"
(circa August, 1891-February, 1896 [Early, "Chronology"
84), in which the speaker, after returning from the
"lovely lands" of his agrarian socialist vision
to "a mighty city"
the rule of faith and brotherly communion
The law of peace and beauty, and the death of strife,
And painted in great words the horror of disunion[,]
The vainness of self-worship and the waste of life[.]
I preached, but pointlessly the powerful from their
Rebuked me as an anarch envious and bad
And they that served them with lean hands and bitter
Smiled only out of hollow orbs and deemed me mad[.]
But still I preached and wrought, still I bore my
For well I knew that on and upward without cease
The Spirit works for ever, and by faith and presage,
That somehow yet the end of human life is peace.
this evidence would suggest that "[Socialism]"
was written in the mid-eighteen nineties, possibly in
or about 1895. Perhaps it was "one of [the] essays"
that Lampman hoped to complete in the fall of 1895 (See
Annotated Correspondence 152-54 and the headnote
to "Poetic Interpretation").
engagement with Socialism may safely be assumed to date
from at least the mid-eighties when, to judge by a spate
of articles in Canadian periodicals (see, for example,
the June 1885 to June 1886 issues of Rouge et Noir),
the origins, tenets and schemes of the various thinkers
and groups who advocated community over competition
became subjects of widespread interest and discussion
in Canada. Carl Y. Connor, drawing upon sources that
are now lost, provides an illuminating account of the
"social and political" ideas to which Lampman
was exposed after his more to Ottawa in 1882:
doubt [he] was influenced somewhat by the flaming
socialism of his friend, James Macoun. With A[rchibald]
C. Campbell, he would argue vigorously but never be
quite converted to Henry George’s views of single
tax [as expressed in Progress and Poverty (1879)].
He was said to be a Fabian, but it is doubtful if
he ever identified himself very definitely with any
sect. Yet the ideal of socialism was always in his
mind. He followed with interest New Zealand experiments
in the control of public land sale, government operated
railways and democratic parliament. He believed that
Canada had a wonderful opportunity to give the world
an object lesson in enlightened social reform by adopting
socialism as a form of government, but he was shrewd
enough to realize that there was probably no country
in the world in which it would be more difficult to
convince the people of the desirability of such a
socialist friend not mentioned in this passage was the
American writer and single tax advocate Hamlin Garland
who wrote to Lampman in 1889 with praise for Among
the Millet (1888) and, quickly thereafter, a statement
of his credo:
tax on Labor or the Products of Labor!
Wages to Labor; Interest to Capital; Ground Rent to
A Tax on Goods is a Tax on Labor; a Tax on Land Value
is a Tax on
"The day of reform is upon us as of old when Chattel
Slavery threatened," Garland proclaimed to Lampman
in May 1889; "[p]oets, actors, painters, novelists
are all getting into it here. I’ve been in it since
’83. I’ve been speaking since ’87. It permeates my stories
and poems. You promised me your picture. I’m doubly
desirous of seeing it now." Garland’s solicitousness,
coupled with the fact that his letter begins with the
offer of a "fraternal grip" and ends "fraternally,"
suggests that he was responding to an admission of socialist
sympathies on Lampman’s part. Little wonder, then, that
on October 17, 1897, Garland would ask his Canadian
confrère for "an expression of opinion favorable
to [the] cause" of Henry George as mayor of New
York: Lampman may not have been convinced by Archibald
Campbell that a single tax on land could finance social
reform, but he apparently shared with George and Garland
the belief that progress and poverty were incommensurable
in any society worth to be called civilized.
Lampman’s socialistic ideas had deep roots in the Canadian
and American environments, they also drew succour from
British sources. The heavy reliance on Thomas Carlyle
in "Friendship" and "Gambetta" suggests
an awareness of his flamboyant presentation of feudal
socialism as an alternative to capitalist culture in
Past and Present (1843) and elsewhere; an admiring
reference to Charles Kingsley in "The Modern School
of Poetry in England" indicates an acquaintance
with Christian socialism and its "attempt to settle
social problems in the spirit of Christian brotherhood"
(Connor 83); and several pages of excerpts from John
Ruskin’s Lectures on Art (1870) in a notebook
of circa 1885 (see Appendix) reflect an interest in
the aesthetic socialism that spawned the Arts and Crafts
Movement of the ’seventies, ’eighties, and ’nineties.
Moreover (and despite the contempt expressed for Morris’s
long poems in "The Modern School of Poetry in England"),
the dreamy utopian socialist of News from Nowhere
(1890) lies centrally in the background of "The
Land of Pallas," a poem that Lampman’s friend and
fellow proponent of the brotherhood of man, William
Douw Lighthall (see the notes to "Two Canadian
Poets"), "always thought was his ideal for
a future Canada" (Letter to Duncan Campbell Scott;
and see Bentley, "A Wizard to the Northern Poets"
Lampman’s reputation as a Fabian points to a particular
source for some of his socialist ideas in Fabian
Essays in Socialism (1889), an enormously influential
collection that includes pieces on "The Basis of
Socialism," "The Organization of Society,"
and "The Transition to Social Democracy" by,
among others, Sidney Webb and George Bernard Shaw. While
each of the eight essays in the collection embodies
the individual interests of its author, all of them
reflect the Fabian rejection of revolutionary Marxism
in favour of a gradual and peaceful evolution towards
socialism through parliamentary action and economic
reform. (Founded in 1884 to bring about "‘the reconstruction
of Society in accordance with the highest moral possibilities"’
[qtd. in Pease 31], the Fabian Society was instrumental
in the creation of the London School of Economics 
and the British Labour Party ). In Shaw’s essay
on the "Economic" basis of Socialism alone,
Lampman would have encountered a compelling analysis
of the evolution and characteristics of capitalist society
that begins with "the cultivation of the earth"
and the establishment of "Private Property"
(3-4) and proceeds through such topics as "Rent,"
"Exchange Value," "Wages," and "‘Overpopulation"’
(5-29). In Webb’s essay on the "Historic"
basis of the movement, he would have found an eloquent
statement of the Fabian conviction that "it is
through the slow and gradual turning of the popular
mind to new principles that social reorganization bit
by bit comes" (34). Lampman may not have "identified
himself very definitely with any sect," but, if
he had, "[Socialism]" suggests that the sect
would have been the Fabian Society.
it is written in pencil and, in places, heavily revised
"[Socialism]" presents more than usual difficulties
of transcription. It also contains two additions on
facing pages that have been inserted where most appropriate.
…human nature just emerging from its barbarous infancy…
Although Lampman is probably using the word "barbarous"
loosely to mean the opposite of civilized, the term
evokes the four stages theory of social development
that originated in eighteenth-century Britain and France
and helped to shape nineteenth-century ideas of the
evolution of "human nature." According to
the theory, all societies develop through four stages,
the savage, the barbaric, the agricultural, and the
commercial, with the ownership of property that comes
with agriculture being the decisive step towards advanced
civilization (see Meek, and Bentley, Mimic Fires).
The commonplace analogy between organic and social growth
implied by Lampman’s use of the terms "infancy"
and "manhood" also has eighteenth-century
origins in the work of Giambattista Vico, one of the
progenitors of modern sociology. In the closing paragraphs
of "The Outlook," the final piece in Fabian
Essays on Socialism, Hubert Bland anticipates Lampman’s
opening statements when he asserts that "Socialism
is founded upon a triple rock, historical, ethical,
and economic. It gives, to those who make it, a great
hope—a hope which, once it finds entrance into the heart
of man, stays to soften life and sweeten death. By the
light of the Socialist Ideal he sees the evil—yet sees
it pass. Then and now he begins to live in the cleaner,
braver, holier life of the future. …[T]he ideal of the
Socialist…bid[s] him trust the inspiration of the poet
[Robert Burns]…‘That man to man the world o’er / Shall
brothers be for a’ that.’" (219-20).
on the one hand are a million human beings. …On the
other hand is the broad and fruitful earth… Lampman’s
juxtaposition of a vast, impoverished population and
"tract upon tract of…unoccupied and untilled land"
recalls early nineteenth-century arguments for emigration
to North America as a solution to the problems of overpopulation
set forth by Thomas Robert Malthus in An Essay on
the Principle of Population (1793). The immediate
context for Lampman’s question of "[h]ow these
two cannot be brought together—this starving people,
a land…unutilized"—was what Goldwin Smith called
in 1891 the "sudden change" that came "over
the attitude of the occupants of the American continent
on the subject of Emigration" in the late eighteen
eighties: "[t]ill lately the portals were opened
wide and all the destitute of the earth were bidden
to come in. …Now the door is half shut, and there are
a good many, if they could, would shut it altogether.
…Moreover, the Trade Unions want to close the labour
market. They have forced the Canadian Government to
give up assisting immigration" (Canada 51).
Prior to 1891, immigration to Canada had been largely
unrestricted (the notable exception being the 1885 British
Columbia head tax on Chinese), but between 1891 and
1896 selective policies were in force. Under Clifford
Sifton, who became Wilfrid Laurier’s Minister for the
Interior in 1896, the settlement of the farm lands of
the West was actively encouraged, with immigrants being
drawn, not only from Britain and the United States,
but, controversially, from eastern Europe.
old fashioned economist…"Law of Supply and Demand"…
Lampman probably had in mind the theoretical descendants
of Adam Smith who advocated economic policies that were
based on the dynamics of the market place and criticized
by their opponents as catering to self-interest. Carlyle
rails against such policies and their adherents in several
places, for example in the opening chapters of Past
and Present (1843): "[t]he world, with its
Wealth of Nations…and suchlike has…left [wages] to be
scrambled for by the Law of the Stronger, law of Supply-and-demand,
law of Laissez-faire, and other idle Laws and Un-Laws.…To
the present Editor…‘enlightened Egoism’…is not the rule
by which man’s life can be led. That ‘Laissez-faire,’
‘Supply-and-demand,’ ‘Cash-payment for the sole nexus,’
and so forth, were not, are not and will never be, a
practicable Law of Union for a Society of Men"
(Works 10: 21, 33). Shaw also pillories Smith
in the discussion of "Private Property or Unsocialism"
in his essay on the "Economic" basis of Socialism
private individual may take possession of the common
earth… Shaw traces at length "the effects of
settling a country by private property" under various
headings including "Rent," "Wages"
and "Capitalism" to conclude in "‘Illth"’
with a swingeing indictment of the coexistence of "wealth"
and "misery" in modern society that cites
as an instance the American "accumulation of riches"
leading to a craving for "luxuries" (22).
In "The Land of Pallas" (1900; and see headnote)
"all the earth was common…all men wrought together
without greed or striving, / And all the store of all
to each man was his own" (Poems 203).
man who has land and money In the manuscript,
this phrasing replaces "The capitalist".
justice Ideal justice.
the end of the sixth century…Arabia…Mohammed… When
Muhammed (circa 570-632) was born, Arabia (the peninsula
lying between the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea in southwest
Asia) was the site of a number of tribally based societies
that were in continual conflict with one another. On
the basis of the revelations and doctrines contained
in the Koran, Muhammed created a united Muslim community
that fused the tribal factions of Arabia into the force
that spread Islam into southern Asia, through north
Africa, and across the Straits of Gibralter into Spain
(the Indus River flows through today’s West Pakistan,
and the Pillars of Hercules are the rock of Gibralter
and Mount Acho in North Africa).
years ago…German unity…the man… The architect
of German unity was Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince von
Bismarck (1815-1898) who, as foreign minister and minister-president
of the principality of Prussia from 1862 to 1871 orchestrated
wars with Denmark (1864), Austria (1866), and France
(1870-1871) to create and consolidate the German Empire
(see "German Patriotic Poetry" and "Gambetta").
Bismarck was chancellor of the German Empire from 1871
The Greek philosopher Socrates (469-499 BC) devoted
his life to the pursuit and teaching of philosophy,
particularly the knowledge of virtue. Consonant with
his ideals, he was himself an exponent of the ethical
life and was indifferent to his outward appearance.
His opinions, character, and way of life provoked the
enmity of some of his fellow Athenians, and in 399 he
was accused of impiety and the corruption of youth,
tried and condemned to death.
Greeks who perished in the struggle for liberty…
Perhaps Lampman was thinking of Leonidas and the
other Greeks who died at Thermopylae during the Persian
invasion of 480BC.
Erasmus The Dutch theologian, satirist,
and classical scholar Desiderius Erasmus (1465-1536)
entered a monastery at the age of thirteen and became
a priest in 1492. Refusing all offers of preferment
within the Church, he devoted himself to scholarship
and literary composition, producing works as diverse
as Moriæ encomium (Praise of
Folly) and an edition of the New Testament in Greek.
The Italian physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei
(1564-1642) is popularly remembered for the espousal
of the Copernican theory of the universe that led to
his imprisonment, but he also published numerous treatises
and essays that helped to lay the groundwork of modern
Despite his discoveries on behalf of Spain between
1492 and 1504, Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) died
in poverty and obscurity.
and Arkwright… Only in the long view were
fruits of the discoveries of James Watt (1736-1819)
and Sir Richard Arkwright (1732-1792) "reaped by
other and meaner men": Watt patented and manufactured
the condensing steam engine that he invented, and Arkwright,
a manufacturer of cotton cloth, benefitted from his
invention of the spinning frame and other mechanical
devices. In his essay on the "Historic" basis
of Socialism, Webb mentions Watt, Arkwright, and several
other eighteenth-century inventors, commenting that
"[f]rom the inventions of these men came the machine
industry [of the Industrial Revolution] with its innumerable
secondary results—the Factory System and the upspringing
of…industrial towns, and the evangelization of the waste
places of the earth by the sale of grey shirting"
and Wordsworth See "Style" and "Poetic
Interpretation" for Lampman’s high estimation of
the characters of these authors, who did, indeed, shun
men who are leading the Socialist movement today…
Lampman is probably referring to the members of
the Executive Council of the Fabian Society (see headnote)
who are described as follows in the table of contents
of Fabian Essays in Socialism (1889): Sidney
Webb, "Ll.B., Barrister at Law, Lecturer on Political
Economy at the City of London College," William
Clarke, "M.A., Cambridge," Sydney Olivier,
"B.A., Oxford," and Graham Wallas, "M.A.,
The founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama of
the Sakyas (circa 563-circa 480 BC) attained enlightenment
(nirvana) circa 525 and thereafter became a teacher.
of Arc Inspired by voices of St. Catherine
and St. Michael, Joan of Arc (1412-1431) led the French
armies to victory against the English, who subsequently
tried her for heresy and burned her at the stake.
Francis of Assisi In 1208 Francis of Assisi
(circa 1181-1226) obeyed Christ’s injunction to "go…to
the lost sheep" with "neither gold, nor silver,
nor brass in your purses" (Matthew 10. 6, 9), renounced
his worldly goods, and set about saving souls with a
group of like-minded followers who were the basis of
the Franciscan order.
The German religious reformer Martin Luther (see
notes to "Gambetta").
[sic] A colleague of Luther, Philip Melanchthon
(or Melanthon) (1497-1560) gave scholarly shape to the
theological principles of the Protestant Reformation.
The Tirolese patriot Andreas Hofer (1767-1810)
led a series of revolts against the Bavarian rule of
Tyrol between 1805 and 1810, when he was captured and
Camille Benso, Conte di Cavour (1810-1861) was
a supporter of Garibaldi and a leading figure in the
Italian Risorgimento movement who helped to achieve
the unification of Italy in 1861.
The Italian patriot and military leader, Giuseppe
Garibaldi (1807-1882) was a fervent believer in liberty
who played a major role in the achievement of Italian
independence and unity.
The English mathematician and physicist, Isaac
Newton (1642-1726) discovered differential calculus
and the composition of white light, but is most famous
for his formation of the law of gravitation.
The founder of Positivism, the French Philosopher
Auguste Comte (1798-1857), held the bizarre belief that
sociology was destined to be the highest science.
Darwin Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882)
propounded the theory of evolution by natural selection
in numerous publications, mostly notably On the Origin
of Species (1859) and The Descent of Man
(1871), that irrevocably altered perceptions of nature
great French Revolution Webb observes that
"the French Revolution…shewed, or seemed to shew,
…that a genuine social reconstruction was not only desirable
but possible" and proceeds to treat the major democratic
gains of nineteenth-century Britain as the product of
its influence (38-40).
dares picture to himself the September massacres…
Lampman’s use of The French Revolution
in "Gambetta" (see notes) suggests that his
picture of the Reign of Terror that overcame the French
Revolution between September, 1793 and July, 1794 was
strongly coloured by Carlyle’s accounts of the massacres
of September 1792 (4: 26-42) and the "Feast of
Pikes" in August 1793 (Works 6: 181-83).
like Wordsworth and Coleridge… A writer who
was as disillusioned as Wordsworth and Coleridge (see
"Style" and "Poetic Interpretation")
by the Reign of Terror was Edmund Burke (1729-1797),
who set down his disillusionment and disgust in Reflections
on the Revolution in France (1790).
change will work itself out gradually… See
was first published in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine
18 (July, 1896): 309-312, the text reprinted here. It
has previously been reprinted in three places, Happiness:
a Preachment by Archibald Lampman and Carrying to You
the Best Wishes of the Ryerson Press (Toronto: Ryerson,
1925), Archibald Lampman’s Letters to Edward William
Thomson (1890-1898), ed. Arthur S. Bourinot
(Ottawa: Bourinot, 1956) and Archibald Lampman: Selected
Prose, ed. Barrie Davies (Ottawa: Tecumseh, 1975),
105-110, all three times with its conclusion abbreviated
by the placement of the first sentence of the final
paragraph ("So it is with happiness") at the
end of the preceding paragraph and the omission of the
remainder of the essay ("We spend long lives …our
draft of "Happiness" that begins "We
paddled into a little lake—I and my friends—in our well-pitched
canoe" and ends with the schema of the three "portals"
appears in a notebook of c.1891 in the National Archives
(MG 29 D 59 vol. 7, 3036-3060). The same notebook contains
the final draft of "Two Canadian Poets" (see
headnote). But, while the groundwork for "Happiness"
was laid in c.1891, it was not completed until the fall
of 1895. "I am pretty much finished one of my essays—on
the very novel subject of ‘Happiness’," Lampman
informed Edward William Thomson on October 9 of that
year, adding: "[i]t will not sell. I know it. I
guess it is a pretty stupid production and wouldn’t
deserve to. There is only one thing to be said about
it; its stupidity is different from the stupidity in
common circulation" (Annotated Correspondence
154). On January 10, 1896, Lampman’s attitude to the
essay turned from pessimism to jubilation: "I sold
my essay on ‘Happiness’ to Harper.—The Lord be
praised! (Annotated Correspondence 163).
Lampman’s self-deprecating remarks about the novelty
of its subject-matter suggest, his essay is a small
contribution to a long and intense debate about the
sources and character of happiness. Sparked in the early
decades of the eighteenth century by the (utilitarian)
argument that, since the world was created by a God
whose benevolence would dispose him to desire man’s
pleasure and happiness (rather than pain and misery),
the goal of human activity should be the pursuit and
maximization of happiness, the debate involved many
distinguished participants in Britain and North America,
including Jeremy Bentham, Thomas Carlyle, Ralph Waldo
Emerson, and, in Canada, the W.D. Lighthall of Spiritualized
Happiness-Theory or, New Utilitarianism (1890).
Very likely, Lampman was familiar with voices on both
sides of the debate—with the "greatest…happiness"
principle of the utilitarians (Lighthall 12) and with
the counter argument that, rather than being the goal
of human life, happiness is the by-product of activities
that are in keeping with what Matthew Arnold calls the
"law of the higher life" (Complete Prose
Works 8: 156). Indeed, Arnold’s discussion of "conduct"
in the essay from which this phrase is taken, the Preface
to his Last Essays on Church and Religion (1877),
probably provided Lampman with a starting point for
will generally be admitted…that all experience as
to conduct brings us at last to the fact of two selves,
or instincts, or forces—name them how we will, and
however we may suppose them to have arisen,—contending
for the mastery in man: one, a movement of first impulse
and more involuntary, leading us to gratify any inclination
that may solicit us, and called generally a movement
of man’s ordinary or passing self, of sense, appetite,
desire; the other, a movement of reflection and more
voluntary, leading us to submit inclination to some
rule, and called generally a movement of man’s higher
or enduring self, or reason, spirit, will. The thing
is described in different words by different nations
and men relating their experience of it, but as to
the thing itself they all, or all the most serious
and important among them, agree. This, I think, will
be admitted. Nor will it be denied that they all come
to the conclusion that for a man to obey the higher
self, or reason, or whatever it is to be called, is
happiness and life for him; to obey the lower is death
and misery. (8: 154)
the opening paragraph of Lampman’s essay, the "higher
self" becomes the "good genius" that
guides fortunate individuals on the upward "road
of happiness—such happiness as can be commonly attained
by man." By the same process of adaption, Arnold’s
"ordinary or passing self" that "lead[s]
us to gratify any inclination" becomes the temptress
of Lampman’s second paragraph, whose "portal"
leads to "the road of mere delight, of emotional
inclination, of aimless excitement."
addition of a third alternative—"the way of the
commonplace, the path of routine"—to "each
man" as he "emerg[es] from…childhood"
is a complication, not only of Arnold’s scheme, but
also of the classical theme of "The Choice of Hercules"
that probably provided a second starting point for "Happiness."
As a classical scholar, Lampman would almost certainly
have been familiar with the original Greek version of
"The Choice of Hercules" in Xenophon’s Memorabilia
Socratis (2: 10), but several details in the opening
paragraphs of his essay, particularly the presence of
"the ægis of Pallas Althene" above the "portal"
of the "good genius," suggest a debt to the
third earl of Shaftesbury’s famous depiction of the
theme in his Characteristiks of Men, Manners, Opinions,
and Times (1711; rev. ed. 1714):
young, and retir’d to a solitary place in order to
deliberate on the choice he was to make of the different
ways of Life, was accosted…by the two Goddesses, VIRTUE
and PLEASURE. ’Tis on the issue of the Controversy
between the Two, that the Character of HERCULES
depends. …The Choice he actually made [was]
of a Life full of Toil and Hardship, under the conduct
of VIRTUE, for the deliverance of Mankind from Tyranny
and Oppression. …VIRTUE…may be habited either
as an AMAZON, with the Helmet, Lance, and in the Robe
or Vest of PALLAS; or as any other of the Virtues,
Goddesses, or Heroines. …As for the
Shape, Countenance, or Person of V[I]RTUE; that which
is usually given to PALLAS may fitly serve as a model
for this Dame; as on the other side, that which is
given to VENUS may serve in the same manner for her
Rival. …[T]he arduous and rocky way
of VIR[T]UE requires to be emphatically represented…with
one Foot advanc’d, in a sort of climbing Action, over
the rough and thorny Ground. …Concerning PLEASURE…[s]he
may be drawn either standing, leaning,
sitting, or lying; without a Crown,
or crown’d either with Roses, or with Myrtle. …[N]otwithstanding
the supine Air and Character of Ease and Indolence,
which shou’d be given her, she must retain still so
much Life and Action, as is sufficient to express
her persuasive Effort, and Manner of Indication
towards her proper Paths; those of the flowry kind,
and Vale below, whither she wou’d willingly guide
our hero’s steps. (3: 350-65)
In classical Greece, Pallas Athene, the daughter
of Zeus and Metis, was the patron goddess of Athens
and the patroness of various arts and handicrafts. In
Lampman’s work, she is associated with wisdom and the
agrarian utopia of "The Land of Pallas" (Poems
In a bound volume of "Manuscript Poems and
Notes…1894-1899" (which, however, contains some
material dated 1892 and 1893), Lampman describes "[g]enius
[as] that faculty in a man which enables him to accomplish
great things by the slenderest means—means which all
other men would overlook. That is why a genuine work
of genius always looks as if it had been easily done—and
indeed in a sense it may have been easily done for the
intense concentration brought to bear upon it hardly
affects the worker himself or labor, but rather as a
sort of electrical play" (MG 29 D 59 vol. 2, 1039).
In Greek mythology, Circe, a daughter of Helios,
was banished to the island of Æea for the murder of
her husband, the Prince of Colchis. There her knowledge
of magic and potions enabled her to turn Ulysses’ companions
into swine (a condition from which Ulysses was able
to secure their release). Lampman’s depiction of Circe
may owe something to Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s sonnet
"For ‘The Wine of Circe’ by Edward Burne-Jones"
(1870), where her offer of "all rapture in Love’s
name" reduces her guests to "cowering beasts"
in an infernal landscape (Works 211).
of Cockagne An imaginary country of luxury
and idleness in which delicacies of food and drink are
available for the taking.
alter and the ego The other (and the service
of others) and the self (and self-interest).
is only toil… In several places, most pertinently
in the chapter entitled "Happy" (III, iv)
in Past and Present (1843), Carlyle champions
the nobility of work as an antidote to the utilitarian
gospel of happiness, surrounding a diatribe against
Lord Byron with such observations as the following:
the "Greatest-Happiness Principle seems to me fast
becoming a rather unhappy one.—What if we should cease
babbling about ‘happiness,’ and leave it resting
on its own basis, as it used to do! …Observe, too, that
all this [pothering and uproaring for…happiness] is
all a modern affair; belongs not to the old heroic times,
but to these dastard new times. ‘Happiness our being’s
end and aim,’ all that very paltry speculation is at
bottom…not yet two centuries old in the world"
(Works 10: 154-56).
abhors…a vacant soul Lampman’s statement is
a play on Benedict de Spinoza’s famous (and almost proverbial)
observation that "Nature abhors a vacuum"
(Ethics I, xv).
humor Lampman is referring loosely to the
ancient theory that four fluids in the human body (blood,
phlegm, yellow and black bile) are responsible for an
individual’s temperament or character.
excellent in their practical beauty and usefulness
It was a tenet of the Arts and Crafts Movement
with which Lampman aligns himself here that even the
most ordinary objects should be beautiful as well as
valve…superfluous energy… In his figurative
use of the device used in a steam boiler to release
pressure that is becoming dangerous (that is, to let
off steam), Lampman reveals a hydraulic understanding
of human physiology that reflects contemporary American
concerns with the physical and psychological results
of the "pressures" of urban and industrial
society. That this topic was of particular interest
to Lampman’s readers is indicated by the "Editor’s
Study," Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 89
(October, 1894), which offers various suggestions "to
lessen the strain of modern life," including "absolute
change of occupation for a period" (vacations)
and a "reduction in the hours of labour" required
in "many professional occupations" to create
more "time for recreation" (799-801; and see
Bentley, "Carman and Mind Cure").
is the soul which is possessed of an energy too wayward
and too violent… Here and in the ensuing paragraphs,
Lampman may have been thinking of the character type
represented for him by Byron (see "The Poetry of
The philosophy based on the doctrines of the Athenian
teacher Zeno (d. circa 261 BC), who advocated an austere
passivity that is indifferent to pleasure, pain and
other feelings, including happiness.
may almost be defined as the consciousness of adequate
self-expression attained by the individual, within the
limitations imposed by the social structure Lampman’s
tentative definition recalls Arnold’s view that happiness
results from conduct that is based on "reflection"
and obedience "to some rule" (see headnote).
and stress In alluding to Sturm und Drang
(Storm and Stress), the German Romantic movement of
the late eighteenth century whose masterpieces include
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young
Werther, Lampman suggests a correspondence between
the "agitations" of youth and Romanticism
and, by extension, between the maturity of the individual
and the maturity of the Victorian period.
is in memory…that our deepest and securest pleasures
consist This is a recurring theme of Lampman’s
poetry. See particularly "Winter-Store" (Poems
We paddled into a little lake… Very likely,
Lampman’s "parable" is based in part on the
canoe trips that he records in the fragmentary diaries
reprinted in Archibald Lampman: Selected Prose