I~ .~ ,
rvmg Layton,
Pseudo -Prophet -
A Reappraisal
by Peter Hunt

Irving Layton experienced a mingling of scorn and neglect in his earlier years as a poet. He responded to this aggressively, publishing in poems, let ters ant essays, vice t and personal attacks on those who criticized his vi sion and craftsmanship. Anyone ignorant of those earlier years might imag ine that he had always been favoured. Those who know the earlier story usually see him as triumphing over the opposition, getting himself recog nised and read through the sheer power of his talent. For the casual or su perficial "server either notion is excusable. What name in Canadian poetry


nd Star than Layton's? Pratt's may, and several others, perhaps Live ~ott, Lampman and Birney, receive as much attention or are as _But to few poets, In Canada or elsewhere, can such uniform apse have been given by critics as that conceded to Irving Layton. His own


Ited view of his work has been echoed by the judgement of most, if not q te all, the influential critics. Frye and Pacey lent their prestige in the


es, Beattie (though often close to ironic unmasking of Layton's follies) e his work substantial attention in Literary History of Canada, Eli Man weighed in with his book establishing Layton's own view of his career as t of a profound mythopoeic poet firmly in the Canadian Pantheon, and urge Woodcock (though admitting Layton's "convincing exhibition of his rocity as a ring-tailed roarer in the little zoo of Canadian letters")! finally


I his homage after an overseas journey in the congenial company of ton's Collected Poems in 1S66. Frye, whose verdicts receive that awe led attention which Canadd alone reserves for its eminent critics, referred


Layton in 1956 as "the most considerable poet of his generation." But ver and Toye, whose Oxford Anthology of Canadian Literature for some ,on perhaps not unconnected wish their devotion to Layton excludes s ch fine poets as Roy Danielld and Douglas Le Pan, went much further. For them, Layton is "perhaps the belt poet we have in Canada."3


It is seldom that such popularity with critics goes with a reputation for radical non conformity, except in an incestuous literary milieu, and so per !~;s l~an's attitudes and preoccupations suit well with the anxiously


maneip~ Seders and critics who praise his work. If there is going to be a challenge to the judgements of these critics and to Layton's reputation as a poet, it will not come from the "inside." It will only be part of a movement which opens Canadian literature to the fresh winds of a dynamic traditional ist challenge offered in other milieux by such minds as James McAuley,4 Yvor Winters, Allen Tate or Jacques Maritain. It is my view that Irving Layton, far from being a major poet, is, in fact, a major symptom of much


that is diseased in the modem. But it will need a more drastic breaking of the critical silence that now surrounds contemporary figures like Layton than can be achieved in one article to shatter the spell by which a lit erary Caliban becomes a Prospero. Should anyone doubt the aptness of this figure, let him ponder the significance of this statement by a recent writer in C.V.u:


. . .this is true greatness: the ability to speak of the last four things, not in the sepulchral tones of the pulpit, but in the same language that is scrawled on lavatory walled


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No one who understands Layton's work, least of all the critics I haven tioned, admires it for the language referred to in this passage, though some seem to feel that his genuine lyrical gift and sheer fecundity of diction and image overshadow his barbarism. All the same, it is hardly deniable that, in sofar as Layton's acceptance as a "popular" poet keeps pace with his reputa tion among the critics, it is this typical choice between memories of Cana dian Calvinism and the general dissolution of mass-literacy into graffiti that appears to provide most of the momentum. Too often, when they refer to Puritanism, bourgeois Canadians castigate common decency, forgetting that common decency, which condemns the Nazi tyranny or makes us cherish justice or compassion, has no basis unless it applies in some way to the whole of man's life. The trouble is that it has become the fashion to apply such a bum moral sense to every sphere except the sexual when it suits tht modernist to do so, and to imagine that Puritanism (which really equated sin with natural delight) alone may be regarded as opposed to the excesses oi the "sexual revolution" and the notion of "doing your own thing" which ac companies it. This comment indicates, of course, that my critique o, Layton's work is directed, not merely to his craftsmanship, but to his overal vision as well, a practice given the sanction of every critic (except the recent relativists) in the past.


No one need complain if I apply moral criteria, as well as philosophic and stylistic ones to Layton's poetry if it is borne in mind that poets an' critics, whatever their denials, do it all the time, and that we must ask of po etry, not merely how well does the poet achieve or express his vision, but a what value the vision is to us as readers. Layton himself, in his generally at cepted-role of "prophet", has constantly made moral judgements about soci ety, other persons and their motives, and about the nature of poetic integri ty, despite the Nietzschean justifications he and his friends may offer i: extenuation of their stance. The only difference between what will be rc yarded as my "-absolutist" stance and that of relativistic moderns is that (with Maritain, Winters, McAuley and T.S. Eliot) that there is, ir d~ed,~a~permanent basis for moral and aesthetic judgements (and tats are intertwined) while they want to make such judgements sandbox tiny any objectively true norms or standards. Most poets in the put hav shared some common standards of moral vision and beauty of language, an have seen the moral imagination as integral to their vision. After all, wh say that human beings are cruel or that Vietnam was tragic or that book should not be burnt unless admitting some perennial norms? We cannot i nore the moral dimension.


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As I agree with those who think that we must judge a work of literature as a moral and aesthetic whole, I am most concerned to say that Layton's poetry offers a very limited, even stunted and distorted view of life and of the poet's vocation. This is not to deny that what one regards as an inade quate vision of life (in the light of one's view of the good life or of man's des tiny) may still produce a great work of art because it appreciates the rich t_ of a tradition which it may ultimately reject, expressing greatly a human aspiration and a source of human anguish. We see all this in Amold's over Beach." In such a poem, as with all great poetry, the words carry in tapir very music that fusion of thought and feeling which has always been the mark of the poet as one who brings his intuition to birth through a con s~nate mastery of words with all their patterns and penumbra of sugges tron. In my view, Layton's poetry does not express any greatness, although a fell and elegiac pieces reveal a moderate talent. For the most part, tha~t has been wasted in pursuit of those "sterile pellets of i~tel~ction" to which McAuley and Trilling refer,6 and in an exhibitionism which eventually brought the underlying talent to the attention of critics who happen to share much more of Layton's outlook than has been realised (by those who follow the "myth-makers") or generally acknowledged. Before giving this latter point more detailed attention, however, let me at least indi cate an overall estimate of Layton's poetry by suggesting some evaluative limits drawn from the work of other poets, and then comment on a repre sentative selection of individual poems.


Northrop Frye has stressed his conviction that we must not make evalu ation the primary concern or even a central element in discussion of Cana dian poetry.7 It is true that we should read and appreciate Canadian poetry because it is Canadian; itch our own and carries in its very being, as it were, the identity and history and experience of living in Canada. But too much of what passes for excellent in Canadian poetry is really mediocre or imitative, while the recent wave of nationalism (though it has its necessary and healthy elements) provides opportunity for literature of low quality to re ceive more attend than it deserves, or exaggerates the stature of rather or dinary talents. Unless we apply to Layton's (and other) poetry criteria drawn from the best in Enough, American and Canadian poetry, we will have to live with the find of illusion he himself reveals in his prose and in


uch presumptuous poems as "Prologue to the Long Pea Shooter" or 'Shakespeare". The latter of these two poems is symptomatic of his illusion and of the very uneven texture of his work. And it is the poem which, per haps more than others, echoes the tone of his prosed


Instead of mourning the truth that, in his own uncouth words: "Well, here's nothing to be done about that bastard's unsurpassable greatness," Layton should have been wondering whether his poetry even approaches the


uality of what Yvor Winters calls the "second-rate" poetry of a D.H. Law ence or Byron or Poe.9 It will be recalled that Layton was apparently Tempted by his son's questions: "Who's the greatest poet?" and "Will you wer be greater than...(Shakespeare)?" The poem was not a tribute to


hakespeare so much as a lament that he, Layton, could not begin to climb 'that unclimbable mountain. . .," a phrase typically clumsy in a poem whose o. - eness is masked for some sensibilities by its anguish. A normal reaction


..;,.


of an aspiring poet should be gratitude for a Shakespeare, not wounded pride | or an "intolerable twitch of envy." The anguish springs from an egoistic New of poetry; self-aggrandisement and a desire to "lick the world" (eve ~ ~ I context of a son's image of his father) is contrary to the spirit of appreciation which characterizes the work of every poet we have admired in the past. In his 'boom In Defense of Reason, Yvor Winters, while acknowledgeing their I guess, refers to the work of certain poets, notably, Lawrence, Byron and 11~ 1"second-rate" because "their gift of language is inadequate to their This is, of course, the fruit of rigorous criticism. But what would


mte a, think of Layton's work? I ask the question because Layton grieves (though adopting a jocose mask which suits ill with his more anguished lines, as though his grin becomes a snarl) that he will never surpas; Shakespeare's greatness; and he has expressed the view that his work will rank with the best of Keats and Shakespeare.'1 To take only one sympto matic in~ayton has written no poem about an animal to compare with Lawren~c\'Snake." And no poet worth taking seriously descends the slapstick coarseness of the imagery Layton facetiously attributes to 1 - son's thoughts abler. If this ~; the "primitive" North American alternative to English ''gentility," so my the worse for North America. But, fortunately, it is not, as Pratt and Robert Lowell and D.C. Scott show.


The point of all this is that it does help us to narrow the circle around Layton, for the comments of the critics have been far too extravagant. His poetry shrinks in stature the moment we mention, at random, De La Mare, Masefield, Hopkins, Auden, Eliot or James McAuley. I can think of no poem by Layton which has the prophetic vision of Lampman's "City of the End of Things" or the powerful social criticism of Livesay's "Day and Night," noth i - so rich and humane as D.C. Soott's classic "The Forsaken," no poem which enscapul,'stes a Canadian experience in appreciative terms so well as Klein's "For the Sisters of the Hotel Dieu" or "Pastoral of the City Streets." But let me proceed quickly to nbler comparisons. Is Layton'6 '~The Bull Calf" better than Alden Nowlan's "The Bull Moose?" At least one critic has seen a rich symbolism in Nowlan'~,, poem, and whatever the truth of the interpretation, the poem does lend itself readily to an exploration of a deeper layer of meaning. Layton's poem (which I discuss in some detail later) does not. Moreover, Nowlan's poem has both pathos and a satirical edge, bringing out the meanness and temple the moose's tormentors. Layton's poem is merely sentimental concede that Layton's work as a whole I probably shows mores~hythm, more variety and lyric intensity | than Nowlan's, but that this tort of comparison can be made does provide at I lead an dutline of sanity in assessment of his work. Layton has himself said, | in the context of a serious letter: "I am a genius who has written poems that I will survive with the best of Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Keats."'2 l


Northrop Frye, among others, has attempted to distinguish Layton's I "serious" poetry from his "stage personality.'il3 I confess that I do TO un. | derstand what Frye means by his remark that Layton ". . Has satisfied the I public with an image of its own notion of what a genius should be liken and I has thereby set himself free for his serious work,"'4 unless it means the l ets cannot hope to reach a wide public, but only a small coterie, when by | write "serious" poetry. But the implications are insulting for ordinary pea- I

pie. Which public is it that. in Pnre's view W5'nt.~: norms like "The _--a---- 7 ~ art, ~ o.~,y portrait", "Wham I Write for," or the much-anthologised "On Seeing the Statuettes of Ezekiel and Jeremiah in the Church of Notre Dane."? It cannot be a toler ant, humane or compassionate public, for these poems are none of these things.


I illustrate from some of his worst and his "best." In "The Convertible" we find nothing more than a cynical recollection of a seduction of one of "the bored -ye at ~p~tead"wearing her wedding-ring and in her husband Convertible. Where is the much-vaulted sensitivity and compas sion critics attribute to Layton in this trivial and ice-cold little piece of viciousness? I do not think that this poem or "The Day Aviva Came to Paris" (with its references to his own wife), or "The Worn" (a reduction of sex to an organ) or "Mahogany Red" (so symptomatic of sexual escapism) and many others can be regarded simply as celebrations or expressions of sensuousness (as is so often suggested by Layton himself) but as exhibiting a sensibility which indulges in slavering obscenities, falling below the navel. These poems have nothing in common with "The Song of Songs" as Layton implies,'5 though they do have with "The Miller's Tale," with the significant difference that, in Layton's case that, unlike Chaucer, he is not depicting a character but expressing himself, with enough of the cerebral to give them pride.l6


In the piece "Whom I Write For" we see an even more serious flaw in Layton's craftsmanship and sensibility. The theme of this poem is one con


with I~ton's well-known, and sometimes perceptive, assaults on the hypocritical and complacent. It protests that Layton is not writing just to add his contribution to the writing of "the fraternity of lying poets" who soothe rather than ~ck,-pandering to self-deception. Now, as with his poem "W~inabr Abbby: Layton does touch upon a source of much humbug and presence in this manifesto-like piece. "Westminster Abbey" re peb against the pompous commercialism associated with exploiting the past in British monuments; though, of course, it misses the tradition beyond the politicians and profits. It is effective irony, however, and its satiric edge, if used to carve indiscriminately both folly and virtue, is at least sharp. The same cannot be said of "Whom I Write For" which exemplifies a central de fect in Layton's work. The very barbarism he deplores [at Hiroshima and in Nazi Gennany) is present in his own vision and methyls


Convertible", "Bargain", "L4lurer than Rhaosodv". "~nmilv

I want you to feel as if I had Hammed your child's head extinct a ~e; And cut off your menther and steels it h your wife's mouth to ~ lily a car.

He does not integrate the sense of moral shock with description of the hor rors he hates; rather he attempts to shock the reader by overt obscenity and sadism. Here we see how defective sensibility has allied itself with poor craftsmanship, the fimt probably producing the other. There is no doubt that his technique shocks the reader, but not about the atrocities of Hiro shima or Dachau. It does not shock one into an increased moral awareness of


these money vile actions because it imitates them. The horror should grow out a description of the atrocities. It does not do this in Layton's poem because he fails to integrate his own reaction with the actual events he would have us see in a new, terrifying light. While recognising that Layton has an acute sense of how self-deceiving we all can be, and how poetry can sometimes serve complacency (one part of the poem which rises above rheto ric) there is a case for saying that such a poem as this can only increase a generally callous attitude, partly because it is so crude and partly because its instances of brutality are not ones to which most people, (however blase they may sometimes be) are prone.


"Misunderstanding" is one of those trivial, cynical pieces which made George Woodcock almost despair of Layton. Like "The Convertible" it links up with a whole range of poems which so frequently "celebrate" his sexual conquests, and, inconsistently with his moral anger at inhumane treatment of people and animals in other poems, includes the imagery of pubic hairs, genitals, sunburnt backsides, groins and groans, women's thighs, and other erotic graffiti which, taken out of the context of personal love, and therefore becoming fragments of a dismembered human whole, are in quite clear con trast with the humane tradition from which our great poetry has come. But I would like to avoid - :h depersonalizing erotica (except insofar as it illus trates a grave blindness to dignity and compassion) and go on to comment on two other poems in this grouping I have made before going on to other se lectiona I refer to "Family Portrait" and "On Seeing the Statuettes of Ezek iel and Jeremiah. . .". - ~ i


The first of these is not regarded as one of Layton's more sermon poems, but it is symptomatic of his harsh moral judgements and his poetry's lack of a compassionate sense of human complexity. In this poem, it will be recalled, Layton satirists a family, rich from speculation but devoid of "culture". The tone is contemptuous, and crudely so, for, according to Layton, these people are as "useless as tits on a bull." How external such judgements are is high lighted by the poet himself, albeit half-consciously, in the last few lines which refer to Christ. Now we can understand how an owner of duplexes might arouse a poet's ire; it's easy to feel disrespect for rich philistines. But Layton's judgement is obviously a moral one, as it is in "Whom I Write For," and many other poems which condemn others. Mainly, but not solely, Layton's castigation or satire of human beings is bound up with what ap pears to be a compassionate sense or a sense of social justice; at least that is how critics see it. But there is a deeper vein of intolerance in Layton's poet ry, and this is exemplified in his poem about the Hebrew prophets whom he sees himself understanding as one of their own kind. In this bigoted and rhetorical expression of resentment that Hebrew prophets are represented in a French-Canadian Catholic Church, Layton refers to his "prize brother-in. law. . ./pawingxtis rosary, and his wife/ sick with many guilts." I have not read one critic~rn of this poem as narrow and intolerant, but, quite clearly, we see here a petty, personal element which is foreign to poetry, (being quite unlike the satire of Swift or Pope which is always, whatever degree of per sonal spleen may be involved, rooted in moral principle and imbued with a larger vision.) The contempt expressed in "prize brother-in-law" and the un


fittingly enough, allied with impoverished diction.'7 Is it arc Dance USA ac ademic critics can let this kind of ignoble sentiment pass, but would be only too ready to attack a poem which expressed pique or intolerance towards the religious habits of a Buddhist or a Jew? The satirist scorns pomposity and xcusable folly; he does not abuse sincere devotion. Layton's poetry and prose are full of such cheap jibes. He conveniently forgets that his "hot He brew heart", as he calls it, (if we are to judge from his poetry) appears to yearn after very different goals from those of Ezekiel or Jeremiah. Perhaps it ii dear such as that expressed in that much more significant and poignant poem, "Gothic Landscape" w}dch motivated Layton's dislike of his brother in-law's conversion: ~; -~i ~ ~ ~ -


I do not like this monastic whiteness of winter - It is a Christ doing of all blood.

Whatever the cam

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vvll~:~'sr Into came, a lack or compassion as welLas~mfoierance4~are features of Layton's "vision", and they are often blended with cold egotism and absurd vanity. I cannot accept the dichotomy suggested by Frye; rather I think that Mandel is correct when he approvingly writes: "As if the 'ephemeral and inflammatory' were any less Layton than those 'more enduring poems'...'' Layton's work must be judged as a whole, and on the very teens on which critics have tried to establish him as a prophetic figure, not least of which is his much-vaunted sensitivity, sense of justice and compas don. Not all the perfumes of poems about poor bull-calves, mosquitoes or bull-frogs can sweeten the stench which comes from so many of his cynical, tol~t or "primitive" poems. ~ =


Two poems which are most-often antho~d ~ revealing a tender, sensitive side to Layton's vision are "Berry Picking" and "The Bull Calf." The first of these u about his wife; the second is about an animal. Both poems are also regarded as fine examples of poetic craftsmanship. They are probably among his best poems, a high point in his achievement, though, in terms of significance of theme, lyric intensity and organic unity, "New Tables," "Composition in Late Spring" and "The Swimmers" are at least as good, if not better. But let us look closely at the two very favoured poems.


In its six stanzas, "Berrypicking" gives a portrait of the poet's wife, de t*shed from him, serenely herself, free of his "barbarous jests", and it con veys a sense of a humbler, more subtle and tender poet. The whole poem is tinged with a sad kind of wonder and a feeling for the otherness of a person, and a sense of inadequacy which is by no means unwelcome. It is perhaps saved from the too personal and private by its universal sense of the ~sculine-feminine tensions in marriage, and there is warmth and delicacy of feeling throughout the poem. In the first eight lines the freshness of im. agery is typical of Layton's gift for metaphor and exact diction at their best, and the rhythm is more varied and flexible than many of his earlier poems which tended to be somewhat stiff and of the same, somewhat formal tex ture. But the poem does not sustain its intensity; some lines are much less successful than others, being too awkward, abstract or prosaic, a fault not uncommon in Layton's poetry generally. His style is very uneven, incorpo


-

rating, often unexpectedly, a heavy, Latinic diction dert~d century models, though without grace, as in:

Even silence daylong and sullen can then Enamour as restraint or classic discipline.

The attempted concentratio~of meaning about his wife's mood and his re sponse to it results in a poor piece of pseudo-poetic writing, the orb reading of which reveals more fully its lack of music. Layton's eclecticism, his eden of.sther poets are often ill-suited to their contexts, as in the rather quaint change of tone obvious in the lines:

No more the easy soul my children craft deceives Nor the simpler one for whom yes is always yes;

The echo of Gray's "Elegy" is not well-integrated into the tone of the poem as a whole.


The last line of the poem: "Though her lips are redder than the raspberries.", is weak because it makes a comparison which, though in tended to give unity to the poem's thought, is much too plain and trite when compared with the delicate suggestiveness of the earlier lines. As with the closing imagery, so with the rhythm: the 01 ward, "raspberries" simply does not provide an apt movement or soul poem, being some what flat and off-key. The scene is fairly m I, but the poem lacks mu sical power. Its movement falls between metrical form and free verse; the tensions between running rhythm and metre (or metrical effects as in the better free verse) are not nearly as fruitful as in such Canadian poems as Scott's "The Forsaken" or Livesay's "Lament", and we miss those subtle ca dences and rhythmical patterns which spring from an inspired sense of the musical nuances of phrases and tone and of the most effective blend of the informal and formal elements in speech, of colloquial rhythm and metrical phrasing. kil of these poems have a music which is infused with the feeling, and they an end on a strong note, on a sense of a high point of meaning hav ing been reached. Layton's ear is not seldom at fault; his poems so often lack the aural qualities which mark great poetry. There is often strong control there, but there is so much less to control. An illustration of what can be done with a blend of standard metre and colloquial idiom and rhythmic nuances Been in Robert Frost's moving, and semi-symbolic poem, "After Apple E~ic~1vhich has a haunting and memorable quality unapproached by any of Layton's work.


"The Bull Calf" is a good, but much over-rated poem. It was, on Layton's testimony, written in ten minutes under a sudden infusion of inspi ration, or effusion of feeling. Its imagery is often impressive as in the lines: "The fierce sunlight tugging the maize from the ground." or when The bull calf raises "his darkening eyes to us/ till we were only the ponderous malls . ." and so on, and it is tightly structured. It has feeling, good ~ design and descriptive power. Putting my own response rather subjectively, I do riot find the poem very moving, though I can see how the sudden killing of a beautiful and potentially powerful animal can arouse pity. I do not


think, however, that it embodies a powerful symbol or universal theme very effectively. I will not have space to justify my ~ that poems about the sleuth of bull - ,res which do not pay farmers to keep (bearing in mind the fact that we dot meat) have a very limited significance unless related to the more important human condition and are in danger of being merely sentimental, but one has only to look at what Francis Brett Young did with "The Quails" (despite its limited idea of pity) to see the difference between poetry of that stature, the poetry of a minor poet, and that of Layton. "The Quails" develops its theme in a moving way and is rich in rhythm and im. agery; being well within the tradition of poetry as at least, "memorable speech" l - }aft line of "The Bull Calf": "I turned away and wept", as with the opens of:"Whom I Write For" is too detached from the central sub atance of the poem; it is too explicit a summing-up; it protests too much. It should be unnecessary if the reader himself is moved by Layton's account of the bull-calPs death. Hence, such a line, lacking in restrained and intrinsic intensity, is sentimental. Readers who respond to the sense of genuine an guish is "Trumpet Daffodil" or "In the Midst of My Fever" may wonder why this poem is fussed-over as if it were a masterpiece. Symptomatic of its weakness, too, is the odd departure from pregnant imagery in the line: "I thought of the deposed Richard II." Who cares to be told this? If an apt sim ile or metaphor will not reveal the comparison and its significance, a flat, in formative statement is hardly likely to do so. In any case, the link between calf and king is much too tenuous, the "sovereignty" in each case being of a different kind and magnitude. This is not the way that good poets make their eomparmons or allusions; and a penchant for a casual, so-called modern idiom cannot obscure, dull and trite statements. Yet one major critic sees this line as exemplary of Layton's "erudition."'9


I would like, now, to continent on Layton's "philosophy" and stance as a prophet-poet. And, in doing so, I shall lead on to a consideration of the highly-praised "The Birth of Tragedy" and its significance in his corpus. This, in turn, prepares the way for a broad, general section in which I shall indicate the correlationships between Layton's outlook and limitations and those of the critics who have helped to establish his reputation.


Layton has seen himself arid has persuaded others to see him as a kind of prophet-poet, a man of inspiration as opposed to cold, academic reason and bourgeois complacency, at one with the Hebrew prophets in his passion and finely attuned to the tensions we find in such visionaries as Blake and Nietzsche. The comparisons with Old Testament prophets appear to rest on two thing he has in comrr~on with them: he is Jewish and he is angry.20 But Jewishness and anger are not enough, I am afraid, to permit us to swallow the nonsense of seeing Layton as another Jeremiah or Ezekiel, or any other of those Hebrew giants who confronted their generations with the moral passion and zeal for reform that was inherent in the mission of Israel. The "Superman" cult of sex and egotism is exactly what they abhorred. To pass on to the comparison with Blake, suffice it to say that one cannot imagine Layton's writing a poem with sum awareness of the subtle and deadly na ture of hatred as we kind in "A Poison Tree," or one with such compassion and anguish foe bthem as "London," or the prophetic vision of a good social


der for all (with its crusading spit associated with Christ) we find in that

immortal poem, "Jerusalem." The "fearful symmetry" of the tiger is, how ever, often evident in Layton's poems; and this brings me to the influence of Nietzsche, and to its exemplification in "The Birth of Tragedy" named after the title of a central book in Nietzsche's philosophy.2'


In her illuminating article in a recent issue of Canadian Literature, Wynne Francis explores at some length the influence of Nietzsche on Layton.22 She points out that, temperamentally, they were kindred spirits, Layton recognizing himself in Nietzsche, discovering himself in the poet-phi losopher, and thereby releasing a torrent of creative energy. There seems no doubt that Layton has all the gusto and exuberance attributed to him by George Woodcock and A.D. Hope, and one can see how the philosophy of the Superman would have appealed to him.23 However, Wynne Francis does more than establish even more clearly than Mandel the Nietzschean influence on Layton's poetry; she brings out, albeit enthusiastically, some of the central defects in Layton's vision. She refers to Layton's dream of the Jews as having the g_ potential to become "higher men.". This, of course, has quite obvio~historical links with the Messianic mission of the Jews, and that the children of Israel have a unique destiny is a central con viction of Catholic Christians. However, associated as it is with the Nietz schean philosophy, Layton's view borders on a form of self-assertion mas querad~ as a prophetic role; for the Dionysiac elements in his poetry aubordina" bow moral and aesthetic values to his assertion of his poetic ells.. ~ eadier at~-to Marx was potentially far more Messianic in the true sense than his later conversion to Nietzsche, but it should be noted that the expression of a Dionysiac violence and orgiastic passion has analo gies with the He of a libido which lacerates the ego in an incessant frus tration of a "if-appointed mission. Francis is strangely blind to the effects of the Freudian-Nietzscean thrust when she refers nicely to the "wry good humour" of Layton's poem, "Shakespeare", and she completely fails to grap ple with the dilemma of the relationship between the moral and the aesth etic elements in poetry. Is the aesthetic subordinate to a moral end or are the two fused in successful works of art as Yvor Winters claims, basing his conviction on Aquinas' view of art?24 Whatever the case, Layton's Dionysian abandon, in which, according to Francis, "many of his love poems emphasise the delirious joy and the redemptive power of lust," needs to be examined for what it is worth in the light of some objective values rather than simply accepted as good in itself; for despite the attempt to ignore objective values they keep on cropping up by implication. Take, for example, the reference to "redemptive power". What does the term "redemptive" mean if it has no value connotation? And how do we know what and how it can redeem if we have no idea of values outside the apparent satisfaction it affords? This rea soning~se, applies to Nietzsche's philosophy pre-eminently, for it has to be a_lllwhy we should accept his notion of the Superman and the value implications and assumptions of a "higher" life if he himself denies, as in deed he did, any basis for objective moral values? This brings me to the qua of Layton's anti-rationalism and its connections with Nietzsche's anh~tism.


Wynne Francis explores the influence of Nietzsche's critique of the Soc ratic spirit, and, in doing so, relates it to Layton's well-known hostility to the


rat~naliarn of the age which he equates with the literary and academic as well as ninth whole atmosphere of the scientific, commercial world. She admits that Nietzsche is ambivalent towards Socrates, respecting Socrates' Redeem for the life of inquiry and seeing the Socratic spirit as necessary in - tributing to the struggle between the Appolonian and Dionysiac forces, a struggle which maces the creative life of the poet possible. But she brings out more explicitly what we see as inherent defects in Layton's view of real ity-u~d of his vocation. This is a complex matter and, so, for brevity I list points that must be made:


(i) By setting imagination and feeling in opposition to reason, both Layton and his apologist Francis miss the point that "reason" means more than logic or conceptualizing. Socrates was an exemplar of the saying that "all philosophy begins in wonder" for he begun with an intuition of his mis sion (symbolized by the Delphic Appollo) and pursued his vocation of in quiry intd concepts and the nature of the good not in a narrow, logical way, but as an artist-philosopher. What is poetic intuition if it is not a way of knowing, how can one know or see reality_and here one recognises the


ne idea of vision in Wordsworth's theory and practice of seeing "into the life of things"_if it is not the mind that does the knowing and the seeing? In other words, we need to see poetic intuition or vision as a higher way of knowing, as essentially intellectual, as Maritain shows in his masterpiece Creative Intuition in Art and Poetry. In any case, the poet and the reader of poetry surely has to use his mind in all its aptitudes and modes of operation if he is to write or read with perception and vision.


Scientism (illustrated by that empiricist fact-value distinction which George Grant has rigidly seen as stunting academic life in a positivist aged narrow view 41' reason, deserves attack for the corrosive influence it hawk fill religious, humane and artistic endeavour, for its bolstering of that notion of "progress" which has lain at the heart of our commercialized civili a&tion. But Lain al! - tad intellect itself, Ding Nietzechean anti-Socratism as his justification - }fit the same timebdin~ more academic than the ~- ademics i_ his "erudite" poems


(4} . Marcia refers to the Socratic spins as substituting " 'truth' for real i~ as is_ that reality is knowable and that the way to it is through logi~Qning.' - As I have pointed out, reality is knowable, and, since iL_, it is intellect that knows it. If this is not true, then what we are left with in I~yton's view is mere self-assertion for there is no way of testing the vali dity or worth of his vision. But this is exactly what the Nietzschean thrust of his work implies; for the only "good" or reality for Layton is the aesthetic struggle. This being the case, and this struggle also having intrinsic to it the role of the Superman and the "will to power" we have a perfectly circular self-justification for Layton's abuse of all traditions which question the value of his work and his histrionic ascent to stardom in the murky firmament of Canadian pseudo-culture. It is naive of Wynne Francis to see Layton as ex horting "his fellow men to recognise the evil of their days",27 if, in fact, there is no way of knowing or defining evil beyond simply saying that it is opposed to the dialectical struggle of Appolonian-Dionysiac elements as experienced by this particular noes. Irvine Lavton. Self-contradition is inherent in zilch a


view, it is illustrated profusely throughout his poetry. In that stark, ugly but moving and graphic poem "Stella", for instance, the novelist who se duces the proud beauty {in somewhat melodramatic fashion) and thus expo ses her to the envious Am- Of the villagers was simply indulging his Diony siac urges, yet self-satire is not evident in the poem. Satire of what is seen as pious hype s central to the poem, just as it is central to other poems such as "Westminster Abbey" and "Prologue to the Long Sea-Shooteri'. But while we have to admit that Layton has an unusually acute sense of the hu man beings capacity for self-deception and humbug, as seen, for instance, in his perceptions of the way in which the British have commercialized their history, and clergymen feasting on roast duck "discourse sweetly on the soul",28 his sense of irony seems to stop short of awareness of his own pursuit of the bubble, reputation, and of the suffering a Dionysiac assertiveness may came to others. This is in no way a personal judgement on the man, but a dgement on the drift and value of what we find in his poems.


(iii) Nietzche's teaching was by no means so devoid of an ethical sense or as shallow as all this (and Francis' reasoning) makes it appear, evm though we must admit with Coplestone, his theory of the Superman Walsh unconnected with the Nazi self-assertion.29. There are passages in 10 Spake Zarathruatra which reveal a capacity for searching self-examinat40r~ and a ~leep~sense of human nobility. Nothing in Francis' article shows shalt Ubio ~ reflected in L^yton's poetry; though the question of his use of irony and of hit lion of a courageous individualism which suffers will be taken up in due eouree. Somehow, we do not feel it would be fitting to add to a poem by Layton celebrating a sexual exploit on so~neone's "perfumed bed": "Thus spake Irving Layton!" And, I would maintain, and will now try to demonstrate, we do not find it satisfactory to put "The Birth of Tragedy," Layton's exemplary statement of his artistic position, in the same context as Thea' Spoke Zarathrustra."


There is no doubt that I~yton's poem does express in a serene and con centrated form tan N - Wean resolution of Dionysiac and Appollonian dialectical struggle, mid that Layton manages to fuse his own image of his poet's vacation with this struggle. The poem has structure, music and a disc tilled essence of the poet's whole "philosophy". Here find a poise and quiet skin to that of Yeats' "Lapis Lazuli". But the significance of the phrase "A quiet madman" cannot be overlooked. We find in this poem not peace and joy (as commentators say) but the serenity of a poet who ha' not only the satisfaction of knowing that he ~ stating so aptly his artistic code and his sense of cosmic "wisdom" (a word Layton despises but a quality he aspires to be recognized for), but also of being poised in a stoic escape from the nagging sense of mortality and decay. It is as though, despite hi' bout that "unlike Keats I have not wished to escape into the unreal domain of the nightingale,"30 he yet finds escape in an aesthetic, ego-satisfying realm which parodies ir~norulq. Layton may not hope to beacon from "bathe abode where the eternal are" as Shelley's "Adonais" has Keats doing but *e has both a sense of oneness with a cosmic plan of recurrence and an absolu tion from Wit in this poem where he attributes to the gods (the Appollo Djonysiac ion* both the "passionate meditations" of his poems and " orm for the Urgent blood." with Keats' struggle to resolve


-: ~ - -. ~ ::~; - - ~: A.. ~it.- :: I- ~ - ~ a: ~

the tensions between a passionate love of sensuous beauty and a desire to as perit to the transcendental where beauty never fades, the anguish we see in all his odes and temporarily resolved in "The Eve of St. Agnes," the "resolution" we find in Layton's poem is a tame thing produced at least partly by a temperamental need to rationalize his poetic career. The poem


lso illustrates a quality in Layton's poetry which has not always been re cognised, natilely,'~e legalistic submission to a process outside himself and which maltes USe~AS an instrument. This is not the same as the poet's idea of the muee'


Despite it' - ise and Parent Joys this poem is no more convincing than Yeats' vie - Elf "tragic joy" and the associated notion that Hamlet and Lear go down to their fate with a similar gaiety; a view which confuses tragic spectacle with tragedy itself, and which misses the deeper vision Shake speare intended, not one of mere aesthetic stoicism, but of the pt~rgatorial consequences of tragic folly and the supremacy of integrity and love. Still, I am willing to concede that "The Birth of Tragedy" has more depth than most of Layton's poetry and also more effective fusion of idea, feeling And image. Its~ilmic control is superb. It shares almost a classical control


form and deacon with such earlier pieces as "New Tables" and "Composition ir44~te ~ring" in which a feeling akin to the Wordsworthian vision and ex P~ Mice is evident, though Layton would be the first to deny it. The opening - , ~ nly view, mars the poem, for, though contrived to give an air of spon ~, its succeeds in being another example of North American primi ~: "And me happiest when composing poems" may suit the semi


, literate casualnes_& hippies but it strikes the cultivated reader as bordering on pidgin English


I I~ayt_'s poetry is often close to nightmare, not only the nightmare of


I De Seder ~ ~ Mean disgust with the corruption associated with the


Mesh. I hue- suggested that "The Birth of Tragedy" has a poise which is really a form of escape; and this has significant connections with the quasi despair of "Seven O'Clock Lecture" (with its sense of the unreality ot"the im~nortal claptrap of poetry" and the "permanent bloom on all them


feeted things") and with the near-hysteria or poems like "Mortuary," |"Gothic Landscape" and "In the Midst of My Fever." It seems true that If tam an unbearable struggle with what, .~ another context, James McAuley has symbolized by the "blue horses" of Romantic frenzy," Layton moved to wards an aestheticism which finds its justification, not in art for art's sake, Iso much as in a nominally "prophetic" form of self-assertion, and the accom panying applause from a generation of liberalist readers and critics only ton


Ready to accept the blend he offered. Munro Beattie has hinted at the truth in hm suggestion that Layton decided that "he would devise a myth."; ex l~pt that the "poet-outsider" is much more on the inside of contemporary Imp and muddle-headedness than he allows.32 But before exploring his ad aptation to liberalist academia and modernism, let nag suggest the kind of


"escapism which Layton's "atheism" and cult of sexual indulgence repre _sents. The latter has an almost religious intensity.


_ In a piece of work which is truly pornographic and not merely sensual,


"Mahogany Red," (a poem which expresses all the violence of lust) Layton
Resees a now worn-out affair (with a worn-out partner) of the past as having

involved a sexual nepenthe from the anguish and uncertainty of recurrent I religious and social dilemmas. The connexion between his atheism and his I sexualism is aptly summed-up in his own words in the poem:

It is sad to be an atheist,

Could we get a more explicit statement commonplace Hat mum physical lust (violent and ecstatic though it may be in its human form) can | have an illusory manic which is an "expense of spirit in a waste of shame."? | Such thoughts certainly unmask the folly of those who see Layton's sexual | poems as "joyful." Where they are not sad; they are cynical, full of smug | glee. The more joyful poems are those which, like "New Tables" or "The | Sweet Light Strikes My Eyes" express delight in being and in the vitality | and sensuous freshness of nature, though the theme of sexual escapism, as I with so many similar poems, creeps into the ecstasies of the latter. But none I of these poems, despite a superficial resemblance to Wordsworthian response | to nature, and with due regard for the moderately good gift of lyricism with I which Layton has been endowed, expresses much more than a passing joy I mainly at the level of the senses, and an awareness of its fleeting nature. I There is a degree of intensity in all of Layton's work (an intensity which | may reveal a religious dimension_and, indeed, the escapism of the sex ob


session suggests this_) but in these more lyrical and finer poem there is still I not much we can see as akin to the Wordsworthian experience of "A pres- | ence that disturbs me with the joy/ of elevated thoughts" or to a Hopkins' vision discerning a "...dearest freshness deep down things." The wonder and profound depths of meaning and magic inherent in the reali~hir~ perceptions and apprehensions of nature, the sense of a reality7-tti2dt Atolls through all things" and which has significance for the poet who glimpses its power, Amassing. The vision of nature as a parable is blurred.


Oh ~whole, one cannot find much in Layton that is deeply moping; on the contrary, reading his poetry in itself is a somewhat boring exercised. One can have only a very limited interest in the poet's self; the superman, ag gressive egotist or world-beater is a bore, especially when he takes himself so seriously. The individualism Pacey praises in Layton diminishes the shared response, the long tradition of a common humanity, the recognition of a tra dition which the good poet works within by making it his own.33 Only in a contemporary Canada in which a cult of exhibitionism bred in the rancid fat of a force-fed pseudo-nationalism could Layton's reputation have ballooned to stardom. And that stardom, it must be remembered, emerged from a background of violent abuse and self-confidence in the~face of adverse criti cism. What the person who rejects Layton's fatuous war on a tradition of let" ters feels on looking into the journals and books which contain most of tl~ poetic output of the last decade or more is a thirst, a parching thirst for the "mousike" of inspiration, the singing tone and rhythmical authority of a poet with both an integral vision and a voice, nurtured in meditation, that rues far above the whimper, the whine, the windy braggadocio of Sado P'reudian revolt. If Blake, Carlyle, Mill and Yeats are right in seeing poetry as something born from a


the poet, Layton, and

many of the current camp-followem, are examples of how easily rhetoric (of ten not even good rhetoric) replaces poetry today. What Dudek calls "the open rhetorical line of Ginsberg, charged with hysterical sensationalism; and. . Street language is free verse E - d the slapstick sex bit" abound.34 Now, although Layton is rightly called one of the "belly dancers of Canadian poetry,"35 he does have the gift of poetry, being, at his best, an effective lyric poet, though some of his latest work has degenerated into the general mo rass of chopped-up prose we see all around us today.36 The debasement of the currency has reached a nadir, and although the mass of arid stuff is greatly inferior to the best poetry of the hour, one is still stunned by the mo notonous ease with which Governor General's awards are given, and be mused by the steady chink of money and medals in a solidly inbred literary market; a market where, too often, the voice of poetry is drowned by the squeak ant gibber of mummified charlatans risen to tell us what it feels like to be dead. For this situation, Layton and all those attuned to his myth, t - USt, in part, be blamed. None of this condemns a modern attempt to work thin a poetic tradition while expressing individual experience and a mod ern sensibility,37 an attempt at least partly successful in the work of F.R. Scott, Dorothy Livesay, Earle Birney, Leo Kennedy, Louis Dudek and others. All of these poets have a gift of lyricism, and the capacity for memo rable and rhythmic utterance of profound themes. But a modernist cult which wants to jettison the past or merely use it as a kind of archaeological eDurce of clever allusion or hollow myth-making makes decay inevitable.


Layton's principal attitudes or stances on religious, moral, social and lu terary questions are, in fact, not rebellious towards conventional norms or the statu~quo, except insofar as they involve anti-capitalist positions, and the examples of these in Layton are not very convincing. After all, commer cialism is as much a part of literary reputation in Canada today as of any "her phase of life, and fat fees go with the publicity and clowning. As far as the prevailing norms of those in a position to help poets like Layton are con cerned, he is well-attubed to the "establi~lunent." A.D. Hope's anecdote of Layton's address to the students and facially of Carleton university is symp tomatic of his conventionality.38 Wan hi Advocated sexual indulgence, ber ating the "repressive" elders and assuming the role of the students' liberator, the faculty cheered and the students were healthily shocked. The truth is that Layton pleases an influential section of the middle-class, academic, modernist "in-group" who share his views. For example, being Nietzschean, he rejects all absolutes in morals or art. So do they. Relativism, based on the "fact-value" distinction is typical of the academic mind today. But he takes up "radical" positions on religious, literary and political questions; such in consistency is characteristic of the positivist professor and sentimental pseudo-radicals, and "instant" poets who throng to avant garde ~happenings." He equates any ideal of moral integrity as involving self tpial or restrictions on behaviour, especially in the matter of sexual expres s~on, as repressive Puritanism. Everywhere in Canada today, you will find "liberated" people (usually well-heeled and often academic,) saying exactly the same. In an age of pornographic "freedom" Layton's stance on sex is hardly original or courageous. He sees the Christian vision as benighted (even vicious) and so do those who long ago ~chy~ of


- ~ ~

Bertrand Russell or D.H. Lawrence. Among theologians, the academics fav our Gregory Baum (who has just the right mixture of slipper sociology Ad apparently rebellious attitude); and one finds A good deal in commonest tween the views of Layton and those of Baum.39 Layton employs his talent for "cadenced vituperation" (an often ruthless instrument) on any literary or scholastic or moral tradition which would describe his work as barbaric or vulgar, yet he loves to work into his poems as impressively as he ~ the: figures and works of the past to the point of evoking from the mighty trib utes for his erudition. That is precisely the way in which a traditionless, modern literati want to have their cake and eat it, learned but not recoil ing wisdom, having no unified vision. But this point is well put by Louise dell in his description of "Patterns in Recent Canadian Poetry." Dudek says tl~l;hey grasp at the confusion of symbolic images, often a rag-bag of clas s~ythology, in the effort to organise a chaos too large for them to deal with."40 Such a vain struggle, and its accompanying search for "myths' to give significance to work which lacks an integral humanism, denying the long tradition of perennial human needs and values, ignoring the central question of "What is man?" as an outmoded metaphysical concern, produces work which either lacks the fire of humane vision or resorts to pure egoism. Layton, it might seem, has developed an integrated view rooted in his sense of his Jewishness and his alienation from repressive morality and literary scholasticism, but much light can be thrown on all of this by a study of the affinities he has with that venerable figure of Canadian scholarship, Nor throp Frye.


Unlike George Grant, Jacques Maritain, Yvor Winters, James McAuley, (and the greatest critics of the nineteenth and early twentieth century) Frye regards value judgements, whether moral or literary, as subjective. Of Liter ary judgements, he says: ". . .when they are fashionable or generally accept ed, they look objective, but t} - is all."4~ Ele sees the "demonstrable value judgement as the donkey's cam of literary criticism" and contends that "Value judgements are founded on the study of literature; the study of hter ature can never be founded on value judgements."42 This suggests, of course, the quite sound idea, recognised by all those who understand a literary tradi tion, that any work of literature is seen by the discerning reader or critic within the literary context; that is, its qualities and its excellence as a work of literature can be evaluated partly in terms of the criteria established by earlier ~ Put simply, this means that masterpieces within a genre offer the met which we can value or judge any new poem, play; novel or essay. But by what criteria do we establish the truth that any work, say, Harriet, is a great work of art? We cannot go on indefinitely evaluating in rnfs of purely literary criteria, because the process becomes circular, and therefore, meaningless. According to Frye, to call Shakespeare great is not tc state a fact but to express a value judgement.43 "Criticism. . .and aesthetics generally," writes Frye, must learn to do what ethics has already done There was a time when ethics could take the simple form of comparing wba, a man does with what he ought to do, known as the good."" ~ - , o course, a mere caricature of what ethics was; for it leaves out the question o the relationship between motive and moral principle; and the analogy be tween ethics and aesthetics ignores the question of how they are interwove'


- a

_ in a world of art.


_ Obviously, there is no space here to embark on a debate with the preva _ lent positivism on which Frye's theories are based. Mortimer Adler and Jac _ques Maritain have effectively dealt with the fallacies inherent in the teach _ ing of A.J. Ayer, and Adler, in particular, has explored the roots of the denial _of the "good" in the work of G.E. Moore.4s Frye is simply assuming that the _tired, and demonstrably self-contradictory "fact-value" distinction is true, and, in doing so, is led into a position which undermines all criteria of excel lence in literary study. His Anatomy of Criticism sets up a dichotomy be tweed moral, religious and social values on the one hand, and the experience of literature on the other, by detaching "myth" and metaphor from objec tive truth.46 The same kind of thinking runs through his book, The Educated Im~.47 And his comments on "closed mythologies" in The Modern Century ~ not only a caricature of belief and life in the Middle Ages; it misses the whole point of doctrine as springing from a vision of the good life and of man's destiny which permeates a literary tradition.48 Frye presents a very dry, conceptualized version of religious faith:


A dosed~:mythoiogy, like Christianity in the Middle Ages, requires the state ment of theoretical belief from everyone, and imposes a discipline that will make practice consistent with it.49

: . . ~

_I,here is no sense of an "inner" experience in this statement; there is noth
_~ of th~sort of intuition that enabled an historian like Francis Parkman
_nid a poet like Pratt to enter into the minds of Jesuit missionaries who, ad
_nen of the Counter-Reformation, were inspired by medieval ideals.50

_ If there are no "objective" standards, ethical or aesthetic, then how do _re know that the "educated imagination' - .'vorth3'goal? Indeed, what is _he "educated imagination".? Frye will re - Blithe excellences of literature, _nd to the "myths" on which literature draws. But if there is no reality be _~ind the myth, ~ there is not more magic in the mystery than a dream _vhich inspires good literature, we have no criteria by which to judge its value in human terms, and by what other terms can we value anything which we are told will educate us, will enrich our lives? ITlti.'nately, Frye's otion of myth and of its role in literature is hollow; for it has no intrinsic ralue enshrined in it. Frye is relativist in the same sense as Bid Bussed g relativist, and like Russell he is blatantly self-contradictJ~ 1~-has ertainly stultified criticism in Canada, as we shall more cleanly see:when I xpose morel fully the correspondence between Frye's general judgements bout contemporary Canadian poetry (especially of Layton's) and the ways


_n which Layton has "defended" himself against the strictures of a moral
_nd more philosophical aesthetic traditional

Without moral and aesthetic norms which have perennial relevance, we ecome like those "men without chests" to whom C.S. Lewis refers.53 But


_ust as Layton constantly makes moral judgements about current issues and
_efends hi', work as an attack on, or dissolvent of values and positions he re
"ects while, at the same time, trying to put his poetry beyond criticism by re
_reating into a Nietaschean relativism, Frye's literary judgements are some

:.~ ~-~ ~ -: ~

times in direct contradiction to his theory. He is muddled philosophically though aer~"ntive about works. For instance, he writes:

1

poet s Jon is not to tell you what happened, but what happens; not| what did take place, but the kind of thing that always does take place. He| gives you the typical recurring, or what Aristotle calls, universal event. You | wouldn't go to Macbeth to learn about the history of Scotland_you go to it I to find out what a man feels like after he's gained a kingdom and lost his|


.~- it.. . ~.~.~.

Now this statement clearly ~mplies~>that there is, mueed, some per ma idea of goodness and sanity rooted in man's nature. There can be no univer- I Sal event or theme without the universal we recognise in man. Why are we| moved by the tragic spectacle of Macbeth's downfall if there is no moral idea| enshrined in the right vision of the play? The "style" conveys that vision.! Insofar as narrative or dramatic literature approaches the essential spirit oil


moral fable or perennially relevant allegory (a subject to which Frye has de-l voted his scholarly attention) we see the truth that the moral imagination is inseparable from our aesthetic judgement. Chaucer's The Pardoner's Tale means little or nothing unless mere greed for money and the pleasures it| buys is always a vice and unless we recognise the relationship between aver] ice on the one hand and death on the other as symbolised by the characters of the story, an idea as old in literature as the Midas myth. This is no plea for judging literature on its morality alone, nor is it to confuse one hype of literature with all other types; it is simply consonant with the truth that the vision of literature is always conditioned by those ancient glimpses ofthe di vine which the Greeks called, truth, beauty and goodness.55 The denial of moral and aesthetic criteria, objectively real independently of works of liter ature (implicitly contradicted by Frye's comments on Machete) is what, ir] fact, leads to "closed mythologies." For if there is a reality in man and hi' condition and in our glimpses of truth and beauty which is shadowed forti Modems, plays, stories and other works of art, that reality can be explorer ~i~efinitely; it opens up newer depths and vistas of truth the more it is ever partially revealed. Thus, if Blake is right about hatred in his poem, "A Poi son Tree" his poem opens up new insights into the true nature of human ha bed. If Dickens portrays Pip's tendency to snobbery with psychological real ism then, truly, he opens for us an insight into human pride and into th power of compassio~radley rightly referred Shakespeare's tragedies to moral order. A sys~f literary criticism which, on the other hand, wan to relate "values" 01 literature only to other literary works, and claims the values for judging literature come from literature itself without objective!, real criteria is like the snake biting its own tail, a figure favoured by Irvin Layton as emblematic of his "mission."56 What could be more "closed" the, that? But there is a larger social and political sense in which Frye' positivist-based theory leads to closed mythologies, and precisely in th sense in which he compares the medieval world view with a totalitarian sy, tem. Without objective values there can be natural rights of man to appeal to, and there can be no argument against a totalitarian imposition c "norms" and destruction of visionary books.57


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ . At, ~ ~ :: -; ~ ~ ~

:: ~i'.?'

- - -

_ Frye's version of Christianity is also closely akin to that of Layton. Frye ees a dichotomy between the idea of God as Creator and the mission of hrist. In attempting to explicate Pratt's outlook, he assumes a 'fundamental cleavage in Christianity which runs through all his work and


"s the theme of his profoundest poem, "The Truant."58 This cleavage is in vhat Frye sees as a contradiction between "The revolutionary core of Chris


~ianity in its identifying of God with a suffering, persecuted and enduring


Nan," and the institution of the Church which worships an "establishment 5od who created and governed the order of nature."59 In making these as


~umptions, Frye attributes to Pratt a sense of conflict between "the divine


_nheritance of man" and "the moral unconsciousness of nature."60 I have hown elsewhere how erroneous is this view of Pratt's poetry, but the point ere is that Frye's view is not only non-Christian (because it denies the tra


~litional doctrine of Christ's Divinity); it is consonant with the notion of a di


"inisation of man independently of God, a notion central to the thought of ietzsche and Layton. It also leaves the way open for the "Superman" theo


~y, especially when it is seen in association with Frye's explicit denial of God nd his expression of an ideal of the "world we ought to be creating."6' Frye loes not, of course, tell us why we "ought" to do anything, but his view, sub


_ectivist and self-refuting, is typical of secular humanism today, and of the


Intellectual fashions among the literati who think of "myth" as an evolving orce in literary imagination rather than as reflecting or symbolising some nward reality of the cosmos and man's place in it.62


Frye's notion of the artist or poet in relation to society is also the same _s that of Layton..~$@nclusion to Literary History of Canada, Frye has


During the last decade or so a kind of social Freudianism has been taking shape, mainly in the United States, as a democratic counterpart of Marx ian. Here society is seen as controlled by certain anxieties, real or imagi nary, which are designed to repress or sublimate human impulses towards a greater freedom. These impulses include the creative and sexual which are closely linked. The enemy of the poet is not the capitalist but the "square", or representative of repressive morality. The advantage of this attitude is that it preserves the position of rebellion against society for the poet, with out imposing on him any specific social obligation. (italics mine).33


Ie goes on to give mainly Layton as an example of this attitude in Canada.


Iere we see the same view of Puritanical repression we find in Layton's

_irose and poetry, and the same idea that the sexualism he "celebrates" is

_art of his creative role as a prophet-poet. But note the diction and phrasing

If the words in italics. Frye sees the attitude as an "advantage.'. This is the

nguage of Frye's theory of myth in literature; the intrinsic realities are not

"rhat matter, or even exist; rather it is what is "useful" as a mythopoeic

rce in creating new literature. And how one can be rebellious against soci

ty without having any specific social obligations boggles the mind. In other

lords, Frye is interested not in the truth or otherwise of an ethical stance or

poetic use of myth (for he denies objective criteria) but only in the ways in

Rich it helps to "unify the mind of the writer by externalizing his enemy."

To wonder that Frye so unreservedly endorsed Layton's stature as a mytho


- L

poeicpoet. Sometimes it is difficult to see who influenced whom the most: did Frye become a Laytonite, converted by his "erudition" and his attacks on orthodox Christianity and morality? Or did Layton shrewdly adapt his poetry to the theories of Frye? The probable truth is that-~:wh" locator' moved towards through desire, Frye had already discerned a. the inhale implications for literature of logical positivism, and, indeed, the whole drift of secularist modern thought in which he was soaked. Still, it is an odd di lemma to untangle that both men see poetry from the aspect of what McAu ley calls, '-Ibe magian heresy",64 though neither Blake nor Shelley ever re treated into immanentism, or into a world of literary shadow-box However, one aspect of Layton's ambivalent attitude to Frye the c after he was converted to recognise Frye as "a literary Titan", an *I to the general run of academic critics, an honour he shared with PI also endorsed Layton's work), is symptomatic of the real shortcomin-~s~of I Frye's view of literary criticism. Layton rejects Frye's systematisinl~a | he instinctively sees that what Frye is recommending lacks that creative I symbiosis between literature and life that makes Utterance that comes I from the heart, and not merely from the head.65 H - ay also wish to avoid | "odious comparisons" of his own poetry with that of the past. Layton exhib- I it' two incompatible traits in his attitudes towards society and towards the I tradition. First, he wants to be recognised, or at least sees himself as al "prophet" in a tradition which is at war with the academic and ~#P preaches and perceptions of British Protestantism and the ''Wasps mental- l ity in Canada generally.66 He makes foolish generalizations, endorsed by critics such as Eli Mandel, about conflict between a European "prophetic"| mode (seen also in North American primitivism) and a British ''academic! and intellectual approach to poetry;" generalizations, evident in marry of his splenetic outbursts, which, ignoring as they do, the prophetic tradition! which continues in English literature (exemplified in works as disparate as Piers Plowman, Paradise Lost, The Tempest, Four Quartets or Ballad of the| White Horse), enable him to justify his adherence to the weaker side oft American standards. And he overlooks, conveniently, the traditions of Chris l tian humanism which, like the medieval vision, is incarnational, but, at thl same time, transcendental, avoiding the excesses of Blake and Shelley, an deistic transcendentalism of the eighteenth century classicists and thou heart-breaking dilemmas that agonised poets like Keats, and baffled th Pre-Raphaelites.6' Those traditions live on in Canada today; they constant! recur and produce a vision and outlook quite contrary to what Layton su gests when he lumps all traditionalist attacks on ho Work w - ~ - $4Wasp mentality. We see the Christian humanist tradition exemplified in the war of Bishop Medley in Fredericton, as Malcolm Ross shows in a recent ilium noting art; and we know,)" influence in the work of poets such as D.C Scott, EJ. Pratt and even I)*ton's fellow-Jewish poet, A.M. Klein. An whatever their ambivalence towards religious faith or their loss of it, man poets, such as- Roberts, Carman, Lampman, Dudek and Kenny -dared in the long tradition of natural law inherited from the Grip ers and poets and assimilated to the Mosaic and Christian ma~ode That tradition finds its literary expression throughout the history of Englisll literature, and is inseparable: from the aesthetic judgements we hare beet

educated to form. It is not by "Wasp" standards that Layton's work is defi cient, but by the standards of humanity, and the excellence of the main stream of English literature which has been enriched by what is arguably the best body of poetry in any tongue. Newman, himself a man of prophetic vision and a rare and subtly delicate perception, declared that, excepting mainly Chaucer and Shakespeare, the main body of English literature will always have been Protestant.69 The Puritan creed did not always stultify po etic creation, but it did often dry up its springs, and an anti-visionary aca demic outlook, rooted in scientism, was unfavourable to poetry. But these elements in English culture should not be confused with the English literary


ition itself. Layton wants to blur these distinctions, making out that only a Puritan, didactic and plodding view of literature would condemn or criticise his poetry. Dostoevsky explored the effects of rabid individualism in Come and Punishment, a prophetic parable on the illusions of "creating" one's own world.70 Turgenev explored the dilemmas of ~lihili~.7'


Both Frye and Layton are really in the falsely prophetic traditions of gnosticism, with a good dose of Manichaeism thrown in, as evidenced by the notion of a special illumination which cannot be subjected to "objective" cri tique, and by the idea of a conflict between the "tyger" and the "lamb" ($nthout nature being created or seen to be good) inherent in the cosmos in the New of Frye, and between Appollo and DionYsius in Layton's mytholo


It is interesting to observe the way in which, at every rnejor point, the thoughts of these two men coincides. In a book which uses the title of one of Layton's books for its chapter title, Frye endorses Layton's "primitivism" by upholding a shallowly metropolitan or cosmopolitan view of culture which rejects the regionalist and decentralist view (within a long tradition) ex ~pounded in the work of T.S. Eliot and Christopher Dawson and easily sub stantiated from Canadian experience alone,72 According to Frye, "Complete immersion in the international style is a primary culture requirernent.'t79 That style he sees as assimilating prevalent norms and "popular" art forms, a view probably influenced, not only by the actual practice of Layton and his mentors a" folt~nrers, but by the modernity of Marshall MeLuhan's view of the media and Elf change, a basically determinist view of social develop ment. Such a view misses the creative relationship between a long tradition which adheres to perennial and intrinsic norms of worth, and the local envi ronment and experience which interacts with it, a relationship quite clearly at work in the beginnings of Canadian poetry. Symptomatic of Frye's myo ~ pie towards the deeper currents of cultural change is his comment on the l influence of Christianity on Anglo-Saxon patterns of thought discernible ~ l ~ Anglo-Saxon poetry.74 The point is that Layton has a justification for what he writes in the theories of Northrop Frye, and Frye seems to draw much of his surface theory inductively from Layton's performance.


Before closing, it seems apt to comment briefly on Eli Mandel's (and Frye's) view of Layton as a Swiftian satirist.75 Layton's work is not Swiftian. In "A Modest Proposal" Swift depends on a shared moral tradition, as all god satirists do. Swift may parody heartlessness but only for purposes of exp~g stupidity and callousness through ironic scorn. The irony would not work unless some readers were half-deceived about Swift's intentions


But Swift does not become what he attacks. Insofar as Mandelsuggests that, in his mocking~e. or Sado-Masochistic poems, Layton is sate ing himself, or thoseare his outlook, he shows the distinction be tween the true satiris~s~n ention and that of Layton.76 Swift hopes "reach those who may not see what he sees or who are unaware of what flows Mom their hideous treatment of the Irish poor; on Mandel's premises, Layton writes for those who share his vulgarity or find his coarseness palatable, for how could those Owl dislike his work be at once hostile to it yet "converted" to a satirical new of its folly? Those who object to Layton's animalism me' precisely those who would be moved to anger or scorn if another Swift wede to portray it ironically. In one case, there is moral shock; in the other there is cynical acceptance, so that Mandel's tortuous exculpation of Layton will not wash. And we do not find, even in Layton's satirical attacks on what he thinks of vaguely as "establishment" values, that quivering undertone of.hu mane anger, that essential nobility which makes even some of Pope's more personal attacks on opponents or rivals a powerful plea for integrity and de cency. There is a sadness in some of Pope's attacks which reveal the true master of irony:


Who would not weepy Atticus were he.77

Blunt and barbaric attacks are not satire; nor is reduction of opponents to insect level anything more than inhuman egoism.78 When DiDnysiac frenzy is confused with prophecy the passions themselves are debased in stead of sublimated into an integral vision; a vision which we find in the He brew prophets and in the long, rich heritage of Christian mysticism. I cannot see that any irony we find in Layton, in Mandel's words: ". . Touches on for bidden feeling, but...holds up to ridicule or exposes debased feelings." Rather it defends such feelings on grounds of moral emancipation and a pseudo-prophetic role which wants to be at once free of any moral norms yet making the harshest judgements on those who question it. The most horrif ying words Shakespeare puts into the mouths of Lear, Hamlet and Timon are those which express their revulsion from cold treachery and infidelity Clearly, their rage and that of Layton are quite differently


Nothu~g I have written denies Layton's lyrical gift or his inborn intensi ty. His exemplification of a debased romanticism is a lesson for all those who would retreat into the solitary self or jettison the past. In Layton's best poems, he brings home poignantly the dilemma of man's dream of the Di vine while denying its objective reality. But it is far better to fiasco naiad rected intensity of a Layton than to follow the dessicated ]` gic of a Frye.


To the real poet and visionary in Layton, we may perhaps apply the words of Jacques Maritain:


a.. .the authentic, absolute atheist is, after all, only an abortive saint, and it. At ~


~volotionAist.~U

Notes

l l 0 - rgeWoodcock, "A Grab at Proteus_Notes on Irving Layton" in Odyssew Ever

I Returning, (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1970), p. 78.

| 2 Northrop Frye, The Bush Garden_Essays on the Canadian Imagination, (Toronto: An ansi, 1971), p. 70.


3 R. Weaver and W. Toye, The Oxford Anthology of Canadian Literature, (Toronto: Oxford


| University Press, 1973).

4 McAuley may not be as well-known in Canada as he is in The United States, England and Australia. His ideas on art and literature are to be found mainly in his book, The End of Modernity, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1959).


5 See A. Adamson, "The Poet as Split Infinity," CVii, 2,1, (January, 1976), pp. 47-49.


6 See, The End of Modernity, p. vii.


7 Literary History of Canada, ea., Carl F. Klinck et al, (Toronto: U.T.P., 1970), p. 821.


~ See, for a choice sample of Layton's essays and letters to journals Engagements, (Toronto: .... McClelland and Stewart, 1972).


Y Yvor Winters, In Defense of Reason, (Chicago: The Swallow Press, Third edition, 1948), pp. 90-91.


10 Ibid., p. 90.


11 See, Engagements, p. 169.


12 Ibid., p. 169.

13 The Bush Garden, p. 117.


14 Ibid., p. 117.

15 Enwe~ts, p. 165. In thy presage Layton, replying to criticism by Kildare Dobbs, ref ers to 0a own "joyful sensuality" as comparable to "The Song of Songs".


16 Another difference is that the Miller tells his tale, not about himself, but about young peo ple who not only make the Reeve a cuckold but are twelves made absurd in bawdy fashion. Moreover, the Miller may be brutish, but he is not boastful, at least not about sex.


17 ~4 is wdl~lcnown, Layton's brother-in-law was John Sutherland. For a prose version of his contempt for Sutherland, see, Engagements, p. 179.


Ill EN Handel, Layton, (Toronto: Forum House, 1972), p. 14.


19 See Desmond Pacey, Creative Writing in Canada (Toronto: Mcgraw-Hill Ryerson, 1961), p. 165.


20 This Hebraic mask runs through all his work. The latest expression of it is in his new col


lection of poems, For My Brother Jesus.
21 In this book, the Dionysian-Appollonian antithesis is expounded, and Nietzsche's aesth
etic theory advanced.
22 Wynne Francis, "Layton and Nietzsche," C.L., 67 (Winter, 1976), pp. 39-52.
23 See George Woodcock, "A Grab at Proteus" in Odysseus Ever Returning, (Toronto:
McClelland and Stewart, 1970), pp. 75-91.
A.D. Hope, review of A Red Carpet for the Sun, The Dalhousie Review, 40, (1960- 1961),
pp. 271-277.

24 See, for a general view of Winters' ideas on this subject, "The Morality of Poetry" in In


Defense ofReason,pp.
17-29;
See, for particular reference to Aquinas, The Function of Criticism, (Denver: Swallow,
1957), p. 139.
25 See George Grant, Technology and Empire, (Toronto: Anansi, 1969), pp. 118-119.
See also his book, Lament for a Nation whose themes overlap with those of Technology
and Empire.

26 Op. cit., p. 45.


27 Ibid., p. 46.


28


29


. .

This phrase is to be found in his poem, "Prologue to the Long Pea-9hooter". See Frederick Coplestone, A History of Philosophy, (London: Bum and Oates, 1963), p. 403 and 417.

30 "Foreword to A Red Carpet for the Sun" in Masks of Poetry, ed. AJ.M. Smith, (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1962), p. 141.

31 For exposition of McAuley's use of this symbol in his poetry, see: Vivian Smith, James McAuley, (Melbourne: Landedowne, 1965).

Vincent Buckley, "Classicism and Grace" in Essays in Poetry, Mainly Australian,
(Melbourne University Press, 1957).

- -

McAuley's poems are in Collected Poems, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1971).
McAuley's "classicism" was a triumph over the excesses of "Romantic" frenzy; he
knew the dangers of Dionysian "self expression."
32 See Munro Beattie, "Poetry 1935-1950" in Literary History of Canada, (University of To
ronto Press, 1971), p. 781.

33 See Creative Writ no in Canada, p. 164. I regard the section on Layton as a regrettable


lapse on the part of this fine critic, explicable arty by the muddled thinking to which the
"liberalist" version of the relationship between the poet and society is especially prone,
and one must take into account, as well, the almost hypnotic influence of Layton's vituper
ative reactions to criticism.
34 See LoUiB Dude}$ "Poetry in English" in The Sixties_Canadian Writers and the Wridng
of the Decade, ea., George Woodcock, (Vancouver: U.B.C. Publications, 1969), pp. 112-113.
35 Ibid., p. 113.
36 His latest book is of this kind, though some of its irony, ill-directed though ibid :b apt
without a degree of skill.
37 Moat of Duddt's article on "Poetry in English", op. cit., is devoted to distinguishing
Layton$s kind of performance from the ideals of the modern movement in Canadian po
etry which still worked within the literary tradition. Dudek's essay is bound to be seen in
the future as a necessary "voice crying in the wilderness," a voice of true humanism.
38 A.D. Hope, op. cit., pp. 271-273.
39 Baum's advocacy of "evolution" of moral norms and sexual "freedom" is well-known. See,
for exernple, The Toronto Globe and Mail, (August 7, 1973), p. 7. His attitude to religion is
exemplified in a letter in The Chelsea Journal, 2, 1, (January-February, 1976), pp. 2-3.

40 Quoted in Engagements, pp. 178-9.


41 Anatomy of Criticism, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957), p. 20.
42 Ibid., p. 20.
43 Ibid., p. 20.
44 Ibid., p. 26.
45 See, Mortimer Adler, The Tirne of Our Lives, (New York: Holt, 1970), pp. 84-90.
46 Frye is, of course, emphasizing the truth that the experience of literature cannot be re
duced to a merely "rational" statement which can "communicate" the experience. Criti
cism can never have anything more than the mere shadow of the direct vision of the poem
or play. But by separating aesthetics from ethics (a mistake that Wordsworth, Coleridge,
Carly,l~usl~in and Arnold, for instance, would not conceive of making), he divorces liter
ature~p ~e. Moreover, his rejection of objective criteria of beauty (admittedly difficult
to ap~but not, therefore, non-existent), he leaves the way open for subjectivist canons of
"taste" which Matthew Arnold's "touchstones", whatever their inadequacy, rightly con
tradict. Whether we are concerned with the moral truth of Macbeth or the lyrical beauty of
a Herrick poem, there must be some criteria of excellence drawn from knowledge of human
nature or recogmtion of "music" in language which we can use as $$touchstones" for criti
cism. This is not the same as denying that only the play or poem itself has the power to
convey its particular vision. Intuitive r - _ion and the feeling which accomplmies it da
not rule out value judgements which Did in objective terms, although such judge.
meets are not established by the methoddid "science".
47 Bee
The Educated Imagination, (Toronto: C.B*C., 1963). Frye's comments on the blinding
of Gloucester (p. 41) depend on extra-literary moral values.
48 The Modern Century, (Toronto: O.U.P., 1967), pp. 116-117
49 Ibid., pp. 116-117.
50 It is a well-known truth that the men of the Counter-Reformation, whatever the Baroque
influences at work, turned to the medieval vision for inspiration. Pratt brings this oul
strongly in "Brebeuf and His Brethren". See also, Francis Parkman, The Jesuits in North
America,
(London: Macmillan, 1892), p. 207; A.G. Dickens, "The Medieval Sources al
Catholic Renewal", in The Counter-Reformation, (London: Thames and Hudson, 1968),
pp. 19-27.
51 See, for a good example of Russell's self-contradiction, the record of a dialogue on "values'
between Russell
and Coplestone in John Wilson, 77dnAu~ With Concepts, (Cambridge
1963), pp. 69-72.

52 The two main sources for this assertion that Layton's defense is a conflict with the moral and philosophical literary tradition are in Mandel's book on Layton and Layton'. Erwernents.


43 See, C.S. Lewis, TheAbolition of Man, (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1947).

54 The Educated Imagination, p. 24.

Frye's statement makes literature appeam more didactic than it is. One does not "go to Macbeth" to learn anything, one goes to enjoy the play, and that enjoyment of the work of art carries with it an enrichment of the moral imagination as well as intensification of vi sion.


.~56 . . PWs1 - , with As ideas of intuitive mousike, Carlyle's Sartor war - , Ruskin's Modern . Al, - - lad ''The Study of Poetry" on Maritain't; Creative Imitation in Art and Fb - , id - -tier beyond Frye's view of literary criticism which two eminent critics see as an attempt to turn literary criticism into a social science. See William Wimsatt and Cleanth Brooks, Literary Criticism_A Short History, (New York: Vintage, 1967), pp. 709 711.


a See Engagements, p. 45 where he writes: "I like poems which are subtle and circular_the perfect form of a serpent swallowing its own tail and rolling towards Eternity." See also, Ibid., p. 45.


Jacques Maritain expands the relationship between derail of natuml law and totalitarian" ism in his book, Human Rights and the Natural Lau'.


Northrop Frye, "Silence in the Sea," E.J. Pratt, ea., David G. Pitt, (Toronto: Ryerson, 1969), p. 124.


Ibid., pp. 132-3.
Ibid., p. 133.
The Afaddrn Century, (Toronto: O.U.P., 1967).

For a sane look at religious Faith and mythology see G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man. .4 Moms and Newman acknowledged, "Nature is a parable."


Libras History of Canada, p. 834.
&e James McAuley, The End of Modernity, pp. 144-159.

As pointed out earlier, Frye tries to allow for the vision or "experience" of the poet as being quite outside the province of criticism as such by denying all objective validity to value judgements, but he does admit what Layton thinks he misses: the truth that "creative writers are concerned with experiencing at first hand and interpreting it through a faculty critia have no acquaintance with~intu~tion." Ewements, p. xiii. All the same, a "social science" approach to literature IB something any poet with fire in his heart and salt on his tongue must ~ from Spontaneously. But one does not have to deny intuition to critics or be deceived by Layton's claims to brotherhood with lumberjacks to see through the fal lacies of either.


This kind of attitude runs through En~qrements, and it is expressed in "Prologue to the Long Pea Shooter". This poem, obviously intended to be in the vein of satiric verse deriv ing from Dryden and Pope, rarely rim above versified abnae, even doggerel, as for exam ple:


Well, I tell my friend that I've written About the parts where I've been bitten I write about where the shoe pinches


I ado write about the wenches;

Their lips, their hips, and other beauty (Laying them is a man's first duty!)


Keats, and the Pre-Raphaelites who shared much of his experience, were in the great vi 8ionary tradition seeking the ecstatic and immortal through art. Their intensity and social concern ape an integral part of the traditions of English literature; they were great spokes men for the condi_i ~ _1 living within a shattered tradition at war with industrial ism ~ j.^


&e, Malcolm Ross, "A Strange Aesthetic Ferment," Canadian Literature, 68 69, (Spring
Summer, 1976), pp. 13-25.
J.H. Newman, The Idea of a University (New York: Longmans Green, 1947), p. 272.

Layton pits "European" writers (whom he sees as like the North American ones in their "prophecy") against the "British" literary traditions. However, the great Russian novel ista, per10 mote than most, adhere to values and enjoy a vision quite foreign to the Lay tonHeone~


&e l.S. Turgenev, Fathers and Sons. See The Modan Century, pp. 52-59.


73 Ibid., p. 57. Although Frye provides a good critique of McLuhar~, he endorses wme of
its worst features in his view of "culture".
74 The Modern Century, p. 00.
75 See Eli Mandel, Irving Layton, (Toronto: Forum House, 1972), pp. 00.
See also, Northrop Frye, The Bush Garden, p. 116.
76 See, Mandel, op. cit., p. 51.
77 Acknowledgement is made here to G.K. Chesterton's essay, "Pope and the Heroic
Couplet."
See, for a typical example of this, Engagements, pp. 181-191.

79 Mandel tries to relate Layton's poems of "sexual frustration" with the "tension between desire and bitterness" to an intentional expression of a "divided consciousness" like that of Timon and Lear.

80 Jacques Maritain, "The Meaning of Contemporary Atheism" in A Maritaut Rear, ea., D. and 1. Gallagher, (New York: Image, 1966), p. 117.

~ . . .:


Oliver Goldsmith~s
"The Rising Village''

The best available criticism of Oliver Goldsmith's "The Rising Village" is to be found in "The Goldsmiths and Their Villages," an article of 1951 by Desmond Pacey,' and in the economical statement by Fred Cogswell in the Literary History of Canada. These works of criticism are not without their problems, however, for they fail to perceive both the functional significance of the Flora and Albert section of the poem and the implications of the re moval of certain telling first edition passages from the second edition. These omissions and the owr-emphasis on the elder Goldsmith's "The Deserted Village" as model lead to other difficulties.


Professor Pacey offers a comparative analysis of "The Rising Village" and~its predecessor-model, "The Deserted Village," by the Canadian poet's Irish namesake and great-uncle. He notes the similarity of the general struc ture of each work and observes that the Canadian poem is 132 lines longer (p. 27). This extension he attributes to the addition of the Flora and Albert story to the Canadian poem, for which there is no equivalent in "The De serted Village." But that the structures of the two works are similar except for the Flora and Albert story surely suggests that the latter must be of some great since, for the Canadian Goldsmith must hive had some compelling resign Or departing from ho ~ he inserted the Flora and Albert story, as indeed he had. - ~


For Professor Pacey the Canadian poem ~ decidedly inferior to its Irish ancestor because it lacks the "Wit and passion" (p. 28) of that work. Indeed, he proceeds to say, "The Canadian Goldsmith ...appears to have felt pas sionately about nothing: he neither hates nor loves with any of his uncle's vehemence. The latter's diatribes against luxury and the tyranny of wealth have. . .no counterpart in The Rising Village" (p. 29). The latter part of this statement is unquestionably true as any examination of the text will quickly verify. It by no means follows, however, that the alleged cause, the supposed lack of wit and passion, is characteristic of Goldsmith the man. Goldsmith undoubtedly knew what every eighteenth-century rhetorician knew, that an approach must generally be in some way acceptable to the audience for which a work is intended, and therefore a literary art object is by no means necessarily a measure of the passion an individual writer actually brings to a particular subject.


But there is a yet more compelling reason for the difference of emotional intensity between the two works and this is indicated by the titles them selves, "The Rising Village" and "The Deserted Village." The Canadian work is a success story written from the point of view of the ruling oligarchy in Halifax; the elder Goldsmith's poem is a stor'> of failure by a member of


the Tory class in Britain which is threatened by the rise of industrialism and new social forces. The Canadian looks on with satisfied pleasure (despite tome problems), while the Irishman inveighs against the wretched develop" meets in what is for him an increasingly vile world. His passions invective_nd Vatican be explained readily enough by the socio-ecor~ developments that gave rise to them. Similarly, the Canadian Goldsmith's position can be explained by the different situation in Nova Scotia. There is no point in bemoaning the absence of qualities in the one work which are present in the other because different conditions gave rise to each. Both works distort empirical facts to give birth to what each writer considered to be the essential truth. For the elder Goldsmith this took the form of an out raged pessimism, for the younger, a satisfied optimism. If the elder Golds mith prematurely indicted socio-economic developments that led to rural de population, he nonetheless anticipated what was going to happen; and if the younger Goldsmith glosses over some of the problems in Nova Scotia (by no means all of them) in his optimistic portrait of the province, it still remains that Nova Scotia was a success story and his account of its rise is essentially correct.


Another criticism by Professor Pacey of the Canadian poem is that it "falls short of the style of its model. . tin its relative lack of specific detail" (p. 34)). Written in accordance with eighteenth-century conventions which em phasized the universal, the tulip rather than the stripes on the tulip, we would not expect an abundance of detail. Moreover, notwithstanding the similarity of structure between "The Rising Village" and "The Deserted Village," the two works do not properly belong to the same genre.


A little later Professor Pacey quotes a few lines from the poem:


As thus the village each successive year Presents new prospects, and extends its sphere, While all around its smiling charms expand, And rural beauties decorate the land.

Of these he remarks: "This last passage has the air of being written by rob.. it is a bit of padding which adds nothing to our understanding of the villa' (p. 31). There are two main problems here. First, far from being redundant, this passage is thoroughly functional in terms of the development of the poems and it is therefore not padding. The abstract and universal rather than concrete "new prospects," "extends," "sphere," and "expand" consti tute essential parts of a sequence of deliberate repetitions (sometimes incre mental) to remind us of the constant expansion of Nova Scotia in the process of growth. Second, we are not primarily interested in this poem with any "understanding of the village" as such. The village, like the characters, is typical, and it is intended to represent all the rising villages in the colony, and thus it is intended to represent the whole of Nova Scotia Tlds is why we move from the first hut at the beginning of the poem to a fully developed Nova Scotia at the end. And it is precisely because the village is all the vil lages in a rising Nova Scotia that Goldsmith avoids detail and emphasizes universality to appropriate diction.


Professor Pacey's comparison of character types and his preference for the English schoolmaster in "The Deserted Village," rather than the type in "The Rising Village," is difficult to understand. He writes: "Both school masters are types, but the English schoolmaster is much more of a recogniz able person than his Canadian counterpart" (p. 34)). The Canadian school master emerges, in fact, as a type generally in keeping with McCulloch's schoolmaster in Stepsure Letters.3 Moreover, the Canadian Goldsmith has set himself a much more difficult task than his ancestor as he attempts to


I outline his Canadian schoolmaster, for not only does he deliberately echo the elder Goldsmith as he creates the antithesis of the English schoolmaster,


I but he proceeds to offer us a Canadian type as well.


I The point of these comments is not to set the scene for a claim that the | Canadian Goldsmith is better than his ancestor. To do that would be to go to l the other extreme of Professor Pacey's position (as it was, that is, twenty l years ago). The object is rather to suggest that the comparative approach is I satisfactory up to a point, but beyond that point it prevents us from under | standing the Canadian work in its own right. For while the Canadian Golds | mith consciously works in the tradition of his ancestors, he transforms that I tradition in the light of Canadian needs. "The Rising Village" will not re | place Paradise Lost in the aesthetic pecking order, but it still be further up I the line than Professor Pacey was inclined to believe in 1951.


I Professor Cogswell makes three points about "The Rising Village" that I need to be questioned and modified. First, he states that "When The Rising Village: A Poem appeared in London in 1825, Goldanith became so disap


_ pointed by the invidious comparisons that English critics made with his great-uncle's work that he lost all further inter" in poetic composition. He did, however, re-imue the poem, along with a TV occasional pieces, in a vol ume entitled The Ruing Village, with Other Poems, published in Saint John


, in 1834" (p. 120). In fact a good deal more than personal disappointment at I the reception of his poem in London was involved. His poetical l disappointment was matched by and concurrent with political disappoint m ent, and this led to a shift in political consciousness so that from an ardent


l proponent of the mercantile imperial system Goldsmith became aware of,
I and probably a party to, an incipient Nova Scotia nationalisms evidence for
l these views can be found in an examination of the major differences between
I the 1825 and 1834 editions

| Professor Cogswell's second point is that the poem falls basically into l three parts, and "Sandwiched between and bearing little organic relation to l either part is the pathetic story of Flora and Albert" (p. 120). The argument I here will be twofold: that an understanding of the function of the story of l Flora and Albert is central to an understanding of "The Rising Village" and I that the story is an integral part of the whole work. In certain respects it is like the story of Leonora in Henry Fielding's Joseph Andrews, but instead of offering a parallel story within a main plot to enforce his moral as Fielding


I does, Goldsmith moves to allegory because he is dealing with politically dan gerous material.


Professor Cogswell's third point is in reference to poetic technique: "In his 8kilful use of balance and antithesis, Goldsmith demonstrates how care fully he had studied his great-uncle's work. Unfortunately, he borrowed


tad every conceivable trite phrase and hackneyed rhyme that had found its~iiy into the eighteenth-century British couplet." A. a result, his other wise respectable lines are studded with cliches" (p. 120). These judgements can only be modified by reference to poetry and politics, or rather what may be called the politics of poetry. In the absence of serious studies of the social basis in Britain for the relationship between the orderly couplet poetic form (why it was dominant and admired) and he generalized desire for order characteristic of the period, together with the prevalence of the admired and ubiquitous presence of antithesis, the answer to Professor Cogswell's criti cism can only be sketchy. Yet it can surely be no accident that the eight eenth century was the period which saw the consolidation in Britain for the first time of opposing political parties to create a union of opposites within the parliamentary framework. Nor can it be an accident that these parties were the expression in politics of a union of opposites in the economic sphere between a Tory landed class and Whig mercantile capitalists. If there was strict order and tension in t~poetry, there was also strict order and tension in the daily political and economic life of the country.


When Goldsmith wrote, this socio~conornic and political balance had been destroyed in Britain by the rise of laissez-faire industrial capitalism, and in this process the hegemony of the couplet had been upset in poets But this had not yet happened in Canada. The society which Goldsmith


scribes is one in which the eighteenth-century British situation still obtains, for Nova Scotia was still controlled by landed and mercantile interests. It seems reasonable to suggest, therefore, that Goldsmith uses the couplet him because, with its balance and antithesis, it constitutes a poetical form appro priate to a society in which political power consists of a union of opposite in the alliance between landed Tory and mercantile Whig interests. That is to say, since order and tension were characteristic of his audience's daily expe rience, the same qualities in the literature would lead his audience to accept works in the couplet form as reflections of what was real. If Goldsmith learned the technique of balance and antithesis in the couplet form from his great-uncle, it was because he found it a congenial form in the first place. If he found it to be congenial, it was because it was appropriate both to the structure of the Nova Scotia society about which he wrote (i.e., what ho au d~ence expected) and to the "cture of his own mind. We might go further and suggest that if Goldsmith lead been able to write his work in blank verse, he would have been unable to communicate with his Nova Scotian brethren. In other words, although there would have been a first edition in London, there would not have been a second Canadian edition.


In the light of the somewhat sketchy considerations it seems reason ~ble to say that! - Le Goldsmith learned from his great-uncle's work and


hat of othen~s not simply a slavish imitator; rather he was worl_ing ~3 in a tradition whence was accepted and expected by the audience of his time in Nova moth. That his: work was not a success in England in the first edi tion of 1825 can be explained by the socio-economic industrial revolution which had destroyed the eighteenth-century conditions which in turn had given rise to the heroic couplet.


Professor Cogswell alleges that Goldsmith borrowed phrases from the eighteenth-century British couplet. To begin to put this allegation in its


proper perspective we must refer to the doctrines of poetic diction and poetic | kinds, although it must be observed that, in the absence of a fully annotated l I edition of "The Rising Village," the case for extensive borrowing has not yet l been proved. While there was no Academy along the lines of the French Academy in England in the eighteenth century, the rules for the writing of | poetry were as well known as if there had been. Tillotson observes that the l heroic couplet "became the most precise metre ever used in English verse"5 I and "the 'kinds' of poetry were still seen as distinct, and as requiring the use I of different kinds of diction" (p. 24). Berger argues that such academic rules | "schematize and inhibit the artist's imagination before he even begins to l work."6 Thus, eighteenth-century British poetic theory constitutes an a l priors concept of poetry for Goldsmith; he knows in general what he will do I before he does it. We can therefore expect a similarity between his diction | and eighteenth-century British poetic diction. How many phrases~re l merely similar and how many literally borrowed we cannot know at the I present time. But we do know that Goldsmith was limited in his choice of l diction by the rules governing the kind of poetry he wrote. Tillotson remarks l that, "When writing satire the eighteenth-century poet chose his words as I freely as any poet." The art, passion, and invective of the elder Goldemith's I The Deserted Village" seems to belong here. Howe`''whenz,~ng em, ! pastoral, and georgic the eighteenth-century poet w21g~ot so 1 ~ (p. 28). i"The Rising Village" seems to belong here. Goldsmith could freely l choose his diction because he was not writing satire; he was writing accord ing to the rule& He was writing according to the rules because his subject I (and audience} was a society with the same political and economic power l structure and the same poetic expectations as obtained in Britain in the [eighteenth century, out of which the poetic rules had sprung (or been I adapted from the French). Goldsmith's acceptance of the rules implies an ac ceptance of the political power structure,jjjilthough his attitude is by no I means unquestioning.


The critics find "The Rising Village" to be beset with problems and these problems are said to be the cause of the work's failure. However, if we approach the poem from a different angle, we shall be able to see that "The Rising Village," in fact, is a coherent poetic structure in which the Flora and Albert story has a functional part. Moreover, we shall also be able to account for the major textual changes7 between the 1825 and 1834 editions, changes about which the critics are silent. The text employed here will be that of 1834 for the simple reason that it is the most Canadian of the two and the one mast employed by critics.


"The Rising ViLlage~seems to be a very simple poem at first glance. It starts with conventional invocations and moves on to a brief description of the mother country, England. From this point it offers an account of the his tory of the settlement of Nova Scotia and of the growth of the village of the title. We start with savage Indians, see nature gradually tamed and crops grow. We watch the appearance of the tavern, church, general store, and schoolhouse, together with the pedlar who turns merchant, the half-bred


doctor, and the teacher. We are told of country sports and of the sad (and, as some think, silly and digressive) story of Flora and perfidious Albert which takes up about one fifth of the work. Albert, "noble, kind, and free," meets "Flora on the green" in summer and offers "vows of love." Winter having ar rived, "the bridal dress was made" and all is set for the wedding. At this point Albert sends a letter saying that he cannot marry her and that he has gone away. With "her reason fled," Flora dashes out into the setting sun and the cold snow where she collapses to be saved next morning by a poor "peasant" whose wife nurses Flora back to health. The poem closes with the now viable community that is Nova Scotia presented as a good child of mother Britain. The general effect of this superficial reading is that of a con catenation of vignettes that moves us across time.


The poem opens with an address to the poet's brother, Henry, the per" son to whom the dedicatory letter of the 1825 edition was also addressed:


Thou dear companion of my early years,
Partner of all my boyish hopes and fears....

(p. 2)

Shortly afterwards tin| poet makes a direct connection between his poem and the "Deserted vintage," Auburn Village, by his great-uncle, the Irish Oli ver Gokl~nith. As he does so he introduces the idea of the decline of the old world and the rise of the new:

If, then, adown your cheek a tear should flow For Auburn's Village, and its speechless woe; If, while you weep, you think the 'lowly train' Their early joys can never more regain, Cone, turn with me where happier prospects rise, Beneath the:~*ernness of Acadian skies.

(p. 2)

We shall see later that this contrast between the rising new world and the declining old one is of central importance to the theme of the poem as a whole.

Following the introductory section we are presented with a capsule par trait of Great Britain:

How chaste and splendid are the scenes that lie
Beneath the circle of Britannia's sky!
What charming prospects there arrest the view,
How bright, how varied, and how boundless too!
Cities and plains extending far and wide,
The merchant's glory, and the farmer's pride.
Majestic palaces in pomp display
The wealth and splendour of the regal sway;
While the low hamlet and the shepherd's cot,
In peace and freedom mark the peasant's lot.
There nature's vernal bloom adorns the field,
And Autumn's fruits their rich luxuriance yield.
There men, in busy crowds, with men combine,

,. ..., - : ~

That arts may flourish, and fair science shine; And thence, to distant climes their labours send, As o'er the world their widening views extend.


(pp. 2-3

The remarkable economy of this passage is explained by its abstract techni que, and this technique is a reflection of the poet's vision. Like God, Golda mith sits on high and, from amidst the vast collection of empirical details and contradictions that constitutes a complex British society in a proceed of change, he selects what he believes to be essential features of that society. These he then proceeds to offer to his readers in generalized terms. The over all effect is one of collapsing a macrocosmic Britain to microcosmic and man ageable proportions The result is that we see Britain reduced almost to a village scale.


As remarked, this essential portrait of Great Britain is the key to Goldsmith's technique and vision in "The Rising Village." For after this de scription he causes us to leap in space from Britain to Nova Scotia, and in time back fifty years:


Compar'd with [Bntish] scenes like these, how lone and drear Did once Acadia's woods and wilds appear; Where wandering savages, and beasts of prey, Displayed, by turns, the fury of their sway.

(P. 3)

Through this juxtaposition of Britain and Nova Scotia there is a deliberate contrast created between settled and civilized Britain and unsettled and un civilized Nova Scotia (Goldsmith takes the common view of the time that Indians are savages).


AB we proceed through the poem and witness the development of the new land, we slowly see the essential outlines of a new Britain (i.e. Nova Scotia) emerge. While not all the details suggest Britain (e.g., the general store), the essence of the new land is British. What Goldsmith does, in fact, is to take his abstract account of Britain in the sixteen-line section and use it as a sort of a priori idea or concept which is presumably carried in the minds of the settlers. He then shows how the settlers imposed this idea or concept, through labour, on the new and alien land. Thus, if we discern a general sim ilarity between Goldamith's account of Britain at the beginning of the poem and his subsequent description of the new land, this similarity is intentional. For him, the two countries are essentially the same, sharing as they do the same laws, values, and so forth. It is therefore no surprise to us when at the end of the poem we meet with a fully realized Nova Scotia standing side by side with. Bantam. What we learn is that Nova Scotia has reached maturity. The structural juxtaposition of Britain and Nova Scotia in separate verse stanzas at the conclusion of the poem helps to support this view.


At the beginning of "The Rising Village" the idea of Britain is carried in the heads of immigrants. These settlers then impose the idea on the brute matter or untransformed nature which is Nova Scotia. And this is what the historical part of the poem is about: the transformation of untamed -nature. It is thus easy to see that the village that rises in the title is first of all a vil


rage, but we soon learn that it is much more than a village. For just as Golds mith chose to present us with an essential Britain reduced almost to a village scale in the sixteen line section, so does he present us with an essential village in the later part of the poem. "The Rising Village," therefore, is both a par ticular village, the first of its kind, and simultaneously all the villages rising in Nova Scotia. It is, so to speak, an archetypal village. As a consequence, the rise of the village becomes the rise of Nova Scotia itself. Indeed, Goldsmith's technique is consistent throughout in this respect, for he does not offer us a mass of empirical data so as to present a detailed picture of the specific experiences of settlers creating a particular village. Rather, he selects essential data so as to create a sense of the experience common to all the set tlers and settlements without regard to specific distinguishing characteris tics. This is true also of the characters that we meet. The pedlar who turns merchant, the half-bred doctor, and the teacher are all deliberately created types, particular variants of which could presumably be found in any rising village.


The story of Flora and Albert might first be thought a weak link in the work, but once we understand the function that it serves on the simplest level of the poem, we shall see that this is not so. Preceding the Albert and -Flora story in "The Rising Village" is an idealized and generalized picture of reality. In order to offset this idealization a flaw must be found, and one in the story of Flora and Albert. It is interesting to note that flaw in Edenic Nova Scotia Goldsmith attributes to human weakness. Golds mith, in fact, reduces all problems to the individual or private level (al though there is a public, moral side also). The apologist for the Halifax Oli garchy thus admits that things may go wrong in this new land, but does not allow the possibility to rise in his readers' minds that faults could be the re sults of defects in the political, social, and economic structure. The problems are individual, private, and moral rather than public and political. Indeed, the scene with poor deserted Flora lying exhausted in the snow is a delib;e~r ate 'tear-jerker' which seems to be designed for the readers who read reedy. the literal level. If we remember the socio-economic and political problems of the day, we will get the impression that Goldsmith deliberately avoids deal ing with them. However, we shall see that there is more to the Flora and Al bert story. It as precisely at this point in the narrative that it becomes possi ble to read "The Rising Village" on another level.


For the hard-line Tory reader and for those who simply read on a lit - 1 level, Goldsmith offers a portrait of the best of all possible worldly The bad political structure is sound and if there are problems, these simply arise out of the tendency of individual human nature to become perverted.-Yet Golda mith seems to have known that not all his readers would~ccept this racy picture of society and this account of the origin of 'relit. - obrdingly' he offers the possibility of an allegorical level of meaning. The fact that Golda mith has Flom lying out all night in the snow tips us off that this story within a story is allegorical. We are~not expected to believe that an unpro tected person could survive a Canadian winter night. This allegorical level of meaning of the Flora and Albert story firmly places the blame for an, difficulties in Nova Scotian society in London ~ rem forcing sides to the allegory.


Flora is, of course, the goddess of flowers and we do not have to read too fir before we realize that she appears here as the personification of nature and the whole fertility principle. This is surely very obvious when Flora ap pea" at the height of summer and, as "Exhausted nature" (p. 10), sinks down in the winter snow when the sun ("The sun had set"_Albert? [p. 10]) has ~at, however, is the significance of this nature myth to the .1 ~e? It is only when we move to the socio-economic and politi


41 1_ ~ e that it begins to make sense and the key is to be found in the e Albert. Had this poem been written after the courtship of Queen Vic !~ffa and Prince Albert, the name could easily be accounted for. We could cribe its use to the general popularity of the name, although the political legory would still be there. We would not be reasonably certain, however, hether the political allegory was there by accident or design.


The name Albert is derived from "Old German Adalbeff, compound of that 'noble' and Berlitz 'bright', equivalent of Old English Aethelbeorkt."'_ lbert is first described in the following way in the poem:


Among the youths that graced their native plain,


Albert was foremost of the village train;
The hand of nature had profusely shed
Her choicest blessings on his youthful head;
His heart seemed generous, noble, kind, and free....

(p. 8, italics added)

hat Albert is "foremost of the village train" and that he is "noble" suggests hat, on the allegorical level, he is the embodiment of the English aristo ratic ruling class when imperial-colonial relations were at their best. His per lious desertion of Flora is thus the symbolic desertion of Nova Scotia by Gland in the developing period of economic stagnation following the eco omm]2oom of the Napoleonic Wars. The suggestion that the natural proc ~ ~ Fertility haa~pe_d to function points symbolically to the effects of ritish economic Allison the Nova Scotia economy and society. That Flora rescued by a peasant implies that a sturdy and self-sufficient Nova Scotia an now go it alone without Britain if necessary." That the rescue is in a I orning as the sun rises points symbolically to the new age that is being I born.


| As a consequence of the allegory the Bet part of the poem points in two directions. Which one the reader perceived would depend upon the assump |tions he brought to the poem. If he were a die-hard Tory, convinced that the fold mercantile imperial connection of political dependence was a sine qua non for the continued existence of Nova Scotia, he would see in the last para graphs of the poem a dutiful Nova Scotia standing beside Mother Britain. If, |however, he belonged to the opposite party (including some Tories), he would see that the fully realized Nova Scotia could well exist politically inde |pendently of the neglectful mother country but within the new laissez faire [imperial economic framework.


I It would be possible to deal in greater detail with these patterns, but [perhaps sufficient has been said to make at least plausible the view that Goldsmith caters to the needs of the two main groupings in the society in


I, -,.:

which he lived, the groups that constituted the Halifax oligarchy. That he could treat his subject in this fashion indicates that he may not have been quite so single-mindedlyomm~tted to the Tory imperial position as the plot line might at first suggest. The possibility arises that he could have been a spokesman for B mercantile and Tory nationalist position.

III


There is evidence for the view that Goldsmith shifted from an imperial ist to a nationalist position in the changes that were made between the 1825 arid 1834 texts. In particular we must look at the twenty-line passage excised from the 1834 edition of the poem after Goldsmith's disappointments in London. The passage reads Us follows:

And shall not, then, the humble muse display
Though small the tubule, and though poor the lay,
A country's thanks, and strive to bear the fame
To after ages, of Dalhousie's name.
He who with heroes oft, through fields of gore,
The standard of his country proudly bore;
Until on Gallia's plain the day was won,
And hosts proclaim'd his task was nobly done.
He who 'no less to peaceful arts inclin'd,'
Cross'd the deep main to bless the lab'ring hind:
The hardy sons of Scotia's clime to teach
What bounteous Heav'n had plac'd within their reach.
He saw the honest uninstructed swain
Exhaust his strength, and till his lands in vain,
He called fair science to the rustic's aid,
And to his view her gentle path displa>'d.
His fruitful field with Britain's soil now vies,
And, as to Heav'n his grateful thanks arise,
Thy name, Dalhoude, mixed with his prayers,
And the best wishes of the suppliant shares.

Like Albert in "The Rising Village," by 1828 Dalhousie had gone and he had left unmoumed. Professor Gnarowski remarks that, "As far as the deleted portion of the poem was concemed, it had to do with Dalhousie and there fore could be considered to have been a reference which was slightly passe in 1834" (p. 15). Within the broader ideological context of the poem outlined above, however, the mere fact of Dalhousie's departure would not be sufficient to account for the deletion of this passage. In the economical words of the Oxford Com~aruan to Canadian His~'y and Literature, Dalhousie was "An authoritarian who believers that it was his duty to uphold the rights and prerogatives of the mown against popular pressure"' Thus, Dalhousie was not hated qua individual but qua the upholder of certain repressive principles which he himself did not create. The difference, therefore, be!. tween the 1825 text and the 1834 text can be accounted for by a shift in Goldsmith's political consciousness. Dalhousie was the same authoritarian in 1825 as he was in 1828 when he was forced to leave. He did not change but Goldsmith did. Goldsmith came to adopt a more nationalist position.


1

| Additional evidence seems to confirm this view, for it points to a Canadi anization of the 1834 text. The evidence is worth quoting in full since Profes sor Gnarowski's edition (a small edition) is no longer in print and is not l widely available.


l First of all, the two final paragraphs of the 1825 dedicatory letter are de

feted from the 1834 edition:

The remarks which I have made on the schools are, however, more strictly applicable to a former period, than to the present one. Twenty years ago, with the exception of the College at Windsor, there was only one school in which the Classics were taught, and that one in the capital of this Prov ince. Now the number is greatly increased, and the means of acquiring a lib eral education have been rendered as easy as in any other country.


Indeed, this happy Colony has been extremely fortunate in the ap pointment of those able men, who have been selected, by His majesty to preside over it. They have shown at all times a warm interest in its prosperi ty, and have manifested the sincerest desire to promote its welfare and hap piness. The name of Dalhousie and of Kempt must ever be associated with that of Nova Scotia, and claim the gratitude and affection of its inhabitants. (p. 20)


1

I Secondly, two footnotes in the 1825 edition making glowing reference to

I the British] Society for the Propagation
of the Gospel in Foreign Parts are
I removed:

I cannot avoid here stating how much the province of Nova Scotia is in debted to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. Since the first settlement of the country their funds have been liberally be stowed, to assist in the building of churches, and the maintenance of Miss sionaries; there being now not less than thirty in this Province. (p, 45)


I must here again express the gratitude that is due to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, whose funds are so nobly appropriated to the support of schools in this province. There are, at present, forty school .uasters, who receive a small salary from the society; twelve scholarships at King's College, and twelve exhibitions at the Collegiate School, in Windsor, to assist the education of persons destined for Holy Orders. (p. 46)


When we note that the S.P.G.F.P. was subsidized by the British govern ment, the implications of this edition become more obvious.


Finally, a footnote reference to the Earl of Dalhousie is also excised:

When the Earl of Dalhousie assumed the command of the province of Nova Scotia, its agriculture was in a deplorable state; for though large tracts of land were under cultivation, yet the mode of tillage was so unskilful, and an adherence to old customs so obstinate, that the most fertile soil was often very unproductive.


Through the influence, and under the patronage of his Lordship, Socie ties were established for the purpose of diffusing knowledge in cultivation. These societies have been some time in operation, and the advantages


-

which have been derived from them, and the infon~lion which 1 - r have afforded, are observable in the improved method of agriculture, now pur sued throughout the country. (p. 47)

:: . ~ i~ ~

~ . . ~

The cumulative effect of these changes is to Canadianize the text, thus revealing the rise of Nova Scotia as a Canadian success story without the aid of London, the S.P.G.F.P., His Majesty, or "those able men, who have been selected, by His Majesty." We can only conclude from all this that there was a shift in political consciousness on the part of Goldsmith from that of a pil lar of the imperial establishment to that of a nationalist restive under the yoke of London between the years 1825 and 1834. The poetical disappoint ment at the reception of his poem in London was therefore matched by a corresponding political disappointment with London.


IV


As previously remarked, "The Rising Village" is not, in fact, a particular village at all. It is a typical village that is used to suggest all the- rising vil lages. It is, therefore, Nova Scotia itself. The movement in the poem is from the first settlement to a fully realized embodiment of the British idea which is Nova Scotia. And just as the village is a typical village, so are the figures that we meet types rather than specific individuals. They are types of char actera who have all the easential$haracteristics of many particular individu als. Goldsmith deals, then, wit~the general rather than the particular. We shall see that this is also a characteristic of his style.


The main technical device by means of which the poem develops is a simple but very effective one. It is that of a form of incremental repetition. The process begins in the sixteen-line description of Britain where Golds mith introduces words and phrases which interweave like many different coloured strands throughout the work. These serve to reveal in progressive stages how Nova Scotia steadily takes on the characteristics of the mother country as the process of settlement and the transformation of nature con tinues until it is brought to a conclusion in the fully realized new entity.


At the beginning of the British passage Goldsmith suggests the unity amidst variety that is the mother country:


How chaste and splendid are the scenes that lie Beneath the circle of Britannia's sky!

(p. 2)

That he is speaking of a geo-political entity becomes clear with the mixed catalogue that follows as we move from "prospects" to "merchants" and so forth. The circle represents the unity, and the many "scenes" from nature and society represent the diversity. In the very last lines of the poem he hopes for the future Nova Scotia that "bliss and peace encircle all they shore. . ." (p. 14). Bliss and peace are properly associated with the circle, for they suggest an absence of strife and the presence of harmony and up this point, Nova Scotia has taken on the essential characteristics mother country.

One of the characteristics of Britain is its boundless and charming pro apects:

What charmingprospectsthere arrest the view, How bright, how varied, and how boundless tooth

(p. 2)

Throughout the different stages of the description of Nova Scotia's develop ment this theme is repeated as the new land takes on the essential charac teristics of the old:

And as its bounds, each circling year, increase In social life, prosperity, and peace, New prospects rise....

While row the Rising Village claims a so, Its limits still increase, and still id feline.

........
As thus the village each successive year
Presents new prospects, and extend)' its sphere....
........
Where all the landscape brightens with delight.
And bourullessprospects stretched on every side....

(P- 4)

(p. 6)

(P. 7)

(p. 11)'

There is an ambiguity in the Bat use of the word "prospects_Britain passage so that it means both a view of nature and human and material pro spects. The word is used in both these senses with reference to Nova Scotia, as the examples above demonstrate. Noticeable also is the image of the "circling year" in the first of the four examples above and the "sphere" of the third. These fit into the pattern of circle images discussed briefly above.


But Goldsmith does not rely on simple assertive incremental repetition to obtain his effects. Between the carefully scattered repetitions throughout the text he creates a sense of this expansion of boundless space by using im ages of spreading and extension. Once the seeds of civilization are set we find that "humble cottage. are spread. . ." ( p. 4). And "The arts of culture now extend their sway. . ." (p. 4) (the word "sway" is picked up from "regal sway" in the sixteen-line passage). Again, the village churchyard "spreads a holy


loom around..." (p. 5). There is sport "Beneath some spreading tree's expanded shade..." (p. 7). "Autumn's fallen leaves around are spread .." (p. 8). The "broad marsh extends its open plain. . ." (p. 11). And in the con clusion we move to a new form of expansion, for after the land had been con quered "Commerce expands her free and swelling sail. . ." (p. 13). The cumu lative effect of this technique is that of a sense of opening up, of expansion as a process.


In the sixteen-line description of Britain we find that "Autumn's fruits their rich luxuriance yield" (p. 2) and the poem keeps returning to autumn and to the rich luxuriance. We shall concentrate on the latter here. In Nova Scotia, the peasant's


. . Humble cot, built from the neighbouring tree Affords protection from each chilling breeze.

His rising crops, with rich luxuriance crowned....

(P- 4)

The word "rising" also fits into a pattern as we see in the next example of rich luxuriance:

Here crops of grain in rich luxuriance rise,
And wave their golden riches to the skies....

We find that

Still Summer comes, and decorates thy land
With fruits and flowers from her luxuriant hand....

And again: "And all the land, luxury t, rich, and gay.

(p. 12)

~ - (p. 12)

" (p. 13). There is
the sense throughout this process of repetition that we move to newer and
newer levels of luxuriant richness as nature is transformed and the develop
ment of Nova Scotia realized.

Although the word "culture" does not appear in the sixteen-line section dealing with Britain, we are offered there all the specific ingredients of that term. Thus, with "culture" (in the earlier sense of the word) Goldsmith's re versf This usual procedure, for he starts from the various aspects of the con cep~ ~ the early sixteen-line Britain section and then proceeds to use the namm various ways as he shows the development of Nova Scotia. Early in the poem he writes'


How great the pain, the danger, and the toil, Which mark the first rude culture of the soil.

(P- 3)

As the dangers recede and the viability of the community is assured we find:

The arts of culture now extend their sway, And many a charm of rural life display.

Towards the end of the poem

. . .the poor peasant, whose laborious care
Scarce from the soil could wring his scanty fare;
Now in the peaceful arts of culture skilled,
&es his wide barn with ample treasures filled....

And:

Nor culture's arts, a nation's noblest friend,
Alone o'er Scotia's fields their power extend....

(p. 4)


(p. 13)


(p. 13)


These examples are but a few of the many strands that interweave through out "The Rising Village" and help to create the vision of the development of the idea or concept which is Britain in this alien land. They all converge on the conclusion where we see that in Nova Scotia a New Britain has been re alized.


Given the limitations of space and the vastness of the subject, Golds mith could not have written the poem at all if he had approached it from the direction of naturalism rather than that of realism. For, notwithstanding the title, the poem is not concerned with a specific rising village at all as we have seen. The rmug village is at once all rising villages in this new land; it is the embryonic Nova Scotia itself which we see develop into full maturity in the poem. It is the first settlement and it is all the settlements that collectively constitute the geo-political entity known as Nova Scotia. Indeed, this is why Goldsmith deals in universal rather than particular terms.


The description of the general store is so "real" that there is a tendency to view it at first as a clear example of naturalism:


.. . .
. .

Around his store, on sped - shelves arrayed, Behold his great and various stock in trade. Here, nails and blankets, side by side, are seen, There, horses' collars, and a large tureen; Buttons and tumblers, fish-hooks, spoons and knives, Shawls for young damsels, flannel for all wives; Woolcards and stockings hats for men and boys, Mill-saws and fenders, silks, and children's toys; All useful things, and joined with many more, Compose the well-assorted country store.


(p. 6)

Is it a one-story building or two? Large or small? Painted or unpainted? What colours are the items? None of these questions can be answered be cause what we have here is the quintessential store rather than a particular store. We have the universal essence of the store captured in brief compass by the same cataloguing effect that Pope uses when he "describes" Belinda's dressing table in "The Rape of the Lock." To this is added the simple but effective technique of referring to "Here" and "There." To have attempted a naturalistic description of the country store would have taken the space of "The Rising Village" itself and the result would not have been as effective. For what Goldsmith creates through this realist approach is a country store that is larger than life.


If we look upon the general-x1 - passage as one example of Goldsmith's technical powers, we can readily That there is no evidence of any techni cal weakness. Indeed, this passage adds to the texture of the poem, and "The Rising Village" is above all a poem of texture. Another example of this creat ing of texture appears when Goldsmith moves from his sixteen-line descrip tion of Britain to the impact of the wild new land on the settlers. We find that these men "braved the perils of the stormy seas. . ." (p. 3). In the next thirteen lines we meet the following words: sadly, anguish, wild despair, dire distress, bleak, desert, pain, danger, toil, rude, lonely, wilderness, sinks, deep solitudes, solemn silence, waste, horror, gloomy shades. Goldsmith wishes to


create a sense of tl~-m~tal Mite for a diverse collectin of red, aoene of whom had been through the original experience and some of whom had not. His solution is to use a sort of shot-gun technique; he fires off a blast of ab stract words which shoot out in the same general direction, and he does so with the sure knowledge that individual readers, regardless of their individ ual experiences, will be made to undergo the same general experience.


It might appear at first that Goldsmith is working with an old and out moded poetic form when he employs the eighteenth-century couplet rather than the blank verse of a Wordsworth. Such a view, however, is misleading. It fails to allow that verse forms operate in a necessary relationship with particular cultures at particular times as was suggested earlier. Similarly, it fails to allow that the state of development often differs between one kind and another.


Goldsmith aims to show that Nova Scotia is now civilized like Britain, by which he means quite literally that it has been made civil. Men have im posed their vision and labour on brute nature and transformed it, which is to say that they have brought it out of a primitive state under their control. Moreover, the control is too new to be taken for granted. Since the couplet form itself is ~ superb example of this control, it is thus an appropriate vehi cle for developing the essential portrait of a realized Nova Scotia.


But Goldsmith does not blindly borrow the couplet form from eighteenth-century England; he takes it because it is the best verse instru ment in English for his purposes. Tillotson tells us that Dryden and Pope "are interested in nature as it is controlled by man," not in nature as an ob jective, external thing in itself. Furthermore, "They superimposed on nature what they considered at certain times to be desirable....This is what all po ets do. Dryden, Pope and the rest differ only in what they superimpose and in what they select. They superimposed on nature some of their own humanity" (p. 17). This, of course, imprecisely what Goldsmith does. And while "These poets wrote their best poetry with man as theme," Goldsmith differs only in that he sees society as the theme. These poets "stood at the human centre, and saw the horizon and the sky in the sort of way that Ptol emy saw the universe. Man was the centre, however wide the circle de scribed by his stretched compass" (p. 13). Goldsmith saw society at the cen tre, although it was a society filtered through mercantile and Tory oligarchic eyes.


A careful scrutiny of Me verse techniques in "The Rising Village" and the precise difference between them and eighteenth-century English prac tice will require a special study. It should be obvious by now, however, that the charge of technical weakness that has been levelled at this work is with out foundation and can only have arisen out of a misunderstanding of the poem. Similarly, it shoul4}~ now be clear that Goldsmith was not simple m~ndedly imitating his great-uncle.'5 The poem and the poet have surely lived too long in the shade of the earlier poet and poem. It is time for the poem to stand by itself for it is most assuredly capable of doing so.


No_i: -I .~
~ ~ at: -: fit .~
Desmond Pacey, "The Golderrim~ and Their Villa**," in Ike Univ~r~ of 7~o
Quarterly, Vol. XXXI, #1, October, 1951, pp. 27-38. ~ ~ ~
Fred Cogswell, "The Maritime Provinces 1815-1880," in Literary History of Canada (To
ronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965), pp. 119-120. Pa ~:
3 Thomas McCulloch, The Stepsure Letters (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Limited, 19 - ,
Letter #4, p. 39. I am thinking here of a similarity in spirit. Both "Mr. Pat O'Rafferty"
and Goldsmith's Canadian schoolmaster are the antithesis of the stern rectitude of the
elder Goldsmith's schoolmaster.
4 This does not necessarily imply an anti-imperialist position that would be at odds wills
Goldsmith's later career as an imperial civil servant in other parts of the world. With the
rise of laissez &ire industrial capitalism in Britain and the decline of the older mercantile
variety a new form of imperial-colonial relations was in the making that would allow in
dustrialism and the rise of a national state in Canada and other "white" colonies. The end
of this process in Canada was, of course, Confederation. Goldsmith would have seen what
was happening in Britain during his stay there in the early twenties.
5 Geoffrey Tillotson, Augustan Poetic Dzetion (London: Athlone Press, 1964), p. 14.
6 John Berger, Art and Revolution (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Ltd., 1969), p. 23.
7 Only major textual changes will be considered here. There is still room for a study of the
effects of minor changes. These should not alter the present thesis.
8 Oliver Goldsmith, "The Rising Village," in Nineteenth-Century Narrahoc Poen~, ad.
David Sinclair (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Limited, 1972). (Hereafter references to
the text will be in parentheses following quotations.) This edition
is employed because of
in wide availability. Because the lines are not numbered, references will be to pages. The
less available but more satisfactory Gnamwaki edition will be employed below when we
deal with key textual questions.
9 It might be added that the first edition, pubs in London in 1825, probably catered to
the needs of two audiences also. On one level "The Riding Villa - " is a poetic version of the
many "descriptions" of Nova Scotia that start Dearly as the mid-eighteenth century and
continue into the twentieth century. (For at good, brief account see "Nova Scotia:
Bibliography," in The Oxford Companion to C3rihadian History and Literature.) On this
level and for one English audience the poem could be considered as a sort of immigration
pamphlet which points out the attractiveness of life in the new land. On another level (the
matic) the poem presents a warning to the neglectful English authorities that Nova Scotia
b now capable of existing independently of England.

10 E.G. Withycombe, The OxfordL~ctionary of English Christian Names (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2nd ea., 1960), p. 9.


11 In addition, it has implications for the internal situation in Nova Scotia becanae it suggests that the future belongs to the "peasant." While Goldsmith would be aware of democratic stirrings, we need not speculate as to whether he ~VaB fully ~ of the full significance of the peasant episode.


12 Michael Gnarowski, ea., The Rising Village of Oliver Gokisrnith (Montreal: Delta Canada, 1968), pp. 40-41. I am indebted to Professor Gnarowski for lending me his only copy of this edition.


13 Norah Story, The Oxford Comparison to Canadian History and Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967), p. 200. ~ ~


14 Italics are added here and in the following quotations.


15 The work, in fact, IN truly Canadian in the sense that it is an example of what Dorothy Li veaRy has defined as the "documentary genre." See Dorothy Livesay, '4The Documentary Poem: A Canadian Genre," in Contexts of Canadian Criticism, ed. Eli Mandel (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971). For an extended examination of a work in the same genre but with a different political bias, see K.J. Hughes, "The Completeness of McLachlan's 'The Emigrant' " (English Studies in Canada, Vol. I, #2). ~


~..~>'=~ '9.~.~P ,~R.~!''~'^~'";t'.~.~"..~'t ;.~ I

Refusing the
Sweet Surrender:
Margare'Avison's
"Dispersed:les"
bv J.M. Zesullca

For Margaret Avison, a poem is a vehicle of discovery, an imaginative "ja~reak/And recreation" which can lead to "that other kind of lighting up~hat shows the terrain comprehended." Before this can happen, how ever, the reader must grapple with shifts in perspective, close verbal tex tures, and an eclecticism in thought that has few parallels in the poetry of the last generation.


The very density of her poems, individually, seems to encourage a the matic approach to them, and Avison herself seems to discourage the attempt to find the 'meaning' of her poems, just as she resists all fixities, preferring instead that the poem should lead to private illumination of the sort de scribed in "Voluptuaries and Others." Thematic criticism has the advantage of pointing to general trends of thought in her poetry without placing indi vidual poems into critical cyanide jars, but against this the critic/reader must balance the possibility that the poem will remain an "Adam's lexicon locked in the mind." In "The Valiant Vacationist," Avison suggests that the problem of meaning is one that she also shares:


Myself, I find it difficult and so far have been unsuccessful in finding anyone Even to interpret for me to myself. When I have mastered it, I'll let you know.

In the meantime, one is often left to wonder, like George Herbert about the metaphysical conceit, what lies below the surface:


Must all be veiled, while he that reads, divines Catching the sense at two removes?

In the discussion which follows, I attempt to remove at least some of the veils from "Dispersed Titles," one of the most allusive and elusive poems in Avison's canon. As far as possible I leave aside "the whole terrain" of Avison's work, but with the hope that by casting some illumination on this poem, the larger terrain may be more easily comprehended. It is hoped that "the speculation is not a concession/To limited imaginations."


In an early poem, "Neverness: Or, The One Ship Beached On One Far Distant Shore," Margaret Avison traces the modern world's crisis of belief to


| early seventeenth-century science, personified in the figure of Leenwenhoek, I the Dutch naturalist and maker of microscopes. For Avison,the Dutchman's microscope is an image of man's technology, a "magic window'. which opens


I into previously undiscovered recesses of the natural world. From the vantage I point of the Second World War, where mankind sprawls "abandoned into I disbelief. . .And [dreams] that history is done," the poet contemplates the irony that, while the microscope seems to have enlarged man's vision, it has,


I in fact, aided in narrowing man's vision to the confines of empirical science: I "The tissue of our metaphysic cells/No magic window yet has dared reveal." I The poem is a search for the ground of belief, and not unnaturally it leads to I an investigation into the possible historical sources of unbelief, among which I the naturalistic focus of scientific humanism looms large.


I Scientific humanism and its consequences is also the theme of I "Dispersed Titles," in which the modern conquest of space is traced to the I discoveries of Tycho Brahe, the sixteenth-century Danish astronomer and I cosmologist. Like Leenwenhoek, Brahe extended man's ability to study the I physical universe but his discoveries, like Leenwenhoek's discovery of the I one-celled plant, helped to displace man from the centre of concern. Imagi native flight and spiritual vision are replaced by air travel and an empirical approach to reality, with the result that a sacred view of life becomes in creasingly difficult, indeed, seems "lost, like the committing of sins."'


The first of the poem's seven sections links the conquest of space, I ''[Flight],'' to the astronomy of Tycho Brahe "through the bleak hiero glyphs/of chart and table." (The metaphorical significance of "Flight," and


I later "Roots," is emphasized by the square brackets, ordinarily used to des ignate substituted words in an existing text.) Man's ability to rise above the


I earth, to extend his dominion over it to include the air as well, is symbolized I by the aviator's navigational charts. The relative ease with which oontempo rary man controls his environment is imaged in the "winnowed navigators/ who stroke the sable air,/earth's static-electric fur," with as little effort as a


I physics teacher demonstrating the principle of static electricity by rubbing a I glass rod with a piece of fur. The image is generative, and with lion of another line, "who ride it, bucked or level," becomes a new iris - . ~ia tors become riders astride a huge black beast, which is the earth with its cover of night. But, just as the previous image dissolved and reformed, so now the vaguely apocalyptic image of the earth-beast dissolves, giving way to less fanciful reflections of man's control of his environment. Although the ape appears to be "denatured nature, subject/to laws self~eo~ugated," it ~ connect" to the natural world, composed of "minerals gauged and fabricated/out of it." - :~: :~ ;~.~44


I The phenomenon of flight, in other ~' is ~ of a technologi cal process, and as the poet observes the "bleak hieroglyphs" on the navigator's charts, her mind ranges back in time to the beginnings of that process, and the charts become Tycho Brahe's astronomical charts. The translation from navigator's charts to those of the astronomer is effected through "the hearing of the eye," a trope which combines seeing the charts with an imaginative perception by which the poet can hear "the bellrung hours of Tycho Brahe." This last image is also both visual and aural; visual ly, the "bellrung hours" suggest the face of a clock, possibly that of the astro


nomical clock in the Old Town Hall in Prague, the scene of Brahe's death in 1601.2 The image also suggests the clockwork cosmology which resulted from Brahe's attempt to reconcile Copernicus with Ptolemy, and which schemati cally resembles Prague's Great Clock to a startling degree. As an aural im age, the "bellrung hours" remind us of the centrality of the church in Brahe's world, and in the context of Brahe's revolutionary impact on astron omy, their tolling signalizes an end to the world view which Brahe had in herited.


In the second section of the poem, the poet ruefully contemplates the world order displaced by Brahe's disclosures. The connection between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries is made explicit in the section's dispersed title; "[Flight]," or modern technology, has its origins, "[Has Roots]," in the science of Brahe's world, but there the similarity ends. Through a complex series of allusions to the Elizabethan stage and to Shakespeare's plays in particular, Avison evokes both the anthropocentric world view which Brahe's astronomy helped to displace and Brahe's imagined dilemma in con fronting the implications of his discoveries. (In actuality Brahe probably su ffered few misgivings of a philosophical nature; it has been recorded that on his death-bed he deliriously repeated He frustra viscose videar? 'Will I not seem to have lived in vain?')3 Although Brahe was anti-Copernican in his views, his own observations d the nova of 1572 and the appearance of com ets on five occasions between 1577 and 1596 contradicted the notions of fixed stars and the immutability of the heavens which the Renaissance had inher ited from Aristotle and Ptolemy. In spite of himself, Brahe laid the founda tions on which Johannes Keplerr Brahe's assistant in Prague, would firmly establish the Copernicus view, although Kepler's own belief in the mathe matical and musical harmonies in creation testify to the lingering attractive ness of the Ariatothan-Ptolemaic view of the universe. Brahe thus becomes "Kepler's Orpheus," teaching him to hear the music of the spheres; in the view of the poet he is an ironic Orpheus, not at all comfortable with the mu sical scale he has discovered. Allusions to Hamlet, MacBeth and Much Ado About Nothing suggest the disquietude Brahe might have felt, while allu sions to King Henry V and King John fill out our view of the Elena~ean_~ world order and Brahe's impact on it. ~-


References to "a Danish crown," "the snarling North Sea night," and "the straw and the bran" connect Brahe with Hamlet, who is compelled to "find a quarrel in a straw/When honour'a at stake," while the infirmity of Brahe's purpose is evoked by the reference to the mad Ophelia's distracted "Sweet ladies, good night, good night." Like Hamlet, Brahe is emotionally committed to an older order but intellectually committed to a course of ac tion which results in the extinction of-that order. Brahe also has affinities to MacBeth, who is "cabin'd, etibb'd,/Confin'd, bound in/To saucy doubts and fears," and to Leonato, who will not philosophically "endure the toothache patiently."


One of the controlling metaphors of the poem is the in_>pf the world as a circle-stage with man at the centre, and in the secoJ - action of the poem the image is used to suggest the Ptolemaic cosmology, wNh earth, and mankind, at the centre of the universe. Copernican astronomy removed earth from its pivotal position in the cosmos, just as the effect of humanistic


science in general was to remove man from the centre of attention.

The effect of the Tychonic system on the anthropocentric cosmology of the Renaissance is conveyed by syntactically linking circle-stage and sir images drawn from King Henry V and King John respectively. --The former play begins with a Prologue expressing the physical limitations of the stage in portraying the epic scope of events which constitute the play:

Can this cockpit hold
The vasty fields of France? or may we cram Within this wooden O the very casques That did affright the air at Agincourt?

In the context of "Dispersed TO the "wooden 0" is not only the Eliza bethan stage but the Elizabethan world, suddenly become too small and too constraining to contain the drama of Tycho Brahe and his successors. Even as Brahe contemplates the implications of his discoveries, he is "unfabling fields already," and paving the way for a world in which the glories of the Renaissance world are replaced by the reflected glory of "the Narcissus sun [who] lends clods a shining." These lines ironically call to mind King Phil


vords in King John, anticipating the marriage of Blanche to Louis, the l~au phin:


To solemnize this day, the glorious sun Stays in his course and plays the alchemist, Turning with splendor of his precious eye The meagre cloddy earth to glittering gold.

| Although Brahe believed that the sun revolved around the earth, his obser vations contributed to the overthrow <~*~8 view and, in metaphysical terms, to the displacement of man from the centre of the cosmic stage. From the perspective of the poet, then, this day for Brahe would have been less a cause for celebration than a day to exclaim, as Constance exclaims to King


| Philip, "This day all things begun come to ill end,/Yea, faith itself to hollow falsehood change!"


I The second section of the poem concludes wistfully, lamenting not only the passing of the Elizabethan theatre and what it represented, but also the


I disappearance of an age in which man's position in the cosmos was so~ l what more central, and perhaps more secure. Brahe, Kepler, Hamlet, Mac Beth, "All somewhere~till,/though they seem lost away/from their wierd


l hollow under the solar architrave." The archaic spelling of "wierd," as well
l as the pun on "still," emphasize the metaphysical separation between the
l twentieth and the sixteenth centuries, the latter perceived as a now-deserted
I stage. This image ironically anticipates the poem's concluding image, in
l which man once more assumes his portion at the ce~ of the sta - , only to
l discover that the theatre is empty. ~
I The sense of loss implicit in the second section of the poem is made ex
I plicit in the title of the third section But Is Cut Off While modern tech

nology has its roots in Renaissance science, it is cut off from the Renaissance world as effectively as the airplane, which has its roots in the earth, is spa tially separated from its source. A possible pun on "[Roots]", (routes), would also suggest the paradox of the modern myth of progress, for while the air plane has a direction which can be mapped on navigational charts, the direc tion of man's imaginative and spiritual flight is less easily discemable than it might have been in Brahe's world.


In contrast to the almost narcissistic self-regard of the Renaissance, modern man's view of himself would seem extremely truncated, cut off. The incompleteness of the twentieth century's vision of man, and the consequent feeling of alienation at the individual level, impel the poet to question her connection with the Renaissance, an age which seems more rooted in faith: "Are they all only in/those other hieroglyphs/of the created, solitary brain?" Although the disparate impressions of the second section are in spired by the "bleak hieMglyphs/of chart and table," they are not, strictly speaking, contained in them, but have their source in "other hieroglyphs," those of the poet's mind as she contemplates the airplane, or is herself "borne here in a mantoy." The issue is not conclusively resolved, but by symbolically linking the airplane, "a ball/that chooses when to fall," to the comets observed by Brahe, the poet suggests that the connection may be in "a new respect for the extremes," a shared reverence for, or ignorance of, the outermost reaches of the physical universe.


The world order of which the poet is a part "must bear its own/ ultimates of heat and cold/nakedly," and refuses "the sweet surrender" by dominating nature rather than being dominated by it. Even "Old Mutabili tie has been/encompassed," not as in Spenser's Mutabilitie Cargoes where she is made subject to the governance of nature, but "wrought into/ measures of climbing and elipse." Modern technology's capacity for meas uring change and even predicting and controlling it creates the illusion of stability and even, perhaps, of permanence in the sublunary realm. In the old cosmology, stability is the unique property of the heavens; everything below is subject to change, to "cycles." Modern science, represented by "this little fierce fabrique," the airplane, "seals the defiant break/with cycles," providing a justification of sorts for Brahe, pictured in the second section as torn by self-doubt. Clearly, it is the poet's own self-doubt and ~ for eta. bility which lead to this rationalization "for old Tycho Brahe's Eke." ThE stability and order suggested in the thi~-.ection are illusory, however, al the fourth section demonstrates.


As both Ernest Redekop and Daniel Doerksen have noted, the "dispersed titles" of this poem also constitute a poem which functions as a gloss of sorts on the whole, while the individual lines of the gloss function al guides to the sections for which they serve as titles. Like stage directions in a play, the "dispersed titles" serve to direct the movement of the succeeding sections and to introduce new thematic elements. And, just as stage direct tions, when taken all together, provide a skeletal outline of the movement of the play, so the "dispersed titles" constitute a trajectory of the poem, illumi eating the reflective passages and providing the structure within which thee operate. Thus, the title of the fourth section, "Except From All Its Selves' indicates that the section will deal with selves or manifestation of flight, th


controlling metaphor of the poem. The gloss,

lo
MAFIA -411 IN Saves

seems to reiterate the idea propounded in the third section that "Something wrought by itself out of itself/must bear its own/ultimates of heat and cold." The notion of an entirely enclosed, self-referential system is question able, however, and so the fourth section of the poem begins with a caution ary but gentle apostrophe to Tycho Brahe:

But soft! (O curly Tudor)_ No pith of history will be cratered in one skull.

,

_ With subtle propriety, especially when one considers the sidereal imagery of Romeo and Juliet, Brahe's commitment to astronomy is seen in terms of Romeo's ardour for Juliet. Both situations also culminate in a manner that could not have been foreseen. The "pith" of history is both its force and its essence; as essence, the "pith of history" is simply Old Mutabilitie's record; as force, it is Old Mutabilitie herself. Neither history's force nor its essence can be "cratered in one skull." Given the earlier Shakespearean allusion, the image of the skull may also suggest Hamlet's reflections on Alexander the Great and Caesar as he ponders the skull of Yorick, thus further emphasiz ing that history is change, and thus removing from the doubt-ridden Brahe both control over and culpability for the consequences of his disclosures.


-

In contrast to the image of the devoted but doubt-stricken astronomer is the image of the moderd technocrat, complacent in his assumed dominance over nature. Representative of modern technology is Buckminster Fuller, whose geodesic dome replaces the wooden O as a symbol of man's narcissis tic self-regard. But "no cramp of will" can really restrain or confine the forces of nature. Technology may be the twentieth century's god, but like the god in Spenser's Cantoes, it too is subject to, rather than dominant over, Nature. Natural forces, like "the oak that cracked a quilted tumulus/and rustled, all through childhood's/lacey candle-drip of winter," act gradually


_ at times, but powerfully and surely. The geodisic dome, "the glassy/ exultation of an articulate/stripped rock-and-nbs,'' is "an intellect/created into world," and seems to shut the natural world out. But, as the forces of history cannot be "cratered in one skull," so too the forces of nature cannot be confined within or shut out of the geodisic dome. The ultimate fragility of


_ the glass dome, "wounded with whispers from a single oak-tree," points out the vulnerability of all technology in the face of natural forces. "Wounded" can also suggest taking offense at an affront, suggesting western civilization's increasing isolation from nature and increasing dependence on man-made environments.


_ Modern technology has at least managed to isolate man from an


[awareness of natural forces, has contrived in many ways to make life close to


nature seem old fashioned if not hopelessly primitive. As a result, much of the joy of living, the pleasure of beholding the wonders of God's creation is also lost, as foreign to modern western man as the "seaborde men" who dis covered new sublunary worlds while Brahe was discovering new realms be yond the lunar sphere. Characteristically, Avison conveys this sense of lost worlds in language which evokes a number of images simultaneously:


The periwinkle eyes of seaborde men Too young for gladness fade with their shanties.

At one level, this loss is suggested by the images of docks at sunset, where the sparkle in men's eyes (suggested by "periwinkle, both a blue flower and a sea-snail) fades as darkness descends on their shanties "in the pink shadow lengthening/barracks of evening." On another level, the "seaborde men" are "too young for gladness," born too late for real adventure, and their spirit fades just as sea shanties (chanties) have faded from modern dock-yarda


The natural world of which sailors were once so much a part is now aim ply raw material for the maw of technology:


Lost, like the committing of sins, crag-shapes are sediment,


chopped down, minced, poured to pave the shelving


parade ground for pinioned grotesques

Impl - ; ~ the poet's evocation of a vanished world is the feeling that it domel - represented a more sacred view of life. But, just as the notion of din has been displaced by modern psychology, the world of Brahet8 "hellrun' hours" has been replaced by a world of mechanical forms and mechanical men, "pinioned grotesques" imprisoned in the cog wheels of their o - banyan tion. ~ ~-


This imprisonment is both ph~a1 and metaphysical, but it is not sc absolute as to preclude other ways of approaching the world or the self. "The Earth Has Other Roots And Selves" which can be apprehended or at leak intuited by those who awe conscious of the strictures of the industrialized world. Discovering or recovering other modes of perception and relatior takes on a semi-religious urgency in the fifth section of the poem, which be gins with a paraphrase of the Gospel according to Matthew:"He that findett his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.' (Matt. 10:39):


For Tycho Brahe's sake I find myself, but lose myself again for so few are salvaged in the sludge of the ancestral singular

The substitution Of Brahe for Christ does not necessarily preclude the Chris than solution, although it may suggest its inadequacy in dealing with th

poet'eovm dilemmj~ich is partly to discover the grounds for belief in an age of science. Coning Brahe's role in the history of science, the lines state that salvation from the modern dilemma is not to be found in the con ditions which occasioned it; focusing on Braheta real or imagined doubts and fears has not been of much help to the poet, after all.


From this point forward in the poem, Brahe'e name will no longer be in voked; whatever his situation may have been, it can provide no answers for the poet. Nor is the answer to be found in "the sludge of the ancestral Ocular," the history of mankind after Adam; for the poet as for Brahe, his tory is a force; rarely, if ever, is it a chronicle containing answers for present difficulties TO poet's isolation is not only from Brahe or from Adam, it ~ from many of her contemporaries as well: "Even my brother/walks under waving plumes of strangeness." She may not share the assumptions of her "brother Buckminster," but she has been formed by the world view he rep resents, and this has isolated her from her other brothers, those of mankind who dwell in non-industrialized parts of the world. Her own experience has been informed and in large measure shaped by the technology of Europe and North America:


The northern caries funnel me, a c~of steel and wat. stumbling, and I forget ~ warm boards, old market awnings. . .

In the lines that follow, images of a Mediterranean, technically less ad vanced culture are used to suggest some of the world's "Other Roots And Selves" from which North American and European man has alienated him *If, and, as Ernest Redekop has suggested, "recall the Western mind to its geographical and historical roots."4 The poet claims that she has forgotten these things, but clearly her forgetting is an inadvertent neglect, perhaps even a loss of consciousness of this world and the modes of perception it rep resents, rather than an inability to remember.


A more serious aspect of Western society's somnambulistic disregard for the natural world becomes evident in the sixth section of the poem, in which the religious dimension previously hinted at becomes explicit. "The Name less One" of the section's title is most certainly the Tetragrammaton, the ine ffable name of God in Yahwistic tradition, ordinarily transliterated in En ~h as Yahweh or Jehovah, but written in Hebrew without vowels. In the context of "Dispersed Titles," the reference to the Tetragrammaton suggests an absolute, an almost mystical faith against which the poet measures "the made-name/corrupted to man-magic, to fend off/the ice, the final fire of this/defiance."


Orthodox religion, with its ceremonial and ritual invocations of the dei ty, is at best a form of magic to be employed against irrational forces; the |poet implies that a more absolute commitment is necessary, although this |requires a leap of faith which she cannot yet make. The declaration that "The Nameless One Dwells In His Tents" is ambiguous; at one level it sug gests that the God of Israel is in His Tabernacle, ignored by an age which


has broken its Covenant with Him; alternately, the lines also suggest that | Yahweh refuses to reveal Himself to those, like the poet, who desire a sign. Whether the ambiguity is intentional or not, Yahweh remains outside of the I rational, empirical mode of perception associated with the "Northern I centuries," just as the "ginger root/in a stone jar" and the "floral forest" re- I main outside of its experience.

Recalling to mind "The Nameless One" is not in itself sufficient for reli- | gious conversion, since He remains outside of the understanding of the poet. I But she is granted a breakthrough in perception, a breakthrough which may constitute the grounds for belief because it does not depend upon rational, I empirical knowledge:

Things I can't know I smell as plainly as if invisible campfires smoked: a hum of sightless suppers on the irredescent shore under the dunes. The wanderer's sandals ship, and shift, cool sand.

lihe language in these lines appeals to all of the sense.. Perception becomes a matter of intuition, and of olfactory, visual, aural, and tactile e~per~nce, as opposed to the cerebral perception that depends upon ''knowing','' Signifl cantly, the scene presented is a desert scene, biblical, Galilean in its evoca tion. If the poem were to conclude at this point, this image might constitute an epiphany of sorts, but the larger issues raised by the whole poem would remain unresolved. Furthermore, from the simple, declarative style of this passage, it is not at all clear that the poet has won through to a n - - Of perceiving; her breakthrough at this point may simply be a reasse~o~~-of modes of? perception in which she has previously placed her faith, but has not until now connected with religious belief. ~


In the final section of the poem, "And "Up" Is A Direction," the little comfort afforded in the previous section is d - shed by what Daniel ~erkeen, referring to another poem, "11s a "timeleos-picture of man's eii~b~ self-confrontation."5 As in the poem's second section, the central image is that of the world as stage, but in this instance the unage is presented with out nostalgia. Modern man's technological exploitation of his environment seems to place him once more at centre stage, but without the self-assurance of the Elizabethan actor, perhaps too without the narcissism of the Renais sance world:


Because one paces (none now strut) one faces sea and space and is tempted to think: Proscenium! We have revolted.

MacBeth's revolt, we recall, led him to the conclusion that "Life's but walking shadow, a poor player/That struts and frets his hour upon thE stage,fAnd then is heard no more." Since Avison goes on to point out thal "Only the stagestruck mutter still/to the night's empty galleries," we are al most impelled to MacBeth's further conclusion that life is "a tale/told by al

idiot, full of sound and fury,/Signifying nothing." But, included among the stagestruck is clearly the poet herself; unlike those who have found "Em even gbqpb em the echoing foyer," she recognises that while the theatre may b~, ~ possibly haunted.


Along with her contemporaries, Avison fears that the heavens have be come Imply "the night's empty galleries;" that "Up" is just another direc tion in which one be* travel. Nevertheless, in "the confused up-and-down" of twentieth-century tying, she has been able to glimpse an inner direction, still hears the echoes of "the last true audition," and in her own way refuses "the sweet surrender."


Notes


Margaret Avison, Winter Sun (Toronto, 1960), p. 3.
For an illustration of the Tychonic system, see Sir Robert S. Ball, Great Adronorn~
(New York, 1974), p. 56. For a picture of the Great Clock of the Old Town Hall Tower in
Prague, see Gunter Meimner and Heinz Bronowski, Towers and Turreb of Europe (Leip
zig, 1974), p. 99.
Herman Kesten, Copernicus and His World (New York, 1946), p. 344.
MargaretAvison (Toronto, 1970), p. 32.
"Search and Discovery," Canadian Literature, 60 (Spring, lY74~; p. 1~-;

Lampman and the
Canadian Thermopylae
"At the Long Saull:
May, 1660"

by Margaret Kennedy

If the available evidence is to be trusted, it was in August, 1898 and again in January, 18991 that Archibald Lampman wrote "At the Long Sault: May, 1660," his brief treatment of what by that time had come to be known as the 'Canadian Thermopylae.' Since Lampman died in February, 1899, only weeks after transcribing "At the Long Sault" into Me "rough note book" from whose appropriately "yellowed and crumbling ~2 E.K Brown, with the help of Duncan Campbell Scott,3 worked up the text for At the Long Sault and Other New Poems (1943), he did not live either to finish the poem or to see the debunking of the reputation of Dollard des Ormeaux (Daulac) as 'the savior of New France' which took place in the 'twenties and 'thirties. But by the time E.K. Brown came to edit At the Long Sault and Other New Poems in 1943 the controversy over the significance of the Long Sault incident had been raging in the historical journals and in the popular press for over ten years.4 It is somewhat surprising, therefore, that in hm "Introduction" to At the' Long Sault Brown not only makes no mention of the controversy surrounding Daulac but gives an account of the Long Fault incident that, unlike W.S. Wallace's "Historical Preface" to Nathaniel hi Beneon's Dollard; A Tale in Verse (1933), completely bypasses the re search of such twentieth-century historians as Gustave Lanclot and E.R. Adair who had Ashen cast considerable doubts on the importance of the exploit. Lampm~had a great theme," writes Brown:


against the background of the Ottawa and the forests, in the spring of 1660, Daulac and his little band of French Canadians held a delapidated fort for about ten days, deserted by their Huron and Algonquin allies and amailed by an overwhelming number of Iroquois, and yet continuing the fight till all had been grievously wounded and all but four were dead. Their resistance ended an Iroquois project of descending the river to sack the little settle ment at Montreal.5


For Brown in the early 1940's, as for Lampman in the late 1890's, "the issue was epic in significance; the background was grand; the incident superbly heroic in quality." Now what Brown and Lampman have in common in their telling of Daulac's exploit is an acceptance of the received nineteenth century view of the Long Sault incident, a view which, in Lampman's day, had been challenged by only one historian, William Kingsford who argued, in his History of Canada (1887), that an exaggerated in~e had been


I attached to "the affair of Dollard."6Clearly Kingsford was not Lampman's I source for "At the Long Sault." The question which then arises, and Which l the next few paragraphs will attempt to answer, is what was the source for I Lampman's poem?


The conception of Daulac and his followers as the "heroes" (the word is


Lampman's) and, in fact, the 'saviours' of Canada was largely the product of I nineteenth-century French Canadian historians. In 1861, coincidentally the I year of Lampman's birth, Abbe J.-B.-A. Ferland 'started the ball rolling' by I nonstaining, in his Cows d History d u Canada, that "l'heroisme de Daulac et I de ces compagnons"7 at the Long Sault had saved the colony of New P - as I from destruction at the hands of the Iroquois. Ferland's detailed and dra


matic account of the Long Sault incident occupies some seven pages of his I book and may well have been known to Lampman. In 1865 more snow was I added to the ball by Abbe Etienne-Michel Faillon whose account of the inci


dent~occupies no fewer than twenty-five quarto pages of his Histoire de la t~donie franpaise en Canada. To Faillon the martyrdom of Daulac and his i men connoted "be pan hew fait d'armes de toute lthistoire Canadienne."8 I If Lampman, as is Quite possible, had read Faillon the classical scholar in I him would doubtless have been intrigued by the historian's contention that


"dans les histoires des grecs et des remans, rien n'est comparable a ['action I de ces bravea"9 Other writers were, of course, ready with a comparable inci


dent in Greek history; in 1888 Mary Hartwell Catherwood, in the "Prefacej' l to her Romance of Dollard, mentioned "the story of Thermopylae"l_ as an


analogue for the Long Sault, and in 1890 Thomas G. Marquis,iin Stories of New France; Being Tales of Adventure and Heroism from *lily _f Canada, told Daulac's story in a chapter entitled "A Canadian Thermopylae."ll The major English Canadian source for the romantic tales of Catherwood, Marquis, and -others was, as might be expected, Francis Parkman's The Old Regime in Canada (1874), which, in turn, draws heavily on Ferland and Faillon. (Parkman's volume had gone to no fewer than [twenty-five editions by 1891 and a twenty ninth edition appeared in 1893.12)


Although, in the absence of available external evidence, it would be unwise I to state categorically that Parkman's lengthy account of Daulac's exploits in | The Old Regime also provided the ground work for Lampman's treatment of Ithe Long Sault incident, the internal evidence to be presented in a few mo


ments indicates that it was indeed the poet's major, perhaps even his only, source for the poem.


It will be remembered that in Lampman's poem the story of Daulac and


his followers is told by an omniscient narrator, and that the poem falls natu rally into five parts: (1) the opening description of May, ending with the im age of the "grey hawk" which adumbrates the references to the Iroquois as [predators later in the poem; (2) the general description of the locale of the [conflict, of its nature, and of its role in saving the "little frail-walled town" of


Montreal from "the Iroquois horde;" (3) the 'epic' simile which likens the [''Iroquois horde" to a pack of wolves who "fasten upon. . .and drag. . .down" la "tired bull moose;" (4) the description of the death of Daulac and his men, land of the victory of the Iroquois; and (5) the closing lyric which, in Brown's [words, "soothes the spirit, and persuades one to believe that the dark and Iterrible confli=..~-a, reassuring act, preserving serenity and safety for


Montreal, for Canada, and encouraging us Share that serenity and | safety." ~


Of the five parts of "At the Long Sault," parts (1) and (3), which are the | most 'poetic,' might be expected to be the least likely to have their roots in l an historian's description of the conflict. Yet the seed for some of the more I lyrical pamages in the poem, for Lampman's description of the "soft spring | night" before the conflict and of the "song of the rapid" which persists after l it, may well have been planted by the following 'purple passage' in l Parkman's account of the Long Sault incident:


Morning and noon and night they [Daulac and his men] prayed in three di- | fferent tongues; and when at sunset the long reach of forests on the farther shore basked peacefully in the level rays, the rapids joined their hoarse mu sic to the notes of their evening hymnal


Where there is a similarity of mood between this passage-and sections '-'At the Long Sault," it is worth noticing that Lampman, consistent with ha bias against conventional, organized Christianity, makes nothing in his poem of "the enthusiasm of faith"~4 which Parkman, following Abbes Ferland and Faillon, attributes to Daulac and his followers.


Although the mood and some of the details of Lampman's treatment of nanm~ate nature in "At the Long Sault" may owe a debt to Parkmani there is nothing in the historian's account i. the incident to compare with the poet's extended Iroquois/Wolf, Daulac~noose simile. It is possible that be hind Lampman's conception of the Indians as predators ("panting for prey") and as demons ("not men but devils") lie quotations and comments in Park man such as, from the Mention, "they approach like foxes...attack like lions, and disappear like ~ and "the Iroquois were regarded as al myrmidons of Satan...."'5 It is also possible that Lampman was fard~r with Mary Hartwell Catherwood's weakly domestic comparison of the Iron quois with a "cat [reaching] out to cuff its mouse" in The Romance of Dollard and with Benjamin Sulte's more vigorous comparison of Daulac and his men with "lions entoures par des centaines de Sauvages"'7 in his Pages d'histoire du Canada (1891). Perhaps Lampman knew some or all of these comparisons and, sensing an opportunity lost, decided to develop at length the 'epic' simile that constitutes the third part of "At the Long Sault." Even if this were true, however, the fact would rend, that Lampman's extended comparison of Daulac with a "desperately eking moose" (Brown) is one of the most original_and powerful_features of the poet's treatment of the Long Sault incident.


Lampman's most considerable de" - Farkman occurs, not surprisingly, in his account of the actual defense and-_iture of the Long Sault in parts (2) and (4) of his poem. A certain number of verbal parallels between The Old Regime and "At the Long Sault" should establish that Parkman pro vided the basis for Lampman's descriptions of the fort, its defenders, and its attackers. Lampman's depiction of the "Long Sault" stockade as a "broken palisade" and a "ruined fort" set in an "open glade" echoes Parkman's de scription of it as an "already ruinous" "palisade fort" in a "rough clearing," though it should be noticed that the word "glade" as opposed to "clearing" is


consistent with the pastoral image of nature which Lampman plays against a view of nature as 'red in tooth and claw' at several points in the poem. Lampman's description of Daulac and his followers as being borne down by "hunger and thirst and care" also echoes Parkman's "hunger, thirst, and want of sleep wrought fatally on the strength of the French and their allies."'9 And when the poet writes that, while the Iroquois were receiving reinforcements for their attack, there came "only...despair" to Daulac's men, he seems to be echoing the historian's assertion that the loyal Algon quins with Daulac "stood fast, with the courage of d~pair."20 Finally, Parkman's description of the "triumphant yells [that3 proclaimed the dear bought victory''21 of the Iroquois may well lie behind Lampman's descrip tion,~p part (4) of the poem, of the "triumph-songs" of the victorious "foe".


~ addition to these verbal carryovers from The Old Regime to "At the I^g Saldt,'' Lampman may have been indebted to Parkman for his concep tion of the town of Quebec and its inhabitants, and, indeed, of Daulac him self. "Everyone [in Quebed1 was in arms," writes Parkman, "and the Qui rive of the sentries and patrols resounded all night."22 Perhaps drawing on this, Lampman has it towards the end of the poem that "The little town li eth at rest,/[and] The sentries are peacefully pacing." Similarly Parkman's reference to a St. Anne family "consisting of al old woman, her daughter, her son-in-law, and four children"23 who hid taken refuge in Quebec but were subsequently kidnapped by the Indians may lie behind Lampman's earlier description "Of maiden and matron and child,/With ruin and murder impending" in "the little frail-walled town." It may also be that Lampman was indebted to Parkman's conception of Daulac as "a knight of the early crusades among the forests and savages of the new world" participating in an "enterprise" the "spirit [of which] was purely mediaeval"24 for his de piction of 'the savior of New France' as a somewhat chivalric figure whose "terrible sword," in the last moments of his life, "whistled and slew" in "the little raging forest glen...." Be this as it may, however, it would appear from the evidence so far assembled that The Old Regime in Canada pro vided Lampman with an account of the Long Sault that formed the basis for several of tl~ important details and background conceptions for "At the Long Sault: May, 1660."


Despite Lampman's apparent indebtedness to Parkman, it must not be thought that he followed the historian slavishly in his treatment of the inci dent at the Long Sault. Much that Parkman describes, such as the events leading up to the Long Sault incident, the background of Daulac and his fol lowers, and the crude grenade with which Daulac, by mistake, killed several of his own men, is omitted by Lampman. By ignoring numerous details, Lampman increases the intensity of the incident so that, in effect, his ac count is a distillatian-of the essence of Parkman's. As has been well said by E.K. Brown "the subject might well have been treated in a long narrative, but Lampman preferred to concentrate tightly upon the climatic action and to dispatch the whole in just short of a hundred lines." Lampman also avoids the potential for sensationalism which is present in Parkman's ac count and, unlike Marquis, whose "A Canadian Thermoplyae" is crudely about violence, he ignores the gorier aspects of the story_the woundings, beheadings, and torturings. And the point may be made again, and elaborat


ed, that through the techniques of poetry, imagery and simile, rhythm and rhyme, and by emphasizing the isolation of Daulac and his men, the fact that they were "Beyond message or aid," Lampman not only inereaE~ the intensity of the incident but also reveals his mastery of the techniques of for eshadowing and suspense. All in all, then, an examination of Lampman's poem in relation to its probable source(s) indicates that the poet, while drawing particularly, it has been argued, on Parkman, freely omitted what ever he found unsuitable and judiciously added what he felt was necessary for the unity and effectiveness of his poem. While Lampman may have re o~ved the impulse for "At the Long Sault: May 1660" from "The Heroes of the Long Saut" chapter in The Old Regime in Canada, the two treatments of the 'Canadian Thermopylae' are as different as the authors themselves, OF as poetry and prose. Not only does the brief bringing together of the poem and its probably source attempted here offer some insights into Lampman's creative imagination in the process of creating a poem but it also reveals that, while "At the Inns S*ult: May, 1660" may be, as numerous critics have argued, innovative in terms of poetic technique, it is nothing if not nineteenth century in its subject matter, in its conception of Daulac as the heroic 'saviour of New France.' .


Notes


| 1 See Margaret Coulby Wb - ,: _tion," The Poems of Archibald Lampman (in. cludir4` At the Lone Sault) (Toronto, 1974) p. xxvii.


OK. Bream, On Canadian Poetry (Ottawa, 1974; repr. of 1944 ed.), p. 108.

'Lyle fact that Sbott saw fit to 'improve' the poem is well-known, but see Stan Dragland, "Demon Campbell Scott as Literary Executor for Archibald Lampman: ~ Labour of Love'," Studies in Canadian Literature (Summer, 1976), 150-151. Not only did Scott make what he called a "very few cuts" to the poem but he also did a "rearrangement of the lines from 'so Daulac turned him anew' " and, moreover, "used town instead of burg in the 26th line of the lyric" because he "didn't like burg."


The historiography of Dollard is traced with admirable lucidity by Andre Vachon "Dollard des Ormeaux," Dictionary of Canadian Biography, I (Toronto, 1966), 266-275.


"Introduction," At the Long Sault and Other New Poems by Archibald Lampman (Toron
to, 1943), xxiii. Subsequent quotations from Brown and from "At the Long Sault: May
1660" will be taken from this source.
The History of Canada, I (Toronto, 1887), 261. Kingsford allots less than two pages to the
l "affair," which he considers (p. 262 n.) to have been "made to present the page of
romance"
Cours d'histoire du Canada (1534-1756), I (Quebec, 1861), 460.
Histoire de la colonie franchise en Canada, II (Villemarie [Montreal], 1865), 415.
Ibid., p. 412.
"Preface," The Romance of Dullard (New York, 1888), p. 6. The volume also contains a
preface by Francis Parhnan.
See Agnes Maule Machar and Thomas G. Marquis, Stones of Nemo France(Boston,
1890), 165-181.
See Samuel Eliot Morison, ed. The Parkman Reader from the Works of Francis Parkman
(Boston, 1955), Bibliography.
l The Old Regime in Canada (Boston, 1874), 76.
l Ibid., p. 73.
l laid., p. 34 and p. 61.
l Catherwood, p. 196.
1 Pages d:'hutoire
do Canada (Montreal, 1891), p. 281.
l Parkman, pp. 75-76. See also Marquis pp. 168-169.
Ibkt~, p. ?& See also Marquis p. 175.
L~ 19.
Ibid., p. 81.

~_ "A

Rabbit-Skin Robes and Mink-Traps: Indian and European in "The Forsaken"

by Lee B. Meckler

The most controversial word in the corpus of Canadian poetry must surely be the word "shank"' in the second part of "The Forsaken" by Dun can Campbell Scott. Time and time again since the poem was first published in the April 25, 1903 number of The Outlook readers must have wondered why, if it was indeed the accepted custom of the In~lL - Alto abandon their aged to die alone, why, then, do the Indians in "The Forsaken" 'slink' gull tily away from their dying grandmother? In the following paragraphs it wil be argued that there are good reasons for the word "slunk" in Part II o "The Forsaken," that, in fact, this carefully chosen word throws into relic one of the major themes of the poem: the encroachment and effect of Euro pean values on those of the Indians.


Classroom discussions of "slunk" and its impactions for "The Forsaken" usually give rise to the following two theories:


(1) That the word is ill-chosen; that it results from the fact that &ott,. white man, is unable fully to empathize with the Indians in the pOeD and, hence, attributes to them a guilt and ingratitude which, in reality they would not hare experienced. According to this theory, which ha also been articulated by critics such as Keiichi Hirano and Chipma~ Hall, Scott the Methodist minister's son and the Indian Affairs Deparl merit official, was deficient in "understanding of and sympathy for"2 th Indians, their religion, and their ethics.


(2) That the discordant note struck by the word 'islunk" is only one featur of the overall failure of the final thirty-odd lines of the poem which, u cording to this view, reveal Scott's lack of control of his subject, his ur fortunate lapse into the kind of hypersentimentality that, instead c evoking pathos, provokes laughter. Citing such details as the woman hands "Folded. . Across. . Breasts spent with the nourishing of children and the "Column of breath" that rises from a "tiny cleft" in her "cryst, shroud" towards "God", proponents of this theory would adapt OSCE Wilde's famous pronouncement on the death of Little Nell to su Scott's poem so that' '& man has no soul who can read the death of th forsaken woman without laughing.'


What both these theories have in common, it will have been observed, i that they both cast a negative light on the poem itself and on Scott as


poet.

The theory which will be advanced here is more positive. Briefly stated, it is that, as is the case with most of &ott's major Indian poems from "The Onondaga Madonna" (1894) to "At Gull Lake, 1810" (1935}, "The Forsaken" has as one of its central themes the interaction between the Indian and the European. This interaction, and, with it, the two parts of the poem occur within an historical time scheme which, if the theory is valid, explains the


rd "flunk" and the problems which it raises for the conclusion of the poem. The argument is that the period of two generations (circa. fifty years) which elapses between Part I and Part II of "The Forsaken" not only sees I the Indian woman move from being the mower of a small baby to being the ! grandmother of her son's grown "children," but also, and more importantly, sees the incursion of European technique and culture, tools and religion, into the Indian way of life. A corollary of the fact that the woman's grandchil dren possess both "rabbit-skin robes" (Indian) and"mink-traps" (Europe ~an), "birch-bark" and "kettles," it will be argued, is that they both abandon their aged to die in the snow (according to their traditional practice) and, at the same time, manifest guilt about doing so (as a result of the inroads made by Christianity into their thought patterns). Thus they are depicted as hav ng "slunk away through the islands,/. . ./Without a word of farewell" to the


rsaken woman.


Susan Beckmann's articled on the likely sources of "The Fo~h" in


earne's Journey from the Prince of Wales's Fort in Hudson's Bay to the Northern Ocean...(1975) and in Wordsworth's "The Complaint (of a For


ken Indian Woman)" (1798) obviates the necessity for an examination ere of this aspect of the poem. What, for the present argument, is most sig ficant about Beckmann's discussion of the convincing "evidence of a liter ~ry germ"4 for "The Forsaken" is the implication that, while apparently 'based on facts that had been communicated to [&ott] by the agent of the


utson's Bay Company at Nipigon...during one of [his] trips to the lorth,"5 the poem received its major impulse from a literary source and, nce, deserves more than ever to be seen as a literary artefact, as a poetic onstruct in which each ~ every word contributes to the overall meaning


nd effect. With this an mind, we may turn to look at the overall structure of 'The Forsaken," not forgetting the possibility that it grew out of a tale re


unted orally to Scott, but remembering, above all, that the poem is a care
lly wrought artefact with a strategy that is more consciously thought out

hen might first be supposed.

An idea of the overall structure of the poem can be gained by MU


he correspondence between Part I and Part II. Most obviously, there is the petition of the phrase "Valiant, unshaken," which appears twice in the rst part and is repeated again in the second. Several details as well_the . island,"6 the "lake," the "cedars," the "two days" of endurance followed, on


he "third," by "rest" of one sort or another
_put in an appearance in both
arts of
the poem. Even the "wood-smoke" that emanates from the "Fort"
Part I finch a correspondence in the "column of breath" that is exhaled by
he dying woman in Part II. While many words and images are repeated in
he two parts of "The Forsaken," however, the major effect of such repeti
ions is to alert the reader to the essential differences and contrasts between
art I and Part II. It is upon these differences and contrasts that the discus

sion may now concentrate, beginning at the beginning with the opening lines of the poem.

"The Forsaken" begins with a generalized statement of the time and the place of the events to be described by the omniscient narrator:

Once in the winter Out on a lake In the heart of the north-land, Far from the Fort And far from the hunters, Allhippewa woman Wlth her sick baby, Crouched in the last hours Of a great storm.

1

`~ <~.:~ C.:~,~:.-q_~..L_ it. . am. ..'w:.~[' . W. ~.:.s `_ ~ ~ . -

The first thing to notice albeit this passage is its opening word, "lanced I which serves, not only to place the poem in an indistinct past, but also to | give to its l~i~ the suggestion of a fairy tale ("Once upon a time. . ."). | This suggestion is appropriate to the opening of a poem the subject of which I is an unindividualized Indian woman whose story will be told as, in part, an | object lesson in cultural interaction. The second thing to notice abut the I passage is that, like the time ("Once in the winter. . tin the last hours/Of a | great storm"), the place is also non-specific and unindividualized: it is in | "the heart of the north-land" on an (unnamed) lake "far" from an (un- | named) "Fort"7 and "far" from some (unnamed) "hunters." Although the| woman is a Chippewa, and, therefore, a member of the tribe that occupied | the northern shores of Lakes Huron and Superior ("the heart of the north- | land"), she, too, is unnamed and unindividualized. The third and final aspect | of the passage that is worth noticing is its short lines and vital rhythm. On | one level the verse in Part I of "The Forsaken" may be said to 'mimer the| steady, enduring pulse of the woman's heart as she struggles to survive the| "great storm." Yet, on another level, and by contrast to the longer lines in| the latter part of the poem (which may be thought of as 'miming' the life| rhythms of the older woman), these spare lines and strong rhythms seem to reflect the very nature of the Indian life in the "north-land" at the time| when the "Fort" of the Europeans is but a distant presence to be sought| only in an hour of desperate need.


As Part I of "The Forsaken" continues, the narrator gives us more de tails of the "Chippewa woman's" desperate bid to save the life of herself and her son:


Frozen and hungry,
She fished through the ice
With a line of the twisted
Bark of the cedar,
And a rabbit-bone hook
Pollished and barbed. . .

For the present argument, the most significant feature of this passage is the contrast between certain of its details and their correspondence in the sec.

ondpart of the poem. Here the "Bark of the cedar" and the "rabbit-bone hook" are entirely native and natural. In Part II there are as well the native "birch-bark" and the natural "rabbit-skin robes," but there are also in the possession of the woman's grandsons "kettles" and "mink-traps," items which, as already suggested, evidence the incursion of the "Fort," of the Eu ropeans with their metal implements, their technique, and their commerce, into the Indian way of life. At the time in which Part I of "The Forsaken" is set, however, the Indian woman has no metal fish-hooks and no woven fishing line. Moreover, while in Part II of the poem, the Indian woman has a "kerchief" and a "shawl"_two items of clothing and two choices of words that have a distinctly European quality_in Part I her "sick baby" sleeps "in the lacings/of [a] warm tikanagan," or papoose. The fact that tikanagan, the only Indian word in the entire poem, appears in Part l_the fact that there are no Indian words in Part II_is symptomatic, even sym bolic, of all that the historical movement behind the poem implies in terms of the interaction between Indian and European. Susan Beckmann is more correct than she may have known when she says that in Part I of "The Forsaken"~13cott~ "manages to preserve the atmosphere of an Indian world by paying close Intention to authenticity in such details as the 'rabbit-bone hook' end the laciiNgs/Of the warm tikanagan',"8 the point being that at the tone when these details occur the "Indian world" itself still preserved its "authenticity. "


In the middle portion of Part I the Indian woman is still "Out on [the] lake" but now, to heighten our sense of her suffering, the "iceflakes" (which correspond to the markedly gentler "snowflakes" that will shroud her in Part II) are described as "hissing" and the lonely island is likened, in a bit


1 terry ironical simile, to a roaring "fire." It is at this juncture that there oc curs the following passage:


Valiant, unshaken,
She took of her own flesh,
Baited the fish-hook
Drew in a gray-trout
Drew in his fellows
Heaped them beside her,
Dead in the snow.
Valiant, unshaken....

| If this passage is viewed as a self-contained entity, it can be seen to break I into halves around the repetition of the verb "Drew" and, before and after I that, the verbs "Baited" and "Heaped" which, like the two "Valiant, | unshakens," are symmetrically placed on either side of the crucial act of I drawing in the "gray-trout" and "his fellows." The function of this repetition I and symmetry is to reinforce the exchange that is taking place in the pas" I sage, the exchange of the woman's flesh for the life of her son. The sacrificial, and indeed, sacramental, aspect of this exchange is implicitly Gbrist-like_ implicitly because, while the (Christian, European) reader is at liberty to in terpret the Indian woman's action in the way, there is no indication whatso ever that she herself is a Christian, that she is performing her acts self-sa crifice in a Christian spirit. Such a distinction may seem overly subtle. But it


is nevertheless important, for by Part II of the poem the woman to | have been Christianized: in composing herself for death she Her l hands. . Across her breasts" in the manner of a Christian funeral effigy and | goes to her final "rest" under a "shroud" of snow. Susan Beckmann detects I "an almost Biblical force"9 in the words "Then she had rest." And it is true I that the word "rest" (a favourite of Scott's) may well have been chosen in | this instance for the resonances that it brings with it from, for example, Job | 3. 17 ("there [in death] the weary be at rest") and Matthew 11.28 ("I l [Christ] will give you rest"). Of course it may be objected that the word l "rest," and with it the descriptions of the woman's sacrifice and death, be- l long entirely to the poem's narrator and, hence, do not reflect the conscious | ness of the woman herself.


Against this objection there stands the complexity and subtlety of the | narrative strategy of "The Forsaken." For, while Scott has his omniscient I narrator relate objectively, in the third person, the events of the Indian l woman's life and death, he also provides for a degree of subjectivity by al- | lowing his narrator's descriptions to reflect, in their grammar and vocabu- l lary, the consciousness of the woman at the two points in time when we see I her. The point has already been made that the short, vital lines of Part I and | the longer, more attenuated lines of Part II are a mimesis of the youth and I age of the woman. To the point which has also already been made, the point I that the occurrence of the word "tikanagarl" in Part I, as against the words I "scarf" and "kerchief" in Part II, reflect the cultural changes that have oc- | cured between the youth and age of the woman, may now be added the sug- l gestion that, just as with "tikanagan" the narrator uses a word that would | readily occur to the young Chippewa woman, so with "kerchief" he uses a l word that would readily occur to the older, Europeanized woman. Similarly, | a grammatical construction in Part I such as "line of the twisted/Bark of the | cedar" (where the italicized articles seem to be indicative of a speaker who is | not entirely at home with English) and a choice of words in Part II such as | "They came in their Northern tour on the verge of winter" (where the itali- | cized words have a curiously European quality) seem to indicate that Scott l is subtly merging the Selectivity of his omniscient narrator with the subjec tivity of the Indian woman. There would seem to be ample grounds, there fore, for arguing that in each of the two parts of "The Forsaken" Scott mod" ulates the grammar and vocabulary of his omniscient narrator to reflect the different points of view of the Chippewa woman and, moreover, that he does BO as part of his overall attempt in the poem to present the effect on the In dians of their contact with Europeans.


If the foregoing analysis is at all valid, it would indicate that Scott in tended his readers to compar~vo parts of "The Forsaken" and to see in the differences between ther~ject lesson in the technical and cultural, religious and linguistic, changes wrought upon the Indians by the two gener ations of contact with Europeans that the poem subsumes. And if the analy sis is correct it would also suggest that the word "slunk" as applied to the In dians who Other up their "rabbit-skin robes and their mink-traps" as they prepare, guiltily, to leave their grandmother to die, is entirely consistent with a major theme of the poem. In the final analysis, then, it can be seen that the 'slinking' away of the forsaken woman's grandchildren is just one


aspect of the influence of European on Indian. For the unindividualized In dian family described in "The Forsaken" the gradual process of Europeani zation may well have begun when the "Chippewa woman/With her sick baby" first made her way to the "Fort." At the end of Part I, it will be re called, she had:


. . .faced the long distance,
Wolf-haunbd and bluely,
Sure of her ~1
And the life of her dear one;
Tramped for two days,
On the third in the morning,
Saw the strong bulk
Of the Fort by the river,
Saw the wood-smoke
Hang soft in the spruces,
Heard the }Ben yelp
Of the ravenous hub-
~ :
Fighting for whitefish.... -'is ~ .

Perhaps it is not too far-fetched to see in these lines, in the Chippewa woman's movement from the realm of wild animals (wolves), where, earlier, she had caught "gray-trout," to the domain of the "Fort" with its domesti cated animals (huskies) that eat "white-fish," a paradigm of the movement of Indian towards Europe the movement which, it hat-been argued, is central to "Tine Forsaken."-. ~


Notes

13

l Duncan Campbell Scott, Elected Poetry, ed. Glenn Clever (Ottawa: Tecumseh, 1974), p.

38. All subsequent quotations from "The Forsaken" are taken from this text.
S.L. Dragland, ea., Duncan Campbell ScoU: A Book of C~tici#m (Ottawa: Tec~nnseh,
1974), p. 179.
"A Note on Duncan Campbell Scott's 'The Forsaken'," Humanities Association Review
XXV (winter, 1974), p. 32-37.

4 Ibid, p. 32.


5 G. Ross Roy, "Duncan Campbell Scott," trans. Peggy Dragisic, in S.L. Dragland, ed. Duncan Campbell ScoU, p. 143.


6 The "island" upon which the woman is left to die brings to mind the fact that, traditional ly, the figure of the island is associated both with death (Calypso's island, Arthur's Avalon} and with the 'blessed' (the Isle of the Blessed or the Happy), two associations which are appropriate to "The Forsaken."


7 Since the "Fort" is by a driver,' and its inhabitants feed "whitefish" to their "huskies" there would seem to be grounds for suggesting that it is on either Hudson Bay or James Bay.


8 Beckmann, p. 35.


9 Ibid.


DOCUMENTS
The Poetical Review:
A Brief Notice of
Canadian Poets and Poetry

by A. C. Stewart
(Introduced by D. M. R. Bentley)

Under the name of Alexander Charles Stewart (1867-1944) in the "Scholarship" section of Watters' Checklist of Canadian Literature and Background Materials, 1628-1960 (2nd. ea., 1972), there occurs the following entry: THE POETICAL REVIEW. A Brief Notice of Canadian Poets and Poetry. Toronto, Anderson, 1896. 24p. But this work, for which Watters lists only one location, the Toronto Public Library, is not a work of "scholarship" in the usual meaning of that word; rather, it is a satirical poem with some highly amusing, critical, and, occasionally, laudatory things to say about many of the major and minor Canadian poets of the day: Roberts, Carman, Campbell, Lampman, the two Scotts, Crawford, McLachlan, and several others. With its waspish attacks on the poets whom Stewart considered to be mere "scribblers" and "rhymers," and its invocation of Pope as "no painter but a prophet," The Poetical Review might seem a likely Validate for the title 'the Canadian Dunciad' if it were not for the fact that Stewart is no Pope and his victims no dunces. The Poetical Review deserves to be better, known, however, and it is for this reason that it is reprinted here in full. |


One need go no further than the "Poetry" and "Fiction" sections of | Watters' Checklist to ascertain that Alexander Charles Stewart was himself I the author of several volumes of verse, all published between 1890 and the | end of the First World War, and of one work of fiction entitled The Discard, | published in Toronto in 1919. Neither is biographical information about him | difficult to find. W. Stewart Wallace's Macmillan Dictionary of Canadian | Biography (3rd. ea., 1963) describes Stewart as a "contractor and poet" who | was born on August 16, 1867 in County Down, Ireland_a fact which may | explain his fulsome references to the "little isle" and the "Irish race" in The I Poetical Review. Apparently Stewart "came to Canada when a small child, | and was educated in Pickering township, Ontario." "He became a tunnel l and bridge contractor at Fort William, Ontario," his biography continues, "and in the intervals of contracting he wrote poetry. He died at Port Dover, Ontario, on June 12, 1944." Since Stewart lived well into the 1940's it is intri guing to wonder whether he might have read the satirical poems of F.R. Scott and, indeed, to wonder whether Scott, whose father was one of Stewart's targets, might have read The Poetical Review.


As Stewart's "Preface" states, The Poetical Review was occasioned by the reissuing in 1892, of W.D. Lighthall's Songs of the Great Donunion (1899) under the title of Canadian Poems and Songs. This volume, in Stewart's view, "contains so much ridiculous and absurd jingle that the few


,

. ...

bright pages it contains are completely obscured." To Stewart the Jinglers and obscurers are the major 'Confederation' poets and a host of minor ones. In the course of his satirical Review he therefore roundly condemns, not only the "ranting hardship" F.G. Scott and the "specious phrase" of D.C. Scott, but also the "tantramarian nonsense" of Roberts, the "high-tidal verse" of Carman, and the "Tennysonian rant" of Campbell, not to mention the verses of such as Nicholas Flood Davin and Agnes Maule Machar. Less harshly treated is Lampman who, Stewart opines, "shall outgrow his present rhyme,/And soar to stellar heights sublime...." Stewart reserves his most unmitigated praise, however, for Crawford, MacLachlan, Paul Johnson, and his fellow Irishman Thomas D'Arcy McGee. His championih~of these writers is interesting for revealing his tendency, not just to inveigh against those poets whose reputations he considered to be inflated, but to illuminate what he perceived to be the "bright pages" of Lighthall's anthology with the warm light of praise.


Poets and poetry are not the only subjects of The Poetical Review, how ever; towards the end of his satire Stewart moves away from a consideration of the writers in Canadian Poems and Songs to attack the follies and vices of the Canadian literary and political milieus. Two periodicals, The Week, which, not fortuitously, was edited for a brief period at its inception by Rob erts, and Grip, the Canadian equivalent of Punch, are pilloried by Stewart, the former for allowing itself to be perverted and debased by a variety of lit erary follies and the latter, less severely, for failing to halt the progress of vice in the political arena. The vision offered by Stewart towards the end of The Poetical Review is of a Canada which, following the era of Mackenzie and MacDonald, has "fallen on evil days." Against the political cartoonist, Bengough, who stands on the side of Virtue and "bears a liberal untarnished name" Stewart places "convicted Vice" with the "brazen face" of Thomas McGreevy, the Quebec building contractor and Member of Parliament, who was imprisoned in 1894 for his part in the McGreevy-Langevin scandal but was re-elected to the House of Commons in 1895. "When such as this is borne without rebuke," says Stewart, "Dark may the patriot on the future look...." But Stewart's vision of Canada's future is not unrelievedly dark for he looks forward to the time when "Justice at length will surely punish crime...." "Sacred Truth," states Stewart, is "immortal still" and "Time"_no doubt with the help of satirists such as himself_will strip "the gilding from emblazoned ill."


Like all good satirists, Stewart's aim in The Poetical Review is twofold: to expose and deride folly and vice and to point the way to corrective action. Towards the end of the poem Stewart is at pains to establish his satirists's credentials_to affirm that he is not seeking "a Government reward" for himself and to point out, in the last of his many notes (all of which are inte gral to the poem), that, while "nearly all our bards occupy positions where vernment salaries prevent them speaking," he himself is "free and will so remain." (Perhaps it was Lampman's ability to express his social and politi cal disaffection in poems such as "To a Millionaire" and "The Modern Politician," published in The Week in November, 1894 which pace his job in the Dot Office, served partly to redeem hid Stewart's eyes.) Consistent with the second of the satirist's aims, to point the way towards corrective ac


tion, and consistent with his own estimate of himself as the free servant of "truth and integrity." Stewart closes The Poetical Review with two para graphs of constructive and moralistic "advice" to Canada's "bards," advice to abandon "mists and frogs./L"es, Loona - 5~Tpjuns and Acadian bogs," to leave

. . These ~i~ Your crude philosophy and petty dreams: Leave Southern critics to their native songs And homage yield where loyalty belongs_ Content to win your native land's applause, Toil for her glory and support her laws.

It is advice with a curiously modern flavour.

* * *

For the present reprinting, Stewart's footnotes have been consecutively

numbered, and punctuation has occasionally been altered when required by

the sense, and typographical errors have been corrected.


THE POETICAL REVIEW;

A BRIEF NOTICE OF

CANADIAN POETS AND POETRY

by A. C. Stewart


"The Rhymers and the Critics then

Leagued in one common cause,

Fell madly on the bard to prove,

How true his satire was. "


: :

. ~ ~ .

"The Critic drewe his weapon keene,

And spurred right gallantlie,

And though I did not frighten him


did not frighten me. "
'A .*' *- ~ *it:: -at

Win bums unto ~i;bo~ ~ : -I And
scorn the schemes which advertise; Trust us, ye poets, we are true;

And in your noblest one with you.

To

That Languishing Cause,

The Regeneration of Canadian Poetry,


which

Canadian Bards

If they are True to Themselves and as Lucid in the Future

as they have been Tumid in the Past,

will take to be

the Reason of Existence of this Momenta;


and


to the Reclamation of Those Scribblers in the

Service of Folly;


This Book is

Dedicated.


_L~hthalPs, Dedication unproved

Preface


The objects in publishing this memorial are:


FIRST_To show that the interest in Canadian Poetry is not (as some | of our scribblers complain) dead, but on the contrary, very much alive. l


SECOND_To prove to the self-elected synod of rhymers that their doe- | trine is a crude and fallacious superstition believed in by no one save them- | selves.


THIRD_To inform the said synod that the world fails to weep when its; august head, Mr. Roberts, succumbs to poetical hysterics at the sight of a | pumpkin, which, if calmly considered, can in nowise be asserted even by a I Professor, to "Rival the Unrisen Sun."


FOURTH_TO notify all and sundry of that honorable body that this | country utterly refuses to endorse nonsense, even should the writers thereof | carry into effect, the harrowing threat, to leave their native land unless the I people will read their rubbish.


FIFTH_That no amount of newspaper controversy can make their pro- I auctions sell.


SIXTH AND LAST_That Poets and Poetry have not sunk as yet to | that commercial basis above which rhymers have never risen.


, ~.

A few explanations are now necessary~he authors immediately under review are those who willingly, or unwillingly' contributed to Lighthall's compilation, published under the title of "Canadian Poems and Songs in 1892," London, Walter Scott; Toronto, W.J. Gage, 8i Co.


This volume contains SO much ridiculous and absurd jingle that the few bright pages it contains are completely obscured. The general idea prevailing in the Editor's mind was evidently to draw his selections from those who oc cupied semi-eminent positions throughout the country, he doubtless thought that the ability of his authors in other walks of life would excuse the wretchedness of their rhyming capacities, while their many friends combined with the excellent binding of the volume would make it a comparatively safe financial speculation. Of course he used many of the old advertising catches such as patriotism, national life, federation, etc., and the materials combined are in effect a lilliputian tower of Babel. He arrogates to himself a kind of Di vine right as to what is, and what is not poetry; but nothing further is needed to prove the fallacy of his judgment than the compilation that he made.


It may be claimed that some of the authors mentioned are unjustly treated, but if they had placed much value on their reputation they should have shunned such evil company.


Meantime if any author satisfactorily proves a forced presence in Lighthall's volume we will omit him in the next edition in which also we will make addition of those disciples of folly who may consider themselves un justly omitted in this.


Toronto, Jamtary 20th, 1896

| The Poetical Review

| Oh Shades of Genius in that hoary pile! | The proud possession of our parent Isle, I Whose dust shall sanctify that spot of earth I When time shall give new tongues and empires birth. I Oh Genius of the isle that nursed our Ores!

Ye who awakened those immortal lyres | Your son who cloth revere each hallow'd name, I Part of your fond impassion'd fire would claim.

I Is it too much I ask, ye glorious dead?
Is all that godlike inspiration fled?
I Must we your sons a lower mean pursue
I Nor hope to scale the heights our fathers knew?
I Proud of our country, lineage, and name,_
I May we not hope to emulate your fame?
| And following your footsteps as we ought
| Obey those precepts you yourselvea have taught, -
Yes we may write, although our prosy age,
I Show not the fire of your immortal page
| Our Muse, alas! may not such strength display,

I Yet is she worthy this degenerate day.

Hail, Vice and Folly! you have flourish'd long

Twin monarchs of the realms of Law and Song Before your throne behold what subjects kneel

All anxious to applaud and show their zeal; The honored Statesman, Counsels, led red-profound,

The worship'd Judge immaculately gowned, The trimming Editor, Politic Bard,

Whose inspiration needs must claim reward. And lo, Religion leaves her high resource

To try conclusions in the realms of Force The cassock'd devotee with face severe

On this arena meets opposing peer; In hate arrayed their battle flag unfurl'd,

Themselves expose before the jeering world But not for me in stem relentless verse

To satirize the high religious farces Leave it to die with all the woe it made

Guilt, crime and bloodshed, and men's soul's betrayed.

1 We might have appealed to Parnassus but Westminster was prefered, which, although it con tains not the dust of many of our mighty dead, is rightly associated with all that is great and glorious in our history.

2 Recent developments have proved that The People take but little interest in the religious panic which shakes the Politicians.

- :: -

A more immediate theme my muse is shine

The poetaster's poem and scribbler's line

The jingling lawyer poetizing clerk

And self-applauded bard shall furnish work;

Here shall they find that fame most justly due

Nor be the author of their own reviews

These Heliconian drunks who vomit rhyme

And then applaud it as a thing sublime.

Attorney Lighthall,4 what a tom was shine!

To print thy samples far across the brine,

Raked from each dusty, long forgotten nook,

The precious verses swell and form a book;

A book ye gods! well might old Europe stare,

At this collection of poetic ware.

Haply for babes and sucklings formed to use

A glorious supplement to Mother Goose.

'Tis he, the author of the "Confused Dawn"

Sunk to the neck in literary spawn.

Compiler, rhymer, author, advocate,

Writer of disquisitions on the State.

Analyist, sketcher, and what not,_besides

Accoucher-general to the labouring scribes.

'Tis he inspired by drunken folly's "pluck",

Who, like his pioneer "took the axe and struck",

And hewed himself a literary sty

Where he and his shall unlamented died

1

3 This line will possess no obscurity for some of our drivers of the quill.

4 This gentleman compiled a volume_chiefly rubbish_as indicative of Canadian ability in the art of poetry for the edification of the world at large, as the dedication thereto signifies, which were it. not redeemed by selections from Mair, Sangster, McLachlan, and a few others, would not be worth the binding.


5 William Douw Lighthall, alias Wilfred Cheateauclair, alias Alchemist_which last he had from Ben Johnson, that he might appear learned_is, of all the scribblers mentioned in this book, most to be reprehended, for if his compilation was made in good faith it proves him "an arrant a"." But there are some who shrewdly suspect that he basely holds up many of those good people that they may be laughed at. Has written much, as he himself in the afor_


pibtion modestly eetteth forth_published works numerous_but none of them were ever~*ad except by the proofreader.


6

A traveller he in Venice, Florence, Rome,6

Yea raves of French fields mad with flowery foam. And Mighty Blanc he fears might homage pay,

In special robes persuading him to stay, Fear not; that mountain did not even pale,

When Coleridge sang in deep Chimouni's vale; And greater bards have gazed in silent awe

While Blanc proved faithful to creation's law; Then deem Calm amid eternal snows_

A paltry lawyer shakes that deep repose. Would he had travelled to Parrlassus height,

The Genii there had bid him cease to write, Or haply shipped him:~to the stygian shore,

Pluto had silenced him for e~nore;

Poor legal limb, devoid of see

Your law demands a motive and Intent,

These you possessed in naked innocence,

All that your doggerel lacks is common sense.

Who first shall claim Attorney Lighthall's praise?

Professor Roberts with his Grecian lays,

Famed manufacturer both woof and warp

Of Mic Mac Hercules, the wond'rous Scarpe,'

Whose power fantastic claimed no orphean lute

To fascinate and feed each savage brute;

Wolf, panther, bear and rabbit, eagle all,

"In long row" marshalled at his magic call,

While big with fate the prophet strides the shore,

As the inspired oft have done before;

Once dined, they list a pro-ducalion speech

That evil utterly are all and each

That he, the comma, must depart

With other marvelief: genetic art,

At Rome
"End of desire to stray I feel would come,
Though Italy were all fair skies to me,
Though France's fields went mad with flowery foam,
And Blanc put on a special majesty;
Not all could match the growing thought of home.
Nor tempt to exile. Look I not on Rome,_
This ancient modern mediaeval queen._"

. .


,


And three dozen additional lines of equal beautyand lucidity.

7 "The departing of Clote Scarpe," is another "thing of beauty and a lay forever," which will

add to the reputation of our Professor of Folly,
Mr. Roberta -act- - :~:

Then, lo! As Clote &arpe sprites himself away

A second babel culminates the lay.8

Yet this is not the mightiest of his strains

Nor lone abortion of his unclean9 brains

Confederation Ode'_ and do Collect,

Shall teach us how to pray and what respect

While the dull humming of his tinsel song

Shall cheat the fools of literature along,

If he must roam on classic westermorland,

If he must write of that immortal strand,

And tantramarian nonsense turn his head,

None will complain if he will not be read.

But his reserved the spoils of glory are,

The harnessed bards, draw his triumphal car,

A stranger pageant than Rome ever knew

Here dazzling bursts on the astonished view,_

Dost ask why he priority can claim;

Or exaltation of his unknown name,

Why every rhymster poetaster bard;

Deem themselves honored thus to drag their lord,

It is because like old imperial Rome,

Her second age of barbarism come

"And when the beam could see his form no more, They still could hear him singing as he sailed, And still they listened, hanging down their heads, In long row, where the thin wave washed and fled; But when the sound of singing died, and when They lifted up their voices in their grief, Lo, on the mouth of every beast, a strange New tongue, then rose they all and fled apart Nor met again in council from that day."

9 Roberts to Carman_

_The Departing of Clote Scarpe

"With influences serene
Our blood and brain washed clean."
But as Thersites saith, "Would it were clear that I might water an ass at it."
10 We quote from this ode that the world may see how much it has lost by neglecting to read it.
"Under this gloom
A deep voice stirs vibrating in men's ears,
As if their own hearts throbbed that thunder forth
A sound wherein who hearkens wisely hears
The voice of the desire of this strong North_
This north whose heart of fire,
Yet knows not its desire.
Clearly, but dreams, and murmurs in the dream
The hours of dreams is done; lo, on the hills the gleam."
Truly this is mere prose chopped like the honorable Ross's stump speeches into verse, or what
these gentlemen please to call verse for want of a better name.

The foremost name in Canadian song at the present day is that of George Charles Douglas Roberts, poet, canoeist and Professor of Literature_Lighthall in his introduction.

Sunken to savage depths, the gothic rod,_

Sways in the stead of the Olympian god;

He stands in Canada, without a peer,

That is if we must credit all we hear,

If Roberts' Jingle is the best and first,

Shield us ye powers from the last and worst.

Famed, "intellectual race," his sister too,

Has joined her efforts to the paling crew,

And babbles trashy gush, at such a rate

As is but equalled by her brother's prate.

Her verse had "body" Lighthall says discreet,

But mentions nothing of its head or feet.

Up from the marshes swells a loon-like cry,'l

And cousin Stratton answers "Here am I."

He who untrammel'd with his flimsy line,

Flings his defiance, to the outraged nine

And strong maintains, despite of friends or foes,

That rhyme improves when it is mixed with prose.

Who read his "Dream Fulfilled" with broken heart

Acknowledge poetry a vanished art,

His "silver frost" whose "gems of fire" glower

Omits no colors that the dyers know,

Yet not in vain, his compilation made,_

Twill serve as hand-book to the dyeing trade.

A line for Carman, whose high-tidal verse,

Is slightly passionate to say no worse,

And something foolish is his "long red swan,"~3

That spectral bark which still keeps driving on,

Why, Carman, let it serve its own behest,

It is not worthy of the wind you waste.

Ah; mystic mourner all your barren dreams,

Are but the dregs of passion's vanished gleams.

11 "Through the darksome splendor break the lonesome cry of loon,"

12

_from Stratton's "Evening on the Marshes

"Violet, orange, indigo, red, Green, yellow and blue from each dimond are shed, More beautiful these than the jewels of a throne, For the forest is nature's glory and crown."

_from Stratton's "Hysterics upon Frost"
There is no known law in poetry which can make metre of this poem; is there is, Stratton has
the secret.

13 The "Red Swan" is Carman's favorite birch bark canoe, so named by him from the phenom enal roeine2~ of its bark rruterial."


_Lighthall's Notes Carman has made it the subject of one hundred and fifty-four lines of ghostly verse, which something resembles an Irish ballad.


How could you ever smile; and know your light

Was starlike shooting into murky night.

All this abstract philosophy neter may

Content the heart that burns itself away

Cease thy wild dreams of this you may be sure

Tis folly all, perhaps she was

Yet Candor must confess thy rising strain

Shows power, thy cousins never shall attain,

Thou hast the secret of the poet's art

The first grand requisite, a human heart;

Nor needst to mock the "In Memoriam" phrase

Though quite in line, these imitating days.

Yet sternly just the candid muse must speak

Of those who sink to write their own critique,l4

This base resource, must stamp the poet's name

That so descends with an undying shame,

The mean attempt overwhelms them with scorn,

And proves such buds were for the bathos born,

Who values such critiques when authors may

Tell the reviewer what his line shall say?

And with a shameless brow indite such gush

As from a stranger ought to make them blush;

Not all the applause of a crude scheme like this,

Can ever save their name from the abyss.

Poor paltry souls yours is an awful curse,

The wild attempt to float a leaden verse.

The monstrous toil proportions does essay,

To which the task of Sisyphus was play.

Idle your efforts, all your labor vain,

Down it shall sink forever to remain.

Hear sacred Campbell's ranting as he takes

The churchman's holiday upon the lakes,

Devoid of heart, of soul, of common sense,

He makes at poetry a wild pretense,

Unconscious quite, he loudly halts along

And deems his jingle constitutes a song.

For him undoubtedly his "kettle sings"

Divinest music of divines" things,

14 This is Camps the bards concerned, Carman Scott, Lampman and Rob erb wme credited with correcting the Munsey reviewers proof. Several ludicrous Iztters on the subject were published in the Toronto Globe.


16 Wm. Wilfred Campbell, prolific scribbler_He was mightily offended at and bitterly attacked the bards who displayed so much genius in the conduct of their own review in Murzeey's Magazine, but it turned out that the real cause of his resentment was his being denied a similar liberty.


For his profession woe that such thin - be,

Limits the reverend gentleman to t - ~6

"Smile with the simple," Garrick sang of yore,

And they obey him who read Campbell o'er.

The "Poet of the Lakes" some wag once croaked

And Campbell wears nor deems the rascal joked;

A "brutal" joke to use his favorite word,

Nothing in titles could be more absurd,

- His "North and Westward''l7 ever shall remain

A cracked memento of his doting~ltrain,

A halting mimicked Tennysonian rant,

Without his vigor, but with all his cant;

Behold his soldiers lie with folded arms,_

I False picture this of thunderin - _ alarms,

The leaden death leaves no such~is these

Where men die racked with 9t~tal agonies,

Or fading swift the vital flood escapes

The quivering form, which writhes in hideous shapes,

Here is no pause the glassy eye to close,

The living think alone of living foes,

And rushing heed no comrade's dying groan

When, the next moment, death may be their own.

I Next Scott,'8 shall lay his dainty "Isabella"
I In sleep divine (perhaps hypnotic spell),
I Let him beware, the law is argue-eyed,

And specious phrase will save no rhymer's hide

The sleeping lady
(if she ere awakes)_

May much resent the liberty he takes,

Observe decorum Scott, what o'er you do,

And never stay beyond the hour of two.

How e'er his Beeping "Isabella" may pass,

If he will turn his Pegasus to grass,

That spavin'd jade, may well acquittance plead

And let him henceforth, mount the silent steed.

16


17


"Marjory, Marjory, make the tea, Singeth the kettle merrily."

"Only the rifles crack And answer of rifle back. Heavy each haversack, Dreary the prairie's track, Far to the North and the Westward."

_Carnpoell's folk sort

l Although these haversacks are so heavy, Campbell has his soldiers starving; probably our rever ! end friend being a man of peace imagines that the soldier carry their kit in them.

18 Duncan Campbell Scott, Government official, Indian Wpartment, Ottawa, aelhati~diod | writer and aspirant of literary fame.

Oh Scott! if thou would's" rise thy place resign,

He knows no master, who would woo the nine,

No bond official should hold Freedom's Bard,

Enough for him posterity's reward.

No poet ever lived, but sank to prose,

Beneath the chains that governments impose;

Burns as exciseman, lost that gifted strain

Which lit his soul when furrowing the plain,

And Wordsworth though his heights he never knew,

Sank to the bathos of the laureate too;

Even Southey might have lived (at least in prose)

If he had still preserved his youthful foes,

While Tennyson had reaped, as much of fame

Without Lord Laureate, added to his name.

Enough of him behold the second Scott'9

Another pearl of Lighthall's sample lot,

Whose "Wahonomin" makes the reader stare

To see the fogy fondly garnered there,

Where "buds of spring" their petals sweet disclose

Above the drift of "fifty winters" snows,20

Where empires wide cause England's throne to fly,

Above the clouded mountaintops so high,

His necromancy makes the grasses wave,21

Despite of sense above the new-made grave,

While presto change! and lo his magic spell

Transforms each heart into a "tolling bell."

He cannot plead the specious plea of youth,

So must prepare himself to hear the truth,

By the Parnassian Nine it is decreed,

If he must write that he alone shall read.

And never hence vend mutilated verse

Lest it return to him a sevenfold curse.

How sweet to read Llewellyn's22 holy verse,

To divers magazines it finds its course,

Like paraphrases do his poems run,

Read backwards, forwards, and tis all as one,

19 Frederick George Scott, Reverend, whose sermons must be more orthodox than his verse,

else he had long since been convicted of heresy and false doctrine.

20 "Great Mother they have told us that the snows

Of fifty winters sleep around thy throne, And buds of spring now blossom with sweet breath, Beneath thy tread."

"Wild the prairie grasses wave,

O'er each hero's new-made grave."

Scows "Wahonomin'

v or Mimi Lily ~ Ilium .._. Scott's "In Memoriam'

22 Llewellyn Morrison, scribbler of Toronto, who, though not incorporated in Lighthall's compi lation, is as a disciple of folly worthy of that honor.

His Easter effort, something novel shows

An ode quite innocent of rhyme or prose,

Yet let him rave his soul may reach the sky,

But with his body shall his verses die.

Imrie23 and he shall hands seraphic join

And praise each other for a pious line;

This latter shall produce his pasted24 praise,

And boast himself his fifteen hundred lays.

Long may he lay and hatch them if he choose

They'll ne'er produce him such another goose.

He who can sing Toronto's lovely bay

Ne'er shipped from Yonge St. in the month of May.

What devil tempted him this theme to choose

Surely his ranting hardship has a nose,

Yet for the man has nobly worked and striven

Depart in peace thy poems shall be forgiven.

Lo! from the vasty deep, what cloth appear?

Davin25 the author of the "Prairie Year,"

Whose verse is proof for those who make the claim,

Genius and madden;, are almost the same,

For none believe a man possessed of wit,

Could e'er produce such verse as Davin writ.

Who print his trash declare themselves his foes,

Adjure such folly sir, and stick to prose,

And should you find this penance too severe,

We'll pardon an oration once a year.

In Davin's columns Simpson, shows her "Ben,"26

A pearl from unsophisticated men,

A man, "no orator as Brutus" was,

Yet no conspirator against the laws,

Of folly. Heaven pardon Lighthall's crime,

He knew not what he did this ass sublime.

"Fidelis," Empress of the Thousand Isles!27

Shall hold her court where nature ever smiles,

2;;mrie is not included in Lighthall's galaxy, and instead of giving thanks to the gods he was


24 Imrie has a modest little hobby of collecting all the press notices of himself, and these he has


printed in a neat pamphlet and presents without a blush to whoever will read them. He claims to be a patriot, too, but is an excellent trimmer.


25 Nicholas Flood Davin_This gentleman's weak point seems to be his attempts at poetry, the fact of his being an M.P., can in nowise excuse the stupendous nonsense of The Prairie Year l~hthall calls it Prairie Transcript, presumedly from the fact that it is similarly monotonous.


261t would be hard to decide which was the greater criminal, Me author who wrote Rough Ben, ar the editor who permitted it to appear; perhaps the Week could tell us.


27 Fidelis poetically, or Agnes Maule Machar in the vulgar_Novelist, Disputant for the Cana

1: _ To _ _ . ~ ~. _ .. .. . . . . .

-

And listening to the whip-poor-~in,

Immortalize his fond and plaintive strain,

Or pensive dreaming, through the autumn days,

Repaint the hackneyed Indian summer haze,

Yet when not otherwise employed her time

She can translate chaste Ovid's moral rhyme,

Quo Vadis, Sappho, gentle maid refrain;

Not shine to gild the latin poet's strain,


Grant though at times he may be pure enough

The rascal's author of much "perilous stuff"


Go study Carman, native, young and pure,

Aught that's amiss that poet leaves obscure


Beneath thy fulvid fungus by the stream

Cull the sweet shadows of delusion's dream.


And now survey Sir Daniel's blundering "Scot,"


Another raving, versifying sot,

Who not content to drink "auld Scotia's" breeze

Swallows the landscape, in triumphant easers

Immortal juggler, Science could not save,

Thy titled head from the compiling slave.


Position, place, e~nple, nought availed

Before the world thy ragged line was hailed;


The vain compiler deems his power divine

Can clothe with wisdom folly's bloated line.


He speaks and darkness from the void is hurled From chaos called, behold the second world.


Where wild Niagara hurls his torrents down


A poet dwells who wears a sanguine crown;


There Kirby2~rith his strong and graphic pen

Shall rouse the warring legions up again:_


English and French, and Redmen, marshalled are.

And shake the plains, beneath the shock of war,

Yet not the recking charge and bloody fray,

The lingering siege, or the victorious day,


Alone are his, he can at list digress

To plant the thorn that symbol of distress.


And spir~j~tle yarn of love betrayed

Then wife and the seducing maid;_


Ah! fated concubine thy wicked hand

Is doomed to slay thy lover "Bois-le-Grand"


28 Lighthall tells us that Sir Daniel Wilson is a reputed scientist, but mathematics alone would

teach Sir Daniel that it is impossible to drink a landscape.

29 Mr. Kirby is a bright star in William Douw's Heaven, he will live longer probably, thar
Lighthall himself, Government official, author of Canadian Idylls, writer of some very goof
verse, and much rubbish.

Vain thy caresses, in his mortal pain,

He knows thee not but calls his chatelaine, Yet ~ ithful still like Conrad's Kaled thou

Watched to the last and sharest his glory now. Such is the story told in time and rhyme

That makes ridiculous this antique crime; Kirby no more thy leisure hours abuse

Collect thy customs but tempt not the muse.

Oh! Router tnmng In any ~- Y outntul prom

And golden hours with a sickly rhyme;

Since Scott abandoned law, how many more

Have deemed they might do what was done before,

And imitators
still, would mock the fame

That gilds the memory of that noble name.

Vain their attempt, thou Ascher shall go down

To dark oblivion, nameless and unknown.

Oh hoary Smith, thou and thy dreadful verse

Dragged into prominence sans all remorse;

Thy sixty years could not exemption plead

Lighthall decreed that all the world should read;

Alas! poor Smith, although thy crime was great,

A fearful punishment has been thy fate.30

Thy "reverence even the head-lugged bear" had spared

But this fell Harpy nothing could retard,

A bloodless Nemesis to punish tl~
~ ~ :

Who dare to leave the sober reimpose

The follies all of youth or doting age,

All are concentrated on his damning page

And even the tomb is rifled of its dust

To gorge his still insatiable lust:

Fair Crawford,3' she who in her youthful bloom

Unnoticed sank to the untimely tomb,

In mortal slumber on her narrow bed,

Recks not how much or little she is read;

The thrill for glory, the ambitious hope,

Are now confined in very little scope;

Denied in life what she deserved of fame

What boots it idly to exhume her name?

Extol her genius, her intrinsic worth;

She sleeps and soundly with her mol - it.

Hers was a fate oft paral}e~d timbre;

i: - : :. ~ :-~'

30 William Wye Smith, Reverend, who is a man more sinned against than sinning.

31 The story of this talented lady is but the repetition of that of many proceeding lights and is therefore too old to attract attention. Her talents were original, and certainly surpass in depth I and finish any of our living imitators of Tennyson.

Genius neglected for some trifling boor.
Sad-eyed and listless hidden in the crowd

While some vain ass is lauded long and loud; Yet better far to never breathe of fame,

Than rise to vanish into whence she came.

Happy our statesmen when as such they fail

Thanic~heaven they still can twist the muse's tail, And fleeing far from the ignoble throng,

In lisping strain produce the sparrow's song.32 Thrice happy mortals roaming through the woods

Or haply boating on the foaming floods, Or washing down the miday dish of "fish"

With Adam's ale as much as heart could wish; Anon in slumber stretched upon the sod.

Forget their plans for circumventing God33 Soft dreams elesyian on thy beatitude

No cankering cares of empire can intrude For while the moon sheds her soft glories down

The monarch might forget his useless crown, Thus Edgar may forget forensic fray

And if
he choose forget to draw his pay.

Turn from these triflers to the bright M'Gee

Sprung from that clime of genius o'er the sea, That little isle which sends its sons afar

To shine in council or to lead in war,
Faithful to that strange destiny which sways

The Irish race through wild conflicting ways; Weird lights of genius flashing through the gloom

To light her heroes to the martyr's tomb, He followed, subject to her fatal laws,

A willing sacrifice to honor's cause.

Lo from his snug department Lampman34 strays

To rant of "Heat" and white and dusty ways, And rapt observant with sagacious art

Tells how the waggoner walks by his cart Yet pause a moment and the cart (how sad)

Becomes a wagon, Lampman you are mad. Yet claims he some blest power had brought him here

Because his thoughts have grown so "keen and clear,"

32 Mr. Edgar, M.P., has felt it his duty to translate the song of that imported nuisance, the Em glish sparrow. 33 Hamlet_"One who could circumvent God, might it not?" 34 Archibald Lampman, Civil Service, Ottawa, would assuredly pass for a poet if the human in terest was more strongly developed in his verse. But Maud and In Memonam seem to be the only criterions of poetry with our imitating bards. What will become of the imitations when the originals are already on the wane.

1

More blest his brooding soft midsummer seems

For there he sinks forgetful into dreams

Official cares and the conflicting deeps

Have no effect upon the bard who sleeps.

'Tis in his April that he rules a king

And pours "Libation" to awakening spring,

'Tis then he hears_for The flute like frog

Trill "sweet voiced" tremulous up from the bog,

Poor innocents sans heed of pain or ill

They watch the hours pass and trill and trill.

Yet truth comes sometimes from the suckling's head

He saw his "soul was for the most part dead,"

Ingenious youth that truth has long been known

Nor new that secret which thou thoughts" shine own.

Yet Lampman shall outgrow his present rhyme,

And soar to stellar heights, alone sublime,

For even his frogs display a mind that brings

Deep contemplation, even to meanest things,

While the soft cadence of his verse can show is

A depth these poetasters ne'er can know.

.
| Lone daughter of the tribes35 to thee was given
I A ray divine, by the all pitying heaven;
I Fond Nature could not see her children fade
I Unmourned, unsung, to drear oblivion's shade,
I And thou wert gifted with a task sublime
I To make the redman's last appeal to time;
I Haply thy muse touched by thy people's doom
I Will pause beside Thayandanega's tomb,
I Or view the bronze memorial that wears
| A native touch of the departed years.
I Sad is thy lot thou spirit formed for tears
I To view the march of the advancing years;
I Before whose tread like foam upon the brine

Are swept the drifting wrecks of thee and shine; Oh strange this scene, the pale-faced sons of toil I Have swept away the monarchs of the soil, I And to possession like stern masters come I And make the redmen aliens at home; | Not aliens long, fate points the certain way I Unjust the doom but they must needs obey, I Yea sad thy lot thou long ill-fated Grace I To sing the wild dirge of thy dying race.

. , .

135 PauLine Johnson, who occupies poetically the most unique position in history.

From the dark realms of deep hysteric prose

Arises compassed with poetic woes,

A lady novelists polished pen

Can justly claim to rival Simpson's "Ben,"

Yes, let King Roberts heed his proud estate,

High though he is, fair Rothwell is as great,

Her verse transcendent, and her style intense,

Her very fault like his the lack of
sense,

Perhaps compromise 'twixt them may atone

And yield the king a consort to his throne.

Fond old McLachlin37 with the heart of fire,

Strong without fustian, caustic without ire,

Simple yet piercing, honest without rant,

And nature-loving void of barren cant;

Sick of this strained and artificial age

The reader turns to thy refreshing page,

And feels the shadow of th - solemn woods

And sees the sheen of ~ broad winding floods.

Thank Heaven thou art no triton of the deep,

A birch bark shallop cannot make thee weep,

But thou canst smile at him who wildly shrieks

A worship to the Neptune of the creeks,

Yes, laugh out-right at those whose fancies rich,

See Naiads lave in each Acadian ditch.

But down, ye scribes before the mighty Week,

Malicious vendor of the base critique,

Lean Egotist, that claims the right divine

To whip the slavish scribblers into lined

High in its cob-webbed garret' midst the dust

It famished, gnaws its literary crust,

And apes the journals of a bygone age

To damn the poet, or exalt his page;

Oh! thou dictator's heart without the brain,

On neutral ground I meet thee once again,

And in thy teeth my gage of Lotte throw,

My one despised_and y~y meanest foe.

What! though you claim a high ideal to give.

False the assertion, you but aim to live,

You teach no class, you elevate no aim.

1

36 Annie Rothwell, whose poetry we hope to see properly appreciated, in point of "poetical Afflatus," as the professor saith, she is assuredly equal to the Singer of Tantramar, and no doubt Mr. Roberts being a gentleman and a scholar, as well as a "canoeist," will be ready to ace knowledge the extraordinary capabilities of this lady as rivalling his own.


37 Alexander McLachlin, Poet, requires no introduction to make him known; his honest verses are like the man who writes them vigorous and plain; he does not produce froth, but ideas una. ffected and beautifully clothed. He is the first poet in Canada.


38 The Independent Week desires a prohibitory tax imposed upon the dime novel. Surely that meet ~ journals_s no ambition to shine in the realm of fiction.


~7 S .--,. ;. iS ~

| Your freedom and a slave's are but the same;
| Crazed vehicle of the ruts your ancient ways
I Are out of order these progressive days.
I Your Latin'd pedagogues and sages Greek,
I Thunder, but ah! a foreigner tongue they speak,
| Athens and Rome, their suns o'er ruins set
I This last bequeathed what we would fain forget,
I And for the first her lauded tongue and arts
I Are but a foil to show the scholar's parts,
I Their statesmen, true we have them here to-day,
I Can squander revenues as fast as they,

| Oh! soaring journal, what a theme for rhyme

I When once per year, you swell to the sublime,

And tales contestant fill the laden air

With rhyme and prose sufficient and to spare, Oh Pope, no painter but a prophet thou_

Those scenes ludicrous are exacted now, On Jordan Street the sons of Folly throng,

Each with his story or competing song, Mad with ambition, nay a passion worse,

Mad with the hope to clutch the promised purse, Who shall succeed among the money crew?

Avaunt ye classics; it ~ not for you The daring hero of a cattle boat,

Who slushed the scuppers in his home-spun coat, And piloted the bulls, across the wave,40

O'er glorious him the classic
Week does rave_ While lightly he describes the hoary pile

Which holds the honored of our parent isle, The Week extends the purse, with weeping eyes,

And the rude conqueror carries off the prize.

Ah, not forgotten, thou delightful Grip,

The boast of Canada, her moral whip,

39 Thai Week instead of dominating public sentiment has succumbed to that power, and was forced to repudiate its former oracle that egregious Theorist, Dr. Goldwin Smith, who, has joined_in the support of the Olney doctrine_that Triumvirate, of which Michael Davitt, John Redmond and himself are the members. But we take this opportunity to tell this Dr. of The Depth that there are instincts in the human breast with which even his philosophy is unable to cope.


"No children are we to be flattered or fear'd But bold independence we love and adore,


And we'll stand by the column that victory rear'd Till the last son of freedom sucumbs in his gore."


Meantime we can laugh at him and laugh also at Principal Grant who calls it an infringement of British liberty to tell the Dr. of Annexation to shut his mouth.


40 This was the class of literature that carried the laurel away from all competitors a few years ago, and the award of the Week was the subject of much mirth at the time. One gentleman, of our acquaintance, supposed that the victor's prize of $50 probably cost him a hundred. He had been in the newspaper bungees himself and "spoke as one having authority and not as the


Scribes end 'envious' Phar_" ~

Lo; with what humor all thy pages teem

The idle jargon of an idiot's dream.

Thou dull old crow with soul and brain of straw,

That knowest no music save thy croaking caw.4

Doubtless your lash is oft severe enough,

Were statesmen "made of penetrable stuff;"

But dull McGreevy, Connelly, Caron,

Pay no attention to your croaking song,

Vice still progresses, drop thy blunted sword

And yield the Week, thy task undone, abhorred.

Yet Bengough's genius shall make good his claim

To be remembered by recording fame,

While far above his pencil's ready art

He shall be valued for his generous heart;

Here is one public man that truth can claim

Who bears a liberal untarnished name.

And thou my country, fallen on evil days,

Corruption, bribery, every vice that sways,

Till those who love thee most their blush may hide,

Their shame too great to longer be denied.

Alas! must Virtue turn with weeping eyes

Toward the tomb where just Mackenzie lies;

Nor find amid the ambitious living none,

In truth to rival her departed son,

Nay old Macdonald, criticise who may,

Would scorn the puerile tactics of to-day,

What though his methods strained at times the laws,

Still in the van he placed his country's cause.

Dishonored land, unhappy is thy fate

When even the Turk42 can sneer at thy estate,

When common gossip passes thee and shine

For vice a byword far beyond the brine,

Oh sacred truth find champion for her cause

To bring back prestige to her trampled laws,

Restore the nation to a patriot's hand,

And boodlers scourge from the polluted land.

Behold convicted Vice with brazen face

Transferred from jail to fill a stateman's place

And hear the filthy rabble's senseless voice,

Shameless proclaim a criminal their choice,

A seat he takes among the nation's best,

And not a coward who would dare protest.

41 The lately deceased Grip may justly deigned this record, that it died in defence of its princi

pies.

42 A writer, some time since, in Saturday Night, who had travailed in the Balkans is authority

for this statement.

Jocond, he enters' midst his old colleagues
Forgets his crime and prison life fatigues;
Degenerate age, stamped with the brand of shame

When truth found none to vindicate her name, Nay golden silence gave consent to crime

And vilest precedent to coming time, And such as this is borne without rebuke

Dark may the patriot on the future look_ If he must judge that future by the past

To what vile depths will they descend at last? Manipulated by each party tool

Till blood-red anarchy at last must rule. The country shall assert her latent right,

And sweep these vampires to eternal night; Vice oft bath flourished 'twas but for a time,

Justice at length will surely punish crime, Time strips the gilding from emblazoned ill,

Alone is sacred Truth immortal still.

| It may be asked why I should thus presume

To drag these shadows from their native gloom, I do not seek a Government reward,

Not to be branded Honored, sir or I^rd,
Nor threat to leave this stupid country's clime,4 3

Unless the people will peruse my rhyme; Ye jostling bards, "lay unction to your Soul,"

Great minds have compassed no immediate goal. The barren heights of ultimate success

Yield the dark guerdon of a long distress, For mountain summits in their gorgeous glum

Know not the verdure of the plains below. Yield me your thanks ye parasites of fame,

Earth but for me had never known your name; The fame so long denied is yours at last

Broad as the sky and liberal as the blast_ Without exception, graphic, terse, and true,

Nor first submitted to its subject's view.

i 'Tis said advice is folly, still ye bards
I Reform your verse if you would win rewards44
I Fame is not bought, nor is the critic's pen
| An open sesame to the hearts of men_

43 One of our bards threatened to voluntarily exile himself because Canadians refused to be channed with his rhyme, he, however, reconsidered his intention although he is as deep in ob | livion as ever.

d4 One of the most ancient perogatives of poetry was to Remeet, or at least punidl, the vices to which it is traditionally opposed; but our gentleman prefer to paddle a canoe, address pump kins, frogs, or some similar subject to striking those degraded, vicious, and mercenary boodlers | who are a blot upon this age and country.

A - umption is not genius, nor is rho ~

From known necessities perforce sublime, Simplicity and truth need not be great,

'Tis simply true that four and four make eight 'Tis oft indeed the versifyers' curse,

That they mistake impression for their verse, But oftener far they force th' unwilling muse

Who yields no rapture when she would refuse Reform ye scribblers, leave your mists and frogs,

Lakes, Loons and Injuns and Acadian bogs_ "d hang the eternal paddle up to dry;

Canoes good sooth; when Pegasus can fly, To read our bards the world might well mistake

Our wide Dominion for an endless lake, Dotted with isles where birch expressly grows

The raw material for bark canoes.

Ye trifling bards, leave these and kindred themes

Your crude philosophy and petty dreamy Leave Southern critics to their native son - .~::

And homage yield where loyalty belongs_ Content to win villa native land's applause,

45 Nearly all our bards occupy position where Government salaries prevent them speaking; but the author of this poem congratulates himself upon the fact that he is free and will so re main; at the same time he considers it but just to himself to state that truth and integrity are to him of much greater importance than the frown or condemnation of the hat slave or the most illustrious criminal.

it S

ire Lampma~po.sium, eaten and with an Introduction by Lorraine McMullen_Unive~y of Ottawa Press $~.80

~ its ,:.

Much is lost and much is gained when the proceedings of a sympos}tr~ like the butterflies and sonnets moving towards their "final stiffness" in Minaret Avison's poem, are translated into book form. This certainly holds Erie of The Larnprnan Symposium, edited and introduced by Lorraine McMullen in the University of Ottawa Press' Reappraisals of Canadian Writers series. - ~ ~ _ - :-- ~ ~ ~


What if ~ the colourful give and take of characters and ideas that took place at the University of Ottawa early in May, 1975. Those of us who attended the Lampman Symposium are unlikely ever to forget the, at times, heated exchanges between the members of the Biographical Discussion Panel which opened the proceedings or, indeed, the witty vituperation of Michael Gnarowski's lead-off paper which, none-too-gently, inveighed against the removal of a large quantity of Lampman material to the obscu rity of a mountain on the West Coast. None of us will forget either the gen tle authority with which Carl Klinck delivered his paper on "The Frogs" later that morning or, that afternoon, the vigorous discussion surrounding the papers on Lampman and the sonnet by Louis Dudek and Louis MacK endrick. Above all, none of us will forget the readings of Lampman's poems


. by various poets attending the Symposium which took place on the evening | of the first day. The second day, which had characterful presentations of pa pers by, particularly, Barr. Davies and Bruce Nesbitt and hard-hitting comments by members of Me Panel on Lampman's Achievement also had


I its memorably rig_. These and other aspects of the Lampman Sympo sium are, necesi~sent from the present volume. "The cyanide jar,"


I alas, does seal "life."


l What remains, however, is_to quote Avison's poem again_"the pa tience, learning" and "the frill/precmon can effect." Assembled here with ["sweep-net skill" by the- suitor (and, behind her, the organizers of the Sym posium), is an excith~oo11ection of essays which touch upon, in the words of the "Introduction" a "wide variety of topics of concern to Lampman schol ars, from biographical and textual problem to I^npman~s place in the con text of English literature generally and Cana~an literature specifically." Whatever the critical, scholarly, and yes, political biases of tt_ reader, there twill be something here to interest, amuse, and, perhaps, and him: Marga ret Whitridge mainly on Lampman's love for Katherine ~ aldell or Carl KIinck on Lampman and New England transcendentalism, or Barrie Davies on the "topography of Lampman's 'universe' " or Bruce Nesbitt on the un [published Lampman or Robin Mathews and Jim Steele on, respectively, Lampman's place in the Canadian cultural milieu and in the Canadian clans structure. Also of value here is "A Brief Guide" to Lampman manuscripts by [Margaret Whitridge and the brief but useful "Introduction" by Lorraine [McMullen, not to mention the other papers in the collection by Sandra !Djwa, Ralph Gustafson, Dick Harrison and Doug Jones. (Not present in the


- ~

volume, it should be noted, is John Nause's symposium paper entitled "Lampman_the Theory and Practice of Craft.")


To anyone interested in doing work (preferably, at this point in time, re- I search) on Lampman the Symposium volume opens up possibility after pos- | sibility. The several "mysteries" mentioned by Michael l Gnarowski_Lampman and the city, Lampman and Dyonnet, and, not to I mention Lampman and Katherine Waddell, the mystery of "all those tid- | bits excised. . .from. . Lampman's extant letters"_would repay the atten


tion of diligent, scholarly sleuths, as would the question raised, and partly l answered, by Gnarowski himself about "Lampman's critical reception and I its bearing...upon his history as a published writer." Another question] raised in the Symposium volume, Bruce Nesbitt's question about whether! J.11. Brown's Poems: Lyrical and Dramatic ( 1892) was an attack on Among | the Millet (1888) leads into the larger question, aggressively articulated by I Robin Mathews in his note on "Lampman's Achievement" of Lampman's | r~t~nship to his own social and cultural context...the Ottawa of the|


h~es and 'nineties with its Literary and Scientific Society, Fabian Soci- I ety and so on. On Lampman's Canadian milieu and the pods place in it all | too little work has been done, but the essays in this volur~ provide many | hints about the directions in which such work should proceed. There can be | little doubt that, to borrow and redirect a sentence from James Steele's piece on "Lampman's Achievement," that the poet will seem "all the more re markable when seen in the context of the social and ideological forces which were dominant in late Victorian Canada."


Turning to Lampman and the sonnet, to the papers of Carl Klinck, Louis Dudek, "d Louis MacKendrick, it is clear that in the Canadian poet's masterful use~of the sonnet form and the sonnet sequence there is a topic of sufficient magnitude and complexity to justify a monograph or a doctoral thesis. "No English writer of sonnets," wrote Duncan Campbell Scott, "can show finer examples of what the form can achieve" than Archibald Lamp man. This truth, coupled with the fact that, as has often been pointed out, more than half of Lampman's published poems are sonnets makes it hardly surprising that three papers in the Symposium volume deal directly with the content and form of Lampman sonnets and that several others touch upon the same subject, albeit tangentially. It is to be hoped that the various discussions of Lampman and the sonnet in this volume, coupled, of course, with other essays such as Louis Untermeyer's "Archibald Lampman and the Sonnet" (1909), will prompt the important and necessary study that needs to be done in this area. -Margaret Whitridge's Larn~man's Sonnets, 1884-1899 (Ottawa, 1976) might have been a major contribution to such a study but, unfortunately, a trite "Introduction" (sample: "Like Lampman's life, the sonnet is bmef") and-some curious editing (sample: "mountains" for "moments" in "The Frogs, I") make this Complete Sonnets disappointing}, undependable. Louis K. MacKendrick's "Sweet Patience and Her Guest Reality: The Sonnets of Archibald Lampman," however, points in the direc tion of a thorough, detailed, and responsible examination of a major topic anyone interested in Lampman and the Sonnet could hardly do better that to begin with MacKendrick.


The two major papers from the second day of the Lampman Symposi


um, Barrie Davies' discussion of "Some of the Philosphical and Aesthetic Bases of Lampman's Poetry" and Bruce Nesbitt's rehearsal of the problems of editing Lampman offer fascinating insights for the Lamp~nan critic (Dav ies) and tantalizing hints to the Lampman scholar (Nesbitt). Lampman's debt, not only to the Greek philosophers and poets, but also to the hellenism of, amongst others, Arnold and Roberts is surely. . tin view of the Canadian poet's training in the classics. . .a major area of investigation. Besides Plato, Emerson and Thoreau, are names which occur more than once in Barrie Davies' urbane and lengthy examination of Lampman's view of nature. As the editor points out, Bruce Nesbitt's paper is "to some extent a develop ment from his address to the 1972 Conference on editing Canadian texts." Nevertheless "The New Lampman" was interesting to hear and remams in teresting to read: it is written with a certain swashbuckling panache and it covers a lot of ground, starting many hares and, perhaps, pursuing too few. In its very suggestiveness, however, the essay has value: and it certainly whets the appetite for the "definitive edition of Lampman's poems" on which Nesbitt is worldling. Three sentences from the (optimistically titled) "New Lampman" may in effect, sum up what is established by the Lamp~rum Symposium, volume: "First, Lampman is undeniably Canada's finest nineteenth century poet. Second, the evidence by which we can judge his importance to Canadian literature is at the moment grossly inadequate....Third, Canadian universities, with only three or four excep" tions, have been scandalously neglectful in failing to encourage study which are essential to our understanding of nineteenth-century Canadian literary and intellectual history." The Laywoman Symposium volume and, behind it, the Lampman symposium itself, is to be commended for confi rming the first of these propositions, mitigating the second, and giving us cause to think about the third. In this case symposium papers, like butterflies and sonnets, "prove/strange certainties."


_D.M.R. Bentley

The Collected Poems of A.M Klein, compiled by Miriam Waddington _McGraw-Hill Ryerson $6.95


In the total context of the work of A.M. Klein, it is his final book of poet ry, The Rocking Chair and Other Poems, and his novel, The Second Scroll, which have established his importune in Canadian literature. These two books have overshadowed much of Klein's earlier work because of their more consistent excellence. Since the publication of Lee Collected Poems, readers have had the opportunity to assess Klein's overall poetic accomplishment, as the volume collects not only the work of the last two books but also the po etry of three earlier (now out of print) volumes and the often ignored indi vidual poems which Klein did not include in his own collections. Until-e publication of The Collected Poems, many of these poems had been lot in magazines and newspapers of the 1930's and 19407s.


Klein, one of Canada's most subjective poets, always works from his per sonal experience. In his earliest poems, those written between 1927 and 1939, he deals with his personal background, extending from his love of Bes sie Kozlov, through his knowledge of Judaism, to his perception of Depres


sionsociety. Hath Not A Jew (1940) belongs in this period, for the poems | collected therein were all written before the outbreak of World War II. In his second period (1940-1945), Klein concentrates on the inhumanity evident m World War II. The six radical Marxist satires of the 1930's lead into this war time vision of despair, but do not reach the same depths of hopelessness as | Poems (1944) or The Hitleriad (1944). Finally, in his last period (1945-1952), Klein returns to his personal environment and begins to discover a oneness I among all men in his society. The result is The Rocking Chair and Other I Poems (1948), a collection which deals with all Canadians_French and En- I glish, native and immigrant_and with the creator of poetry_"the nth I Adam"_who names all he encounters. I

Klein is a defender of human integrity and a fighter against all that | seeks to negate humanity. Two opposing sets of figures recur throughout this work_those who love like Queen Esther ("Five Characters") and the philosopher Spinoza ("Out of the Pulver and the Polished Lens") and thme | who want to destroy it_the Nazi (The Hitleriad), the racist ("Polit}call Meeting") and the golem ("Talisman in Seven Shreds"). These characters present the political, theological, philosphical and poetic cores of Klein's po etry as he exalts mankind and the creative energy at work within him.

Klein's poetry is steeped in Judaic beliefs. He is familiar with past pert cation ("Design for Mediaeval Tapestry") and the challenge of Zionism ("Greeting on This Day"). Nevertheless, he is also a secular man who is able to celebrate with the law students of the "Universite de Montreal" and to re ~vesi social iniquities in the radical satires. These satires are especially impor tent to the Klein canon as they place him firmly in the midst of his contem- | porary poets, F.R. Scott and A.J.M. Smith, whose concerns were the I condition of mankind in society, yet they also separate Klein from the other as his concern is always the individual rather than the society as a whole. l

The arrangement of poems in Waddington's edition is essentially chro nological, although poems collected by Klein are presented in the context o]l the individual volumes rather than in chronological order. Only those poems l never previously collected have been dated so that no satisfactory method of viewing Klein's chronological development emits without consulting the original sources of publication for many of the poems. Unfortunately, the book itself is serious imamid ~ many typographical errors which, in some cas es, do serious harm to the poems In both her Title Index and in the bibli- I ography to her book, A.M. Klein, Waddington acknowledges the origins date of publication of "Soiree of Velvel Kleinburger" as 1932. In her Intro auction to The Collected Poems, she states that she has "reproduced the firs published version" of all save one poem. However, her version of "Soiree o Velvel Kleinburger" dfflers markedly from that of the 1932 publication, al an entire thirteen-line section of the poem has been misplaced. A simile lack of care is also evident in "Design for Mediaeval Tapestry" wherein div signs between sections of the poems have not been carefully reproduced, ant in the "Two Chanokah Poems" ("These Candle Lights" and "Matta~i~" which were originally written as companion sonnets but which Wad-dingtor has split and reversed in order. Viewed as a whole, her edition does not do justice to the achievement of Klein as a poet of stature.

_Robert Still