Essays and Reviews

by Archibald Lampman

Edited by D.M.R. Bentley


Editorial Notes


For each essay and review, these Editorial Notes consist of two parts: a headnote and annotations. The purpose of each headnote is to designate the text of the essay or review upon which the present edition is based, to describe and discuss textual matters, and to provide a general context for the essay or review and the ensuing annotations. The purpose of the annotations is fourfold: to identify and explain words and references that might be obscure to modern readers; to describe significant variants in the manuscripts of original printings of the essays and reviews and the quotations that they contain; to indicate parallels between the essays and reviews and Lampman’s poems; and to call attention to passages that derive from or, as the case may be, engage with the work of other writers. In the last two categories, the annotations are intended to complement the headnotes and the Introduction, where emphasis is placed, not on local debts and arguments, but on more general matters of literary-critical context.

The Revolt of Islam

"The Revolt of Islam" was published in Rouge et Noir 1 (December, 1880): 4-6, the text reprinted here. It has been previously reprinted in Archibald Lampman: Selected Prose, ed. Barrie Davies (Ottawa: Tecumseh, 1975), 11-16.

Since Lampman was the son of an Anglican priest and Rouge et Noir a publication of his Anglican college, there is a degree of audacity in his decision to publish his first article on a poet whose "atheistic opinions and daring blasphemy" had indeed "closed" "a large portion of his work to the Christian’s ear" and, moreover, in his rehearsal of the features of Christianity that led Shelley to seek "some natural code of faith, which might to his mind conform more closely to the workings of his only instructress [,] nature’s self." Nevertheless, as the phrase "to his mind" in this passage intimates, Lampman is careful to distance himself from Shelley’s rejection of Christianity, and only towards the end of the essay does he intimate that Shelley is "his favourite author," a position later occupied by Keats. "There will always be a class of minds—and I confess myself to be one of them—who do not find themselves drawn to Shelley in the intensest degree," he would write in his At the Mermaid Inn column in the Globe (Toronto) on March 5, 1892. "I find myself often a little repelled by the absence of something, which…I would call ‘the human.’ Shelley appears to us not as a normal being of this world, but as a spirit, strange, radiant, and inspired, whose joy had in it the glow of an unearthly light. …We miss in him that earthly human heartiness and neighbourly warmth of touch which render the great passages of Shakespeare so imperishably beloved to all tender hearts of men, the quality that glows in Keats and Wordsworth’s best, and lends the sweetest charm to the greater poets of our own age" (28-29, and see "The Poetry of Byron," "Poetic Interpretation" and "The Modern School of Poetry in England"). This is an older Lampman, however, and "The Revolt of Islam" contains no such reservations. On the contrary, Lampman’s first published essay is unstinting in its admiration of Shelley’s "etherial sweetness" and its sympathy for his love of liberty and hatred of oppression. Nor did this positive assessment quickly evaporate, for sometime after his arrival in Ottawa in January 1883, he wrote to John Ritchie at Trinity College expressing, if anything, increased admiration: "I have betaken me lately back to my old love, Shelley, and I swear that he is the greatest of them all. There is a sort of tremendous, weird, unearthly majesty in his wilder pieces which no one had ever approached, and in his sweeter ones a fancy so delicate and fairy-like as to be altogether astonishing, and out of the range of any other man’s work that ever lived. You ought to read the ‘Witch of Atlas.’ It is not very long, and it is utterly indescribable" (qtd. in Connor 67).

Lampman’s observation in the final paragraph of "The Revolt of Islam" that "much has been written of late years about [Shelley] and his works" suggests an extensive knowledge of biography and criticism about the English Romantic poet whose youthful atheism and political activism evidently appealed more to him that the sensational stories surrounding his marriage to Mary Shelley in 1816 and his death by drowning in 1822. Nevertheless, the principal quarry for "The Revolt of Islam" appears to have been John Addington Symonds’ Shelley (1878), a study to which Charles G.D. Roberts was also "rather more indebted than he indicates" (Early, "Roberts as Critic" 178n.). "All [Shelley’s] previous experiences and all his aspirations…are blent together and concentrated in the glowing cantos of this wonderful romance," enthuses Symonds about The Revolt of Islam; "[i]t is full of thrilling incidents and lovely pictures. …[N]o one now can read the…tenth canto, or the…fifth, without feeling that a young eagle of poetry has here tried the full strength of his pinions in their flight" (96-97). The text of The Revolt of Islam would have been readily available to Lampman in two Shelley editions published in the eighteen seventies, H. Buxton Forman’s The Poetical Works (4 vols., 1876-77) and William Michael Rossetti’s The Poetical Works (2 vols., 1870), which, in addition to the carefully revised and annotated texts of Shelley’s poems and prefaces, contains Mary Shelley’s prefaces and notes, an extensive Memoir by Rossetti, and "a list of the principal authorities for the life of Shelley" (clxxvi-clxxviii). It should be remembered that when "The Revolt of Islam" was written Edward Dowden’s influential Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley (1886) was several years in the future, as was Matthew Arnold’s "Shelley" (1888), a review of Dowden’s biography that ends with the assessment, echoed by Lampman in his At the Mermaid Inn column, that "[t]he man Shelley…is not entirely sane, and Shelley’s poetry is not entirely sane either. The Shelley of actual life is a vision of beauty and radiance, indeed, but availing nothing, effecting nothing. And in poetry, no less than in life, he is ‘a beautiful and ineffectual angel, beating in the void his luminous wings in vain’" (Complete Prose Works 11: 327, and see 9: 237).

a nature like Shelley’s…  Lampman’s opening remarks are very general, but perhaps based on Mary Shelley’s estimate of her husband’s character in her Preface to the 1839 edition of his Poems, which reads in part: "it cannot be wondered that a nature as sensitive, as impetuous, and as generous, as his, should put its whole force into the attempt to alleviate for others the evils of those systems from which he had himself suffered. …Perfectly gentle and forbearing in manner, he suffered a good deal of internal irritability. …The weight of thought and feeling burthened him heavily; you read his sufferings in his attenuated frame (1:xx-xxiii). Lampman may also have had in mind part of Symonds’ concluding estimate of Shelley: "[t]here was ever-present in his nature an effort, an aspiration after a better than the best this world can show. …This persistent upward striving, this earnestness, this passionate intensity, this piety of soul and purity of inspiration, give a quite unique spirituality to his poems" (188).

the cruelty of school fellows…  W.M. Rossetti gives details of Shelley’s harsh treatment at Sion House and Eton College: "the system of the house was mean; the reception accorded to Shelley by his schoolfellows, and their subsequent treatment of him, full of taunting and petty persecution…; and his situation was one of proportional and acute misery. …He passed to Eton in his fifteenth year, and experienced…much the same bullying and uncongeniality that he had endured at Sion House" (1:xxxv-xxxvi). Symonds refers to Shelley’s "suffering among unsympathetic" schoolmates who were "uncongenial to his gentle spirit" (8).

in college days…narrow bigotry  Lampman may have had in mind either (or both) Shelley’s experience at Eton College (where he was dubbed "‘Shelley the Atheist’") or his expulsion from University College, Oxford (after he confessed to the authorship of The Necessity of Atheism [1811]) (see W.M. Rossetti 1:xxxviii and xlix-li and Symonds 12-38).

Queen Mab…  Written and published during Shelley’s youthful period of political activism, Queen Mab (1813) consists largely of attacks on various forms of "oppression," including monarchy, commerce, and religion. The four lines that Lampman quotes (4:121-24; Rossetti ed. 1:24) are from the attack on war. The quotation is accurate except for the absence of a hyphen in "stranger soul".

that wondrous study of nature…  In her Preface to Shelley’s posthumous poems (1824), Mary Shelley comments at length on this aspect of his work: "[h]is life was spent in the contemplation of nature, in arduous study, or in acts of kindness and affection. …[H]e was unrivalled in the justness and extent of his observations on natural objects. …He made his study and reading-room of the shadowed copse, the stream, the lake, and the waterfall. …Such was his love for nature that every page of his poetry is associated, in the minds of his friends, with the loveliest scenes of the countries which he inhabited" (xxvi). Symonds concludes his chapter on Shelley’s "Birth and Childhood" by presenting the poet as a "[l]oving, innocent, [and] sensitive" being "secluded from the vulgar concerns of his companions" and "drawing his inspirations from Nature and from his own soul in solitude" (11).

the preface to The Revolt of Islam…  Written in 1817 under the title Laon and Cythna: or the Revolution in the Golden City, a Vision of the Nineteenth Century, The Revolt of Islam is a displaced treatment of the French Revolution that aspires to epic both in subject and form (twelve cantos). Set in the Orient, it traces the vicissitudes of a rebellion staged by an incestuous brother and sister, Laon and Cythna, from its successful beginnings to its defeat by tyrants. In the rebellion’s aftermath, Islam is wracked by plague and famine and Laon and Cythna are burned at the stake. The poem’s final, visionary canto has the pair and their child sailing to the Hesperides. The passage that Lampman quotes from Shelley’s Preface to The Revolt of Islam concerns the "education peculiarly fitted for a poet, without which genius and sensibility can hardly fill the circle of their capacities" (Poetical Works 1: 115). Symonds quotes exactly the same passage to illustrate the "powerful impression…made upon [Shelley] by…glaciers, and how he delighted in the element of peril" (90). Lampman’s quotation is accurate except for minor variations in punctuation and the omission of the words "of men" after "multitudes". He may well have had all or part of the passage in mind when planning the stages of Richard Stahlberg’s education in the second part of The Story of an Affinity (written 1892-1894).

The spirit whom I loved…delight  Lampman is quoting (accurately, but for the uncapitalized first letter of "spirit") The Revolt of Islam IV, xlv, 4-9.

I heard…a tameless multitude  Except for the comma following "But" in the third line, Lampman’s quotation of The Revolt of Islam, II, iv is accurate.

…Christianity…atheistic opinions and daring blasphemy. Both in Queen Mab itself and in his copious notes to the poem (see W.M. Rossetti ed. 1:64, 69-74, and 76-80), Shelley rehearses his historical and doctrinal reasons for rejecting Christianity. On the basis of Shelley’s unfinished "Essay on Christianity" (see Mary Shelley, Memorials 271-308), Symonds argues that his "fierce tirades against historic Christianity must be taken as directed against an ecclesiastical system of spiritual tyranny, hypocrisy, and superstition. …[H]e distinguished between Christ…and those Christians, who would be the first to crucify their Lord if he returned to earth" (101). In "The Latest Development of Literary Poetry" (1872), William John Courthorpe (see headnote to "The Modern School of Poetry in England") observes that "there is something frightful to the ears of Christians in the energy of Shelley’s invective" (65).

that vision of heaven and earth in a future time…  The future that Shelley envisages in Queen Mab is characterized by atheism, republicanism, "free love,…[and] vegetarianism" (Symonds 96).

"Mild was the slow necessity…earthly worshippers"  Lampman is quoting from the utopian vision of the Fairy Queen in Queen Mab, lx, 57-64. Minor differences of punctuation and spelling and, in the final line, the substitution of "his" for "her" separate the quotation from the original.

Shelley…clung firmly to hope after…[t]he French revolution…  In his Preface to The Revolt of Islam, Shelley writes that "[t]he panic which…seized upon all classes of men during the excesses consequent upon the French Revolution, is gradually giving place to sanity. It has ceased to be believed that whole generations of mankind ought to consign themselves to a hopeless inheritance of ignorance and misery. …There is a reflux in the tides of human things which bears the shipwrecked hopes of men to a secure haven after the storms of the past. Methinks, those who now lived have survived an age of despair. …In that belief I have composed the following poem" (Poetical Works 1: 113-14). Symonds, quoting from Shelley’s Preface, remarks that "it was his purpose to rekindle in the bosoms of his readers ‘a virtuous enthusiasm for those doctrines of liberty and justice, that faith and hope in something good, which neither violence, nor misrepresentation, nor prejudice, can ever wholly extinguish among mankind’" (96).

the Revolt of Islam…not the most perfect of his works…  W.M. Rossetti observes of The Revolt of Islam that "[i]t was a great effort, and a near approach to a great poem…though its vast scale and unmeasured ambition place it…in the category of imperfect achievements. …[W]hatever its imperfections of plan and execution, it is not only a marvellous well-head of poetry, but a remarkably original work" (1:cii).

"a measure inexpressibly beautiful"  Shelley thus describes the Spenserian stanza in the Preface to The Revolt of Islam (Poetical Works 1: 115).

Shelley’s description of Cythna  See The Revolt of Islam, I, xvi-xxi and f.

the parting between her and Loan [sic]  See The Revolt of Islam, II, xlvii-xlix.

Laon’s imprisonment  See The Revolt of Islam, III, xiii-xxix.

the return of the tyrants…desperate struggle  These events occur in Canto VI of The Revolt of Islam.

rescue by Cythna  See The Revolt of Islam, VI, liii-lv and Canto VII.

Laon rescues the father tyrant…  See The Revolt of Islam, V, xx-xxxvi.

Oh! wherefore…forgiven  Lampman quotes The Revolt of Islam, V, xi with several changes in punctuation and orthography.

the strange tale of Cythna’s imprisonment…  Cythna tells her tale to Laon in The Revolt of Islam VII, xl-lx, xi.

rescue by the female slave ship…  Cythna recounts the remainder of her tale in Canto VII, xl-lx, xi.

frightful story…Golden city  See The Revolt of Islam X, viii-xlviii.

the desperate prayer…to God  See The Revolt of Islam, X, xxviii-xxix.

the exhortation of the Iberian priest  See The Revolt of Islam, X, xxv-xxxix.

the horrible preparation for Laon’s execution  See The Revolt of Islam, X, xlii-xlvii.

beautiful child…dancing before the tyrant  See The Revolt of Islam, V, xxi-xxiv.

What first strikes the reader…extraordinary profusion of imagery… Here, and in his earlier remarks on the "marvelous yet easy profusion" of imagery in The Revolt of Islam, Lampman is paraphrasing Symonds’ comments on the "rapidity of movement…dazzling brilliance" and "lovely pictures" of a poem whose "central motive…is surrounded by so radiant a photosphere of imagery and eloquence that it is difficult to fix our gaze upon it, blinded as we are by the excess of spendour" (96-97).

She moved…dark stream  Lampman quotes The Revolt of Islam, II, xxiii with only minor variants in punctuation.

A form…faiths of men  Lampman quotes from the first four lines of The Revolt of Islam, V, xliv.

And when evening descended…the embrace of night  Apart from minor variants of punctuation and orthography, Lampman’s quotation of "The Sensitive Plant" (1820), I, xxv-xxvi and xxviii is accurate.

he has been called the poet of the future  Lampman’s reference is unidentified.


This essay was published in Rouge et Noir 2 (February, 1881): 6-7, the text reprinted here. It has been previously reprinted in Archibald Lampman: Selected Prose, ed. Barrie Davies (Ottawa: Tecumseh, 1975), 17-18.

Friends and the subject of friendship were always important to Lampman and play central roles in several of his narrative poems, most notably "An Athenian Reverie" (Poems 90-104). No doubt, he was aware of several of the august precedents for an essay on friendship, from Cicero’s De Amicitia (Laelius) (44 BC) to Emerson’s "Friendship" (1841). (Francis Bacon has an essay of the same title and Shelley’s fragmentary "Essay on Friendship" is printed in Thomas Jefferson Hogg’s Life 30-31.) But, as its opening quotation suggests, the point of departure for "Friendship" is Thomas Carlyle’s vision of the alienation of individuals from one another in modern society, specifically his view that relationships of mutual obligation are impossible in an era dominated by mechanical and monetary systems. "Signs of the Times" (1829) and Past and Present (1843) are among the best-known expressions of this view, which is brought to bear on the Scottish poet Robert Burns in the early (1825) biographical essay that furnishes Lampman with his opening quotation.

"Friendship…virtue among men."  By way of explaining the fact that the elderly Burns "sank unaided by any real help, uncheered by any wise sympathy," Carlyle offers the explanation from which Lampman draws his initial quotation: "[f]riendship, in the old heroic sense of that term, no longer exists; except in the cases of kindred or other legal affinity, it is in reality no longer expected as a virtue among men. …And thus…it has become the rule…that no one shall look for effectual help to another; but that each shall rest contented with what help he can afford himself. Such, we say, is the principle of modern Honour" (Works 28: 308).

the great stones at Carnac  A village on the east bank of the Nile River in Egypt, Carnac or Karnac is the site of Thebes, which is famous for its remains of antiquity, particularly its Great Temple, begun as early as circa 2700 BC.

such friendship as prompts men…to sacrifice…even life for those they love  See John 15.13: "[g]reater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Man’s…aims are selfish: he is striving for wealth, or power, or fame… Lampman’s analysis of the effects of modern economics on friendship here and later has a distinctly Carlylean flavour. See, for example, "Signs of the Times": "[i]t is no longer the moral, religious, spiritual condition of the people that is our concern, but their physical, practical and economic condition. …Men are to be guided only by their self-interests. …Political Philosophers deal exclusively with the Mechanical province; and occupying themselves in counting-up and estimating men’s motives, strive by…adjustments of Profit and Loss to guide them to their true advantage" (Works 27: 67, 69), and Past and Present: "[n]ever, on this Earth, was the relation of man to man long carried on by Cash-payment alone. If, at any time, a philosophy of Laissez-faire, Competition and Supply-and-demand, start up as the exponent of human relations, expect that it will soon end. …Cash-payment never was, or could except for a few years be, the union-bond of man to man" (Works 10: 188).

In the olden time it was different…  This portion of Lampman’s analysis is also strongly reminiscent of Carlyle, who sees the "hard organic, but limited Feudal Ages" as a time when men lived in closely bonded communities: "[t]he Feudal Baron had a Man’s Soul in him. …He felt it precious…to have men around him who in heart loved him; whose life he watched over with rigour yet with love; who were prepared to give their life for him, if need came. …Isolation is the sum-total of wretchedness to man. …To have neither superior, nor inferior, nor equal, united manlike to you. Without father, without child, without brother. Man knows no sadder destiny" (Works: 10: 249, 274).

Babel  Confusion, on the basis of Babel, the city in which, according to Genesis 11.9, "the Lord did…confound the language of all the earth: and from thence scattered [its builders] abroad upon the face of earth."

selfish and immovable as the rest…  There is perhaps an intimation here of the "carved idols" and the "grim Idiot" in "The City of the End of Things" (Poems 181-82).

sophistries  Fallacies; deceptions.

When the great Italian Republics…first cast off the irksome rule of the German Emperors…  Between 952 when the German King Otto I was crowned emperor in Rome, and 1250, when the death of the Hohenstaufen emperor Frederick II halted the drive towards a centralized government in Italy, Venice, Florence, and other Italian city-states were under German rule. In the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, the absence of imperial rule in Italy led to civic instability and interstate conflicts as well as to the commercial prosperity that fuelled the artistic efflorescence of the Italian Renaissance.

College Days Among Ourselves

The series of four essays reprinted here in chronological sequence was published under the title "College Days Among Ourselves" in Rouge et Noir, 3 (February, 1882): 7-8; 3 (March, 1882): 6-8; 3 (November, 1882): 4-5; and 4 (February, 1883): 5-6. The first two appear as "By an Undergraduate" and the second two as "By a Graduate." In the present text, these bylines and the phrases "To be Continued" and "Continued" at the conclusion and/or the beginning of the essays in the series have been omitted and each essay has been preceded by an appropriate roman numeral. The fact that the fourth essay is followed by "To be Continued" indicates that Lampman intended to prolong the series, which has not been previously reprinted.

"College Days Among Ourselves" is attributed to Lampman in an editorial note in Rouge et Noir 4.2 (February, 1883):9, which reprints a laudatory announcement of his appointment to the "post-office department in Ottawa" from the World (Toronto) with the comment that "[w]e take the greatest pleasure in transferring this little tribute…to the columns, which, but a short time since, he edited in such an able manner. Mr. Lampman’s contributions have always been one of the most attractive features of our paper. The series of articles under the title of ‘College Days Among Ourselves,’ alone would convince any one of the real ability of their author; but when we take into consideration the other work he has already done, especially in verse, though, for the most part as yet unknown to the outside world, we can heartily endorse the hopes for his future expressed by the World."

As well as being one of the editors of Rouge et Noir for an unknown length of time between his arrival at Trinity College in 1879 and his graduation in 1882, Lampman participated in several of the activities described in "College Days Among Ourselves." Connor suggests that "[o]ne of the first things that [he] did after entering college as a freshman was to join the …Literary Institute," an organization that "met weekly for debates, readings and music" and conducted itself in a "pseudo-parliamentary" manner (41-42, and see notes below). For a time Lampman was the "Institute librarian" (Connor 42) and in the Fall of 1881 he was elected secretary of its council ("The Institute" [1881]). As Margaret Whitridge observes, the Minutes of the Institute for 1879-1882 in the Trinity University Library record Lampman’s participation in its activities and "some…are written in his meticulous penmanship during [his] term as secretary…and on the occasions when he took the chair for the absent President" (36). Another of Lampman’s extra-curricular activities was his role in 1881 and 1882 as the "Scribe" for "Father Episkopon," the fictitious progenitor of a humorous "students’ magazine [that was] never printed, but read by the scribe with great solemnity in a darkened room with the light of one candle" (Sage 8, and see notes, below). According to Connor, Lampman first assumed the role of Scribe in March 1881 and was so successful that "the next two volumes in November 1881, and March 1882, were prepared by him" (52-53).

Much of the appeal of "College Days Among Ourselves" derives from the verve that apparently convinced Lampman’s fellow students that he "was the best Scribe in years" (Connor 53). The series is also interesting, however, for the insights that it provides into Lampman’s love of fellowship and tradition, aspects of his character that are also evident in his essays on "Friendship" and "German Patriotic Poetry." "[T]he deepest reason why college reminiscences must linger always very pleasantly somewhere in the heart of every man…is that friendships…were formed there," he writes towards the end of the first essay in the series before meditating upon the "mysterious sympathy" at the heart of such friendships and the Hartlean "train of association" that will lead the "mind back…to the place where…[they] were formed." Lampman’s comment in the same paragraph that "long walks beyond the Humber [River in Toronto] for botanizing and geologizing purposes…ha[ve] died out of late in College" speaks simultaneously of his scientific interest in the natural world and the incipient nostalgia that would draw him back to Trinity as "a Graduate" to attend the St. Simon and St. Jude’s dinner in October 1882 (see notes, below) and to record his impressions and reminiscences in the November 1882 and February 1883 numbers of Rouge et Noir. As letters written after he moved to Ottawa in January 1883 repeatedly attest, Lampman continued to miss the social life of Trinity College to the extent that he was attempting to arrange a reunion there in the Fall: "[w]e shall occupy one end of a table at St. Simon and St. Jude’s…altogether for the oysters and the sherry and the tobacco—and the schemes we shall hatch…" (qtd. in Connor 73).


Wandering about, particularly in the natural world, without restraint or practical purpose.

the institute  Connor states that the Trinity College Literary Institute that Lampman joined as a freshman (see headnote) was "older than the college, since it had its inception in 1849 in a debating society for the members of the Theological School at Cobourg [Ontario], from which the Divinity School of Trinity University later sprang" (41). More precisely, the Institute was founded in 1854, two years after the College, and, according to Trinity, 1852-1952 (1952), "reached its years of discretion during the period from 1852 and 1888" (22). Details of its activities in Lampman’s day are provided by an article entitled "The Institute" in an 1881 number of Rouge et Noir: "[o]ur Institute…now in its 28th year seems flourishing as never before. …We doubt if there be any college in Canada which can boast an older society than this. …The weekly meeting of the Institute with its Essays, Reading and Debate, forms no small feature in the course of a College term. All old graduates will remember stirring scenes in the club of their day. Perhaps there were two evenly divided parties in College, and a sudden attack would result in direful overthrow of the unexpectant Conneil, or perhaps, the Freshman year arose, prompted by mischief loving seniors, and made a desperate snatch at equality of rights. In looking over the Constitution, one can see amendments and counter-amendments where these contests have been won and lost. In fact from the time when as a tyro he bows to the four corners of the room, and is voted amidst much chaff into the body of the hall till the evening, when he stands to deliver his valedictory, the Institute exercises no small influence over the improvement, the comfort, and the amusement of the undergraduate" (6-7). The same article notes that at the first meeting of the Michaelmas 1881 term, a new Council was elected that included Lampman as secretary. See also "The Literary Institute" (1881) and Trinity, 1852-1952 (22-27).

the St. Simon and St. Jude’s dinner  Details of this rite and the preceding athletic event, which were held annually in the autumn term on the feast day of the "undergraduates’ patron saints," can be found in Trinity, 1852-1952 (31, 65, 78) and in several articles in Rouge et Noir; for example "Episkopon" (1881) mentions "the St. Simon and St. Jude steeple-chase…when the strong and athletic of the college…muster courage…to pant and puff over two miles of marshy ground through the October mud and mist of the Ravine" and refers to the ensuing dinner, which "to the luxurious student [is] the most important event of the year" (9). See also "About College" (1881), where the anonymous writer (very likely Lampman) refers to the recent St. Simon and St. Jude’s dinner as relatively unsuccessful and urges it continuation, "[f]or it is these old customs, especially when there is something of the charm of by-gone usage about them, that fix college days indelibly in the memory of a man and bind him to these walls" (14). An editorial note in the Michaelmas 1882 number of Rouge et Noir states that "[t]he annual St. Simon and St. Jude’s dinner is not a University dinner, but purely a College one, being given by the graduates and undergraduates in residence. The guests, with the exception of those invited by private individuals, comprise the Provost, resident professors and all unmarried graduates in arts."

the old Provost  The reference is to the Reverend George Whitaker (1811-1882), the Provost and Professor of Divinity at Trinity College from 1851 to October 1881, when he was replaced by the Reverend Charles William Edmund Body. English-born and Cambridge-educated, Whitaker was "an old-fashioned high churchman" whom "[s]tudents found…dry, distant, reserved and endowed with a ‘somewhat irascible temperament which, however, he usually kept under, or brought under, the control of a Christian spirit and a sound judgement’" (Headon 916). See Headon, Trinity, 1852-1952 (16-17), C.E. Thomson’s valedictory in Rouge et Noir (1881), and W. Stewart Wallace’s Macmillan Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

cloudy browed Dean   William Jones (1838-1907). Cambridge-educated like Whitaker, Jones was a native of Toronto who held the professorship in mathematics at Trinity College from 1863 to 1895. He became Dean of the College after being ordained a priest of the Church of England in 1863 (see Wallace).

gaudy robed Chancellor  George William Allan (1822-1901). The Chancellor of Trinity College from 1877 until his death, the Hon. George William Allan was a Toronto (York)-born lawyer, politician, and, after 1867, senator whose son of the same name received his B.A. from the College in 1880 (Wallace).

Episcopon  See headnote, above. A play on terms that refer to a bishop (episcopal) and the muscles adjacent to the skeleton (episkeletal), the history and function of this character is described in "Episkopon" (1881): "Revered Episkopon has been one of the prevailing spirits among our residents ever since the time, some twenty-three years ago, when Trinity men invoked the jovial spectre to their aid, in driving out dull melancholy and appointed a scribe, his high priest here in terrestrial matters, to write out under his mysterious guidance the results of his merry inspiration working in the fertile brains of the humourously inclined; which scribe was and is assisted by the counsels of three editors unknown, who, being appointed by the secret rite of Episkoponical succession, are to this day the subject of endless speculation and unwearying research. …Now this jolly male muse, unprepossessing though he certainly be in his ungainly representation as a skeleton, portrayed in ink on the title pages of his volumes…this masculine muse…has from what is with us time immemorial fulfilled a twofold function as amuser and instructor. On…well remembered nights…his faithful friends and followers…gather…together…and the wise and witty though often rather personal sallies of the Episkopon, as they fall from the fond lips of the scribe, are greeted with shouts of hearty laughter. …His office as instructor is easily seen in the manifest improvement in the subsequent conduct of those unfortunates whose failings have been sternly but wisely reproved by the witty tongue of the observant, and omnipresent old invisible censor" (9). Connor adds that "[o]ne of the events looked forward to eagerly in the year at Trinity was the reading, usually on some night in February, of the annual message from Father Episcopon," a "semi-deity" allegedly discovered in the "belfry…in 1858. …Each year the Scribe, who was selected by his predecessor, would post up a notice to the effect that Father Episcopon had been heard from, and that contributions would be received from students and even from professors. …Only those contributions showing personal animosity were barred by the editors, who were a mysterious body of three, secretly appointed by the out-going editors, and who made themselves known to the Scribe, the only other person in the college who knew their identity" (51-52). Sketches "from Episkopon 1882" are reproduced in Trinity, 1852-1952 (21, 83, and see also 34-41 and 78-79).

Punch  An English variant of a stock character (Pulcinello, Punchinello) in Italian popular comedy, Punch is a principal character in the street puppet show Punch and Judy and the namesake of the English humorous periodical Punch (1841-1992).

Cape Horn  A headland on the southern tip of Africa.


A colloquial name for the first examination for the degree of Bachelor of Arts (OED).

Nestor  In Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Nestor, the King of Pylos, is a wise elder statesman who counsels moderation and indulges in reminiscence.

Bohn  Lampman is referring to Bohn’s Classical Library, a series consisting of great works of classical literature in translation.

Liddell and Scott  Henry George Liddell (1811-1898) and Robert Scott (1811-1887) were the authors of A Greek-English Lexicon (1843, with several editions thereafter), which was the standard lexical tool for reading Greek until the appearance in 1940 of the large modern lexicon for which it provided the basis.

Bacchanalian  Drunken. In Roman mythology, Bacchus or Liber was the god of wine and, hence, revelry.

Labatt and O’Keefe  Two Canadian manufacturers of brands of beer.

freaks  Pranks or tricks.

chaldron  Cauldron.

as correctly arranged as the geographical specimens in the College Museum  In a letter to the editor in the March 1880 number of Rouge et Noir, "Megatherium" calls attention to the "conglomeration of articles" in the vestibule of Trinity College that was "commonly called the museum" and suggests two conclusions that might be drawn from the "peculiar" disposition of the display: "our geological collection is so large that we can spare a piece of rare coral to prop open the door, and…our Professor of Science differs from all others as to the arrangement of his specimens."


the toil for life and the ceaseless tramp of hurrying feet that knows not rest and peace
 This passage simultaneously recalls "The ceaseless trample of feet" and the "city toilers" (155, 157) of Isabella Valancy Crawford’s "The City Tree," which was first published in the Toronto Evening Telegram on September 4, 1880, and anticipates the "ceaseless round…Where no thing rests" (Poems 180) of Lampman’s "The City of the End of Things," which was first published in the Atlantic Monthly in March 1894.  This phrase is a slightly incorrect rendition of the words that begin one of the four stanzas of a Greek song that was composed by a Trinitarian and sung by the undergraduates to the rhythm of "Gaudeamus Igitur" (see Trinity, 1852-1952, 25). The text of the song is inscribed on one of the walls of the College. The following is the relevant stanza with a fairly literal translation by Christopher Brown:

      Let us rush, brothers,
      into (the) contest dire
      completely able
      to defeat every foe

amphoræ  Two-handled jars used by the ancient Greeks and Romans for holding such liquids as wine.

Massic or Falernian  Celebrated wines from the Massico and Campania regions of southern Italy.


 "Steady hard work; labour of a monotonous kind, esp[ecially] close and hard study" (OED).

Dagon In the Bible, Dagon is the god of the Philistines (see Judges 16.23).

his lexicon  His Greek-English Lexicon (see note, above)

Oedipus  In Greek mythology, the king of Thebes, Oedipus was fated to kill his father (Laius) and to marry his mother (Jocasta). He is the subject of two tragedies by Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus and Oedipus Tyrannus.

Antigone  The daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, Antigone is the subject of the tragedy by Sophocles that bears her name.

lymph  Liquid, perhaps with an ironical allusion to William Cowper’s description of tea-drinking in The Task (1785), 3:391-92: "Sipping calm the fragrant lymph / Which neatly she prepares."

Mr. J. …S. Not identified, but possibly the Jones and Scaddings mentioned in the letter quoted in the note below.

funny-man  Professional humourist.

pinch-bug  June bug (?).

Humber  The Humber River, which flows through Toronto. Before it moved to its present site in 1925, Trinity College was located on West Queen Street at Strachan Avenue in surroundings that, in Lampman’s day were still very rural: "[o]n the northern horizon there was a pine forest and to the south the open lake. From Trinity’s site, glimpses of blue water in summer and snow and ice in winter could be caught through the oak and elm and maple that surrounded it, filled the ravine at its back, and covered the sloping land to the lake" (Trinity, 1852-1952, 8).

plugs  "Draughts of beer" (OED).

Mr. Z  Not identified, and perhaps a reference to the student who finishes last academically.

Moral…  In the spring or early summer of 1883 Lampman gave a version of his essay’s moral to his friend John Ritchie, who was approaching his examinations at Trinity College: "I hope…that you are grinding like a man and a soldier. …Discard evening parties…keep moderate hours…shun the cricket field…keep the door locked and permit not Jones to occupy the coal box…shun the temptation of Scadding’s; have your text ever before you, your crib to the left and Lexicon to the right of you—let the tobacco jar rest on the mantle-piece, not on the table—if anyone knocks remain obdurately silent. These are the parting instructions of an old and experienced grinder" (qtd. in Connor 69-70). Connor identifies Jones as "Wallace Jones, nephew of Professor Jones" and Scadding as "Charles Scadding," later "Curate of St. George’s, New York; Rector at the Grange, near Chicago; and Bishop of Oregon" (70n.).

German Patriotic Poetry

"German Patriotic Poetry" was published in Rouge et Noir 3 (March, 1882): 4-6, the text reprinted here. It has not previously been reprinted.

Although Lampman does not appear to have been able to speak or write German, he had German ancestors on both sides of the family (see Connor 13-17 and "Two Canadian Poets[:] a Lecture," annotations). Moreover, his mother, Susannah Charlotte (née Gesner) and his closest sister, Sarah Isabelle (Belle), spent time in Germany in the late eighteen eighties and may well have spoken the language. Supplementing these family reasons for the interest in German history, literature, and nationalism that surfaces in several of Lampman’s poems, stories, and essays (see especially and "The Last Sortie" in the November 1882 number of Rouge et Noir, "Hans Fingerhut’s Frog Lesson" in the November 1885 issue of Man [Toronto], and the opening paragraph of "Two Canadian Poets") was the influence of Thomas Carlyle, whose huge admiration for German literature issued in a biography of Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1825), numerous translations (1824, 1827), and a series of essays such as the one on Schiller that provided Lampman with a point of departure for "The Modern School of Poetry in England." Perhaps Lampman’s attention was drawn specifically to German patriotic poetry by War Songs of the Germans, with Historical Illustrations of the Liberation War and the Rhine Boundary Question (1870), a short collection of articles and translations by Carlyle’s friend John Stuart Blackie, or by the section entitled "Military and Patriotic Songs" (31-92) and the Appendix containing similar materials (325-32) in The Book of German Songs: from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century (1871), an anthology of translations by H.W. Dulcken. For his translations he drew on neither of these works, however, but on a variety of sources, only one of which—Edward Chawner’s Gleanings from the German and French Poets (1879)—has so far been identified.

Once or twice in modern times the hard heel of the conqueror… Lampman is referring to the invasion of the German States by Austrian, French, and Russian armies during the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) and their conquest and occupation by Napoleon between 1800 and 1813. The term "‘Fatherland’" is a translation of the German "Vaterland." Blackie observes that "the prostration of Germany" by Napoleon "proceeded from its division" and that its rise was "connected with at least a temporary UNITY. Many dreamed in those days of Henry the Hun-hunter [Frederick] Barbarossa, and the Hohenstaufen [dynasty]" of early German history (29).

Out of these periods of convulsion sprang…patriotic ballads. … In his Introduction to The Book of German Songs, Dulcken writes that "[t]he war of liberation in Germany [in 1813] called forth a number of patriotic lays. …Schenkendorf, Arnim, Eichendorff, Kleist, and more than all, Moritz Arndt are representatives of this school of song writers. …The songs written during the war with Napoleon are far superior to any produced during the Gleim period [i.e., the Seven Years’ War]. As specimens may be cited Körner’s ‘Battle Prayer,’ Arndt’s ‘Der Gott der Eisen washsen liess,’ and Schenkendorf’s ‘Erhebt euch von der Erde.’ It is among the poets of the last forty years, however, that we must look for the best song writers. Uhland, G. Schwab…[and others] have contributed plentifully to the fund of German song in all its departments" (xxix-xxx).

…from the Rhine to the Niemen… The Rhine River forms the southwest boundary of Germany and the Niemen (or Neman) River flows through Prussia in its northeastern region.

the children of Frederic  The descendants of Frederick II ("the Great") (1712-1786), the King of Prussia from 1740 to 1786. In addition to being a military genius whose tactical skills saved Prussia from destruction during the Seven Years’ War, Frederick II was a talented administrator and a generous patron of the arts. In securing and enhancing Prussia’s status as a nation, he helped to lay the foundation of modern Germany. He is the subject of Carlyle’s History of Frederick II of Prussia, Called Frederick the Great, which was published in six volumes from 1858 to 1865.

Attila  King of the Huns from 434 to 453, Attila (406-453) led an army that invaded and terrorized the Roman Empire in Europe between 445 and 451.

Tamerlane  Timur Lenk (or Lang) was the leader of the Mongols who conquered large parts of Asia in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth century. In Tamburlaine the Great (1590) by Christopher Marlowe, he is characterized by his ruthless cruelty to the conquered Turkish emperor Bajazet and his empress Zabina.

the bitter peace of Tilsit…  Concluded on July 9, 1807 between France, Russia, and Prussia, the peace of Tilsit was highly detrimental to Germany (Prussia lost half its territory and was compelled to pay a huge war indemnity to France). The King of Prussia at the time was Frederick William III (1740-1840) and "his beautiful Queen" was Louise (1776-1810). The dignity and courage displayed by Queen Louise during the Napoleonic Wars won her immense respect in Prussia and elsewhere.

Then came the rising…  Blackie devotes the first chapter of War Songs of the Germans to the "Songs of the Liberation War" and describes the Prussian songs of 1813 as the "practical" and "stirring" poetry of "honest German breasts" (19). As examples, he quotes translations of two songs by Ernst Moritz Arndt (see below), "Der Kühne Schill" ("The Brave Schill") and "Was ist des Deutschen Vaterland?" ("Where is the German’s Fatherland?") (25-33, 136-41).

"Canst thou serve…the fame of thy sires."  Lampman quotes a translation by an unidentified translator of the sixth and seventh stanzas of "Die alten und die neuen Deutschen" ("The Older and the Newer Germans") by Ernst Moritz Arndt.

Ernst Moritz Arndt…  A German patriot and poet, Ernst Moritz Arndt (1769-1860) was instrumental in awakening German patriotism during the Napoleonic occupation. A professor of history at Greifswald University when he exhorted his countrymen to throw off the yoke of French oppression in the first part of Geist der Zeit (Spirit of the Times) (1808), he subsequently fled to Sweden to save his life and, thence, to Russia to continue the struggle against Napoleon. During the post-Napoleonic era, Arndt, now a professor of modern history at Bonn University, criticized the Prussian government in the fourth part of Geist der Zeit (1818), an act that led to his arrest and removal from the university. In 1840 he was reinstated, however, and in 1848 he became a member of the German national assembly. In A Good German Conscience: the Life and Time of Ernst Moritz Arndt, James Elstone Dow writes that on Arndt’s ninetieth and last birthday in 1859 "it seemed that the whole world celebrated with him" and that his funeral in Bonn on February 1, 1860 "was a grand and stately affair" (133-34). Dulcken writes that "Arndt did incalculable service to his country’s cause by the publication of his…Kriegslieder (War Songs), which…inflame[d] the courage and refresh[ed] the spirits of the Germans, who declaimed and sang them round the evening watchfire" (65n.).

"Der Deutcheste Deu[ts]che"  German: the most German German.

Theodor Koerner  Dulcken ranks Theodor Koerner or Körner (1791-1813) above Arndt as "the patriotic song-writer of Germany ‘par excellence’" (65n.) and describes him as "the poet-hero of the ‘War of Liberation’" (61n.). In this Dulcken agrees with Blackie, who devotes the second chapter of War Songs of the Germans to Körner as a "hero of the heroic war," a "gallant poet-soldier," and "the noblest warrior of the Liberation War" (58-59, 70), and provides translations and original texts of three of his songs (72-84, 141-50). Körner was killed "in a skirmish near the village of Gadebusch" on August 26, 1813 (Dulcken 61n.).

Max Von Schenkendorf  Blackie dismisses Ferdinand Max Gottfried von Schenkendorf (1783-1817) as an "amiable enthusiast" (46n.), but Lampman is more conventional in placing him with Arndt and Körner as one of the most accomplished German poets of the War of Liberation.

"Sleep sweetly…honest blows." Lampman quotes a translation by an unidentified translator of the initial lines of the fifth stanza of von Schenkendorf’s "Soldaten Abendlied".

Such as those of Schill…and Hofer…  Both Blackie (see note, above) and Dulcken (82-85) provide translations of Arndt’s "Der kühne Schill" ("The Brave Schill"), a ballad commemorating Ferdinand Baptista von Schill (1776-1809), a Prussian soldier who led his regiment in revolt against the French in 1809 and was killed on May 31 of that year by Dutch and Danish troops. Blackie quotes the German historian Wolfgang Menzel to the effect that "‘the grand beauty of the German heroes of those days, of Schill, Hofer, Speckbacker [was that] they fought without a fee’" (24). Andreas Hofer (1767-1810) was a leader of the fight for Tirol’s freedom from foreign rule between 1805, when Tirol was transferred from Austria to Bavaria, and 1810, when he was captured and executed by Italian troops. Hofer’s exploits and fate are commemorated in numerous German poems, including von Schenkendorf’s "Andreas Hofer," and he is mentioned in Arndt’s "Wasist des Deutschen Vaterland?" (see above), one of the songs that Lampman would almost certainly have had in mind when thinking of "the central dream of [German] ballad music" as "the vision of a United Germany."

Walther, the minnesinger…  Walther von der Vogelweide (c. 1170-c. 1230) was a medieval German lyric poet and champion of German independence. During the struggle between papal and secular forces that began with the death of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI in 1197, he put his art at the service of various German princes until he found in the Emperor Frederick II an imperial representative of German aspirations. His political poems include "Reichston" ("Song on the Empire"), a lament for the absence of unity in Germany that is usually regarded as the first important German political poem.

…the dark days of 1848…  A year of widespread political unrest in Europe, 1848 saw both revolution and counter revolution in Germany. Early in the year, the successes of the revolutionary forces yielded several liberal reforms and the promise that Prussia would merge itself into Germany, but in September and October conservative elements were in the ascendancy and, by the summer of 1849, Prussia had participated in the suppression of revolutionary outbreaks by radical republicans and refused to accept a constitution that included universal suffrage. Both in 1848 and 1849, Prussian troops were used to suppress uprisings, and in ensuing years Prussia assumed a dominant position in the movement towards German unification.

…M. Thiers…  The French Statesman Louis Adolphe Thiers (1797-1877) did not become president of France until 1871, but when the revolution broke out in 1848 he was asked to assume power by the King and, in the new Republic, he could be said to have anticipated the imperialistic resurgence that led to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 by supporting the presidential candidacy of Prince Louis Napoleon. Perhaps Lampman had in mind the brief period in 1840 when Thiers was foreign minister and parliamentary council president and, in Blackie’s words, gave "occasion for alarm…to Europe, and specially to Germany, by [his] bellicose preparations and menaces" (122). Dulcken records that Arndt "took a part, though not a conspicuous one" (65n.), in the events of 1848-1849.

Uhland  Ludwig Uhland (1787-1862) was a disciple of Arndt, Körner, and von Schenkendorf and, like them, a proponent of German patriotism in such poems as "Vorwärts!" ("Forward!")—an exhortation, written in 1814, to German soldiers to fight in the cause of freedom.

So in 1870…no Frenchman should again pass the Rhine…  Blackie devotes the final chapter of War Songs of the Germans to the history of "the French ‘tendency towards the Rhine’" in order to prove that France declared war in 1870 "for the purpose of humbling Prussia, and giving the Rhine boundary to France" and "to show…from what a deep root of fact the Rhine songs [of 1870] have grown. It is only, indeed, when they spring out of such a strong reality that poetry and music possess…[an] excellent virtue in national education" (91, 121-22).

…that terrible day in August, 1870…  Lampman is referring to the German defeat of the French armies under Patrice de MacMahon at Wörth and Wissembourg in northeastern France on August 4 and 6, 1870. He may also have remembered that on August 16 and 18 another French army under Achille François Bezaine was foiled in its attempt to break out of Metz at the battles of Mars-la-Tour and Gravelotte. The surrender of the French at Sedan on September 2, 1870 brought about the overthrow of Napoleon III (1808-1873), a nephew of Napoleon I and the last Bonaparte to rule France.

like the awful spirit from him that was possessed of a devil  Lampman is alluding to Matthew 12.22: "[t]hen was brought unto [Jesus] one possessed with a devil, blind and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spoke and saw" (see also Matthew 9.32-33).

"How long…never lose it more." Neither the author nor the translator of this stanza have been identified.

Freiligrath  A product of the Young Germany movement that fed on the political unrest of the years surrounding 1848, Ferdinand Freiligrath (1810-1876) wrote numerous poems in support of political revolution and German nationalism.

"Up Germany!…my Germany!"  Lampman quotes the final stanza of a translation of Freiligrath’s "Hurrah, Germania" (written July 25, 1870) by an unidentified translator.

"For Wife…we court the strife."  This is the penultimate stanza of the same translation of "Hurrah, Germania."

…the Marseillaise  The French revolutionary hymn composed by Rouget de Lisle in 1792 and sung by the volunteers of Marseilles as they entered Paris on July 30, 1792 and when they marched to the storming of the Tuileries, the Marseillaise is described by Carlyle in The French Revolution as "grim" in "melody and rhythm" but the "luckiest musical-composition ever promulgated. The sound…will…make the blood tingle in men’s veins; and whole Armies and Assemblages will sing it, with eyes weeping and burning, with hearts defiant of Death, Despot and Devil" (Works 3:273-74).

the distinction between German and French courage…Carlyle…  In The French Revolution, Carlyle uses the tropes of "Gallic fire" and "Teutonic anthracite" to distinguish between French and German courage: "there is a fire comparable to the burning of dry-jungle and grass; most sudden, high-blazing: and another fire which we liken to the burning of coal, or even anthracite coal; difficult to kindle, but then which no known thing will put out" (4:297-98). He adds that "Gallic fire" is "admirable for roasting eggs," that "Teutonic anthracite" is "preferable for smelting metals," and that Europe is fortunate to have both kinds (4:298). In his At the Mermaid Inn column for May 7, 1892, Lampman discusses the Marseillaise at length, remarking that "[i]t is the most tremendous call to battle that ever sprang to the lips of man…[b]ut like the military fervour that gave it birth its passion is too high to be maintained" and expressing a preference for Arndt’s "‘The Watch on the Rhine’" as "a much better ‘working’ battle song" that "represents the feeling of a nation of serious, home-loving people, who in the hour of solemn necessity go forth not to conquer or even to win glory but simply to defend their fatherland. …The Germans have a great many very fine battle songs, most of them the product of the War of Liberation. …They are tenderer, more human, more deeply tragical than the French songs" (69-70).

The German is bidden to stand by the Rhine…  In his chapter on "the Rhine Boundary," Blackie includes three "Rhine songs" (124): "Sie sollen inn nicht hahen" ("The Rhine-Song") by Niklas Becker, "Die Wacht am Rhein" ("The Watch on the Rhine") probably by Max Schneckenburger, and "Am Rhein, am Rhein, da wachsen unsre reben" ("Come, crown your cups with leaves…"), a "popular air" translated into English by Felicia Hemans (124-34, 150-52). Chawner’s Gleanings from the German and French Poets includes "The Rhine Watch" by Arndt, who also wrote a monograph entitled Der Rhein, Deutschlands Strom, aber nicht Deutschlands Grenze (The Rhine, Germany’s River, but not Germany’s Border) (1813).

Jordan  The Jordan River flows south from the Anti-Lebanon mountains through the Sea of Galilee into the Dead Sea and has numerous associations in the Judaic and Christian religions.

A brave soldier…highest ornament."  Lampman quotes an unknown translator’s rendition of the following passage from Arndt’s Kurzer Katechismus für teutsche Soldaten (Short Catechism for German Soldiers) (1812): "Ein wackerer Soldat soll nicht prunken mit der äuBeren Ehre noch sich auf Eitelkeit blähen; sondern die Treue gegen das Vaterland soll seine Ehre sein und sein stiller Mut seine höchste Zierde" (4: 150).

"Now rise up…And Thine the victory."  Lampman is quoting a translation of the first two stanzas of von Schenkendorf’s "Soldaten Morgenlied" ("The Soldier’s Morning Song") by an unidentified translator.

"Dawn of day…many a comrade true."  Unidentified

Fishing in Rice Lake

On August 4, 1882, Lampman wrote from Thorold, Ontario to his college friend John Ritchie that on September 1st he would be taking up a teaching post in Orangeville north of Toronto. After sharing with Ritchie his "anticipations of future beer-drinking evenings at [Trinity] [C]ollege, news of [Joseph Edmund] Collins’ writings, and plans about the management of Rouge et Noir" (Connor 58), he mentions sending an article to Forest and Stream (New York): "[t]he scoundrels wrote to me saying that they were very much pleased with my performance, but they were not buying (orders of their publishers); that, however, they will, if I like, print it and send me their cursed paper, in return, for a year. Though I don’t want it, I wrote and said yes, for I knew not what to do with the article else" (qtd. in Connor 58). As Carl Y. Connor states, "[t]he article entitled "Fishing in Rice Lake" appeared in Forest and Stream on August 10th, 1882," 28-29 (Connor 58), the text reprinted here. It is signed "A.L.," and has not been previously reprinted.

Lampman’s jocularly testy remarks to Ritchie suggest that "Fishing in Rice Lake" was written specifically for Forest and Stream, which later in 1882 and early in 1883 published the earliest nature essays of Charles G.D. Roberts (see John Coldwell Adams, "Checklist" 239). It is more than likely that Forest and Stream was suggested as an outlet to both writers by Collins, who goes out of his way in the chapter on Canadian "Thought and Literature" in The Life and Times of the Right Honourable John A. Macdonald (1883), to mention the New York periodical as "the only publication that we know of which has a department devoted to fish-culture" (450). Not only did Lampman review Collins’s biography in 1883, but in 1882 he was probably reading the "proof-sheets" of the book (see the headnote to "The Life and Times of Sir John A. Macdonald"). Interestingly enough the February to July 1883 issues of Forest and Stream contain a series of articles by Canada’s commissioner of fisheries, William Frederick Whitcher, on the "Practical Results of Fish Culture in the Dominion of Canada" (and see A.B. McCullough 1107).

Rice Lake
 Situated in Northumberland County north of Lake Ontario near Port Hope and Cobourg, Rice Lake is a 69 square kilometer (27 square mile) body of water that is still well-known for its recreational fishing. It gets its name from the wild rice that grew profusely in its shallow waters.

Gore’s Landing  Still a "village," Gore’s Landing on the south shore of Rice Lake is named for Sir Francis Gore (1769-1852), the lieutenant governor of Upper Canada from 1806 to 1811. In 1866, when Lampman was five years old, his father was appointed rector of the Anglican church at nearby Perrytown and, within a year, transferred to Gore’s Landing, where the family stayed until 1874. During these years, Lampman attended school at Gore’s Landing, and, according to Connor and other biographers, revelled in the village’s natural surroundings: "Archie bec[ame] one of the best swimmers in the school. Rice Lake was famous for its muskalonge and black bass, and [his] luck as a fisherman was proverbial in the family" (24; and see McDougall 514).

a fat old gentleman…and a tough denizen of the neighbourhood… Not identified, though it is conceivable that the former is a caricature of Collins, whom Lampman referred to at least once as "old Joseph Edmund" (qtd. in Connor 76).

maskalonge  Lampman uses one of several English spellings of the Canadian French word "masquinongé," which, in turn, derives from the Algonkian word for the great pike found principally in the Great Lakes and surrounding waters.

the figures of Izaak Walton and many others…  Izaak Walton (1593-1683) wrote The Compleat Angler (1653; 2nd ed. 1655), a much reprinted and much-loved compendium of fishing lore, literary quotations, and pastoral descriptions. Among the "many others" in Lampman’s mind may have been Catharine Parr Traill (1802-1899) whom, according to Connor (27-28), he knew well during his years at Gore’s Landing. In The Backwoods of Canada (1836) Traill describes Rice Lake in some detail (see 99-163).

the river Ottonabee  In Forest and Stream, the river’s name is given as "Ollonabee," presumably a typographical or editorial error. A short stream that forms part of the Trent River and Canal system, the Otonabee (or Ottonabee) empties into the northwest end of Rice Lake.

The Life and Times of Sir John A. Macdonald

Lampman’s signed review of J.E. Collins’s Life and Times of the Right Honourable Sir John A. Macdonald, K.C.B., D.C.L., &c., Premier of the Dominion of Canada (Toronto: Rose, 1883) was published in the Canadian Illustrated News (Montreal), 27 (June 30, 1883), 402-03, the text reprinted here. It has not been previously reprinted.

Carl Y. Connor states that Lampman wrote his "four-column review of his friend Collins’ book" while he was living at 67, O’Connor Street in Ottawa (70-71)—that is, between moving to the city on January 11, 1883 and renting a cottage at 144, Nicholas Street in the fall of the same year. At this time, he informed his friend John Ritchie in Toronto that he was "meditating a prose essay for the ‘Atlantic Monthly,’ or some other like publication, [and] also prose to contribute to [the] next ‘Rouge et Noir’ as [he] did not [to] the last" (qtd. in Connor 70; and see the headnote to "College Days Among Ourselves").

Lampman’s friendship with Joseph Edmund Collins (1855-1892) probably began during the winter of 1880-1881 when Collins, a native of Placentia, Newfoundland who had been working as a newspaper publisher and editor in Fredericton and Chatham, New Brunswick since 1878, moved to Toronto to become an editor at the Globe. Since Collins had become something of a mentor to Charles G.D. Roberts prior to moving to Toronto (see John Coldwell Adams 8-9 and Taylor 204), he may well have been the "someone" who, in May 1881, lent Lampman the copy of Roberts’s Orion, and Other Poems that so inspired him (see "Two Canadian Poets[:] a Lecture"). Certainly, "it was Collins who established a corresponding friendship between Lampman and Roberts" and, thus, "stimulated, promoted, and drew together the two central members of the group which would subsequently be labelled the ‘Confederation poets’" (Taylor 204-05). "I suppose from your intimacy with Collins, that you are one of us right through, a Canadian Republican!" wrote Roberts to Lampman on September 23, 1882, "[w]e want to get together literary and independent Young Canada, and to spread our doctrines with untiring hands. Does anything of the sort occupy large share in the space you and Collins devote to castle building, in evenings over your pipes and rye? …I am anxious…to get to Toronto to live, where I would straightway begin striving to put in execution many schemes. I hope under those circumstances the close duet of C[ollins] and I would become an equally inseparable trio, yourself making the third of the triumvirate" (Collected Letters 29). After Collins’s death on February 23, 1892 in New York, where he had been leading a life of increasing dissipation since his move there in 1887, Lampman remembered him as "almost the literary father of some of the young men who are now winning fame among us": "[t]o his helpful enthusiasm, his kindly praise, his eager excitement, they owe the courage and self-confidence which enabled them to take the first daring step in the difficult and unpromising path of literature" (At the Mermaid Inn 40).

Like the Life and Times of the Right Honourable Sir John A. Macdonald itself, Lampman’s review is partly a product of the "triumvirate" envisaged by Roberts. In the long essay on Canadian "Thought and Literature" that constitutes the penultimate chapter of Collins’s book (435-98) more than fifteen pages are devoted to a fulsome discussion of Roberts’s Orion, and Other Poems, culminating in the suggestion, also mooted by Collins in a review of the book in the February 1883 number of Rouge et Noir (13), that the poet be offered a chair in English literature at the University of Toronto (Life and Times 479). Since Lampman had scarcely begun his publishing career in 1883, he receives "kindly praise" rather than extensive commentary in Collins’s essay: "[a]mong our younger writers who show decided promise may be mentioned Mr. Archibald Lampman, B.A., of Toronto; and Mr. J.A. Ritchie, of Ottawa. …Mr. Lampman has an exquisite touch, and has already written some lines of the very highest merit. Mr. Ritchie has…a soft, mellow music, that is large with promise of admirable things" (496). That Lampman’s review was written in the same friendly spirit is made clear by its opening reference to his "[h]aving read through more than once with great delight the proof-sheets" of Collins’s book and his subsequent description of what is to follow as "no severe and critical review." The fact that in 1883 "Collins…commissioned him to write some descriptions of scenery for his next book" (Connor 72), Canada under the Administration of Lord Lorne (1884), may indicate that Lampman did more than read the proofs of the work that he hails as "very able and delightful"; in any event, he was extremely willing to repay in kind the "enthusiasm, …praise, and…excitement" of the man who had done so much to encourage him on "the path of literature."

As printed in the Canadian Illustrated News, "The Life and Times of Sir John A. Macdonald" contains numerous errors, particularly in the quotations from Collins’s book. When these are almost certainly typographical (as in the case of repeated words), they have been corrected and noted, but when they could as easily have originated with Lampman they have been retained and noted.

"It was a battle…defend that right."  This is an accurate quotation except for minor variations in punctuation and the substitution of "times" for "tories" and "baleful" for "hateful" (54).

During a stormy…  In the sentence beginning "During a stormy…" in the Canadian Illustrated News the phrase "of those" appears after "portraits" as well as "four".

the "great…Earl of Durham…report.  Except for minor variations of spelling and capitalization, this is an accurate quotation from Collins’s description (43-44) of John George Lambton, first Earl of Durham (1792-1840), who came to Canada as governor general in 1838 to study and report on the causes of the Rebellions of 1837-1838, a mandate that he fulfilled in his Report of 1839.

Sir Charles Metcalfe… "…responsible government"  Except for a tense change ("looked" to "looks") and the omission of "refractory" before "reformers" (48), this is an accurate quotation from Collins’s description of Sir Charles Theophilus Metcalfe (1785-1846), the governor general of British North America between 1843 and 1845. Metcalfe’s mandate was to resist demands for responsible government (that is, government by elected ministers), which he successfully did.

"…The sanguinary Sir George Arthur…"  In describing the administrative career of Sir George Arthur (1784-1854), the lieutenant governor of Upper Canada (1838-1839) who refused to prevent the "hang[ing] of [Samuel] Lount" (44) and another participant in the Rebellions of 1837-1838, Collins likens him to John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee (c.1649-1689), who is infamous for his brutal suppression of the Covenanters’ rebellion in Scotland in 1679-1681. Lampman substitutes "he" for "Sir Charles" in the first sentence of the quotation and omits what would have been the second sentence.

Sir Francis Bond Head…  The quotation from Collins’s description of Sir Francis Bond Head (1793-1875), the lieutenant governor of Upper Canada in 1836-1837, is accurate except for a minor variation in punctuation and the substitution of "among" for "amongst" (40). Collins likens Head to Alexander the Great (356-326 BC), the Macedonian general and imperialist, and David Garrick (1717-1729), the English actor and socialite.

Lord Elgin…  Lampman’s quotations from Collins’s description of James Bruce, eighth Earl of Elgin (1811-1863), the governor general of Canada from 1847 to 1854 whose mandate was to concede responsible government, contain numerous variations in punctuation and spelling, the addition of "Lord Durham" in parentheses, and the substitution of "looked on" for "looked upon" (111-112). The sentence beginning "He had studied…" also contains a repetition of "they".

"Some of the most brazen demagogues…sympathy."  This quotation is accurate except for minor variations of punctuation and capitalization and the omission of "open" before "sympathy" (65).

"It was not unusual…party strife."  Except for minor variations of punctuation and the substitution of "these meetings" for "one of these gatherings" (62), this quotation is accurate. Collins refers to radicals from Monaghan in northeastern Ireland (Eire).

He addressed meetings "…on the spot."  This quotation is accurate except for minor variations in punctuation, the replacement of "not stand up" by "stand not up," "chose" by "choose," and "upon the spot" by "on the spot" (63). Collins refers to Shakespeare’s Mark Antony, whose most famous political speech beginning "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears…" is in Julius Caesar III, ii, 79-113.

"It is not to be wondered at…indifferently."  Except for minor variations in punctuation, this quotation is accurate (the "austere reformer" appears to be Henry Sherwood [1807-1855], who held a seat in the House of Assembly from 1836 to 1842). Collins refers to Edward Gibbon (1737-1794), the author of (The History of the) Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-1788).

"How ashamed…primogeniture’"  This quotation contains numerous inaccuracies: "opinions" is replaced by "openings," "vapours that" by "vapours which," and the single quotation marks surrounding the quotations within the quotation are either doubled or omitted (79).

Gladstone, Beaconsfield and Peel  Lampman refers to three nineteenth-century British prime ministers: William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898), Benjamin Disraeli, the Earl of Beaconsfield (1804-1881), and Sir Robert Peel (1788-1850).

"A man…craft."  Except for minor variations in punctuation and the omission of "unto" in "like unto one," this quotation is accurate (80).

Indemnification bill…Baldwin and Lafontaine  In 1849 the reform ministry of Robert Baldwin (1804-1864) and Sir Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine (1807-1864) introduced the Rebellion Losses Act, a measure to provide a fund to compensate or indemnify people in Canada East (Quebec) whose property had been damaged or destroyed during the Rebellions of 1837-1838.

Mr. Blake…Sir Allan…  On February 15 and 16, 1849, William Hume Blake (1809-1870), a member of the Baldwin-Lafontaine ministry, delivered a major speech on the Rebellion Losses Bill that vigorously attacked the tories for opposing the measure and rashly accused Sir Allan Napier MacNab (1798-1862), the speaker of the House of Assembly, of disloyalty to Canada. MacNab later became the leader of the Liberal-Conservative party, which formed the ministries (1854-1856) that immediately preceded those of Macdonald. Blake’s speech and MacNab’s response to it (which Lampman quotes accurately) appear in Collins’s eighth chapter, "Ruling in Storm" (123-24).

The disgraceful sack of the Parliament buildings…  Collins describes this and surrounding events in "Ruling in Storm" (127-34).

Compact troubles  The resistance of the reactionary groups of the Upper Canadian establishment (the Family Compact) to the initiatives of the reformers.

his sketch of Dominick Daly…  Lampman’s quotation of Collins’s description of Dominick Daly (1798-1860), the provincial secretary first of Lower Canada and then of Canada East from 1827 to 1848 and Metcalfe’s key advisor in 1843-1844, contains several variations in punctuation and several substantial inaccuracies: "benchman" is substituted for "henchman," "his Crown" for "the Crown," "Anseramhis" for "amarantus," and "prefoment" for "preferment" (93-94).

After this…modern liberal conservative party.  Lampman summarizes Collins’s chapters 9-11, which credit the Globe (Toronto) newspaper with coining the term "clear grit" to describe the new reform party of Robert Christie (1788-1856), John Rolph (1793-1870) and others (138). Sir Francis Hincks (1807-1885) was a reformer who served as inspector general in two reform ministries in the eighteen forties and ’fifties. The "liberal conservative party," which formed the "Great Coalition" ministry of 1864 that prepared the way for Confederation, arose from the reconciliation of the tories under Macdonald and the reformers under George Brown.

George Brown…  Collins devotes a good deal of space to the reform leader George Brown (1818-1880) in the first half of his book. Lampman’s first quotation regarding Brown is accurate except for the replacement of "refined atmosphere, during" with "refined atmosphere. During" (140). The second quotation regarding Brown’s maiden speech is accurate except for minor variations in punctuation (see 158). The third quotation regarding Brown’s sense of duty contains variations of punctuation, the substitution of "heaven" for "haven," and omits "finer" before "moral duty" (306).

the Globe-hunted Sir Edmund W. Head  Collins devotes several pages (211-20) to Sir Edmund Walker Head (1805-1868), the lieutenant governor of New Brunswick (1848-1854) and governor general of British North America (1854-1861) who is sometimes called the "grandfather of Confederation" for his support of Canadian unity in a memorandum of 1851. He was criticized in the Toronto Globe and elsewhere for tolerating the "double shuffle" (see note, below).

Brown’s onslaught on Roman Catholicism…  "It may be going too far…to say [Brown] was not intolerant, because he did not banish the Roman Catholics out of the country. But the spirit was willing if the flesh was weak" (142) is one of Collins’s numerous observations about the staunch Presbyterian who founded the Globe.

Mr. Mackenzie…  Alexander Mackenzie (1822-1892), the prime minister of Canada from 1873 to 1878 (and, prior to that a member of legislatures of Canada East and Ontario) wrote The Life and Speeches of Hon. George Brown (1882), a laudatory biography that Collins quotes with distaste (see 132 and 210-20).

the famous "double shuffle" manoeuvre…  Collins devotes an entire chapter (13) to this gambit, which permitted the Macdonald-Cartier government to retain power without an election in 1858 "by accepting…other offices than those held at the time of [their] resignation" (222).

"representation by population"  Between 1851 and 1867, Brown and other reformers advocated the principle that "‘the representation of the people in parliament should be based on population without regard to a separating line between Upper and Lower Canada’" (qtd. in Collins 203).

"The very virtue…the greater for ever."  Collins makes this observation in the context of the pre-Confederation debate over whether Upper and Lower Canada should have representation by population in parliament. Except for the substitution of "quality" for "equality" and minor differences of punctuation, Lampman’s quotation is accurate (237).

Chapter XVI…  Collins’s chapter on the process leading to Confederation is entitled "The Dominion of Canada."

"what he did do…demagogism"  Except for minor variations in punctuation, the omission of "instead" in "shall, instead, endeavour," and the spelling of "demagogism" as "damagogism" this quotation is accurate. Collins is discussing Brown’s willingness to abandon the principle of "representation by population" in order to clear the path for Confederation (see 281-83).

"Not alone…victory had been won."  This quotation contains several variations in punctuation and wording: "Yet" is omitted from the beginning of the first sentence; "towards" becomes "toward"; "Macdonald had" becomes "Macdonald has"; and "coalition Macdonald saw" becomes "coalition he saw" (286-87).

Charlottetown and Quebec  These two cities were the sites of the conferences in 1864-1865 that led to Confederation.

maritime provinces  In the Canadian Illustrated News, "maritime provinces" appears as "maritime pro-provinces".

Ambrose Shea…  A delegate to the Quebec conference from Newfoundland, Sir Ambrose Shea (1815-1905) was especially ridiculed, according to Collins, by Newfoundlanders of "Irish birth or extraction" whose "speech revealed their relationship to that land whence a certain saint expelled the frogs and snakes" (294). Collins quotes some of the "harrowing poetry" that Newfoundland’s "fisherman-bards" directed at Shea and records his own memories of the insults hurled at the "stateman" when he attempted to "visit…Placentia" (311-12).

"solitary virgin…wedlock."  This quotation is a conflation of two passages from Collins’s book: "we…must tell in proper place how this cold virgin resented the proposal for political wedlock" (295) and "out on the edge of the Atlantic [Prince Edward Island’s ‘rugged sister’] was listless" (311).

George Cartier  Sir George-Étienne Cartier (1814-1873) fought in the Rebellion of 1837 in Lower Canada and, after forming the Macdonald-Cartier ministries in Canada East in the eighteen fifties, held a position in the "Great Coalition" (see note, above) and promoted the cause of Confederation among his fellow French Canadians.

"Mr. Cartier…reached its end"  This quotation contains several variations in punctuation and wording: "M. Cartier" becomes "Mr. Cartier"; "however" is added between "these" and "he"; "the" is added between "were" and "inheritances"; "sets" becomes "sits"; and "aside" becomes "wide" (322-23).

Sir H. Langevin…statesman  Sir Hector-Louis Langevin (1826-1906) was a supporter of Cartier and the Liberal-Conservative party who, as solicitor general in the "Great Coalition," attended the Confederation conferences of 1864-1865. On Cartier’s death in 1873, he succeeded to the leadership of the Quebec conservative party. As Lampman indicates, Collins accords him high praise: "to us, M. Langevin in the role of second to M. Cartier, seems like the sun acting satellite to the moon. As a statesman, to M. Cartier we can only accord a second place; to M. Langevin we give a first" (327).

the Red River troubles  The Red River Rebellion of 1869-1870, which Collins examines in a chapter entitled "The Half-Breed."

the fisheries question  In 1871-1872 tension developed between, on one side, the United States and, on the other, Canada and Britain over American "poaching" within the three-mile limit off the coasts of Newfoundland and the maritime provinces (see Collins 370-78).

the great Pacific scandal.  In April 1873 the Liberals revealed that for the August 1872 federal election, Macdonald, Cartier, and Langevin had solicited some $360,000 in campaign funds from promoters, including Sir Hugh Allan, who was subsequently awarded the contract to build the Canadian Pacific Railway and had used American money to bribe certain government officials. The government survived a royal commission in the summer and fall of 1873, but in October it was forced to resign (see Collins 340-406).

disclosures  In the Canadian Illustrated News "disclosures" appears as "diselosures".

The administration of Mr. Mackenzie…  Collins describes Alexander Mackenzie’s years in office (1873-1878) in part (407-420) of his chapter entitled "‘A Wet Sheet in a Flowing Sea."’

is passed  In the Canadian Illustrated News "is passed" appears as "as pass".

"We differ from Mr. Mackenzie…coffin." Except for minor variations of punctuation, this quotation of Collins’s judicious estimate of Mackenzie (409) is accurate.

Mr. Collins is an admirer…of Mr. Blake…  Collins considers Mackenzie’s successor as leader of the Liberal party, Edward Blake (1833-1912), a "great party leader" but a man whom "nature let…off her hands without backbone" (431), and offers the assessments and comparisons that Lampman quotes in the concluding paragraphs (431-34) of "‘A Wet Sheet and Flowing Sea."’

Roberts and Frechette  As observed in the headnote, more than fifteen pages of Collins’s chapter on "Thought and Literature" is devoted to Charles G.D. Roberts (1860-1945), who is described as "our greatest Canadian poet" (465). "Next in order of merit [Collins] take[s] M. Louis Honoré Fr[é]chette [1839-1908] to whom the exclusive doors of the Institute of France were opened [in 1880], and from whom he bore away the laurels [that is, the Prix Montyon of the French Academy]…for Les Fleurs Boreales [1879] and Les Oiseaux de Neige [1879]" (430). See also "Two Canadian Poets."

…the key note of his whole work…his earnest advocacy of Canadian independence…  See headnote. In the final paragraph of "Thought and Literature," Collins states his political beliefs unequivocally: "to the speculating mind, one of three courses will be open [to Canada]: Federation with the empire…; annexation with the United Sates…and Canadian Independence. We need not repeat what we have expressed so often, that for this latter scheme we are heart and soul; that no other change will satisfy the manly, yearning spirit of our young Canadians; and that it is our duty now to bestir ourselves, to organize, and to tire not nor rest till our Colonialism shall have become a thing of the past, and our Canada stand robust, and pure, and manly, and intelligent, among the nations of the earth" (497-98).


This essay, a Carlylean analysis of the career and character of the French politician Léon Gambetta (1838-1882), was published in Rouge et Noir 4 (July, 1883): 5-10, the text reprinted here. It has not been previously reprinted.

Written in the aftermath of Gambetta’s death, Lampman’s essay bears the deep imprint, not only of Carlyle’s On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History (1841), but also of his The French Revolution: a History (1837) and his "Mirabeau" (1837), a review-essay published in Critical and Miscellaneous Essays (see headnote to "Friendship"). Tacitly accepting the "Great Men" approach to history embodied in On Heroes (Works 5: 1-2), "Gambetta" fleshes out its portrait of the hero as the "King" of a revolutionary movement with parallels to Gabriel Honoré Riquetti, Comte de Mirabeau (1749-1791), whom Carlyle characterizes as a moderate and tragic hero of the French Revolution. Several details of Lampman’s essay, such as its repeated references to 1867, suggest that he may have intended his readers to recognize certain parallels between Gambetta’s France and John A. Macdonald’s Canada.

A lawyer by training, Gambetta came to prominence in the late eighteen sixties as an eloquent opponent of the Second Empire of Napoleon III, a role that took him to parliament as an opposition member in 1869. After the Franco-Prussian War precipitated the collapse of the Second Empire in 1870, he became prominent in the provisional government, spearheading the political and military forces of defense against the Germans, first in Paris and then, after his famous escape from the city in a balloon, in the surrounding countryside. Paris capitulated and an armistice was declared in January 1871, but the refusal of the city to disarm led to the Paris Commune, a second siege of the city (this time by French forces), and, with the Treaty of Frankfurt (May 1871), a new role for Gambetta as the proponent of reconciliation and the architect of the republican constitution of 1875. Under President Jules Grévy, he became premier in 1881-1882, but his anti-clericalism and his attempts at electoral reform were highly controversial. He died of an accidentally self-inflicted gunshot wound on December 31, 1882. As Lampman’s essay reveals, he was the subject of admiration, harsh criticism, and near apotheosis in the years immediately following his death.

To a great extent "Gambetta" is a pastiche of materials drawn from three of the articles mentioned in the final paragraph of the essay, Frederic Harrison’s "Leon Gambetta. A Positivist Discourse," Contemporary Review 4 (March, 1883): 3-7; Gabriel Monod, "Contemporary Life and Thought in France," Contemporary Review 4 (February, 1883): 1-7; and "Gambetta" by "A Friend and Follower," Fortnightly Review 4 (February, 1883): 42-45. To a much lesser extent Lampman’s essay draws upon the other two articles that he mentions, "Gambetta" by "A German," Contemporary Review 4 (February, 1883): 8-11; and R.W. Dale, "M. Gambetta: Positivism and Christianity," Contemporary Review 4 (April, 1883): 7-13.

…the new Religion of Humanity…Frederick Harrison…  An offshoot of the logical Positivism of the French philosopher Auguste Comte, the Religion of Humanity was an attempt by Frederic Harrison (1831-1923) and others to create a system of ritual, dogma, and ethics on a scientific rather than a spiritual basis. At its heart was a faith in human reason, a belief in the evolution of human civilization, and a commitment to the moral principle of altruism. In 1881, Harrison established a centre for instruction in the new religion at Newton Hall in London’s Fetter Lane, outfitting it with a "Positivist library of the two hundred and seventy volumes selected by Comte himself," the ‘"busts of the great men of all ages from Moses to Bichat, whose names are in the New Calendar,"’ and "a grand piano, once owned by Charles Darwin" (Buckley 194, quoting Harrison). Harrison’s "Leon Gambetta. A Positivist Discourse" was indeed "delivered at Newton Hall on Sunday February 4, 1883," a week after a lecture on Muhammed, the Prophet of Islam. In justifying his inclusion of Gambetta in the "calendar…of our great fathers, who are the true creators…of human civilization," Harrison observes that "he was the first statesman of European importance formally to offer his public homage to Comte as the greatest mind of the nineteenth century; and formally to adopt, as his leading idea in politics, Comte’s great aphorism: ‘Progress can only arise out of the development of Order"’ (3). He adds, however, that "it is not for this that Gambetta holds a place of prime importance in our eyes. …He is the first European statesman of this century who is heart and soul Republican; the only one whose fiber is entirely popular; who saw that the Republic implied a real social reconstruction; he is the only European statesman who is equally zealous for progress and for order, and most assuredly he is the only statesman of this century who has formally thrown away every kind of theological crutch" (3).

On the one hand Christ, the Perfect one…on the other…Danton, Hoch[e], Condorcet, Carrell [sic], and finally Leon Gambetta  Lampman is drawing here from passages near the beginning and at the conclusion of Harrison’s essay: "[t]hat vague and unreal vision, the Christ, or perfect man…we replace with the collective Host of the real men who exhibit every trait of human greatness. …[L]et us remember with honor the great citizen [Gambetta] who has been borne to the premature grave, wherein were laid the unrevealed future of Danton, and Hoche, and Condorcet, and Carrell" (3,7).

St. John, St. Stephen and St. Paul  Lampman lists the (assumed) author of the Fourth Gospel (St. John), the first Christian martyr (St. Stephen), and the "Apostle to the Gentiles" (St. Paul).

Irenaeus  St. Irenaeus (circa 130-circa 200) was the bishop of Lyons and is generally regarded as the first great Roman Catholic theologian.

Augustine of Hippo  St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) was the Bishop of Hippo and is centrally important to Christian theology.

Titans  In Greek mythology, the Titans are the children of Uranus and Ge. They are popularly imagined as a race of giants who waged war against Jupiter for a period of ten years, and were eventually conquered and imprisoned.

Danton  A leading figure in the French Revolution, Georges Jacques Danton (1759-1794) was instrumental in overthrowing the monarchy and establishing a republic. After advocating a relaxation of the Reign of Terror and attacking the dictatorship of the Committee for Public Safety, he was charged with treason and guillotined.

Hoch[e]  A general in the French revolutionary wars, Louis Lazare Hoche (1768-1797) commanded the forces that drove the Austrians across the Rhine in 1793. After a brief period of imprisonment on a charge of treason, he led an abortive invasion of Ireland (1796) and a successful campaign against Austria (1797).

Condorcet  Mark Jean Antoine Nicolas Caritat, Marquis de Condorcet (1743-1794) was a French philosopher, mathematician and political leader who died in prison after being condemned for opposing the radical Jacobins.

Carrell [sic]  A political leader of the American Revolution and a signatory to the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll (1737-1832) served as a United States congressman and senator.

the sacred Carroc[c]io  In medieval Italy, the carroccio was a chariot consisting of a platform surmounted by an altar and a standard. Before battle, priests held services on the altar of the carroccio and during the battle it was fiercely protected.

Luther…Cromwell and…Mirabeau  Martin Luther (1453-1546), the German founder of the Protestant Reformation, Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth (1653-1658) after the English Civil War, and Honoré Gabriel Riquetti, Comte de Mirabeau (1749-1791), a moderate opponent of monarchy who rose to prominence and died in the early days of the French Revolution (see notes, below), are all given heroic status by Carlyle in On Heroes, Hero-worship and the Heroic in History (1841), the first in "The Hero as Priest," the second in "The Hero as King" and the third, also in "The Hero as King" lecture, as a man gifted with the capacity and the ambition "to develop himself according to the magnitude which Nature has made him of; to speak-out, to act-out, what Nature has laid in him," an attribute that he defines as "the summary of duties for a man. …To unfold your self, to work what thing you have the faculty for" (Works 5: 225).

some hollow "formula"  In several places, Carlyle distinguishes between "true" and "false" "forms" and "formulas"—that is, between words, rituals, institutions, and other human creations that either emerge organically from and thus correspond to "the real essence of things" or "are consciously put round a substance" and thus conceal rather than reveal an essence or truth (see On Heroes [Works 5: 204-07], for example, and Past and Present [Works 10: 126]). To Carlyle, revolutionary heroes such as Cromwell and Luther had the capacity to recognize and eliminate false "formulas."

the man with an "eye," as Carlyle would say  Lampman probably had in mind several passage in On Heroes ("we have to note the decisive practical eye of this man [Cromwell]; how he drives towards the practical and practicable; has a genuine insight into what is fact" [Works 5: 214-15]); Past and Present ("all of us, …many of us, should acquire the true eye for talent, which is dreadfully wanting at present" [Works 10: 31]); and The French Revolution ("[t]his [Mirabeau] is no man of system…; he is…a man of instincts and insights. …A man not with logic-spectacles; but with an eye!" [Works 2: 140]).

In 1867 Gambetta was a young, struggling, advocate…  Lampman’s account of Gambetta’s political career here and in the remainder of the paragraph relies heavily on Harrison: "[i]n November, 1868, the date of his famous speech, he was a briefless, unknown barrister. In the early spring of 1869, he was the rival, the terror, and the judge of the Empire. The Empire in these last two years shook and cowered before a young lawyer. …That one man, a young, unknown, penniless lawyer of thirty-two, roused France from her slumber…made the French people feel again they were a people, and planted in their hearts the image of Republic instead of Empire. …He was the one man known to all living Frenchmen—man, woman, and child—and known as the inspirer of a new sense—love of the country" (4). To Harrison’s account of the occasion and results of Gambetta’s first speech, Lampman adds details drawn from Monod: "[t]he Empire had instituted proceedings against certain newspapers for opening a subscription for the erection of a monument to Baudin, a representative of the people who had been killed on a barricade on the 4th of December, 1851. Gambetta was one of the counsel for the defense, and, without paying any heed to the matter itself, he made a flaming speech against the December crime, which struck the magistrates dumb with admiration and astonishment" (1).

son of the small grocer from Cahors  Monod describes Gambetta as "[t]he son of a small grocer of Cahors" (1), a city in south central France.

In 1870 came the miserable collapse…  Again, Lampman draws heavily on Harrison: "[t]he Empire ended…in an utter wreck; and…on the morrow of Sedan, the Republic was the work of Gambetta. He planned it, he organized it, he established it" (4).

"People’s Friend" Marat  One of the most radical and blood-thirsty of the leaders of the French Revolution, Jean Paul Marat (1743-1793) is assigned the sobriquet that Lampman quotes by Carlyle in The French Revolution: "[l]one Marat…could see salvation in one thing only: in the fall of ‘two-hundred and sixty thousand Aristocratic heads.’ …But the world laughed, mocking the severe-benevolence of a People’s Friend; and his idea could not become an action, but only a fixed-idea" (Works 3: 24).

the dreamer Robespierre  One of the most extreme leaders of the French Revolution, Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre (1758-1794) was the man chiefly responsible for the Reign of Terror. After being denounced by his revolutionary colleagues (who feared that he had gone mad), he was guillotined in July 1794.

Louis Blanc…rigid democracy…  The advocate of a system of national workshops that would prepare the way for a utopian society in which all people would work according to their aptitudes and consume according to their needs, the French journalist and socialist Louis Blanc (1811-1882) obtained a measure of political power in 1848 and after 1871. In the interim, he lived in England, writing a radical history of the French Revolution. The contrast that Lampman draws between Blanc and Gambetta derives from Monod: "[w]hilst…Blanc shut himself up in haughty inaction, content with enunciating principles and dogmas, Gambetta threw himself into the heat of political action, associated himself with every section of the majority, engaged in a thousand negotiations, a thousand intrigues…contrived, in an Assembly for the most part composed of Monarchists, to get a majority to proclaim the Republic" (2). Lampman’s "‘irreconcilable’ dogmatist, Louis Blanc" echoes Monod’s description of the young Gambetta’s "attitude [as] irréconciliable" (1) and "A German’s" reference to his "irreconcilable opposition to the fundamental law of the country" (8).

Again in 1877…M[a]cMahon’s insidious conspiracy…  Lampman’s account of this phase of what Harrison describes as the second of "three successive epochs in which Gambetta was the true author of the Republic: in 1868-9, in 1870-1 in 1876-8" (4) derives principally from Monod, who writes in part: "[w]hen the Parliamentary coup d’etat of May 16, 1877, took place, and Marshall [Marie Edmé Patrice de] MacMahon [1808-1893]…tried to bring about a reactionary general election, Gambetta found himself a second time the natural head of the Republican party. …His ascendancy was such that the strictest discipline reigned unbroken amongst the Republicans—his counsels were all received as commands. …He knew the nature of the electoral material…well. …MacMahon first submitted, and then resigned—a result due in great measure to…Gambetta’s cleverness, energy, and eloquence" (2).

A German writer…Gambetta and Mirabeau  In "Gambetta," "A German finds an absence of all sense of proportion and perspective" in comparisons made between Gambetta and others, "for even Mirabeau has not been allowed to escape comparison with the tribune of the nineteenth century" (8).

resistless Titan of the Assembly of 1791  In The French Revolution, Carlyle repeatedly describes Mirabeau as a "Titan" and as "Titanic" (see, for example, Works 3: 131, 137, and 141).

whose "we shall"…brought chaos and tumult into silent obedience… Lampman appears to be referring to an incident on February 28, 1791, as described by Carlyle in The French Revolution: "[t]he National Assembly, in one of its stormiest moods, is debating a Law against Emigration; Mirabeau declaring aloud, ‘I swear beforehand that I will not obey it’. …[H]e rises into far-sounding melody of strength, triumphant, which subdues all hearts. …‘Silence,’ he cries now…‘Silence, the thirty voices, Silence aux trente voix!’—and Robespierre and the thirty Voices die into mutterings; and the Law is once more as Mirabeau would have it" (Works 3: 131).

They were the "swallowers of formulas"  In The French Revolution, Carlyle repeatedly credits Mirabeau with this talent: "he has ‘made away with (humé, swallowed, snuffed-up) all Formulas,’" he is "[a] man who ‘ha[s] swallowed all formulas,’" and, as a result, there is no "Formula…that will express truly the plus and the minus of him, give us the accurate result of him" (Works 2: 140; 1: 145).

Mirabeau…the last leonine flower…of the fire-blooded Riquetti  See Carlyle of Mirabeau after his death in The French Revolution: "[h]e is gone: the flower of the wild Riquetti. …So die the Mirabeaus" (Works 3: 147). Lampman’s remarks on Gambetta’s Italian temperament derive from "Gambetta" by "A Friend and Follower": "by race and temper he was far more a Massabie (his mother’s maiden name) than a Gambetta. Yet the adjunction of a few drops of Italian blood had produced a deep impression on his Gascon nature. It had thrown in a power of self-restraint, a depth of calculation, and an indefinable charm of manner, the contrast of which, when compared with his impetuous and impulsive disposition and other attributes of southern French blood, always surprised those who knew him longest and best" (43). Monod remarks on Gambetta’s "southern accent" (1). In The French Revolution, Carlyle describes Mirabeau as being "[o]f a southern climate, of wild southern blood: for the Riquettis…had to fly from Florence…and settle…in Provence" (Works 2: 137-38).

…the most significant…scene in Danton’s life…  Lampman is referring to an incident that took place in the Assembly on September 12, 1792, as described by Carlyle in The French Revolution: "see Danton enter. …‘Legislators’ so speaks the stentor voice…‘it is not the alarm-cannon that you hear: it is the pas-de-charge against our enemies. To conquer them, to hurl them back, what do we require? Il nous faut de l’audace, et encore de l’audace, To dare, and again to dare, and without end to dare!’" (Works 4: 23-24).

much-stained epic of Danton’s days  In The French Revolution, Carlyle frequently ascribes "Epic" qualities to his subject; see, for example, Works 3: 147 and 157.

"our little mother Mirabeau"  This appears to be a garbled rendition of Carlyle’s summary description of Mirabeau in The French Revolution as "a living Son of Nature our general Mother" (Works 3: 145).

his famous balloon escape from Paris…  Monod regards Gambetta’s "flight from Paris in a balloon" in October 1871 (when the city was surrounded by German forces) as "the second startling incident" that constituted the "drama and…poem" of his life, the other two being his "political lawsuit" of November 1868 and his "lawsuit during the political campaign of the 16th of May [1871]" (1). After his spectacular escape from Paris, Gambetta secured the support of the French army but was unable to prevent the capitulation of the city in January 1872. Lampman’s description of the military events of 1871-1872 is an elaboration of Monod’s account: "the enthusiasm his arrival in the country occasioned, the amazing rapidity with which…he organized the army of the Loire, the unlooked-for victory at Coulmiers, all created an indelible impression on the popular mind" (1).

this French Leonidas  The Spartan Leonidas was the captain of the Greeks at Thermopylae, the narrow pass in which they withstood the Persian invasion of 480 BC.

…Beaugency…Duke of Mecklinburg [sic]…  Lampman has drawn on an unidentified source similar to "The Invasion of France" in the January 1871 number of the Quarterly Review to describe the military events of 1870-1871. Under Gambetta’s leadership, the French drove the Germans out of Orleans in October 1870 and defeated them at Coulmiers on November 7, but under Grand Duke Friedrich Franz of Mecklenburg-Schwerin they recaptured Orleans on December 4. Between December 5 and 11 there were a series of engagements near the town of Beaugency in which the Germans made little headway. Victory for the Germans eventually came at Le Mans in July 1871. The "défense nationale" that Gambetta inspired had lasted for a little over eight months since Coulmiers. Carl Y. Connor observes that Lampman’s interest in "certain aspects of militarism" (51) in 1882-1883 is also reflected in "The Last Sortie," a poem about the Franco-Prussian war that was printed in Rouge et Noir 3 (November, 1882), 4 but not included in any of his published volumes.

"There is an Unconquerable…rights of man"  Lampman’s quotation is a slightly inaccurate version of part of Carlyle’s statement in The French Revolution that "[t]here is an Unconquerable in man, when he stands on his Rights of Man: let Despots and Slaves and all people know this, and only them that stand on the wrongs of Man tremble to know it" (Works 4: 242).

Marseillaise  See "German Patriotic Poetry."

sooty Vulcans  In early Roman times, Vulcan was a fire-god and perhaps a god of the smithy and iron-workers.

"In a long conversation on the war," says Frederick Harrison…  With some changes in punctuation and word order, and the substitution of "ground" for "groaned," Lampman provides an accurate rendition of the conversation as reported by Harrison (4).

This great and all-providing passion of patriotism…  In "Gambetta," "A Friend and Follower" remarks that "[o]ne thing…never changed in him—his extraordinary patriotism. His love for his country was intense and overpowering" (43).

"We differ in political creed. …"  Lampman’s transcription of the quotation given by "A Friend and Follower" in "Gambetta" (42) is largely accurate.

…Bismarck’s most dreaded skeleton in the closet…  Modon describes "the …fears his name inspired [outside France]" as "an indirect homage to [Gambetta’s] power" (1) but makes no reference to Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince von Bismarck (1815-1890), the German Chancellor (1871-1890) who orchestrated the 1870-1871 war with France.

His funeral…no religious ceremonies… "It is a thing which the world will remember one day," writes Harrison of Gambetta’s funeral in Paris on January 6, 1882 "—such a funeral as no emperor ever had, a day that recalled the gathering of the dawn of the Revolution in 1789…and from first to last in that throng…no Catholic emblem or priest was seen; not a thought but for the great human loss and human sorrow, not a word but of human and earthly hopes" (6). Monod adds that a "hundred thousand persons…formed the imposing funeral cortége…fifteen hundred thousand watched it pass, [and] millions…sent wreaths and addresses from every part of France" (3). Carlyle devotes an entire chapter of The French Revolution to Mirabeau’s death and the general mourning that followed (Works 3: 139-148).

not the Dagon of a party   In the Bible, Dagon is the god of the Philistines (see Judges 16.23). "A Friend and Follower" observes of Gambetta that "[d]emocracy, in his eye, was not a sect, a church—not even a party; it was France itself. …No personal or political bias could keep him from extending his hand to a foe who would contribute to the success of the common cause. …Hence the extraordinary influence Gambetta wielded even amongst the opponents of Republican institutions" (42).

"O had Mirabeau lived one other year!"  Carlyle’s cry concludes the chapter entitled "Mirabeau" in The French Revolution: "[o]ne can say that, had Mirabeau lived, the History of France and of the World had been different. …Had Mirabeau lived one other year" (Works 3: 138-39).

In his personal appearance…  Lampman’s description of Gambetta’s physique and physiognomy puts details drawn from Monod (1) and "A Friend and Follower"—who describes him as a "short, thick-set, bull-necked athlete" with "his enormous head sunk in his shoulders" (43)—at the service of phrenology, "the width, protuberance and elevation of his brows," for example, being an indication of the extent of his intellect. Lampman probably knew mechanically reproduced portraits and drawings of Gambetta such as the one in A. Bowman Blake’s "French Political Leaders" (1881), 340.

His glass eye…  Monod states that "the glass eye [that Gambetta] wore in place of the eye he lost as a child, gave a certain fixedness and fascination to his gaze" (1).

In oratory he is described as the very child of passion…  "A Friend and Follower" suggests that "[e]loquence in [Gambetta] was a native gift; it came without preparation" and observes that with "his hands clutching the marble slab of the tribune as if he would crush it to powder, or raised above his head in tragic gesture, he struck his hearers with fear, anger, or admiration" (43). Lampman provides a highly condensed version of the lengthy and detailed account of Gambetta’s oratory by "A Friend and Follower" (43-44), adding to it a version of Monod’s observation that "[h]e was not a correct orator. He would often lose himself in clumsy, ill-constructed sentences; then, when some strong feeling took hold of him, his eloquence would burst forth, and carry away both himself and his audience" (4).

The German writer speaks rather sneeringly of Gambetta’s speeches…  "His speeches…ought not to be read in the collection of them he was imprudent enough to publish," writes "A German"; "the argumentation in them is poor, the composition loose, the style careless, the repetitions so frequent as to become tautologies, the invective is often in bad taste; as for originality of ideas, we seek for it in vain. What rendered these now unreadable speeches so powerful…was the fire, the spontaneousness, the strength of conviction, the wonderfully striking antitheses which he hurled to the multitude, and which became their watchwords" (9). "A Friend and a Follower" judges Gambetta’s published speeches "[m]asterly" but concedes that "they give…an incomplete impression of the effect produced on those who listened to them" (43).

his active hostility to the church…the state policy of the clergy Lampman is here summarizing the analysis of Gambetta’s attitudes to religion by "A Friend and Follower," who argues that his hero’s "system of government was not directed against the Church…[and] that one of its chief points consisted in maintaining the State above the Church. …[T]he French episcopacy…attack the Government from the pulpit, conspire with pretenders, and recognize no other authority than the Pope’s. …This chronic insurrection of the clergy, their hostility to republican institutions, their defiance of national supremacy is what is called in France clericalism; and when Gambetta exclaimed, four years ago, "Cléricalisme, voilà l’ennemi," he was not formulating an excommunication against Roman Catholicism, but against that sinister conspiracy which uses the forms of religion to sap and extinguish free institutions in France" (45).

As Carlyle says of another greater man…  In The French Revolution, Carlyle writes of Mirabeau: "[t]hey say he was ambitious, that he wanted to be Minister. It is most true. And was he not simply the one man in France who could have done any good as Minister? Not vanity alone, not pride alone; far from that" (Works 3: 146). In Of Heroes he makes the same point somewhat differently: "how shall we blame [Mirabeau’s ambition to be Minister], if he were ‘the only man in France that could have done any good there’?" (Works 5: 225).

the pains he took to fill the offices of state with men subservient to his influence…  Lampman’s point here is a variation of Monod’s observation that in the years when he was President of the Chamber of Deputies (1879-1881) Gambetta did not "confine…himself strictly to the duties of his office" but, rather, chose "to exert his influence in the appointment of functionaries of all kinds, administrators, diplomatic and military officials, and judges, [so] as to make sure of a large following against the time of his becoming Minister himself. …He successfully supported [several Ministers]…by imposing his own conditions upon them…and compassed their downfall when they tried to get independent of him" (2-3). Monod also remarks that "he lent arms to those who feigned to see in him the future Dictator" (3).

Scrutin de Liste  Monod judges Gambetta "entirely in the right" on the matter of the "scrutin de liste"—the election of more than one member to the Chamber of Deputies from each constituency—and describes the failure of the measure: "[m]ost Republicans…were afraid that, in accepting the scrutin de liste, they would be putting too much power in Gambetta’s hands. …It cost [him] untold efforts to get the scrutin de liste accepted by the Chamber by a majority of only four; and the Senate, in evident defiance of him, rejected the proposed reform" (51).

In regard to the charges of loose morality…  "As to his private life, there are things, perhaps, gross and unworthy," concedes Harrison, "and a public man has no private life. But unworthy if they be, they were not of the kind which seriously disable a public career. …He was a jovial, unabashed son of Paris; without special refinement of life, or sensitive delicacy of conscience" (3). Monod observes that Gambetta’s "private life, never very correct, is reputed to have been for a considerable time one of great irregularity" (3).

Victor Hugo…a great and powerful novel  Lampman is probably referring to Les Misérables (1862), a novel about the poor and downtrodden of Paris, by the French Romantic poet, dramatist, and novelist Victor Marie Hugo (1802-1885).

He died…comparatively poor…Republican journals  "A Friend and Follower" supplements a comment on Gambetta’s personal generosity with an analysis of his finances: "[h]e might have profited by his public position to improve his private fortune; indeed he was credited by a large portion of the public with having done so. …[But] he leaves hardly a million francs—£40,000—entirely derived from the premium realized on his shares in the two newspapers inspired by him—the République Française and Petite République. Under the circumstances, no one will be surprised to hear that he was at some pains, considering the requirements of his position, to make both ends meet" (42-43).

We are told of his indefatigable industry… "A Friend and Follower" goes on to observe that Gambetta "read hard and well, and never ceased to the last day of his life to study and learn. …For years, and particularly during his latest years, he seldom slept more than four hours a night, throwing away, for the benefit of his country, his strength, his health, and powers of existence. …One small wound sufficed to cast down his fatigued frame, and was as the drop of water which makes the glass overflow" (43). Gambetta’s wound was accidentally self-inflicted while he was "handling a revolver" (Monod 3).

The Modern School of Poetry in England

The undated and unsigned holograph manuscript of this essay is held in the National Archives (MG 29 D59 vol. 2, 680-693). Its 14 pages are consecutively numbered by Lampman, and each sheet measures 20.1 x 32.5 cm. Pages 1, 8, 10, 11 and 12 are watermarked with chainlines and "DOMINION OF CANADA" and pages 2-7, 9, 13 and 14 with chainlines and "A PIRIE & SONS | Register". The paper, the ink, and the handwriting of "The Modern School of Poetry in England" are shared by "The Fairy Fountain. A Fairy Tale" (MG 29 D59 vol. 1, 635-665), which suggests that the two pieces were written at about the same time.

This is confirmed in a letter of January 29, 1885 to May McKeggie in which Lampman gives details of the essay’s compositional circumstances (the previous "fairy tale" to which he refers is almost certainly "Hans Fingerhut’s Frog Lesson," published in Man [Toronto], 1, [November, 1885]: 6-10):

Pardon my not having written…before. I have been very dull and out of spirits—oppressed with innumerable things—debts; ill success in everything, incapacity to write and want of any hope of ever succeeding in it if I do.
                                        •             •             •
I wrote another fairy tale the other day—much to mother’s disgust; who is unlimited in her complaints of the unpractical and outlandish character of my writings, which indeed fetch no money—or even respect. As to the story ["The Fairy Fountain"] I made it in a dull lifeless state of mind, so I dare say it is bad enough[.] I have also made 5 stanzas of a poem on winter—one stanza of which is good—the rest bad—very good and very bad—the majority bad however. I have to read in March a paper to the Lit[erary] and Sci[entific] Society here [in Ottawa] on "The Modern School of Poetry in England" and I am sorry I agreed to it, for my ideas are all going to the winds—days and days pass over me without a swift thought, idea or fancy entering my head. I am as dull as a clod. I write this in my office [at the Post Office] and here is some work at my elbow just brought in to do.

The lack of inspiration to which this letter refers helps to explain the heavy reliance on secondary sources in "The Modern School of Poetry in England." Despite the fact that he wrote his first masterpiece, "Among the Timothy," in the summer of 1885 (Early, "Chronology" 78), Lampman was still in the doldrums in December of that year, though he did concede earlier to May McKeggie that his work was "get[ting] better…in some respects."

"The Modern School of Poetry" participates in the widespread re-assessment of the Pre-Raphaelites that followed Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s death in 1882. Its principal source of information about Rossetti and his work, however, is neither the affectionate biographies of T. Hall Caine and William Sharp, both of which appeared in 1882, nor the eulogistic obituaries and articles of Edmund W. Gosse, Theodore Watts-Dunton and others, but Walter Pater’s Introduction to Rossetti’s poetry in the fourth volume of Thomas Humphry Ward’s The English Poets: Selections with Critical Introductions by Various Writers and a General Introduction by Matthew Arnold (1880), the probable source also of his knowledge of Arnold’s theory of poetry. Lampman’s discussion of Rossetti and, subsequently, Algernon Charles Swinburne and William Morris also draws heavily on several reviews and articles that are more or less hostile to the Pre-Raphaelites, especially William John Courthorpe’s "The Latest Development of Literary Poetry" (1872), a scathing review of Rossetti’s Poems (1870) Swinburne’s Songs Before Sunrise (1871), and Morris’s The Earthly Paradise: a Poem (1868-1870) that defines the three poets as a "school" characterized by, among other things, "morbid sensitiveness," a "failure…to appreciate the active life of their time," and an indulgence in "the affectations of thought and language" (63, 81). Evidently, Lampman, like the John Campbell Shairp of "Aesthetic Poetry. Dante Gabriel Rossetti" (1882) was distressed by the "unwholesome sentiments…the esoteric vein of thought…the exotic manner and too elaborated style" of the Pre-Raphaelites and wanted modern poets "to cultivate manlier thought and nobler sentiment in purer and fresher diction, and to make their appeal, not to the perfumed tastes of over-educated coteries, but to the broader and healthier sympathies of universal man" (12). "Contact with uninnocent emotions has unsettled" the minds of the Pre-Raphaelite poets so that they are "no longer capable of the clearest poetry," writes Lampman in his concluding paragraph; "[t]hat is the reason why so much of our modern verse is gifted with innumerable attributes of poetry, but is at the soul, feverish and unmanly. …[The modern poets] have sung for us the extremes of human joy and pain, but never anything of manful trust or hearty endurance. …[T]hey have done nothing to help mankind in the gradual and eternal movement toward order and divine beauty and peace."

Lampman’s acknowledged point of departure for "The Modern School of Poetry in England" is "Old and New Canons of Poetical Criticism" (1882), a two part answer to Arnold’s view of poetry as "a criticism of life" by Alfred Austin, a poet and critic whose name is almost synonymous with "manliness" as a literary value. But if the first section of "The Modern School of Poetry in England" is indebted to Austin’s essay and, very likely, his collection of masculinist diatribes on The Poetry of the Period (1870), it is even more so to the opening chapter on "The Province of Poetry" in Shairp’s Aspects of Poetry, Being Lectures Delivered at Oxford (1882). Defining "the genuine and healthy poetic nature" in terms of "[h]uman-heartedness," Shairp focuses his chapter on three questions: "[w]hat is the object or material with which the poet deals. What is the special power which he brings to bear on that object. What is his true aim…the function which he fulfils in human society" (4). The extent to which Lampman’s views accord with Shairp’s answers to these questions can be gauged from the following notes, but part of the conclusion of "The Province of Poetry" may be quoted here as a preliminary indication of the idealistic view of poetry that helped to shape "The Modern School of Poetry in England":

Poetry will not succumb before materialism, or agnosticism, or any other cobweb of the sophisticated brain…for it is an undying effluence of the soul of man.
That this effluence has on the whole been benign in its tendency, who can doubt?…Imagination may be turned to evil uses. It may minister, as it has sometimes ministered, to the baser side of human nature, and thrown enchantment over things that are vile. But this has been a perversion, which depraves the nature of poetry, and robs it of its finest grace. Naturally it is the ally of all things high and pure; among these it is at home; its nature is to lay hold of these, and to bring them, with power and attractiveness, home to our hearts. It is the prerogative of poetry to convey to us, as nothing else can, the beauty that is in all nature, to interpret the finer quality that is hidden in the hearts of men, and to hint at a beauty which lies behind these, a light "above the light of setting suns," which is incommunicable. In doing this it will fulfil now, as of old, the office which [Sir Francis] Bacon assigned to it, and will give some "shadow of satisfaction to the spirit of man, longing for a more ample greatness, a more perfect goodness, and a more absolute variety" than here it is capable of. (30)

…"Interpretation of the Invisible"  In "Schiller" (1831) in the second volume of his Critical and Miscellaneous Essays (see headnote to "Friendship"), Thomas Carlyle writes that because the German dramatist is "a true Poet, a genuine interpreter of the Invisible, Criticism will have a great…duty to discharge for him. Every Poet…has to struggle from the littleness and obstruction of an Actual world, into the freedom and infinitude of an Ideal; and the history of such struggle, which is the history of his life, cannot be other than instructive" (Works 27: 172-73). In "Signs of the Times" (1829), Carlyle regrets that modern "Poetry has no eye for the Invisible" (Works 27: 78)—that is, for the transcendent realm of ideals that lies behind the world of appearances.

…"Criticism of Life"  Lampman is referring to the famous definition and prognostication of Matthew Arnold (see note, below) in "The Study of Poetry," which was first published as the General Introduction to Ward’s English Poets and subsequently reprinted as the opening essay in Essays in Criticism, Second Series (1888): "[i]n poetry, as a criticism of life under the conditions fixed for such a criticism by the laws of poetic truth and poetic beauty, the spirit of our race will find…as time goes on and as other helps fail, its consolation and stay. But the consolation and stay will be of power in proportion to the power of the criticism of life. And the criticism of life will be of power in proportion as the poetry conveying it is excellent rather than inferior, sound rather than unsound or half-sound, true rather than untrue or half-true" (Complete Prose Works 9: 163). Arnold’s first use of the phrase, however, is in the Introduction to his selection of Wordsworth’s poems in the Golden Treasury series (1879), where he states that "poetry is at bottom a criticism of life; that the greatness of a poet lies in his powerful and beautiful application of ideas to life,—to the question: How to live. …A poetry of revolt against moral ideas is a poetry of revolt against life; a poetry of indifference towards moral ideas is a poetry of indifference towards life" (Complete Prose Works 9: 46).

…"Morality touched by emotion"  Arnold defines religion in this way in the first chapter of Literature and Dogma: an Essay Towards a Better Understanding of the Bible (1873): "[r]eligion…is ethics heightened, enkindled, lit up by feeling; the passage from morality to religion is made when to morality is applied emotion. And the true meaning of religion is thus, not simply morality, but morality touched by emotion" (Complete Prose Works 6: 176).

…"The Transfiguration of Life"  The full title of the two-part article by the English poet, critic, and, later, poet laureate (1869-1913), Alfred Austin (1835-1913) from which this phrase is taken is "Old and New Canons of Poetical Criticism," which was reprinted from the Contemporary Review (London) in the Living Age (Boston) 152, 5th ser. 37. 1963 (February 4, 1882): 323-32 and 387-98. The fact that Austin was a Roman Catholic helps to explain the religious dimension of his definition: "[p]oetry is a transfiguration of life; in other words, an imaginative representation in verse or rhythm, of whatever men perceive, feel think, or do. …The spirit alone keeps alive, or makes alive. The outer world…is dust to the ground…until the poet or maker breathes into it the breath of real life. Then it becomes living soul; then it becomes poetry" (Living Age 389-90). Later in the article, Austin uses the terms "etherial" and "glorified" to describe materials touched by "the magic of the transfiguring imagination" (391-92). As corollaries to his definition of poetry, he proposes that "[t]he relative greatness of a poet depends upon the amount of life he has transfigured; in other words upon how much of whatever men perceive, feel, think, or do, he has, in verse or rhythm, represented imaginatively" and that "[i]n valuing the amount of life a poet has transfigured, in other words, in estimating the relative greatness of a poet, the place of honor, dignity, and importance must be assigned to action, the next to thought, the next to emotion, and the last to perception or observation" (394, 395). According to these definitions, Austin classifies epic and drama as the poetry of "the imaginative representation of great action," "reflective poetry" as "poetry of transfigured thought," "lyrical poetry" as the "poetry of transfigured emotion," and "descriptive poetry" as "the poetry of transfigured perception" (395). Using Arnold as a foil throughout his argument, he concludes that "there are both identity and divergence" between their views: "whereas he [Arnold] affirms that poetry is a criticism of life, and the greatness of a poet depends upon how he has criticised it, I venture to affirm that poetry is a representation of life, and that the greatness of a poet depends on how much he has represented" (395-96). In Aspects of Poetry, Shairp states that "the whole range of existence, or any part of it, when imaginatively apprehended, seized on the side of its human interest, may be transfigured into poetry. …[A] great poet must be a man made wise by large experience, much feeling, and deep reflection: above all, he must have a hold of the great central truth of things" (4-5, 8).

"It is only after the change of many years…the universal heart of man"  Both at the beginning and at the end of his article, Austin states his objective as the provision of "certain critical canons, raised above the bias of individual taste, and the prevailing spirit of age"—canons based on the "permanent laws of human nature" (396-97).

Human nature may be represented by the ancient Pan…striving to be divine.  In "The Poets," written in June 1887 (Early, "Chronology" 79), Lampman describes poets as "Children of Pan…Half brutish, half divine, but all of earth, / Half-way ’twixt hell and heaven, next to man" (Poems 113-14). The ancient Greek god of shepherds and flocks, Pan is usually represented as partly goat-like in form. See also Bentley, The Gay] Grey Moose 236-50 for a discussion of the roles of Pan in the work of the Confederation poets.

The main current of the human spirit…  Here and in the surrounding argument, Lampman seems to have had in mind several passages in Shairp’s Aspects of Poetry: "[t]o appeal to the higher side of human nature, and to strengthen it, to come to its rescue, when it is overborne by worldliness and material interests, to support it by great truths, set forth in their most attractive form,—this is the only worthy aim, the adequate end, of all poetic endeavour. …The true end is to awaken men to the divine side of things…to come to the help of the generous, the noble, and the true. …[P]oetry…combines its influence with all those benign tendencies which are working in the world for the melioration of man and the manifestation of the kingdom of God. It is adding from age to age its own current to those great ‘tides that are flowing / Right onward to the eternal shore’. …If it be not the function of poetry…to give beautiful expression to the finer impulses, to the higher side of life, I see not that it has any function at all. …[I]t naturally allies itself only with what is highest and best in human nature. …[I]t is the ally of all things high and pure" (12-30). Shairp maintains that sustained effort to these ends "implies the presence of conscious purpose" but he also concedes the presence of "some unconscious influence from religion" in poets "consciously" indifferent or hostile to Christianity (12, 28).

A dilettante class…  Shairp differentiates the "true poet," who is characterized by "[h]uman-heartedness," from the "mere artist living only for art…[t]he dreamer [and the] dilettante," and he deprecates "coteries which test all things by some dominant sentiment or short-lived fashion," urging "those who would preserve catholicity of judgement [to] purge their minds of all formulas and fashions, and [to] look with open eye and ingenuous heart, alike on the boundless range of past excellence, and on the hardly less boundless field of future possibility" (Aspects of Poetry 2, 15-16).

dreary and monotonous realism of almost all our present literature  In "The Latest Development of Literary Poetry," Courthorpe sees "materialistic feeling" (63) as a principal characteristic of the "school" of Rossetti Swinburne, and Morris.

two qualities…variety or versatility and geniality…  "He is, above all things, a man among his fellow men, with a heart that beats in sympathy with theirs," write Shairp of the "true," "human-hearted" poet; "[h]e does not feel differently from other men, but he feels more. There is a larger field of things over which his feelings range, and in which he takes vivid interest. If…sympathy is the secret of all insight, this holds especially true of poetic insight, which…derives its power of seeing from sympathy with the object seen. …There is nothing that exists, except things ignoble and mean, in which the true poet may not find himself at home…in men’s character and fortunes, their joys and sorrows, their past history, their present experience, their future destiny. All these we open to him who has the power to enter in, and, by might of imaginative insight, to possess them" (2-3, 5). To Shairp, Shakespeare is the writer who has consummately "represent[ed] life, in all its variety," who has "faithfully set down" "[e]very side, every phase of human nature" (though always with an emphasis on "the higher and better side"), but he also uses Wordsworth and Tennyson as illustrations of the "wide limits within which two styles of expression, each perfect after its kind, may range" (26-27, 21).

Keats…  This is Lampman’s first surviving reference to John Keats (1795-1821), the English Romantic poet whose work was already exerting a powerful influence on his own poetry (see, for example, "April," written in May 1884 [Early, "Chronology" 78] [Poems, 4-6]). In the essay on Keats that prefaces the selection of his poems in Ward’s English Poets, Arnold characterizes his "achievement…[as] partial and incomplete" but maintains that he "ranks with Shakespeare" in "the faculty of naturalistic interpretation" and, if time had permitted, would have "ripe[ned]" in his "faculty for moral interpretation" (Complete Prose Works 9: 214-15; and see "Poetic Interpretation," headnote).

Tennyson  This is also Lampman’s first surviving reference to Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), the British poet laureate from 1850 to 1892 and another of Lampman’s major influences (see "The Frogs," written in May 1887 [Early, "Chronology" 79] for the impact on him of "The Lotos Eaters"). Both "The Lady of Shalott" and "The Lotos-Eaters" were first published in Tennyson’s Poems (1832), a volume severely criticized in 1833 for its insufficient concern with social issues. "The Talking Oak," which was first published beside heavily revised versions of "The Lady of Shallott" and "The Lotos-Eaters" in Poems (1842), receives high praise from Austin in The Poetry of the Period (1870) as a poem that sounds "the key-note of nearly all Mr. Tennyson’s latest and more extensive poetic labours. …[N]o posterity, however distant, will allow ‘The Talking Oak’…to die" (9-11).

Armorican  Lampman may have encountered this recondite term for the northwestern part of Gaul (now Brittany, France) in Milton’s Paradise Lost 1: 580-81: "In Fable or Romance of Uther’s Son [i.e., Arthur] / Begirt with British and Armoric Knights."

Hardly any of the famous poetry of the present day is like this…  After discussing poems by Wordsworth and Tennyson, Shairp exclaims: "[h]ow many are there in the present day, of more or less poetical faculty, who can express admirably whatever they have to say, but that amounts to little or nothing At best it is but a collection of poetic prettiness, sometimes of hysterical exaggerations and extravagances" (Aspects of Poetry 25). He then proceeds to castigate contemporary poets for failing to put their "fine faculty of expression" at the service of "any one field of thought…any subject for its own sake…and…any side of human nature" (25).

The poets of the Preraphaelite school  While the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, the group of artists and poets that surrounded Dante Gabriel Rossetti (see note, below) in the late eighteen forties and early eighteen fifties, existed for only a short time, it exerted a strong influence on late nineteenth-and early twentieth-century painting and poetry. A major reason for the literary influence of the Pre-Raphaelites was the work and personality of Rossetti, who gathered a second generation of Pre-Raphaelites, including Morris and Swinburne, around him at Oxford in the late ’fifties, and, more than a decade before the appearance of his own Poems (1870), encouraged his young admirers to produce work marked by the medievalism, the stylization, the pictorial effects, and the emphasis on love and death that became the hallmarks of poetry in the Pre-Raphaelite manner. "We call them a school," writes Courthorpe of Rossetti, Morris, and Swinburne, "because, though differing from each other in their choice of subjects and in their style, a common antipathy to society has produced in them a certain community of perception, and even occasional resemblances of language" (963). Among the other poets frequently dubbed "Pre-Raphaelite" are Christina Rossetti, William Allingham, and Arthur O’Shaughnessy.

Milton’s "L’Allegro"  The Italian title of Milton’s poem, first published in 1645, means "The Cheerful Man."

One of them in especial…darkness of death  Lampman is probably referring to Swinburne (see note, below).

Longfellow  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), the American poet whose Evangeline (1849) and The Song of Hiawatha (1855) were especially well known in Canada at this time.

Poe  Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), the American poet and short-story writer whose "strange and fascinating" poems include "The Raven" (1845) and "Annabel Lee" (1849).

Matthew Arnold’s "Forsaken Merman"  This is Lampman’s first surviving reference by name to the English poet and critic who lies centrally in the background of many of his subsequent essays (see, for example, the headnote to "Poetic Interpretation") as well as many of his poems. In February 1884, Arnold (1822-1888) visited Ottawa as part of his North American tour of 1883-84 and Lampman heard the anti-democratic lecture on "Numbers" that later appeared in Discourses in America (1885). "The Forsaken Merman" (1849) is a poetic version of a Danish ballad in which a merman vents his sorrow over his wife’s abandonment of her husband and children.

Dante Gabriel Ros[s]etti…  One of the leaders of the original Pre-Raphaelites (see note, above), Rossetti (1828-1882) is succinctly and accurately described in the biographical sketch in Ward’s English Poets as a "poet and painter" who achieved fame in painting "as an imaginative designer and a colourist of the highest rank," who "passed his days in much seclusion" and, latterly, "failing health," and who published three volumes of translations and original poetry, Translations from the Early Italian Poets (1861), Poems (1870), and Ballads and Sonnets (1881)(4: 633). Pater supplements these essential facts with several general observations that Lampman weaves into his opening assessment of Rossetti: he "had ever something about him of mystic isolation," his "perfect sincerity" issued in "the most direct and unconventional expression," his verse displayed a "structure…music…vocabulary…[and] accent" that were "unmistakably novel" even for "a time when poetic originality…might seem to have had its utmost play," and "his primary aim, as regards form or expression in…verse" was to find the "exact equivalence to…data within" (5: 205-06).

He was fond of giving material shape to the inmost motions of the heart and soul…  "To [Dante]…the material and the spiritual are fused and blent. …And here…by force of instinct, Rossetti is one with him," writes Pater; "[l]ike Dante, he knows no region of spirit which shall not be sensuous also, or material" (5: 212-13).

His poems…peculiar moods…  Pater refers "a certain feverishness of soul in the moods" of two of Rossetti’s poems (5: 209).

They will have little appeal to mankind at large…food for poets…  In "The Poetry of Dante Gabriel Rossetti" (1882), Thomas Bayne praises Rossetti’s poetry for "subtle intricacies" that are, however, unlikely to appeal to the "popular taste": "he will be above all a poet’s poet" (384); and in "Rossetti’s Poems" (1882), the anonymous author argues that "all poetry which retains a permanent hold over succeeding generations…has been nourished upon the spontaneous feelings and aspirations of its own age, and speaks without affectation" (322).

"The Blessed Damosel [sic]"…  Pater regards "The Blessed Damozel, written at the age of eighteen, [as] a prefigurement of the chief characteristics of…[the Pre-Raphaelite] school" and calls attention to its "definiteness of sensible imagery, which…was strange…in a theme so profoundly visionary" (5: 205-07). In the first line of the stanza of "The Blessed Damozel" (1807) that he quotes, Lampman substitutes "shall" for "will" but otherwise the quotation is substantially accurate.

Charles Kingsley…in one of his letters  The English novelist and poet Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) was an Anglican priest and a Christian socialist who is now remembered primarily for The Water-Babies (1863). He was greatly admired by many mid- and late Victorians, however, as witness the publication of several "editions" (printings) of His Letters and Memories of His Life (1876) by F.E. Kingsley ("His Wife"). Lampman may have been thinking of a passage in a letter of July 10, 1842: "[w]e need not henceforth to give up the beautiful for the true, but to make the true the test of the beautiful, and the beautiful the object of the true, until to us God appears in perfect beauty. Thus every word and every leaf which has beauty in it, will be as loved as ever, but they will all be to us impresses of the Divine hand, impresses of the Divine mind" (1: 72).

"Love[’]s Nocturn" and the "Stream" and…"Love-Lily"  All three of these poems, like "The Blessed Damozel," are anthologized in Ward’s English Poets. Pater comments extensively and enthusiastically on the first two ("[o]ne seems to hear there a really new kind of poetic utterance" and so on [5: 209-10]).

"Jenny"  Rossetti’s poem about a prostitute, first published in Poems (1870), occasioned much controversy and engendered several treatments of similar themes by other writers. Admirers of the poem included Bayne (381) and the H. Buxton Forman of Our Living Poets. An Essay in Criticism (1870; 222-25). Detractors—with whom Lampman aligns himself— included Shairp ("I do not care to dwell now" on "Jenny" ["Aesthetic Poetry. Dante Gabriel Rossetti" (1882): 9]), Courthorpe (for whom it represents "the incapacity of the literary poet to deal with contemporary themes in an effective and straightforward manner" [74]), and, most (in) famously, the Robert Buchanan of The Fleshly School of Poetry and Other Phenomena of the Day (1872).

the "Last Confession"…  Forman describes "A Last Confession" (1870) as "a study in morbid psychology" that shows remarkable "insight" into "the brain of the haunted narrator" (216-20) and Shairp considers its subject "a painful one" ("Aesthetic Poetry" 9). The speaker of "A Last Confession" is a member of the Risorgimento, the mid-nineteenth-century movement to liberate Italy from the Austro-Hungarian empire.

…a fine sonneteer…  Bayne describes Rossetti as "one of the few really great sonneteers" (377) and Shairp regards "the sonnet as the form in which he could best express his favorite thoughts and sentiments" ("Aesthetic Poetry" [10]). The bulk of Rossetti’s sonnets are included in The House of Life (1870, 1881), which includes several on "the value of time" ("Lost Days," for example) and one at least on "how some good thing should be done…every day" ("The Choice, III" "Think thou and act").

modern groundwork…quaint and mediæval  In the former category are such poems as "Jenny," "The Burden of Nineveh" (1870), and "My Sister’s Sleep" (1870); in the latter "The Blessed Damozel," "The Bride’s Prelude" (1870), and "The Staff and Scrip" (1870). Pater remarks that Rossetti "turned…often from modern life to the chronicle of the past" in order to treat of themes "broadly human…such as one and all may realize" (5: 216-17).

Charles Algernon Swinburne  A friend of Rossetti’s and a member of the Pre-Raphaelite group at Oxford in the late ’forties Swinburne (1837-1909) came to prominence with Atalanta in Calydon (1865) and Poems and Ballads (1866), the former a drama on the classical Greek model and the latter a bold mixture of anti-Christian and Sadean themes that caused a public scandal. Songs Before Sunrise (1871), a volume that still reveals Rossetti’s influence, reflects Swinburne’s hatred for religions and political authority and his support for Mazzini’s Italian independence movement. His other works of the ’sixties and ’seventies include a second series of Poems and Ballads (1878) and several other imitative dramatic works (including three on the subject of Mary Queen of Scots, Chastelard [1865], Bothwell [1874], and Mary Stuart [1881]). Tristram of Lyonesse, and Other Poems (1882) was one of over twenty volumes that Swinburne published after 1879, the year in which health problems caused by alcohol abuse put him in the care of his friend Theodore Watts-Dunton in Putney, London.

Swinburne is a wonderful musician…riotous melody  Whether admiring or hostile, few critics fail to mention Swinburne’s musicality and metrical skill. Lampman’s views accord with those of Courthorpe, who sees Swinburne as "a master of metre alone" and quotes him against himself in admitting that he has "‘no skill…to sharpen and slacken strings’" (66-67). Austin makes much the same point but more elaborately, asserting that such poems as "Dolores" (1866) are "shakes and quavers, runnings up and down the scales displaying wonderful felicity and flexibility, but giving us no new air, nor even any genuine modification of the air" (Poetry of the Period 110). In his approach to both Swinburne and Morris, Lampman may have been influenced by the American critic Edmund Clarence Stedman’s discussion of them, with Rossetti, as "Latter-Day Singers" in Victorian Poets (1875). Stedman praises all three poets, but he finds a "somewhat limited range of…vocabulary" in Morris’s work and, while noting Swinburne’s "miraculous gift of rhythm," finds fault with his "excessive richness of epithet and sound [and]…redundancy of treatment" and concedes that in Songs Before Sunrise "much is tumultuous and ineffective. The prolonged earnestness fags the reader" (379, 380-82, 400).

"Yours was I born…fail them never"  Apart from punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of the fifth stanza of "Ex-Voto" in Poems and Ballads (1878) is accurate.

glamorous  Alluring but delusive charm—a word applied by Shairp to Rossetti’s sonnets ("Aesthetic Poetry" 9).

In "The Last Oracle"…  A poem addressed to Apollo, the ancient Greek god of light, music, youth, and prophecy (among other things), "A Last Oracle" was published in Swinburne’s second series of Poems and Ballads (1878). Lampman’s quotation of part of its second stanza is accurate except for punctuation and the substitution of "lips" for "tongues" in the third line.

"Yet it may be…shall have light"  Lampman’s quotation of the opening lines of the third stanza of "The Last Oracle" is substantially correct.

Cleon and the rabble  The governor of Tarsus in Shakespeare’s Pericles, Cleon is finally burned by the "rabble" for his wickedness.

"Laus Veneris"…  A poem addressed to Venus, the goddess of love in ancient Roman religion, "Laus Veneris" was published in Swinburne’s first volume of Poems and Ballads (1866). Lampman misquotes the opening lines of its fifth stanza: "Alas, Lord, surely thou art great and fair. / But lo her wonderful woven hair!" (1: 147)

C[h]astelard…Bothwell…Tristram of Lyonesse  See note, above.

ignis fatuus  Will-’o-the-wisp: light from the burning of marsh-gas that can lead travellers into danger; hence, any delusive idea that leads people astray.

miasmatic  Containing poisonous or noxious gases from rotting vegetable matter.

Atalanta in Calydon  See note, above.

William Morris  Also a friend of Rossetti and a member of the Pre-Raphaelite group at Oxford in the late ’forties, Morris (1834-1896) had a varied and influential career as a poet, utopian socialist, and designer-manufacturer of beautiful furnishings and books. His first volume of poetry, The Defence of Guenevere, and Other Poems (1858), was also the first volume to be published by any member of the Pre-Raphaelite "school." It was followed in the ’sixties by three other poetic works—The Life and Death of Jason: a Poem (1867), The Earthly Paradise: a Poem (3 vols., 1868-70), and The Story of Sigurd the Volsung, and the Fall of the Niblungs (1877)—but in the ’seventies Morris turned more to prose and the decorative arts. The influence of his prose utopian romance News from Nowhere (1890) is evident in Lampman’s "The Land of Pallas" (1899), written between circa August 1891 and February 1896 (Early, "Chronology" 84).

somewhat in imitation of Chaucer…  Like Swinburne’s musicality, Morris’s debts to Geoffrey Chaucer (circa 1342-1400) in The Earthly Paradise seldom escape the attention of critics, one of whom rates Morris the equal of the author of Canterbury Tales (see Forman 24). Lampman’s view of Morris here and in succeeding paragraphs is more consistent with that of Courthorpe, who faults him for being "far more diffuse than Chaucer," a poet who "shows the most vigorous enjoyment of the activity and incident of life, from which this fastidious scholar so delicately withdraws himself" (80). "The natural languor of Mr. Morris’s style makes his verse at once diffuse and tedious," writes Courthorpe; moreover, "[a]n incurable habit of gossiping causes him to loiter in his narratives, when he should be swift and stirring" and his poetry is marred by the "decrepit love-longing…[that] is the peculiar product of modern poetry" (79, 77).

A ship full of Norwegians…  Lampman is quoting and embellishing Morris’s prose Argument to The Earthly Paradise "[c]ertain gentlemen and mariners of Norway, having considered all that they had heard of the Earthly Paradise, set sail to find it, and so after many troubles and the lapse of many years came old men to some western land, of which they had never before heard: there they died, when they had dwelt there certain years, much honoured of the strange people" (3:3). Courthorpe also quotes from Morris’s Argument, as does Andrew Lang in "The Poems of William Morris" (1882), a generally positive assessment of The Life and Death of Jason and The Story of Sigurd the Volsung as well as The Earthly Paradise that may have provided a foil for Lampman’s argument. Indeed, part of Lampman’s précis appears to be adapted from Lang’s: "[t]hey [the Greeks] and the mariners of Norway amuse themselves by telling alternate stories from the Greek and Teutonic stores of mythology and romance" (12).

The Life and Death of Jason  See note, above.

The Story of Sigurd the Volsung  See note, above. In the manuscript "Tales of" is replaced by "Story of" with no corresponding change in verb.

dreariness of death and old age  Lang concedes that "[n]o poet has dwelt so constantly on the ideas of death, of the lapse of time, of the approach of old age, as Mr. Morris" (12).

true art must be naive [and note]  It is possible that Lampman is alluding to Schiller’s essay "On Naive and Sentimental Art" ("Ueber naive und sentimentalische Dichtung" [1795-96]), which distinguishes between poets who express nature naively or instinctively and those who do so sentimentally or idealistically, but sees the two reconciled in the simultaneously spontaneous and controlled products of poetic genius. The context, however, suggests that Lampman may merely mean that true art must be unaffected and untainted. In his note, Lampman quotes—accurately except for punctuation and the transposition of "be ever"—the last three lines of the opening stanza of "The Poet’s Mind" (1830; Poems 224).

Lyrical Translations

A review of Ch[arles] J. Parham’s Lyrical Translations from the Languages of Oc, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Provincial Dialects (Ottawa: n.p., 1887), "Lyrical Translations" was published in The Week (Toronto), December 8, 1887, 22. It has not been previously reprinted.

In a note dated "Ottawa, Nov. 1st., 1887" in Lyrical Translations, Parham explains the origins and contents of his slim volume:

Less than a year ago, with a fair knowledge of French and Spanish, supplemented by a smattering of the Gascon dialect, I began the study of mediaeval poets. Commencing with the Troubadours, I devoted every leisure moment…to the acquisition of languages and making translations, so that by the end of October my little undertaking reached its present dimensions, and in a few weeks more would have attained the limit set for my first venture—one hundred pages. Unfortunately, unforeseen events have necessitated the premature publication of the book, and the filling out of the concluding pages with a variety of rubbish.

The "variety of rubbish" to which Parham refers is the section of his own poems entitled "Rhymes" in the volume. Nothing more is known about the author of Lyrical Translations except that it is dedicated "To the Honorable Licentiate Don Hilario Santiago Gabilondo in Testimony of Grateful Remembrance."

tensionssirvantemadrigalsletrillas…[c]anciones  These are five of the headings in the Index (table of contents) to Lyrical Translations, the other two being "Melancholics" and "Rhymes." In the body of the book the four genres are defined as follows: "Tensons; or, Poetical Tournaments, of which Gentle Dames of mutual choice were the Judges"; "Sirvante. Under the denomination of ‘Sirvante,’ the Troubadours comprehended all lyrical compositions on any subject but love"; "Madrigals; or, Erotic and Pastoral Songs"; "Letrillas. A Letrilla is a Short Poem adapted to Music" and "Canciones; or Lays."

a famous sirvante of Bertrand de Born…  "Be in play la douz temps de pascor" ("Well pleased I am with the vernal rays") is preceded by a note to the effect that "[i]t was sung in the court of Richard Coeur de Lion."

the Prince of Equilache  Francisco de Borja, Prince of Esquilache (1580-1685). A translation of his "Pastoral address to a nightingale" (29n.) appears in Lyrical Translations, 29-31 and Lampman quotes a passage from it—"‘It is wrong and distressing in him who sorrows to hear his complaints in the rosy smiling morning’"—in a letter of March 25, 1895 to Edward William Thomson (Annotated Correspondence 137).

Camoëns  Luis de Camoens (1524-1579).

Melo  Francesco Manoel de Melo (d. 1660).

Metastasio  Pietro Trapassi Metastasio (1698-1782).

Riojo  Francisco de Riojo (d. 1658).

Calderon  Calderon (n.d).

Gil Vicento  Gil Vicente (d. 1557).

"The Siesta"  Parham’s own poem appears in the "Rhymes" section of Lyrical Translations, 84-85.


The unsigned and undated holograph manuscript of "Style" is held in the National Archives (MG 29 D59 vol. 1, 532-584). It is written in ink and consists of 53 sheets measuring 20.4 cm. x 26.4 cm., each of them consecutively numbered by Lampman. The paper is watermarked with chainlines, a crescent moon cradling a five pointed star, and the words "HOLYOKE LINEN". The "lines from [Charles G.D. Roberts’s] "‘Tantramar Revisited’" with which Lampman evidently concluded his recitation of the essay, perhaps to the Ottawa Literary and Scientific Society, are not included with the manuscript. Lampman may have read them directly from Roberts’s In Divers Tones (1886) or from Songs of the Great Dominion, ed. W.D. Lighthall (1889) (see notes, below). A meticulous edition of "Style" with an Introduction by Sue Mothersill was published in Canadian Poetry: Studies, Documents, Reviews, 7 (1980): 56-72.

A pencilled draft of "Style" is contained in a notebook that is also held in the National Archives (MG 29 D59 vol. 3, 1566-1603). Although the notebook is undated, the other item that it contains—an account of the early stages of the trip "up the Lièvres" River that Lampman undertook with Duncan Campbell Scott in late July and early August 1885 (1594)—suggests that the essay was begun at about that time. However, internal evidence in the form of the verb tenses used to describe Matthew Arnold (past) Robert Browning (past) and Alfred Lord Tennyson (present) indicates that it was probably completed and recited between December 12, 1889 (when Browning died) and October 6, 1892 (when Tennyson died). (Arnold died on April 15, 1888.)

Like "The Modern School of Poetry in England," which was written during the winter of 1884-1885, and "Poetic Interpretation," which may date from somewhat later, "Style" relies heavily on the work of John Campbell Shairp, particularly Aspects of Poetry, Being Lectures Delivered at Oxford (1882). Several debts to other critics are recorded or suggested in the notes to "Style" in the present edition, but none is so extensive as that to the fifth chapter of Aspects of Poetry, an essay on "Poetic Style in Modern English Poetry" that also lies centrally in the background of "Poetic Interpretation." Near the beginning of his essay, Shairp eschews any "attempt to characterize the style that is proper to each of the great masters" of English literature (108), but in his ensuing survey of poetic style from Shakespeare to Tennyson he makes numerous observations about the style of individual poets, particularly Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, and Keats (but not Shelley, for "comments on his poetry have of late been so rife [that] there is less need" [128]). With its commentaries on the style of both Shelley and Wordsworth, Browning and Tennyson, Roberts and Rossetti, Lampman’s essay is a supplement to Shairp that shows signs of increasing intellectual confidence as it moves towards the present from the past.

Very much an oral presentation rather than a polished essay, "Style" suffers by comparison, for example, with Walter Pater’s contemporaneous piece of the same title (5: 5-38), but it provides numerous insights into Lampman’s thinking on poetic style in the years surrounding the publication of Among the Millet (1888). Especially illuminating are the pointers that it provides towards particular poems and passages in the work of the various poets that Lampman admired. A mere juxtaposition of one of the passages that he quotes to illustrate "Wordsworth’s…lofty contemplation of external nature, and…reverent interest in all the humble and laborious occupations of life" and a stanza of "Heat," written in July 1887 (Early, "Chronology" 79), casts fresh light on his poem and its sources:

Calm is all nature as a resting wheel[.]
The kine are couched upon the dewy grass
The horse alone seen dimly as I pass
Is cropping audibly his later meal[.]

Where the far elm-tree shadows flood
Dark patches in the burning grass,
The cows, each with her peaceful cud,
Lie waiting for the heat to pass.
From somewhere on the slope near by
Into the pale depth of the noon
A wandering thrush slides leisurely
His thin revolving tune.
(Poems 12-13)

It is surely no coincidence that the stanza form of "Heat" (ababcdc4d3) is almost identical to that of "To My Sister," which Lampman quotes to illustrate the same point and praises as an instance of Wordsworth’s "plain and simple…yet striking" manner. Dismayingly derivative and superficial as it is in places, "Style" is valuable for the light that it sheds, not only on Lampman’s stylistic preferences, but also on his poetic practices.

Style…might be defined…  Lampman’s definition of style appears to be an elaboration of a dictionary definition such as that found in Chambers’ Etymological Dictionary (1880): "the distinctive manner peculiar to an author; characteristic or peculiar mode of expression and execution (in the fine arts)."

We know how noticeable…unnatural in others  After drawing a parallel between "manner…[in] character and conduct" and "style…[in] thought and sentiment" in the opening sentences of "Poetic Style in Modern English Poetry," Shairp observes that "[w]e all know what is meant by saying that a man has a good manner; and we know too, in some measure, how he has come by it. It implies first that there exist in his nature qualities which are admirable, dispositions which are lovable, and next, that to these have been superadded courtesy, or the gift of expressing naturally and felicitously the feelings that are within him. Where these dispositions exist, what is needed is that a man during his pliable youth should have lived in good society. …It is of course possible…that a man may have good outward manners, which yet cover a soul inwardly unbeautiful" (Aspects of Poetry 104).

The distinction…artists and writers  Shairp’s second paragraph reads: "[a]ll this may be transferred from character and social life to literature and its works. A man reveals himself—what he really is—in many ways; by his countenance, by his voice, by his gait, and not least by the style in which he writes. This last, though a more conscious and deliberate, is as genuine an expression of himself as anything else that he does" (Aspects of Poetry 104-05). In his next paragraph, Shairp argues that in "all literature which is genuine, substance or matter…and…style…are inseparable. The style is not something superadded from without…but…breathed from within, and is instinct with the personality of the writer" (105).

Nothing can be more effective…than this artificial manner of society…  Whereas Shairp distinguishes between the "genuine" and the "superadded," Lampman uses the terms "artificial and customary." Nevertheless, his terminology echoes Shairp’s comment that "a man…may…adopt…the external economy of manners which rightly belongs to genuine worth, and…may wear these as a veneer over what is really a coarse and ignoble nature. And if the polish has been skilfully put on, it requires a practised eye to detect the deception; but in time it is detected" (Aspects of Poetry 104).

In fact true style…the expression of genius…  In this and the next two paragraphs, Lampman’s point of departure appears to be the fourth paragraph of "Poetic Style in Modern English Poetry," which reads in part: "[w]hen it is said that one of the chief merits of a style is to be natural, some are apt to fancy that this means that it should be wholly effortless and unconscious. But a little thought will show that this cannot be. …To use effort, and yet to preserve truth and naturalness, is the main difficulty in all composition. To be able to be natural, yet artistic, it is this which distinguishes true literary genius" (105-06). Lampman’s description of style as a "peculiar development" that hinders "absolute expression" echoes Shairp’s assertion that "[g]enuine literature expresses not abstract conceptions…but thoughts and things, as these are seen by some individual mind, colored with all the views, associations, memories, and emotions which belong to that mind" (Aspects of Poetry 105).

A style is liable to…decay…expression has become incessant and too habitual  Shairp describes "conventionalism"—the use of "words and phrases" that have become so "worn and faded" that they elicit "a sense of commonness and fatigue"—as a "malady" to which "poetic expression is…particularly exposed," and he suggests that "high-pitched imagination and vivid emotion" tend to "shape themselves" into expressions that "strike the ear and rivet the attention" (Aspects of Poetry 109). Shairp is discussing developments in literary history rather than individual style, however, and—anticipating subsequent paragraphs of Lampman’s essay— he proceeds to illustrate his argument with reference to the stylistic shifts between Milton and Pope and Pope and the "precursors" of Romanticism (110-12).

…Shakespeare…universal style…  In "The Province of Poetry" (see notes to "The Modern School of Poetry in England"), Shairp praises Shakespeare and other dramatists for their ability "to represent life, in all its variety, just as it is" (Aspects of Poetry 26). Lampman’s comments include an allusion to Coleridge’s famous observation in the February 17, 1833 entry in Table Talk (1836) that "Shakespeare is universal, and, in fact, has no manner" (214).

…some of the minor poets…occult regions of feeling…  "The Modern School of Poetry in England" would suggest that Lampman was thinking specifically of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

In the end…every powerful and original artist…absorbing mastery…  "[W]hen once a man is master of himself…[and] sets himself to speak…simply and sincerely…[his] language will be true to his thought, true to the man himself. Free from self-consciousness, free from mannerism, it will bear the impress of whatever is best in his individuality" (Aspects of Poetry 134).

So in every age…a broadly perceptible character…  In this paragraph and his ensuing comments on the "dramatists who wrote under Elizabeth and James," Lampman draws heavily on Percy Bysshe Shelley’s remarks on "style" in the Preface to The Revolt of Islam: "there must be a resemblance, which does not depend upon their own will, between all the writers of a particular age. They cannot escape from subjection to a common influence which arises out of an infinite combination of circumstances belonging to the times in which they live; though each is in a degree the author of the very influence by which his being is thus pervaded. Thus, the tragic poets of the age of Pericles; the Italian revivers of ancient learning; those mighty intellects of our own country that succeeded the Reformation, the translators of the Bible, Shakspeare [sic], Spenser, the dramatists of the reign of Elizabeth, and Lord Bacon; the colder spirits of the interval that succeeded;—all resemble each other, and differ from every other in their several classes. In this view of things, Ford can no more be viewed as the imitator of Shakspeare than Shakspeare the imitator of Ford. There were perhaps few other points of resemblance between these two men than that which the universal and inevitable influence of their age produced. And this is an influence which neither the meanest scribbler nor the sublimest genius of any era can escape; and which I have not attempted to escape" (Poetical Works 1: 115). Shelley adds in a note that "Milton stands alone in the age which he illumined."

Salisbury Cathedral  Constructed between 1220 and 1260 in a uniform, early Gothic style, the cathedral at Salisbury in southern England is considered to be one of the most beautiful of British churches.

Minster of Strasburg  The cathedral at Strasbourg in eastern France was built between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries, mainly in the Gothic style but with Romanesque parts.

the old mosque at Cordova  La Misquita, the former central mosque of the western caliphate, is the most remarkable building in Córdoba in southern Spain. Begun in the eighth century, it was enlarged in the ninth and tenth centuries until it became the largest sacred building of Islam after the Kaaba at Mecca.

the Parthenon or the Temple of Apollo at Phigalia  The Parthenon (the Temple of Athena on the Acropolis at Athens, Greece) and the temple of Apollo Epicunus at Bassae (near Phigalia) in Arcadia, Greece were built in the fifth century BC, probably from designs by the same architect, Ictinus. Parts of both temples are included in the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum.

Medinet Aboo  Lampman is probably referring to Medina (in present-day Saudi Arabia), the city to which Muhammed escaped in 622. The principal building in Medina is the Prophet’s Mosque, and the city is surrounded by double walls with large bastions and gates.

Karnak  A village on the east bank of the Nile River in Egypt, Karnak is the site of the ancient city of Thebes. It is famous for its complex of monuments, particularly for the great Temple of Amun, which may have been begun as early as circa 2700 BC.

the Taj Mahal  Completed in circa 1648 at Agra on the Jumna River in northern India by the Mogul emperor Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal is a mausoleum and memorial for the emperor’s favourite wife.

the Aphrodite of Praxiletes [sic]  The Aphrodite of Cnidus by the ancient Greek sculptor Praxiteles (circa 390 BC - ?) has not survived, but it was celebrated by the ancients as a work of great beauty.

the Moses of Michel Angelo  The statue of Moses by the Italian sculptor and painter Michelangelo Buonarrotti (1475-1565) is now in the Louvre in Paris.

Greece…modern Europe…  In "Hebraism and Hellenism" in Culture and Anarchy (1869), Arnold presents his versions of Christian and Greek culture as the parallel "forces" that have shaped Western civilization, defining the former in terms of a "preoccup[ation] with…the difficulties which oppose themselves to man’s pursuit or attainment of…perfection" and the latter as an idealistic vision of human life in which "beauty," "aërial ease, clearness, …radiancy" and "rationalness" predominate: "[a]s one passes and repasses from Hellenism to Hebraism, from Plato to St. Paul, one feels inclined to rub one’s eyes and ask oneself whether man is indeed a gentle and simple being, showing the traces of a noble and divine nature; or an unhappy chained captive, labouring with groanings that cannot be uttered to free himself from the body of this death" (Complete Prose Works 5: 167-69).

Oedipus Coloneus [sic]  Oedipus at Colonus: a tragedy by Sophocles that was first performed in 401 BC.

Song of Roland  Chanson de Roland is an anonymous French romance of the early twelfth century.

Vita Nuova  A series of poems interspersed with a prose narrative, the Vita Nouva (New Life) was written by Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) in the final decade of the twelfth century.

Elizabeth and James  Elizabeth I (1533-1603) was Queen of England and Ireland from 1558 to 1603, when she was succeeded by James I (1566-1625), who was also King of Scotland from 1567 to 1625.

Marlowe…Shakespeare…Ford…Johnson [sic]  Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593), William Shakespeare (1564-1616), John Ford (1586- after 1639), and Ben Jonson (circa 1572-1637) were dramatists of the Elizabethan and/or Jacobean periods.

euphuistic  Euphues, a prose romance by John Lyly published in two parts in 1578 and 1580, gave its name to Euphuism, a style characterized by "an affectation of excessive refinement of language [and] high-flown expressions" (Chambers’ Dictionary).

Milton  John Milton (1608-1674), published Paradise Lost in 1667 and Paradise Regained in 1671, but several of his minor poems date from the late sixteen twenties.

elder Titan gods  After waging war for ten years against Jove, the Titans of Greek mythology were imprisoned in a cavern near Tartarus.

King Henry IV apostrophises sleep  See Henry IV, Part 2 III. i. 5-31 ("O Sleep, O Gentle Sleep, / Nature’s soft nurse. …Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown").

"Tetchy and wayward…thy company [?]"  Lampman’s quotation of Richard III, IV. iv. 168-74 is accurate except for punctuation and lines 170-71 ("‘Thy age confirmed, proud, subtle, bloody, treacherous, / More mild, but yet more harmful…’").

He sometimes loads his phrases with an abundance of curious conceits… In a letter to May McKeggie of December 10, 1884 Lampman thanks her for "the Shakespeare" that she has given him and states that he has been reading and re-reading "the comedies. …Oh they be marvellous— What a brilliant, startlingly clever fellow is our father William at every turn. One becomes altogether bewildered sometimes with the rapid fire of his sharp sayings. To read 10 lines almost anywhere in Shakespeare is to run the gauntlet of as many sudden and enchanting surprises." In the essay more than in this letter, Lampman acknowledges Arnold’s argument in the Preface to his Poems (1853) that, for all his skill in "intimately associating himself with a character," Shakespeare sometimes yields to a "fondness for curiosity of expression, …an irritability of fancy, which seems to make it impossible for him to say a thing plainly" (Complete Prose Works l: 11).

"Of comfort let no man speak. …I am a king?" Except for punctuation and spelling, Lampman’s quotation of Richard II, III, ii. 144-77 is accurate.

So spake the Son…a shelter from his ire[.]  Except for punctuation and spelling, Lampman’s quotation of Paradise Lost, VI. 824-43 is accurate.

what…Arnold calls the grand manner  Here, and in the passage preceding the quotation from Paradise Lost, Lampman is drawing upon Arnold’s definition of the "grand style" in "On Translating Homer" (1861): "[t]he grand style arises in poetry, when a noble nature, poetically gifted, treats with simplicity or with sincerity or with severity a serious subject" (Complete Prose Works 1: 188). In "Poetic Style in Modern English Poetry," Shairp remarks that "Milton…moulded for himself a ‘grand style,’" adding that "[w]hat Milton did for blank verse, Pope did for the heroic couplet—left it as a tradition from which no poet of the last century could entirely escape" (Aspects of Poetry 110-11). The "great events and strenuous cause" with which Milton was connected were, of course, the English Civil War of 1642-1649—the "Puritan rebellion" of the next paragraph.

Dryden, Congreve, Pope  John Dryden (1631-1700), William Congreve (1670-1729), and Alexander Pope (1688-1674) were writers of the Restoration or Neo-Classical period (1660-1700) that Lampman calls pejoratively the "sententious"—that is excessively aphoristic—"age."

In these gay thoughts…none can live to these[.]  Lampman’s quotation of the opening lines of Pope’s "Epistle to Miss Blount, With the Works of Voiture" (1712) contains numerous variants of spelling and punctuation and omits two couplets: "Til Fate scarce felt his gentle Breath supprest, / As smiling Infants sport themselves to Rest" (13-14) and "The Smiles and Loves had hy’d in Voiture’s Death, / But that for ever in his Lines they breath" (19-20). Vincent de Voiture (1598-1648) was a French writer.

the age of Queen Anne  Anne (1664-1714) was queen of England and Scotland (Great Britain after 1707) and Ireland from 1702 to 1714, the opening years of the Augustan age.

a transition age—the age of Johnson, Addison, Fielding and Sterne, of Thompson [sic], Grey [sic] and Cowper…  Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), Joseph Addison (1672-1719), Henry Fielding (1707-1754), Laurence Sterne (1713-1768), James Thomson (1700-1748), Thomas Gray (1716-1771), and William Cowper (1731-1800) were eighteenth-century writers whose works do, in different degrees and ways, mark a "transition" from the Neo-Classicism of the Restoration period (1660-1700) to the Romanticism of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In "Poetic Style in Modern English Poetry," Shairp sees Cowper and Robert Burns as "the precursors of a revolt against the tyrant tradition [of Pope]. The return they began towards a freer, more natural diction came from an unconscious instinct for nature. …The end of the old poetic régime came with the great outburst of new and original poetry which marked the last decade of the former century, and the first two decades of the present" (Aspects of Poetry 111-12).

Rousseau  Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), the French philosopher whose Du contrat social (1762) has been described as "the Bible of the [French] Revolution" and whose Les Confessions (1781-1788) was an influential manifestation of Romantic subjectivity.

Voltaire  The French writer François-Marie Arouet (1694-1778) who used the pseudonym Voltaire was the presiding genius of the Enlightenment, the eighteenth-century philosophical and literary movement that helped to engender the French Revolution and Romanticism.

a genuine criticism of life  See the opening notes to "The Modern School of Poetry in England" for the Arnoldian sources of this phrase.

Shelley…Byron, Coleridge, Southey, Wordsworth [and] Keats… Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824), Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1824), Robert Southey (1774-1843), William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and John Keats (1795-1821) were English poets of the Romantic period (1798-1832), though Southey and Wordsworth lived on well into the Victorian era (1832-1901). Lampman’s list of the major Romantic poets differs from that of Shairp, which includes Sir Walter Scott rather than Southey (see Aspects of Poetry 113). Lampman’s perception of Keats as "separated from his age" may have been influenced by William John Courthorpe’s characterization of him in "The Latest Development of Literary Poetry" (1872) as a "strange example of literary reaction" whose poems treat of "the remote tales of Greek mythology" and contain "not…a single allusion to passing events" (61-62).

Shelley…Alastor…  See the headnote and notes to "The Revolt of Islam" for Lampman’s attitude and approach to Shelley and his work. In Shelley (1878), John Addington Symonds describes Alastor (1816), the visionary poem that arose from Shelley’s inspirational and liberating travels in England in 1815, as "the first of his compositions which revealed the greatness of his genius. …[T]he versification, tremulous with lyrical vibrations, is such as only Shelley could have produced. …It expresses the longing for perfect sympathy in an ideal love, which the sense of divine beauty has stirred in the poet’s heart" (86-87). "In Alastor," observes William Michael Rossetti, "we at last have the genuine, the immortal Shelley…the greatest Englishman of his age" (lxxxii).

On every side…the passing winds[.]  Except for punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of Alastor 543-70; (Poetical Works 1: 107) is accurate.

Byron…Childe Harold…  See the headnote and notes to "The Poetry of Byron."

Once did she hold the gorgeous East…everlasting sea[.]  Except for punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of the octave of "On the Extinction of the Venetian Republic" (1807) is accurate.

Two voices are there…heard by thee[.]  In the third line of "Thoughts of a Briton on the Subjugation of Switzerland" (1807), Lampman substitutes "each" for Wordsworth’s "both" and in the seventh line "thine" for "thy" (3: 115). Otherwise, except for punctuation and capitalization, the quotation is accurate.

It is the first wild day of March…green field  Except for punctuation and capitalization, Lampman’s quotation of the first eight lines of "To My Sister" (1798) is accurate.

The Knight…summer’s cloud[.]  Lampman’s quotation of the first two lines of "Hart-Leap Well" (1800) is accurate.

All things…her mirth[.]  Except for punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of lines 8-11 of "Resolution and Independence" (1807) (see note, below) is accurate.

Bees…foxgloves bills[.]  Except for punctuation and the substitution of "the" for "that" after "Bees," Lampman’s quotation of lines 5-7 of "Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room…" (1807) is accurate.

Calm…later meal[.]  Except for punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of the first four lines of "Written in Early Youth" (1807), the second part of "Extract from the Conclusion of a Poem, Composed in Anticipation of Leaving School" is accurate.

Now whether…reading in a book.  In addition to the usual variants of punctuation and capitalization, Lampman’s quotation of stanza 8 and following of "Resolution and Independence" deviates from standard texts of the poem by the inclusion of two lines and a stanza from editions of 1807-1815: "Where [which should read ‘When’] up and down my fancy thus was driven / And I with these untoward thoughts had striven" and the stanza beginning "My course I stopped. …" In editions after 1815, the earlier lines are revised to "When I with these untoward thoughts had striven, / Beside a pool bare to the eye of heaven…" and the ensuing stanza is omitted. Lampman’s "their pilgrimage" (rather than "life’s pilgrimage"), "his body, limbs and face" (rather than "limbs, body, and pale face") and "Beside the little pond or" (rather than "Upon the margin of that") are also consistent with early editions of Wordsworth (see Poetical Works 2: 237-38). In letters of December 2 and 10, 1884 to May McKeggie, Lampman asks her to "[s]alute" and "thank" Gretchen (Blackstock?) for "an excellent" and apparently expensive copy of Wordsworth.

In our own age…followers of certain schools…  In "Poetic Style in Modern English Poetry," Shairp observes that "[i]n the poetry of the last fifty years many notes have been struck, so many and so different, that it would not be easy to characterize them all" but proceeds to differentiate between "two main branches of poetic tendency…one which carries on the impulse and the style derived from Keats and Shelley, [and] one which more or less is representative of Wordsworth’s influence" (Aspects of Poetry 127). See "The Modern School of Poetry in England" for Lampman’s analysis of the Pre-Raphaelite "school."

Tennyson’s "Revenge"  "The Revenge" (1880), subtitled "A Ballad for the Fleet," celebrates the bravery of Sir Richard Grenville against the Spanish armada in 1591.

In the main Tennyson…  In his analysis of the "composite and richly-wrought style of Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), Shairp finds in "some of his idyls the plainness of Wordsworth" but maintains (see note, above) that "the subtle music of Shelley has fascinated his ear…[and] Keats, with his rich sensuous coloring, is the master whose style he has caught and prolonged" (Aspects of Poetry 130).

Browning’s genius…inner working of human emotion…  This is a common enough insight, but it is developed at length by the University of Toronto’s first English professor, William John Alexander, in An Introduction to the Poetry of Robert Browning (1889): "Browning…is a man who is possessed of the keenest eye for the inner life, whose interest in outer action is subordinate to an interest in the inner drama of the soul. …As is illustrated in ["My Last Duchess," which Alexander analyses in detail], the depicting of character and of psychological situation is his main object. …[T]he interest…[is] centred on the course of the inner, not of the outer life" and so on (9-14).

Dante once prepared…fresh Inferno[.]  Except for punctuation and the elimination of the stanza break between lines 49 and 50, Lampman’s quotation of the fifth and sixth stanzas (32-52) of "One Word More. To E.B.B." (1855) is accurate.

"But the majestic river…Aral sea"  Except for punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of the final lines of "Sohrab and Rustum" (1853) is accurate. The same lines are quoted by Edmund Clarence Stedman in Victorian Poets (1875) and W.J. Dawson in The Makers of Modern English (1891); the former remarks that "for diction and breadth of tone [they] would do honour to any living poet" (94) and the latter that "they are an admirable illustration of the two qualities in which Arnold most excelled, the qualities of simplicity and severity" (337-38). Dawson sees "[a] pervading sadness and despair…[as the] most memorable feature" of Arnold’s best poetry (338).

Dante Gabriel Ros[s]etti…Charles Algernon Swinburne…William Morris…the Preraphaelite school…  See the notes to "The Modern School of Poetry in England."

Ros[s]etti…occult and subtle effects…imagination…  "In common with Coleridge and Keats [Rossetti] possesses a curious power of exciting the imagination into intensity of vision. …[T]here is a subtlety, a magic, a charm of imagination investing [his poetry], which rivets the attention and fascinates the fancy. …‘Glamour’ best describes it" (Dawson 350-51).

"The Sea Limits…all in each."  Except for punctuation and capitalization, Lampman’s quotation of "The Sea-Limits" is accurate. In "Aesthetic Poetry. Dante Gabriel Rossetti" (1882), Shairp quotes "The Sea-Limits" as an admirable expression of "the feeling that there is one life pervading all things in some mysterious way" (11).

"Before the beginning of years…holy spirit of man[.]  Except for punctuation and the omission of the second "the" from the line "From under the feet of the years" (7: 280), Lampman’s quotation of the opening lines of the second long chorus in Atalanta in Calydon (1865) is accurate. The same lines are cited by H. Buxton Forman in Our Living Poets (1871) as "hold[ing] in…small dimensions and under…mellow music a piece of genuine and sad paganism" (357).

Ros[s]etti‘s "Woodspurge"  First published in Poems (1870), "The Woodspurge" follows a speaker to the disturbing conclusion that sorrow does not bring knowledge and flowers do not contain sermons:

From perfect grief there need not be
Wisdom or even memory:
One thing then learnt remains to me,—
The woodspurge has a cup of three.

Charles G.D. Roberts of Windsor, N.S.  The Canadian writer Charles G.D. Roberts (1860-1945), whose Orion, and Other Poems (1880) had profoundly affected Lampman in 1881 (see "Two Canadian Poets"), became the Professor of Modern Languages at King’s College, Windsor, Nova Scotia in the fall of 1885 and occupied that position until the spring of 1895. Lampman had been corresponding with him sporadically since at least September 1882 and had benefitted greatly from his promotion of Among the Millet (1888) in the Maritimes (see Roberts, Collected Letters 28, 93-94, and 97). "Tantramar Revisited" was first published as "Westmorland Revisited" in the December 20, 1883 issue of The Week (Toronto) and then as "The Tantramar Revisited" in Roberts’s In Divers Tones volume of 1886 and in Songs of the Great Dominion, ed. W.D. Lighthall (1889).

Two Canadian Poets[:] a Lecture

The holograph manuscript of "Two Canadian Poets[:] a Lecture" is held by the National Archives (MG29 D59 vol. 7, 2967-3035). The following note in Lampman’s handwriting appears below the signature on the final page:

Delivered on the evening of the 19th Febr. 1891 at the library of the Literary and Scientific Society, Ottawa[.]
The above lecture was concluded with a reading of two of Cameron’s most spirited poems "The Week vs. Wendell Philips" and "The Way of the World".

The manuscript also contains annotations by Charles J. Cameron (the brother and editor of George F. Cameron) that are given in the notes below. Although written in pencil, "Two Canadian Poets" presents few transcriptional difficulties. It has been previously published as "Two Canadian Poets: a Lecture by Archibald Lampman" with a Prefatory Note by E.K. Brown in the University of Toronto Quarterly, 13 (July, 1944): 406-23 and, from there, reprinted in Masks of Canadian Poetry, ed. A.J.M. Smith (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1962), 26-44.

A rough draft of "Two Canadian Poets" is contained in a notebook of circa. 1891 that is also held by the National Archives (MG29 D59 vol.7, 3112-3168). The same notebook contains a rough draft of the first part of "The Character and Poetry of Keats." Another notebook that is undated but contains a draft of "April Voices," a poem written in about 1889 (see Early, "Chronology" 80), includes some preliminary paragraphs on George F. Cameron and his poetry (National Archives, MG29 D59 vol. 3, 1346-1351).

The final draft of the lecture occupies the first 67 pages of a notebook that also contains a preliminary draft of "Happiness." The notebook has a dark brown cover printed, on the front, with the words "200 PAGES. | ROSE BUD | PRAC•TIC•E BOOK | ROBERTSON BROS., Books and Stationary, 69 Rideau Street, Ottawa." and, on the back "ROBERTSON BROS., | 69 RIDEAU STREET,—OTTAWA. | DEALERS IN | School Books and Stationary." The front cover is embellished with an etching of a young woman and a rose branch; the back carries a set of arithmetical tables. The pages of the notebook measure 16.5 x 25.4 cm.

In addition to some "notable" but not entirely original "ideas about the nation and the national literature," "Two Canadian Poets" contains "a many-sided judgement" of Charles G.D. Roberts and an "enthusiastic tribute" to Cameron that both singly and together comprise Lampman’s most extensive commentary on Canadian poetry (Brown 406). As Brown’s summary and its opening paragraphs intimate, Lampman’s lecture on Roberts and Cameron took place in an atmosphere of intense debate about the prospects for Canada and Canadian literature. "[T]he future presents to us three possibilities," Roberts would write in his 1897 History of Canada, "—absorption by the United States, Independence, or a federal union with the rest of the British Empire" (439). Before they were starkly juxtaposed in Alexander Morris’s Nova Britannia; or, British North America, Its Extent and Future (1858), Roberts’s three "possibilities" had dictated some of the critical terms of political debate in Canada for many years, but in Ottawa on February 19, 1891 they were especially imminent on account of the federal election that culminated less than a month later. Not only was the election of March 1891 fought by Sir John A. Macdonald on "patriotic grounds, by meeting head on the Liberal call for unrestricted reciprocity with the United Sates," but on February 17 in an address in Toronto Macdonald had "colour[ed] Liberal schemes of unrestricted reciprocity as fundamentally annexationist" (Johnson and Waite 610). Ten days earlier, on February 7, Macdonald had delivered himself of the famous statement "I am a British subject and British born, and a British subject I hope to die," which as J.K. Johnson and P.B. Waite observe, has to be read in its historical context more "as an expression of Canadian nationalism than as any lofty imperial sentiment" (610). That the opening paragraphs of "Two Canadian Poets" are also such an expression is perhaps to be expected since Lampman was a civil servant with good reason to keep on the right side of Macdonald (see the headnote to "Mr. Thomson’s Old Man Savarin"). Far from being a simple endorsement of nationalism, however, Lampman’s preliminary remarks carefully differentiate between "the true spirit of patriotism" and a patriotism driven by self-interest: the poet who had recently written "The Modern Politician" and who would soon write "To a Millionaire" (see Early, "Chronology" 81) was unlikely to have been unaware of the allegations of corruption that surrounded two prominent members of Macdonald’s government in 1890-1891 and were soon to erupt in the Langevin-McGreevy scandal of April 1891. In the tact with which it negotiates the issues of national and personal interest, "Two Canadian Poets" is very much the product of a civil servant and an incipient socialist.

When Lampman writes in his opening paragraph of the threats to the "independent existence" of Canada he probably had in mind, not the Liberals, but the annexationists, a group led by the likes of Erastus Wiman (a Canadian entrepreneur living in New York), Henry W. Darling (the president of the Toronto Board of Trade), and Edward Ferrar, a journalist for the Toronto Daily Mail who unwittingly gave Macdonald a pretext for the election of 1891 in the form of a pamphlet "on how American policies could be devised for driving Canada into annexation" (Johnson and Waite 610). In the late ’eighties and early ’nineties, the annexationist movement had two highly literate and literary spokesmen in Goldwin Smith, the founding editor of The Week (Toronto) (1883-1896) and his assistant Graeme Mercer Adam, whose many writings include the "Outline of Canadian literature" in William Henry Withrow’s Popular History of the Dominion of Canada (1878). A Handbook of Commercial Union compiled by Adam and introduced by Smith was published in 1888, and in 1891, while the general election was in progress, Smith saw "through the press" (300) his Canada and the Canadian Question (1891), a survey of Canadian history and the various economic and political options available to the country that concludes by advocating union with the United States. In the pages of The Week and elsewhere between 1887 and 1890, Adam published several literary articles which, while staunch in their advocacy of Canadian literature as a stimulus to the country’s "nationward impulses," tend to emphasize the crippling lack of "literary men or anything of a literature" in "English-speaking Canada" (118-19; and see Bentley, Checklist 1-24). Adams’s articles and others like them by such writers as Sarah Jeannette Duncan ("We are still an eminently unliterary people" [1886]), Agnes Ethelwyn Wetherald ("Unliterary People" [1887]), L. O’Loane ("Our Chances for a Literature" [1890]), and Smith himself ("‘What is the Matter with Canadian Literature?’" [1894]) constitute the backdrop against which Lampman addresses the issue of "whether a Canadian Literature exists" and envisages the "qualities" that such a literature might exhibit.

At the politically and culturally charged time when Lampman delivered his lecture, Charles G.D. Roberts (1861-1945) had barely begun his literary career and George Frederick Cameron (1845-1885) had only been dead for six years. An inspirational influence on Lampman’s own poetic career, as the best-known passage of "Two Canadian Poets" makes eloquently clear, Roberts had published only two volumes of poetry in 1891, Orion, and Other Poems (1880) and In Divers Tones (1886). The bulk of his poetry, as well as his novels and his collections of animal stories, lay in the future, and there was little intimation of what was to come in the few dozen lyrics and stories that had appeared in various Canadian and American periodicals (see John Coldwell Adams 221-22, 229-30). This helps to explain Lampman’s placement of Roberts below Cameron in the "order of excellence," for the latter’s Lyrics on Freedom, Love and Death (1887), posthumously edited by his brother, runs to nearly three hundred pages and, according to its editor, "represents one fourth of his life work" ([xv]). "If it is well received," continues Charles J. Cameron in his Preface, "the rest will follow in due course." Lampman acknowledged that "Cameron’s work…is often faulty…incomplete…[and] facile," but believed that, in the aggregate, it constituted "the same sort of gift that [Heinrich] Heine left to the world, the picture of a brilliant passionate imperfect human soul, and the record of its eager contact with the world."

But quantity and cumulation only partly account for Lampman’s preference for Cameron over Roberts. Both at the beginning and at the conclusion of his discussion of Orion, and Other Poems and In Divers Tones, Lampman finds Roberts’s work deficient in two of the qualities set out in "The Modern School of Poetry in England" and other essays, namely "variety" ("only three or four really different notes are struck") and a lack of elevation (he "never attempts to lead us to any of the grander levels of thought and feeling"). Moreover, Roberts sacrifices "spontaneity" to "workmanship" and, in his love poems, "genuine tenderness, and…delicacy of feeling" to "pitiless egotism" and "brawny passion." (Interestingly enough, Roberts never again included the two poems at which these last charges were levelled—"Tout ou Rien" and "In Notre Dame"—in one of his collections.) In 1881 Lampman had been galvanized by Orion, and Other Poems but a decade later, and even while protesting that "personal feeling perhaps induces [him] to place a higher estimate on [Roberts’s poetry] than [his] hearers will care to accept," several facets of his "many-sided judgement" of his mentor are less than favourable. In contrast, Lampman works hard to cast Cameron’s work in a positive light by emphasizing its spontaneity, nobility and—his new term for variety— elasticity. Lampman’s judgement of Cameron is far from one-sided, however, for he readily but gently admits his "frequent weaknesses and blemishes," his pervasive melancholy and consequent despair and, in the final analysis, his affinity with Roberts in his failure to have "actually taught us many things in a certain sense." No more than Roberts was Cameron the "perfect poet" prophesied at the conclusion of the essay on "Style," but he would continue to occupy a high place in Lampman’s poetic hierarchy. Cameron is "the poet of most genuine and fervid poetic energy that this country has yet produced," he told J.E. Wetherell in November 1892; "[t]here are a half dozen things of his that I would not give for all that the rest of us have written. I can get a better effect upon people by reading them some of Cameron’s poems than those of any other Canadian writer; and that I have always found is the true test" (qtd. in Annotated Correspondence 85-86n.).

…the enthusiasm of Fatherland…  As the opening paragraph of "German Patriotic Poetry" makes apparent, the word "Fatherland" (German: vaterland) had become specifically associated with Germany in Lampman’s day. On both his father’s and his mother’s side, Lampman was of German and Swiss-German descent; moreover, he had great-grandfathers on both sides of his family who had "lived and died upon…soil" that became Canada (see Connor 13-17). In "Numbers," the paper that Lampman heard him deliver in Ottawa in February 1884, Matthew Arnold sees "German stock" as a redemptive presence in American democratic society (see Collected Prose Works 10: 163-64).

…cosmopolitanism or…enthusiasm for the advancement of all mankind…  Fed by sources as diverse as socialism and imperialism, the desire to transcend national attachments and limitations was indeed widespread in the latter part of the nineteenth century. One Canadian who enthusiastically endorsed the prospect of a "Federation of the world…lapt in universal law" that Alfred Lord Tennyson had glimpsed in "Locksley Hall" (1842; Poems 696) was William Douw Lighthall, who dedicated Songs of the Great Dominion (1889) "To that Sublime Cause, the Union of Mankind" and credited Canadians in his Introduction to the anthology with espousing as "an Ideal…[the] broad-minded advance" towards the "voluntary Federation of Mankind" (xxiii). Lampman, of course, had several poems in Songs of the Great Dominion, and, since 1888, had been a friend of Lighthall (the two visited one another in Montreal and Ottawa in 1890).

Dr. Johnson’s old saying about patriotism…  The saying to which Lampman alludes—"‘Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"— appears in James Boswell’s Life (1791) of Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) under the date of April 7, 1775. It is often taken as an aspersion on patriotism, but, as Boswell observes, Johnson "did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak for self-interest" (2: 158-59). Arnold uses Johnson’s often (mis-)quoted remark at the beginning of "Numbers" to differentiate between dishonourable (self-centred) and "honourable patriotism" (Collected Prose Works 10:143).

Elijah Pogram and Jefferson Brick  In Charles Dickens’ Martin Chuzzlewit (1843), Elijah Pogram is an unattractive American congressman and public benefactor and Jefferson Brick, though mild and youthful in appearance, holds extremely strong political views.

At this time when our country’s destiny…  See headnote.

A good deal is being said about Canadian literature…  See headnote.

the age of Longfellow and Hawthorne  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) and Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) were classmates at Bowdoin College and produced the bulk of their best work in the period preceding the American Civil War (1861-1865).

…a marked American race…American peculiarities of mind and character…  Since Lampman restricts the emergence of these "peculiarities" to "the last twenty-five or thirty years" (that is, since the American Civil War), he was probably not thinking of the traits described in the essays in The Home Book of the Picturesque (1852)(see notes, below). Perhaps he had in mind John Burroughs’ theory in Winter Sunshine (1875) that the rigours of the American climate had produced a distinctively American set of racial and literary characteristics: "[o]ur climate is more heady and less stomachic than the English; sharpens the wit, but dries up the fluids and viscera; favors an irregular, nervous energy, but exhausts the spirits. …[O]ur climate gives us no rest, but goads us day and night; and the consequent wear and tear of life is no doubt greater in this country than in any other on the globe. …To some, the differences which I note may appear a difference in favour of the greater ’cuteness, wideawakeness, and enterprise of the American, but is simply a difference expressive of our greater forwardness. We are a forward people, and the god we worship is Smartness. In…an impudent, superficial, journalistic intellectuality and glibness, America, in her polite and literary circles, …leads all other nations" (2: 148-49, 174-75).

Our country is still in the house-building land-breaking stage… Lampman’s analysis of Canada’s social and literary development echoes and engages that of several writers in post- (and, indeed, pre-) Confederation Canada. It is possible, however, that he was thinking specifically of Sara Jeannette Duncan’s column on Canadians as "an eminently unliterary people" (1886), which attempts to refute several of the theories advanced to account for Canada’s barren literary horizon: the "idea that the Canadian climate reduces the Canadian brain to a condition of torpor during six months of the year may be dismissed. …Nor can we place the slightest responsibility…upon our educational system. …So great…are our facilities for education that our farm lands lie untilled while our offices are filled to unprofitable repletion. …We are a well-developed and well-educated people; but we do not write books. ‘No, for that we are not rich enough,’ you say. ‘The cultivation of letters demands wealth and a leisure class. We have a professional market in view for our hard-bought college training. …’ A leisure class is a valuable stimulus to literary production. But money and the moneyed can neither command nor forbid the divine afflatus. …When the great Canadian littérateur recognizes himself, he will not pause to weigh the possibilities of Canada’s literary market before he writes the novel or the poem that is to redeem our literary reputation. …We are indifferent [to literature]; we go about our business and boast of the practical nature of our aspiration. …The Province of Ontario is one great camp of Philistines. …We are swayed by no patriotic sentiment that might unite our diverse provincial interests in the common cause of our country. …A national literature cannot be looked for as an outcome of anything less than a complete national existence" (707-08). "We have all heard of Miss Sara Jeannette Duncan…and have read more or less of her entertaining and popular work," Lampman writes in his At the Mermaid Inn column for March 4, 1893; "[h]er success has been phenomenal, and her name meets the eye in almost every newspaper" (269).

We know that climatic and scenic conditions have much to do with the moulding of national character…  Since post- (and pre-) Confederation writing is rich in environmental explanations of the Canadian "character" and its literary productions, Lampman’s analysis in this paragraph echoes numerous texts, particularly those stemming from R.G. Haliburton’s The Men of the North and their Place in History (1869), which argue that Canada’s distinctiveness resides in its being "a Northern country inhabited by descendants of Northern races" (2). As Carl Berger has pointed out (62-63, 28-33), Haliburton’s notion of Canadians as "the Northmen of the New World" (10), was picked up by several writers of the Canada first and Imperialist movements, including William A. Foster, whose "Canada First; or, Our New Nationality" (1871) was reprinted in 1890 in Canada First: a Memorial of the Late William A. Foster, Q.C. (13-47). But the specific terms in which Lampman defines a future Canadian character and literature suggest that his primary source was The Home Book of the Picturesque (1852), an American compendium in which E.L. Magoon argues that "national intellect" and "national works of art" "receive…a prevailing tone from the peculiar scenery" and "climate of a country" (thus "England, and the kindred regions of Germany, have in their…climates a depth of gloom which is known to characterize the northern spirit") (4, 34) and Washington Irving, writing of the Catskill Mountain region, suggests that "if…changes from hot to cold…[annoy us occasionally], they give us the brilliant sunshine of the south of Europe with the fresh verdure of the north. … Our seasons are all poetical; the phenomena of our heavens are full of sublimity and beauty. Winter with us has none of its poetical gloom. …[I]t has long intervals of cloudless sunshine, when the snow-clad earth gives redoubled brightness to the day" (74-75). Lampman may also have had in mind Burroughs’ description in Winter Sunshine of the "bright, evenly tempered" winter days in Washington, D.C.—"southern days with northern blood in their veins, exhilarating, elastic, full of the action, the hyperborean oxygen of the North tempered by the dazzling sun of the South" (2:3).

Judge Haliburton  Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1796-1865) was and is best known as the author of The Clockmaker; or, the Sayings and Doings of Samuel Slick, of Slickville (1836) and its sequels. Between 1829 and 1856 he was a judge, first for the Interior Court of Common Pleas and then for the Superior Court in his native Nova Scotia.

Charles Heavysege  A poet and dramatist who emigrated to Canada from England in 1853, Charles Heavysege (1816-1876) was admired in Lampman’s day for some of his Sonnets (1855) and for his verse dramas, particularly Saul (1857).

Dr. Kingsford  A man of many professions and interests, the English-born William Kingsford (1819-1898) founded the short-lived Montreal Times (1844-1845) and thereafter contributed articles and reviews to the Daily Colonist (Toronto) and the Montreal Herald. In 1887, he published A History of Canada which, among other things, generated controversy around the figure of Dollard des Ormeaux (Daulac), the hero of Lampman’s "At the Long Sault: May, 1660" (see Kennedy 54). Duncan Campbell Scott quotes Kingsford’s account of "[t]he affair of Dollard on the Ottawa" in his At the Mermaid Inn column for April 9, 1892 (48-49).

Dr. Bourinot  The Nova Scotia born journalist, historian, and man of letters John George Bourinot (1836-1902) was an expert on parliamentary and constitutional matters who achieved prominence with Parliamentary Procedure and Practice…in the Dominion of Canada (1884) and A Manual of the Constitutional History of Canada (1888). His Our Intellectual Strengths and Weaknesses: a Short Historical and Critical Review of Literature, Art and Education in Canada was published in 1893.

W.D. Lesueur  Like Lampman, an employee of the Post Office Department in Ottawa (1888-1902), the Lower Canada born William Dawson Lesueur (1840-1917) contributed numerous essays to Canadian, British, and American periodicals on a variety of literary, philosophical, and scientific subjects.

Abbé Casgrain  Henri-Raymond Casgrain (1831-1903), a priest, publisher, and historian born in Lower Canada, was the author and editor of numerous historical and literary works published from 1860 onwards, including Légendes canadiennes (1861), Un pèlerinage au pays d’Evangeline (1887), and the Oeuvres complètes (1882) of Octave Crémazie. His Montcalm et Lévis appeared in 1891 in the middle of his tenure as a professor of history at Université Laval (1887-1895).

Sir William Dawson  The Nova Scotia born geologist and paleontologist, John William Dawson (1820-1899) was a professor at McGill University who published numerous articles in and around his fields of specialization, including Modern Science in Bible Lands (1887) and Modern Ideas of Evolution (1890).

Octave Cremazie [sic]  Joseph-Octave Crémazie (1827-1879) was born in Lower Canada and emigrated to France, where he died, in 1862. In the eighteen forties and ’fifties he wrote numerous patriotic poems that became widely known with the publication of his Oeuvres complètes in 1882.

Fréchette  The Lower Canada born Louis Fréchette (1836-1908) was known in Lampman’s day as a controversial journalist, politician, and poet who had recently been appointed clerk of the Quebec Legislative Council. He published several dramatic works and poetry collections in the eighteen sixties, ’seventies, and ’eighties, latterly La Légende d’un peuple (1887) and Feuilles volantes (1890).

Professor Alexander  William John Alexander (1855-1944) was a Hamilton, Ontario born professor of English at University College, Toronto who contributed articles to various British, American, and Canadian periodicals (including The Week) and, in 1889, published An Introduction to the Poetry of Robert Browning (see notes to "Style").

Professor Roberts  Charles G.D. Roberts was a professor at King’s College in Windsor, Nova Scotia at this time (see notes to "Style" and the headnote, above).

Miss Machar  Under her own name and the pseudonym "Fidelis," the Kingston born Agnes Maule Machar (1837-1927) published numerous essays, poems, and works of history and fiction in The Week and elsewhere. Several of her historical sketches had recently appeared in Stories of New France (1890).

Hunter Duvar  A Scottish-born resident of Prince Edward Island, John Hunter-Duvar (1830-1899) was the author of several works of drama, poetry, and prose, including De Roberval: a Drama (1888) and The Emigration of the Fairies and The Triumph of Constancy, a Romaunt (1888).

It is natural that the poet…  Lampman’s conviction that poetry rather than prose is the natural product of a "new country" was widely held in the late nineteenth century. "Poetry is the natural progeny of a nation’s youth," proclaimed Daniel Wilson in 1858, though he went on to argue that Canada’s "singular position" as an heir to European achievements and a colony in the process of settlement militated against "the lyrical or epic muse inspiring for us the lay that is born of nature in the true poet’s heart" (17-18). The expression of similar apprehensions in articles in The Week and elsewhere in the late ’eighties and early ’nineties (see, for example, Adam, "Retarding Influences on Canadian Literature" [1889] and O’Loane "Our Chances for a Literature" [1890])" prompted Basil Tempest in the October 2, 1891 issue of The Week to counter the spate of "foolish writing upon the unfitness of our surroundings here in Canada to produce poetic art" with the assertion that "wherever nature spreads her changing panorama of sky, field and flood, there will be a theme for the poet" (705). Lampman argues in much the same spirit, with an eye towards the end of the paragraph, perhaps, on Duncan’s suggestion (also a critical commonplace of the time) that Canada has emerged too late as a nation "to produce an epic poet or a dramatist" (707). In pointing to the "history of old French Canada" as a repository of dramatic subjects, Lampman may also have had his eye on another critical commonplace as expressed, for example, by Adam in "Nationalism and the Literary Spirit" (1888): "[i]n Canada we have a history full of adventure, replete with dramatic incident, thrilling in many passages in the career of the two great nations that contended for the prize of the continent. …What material is here for her literary men beyond what has already been wrought into the page of history or limned on the canvas of poet or novelist" (118-19).

Charles G.D. Roberts and George Frederick Cameron  See headnote.

Roberts…the founder of a school, the originator of a new era in our poetic activity  In the Introduction to Songs of the Great Dominion, Lighthall hails Roberts as "[t]he foremost name in Canadian song at the present day" (xxiv), but in W. Blackburn Harte’s "Some Canadian Writers of Today" (1890), he is not even included in the "new school of poetry being formed in Canada" (22)—indeed, Harte singles out Lampman as "[t]he sweetest and strongest of this little group of singers" (37). While Roberts’s status as the "founder of [the] school" that has come to be known as the Confederation poets was not universally evident in 1891, his role in inspiring and consolidating the group would certainly have been apparent to Bliss Carman, Duncan Campbell Scott, William Wilfred Campbell, and other Canadian writers of their generation in Ontario and the Maritimes. See also the headnote to "The Life and Times of Sir John A. Macdonald."

It was almost ten years ago…Orion and Other Poems…  In the manuscript, this paragraph is enclosed in square brackets. A copy of Roberts’s Orion, and Other Poems, which was published by J.B. Lippincolt in Philadelphia in 1880, was evidently lent to Lampman in May 1881, perhaps by Joseph Edmund Collins, whom Roberts had known since circa 1879 (see Roberts, Collected Letters 23 and the headnote to "The Life and Times of Sir John A. Macdonald"). Collins’s belated and anonymous review of Orion, and Other Poems in the February 1883 issue of Rouge et Noir calls attention to the praise accorded to the volume by periodicals and newspapers in England and the United States, expresses pride in Roberts "because he is of ourselves—a Canadian," and calls upon "College authorities…[to] set apart for him a chair of English literature" (12, 13).

"Orion"…earth-loving Greekish flavour  In Greek mythology, Orion, the subject of the title poem of Roberts’s first volume, is a giant Boeotian hunter who is the subject of various legends, two of which—his love for Eos (the Dawn) and his blinding by Œnopion and Dionysus—provide the basis for "Orion" (see notes, below).

elasticity  "Energy, vigour, buoyancy of mind or character; capacity for resisting or overcoming depression" and/or "[c]apacity for being ‘stretched’; expansiveness, flexibility, accommodatingness" (OED).

workmanship  Lampman well knew that this was an aspect of poetry that Roberts himself valued very highly: "I suppose [Collins] told you what I thought of the last two poems of yours," Roberts had written on September 23, 1882; "[t]here was still, I think, an evidency of haste, and too little of determined perplexing and polishing. …At the same time your spontaneity…was…apparent" (Collected Letters 30).

Saul…Heavysege…  See note, above.

Mr. Roberts’ work…  As A.J.M. Smith notes, Lampman makes "two slight errors of chronology with respect to Roberts. Orion was published when the poet was twenty. In Divers Tones was published in 1886, not 1887" (44). Lampman’s confusion on the latter score probably stems from the fact that the American edition of In Divers Tones was published by Lothrop in Boston in 1886 and the Canadian edition by Dawson Brothers in Montreal in 1887.

"Memnon" and…"Ode to Drowsihood"…Dr. Holland…Century… Roberts’s two poems were published in, respectively, the June and November 1879 numbers of The Century (New York), a periodical established in 1870 under the title Scribner’s Monthly by a group that included the historian, poet, and journalist Josiah Gilbert Holland (1819-1881), who edited it until his death.

Greek classical legend… "Orion"…"Acteon [sic]"…  See note above, for the mythological subject of "Orion." In "Actæon. A Woman of Platæa Speaks," Roberts treats of the Greek hunter who happened upon the goddess Artemis (Diana) when she was bathing and, as a result, was turned by her into a stag and killed by his own hounds.

"Balder Dead"  In "Balder Dead," a long poem in blank verse first published in 1855, Arnold imitates numerous passages and devices in the Iliad and Odyssey (see Poems, 379-421).

Chios  A large Greek island off the coast of Asia Minor, Chios claimed to be the birthplace of Homer and was famous for its wine and figs.

"Out of the foamless sea…They two with him."  Except for a very few minor differences of punctuation and capitalization, Lampman’s quotation of "Orion" 184-220 is accurate.

"The cliffs are rent…he heeded not."  Except for a very few minor differences of punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of "Orion" 394-425 is accurate.

Tennyson’s "Oenone"  Much revised between its first and second appearances (1832, 1842), "Œnone" also treats of a mythological subject— the love the Greek nymph of its title for Paris—in blank verse. Its opening lines contributed a great deal to Roberts’s "The Pipes of Pan."

Platæa  A town in Boeotia, northwest of Athens.

"I have lived long…the utmost verge."  Except for a very few minor differences of punctuation and capitalization, Lampman’s quotation of the final lines of "Actæon" is accurate.

"Tantramar Revisited"…"The Pipes of Pan…Elegiac Distich of Tibullus and Ovid…  Both "The Tantramar Revisited" and "The Pipes of Pan" appear in Roberts’s In Divers Tones and both are written in distichs (pairs) of alternating hexameter and pentameter lines, a form used by the Roman poets Albius Tibullus (circa 60-19 BC) and Ovid (43 BC-AD 18). In A Handbook of Poetics for Students of English Verse (1885), Francis B. Gummere observes that "[t]he classical lament was written in alternate hexameter and pentameter; this was called elegiac verse. It came to be used for any reflective poetry; hence ‘elegiac’ refers more to the metre than to the subject. In English we understand it generally to mean solemn or plaintive poetry" (49-50). A letter of March 22, 1886 indicates that Gummere’s Handbook was on the course in English literature that Roberts taught at King’s College (see Collected Letters 59-60).

"Miles on miles…the gloom of the loft."  Except for a very few variations in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of "The Tantramar Revisited" 25-36 is accurate.

"Here is a nook…mix with the god’s."  Except for variations in punctuation and spelling and the substitution of "steep" for "sleep" (Collected Poems 77), Lampman’s quotation of "The Pipes of Pan" 17-26 is accurate.

Edgar Fawcett  Roberts and the American poet and novelist Edgar Fawcett (1847-1904) were mutual admirers: in 1882, Fawcett had written to Roberts "hailing him as a leader of the choir and saying many charming things" (Collected Letters 33) and in 1884 Roberts repayed the compliment with articles on Fawcett in the June 26 issue of The Week and the June 28 issue of The Current. Roberts did not admire Fawcett unreservedly, however (see Collected Letters 59-60), and Lampman regarded him as "brilliant, ingenious, productive, but artificial, overstrained, and devoid of tenderness"—a "destructive…product of New York, or…the modern metropolis in general" (At the Mermaid Inn 316, and see also 152). Fawcett’s collections of poetry include Romance and Revery (1886) and Blooms and Brambles (1889).

"And mortals…wonderful things."  Except for a few minor variations of punctuation and the omission of the "s" in "depths" (Collected Poems 77), Lampman’s quotation of the concluding lines of "The Pipes of Pan" is accurate.

"The startled meadow-hen…down-pour."  Lampman’s quotation of the third and fourth stanzas of "Ode to Drowsihood" contains minor variations of punctuation and spelling and substitutes "liquid" for "linkéd," "my weft" for "thy weft," "wakened" for "awakened" and "songs of Nereids" for "song of Nereids" (Collected Poems 9-10). Several of the "happy phrases" in the two stanzas raise echoes in Lampman’s poems of high summer, particularly "Heat" (1888) and "Among the Timothy" (1888).

"One moment throbs…palm-tree tower!"  Except for minor variations of punctuation and spelling, Lampman’s quotation of the third stanza of "The Isles—an Ode" is accurate.

"Wind of the summer afternoon…the grey hawk wheels on high[.]" Except for a very few variations in punctuation, Lampman’s quotations from "In the Afternoon" 1-8 and 31-40 in In Divers Tones are accurate.

"For scents of various grasses…A king fisher down launches[.]" Except for minor variations in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of the eighth, ninth, and eleventh stanzas of "On the Creek" in In Divers Tones is accurate.

the old story of Ulysses and the Syrens…  In Book 11 of Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus (Ulysses) tells the story of how he escaped the lure of the sirens by filling his men’s ears with wax and having himself lashed to the mast of his ship before it came within earshot of their island and alluring song.

"See the King…no heed!"  Lampman’s quotation of the sixth stanza of "Off Pelorus" in In Divers Tones is accurate.

Such lines as the following…  The sources and significant variations of Lampman’s quotations are as follows:

(1) "Oh tenderly…new speeches[.]": "The Maple," 1-4, Orion, and Other Poems, with the substitution of "blooms" for   glooms in line 1 and the addition of italics;
(2) "The yellow willows…bloom[.]": "To Fredericton in May-Time," 8, In Divers Tones;
(3) "The sleepless ocean…monotone[.]": "Out of Pompeii," final lines, In Divers Tones;
(4) "Far down the south…notes of bells[.]": "Out of Pompeii," 5-8, In Divers Tones, with the substitution of "Far" for "Low" (Collected Poems 59);
(5) "A yellow-sanded pool…hanging over[.]": "Actæon," 104-106, In Divers Tones, with the substitution of "With" for "From" (Collected Poems 69);
(6) "But this mount…dearest to him[.]": "Actæon," 154-58, In Divers Tones;
(7) "the everlasting gods…perpetual peace[.]": "Actæon," 50, 52, In Divers Tones (line 51 is omitted);
(8) "Yellow beach-grass…blown foam[.]": "Orion," 36-37, Orion, and Other Poems, with the omission of "Of" before "yellow" (Collected Poems 18);
(9) "The echo-peopled crags[.]": "Orion," 94, Orion and Other Poems;
(10) "The star-consulting silent pinnacles[.]": "Orion," 124, with the substitution of "The" for "From" (Collected Poems 20);
(11) "The sun…moted rows[.]": "Launcelot and the Four Queens," 3: 124-26, Orion, and Other Poems;
(12) "The wealth…better to keep[.]": "Ballad of the Poet’s Thought," refrain, Orion, and Other Poems, with the substi- tution of "is" for "was" (Collected Poems 32);
(13) "When the veering wind…daylight down[.]": "To Winter," 38-39, Orion, and Other Poems, with the substitution of "the" for "a" (Collected Poems 4).

"What matter…sorrow of age begun[.]"  Lampman’s quotation of "Reckoning" from In Divers Tones is accurate.

François Millet’s famous picture  Le semeur (The Sower) by the French artist Jean-François Millet (1814-1875) was first exhibited in 1850 and became well-known through engraved reproductions. In his At the Mermaid Inn column for July 1, 1893, William Wilfred Campbell would satirize contemporary sonnets for their "Millet-like…realism" (341).

"A brown sad-colored hillside…mankind"  Except for a very few variations in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of "The Sower" from In Divers Tones is accurate.

Roberts…rousing patriotic poems…  The first two poems in In Divers Tones are "Collect for Dominion Day" and "Canada," both of which had been previously printed and were widely reprinted (in Songs of the Great Dominion, for example). See "German Patriotic Poetry."

"Tout ou Rien" and "In Notre Dame"  Both poems appear in In Divers Tones and neither was subsequently reprinted.

Poe or Ros[s]etti  Edgar Allan Poe and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. See the notes to "The Modern School of Poetry in England."

Mr. Cameron of Kingston  Cameron was born and "received his preliminary education" in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia and "entered Queen’s University" in Kingston in 1882. "In March of…[1883] he became Editor of the Kingston News, which position he held until a few weeks before his death" (Charles J. Cameron, "His Life" [xix]).

Byronic quality…  See "The Poetry of Byron."

only thirty-one  In the manuscript, Charles J. Cameron has underlined "thirty," scored through and placed an asterisk above "one," and added the following note on the facing page: "Not thirty one. Thirty past. Born 1854 Sept. 24th / died 1885 September 17th. Just lacked one week of being 31. C.J.C."

"Ah, me!…all the inhumanities[.]"  Lampman’s quotation of all three stanzas of the first of the "Lyrics in Pleasant Places and Other Places" in Cameron’s Lyrics on Freedom, Love and Death is accurate except for minor variations of punctuation. The poem is dated "1885."

"Wisdom immortal…no right divine."  "Wisdom—a Sonnet" follows "Ah, me!" the mighty love that I have borne…" in Cameron’s Lyrics on Freedom, Love and Death. Except for a very few variations of punctuation and capitalization, Lampman’s quotation is accurate.

"A name not casting…soul is thine!"  Except for variations in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of "John Milton" is accurate.

"Standing on tiptoe…with the stars[.]"  Except for variations in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of "Standing on Tiptoe," which is dated "Sept. 1885," is accurate.

Landor’s famous quatrain…  Except for variations in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of the "Dying Speech of an Old Philosopher" (1853) by the English poet Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864) is accurate.

"All heart-sick…total is death!"  Except for variations of punctuation and capitalization, Lampman’s quotation of the first two and last stanzas of "All Heart-Sick" is accurate. He omits two stanzas.

"With all my singing…the happy flower."  Except for variations in punctuation and the substitution of "has" for "had" in the third to last line (Lyrics 216), Lampman’s quotation of "With All My Singing" is accurate.

"But let us dream…’twill not be known[.]"  Except for variations in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of the opening lines of the sixth stanza of "To Louise" is accurate, as are his quotations of the ninth and second stanzas of the poem.

"What matters it"  Cameron’s brother includes "What Matters It?" among "His Last Lyrics."

"The future…future—one!"  Except for several variations in punctuation and capitalization, Lampman’s quotation of the second half of "Past and Future" is accurate. In the manuscript, Cameron’s brother has placed a line and an asterisk beside the first four lines of the poem’s final stanza and written on facing and following pages,

The Present! Ah, the mightiest mind
Holds only that! We may not see
The dim days, in the undefined
And unformed ages yet to be:
Enough for us that if we do
The present deed that sh[oul]d be done
The three shall open to our view,
Past, present, future—One!"


"To the West Wind…Give her this!"  Except for minor variations in punctuation and spelling, Lampman’s quotation of "To the West Wind" is accurate.

Cameron wrote a great number of love lyrics  Cameron’s "Lyrics of Love" occupy seventy-five pages of Lyrics on Freedom, Love and Death.

"And how I go…Woe!"  Except for minor variations of punctuation and the absence of italics (or emphasis) on "Woe" (see Lyrics 79), Lampman’s quotation of "Amoris Finis" is accurate.

Cameron…Shelley…championship of liberty…  "Lyrics of Freedom," with subheadings on Cuba, Russia, France, Columbia, and Erin, occupies the first sixty pages of Cameron’s Lyrics on Freedom, Love and Death. For Lampman’s views on Percy Bysshe Shelley, see especially "The Revolt of Islam."

Heine…  The German poet and man of letters Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) is the subject of one of Arnold’s essays in Essays in Criticism, first series (1865) and his poem "Heine’s Grave" (1867). In the former, Heine is characterized as a "most effective soldier in the Liberation War of humanity" (Complete Prose Works 3: 107), in the other as a man who "Had every other gift, but wanted love" (Poems 512).

Mr. Cameron’s life…  In addition to the information given in the note, above, Cameron’s brother records that the poet moved "with his family to Boston in the spring of 1869…[and] entered the Boston University of Law, in 1872. After graduation, he entered the law office of Dean, Butler and Abbott in the same city. From this period until 1882 his attention was mainly devoted to literature and he was a frequent contributor to the Commercial Bulletin, Traveller, Courier and Transcript of the new Athens of America" ("His Life," xix).

"The Week vs. Wendell Philips" and "The Way of the World"  The two poems with which Lampman concluded his lecture (see headnote) both appear in Cameron’s Lyrics on Freedom, Love and Death (the correct title of the former is "The ‘Week’ vs. Wendell Phillips").

The Poetry of Byron

This essay was probably written for delivery to the Ottawa Literary and Scientific Society in the early eighteen nineties. The undated but signed holograph manuscript in the National Archives (MG 29 D59 vol. 2, 694-717) consists of twenty-three sheets measuring 21.3 x 27.3 cm., all but one of them consecutively numbered by Lampman. The unnumbered sheet precedes the essay proper and carries the following introductory note:

When I chose the subject of Byron for my paper to-night I of course did not intend to deal with it in any extended or detailed manner. I could not touch his life at all; it was too difficult a subject. I have limited myself merely to a very brief and general consideration of the value of the poet’s work. The title of this paper is "The Poetry of Byron".

As is the case with "Poetic Interpretation," the paper on which "The Poetry of Byron" is written is watermarked with chain lines, a sceptre surmounted by a crown, and the words "STANDARD LINEN BANK". "The Poetry of Byron" was first published, with a Prefatory Note by D.M.R. Bentley, in the Queen’s Quarterly 83 (1976): 623-32.

George Gordon, the sixth Lord Byron (1788-1824), was the Romantic poet whom Lampman least admired. The son of Captain John "Mad Jack" Byron, whose other child, Augusta, was his half-sister, Byron was educated at Harrow School and Cambridge University, where he began his literary life with Hours of Idleness (1807) and embarked on a life-long and notorious career of debauchery. As a result of a harsh review of his first volume of poems in the Edinburgh Review, he wrote English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809), a satirical attack, not only on his reviewers, but also on William Wordsworth and other Romantic poets. In 1812, after the tour of Europe in which he swam the Hellespont and acquired an ambition to help Greece to achieve freedom from Turkish rule, he published the first two cantos of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and quickly became the darling of London society. Several poems followed in rapid succession (see notes, below) as did notorious love affairs (Augusta gave birth to a child generally believed to be his) and growing financial problems. Plagued by scandal and debt, he left England permanently in 1816, thereafter living briefly in Switzerland (where he wrote "The Prisoner of Chillon," the third canto of Childe Harold, and two acts of Manfred) and then in various cities in Italy (where he continued his unconventional life and wrote prodigiously, completing the fourth and final canto of Childe Harold and numerous other poems, including his mock-heroic masterpiece, Don Juan [1819-1824]). In 1822, the deaths of Allegra, his daughter by Claire Claremont, and Percy Bysshe Shelley, his host in Geneva and Pisa, were sources of great grief and, very likely, contributed to his decision to enter the fight for Greek independence. Before seeing serious military action but after courting the affections of his Greek page, Loukas, he died of fever at Missolonghi in April 1824. His body was refused burial in both Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Byron’s life and work continued to generate controversy throughout the nineteenth century. Collections of his Works began to appear as early as 1814 and included editions by J.W. Lake (1825), Sir Walter Scott (1859), and William Michael Rossetti (1870). His Letters and Journals, compiled by Thomas Moore, went through six editions between 1830 and 1875. Countless critical studies were published in Britain, Europe, and the United States, many of them by very prominent poets and scholars such as, in Germany, Johannes Scherr (1854) and, in France, Hippolyte Taine (1863-1864; trans. 1873-1874). It was in considerable part due to European scholars, particularly Taine, that Byron’s first modern biographer, John Nichol, could assert in 1880 that "Byron is resuming his place: his spirit has come again to our atmosphere; and every budding critic, as in 1820, is impelled to pronounce a verdict on his genius and character. …[M]ore than our fathers, we are inclined to sympathize with our grandfathers" (202-03). Among those more positively disposed to the romantic proponents of "strong will and passion and defiant independence" (Nichol 203) than most early and mid-Victorians were Algernon Charles Swinburne and Matthew Arnold: Swinburne’s Selection from the Works of Lord Byron was published in 1866 and reissued in 1885 and Arnold’s Poetry of Byron appeared in 1881. Whether as a preface to the latter selection or in Essays in Criticism, Second Series (1888), Arnold’s influential essay on Byron was evidently well known to Lampman, as was one of the principal products of late Victorian interest in the poet that it helped to sustain and increase, Roden Noel’s Life of Byron (1890).

Arnold’s aim in selecting and presenting Byron’s "verse of…high quality" was "to do a service…to [his] reputation, and to the poetic glory" of England (Complete Prose Works 9: 235). "[A]s our…present world …shows itself more clearly," he believed, "we shall turn our eyes again, and to more purpose, upon this passionate and dauntless soldier…who…waged against the conservation of the old impossible world so fiery battle" (9: 236). Siding with Taine, Nichol, and Swinburne against those who underrated the energizing vitality of Byron’s work—"the excellence of sincerity and strength" that "covers all his offences and outweighs all his defects" (Swinburne qtd. in Arnold 9: 234)—Arnold nevertheless acknowledges his weaknesses as both man and poet: "[t]rue, as a man, Byron could not manage himself, could not guide his ways aright, but was always astray. True, he has no light, cannot lead us from the past to the future; ‘the moment he reflects, [as Goethe argues] he is a child.’ The way out of the false state of things which enraged him he did not see,—the slow and laborious way upward; he had not the patience, knowledge, self-discipline, virtue, requisite for seeing it. True, also, as a poet, he has no fine and exact sense for word and structure and rhythm; he has not the artist’s nature and gifts" (9: 234). Arnold also concedes that "[a]s a man, Shelley is at a number of points immeasurably Byron’s superior; …a beautiful and enchanting spirit, whose vision…has far more loveliness, more charm for our soul, than the vision of Byron," that "Wordsworth has an insight into permanent sources of joy and consolation for mankind which Byron has not," and that "Keats had probably…a more consummate poetic gift" than either Wordsworth or Byron (9: 218, 236). Lampman’s essay is saved from being a mere elaboration of these judgements by the fact that, rather than tipping the balance away from Byron’s "offences…and defects," it weighs these heavily against his contributions to the "divine progress" of "human nature" and concludes that "the value set upon [his] verse will not be so great in the future as it is now." In its concessive tone, "The Poetry of Byron" is Arnoldian, but in its fundamental rejection of Byron’s poetry as "a disturbing influence to human progress and…therefore of no real value to us" the essay owes more to the Thomas Carlyle of Sartor Resartus (1834) and On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History (1841), who counselled his audience to set aside the poet who had revealed "[n]o genuine good thought…to mankind" (see Works 1: 153 and 5: 163, 167).

Within the framework provided by the liberalism of Arnold and the conservatism of Carlyle, Lampman drew upon Noel (and perhaps also Nichol and Rossetti) for many of the specific judgements, details, and foils for his argument. Lampman’s admiration of Manfred, Heaven and Earth, and Cain, for example, reflects Noel’s great admiration for these works (see 121, 160, 165), and his reference to "the depravity of the Palazzo Mocenigo" echoes the biographer’s comment that "at the Palazzo Mocenigo on the Grand Canal [in Venice, Byron’s] sensual excesses gave much occasion for scandal. …His debaucheries brought him to the verge of the grave…—together with low diet and fasting, alternated with immoderate drinking" (133). And in dismissing the "apostrophe to the sea" near the end of the fourth canto of Childe Harold as a "coldly sententious piece of rhythmical commonplace," Lampman surely had in mind Noel’s claim that Byron’s " Address to the Ocean" is a passage of "descriptive poetry" that "can perish only with the language" (132). Even Lampman’s opening contention that "art is no more the instrument of God than the Devil" may owe a debt to Noel’s sense that Byron contained "a little of both" "Angel [and] demon" (16). Indeed "The Poetry of Byron" could be construed as his response to Noel’s assertion in the opening chapter of his Life of Byron that "[w]hether the influence of this poet has been for good or evil will always be a debated point" (15).

beautiful…sublime  The definitive discussion of these terms is Edmund Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful (1756). As defined by Lampman, however, "Beauty" is a quality that induces serenity and pleasure in the spectator or reader and, by appealing through the senses to moral and spiritual ideals of purity and order, contributes to the development of right thinking and proper conduct. Beauty that is "sublime"—that is, elevated in thought and style—would be especially effective in directing the "human soul" and "human nature" towards high ideals and goals.

the life of the poet is a dual one…  Byron’s dissolute life made the relationship between biography and art a vexed matter for his nineteenth-century critics and biographers. "His verse and prose is alike biographical," observes Nichol, "and the inequalities of his style are those of his career" (205). Arnold agreed ("the man in Byron is in many respects as unsatisfactory as the poet" [Complete Prose Works 9: 224]), as did Noel ("[t]here is the same turbid, troubled, unpure element…in the poetry as in this life" [2]).

the life of the worldly man  In the manuscript, "worldly" is written above "bodily" but the latter is not scored through.

an inexplicable tangle  In the manuscript, "inexplicable" replaces "inextricable", which has been scored through.

single ruling instinct  The question of whether Byron’s "life and art" were the product of a governing impulse or philosophy was, again, vexed for his nineteenth-century critics and biographers. As Noel puts it, "[t]here are…two great ideas in Byron, though both Goethe and…Arnold are disposed to deny him any; these are Individuality, and Popular Freedom" (163).

"Beauty is truth…all ye need to know"  Lampman is misquoting the final lines of "Ode on a Grecian Urn": "Beauty is truth, truth beauty,— that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

Wordsworth…Shelley…  See headnote, above for Arnold’s comparison of Byron with both of these Romantic poets, as well as with Keats (see also Nichol 214).

Great god…wreathèd horn  Lampman’s quotation of the sestet of Wordsworth’s "The World is too much with us…" is accurate except for the substitution of "coming" for "rising" in the penultimate line and various changes in punctuation (Wordsworth has an exclamation mark after "Great God" and semi-colons after "outworn," "forlorn," and "sea"; he also capitalizes the first letter of "pagan").

scene painting in [Byron’s] poems…  See Nichol 212-14 for a more positive assessment of Byron’s poetry of natural description.

that loud-tongued apostrophe to the sea…of Childe Harold  Before announcing the completion of his "task" and bidding farewell to the reader in the fourth and final canto of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Byron’s narrator addresses four stanzas to the "Ocean" (see headnote, above).

the famous last line of James Thompson’s [sic] Sophonisba  In the first edition (1730) of his tragedy about the Cartheginian general’s daughter who took poison to avoid captivity, the Scottish poet James Thomson (1700-1748) gave her bereaved lover the play’s orotund final words, "Oh! Sophonisba; Sophonisba, Oh!" The line was quickly parodied by Henry Fielding in Tom Thumb (1730) as "O Huncamunca, Huncamunca O!" In later versions of the play, it was changed to "Oh Sophonisba, I am wholly thine!"

Israel Bertuccio and Philip Calendaro in Marino Faliero  In Byron’s poetic drama, Marino Faliero; Doge of Venice (1821), the two characters that Lampman mentions are among the conspirators to overthrow the Venetian constitution. Nichol notes that a section of the pair’s dialogue has "been pointed out as embodying some of Byron’s spirit of protest against the mere selfish ‘greasy domesticity’ of the Georgian era" but faults Byron for spoiling the "passage…after his wont…by platitudes" (143-44).

freedom and universal justice. See the note, above on "single ruling instinct."

dreams of struggles and self-sacrifices…in which…he always beheld himself the central and glorified figure  Noel is more charitable to Byron: "Is not much good and great work done in the world by men who…build one altar to the ideal, another to human welfare, and a third to personal aggrandizement? There is just as little doubt that Byron cared for human welfare, and for the ideal, as that he cared for personal honour" (157-58).

The address to his wife…on hearing of her illness  "Lines on Hearing that Lady Byron Was Ill," written in 1816 and first published in 1832.

The opening stanzas of Childe Harold…degraded dissipations  Lampman is referring to Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage I, ii-xi, which describe Childe Harold’s fondness for "concubines…carnal companies" and other pleasures.

gusto  Special relish and enjoyment.

Don Juan  Sporadically published in installments from 1819 to 1824, the sixteen cantos of Byron’s mock-epic masterpiece chronicle with great wit and numerous digressions the many adventures of the charming, handsome, and unprincipled young man from Seville who furnishes its title.

Beppo  Published in 1818, Beppo: a Venetian Story is the poem in which Byron developed the mock-heroic tone and ottava rima form of Don Juan. Against the backdrop of the pre-Lenten Carnival in Venice, it tells of Beppo’s discovery and urbane acceptance of his wife Laura’s love affair with an aristocratic "‘Cavalier Serventes’" (xxxvi).

confessed in one of his letters that he did not consider poetry his true vocation  Nichol cites the letter to which Lampman refers: "‘[i]f I live ten years longer,’ [Byron] writes in 1822, ‘you will see that it is not all over with me. I don’t mean in literature, for that is nothing—and I do not think it was my vocation; but I shall do something"’ (184).

English Bards and Scotch Reviewers  See headnote, above.

The Gi[a]our, The Bride of Abydos, The Corsair and Lara…  Nichol chronicles the publication and summarizes the plots of these poems: "the Giaour, [published in May 1813, was] the first of the flood of verse romances which, during the three succeeding years, he poured forth with impetuous fluency, and which were received with almost unrestrained applause. The plots and sentiments and imagery are similar in them all. The Giaour steals the mistress of Hassan, who revenges his honour by drowning her. The Giaour escapes; returns, kills Hassan, and then goes to a monastery. In the Bride of Abydos, published in the December of the same year, Giaffir wants to marry his daughter Zuleika to Carasman Pasha. She runs off with Selim, her reputed brother—in reality her cousin, and so at last her legitimate lover. They are caught; he is slain in fight; she dies, to slow music. In the Corsair, published January, 1814, Conrad, a pirate, ‘linked with one virtue and a thousand crimes!’ is beloved by Medora, who on his predatory expeditions, sits waiting for him…in a tower. On one of these he attacks Seyd Pasha, and is overborne by superior force; but Gulnare, a female lover of Seyd, kills her master, and runs off with Conrad, who finds Medora dead and vanishes. In Lara, the sequel of this—written in May and June, published in August—a man of mystery appears in the Morea [in Spain], with a page, Kaled. After adventures worthy of Mrs. Radcliffe…Lara falls in battle with his deadly foe, Ezzelin, and turns out to be Conrad, while Kaled is of course Gulnare. …These romances…all exhibit a command of words, a sense of melody, and a flow of rhythm and rhyme. …None of them are wanting in passages…which strike deep. …But there is an air of melodrama in them all. Harmonious delights of novel readers, they will not stand against the winnowing wind of deliberate criticism. They harp on the same string. …They are potentially endless reproductions of one phase of an ill-regulated mind. …Mr. Carlyle compares [them] to the screaming of a meat-jack" (74-76). Noel finds more to admire in Byron’s poems of 1813-1814 but concedes that they are not "subtle or piercing enough for permanence. …[T]he greater Byron is not here—the volcanic force and fire; the defiance, the immense disdain of all mortal things. …But all this was in embryo" (82-83).

beauty of person  Nichol refers to Byron’s "personal beauty" (86).

In a later year when Byron left England…Byron  Nichol gives a detailed account of the "burst of British virtue" (see headnote, above) that led to Byron’s departure for Europe in April 1816 (100-02), as does Noel, with the observation that "from the Continent [he sent] forth the melodious wail of his wounded, wrathful, sullen genius, with compass immeasurably fuller from opposition, desertion, and despair. …[H]e avenged himself in the English cantos of ‘Don Juan’" (110-11).

Lament of Tasso  Published in 1817, this poem was inspired by the imprisonment in Ferrara of the Italian poet Torquato Tasso (1544-1595) and treats of his love for Leonora d’Este and the writing of his Gerusalemme Liberata (Jerusalem Delivered). Noel describes Byron’s poem as "a fine, strongly realized work" (129).

Prophesy of Dante  Published in 1821 as a companion to the Lament of Tasso and with a similar inspiration (the tomb of the Italian poet Dante Alighieri [1263-1321] in Ravenna), The Prophesy of Dante focuses on Dante’s years of exile from his native Florence and gives to him a vision of the future of Italy. Noel describes it as "on the whole the finest of [Byron’s] reflective, semi-dramatic compositions" (150).

disturbing influence to human progress  In the manuscript "progress" replaces "society," which has been scored through.

the Corsair and Medora  The hero (Conrad) and the heroine of The Corsair (see note, above).

he came frequently in contact with Shelley  Byron first met Shelley at Geneva in 1816 and the two poets remained close friends until Shelley’s death in 1822 (see headnote, above). "Byron was always at his best with Shelley," writes Noel; "that strange, volatile, yet ideal-loving, and ethereal spirit touched [Byron’s] robuster and earthier soul…to finer issues, so that he became more serious and thoughtful in his companionship. Indeed, the influence of Shelley (as well as of Wordsworth, whom Shelley made him read) is to be felt in the subtler touches of the later ‘Childe Harold’" (118).

Manfred  Byron’s poetic drama about a reclusive, Faustian figure tortured by guilt about his incestuous love for his sister Astarte, was published in 1817. After being saved by a hunter from a suicide leap over an alpine cliff, Manfred summons the Witch of the Alp, descends to the underworld, and confronts a vision of Astarte. With her promise of his imminent death, he returns to his castle and, after rejecting the counsels of an abbot and the power of the infernal spirits, he dies. Noel considers Manfred "one of the poet’s finer works…the expiring groan of self-centred individuality" (121-22).

Heaven and Earth  Another poetic drama, Heaven and Earth: a Mystery was published in 1822. Based on the Biblical account of the Flood, it treats of the creation of new species out of the marriage of angels and human women. Noel considers it "a very beautiful and unique composition, more in the spiritual and ideal region than anything else of Byron’s" (165).

Cain  Published in 1821, Cain anticipates Heaven and Earth in genre (poetic drama) and subtitle ("a Mystery"), as well as in its bold use of Biblical material. Oppressed by Adam’s legacy of toil and encouraged by Lucifer to rebel, Cain kills Abel and receives God’s punishment—exile to the "wilderness" "Eastward from Eden" with his wife and children. Noel considers Cain "Byron’s great dramatic poem" (160).

Dante, Ariosto and Tasso  For Dante and Tasso, see notes, above. Lampman was probably thinking primarily of Dante’s Divina Commedia (Divine Comedy), and Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata (Jerusalem Delivered). Also an Italian poet, Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1535) is most remembered for Orlando Furioso. Lampman’s inclusion of Ariosto among the poets Byron studied in Italy is conjectural since he is not mentioned either in Byron’s Life, Letters, and Journals or by Nichol, Noel, and other biographers.

bread of strangers in solitude and bitterness  Lampman is alluding to Shakespeare, Richard II, III, i, 21: "You have…Eaten the bitter bread of banishment."

repulsive passages of Don JuanMarino Faliero…  Noel follows his remarks on the Palazzo Mocenigo (see headnote) by observing that Byron "now wrote ‘Beppo,’ ‘Mazeppa,’ and the early books of ‘Don Juan.’ …These poems were a fascinating hodge-podge of grave and gay" (134-35). According to Nichol, Marino Faliero (see note, above) was begun April, finished July, 1820" (142), but Noel, who regards it as "perhaps…underrated" (159) dates it somewhat later.

Shadows…or…sentimental architypes of himself…  Nichol discerns in Byron’s romances of 1813-1814 (see note, above) "the picture of the same quasi-melancholy vengeful man…the exile who cannot flee from himself, ‘the wandering outlaw of his own dark mind,’ who has not loved the world nor the world him" (76) and Noel remarks that "Conrad, Lara, Cain, Manfred, were made out of one mood of himself (138).

"Dream"…ManfredMarino FalieroProphesy of Dante  Noel describes "The Dream," published in 1816, as a "beautiful poem, written…at Diodati [in Coligny, Switzerland] ‘amid a flood of tears’" caused by Byron’s unrequited love for Mary Charworth (48). He also discusses the autobiographical dimension of the incest theme in Manfred (102-03), discerns elements of Byron’s "own conflicting nature" in Marino Faliero (159), and dwells on the "inward loneliness, and proud-infolding of solitary genius, rejected by the world" in The Prophesy of Dante (150-51). See also notes, above, and Nichol 117.

women…Empress Catherine up to Aurora Raby  Both Nichol and Noel discuss Byron’s perceptions and portraits of women, the former contrasting his denigrating remarks about "‘the female sex’" to "the moods in which he drew his pictures of Angiolina, and Haidee, and Aurora Raby, and wrote the invocations to the shade of Astarte, and his letters in prose and verse to Augusta" (86-87) and the latter conceding that "‘Let us have wine and women, wine and laughter; / Sermons and soda-water the day after!’ does not…express an ideal view of women" but praising his depiction of Adah in Cain as "one of the most exquisite sketches of a good and self-sacrificing woman ever drawn by any writer" and his "lines about Aurora Raby, in ‘Don Juan,’ [for their] ideal loveliness" (187). See Don Juan 9: 449f. for Byron’s description of Empress Catherine of Russia and 15: 353f. for that of Aurora Raby.

Adeline and Aurora Raby…  The latter is indeed introduced in "the last canto" of Don Juan, but Lady Adeline Amundeville makes her first appearance in the second stanza of Canto 13. (An ink blot after "last canto" in the manuscript suggests that Lampman may have contemplated writing "cantos".) Nichol remarks that there is "no analysis of female character so subtle as that of Lady Adeline" and finds "towards the close of [Don Juan]…an echo of home and country, a half involuntary cry after…‘higher things and better days’" (178). Noel enthuses about "the accurate knowledge of women, and of the world…in the sketch of Lady Adelaide [sic] Amudeville!" and provides a catalogue of female characters in Don Juan and other poems to refute the view that Byron "could only paint one man, and one woman" (135, 138).

inventing and circulating monstrous stories about himself  Lampman appears to be misinterpreting Noel’s comment that "the most hideous lies were invented…, as usual, about [Byron’s] misconduct [at La Mira, Italy in 1817-1819], being malignant distortions of real facts, or else pure inventions. …He was provoked to cynicism (and thus was partly affected) by the lies in question" (144). In another context, however, Noel observes that "Byron’s  impish  love of practical joking was excessive all through his life. …Byron and Shelley…versified their own experiences a great deal, of course embroidering fanciful inventions upon them; but they seem to have imagined or invented more or less, also, in recalling their experiences to themselves, and in relating them to others" (95-96).

the wit of Don Juan…  Noel calls attention to what Lampman calls the "riotous abundance" of Don Juan (136) and Nichol brings the wit of "the cleverest of English verse compositions" into comparison with that of other works and authors: "Byron was not, in the highest sense, a great humourist; he does not blend together [smiles (and) sorrow, tears (and) laughter], as they are blended in single sentences or whole chapters in Sterne [and other writers]…but he comes near to produce the same effect by his unequalled power of alternating them. His wit is seldom hard, never dry, for it is moistened by the constant juxtaposition of sentiment" (175-76). While Nichol anticipates Lampman in likening Byron to the author of Tristram Shandy (1759-1767) and A Sentimental Journey (1768), the other authors that he mentions (Carlyle and Johann Paul Friedrich Richter) do not figure in Lampman’s humorous pantheon of Shakespeare, Saavedra Cervantes (1547-1616), and Charles Dickens (1812-1870). Both Lampman’s list of humourists and its underlying idea of humour recall Carlyle’s essay on Richter (1827), where Shakespeare, Sterne, and Cervantes ("the purest of all humorists") are ranked with reference to a definition of "[t]rue humour…[as] sensibility; warm, tender fellow-feeling with all forms of existence. …True humour springs not more from the head than from the heart; it is not contempt, its essence is love; it issues not in laughter but in still smiles, which lie far deeper. …It is, in fact, the bloom and perfume…of a deep, fine and loving nature" (Works 26: 16-17). In On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History (1841), Carlyle adds that "[l]aughter means sympathy; good laughter is not ‘the crackling of thorns under the pot.’ Even at stupidity and pretension…Shakspeare [sic] does not laugh otherwise than genially. …Such laughter, like sunshine on the deep sea, is very beautiful to me" (Works 5: 109).

his metrical gift  Both Nichol (173-74) and Noel (138) comment favourably on Byron’s mastery of metre, diction, and versification, and both point to negative aspects of his compositional style: "[h]e is habitually rapid and slovenly" (Nichol 211) and often "perpetrated bad blank verse…and indifferent metre" (Noel 132). Before citing a few examples of the "high quality" of much of Byron’s verse, Arnold is less flattering: "Byron is so negligent in his poetical style…so slovenly, slipshod, and infelicitous…so little haunted by the true artist’s fine passion for the correct use and consummate management of words, that he may be described as having for this artistic gift the insensibility of the barbarian" (Complete Prose Works 9: 223).

exaggerated value…no merit at all  Lampman’s judgement resonates with Arnold’s observation that "the praise often given to Byron has been so exaggerated as to provoke, perhaps, a reaction in which he is unduly disparaged" (Complete Prose Works 9: 222).

"He taught us little…Titanic strife"  Lampman concludes his essay by quoting from the second verse paragraph of Arnold’s "Memorial Verses" (1852), which were written shortly after Wordsworth’s death on April 23, 1850. The quotation omits the first two lines of the paragraph ("When Byron’s eyes were shut in death, / We bow’d our head and held our breath") and it is accurate except that in the original "felt" is italicized, the "e" in "watched" is elided, and "life" is not followed by a comma.

Poetic Interpretation

The undated holograph manuscript of "Poetic Interpretation" is held in the National Archives (MG 29 D 59 vol. 1, 585-622). It consists of 38 sheets measuring 21.4 cm x 27.4 cm., all but the first of which are numbered by Lampman. As is the case with "The Poetry of Byron," the paper is watermarked with chain lines, a sceptre surmounted by a crown, and the words "STANDARD LINEN BANK". Because the essay is clearly written in ink, it has posed few difficulties of transcription, but tears in the manuscript have resulted in some lacunae; part of Lampman’s signature is missing, for example, as is the final word of the essay. This has necessitated more than a usual amount of editorial interpolation (see especially the notes to the final paragraphs, below). "Poetic Interpretation" has been previously published in Archibald Lampman: Selected Prose, ed. Barrie Davies (Ottawa: Tecumseh, 1975), 87-91, albeit in a severely truncated form.

It is possible that "Poetic Interpretation" and "The Poetry of Byron" were among the essays about which Lampman wrote to Thomson on September 30, 1895: "I shall write those essays—or at least one of them—in the course of the next month or so—but I do not anticipate any success for them literary or financial" (Annotated Correspondence 152). On October 9 Lampman was able to report that he had "pretty nearly finished one of [the] essays—…‘Happiness’" and on October 30 that he had written "one of [his] essays, and sent it to Scribner’s," adding that "if they accept [it], I shall write some more; if they don’t I shall drop it" (Annotated Correspondence 154, 158). Since no essay by Lampman appeared in Scribner’s Magazine, the supposition has been that both of these letters refer to "Happiness," which was eventually published in Harper’s Magazine in July 1896 (see headnote). If, as seems likely, Lampman wrote no other essays in the fall of 1895 or, indeed, in the remaining few years of his life, then "Poetic Interpretation" and "The Poetry of Byron" must date from earlier—a conclusion supported, as observed in the Introduction (xxvii-xxviii), by their resemblance to "The Modern School of Poetry in England" and "Style."

In subject-matter and, to a considerable extent, in approach "Poetic Interpretation" seems to be a continuation of Lampman’s literary essays of the mid-to-late ’eighties and early ’nineties. Although "illustrated…altogether from Keats and Wordsworth," it concludes with a brief survey of most of the poets discussed in "The Modern School of Poetry in England" and "Style" that essentially repeats the arguments and judgements made at greater length in those essays; for example, Swinburne’s Songs Before Sunrise are "so many harpings upon one cracked string" in "The Modern School of Poetry in England" and in "Poetic Interpretation" "Swinburne is without varie[ty][,] being absorbed and carried away by a single strain of riotous melody which he applies to everything." Moreover, "Poetic Interpretation" resembles "The Modern School of Poetry in England" and "Style" in its heavy indebtedness to the criticism of John Campbell Shairp, particularly to the chapter on "Poetic Style in Modern English Poetry" in Aspects of Poetry, Being Lectures Delivered at Oxford (1882) and the chapter on "The Sources of Poetry" in Poetic Interpretation of Nature (1877). Lampman’s view that poets differ from ordinary people only in the intensity of their feeling is, of course, thoroughly Wordsworthian, but as stated in the opening paragraph of "Poetic Interpretation" it has accretions derived from Shairp’s view that the "aspect of Nature, th[e] truth of the external world, with which Poetry has [most] to do" is "Beauty, that strange and wonderful entity with which all creation is…pervaded and penetrated as if by a subtle essence, inwrought into its inmost fibre. The Poet is the man to whom is given the eye that sees this more instinctively, the heart that feels it more intensely, than other men do; and who has the power to express it and bring it home to his fellow-men" (Poetic Interpretation of Nature 15-16).

Even more of a presence than Shairp in "Poetic Interpretation" is the writer whom Lampman describes near the conclusion of "Style" as "the most modern of poets, and to men of our generation more interesting than any other": Matthew Arnold. Obviously responding on September 23, 1882 to a reference in a lost letter from Lampman, Charles G.D. Roberts refers to Arnold as "second to no living English writer in prose or verse" and strongly recommends his prose works, especially Essays in Criticism, First Series (1865): "if you are not already familiar with them, you will find the richest of intellectual fruits. That on ‘Heine’; on ‘Translating Homer’; on ‘Maurice de Guerin,’ with others, are quite incomparable" (Collected Letters 30). If not by this time, then probably soon after, Lampman must have encountered Arnold’s enormously influential definition of "poetic interpretation" in "Maurice de Guérin":

The grand power of poetry is in its interpretative power; by which I mean, not a power of drawing out in black and white an explanation of the mystery of the universe, but the power of so dealing with things as to awaken in us a wonderfully full, new, and intimate sense of them, and of our relations with them. When this sense is awakened in us, as to objects without us, we feel ourselves to be in contact with the essential nature of those objects, to be no longer bewildered and oppressed by them, but to have their secret, and to be in harmony with them; and this feeling calms and satisfies us as no other can.
(Complete Prose Works 3: 12-13)

Arnold goes on to differentiate between poetry that interprets the "natural" or "outward world" and poetry that interprets the "inward world of man’s moral and spiritual nature" (3:30, 33), a distinction that he invokes in his Introduction to Keats in The English Poets (1880):

in one of the two great modes by which poetry interprets, in the faculty of naturalistic interpretation…[Keats] ranks with Shakespeare. …No one else in English poetry, save Shakespeare, has in expression quite the fascinating felicity of Keats, his perfection of loveliness. …For the second great half of poetic interpretation, for…moral interpretation…, Keats was not ripe. …His Endymion, as he himself well saw, is a failure, and his Hyperion, fine things as it contains, is not a success. But in shorter things, where the matured power of moral interpretation, and the high architectonics which go with complete poetic development, are not required, he is perfect.
(Complete Prose Works 9: 214-15)

"Of all the poets of the present century, Keats, it seems to me, was the most perfect," agrees Lampman; "[h]e died very young…but everything that his imagination handled came from it in a shape…nearly perfect."

A third Arnold essay that figures largely in "Poetic Interpretation" is the influential Introduction to The Poems of Wordsworth (1879) that he edited for the Golden Treasury series. Lampman ranks Wordsworth lower than Keats "in the truth of poetic interpretation," but in according him the status of "the greatest" of "all our later poets" he follows Arnold, who believed that, despite "[a] mass of inferior work," "the poetical performance of Wordsworth is, after that of Shakespeare and Milton, …undoubtedly the most considerable in our language from the Elizabethan age to the present time" (Complete Prose Works 9: 42, 40). Arnold’s contention that Wordsworth "has no assured poetical style of his own" is not endorsed by Lampman either in "Style" (where he discerns a "peculiar manner in his verse") or in "Poetic Interpretation" (where he writes of his "quiet tones"), but at the heart of both essays is an acceptance of the Arnoldian view that "Wordsworth’s poetry is great because of the extraordinary power with which Wordsworth feels the joy offered to us in nature, the joy offered to us in the simple primary affections and duties; and because of the extraordinary power with which, in case after case, he shows us this joy, and renders it so as to make us share it" (9:51). In "Poetic Interpretation," Lampman offers alternatives to some of Arnold’s statements about Keats and Wordsworth but rests largely content within the framework provided by the one writer of "this last age" whose "genius" he characterized in his At the Mermaid Inn column of June 25, 1892 as "that rare combination of philosophy and the poetic impulse in the highest degree" (97).

Finally, various aspects of the discussion of both Keats and Wordsworth in "Poetic Interpretation" suggest that Lampman may also have been drawing on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria (1817), particularly the chapters (14 and 17-22) that focus on Wordworth’s poetry in relation to the theories expressed in his prefaces to Lyrical Ballads (1798, 1800). This is scarcely surprising in an essay that treats of Wordsworth in detail, but it throws into crisp relief the extent to which Lampman’s critical writing of the mid-to-late ’eighties and early ’nineties participates in the continuity of admiration and argument that stretches back through Shairp, Pater, Arnold, Carlyle and others to the origins of Romantic-Victorian thinking about the properties and purposes of poetry.

There is nothing in the world…we call poets  See the quotation from Shairp in the headnote. Shairp makes much the same point several times in Aspects of Poetry, for example in his chapter on "The Spiritual Side of Poetry": "What is it in Nature that especially attracts the poet, that he is gifted beyond other men to feel, to interpret, and express? Is it not the beauty that is in the face of Nature?" (60).

Every phenomenon…  After distinguishing between "Physical Science" (which "deals with the outward object alone") and Poetry (which "has to do with the object plus the soul of man") in "The Sources of Poetry," Shairp asserts that "[a]ny real object, vividly apprehended…will awaken in an intelligent and emotional being a response which is the beginning of poetry. The depth and breadth and volume of that response will, of course, be proportioned to the nobility of the object which evokes it, and to the responsive capacity of the mind to which it makes its appeal" (Poetic Interpretation of Nature 26-27). In "The Spiritual Side of Poetry," he offers "a beautiful sunrise, or a gorgeous sunset, or the starry heavens on a cloudless night" as examples of natural phenomena that produce aesthetic and moral "impressions" in sensitive observers (Aspects of Poetry 61; and see 167-68 for more on the kinship between emotion and music). Lampman’s paragraph may also owe a debt to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s "Nature" (1836), particularly Part 1 ("Nature") and Part 3 ("Beauty").

Every feeling…musical accompaniment…musical instrument… As L.R. Early has pointed out (Archibald Lampman 46), when "Lampman…th[ought] of the poetic soul as a wind-harp that responds to the particulars of experience," he was probably remembering the "symbol" of "the Aeolian harp, an instrument designed to produce musical sounds when set in an open breeze" in Shelley’s "A Defense of Poetry" (1840), and, for that matter, in Coleridge’s "The Eolian Harp" (1797). But Lampman’s most likely inspiration for the notion of "answering harmon[ies]" is Carlyle. In "Jean Paul Friedrich Richter" (1827), the essay upon which Lampman drew for his conception of humour in " The Poetry of Byron" (see notes), Carlyle presents Richter as "a man of feeling…[who] loves all living with the heart of a brother. …Every gentle and generous affection, every thrill of mercy, every glow of nobleness, awakens in his bosom a response; nay, strikes his spirit into harmony; a wild music as of wind-harps. …His is the spirit which gives life and beauty to whatever it embraces. Inanimate Nature itself is no longer an insensible assemblage of colours and perfumes, but a mysterious Presence, with which he communes in unutterable sympathies" (Works 26: 15-16). And in Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History (1841), Carlyle prefaces his famous definition of poetry as "musical Thought" by defining a "musical thought…[as] one spoken by a mind that has penetrated into the inmost heart of the thing; detected the inmost mystery of it, namely the melody that lies hidden in it; the inward harmony or coherence which is its soul. …All inmost things…are melodious" (Works 5: 83). In thinking of the "harmonic nature…[of] the poetic soul," Lampman may also have been remembering Shairp’s observations on the "essential kinship" between "excited feelings within the breast, the heaving of the soul under the power of emotion, and a corresponding rhythmical cadence in the words which utter it:" "[t]he poet is the man whose emotions, intenser than those of other men, naturally find a vent for themselves in some form of harmonious words. …As Wordsworth tells us, …the true poet…‘murmurs near the running brooks, / A sweeter music than their own’" (Poetic Interpretation of Nature 30-31). In Aspects of Poetry, Shairp writes of imagination as possessing both an "interpretative" and a "harmonizing power" and defines the "pure style" as a poet’s capacity to produce a "total impression" by "reducing all…materials, however diverse, into harmony with one sentiment" (6-7, 131-32), "[T]he pure style in full perfection is not possible," he argues, without the "power of intense sincerity, of total absorption in an object which is not self": "the writer sees his object, and this only; is so absorbed in it, lost in it, that he altogether forgets himself and his style, and cares only, in fewest and most vital words, to convey to others the vision his own soul sees" (132).

the listening ear…the intently listening soul…  As indicated in the notes to "Style," Shairp (and Alfred Austin) repeatedly comment on the breadth of sympathy and experience manifested by the greatest writers. See also Poetic Interpretation of Nature, 43-44: "[f]or the soul to apprehend all that Nature contains of meaning, there must be present not only the eye keenly observing, and tenderly sensitive to natural beauty, but behind this must be a heart feelingly alive to all that is most affecting in human life, sentiment, and destiny" (43-44).

The perfect poet…would have no set style…  As observed in the headnote, Arnold argues that Wordsworth has "no style," "no assured poetic style of his own, like Milton"; however, he does credit Wordsworth with "a style of perfect plainness," a "nobly plain manner," that is "truly expressive" of its subject: "Nature herself seems…to take the pen out of his hand, and to write for him with her own bare, sheer, penetrating power" (Complete Prose Works 9: 52-53). Shairp, who argues that all "great poets" have their "own characteristic style…that [is] perfect according to its kind and aim," disputes Arnold’s claim that Wordsworth has no style, countering that "[i]f by poetic style we mean the expression of the best thoughts in the best and most beautiful words, and with the most appropriate melody of rhythm, …[then] Wordsworth, when at his best, has a style of his own, which is perfect after its kind" (24, 119).

Poe or Ros[s]etti  Edgar Allan Poe and Dante Gabriel Rossetti; see the notes to "The Modern School of Poetry in England."

the perfect poet would not necessarily be great…Keats…Wordsworth See the quotations and discussions reflecting Arnold’s estimations of Keats and Wordsworth in the headnote.

Spenser  Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) is most remembered for The Faerie Queene (1590, 1593), but wrote numerous shorter poems including those in The Shepheardes Calendar (1579).

Swinburne  Algernon Charles Swinburne; see the notes to "The Modern School of Poetry in England."

Keats…was governed by no theory…surrender himself completely… In Aspects of Poetry, Shairp approaches Wordsworth and Coleridge as poet-critics who were to an extent governed by "theory" (see 116-22), but sees Byron and Keats as "exclusively…poet[s]" (124-30). Apparently, Lampman did not regard Keats’s concept of "negative capability"—the capacity of certain writers, especially Shakespeare, to identify themselves completely with their subjects—as a "theory." See the notes to "The Character and Poetry of Keats."

Endymion  See Arnold’s comment on Endymion (1818) as "a failure" in the headnote and the notes to "The Character and Poetry of Keats." In his Preface to Endymion, Keats described it as "a feverish attempt, rather than a deed accomplished" ( 2: 11).

"Lamia"  Based by way of Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy on a passage in Philostratus (the name of a Greek family of writers who flourished in the second and third centuries AD), "Lamia" (1820) is a narrative poem about the love of a young scholar (Lycius) of the fabled Greek city of Corinth for a beautiful woman (Lamia) who is in fact a sorceress and serpent transformed by Hermes. The transformation of Lamia, her journey from Cenchrea to Corinth, and her meeting with Lycius are recounted in Part 1 of the poem, as is the couple’s journey through "the twi-light city" to the "purple-lined palace of sweet sun" where, at the beginning of Part 2, they are depicted reclining on a couch. The "piteous catastrophe" to which Lampman refers occurs in Part 2 when, at a bridal feast rashly arranged by Lycius, his curmudgeonly mentor, the mystic and sophist Apollonius, penetrates Lamia’s disguise and "with a frightful scream she vanishe[s]," causing Lycius to die "that same night" of a shattered ideal (2: 306-08).

saturnine  Cold, gloomy.

Hyperion  In the opening books of Hyperion (1820), an epic fragment that Shairp calls "great" but Arnold judges "not a success" (see headnote), Keats presents the scene that Lampman paraphrases: in a gloomy lair, the fallen Titan Saturn (the Cronos of Greek mythology) laments the loss of his kingdom after his defeat by Jove and debates a course of action with the other fallen Titans (Enceladus, Clymene, Thea, and others), concluding that their only hope lies with the unfallen Hyperion.

Cyclopean  Huge, gigantic, monstrous, like the Cyclopes of Greek mythology.

"But Oh! …labouring up."  Except for punctuation, spelling and capitalization, Lampman’s quotation of Hyperion 1: 34-41 is accurate, as is his preceding quotation of 1: 95.

"It was a den…nest of woe."  Except for punctuation and spelling, Lampman’s quotation of Hyperion 2: 5-14 is accurate.

"So far her voice…supreme contempt."  Except for punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of Hyperion 2: 300-08 is accurate.

"Suddenly a splendour…Hyperion."  In the manuscript, two Xs signal the elision of the word "Till" at the beginning of the first line of Hyperion 2: 357-67. Except for punctuation and the substitution of "places" for "spaces" (2: 359) the quotation is accurate.

"There was a listening fear…laboring up[.]"  Except for spelling and the absence of terminal punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of Hyperion 1: 37-41 is accurate.

All these lines might be changed…perfect poetic utterance…  Here and in his subsequent comment on the "blameless" opening lines of the final stanza of "Ode on a Grecian Urn," Lampman may have had in mind Coleridge’s definition of a "blameless style" in Chapter 22 of Biographia Literaria (1817): "[i]n poetry, in which every line, every phrase, may pass the ordeal of deliberation and deliberate choice, it is possible, and barely possible, to attain the ultimatum which I have ventured to propose as the infallible test of a blameless style; its untranslatableness in words of the same language without injury to the meaning. …I include in the meaning of a word not only its correspondent object, but likewise all the associations which it recalls" (2: 115; and see also 1: 15 [Chapter 1] on the faultless style of Milton and Shakespeare).

"St. Agnes’ Eve…he saith."  Except for punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of the opening stanza of "The Eve of St. Agnes" (1820) is accurate.

"In all the house…gusty floor[.]"  Except for punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of the concluding lines of stanza XL (356-60) of "The Eve of St. Agnes" is accurate.

"And they are gone…ashes cold."  Except for punctuation and spelling, Lampman’s quotation of the final stanza of "The Eve of St. Agnes" is accurate.

transfigured  See "The Modern School of Poetry in England."

"Fade far away…beyond to-morrow."  Except for spelling, capitalization, and punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of the third stanza of "Ode to a Nightingale" (1820) is accurate.

"Oh Attic shape…all ye need to know."  Except for spelling, capitalization and punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of the final stanza of "Ode on a Grecian Urn" (1820) is accurate.

"‘A thing of beauty is a joy for ever’"  This is the opening line of Endymion.

A great lyric poem…perfume from a flower  At several points in Aspects of Poetry, Shairp ponders the process of poetic creation, preferring Wordsworth’s definition of poetry as "‘emotion recollected in tranquility’" (qtd. 167) to the view that "the poet, in the first flush of emotion, project[s] [a lyric] into language perfect and complete" (166, and see 99-100).

Wordsworth must have been hardly conscious of the great disparity of his work  As observed in the headnote, Arnold was acutely aware of Wordsworth’s unevenness as a poet: "in his seven volumes the pieces of high merit are mingled with a mass of pieces very inferior to them; so inferior…that it seems wonderful how the same poet should have produced both. …Work altogether inferior, work quite uninspired, flat and dull, is produced by him with evident unconsciousness of its defects, and he presents it to us with the same faith and seriousness as his best work" (Complete Prose Works 9: 42; and see Shairp, Aspects of Poetry 121-22). In acknowledging the unevenness of Wordsworth’s poetry, both Arnold and Shairp follow the Coleridge of Chapter 22 of Biographia Literaria, which Lampman may have known directly (see notes,  above and below). "INCONSTANCY of…style" is the first of the "prominent defects of [Wordsworth’s] poems" that Coleridge discusses in terms of a "disharmony" and "incongruity" in levels of diction (2: 97-101).

He had a theory…  As noted above, Shairp treats both Wordsworth and Coleridge as poet-critics with "a theory" (Aspects of Poetry 114-22). "Even if Wordsworth in some points pressed his theory too far," he suggests, "no one who cares for such matters can read the reasoning of the…two prefaces [to Lyrical Ballads] without instruction" (115). In Chapters 17 to 20 of Biographia Literaria, Coleridge provides a critique of Wordsworth’s poetic theories, concluding that "were there excluded from…[his] poetic compositions all, that a literal adherence to the Theory of his preface would exclude, two-thirds at least of the marked beauties of his poetry must be erased. …[A] far greater number of lines would be sacrificed than in any other recent poet" (2: 84).

"Michael," "The Leechgatherer," "Ruth"…  Arnold includes "Michael: a Pastoral Poem" (1800) and "The Leech Gatherer" ("Resolution and Independence"; see notes to "Style") among Wordsworth’s best poems, remarking that if the expression of the latter is "bald…it is bald as the bare mountain tops are bald, with a baldness which is full of grandeur" (Complete Prose Works 9: 53-54). "Ruth" (1815), one of the few poems by Wordsworth that have a North American component, also treats of humble people and rural landscapes.

"There was a roaring…her mirth."  Except for a very few differences of punctuation and capitalization, Lampman’s quotation of the opening lines of "Resolution and Independence" is accurate. In Aspects of Poetry, Shairp observes of "Resolution and Independence" that it "sets forth that alternation of two opposite moods to which imaginative natures are exposed,—the highest exaltation, rejoicing in sympathy with the joy of Nature, quickly succeeded by the deepest despondence." (22).

examples of curiosa felicitas…noted by Coleridge  After listing the "defects of [Wordsworth’s] poems" in Chapter 22 of Biographia Literaria, Coleridge turns to their excellences, the first and fourth of these being "a perfect appropriateness of the words to the meaning" and "the perfect truth of nature in his images and descriptions" (2: 115, 121). Coleridge also considers "a laborious minuteness and fidelity in the representation of objects" to be a defect of Wordsworth’s poetry (2: 101). In his chapter on "Thought and Literature" in the Life and Times of the Right Honourable Sir John A. Macdonald (1883), Joseph Edmund Collins applies the term "curiosa felicitas of expression" to the prose of Goldwin Smith, defining it in the process as "the aptitude for coining [the] new and telling phrase that at once reveals itself as a master-stroke" (460; and see the headnote to "The Life and Times of Sir John A. Macdonald").

"I saw a man…if it move at all."  Here, as in "Style," Lampman is quoting from an early version of the poem (see notes to "Style"). Except for punctuation, capitalization, and the substitution of "altogether" for "all together" (Poetical Works 2: 237), the quotation of lines 55-56 and 64-77 is accurate. In the manuscript, Lampman signals the omission of a stanza (9) and the beginning of a line (64) with three Xs, which have been replaced with dots in the present text.

the little poems on the "Small Celandine"  "To the Small Celandine" (1807) and "To the Same Flower" (1807) are poems 11 and 12 in Wordsworth’s "Poems of the Fancy."

…the loose and redundant verbiage of…"The Thorn" and "Goody Blake"  "The Thorn" and "Goody Blake and Harry Gill: a True Story" were both published in Lyrical Ballads (1798). The former is subjected to a withering critique by Coleridge in Chapter 17 of Biographia Literaria on the grounds that it descends to "dullness and garrulity" and that several of its lines are "felt by many unprejudiced and unsophisticated hearts, as sudden and unpleasant sinkings from the height to which the poet had previously lifted them" (2: 36-38). In the paragraph that precedes these remarks Coleridge expresses reservations about "The Idiot Boy," which he links with "Harry Gill" as a poem "pitched at a lower note than "The Brothers’" or "Michael" (2: 35).

"E’er a leaf…the tiny square."  As is the case with "Resolution and Independence" (see notes above and in "Style"), Lampman is quoting from early versions of "To the Small Celandine" and "To the Same Flower." Thus his quotation of lines 25-32 ("E’er a leaf…none[.]") of the former has "its nest" rather than the "her nest" of later (1832) versions and his quotation of lines 57-64 of the same poem has "Singing… / In the lanes my thoughts pursuing" rather than "Serving… / Tasks that are no tasks renewing" (1836) (Poetical Works 2: 143-33). The third stanza of "To the Same Flower," which he quotes after the break (signalled by three dots), contains no similar variants. Except for punctuation and capitalization, the quotations are accurate.

"Like rock of stone…this poor thorn forever."  Once again, Lampman is drawing his quotation from an early text (the "wire bent" of the seventh line becomes "are bent" after 1832; see Poetical Works 2: 240). Except for punctuation, capitalization, and the substitution of "had" for "have" in the penultimate line, stanza 2 of "The Thorn" is accurately reproduced (the italics are Lampman’s).

Byron…opening lines of The Corsair…  See "The Poetry of Byron" for a full expression of Lampman’s negative views of Lord Byron and his work. The opening lines of The Corsair (1814), a description of the sun setting "Along Morea’s hills" also appear as the opening lines of "The Curse of Minerva" (1828). In a note to them, Byron writes that they "have, perhaps, little business here [in The Corsair], and were annexed to an unpublished…poem [‘The Curse of Minerva’]; but they were written on the spot, in the Spring of 1811, and—I scarce know why—the reader must excuse their appearance here—if he can" (1025).

"She was a phantom of delight"…  The untitled poem that begins with this line was first published in 1807 and subsequently included as the eighth piece in "Poems of the Imagination."

"Isabel"  Tennyson’s "Isabel" (1830) is a fulsome description of the young poet’s mother as "the crown and head, / The stately flower of female fortitude, / Of perfect wifehood and pure lowlihead" (!) (184).

"And now I see…an angel light."  Except for capitalization and punctuation, Lampman’s quotation is an accurate reproduction of an early (1807-1827) version of the third stanza of "She was a Phantom of delight.…" In later versions, "betwixt" became "between" and "angel light" "angelic" (Poetical Works 2: 214).

"Three years she grew in sun and shower,"  The tenth piece in "Poems of the Imagination," "Three years she grew in sun and shower…" (1800) is popularly considered to be one of Wordsworth’s "Lucy" poems.

"The stars…into her face."  Except for a variant in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of the fifth stanza of the poem is accurate (the italics are his).

the Prelude and the Excursion  The Prelude: or, Growth of a Poet’s Mind, Wordsworth’s long autobiographical poem, was published posthumously in its thirteen book form in 1850 and The Excursion, the middle portion of a projected three-part poem "on man…nature and…human life" to be called "The Recluse," in 1814. Both are in blank verse.

…homely rustic life…dearer to Wordsworth’s heart than…more complex…human society…  In Aspects of Poetry, Shairp makes this point at length, arguing that Wordsworth "cared…but little for that culture, literary, aesthetic, and scientific, of which so much is made nowadays" because "he had found something worthier than all class culture, often among the lowliest and most despised. …Inasmuch, however, as he valued only that which is intrinsically and essentially the best in men, he may be said to have upheld a moral and spiritual aristocracy" (98-99).

"Down from the ceiling…summer flies."  Once again, Lampman is drawing his quotation of lines 110-28 of "Michael" from an early text ("Did with a huge projection overbrow" became "With huge and black projection overbrowed" in 1836; see Poetical Works 2: 83-84). Except for punctuation, capitalization, and the substitution of "Which" for "That" in the second line, the quotation is accurate (the italics are Lampman’s).

at times even garrulous  See the quotation from Coleridge in the note to "…the loose and redundant verbiage…," above.

His prefatory sonnet on the sonnet  Lampman is referring to "Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room…" (1807), the opening poem in Part 1 of Wordsworth’s Miscellaneous Sonnets (1820).

"A flock of sheep…joyous health."  Except for a few variations in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of "A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by…" (1807), sonnet 14 in Part 1 of Miscellaneous Sonnets (1820) is an accurate reproduction of the 1807-1820 version of the poem (see Poetical Works 3: 8-9).

Matthew Arnold…"Forsaken Merman"…"Empedocles on Etna" and "Sohrab and Rustum"…  The first and the third of Arnold’s poems are briefly discussed in "The Modern School of Poetry in England" and "Style." The ending of the second, the title poem in Empedocles on Etna, and Other Poems (1852), consists of the last words of Empedocles before he throws himself into the crater of the volcano.

Tennyson…not sufficiently simple and ingenuous  In Aspects of Poetry, Shairp considers Tennyson’s style to be "composite…richly wrought" and "elaborate," and, as such, more in the line of Keats than Wordsworth (129-30). See also "Style."

Shelley…  See "The Revolt of Islam" and "Style."

Robert Browning…  See "Style."

Rossetti… See "The Modern School of Poetry in England" and "Style."

Coleridge…"Christobel [sic]"…the "Rhyme [sic] of the Ancient Mariner" In Aspects of Poetry, Shairp endorses Swinburne’s view in "Coleridge" (1869) that "Christabel" (1816), "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (1798), and "Kubla Khan" are Coleridge’s "best pieces," but he places the first two poems on a higher plane than the third, and he remarks of "Christabel" that "[t]he movement of its subtle cadences has a union of grace and power, which only the finest lines of Shakespeare can parallel" (123). Walter Pater is marginally less extravagant in his praise of "Christabel" and "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" in his Introduction to Coleridge in The English Poets (1880), but he gives the two poems pride of place in Coleridge’s oeuvre by discussing them together and at length (see 5: 109-14).

Byron…  Shairp proceeds from Coleridge to Byron in Aspects of Poetry, offering a largely negative critique of the latter’s character and style: "[h]is cadences were few, but they were strong and impressive. …[A]ll the variety of [his] moods, and his most characteristic style, are faithfully embodied in…Don Juan. [He]…often affected gloom and played with misanthropy, and his poems reflecting these moods are all, more of less, in a falsetto tone" (125-26). See also "The Poetry of Byron."

Swinburne  See "The Modern School of Poetry in England" and "Style."

The Character and Poetry of Keats

The holograph manuscript of "The Character and Poetry of Keats," Lampman’s longest essay, is the centrepiece of the Lampman Papers in the W.A.C. Bennett Library at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia. Unsigned but dated "Jan. 1893," the manuscript consists of 132 unnumbered pages sewn through with string and contained in a booklet with brown cardboard covers and a black-taped spine (Ms C The sheets measure 20.7 x 27.6 cm. and show neither a watermark nor chainlines. Since the essay is clearly written in ink it has posed no difficulties of transcription. It has been previously published in a severely truncated form and with a prefatory note by E.K. Brown in the University of Toronto Quarterly 15 (June, 1946): 356-72.

"The Character and Poetry of Keats" appears to have developed out of "The Poets," an essay that achieved only draft form in a notebook of circa 1891 in the National Archives (MG 29 D59 vol. 7, 3061-3118). After a brief general survey of "the greatest poets" (3061), "The Poets" narrows its focus to Keats and quickly becomes an examination of his life and writing to about 1817. A draft of much of the remainder of "The Character and Poetry of Keats" survives in another manuscript book in the National Archives (MG 29 D 59 vol. 7, 3170-3202) and takes Keats from "the spring of 1819" to his burial in "the Protestant cemetery at Rome" (3170, 3201). Since "The Character and Poetry of Keats" was finished in January 1893, the date assigned to this manuscript book, "circa 1894-95," is probably incorrect. A third notebook of circa 1892-1893 contains a draft of the opening lines of The Story of an Affinity (1900), the long poem that Lampman began in the fall of 1892 (see Bentley, "Introduction" xi-xii), and a full draft of "The Character and Poetry of Keats" (MG 29 D 59 vol. 5, 2148-226).

Lampman’s letters to Edward William Thomson between October 1892 and May 1893 provide an index of the evolution of "The Character and Poetry of Keats" from a lecture to a monograph. "I am on to deliver a lecture on Keats next winter and that is beginning to occupy my attention," Lampman told his friend on October 12, 1892; "I deliver it at Kingston and I trust they will pay me something for it" (Annotated Correspondence 50). Unfortunately, the vagueness of the "they" to whom this letter refers—possibly a society in Kingston or at Queen’s University—did not prompt Thomson to seek clarification in his reply of October 17, which suggests another venue for the lecture: "[w]hy do you not come to Boston with your Keats lecture. Drop a line that you will and we can get things ready by salting the press with Lampman paragraphs. You could make a hit here—don’t doubt it, Mr. Modesty. And the boom you’d get might well result in a prolonged lecture tour that would forever relieve you from the office. I counsel you as is in me to come to Boston with that lecture. If you want an invitation it can easily be worked up, and you should not be too dignified to let your friends use some ordinary devices" (51-52). Lampman’s reply of October 20 indicates the importance that he was beginning to attach to the lecture: "[a]s to the lecture, I am full of gratitude to you and my other kind friends for the suggestion and the offer of assistance—but—not this time. I must have time to prepare something as good as I can make it before I go lecturing in Boston. My Keats lecture is not written yet and I do not know whether it will be any good or not. If it pleases me, I will work it up more carefully next year, and then you can invite me to deliver it at the ‘Hub’ [i.e., Boston]" (52-53). In his two remaining letters of 1892 to Thomson, both of which are obviously replies to letters that have been lost, Lampman reports the slow progress of his lecture and expresses grave misgivings, not only about its content, but also about his abilities as a lecturer. "I do not know whether I can lecture at all yet to anyone’s satisfaction," he writes on November 9; "I will have to try myself on some thing nearer home. Besides I have been seized with a fit of poetry…and my lecture has gone to the wall and will stay there till the fit of verse writing passes off" (55). And on December 24: "[a]s to that lecture I will let you know what I think later on. I shall certainly not venture on it unless I am satisfied with my paper. I have not yet finished it, and so far I am anything but satisfied with it; in fact I am disgusted with myself and it. It does me good however to know that you take so much kindly interest in the matter. I am indeed infinitely obliged to you" (57).

In his next surviving letter to Thomson, dated February 10, 1893, Lampman pronounces himself "fairly satisfied with [his] winter’s activities": "I have written a large quantity of a story in verse [The Story of an Affinity (1900)] besides my paper on Keats, upon which I spent a good deal of conscientious labour and which is a failure viewed from the point of view of our proposed delivery of it in Boston" (58). Apparently Thomson’s wish "to read the Keats lecture" in his reply of February 14 came true when the two friends spent a couple of weeks together in Boston in late April and early May, for on April 24, Lampman wrote home to his wife that "Thomson thinks I may sell my Essay on Keats. I intend to try. It is rather too long for a magazine, but might be published in a small book or as a monograph" (Lampman Papers, Simon Fraser University). From Lampman’s next, and final reference to "The Character and Poetry of Keats" it is evident that Thomson’s high estimation of it was not fully echoed by Horace Scudder, an editor of the Atlantic Monthly, a reader for Houghton, Mifflin (Boston), and the author of, among other things, a collection of essays on English and American literature (Men and Letters [1887]). "I am afraid your valuation of my prose efforts and prose capacity is extravagant, and would not be borne out by experience," Lampman told Thomson on May 18, 1893; "[m]y first attempt anyway is a failure. Mr. Scudder cannot make any use, he says, in any form of my paper on Keats. He gives it at the same time some cautious praise, and agrees that it is good as a lecture" (Annotated Correspondence 79-80).

Lampman’s hope during his stay in Boston that he might be able to publish his essay "as a small book or…monograph" may have been encouraged, not only by Thomson and his circle, but also by the extraordinary interest in Keats in Boston literary circles in the early ’nineties. Led by Fred Hall Day, a Wildean aesthete whose publishing house, Copeland and Day, would eventually print Lampman’s Lyrics of Earth (1895), and Louise Imogen Guiney, a poet and a critic whose intense anglophilia would eventually take her permanently to England, a campaign had been underway since 1891 to erect "an American memorial to Keats, a marble bust by the Boston Sculptor Anna Payne Whitney, …in the parish church in Hampstead, England" where the poet had spent his most creative years (Gibran 42). After a three-year fund-raising drive, the Keats Memorial was dedicated in July 1894 and "reported throughout the English-speaking world" (43). Of Lampman’s knowledge of this campaign, there can be no doubt, for he calls attention to it in his At the Mermaid Inn column of January 28, 1893:

It is a strange fact that, although seventy-one years have elapsed since the death of Keats, no monument of any sort to his memory has been erected upon English soil. Other poets of less power, but greater worldly fortune, have been crowned with every species of honour, and a corner of Westminster Abbey packed with the memorials of their genius. Yet the fame of this poet, almost the brightest of all, has been curiously neglected. We learn, therefore, with satisfaction that a very beautiful bust of Keats, by Miss Anne Whitney, an American is about to be placed in the parish church at Hampstead, London, where Keats lived and wrote many of his best pieces. The expense of this memorial is being borne by a number of American literary people, who have thus undertaken a duty which should have been performed long ago by the poet’s countrymen. (247)

The fact that within weeks of the appearance of this column, Lampman was able to tell Thomson that he had completed his "paper on Keats" but that it was "a failure" as a lecture for "delivery…in Boston" may indicate that early in 1893 he had already begun to think of it as a long essay or "short book" that might achieve speedy publication on account of the interest generated by the Keats Memorial.

Why, then, did "The Character and Poetry of Keats" not find its way into print? One factor may well have been its length: at a full forty pages in the present edition, it is long for an essay and short for a book (though pieces of a similar length are by no means uncommon in either format). Another factor is its sheer lack of originality, which would surely have been evident to an editor and scholar of Scudder’s experience. As the annotations in the present edition attest, few portions of "The Character and Poetry of Keats" can escape the charge of being a paraphrase or a pastiche of other works on Keats, particularly Richard Monckton Milnes’ Life, Letters, and Literary Remains of John Keats (1848; rev. ed. 1867), a germinal document in the Keats revival that took place in the second half of the nineteenth century, and Sidney Colvin’s Keats (1887; rpt. 1889), an important advance in the study of Keats’s life and work that is particularly significant and persuasive in arguing that, far from being the detached aesthete envisaged by William John Courthorpe and others, Keats was profoundly aware of "the human mission and responsibility of his art" (189). Colvin agrees with Milnes that Keats was "the true Marcellus…of the realm of English song" (the allusion is to the promising youth whose premature death is mourned by Virgil in the Aeneid 6: 861-87), with Matthew Arnold that "he was the most Shakspearean spirit that has lived since Shakspeare," and with John Campbell Shairp that, with Wordsworth, he lies centrally in the background of Tennyson and other major Victorian poets (218-20). Lampman’s essay thus stands in a continuity of admiration for Keats that sees the "Protean" variety of his mind and art, his "openness" to "the whole range of life and imagination," as a golden link between "the great poets of the [Elizabethan] age" and those of the Victorian era (Colvin 218-20). A comparison between Lampman’s approaches to Keats in the essays of the mid-to-late ’eighties (see the discussions of his work in "Style," "Poetic Interpretation" and "The Modern School of Poetry in England") and that of "The Character and Poetry of Keats" can leave little, if any, doubt that Colvin’s work exercised a major influence on his thinking about the poet who had taken up a central position in his critical and creative writing in the mid-’eighties.

Carl Y. Connor cites Lampman’s classical training, his distrust of "dogma, creed, [and] formula," and even a "haunting premonition of his own early death" as reasons for "his unusual affinity for Keats" (139-40). Whatever the case, there can be no doubt of Keats’s importance for Lampman from at least the spring of 1884, when he wrote the intensely Keatsian "April" (Poems 4-6; Early, "Chronology" 78) to well after the spring of 1895, when he answered Thomson’s criticism that the opening lines of his unpublished poem "Lisa" are "too strongly suggestive of the diction and method of Keats" (Annotated Correspondence 117) with an apologia that helps to explain his apparent inability in the early ’nineties to distance himself from Keats and his biographer-critics: "[t]he Keats at the beginning [of "Lisa"] was very natural, for I could not write anything at that time with[out] writing Keats. I am only just now getting quite clear of the spell of that marvellous person; and it has taken me ten years to do it. Keats has always had such a fascination for me and has so permeated my whole mental outfit that I have an idea that he has found a sort of faint reincarnation in me. I should not write the poem that way, if I were writing it now—but then I should not be writing it at all" (119). As well as being the most telling, this is the last reference to Keats in Lampman’s published or unpublished work: by 1894 a preoccupation that had indeed "permeated [his] whole mental outfit" was losing its fascination and force.

While many of the quotations from Keats’s poems and all of the quotations from his letters in "The Character and Poetry of Keats" may have been taken from Milnes and/or Colvin, Lampman must have owned one or more of the editions of the poems and letters that were published in the decades preceding the writing of his essay. These included editions of the Poetical Works by Milnes (Lord Houghton) (1854, 1876) and William T. Arnold (1884), of his Letters and Poems by John Gilmer Speed (1883), and of his Letters…to Fanny Brawne by H. Buxton Forman (1878). In the present edition, quotations of Keats’s poems and letters are referred as necessary to Milnes and, under its editor’s name, to a modern edition of the work which, in Colvin’s view, "might for the purpose of the student be final" (vii), Forman’s four-volume Poetical Works and Other Writings of John Keats (1883).

"A thing of Beauty…and all ye need to know[.]"  Except for capitalization and punctuation, Lampman’s quotations are accurate (see also "Poetic Interpretation").

…Beauty…in this lofty sense must also be good  In "Aesthetic Poetry. Dante Gabriel Rossetti" (1882), John Campbell Shairp quotes Cardinal Newman to the effect that "‘the highest beauty and moral goodness are unseperably connected’" and then chastises recent poets for paying insufficient attention to Keats’s aspiration towards beauty allied to truth (7-8). Again using Keats as an example, Shairp elaborates these arguments in his chapter on "The Spiritual Side of Poetry" in Aspects of Poetry (1882), placing different responses to beauty in "Nature, and in Works of Art," on a Platonic ladder that ascends from the "mere exhilaration of the animal spirits," through the "enjoyment which aesthetic natures feel," to the "higher," "moral stage" where "visible beauty" "awakens…moral emotion" and permits "a glimpse into the Divine order and beauty…[and] greater nearness to Him who makes that order and beauty" (61-64). Lampman’s association of "Beauty…in that clear and lofty sense" with "white light" and "golden quietude" is resonantly (neo-)Platonic, as is his invocation of "Beauty…Goodness [and]…Truth" (a triad embodied in the heroine of The Story of an Affinity [1900], which was written between October 1892 and April 1894, and expounded in "Beauty" [1900], which was written circa June 1892 [see Bentley, "Introduction." xi-xiii and xvii and Early, "Chronology" 82]). See also "The Modern School of Poetry in England," "Poetic Interpretation," "The Poetry of Byron," and Lampman’s "Notes from Ruskin/Lectures on Art" (Appendix).

art for art’s sake  A translation of "l’art pour l’art," a phrase first used by the French writer Théophile Gautier, "art for art’s sake" is the doctrine and attitude that painters, poets, and other artists should not concern themselves with social and moral issues but devote themselves to nothing other than the perfection of their art. Prominent English "devotees of art for art’s sake" in the final decades of the nineteenth century were Walter Pater, who writes of "the desire of beauty, the love of art for its own sake" (1: 239) in the Conclusion to The Renaissance (1873) and Oscar Wilde, who, like other aesthetes, viewed Keats as a literary ancestor (see "The Garden of Eros" [1881] [9: 46-47]). American exemplars included Fred Holland Day (see headnote).

mechanical realists  During the eighteen eighties and ’nineties there was much debate in Canada and the United States about whether poetry, fiction, and drama should adhere to the rules of realism or romance. Was it the purpose of literature to represent the human and natural worlds objectively or idealistically? Are the actions of animals and people governed by mechanical laws (such as sexual reproduction and the "survival of the fittest") or are they part of a Providential scheme that patterns all aspects of existence? Several of Sara Jeannette Duncan’s columns in The Week address these and related issues (see, for instance, "Outworn Literary Methods" [1887] and "The Modern Stage" [1887]), as do William Wilfred Campbell’s At the Mermaid Inn columns of July 1893 (see 341-44). (Duncan, like the American fiction writers William Dean Howells and Hamlin Garland [see the headnote to "[Socialism],"] proposed a compromise in the form of an "idealistic realism" [Jane Johnson xxi] or "veritism" that would both reflect reality and, in Garland’s words "hasten the age of beauty and peace" [Crumbling Idols (1894), 44].) In a letter of July 31, 1893 to Thomson, Lampman writes that, while the French novelist Honoré de Balzac "understood human nature with the heart," "[o]ur novelists of to-day are all too busy studying out the minute and intricate machinery of the soul, and describing it in a scientific way, that they lose all faculty of love; you never find your own heart going out to their characters with a passionate or joyful sympathy. They are very clever, and very tiresome, most of them" (Annotated Correspondence 91). Lampman’s remarks place him very much on the side of the idealists.

Carlisle [sic]…Tennyson…dead dogs"  No source for this quotation has yet been found, but Lampman may have been thinking of one or more of Thomas Carlyle’s uses of animal images in relation to British writers, as, for example, in "On Biography" (1832): "[n]othing but a pitiful Image of their own pitiful self, with all its vanities, and grudgings, and ravenous hunger of all kinds, hangs forever painted on the retinas of these unfortunate persona [the army of British authors]; so that the starry ALL…does but appear as some expanded magic-lantern shadow of that same Image,—and naturally looks pitiful enough" (Works 28: 58).

an impulse…the Divine Creator…  In Chapter 13 of the Biographia Literaria (1817), Samuel Taylor Coleridge defines "[t]he primary IMAGINATION…[as] the living Power and prime Agent of all human Perception, and as a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I AM" (1: 202).

…the…impulse…of humanity…toward love and knowledge and peace…  The concluding sentence of Lampman’s second paragraph recalls several statements in "The Modern School of Poetry in England," "Poetic Interpretation," and "The Poetry of Byron" and, hence, the passages in Shairp’s Aspects of Poetry with which those statements resonate (see notes, especially to "The Modern School of Poetry in England").

Keats…to Tennyson and to Browning…  As observed in the notes to "Style," Shairp designates Keats "more than any other poet" as "the master whose style [Tennyson] has caught and prolonged" (Aspects of Poetry 130). Lampman discusses both Tennyson and Browning in "Style" and in "Poetic Interpretation."

Chaucer, "One morning star of Song"…  In the second stanza of "A Dream of Fair Women" (1832), Tennyson describes Geoffrey Chaucer (circa 1343-1400) as "the morning star of song" (441). Probably the best-known of Chaucer’s "lines and couplets, in which are mentioned…flowers…birds…[and] rain" occur at the beginning of the General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales. See also Lampman’s 1894 sonnet "To Chaucer."

Shakespeare, who comprehended all things…  See the notes to Lampman’s discussion of Shakespeare in "Style."

"When in the chronicles…your master now."  Except for the pluralization of "chronicle" (1614) and the omission of one comma, Lampman’s quotation of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 106 (1609) is accurate.

Keats…approached Shakespeare…  In his Introduction to Keats in The English Poets (1880), Matthew Arnold ranks him after Shakespeare in "expression" and "perfection of loveliness" (Complete Prose Works 9: 215).

…as Monc[k]ton Milnes thought…Keats… drama  Richard Monckton Milnes (1809-1885), Lord Houghton, was a poet, biographer, and social reformer who was a close friend of several Victorian writers, including Tennyson, the Brownings, William Makepeace Thackeray, Algernon Charles Swinburne and Walter Savage Landor. In his Life, Letters, and Literary Remains of John Keats (1848) (see headnote) he dwells repeatedly on the fact that the work Keats "produced was rather a promise than an accomplishment" (1, and see 222), concluding that beyond his poems "there is nothing…but the thought of what he might have become. …There is…progress…in the works of Keats, but it is towards his own ideal of a poet, not towards any defined and tangible model. All that we can do is to transfer that ideal to ourselves, and to believe that if Keats had lived, that is what he would have been" (253).

He was enchanted from the first with…Elizabethan pastoral…  Here and in his ensuing remarks, Lampman is elaborating upon Milnes’ observation that Endymion is "imbued with the spirit of Spenser, Fletcher, and Ben Jonson" and that, while Hyperion displays the influence of Paradise Lost, Keats was initially "attracted [by]…those poems which Milton had drawn out of the heart of old mythology, ‘Lycidas’ and ‘Comus’; and…the ‘Penseroso’ and ‘Allegro’" (63, and see notes, below).

Endymion  The first of Keats’s long poems, Endymion was written in 1817 and published in 1818 (see "Style" and notes, below).

the Forsaken Shepherdess of Beaumont and Fletcher  The Faithful Shepherdess (circa 1610) is thought to have been written solely by John Fletcher (1579-1625) rather than by Fletcher in collaboration with his fellow English dramatist Sir Francis Beaumont (1584-1616). Colvin mentions the "idyllic and lyric" Fletcher of "the Faithful Shepherd" as "a writer with whom Keats was very familiar, and whose inspiration…is closely kindred to his own" (95).

the Sad Shepherd of Ben Jonson  The Sad Shepherd; or a Tale of Robin Hood (1641) is the last and unfinished play of the English dramatist Ben Jonson (circa 1572-1637).

the Fairie [sic] Queen [sic] of Edmund Spencer [sic]…  Milnes records that "in the beginning of 1812," Keats asked his friend Charles Cowden Clarke (see note, below) for "the loan of Spenser’s ‘Fairy Queen’" and that "[t]he effect…produced on him by that great work of ideality was electrical: …he would now speak of nothing but Spenser. A new world of delight seemed revealed to him. …This, in fact, was not only his open presentation at the Court of the Muses (for [his] lines in imitation of Spenser…are the earliest known verses of his composition,) but it was the great impulse of his poetic life, and the stream of his inspiration remained long colored by the rich soil over which it first had flowed" (18-19). Written in the stanza form invented by Edmund Spenser (circa 1552-1599), The Faerie Queene is a richly detailed, allegorical, and unfinished romance that was first published in 1590 (books 1-3) and 1596 (books 4-6).

Comus and Lycidas, "L’Allegro," "Il Penseroso"  See the note, above in which Milnes speculates about Keats’s attraction to the shorter poems of John Milton (1608-1674), specifically: Comus, a Maske (1637) and Lycidas (1638) a pastoral elegy, "L’Allegro" and "Il Penseroso" (1645), a pair of poems that describe, respectively, the active and the contemplative life. Milnes does not include Milton’s sonnets in his remarks.

"‘with pilgrim footsteps clad in amice grey’"  Lampman misquotes Milton’s description of "morning fair" in Paradise Regained 4: 426: "with Pilgrim steps in amice gray" (an "amice" is a fur-lined hood or cape worn by certain monastic orders). See "Style" for a brief discussion of Lampman’s sense of the place of Milton and Paradise Lost in the English literary tradition.

Hyperion  Hyperion: a Fragment and its successor, The Fall of Hyperion, are aborted attempts at epic that were written in 1818-1819. The former was published in 1820 and the latter posthumously in 1856.

The strongest other influences which affected the poetry of Keats… Lampman lists three "influences" that require separate comment:

(1) "the political and literary atmosphere of his own age": see "Style" for the contrary view, based partly on William John Courthorpe’s "The Latest Development of Literary Poetry" (1872), that Keats…stands separated from his age." Apparently Lampman changed his mind about the importance of the French Revolution and the Romantic movement for Keats. Colvin quotes Keats’s friend George Felton Mathew to the effect that the poet "‘was of the sceptical and republican school…an advocate for the innovations which were making progress in his time—a faultfinder with everything established’" (20)

(2) "the introduction to classical mythology…natural affinity": after describing Keats’s youthful attraction to Virgil’s Aeneid, Milnes states that "[Andrew] Tooke’s ‘Pantheon,’ [Joseph] Spence’s Polymetis,’ and [John] Lemprière’s ‘Dictionary,’ were sufficient fully to introduce his imagination to the enchanted world of old mythology; with this, at once, he became intimately  acquainted, and a natural consanguity, so to say, of intellect, soon domesticated him with the ancient ideal life, so that his scanty scholarship…led the way to that wonderful reconstruction of Grecian feeling and fancy, of which his mind became afterwards capable" (17). As the title of The Story of an Affinity (see headnote) indicates, Lampman was perhaps under the influence of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Die Wahlverwandtschaften (The Elective Affinities) (1809; trans 1872), in the early eighteen nineties.

(3) "the sufferings of mind and body…": From the fall of 1817, when his first volume of poetry was harshly reviewed, to his death of tuberculosis in February 1821, Keats endured mental and physical sufferings that became legendary (see notes, below).

Keats was born shortly after the close of that long intermediary period…  See "Style" for a parallel discussion of the relationship of the Romantic period (1798-1832) to what Lampman there calls the "transition age" of the eighteenth century. The only figure mentioned here but not in "Style" is James Henry Leigh Hunt (1784-1859), the poet, dramatist, and essayist who befriended Keats in 1816 and thereafter championed his work. Hunt is best remembered for his support of other writers, but The Story of Rimini (1816), A Legend of Florence (1840), and his Autobiography (1850) were much admired in his day.

like youthful Titans…promethean spirit  In Greek mythology, the Titans, one of whose sons was Prometheus, are a race of giants who rebelled against the gods and were variously punished for their impudence. They provided subjects and analogies for numerous Romantic and Victorian writers, including Keats (Hyperion), Shelley (Prometheus Unbound), and Carlyle (The French Revolution) (see "Gambetta," "Style," and other essays).

in 1830 and 1840 when Tennyson and Browning came…  Tennyson’s Poems, Chiefly Lyrical appeared in 1830 (he had earlier contributed to Poems of Two Brothers [1827]) and Robert Browning’s Sordello appeared in 1840 (he had previously published three other books, beginning with the anonymous Pauline [1833]).

With them was the full light of mid-day…  Lampman’s use of a diurnal metaphor to describe the relationship between the Victorian poets and their Romantic predecessors may owe something to Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s "Old and New Art" sonnets, where the early Christians are envisaged practicing their art "Before the husk of darkness was well burst" and their technically accomplished successors as working "past noon" (99-100).

In the year 1812…Charles Cowden Clarke…Fairie [sic] Queen [sic]… See note, above. In his "Epistle to Charles Cowden-Clarke" (1817), Keats expresses his gratitude to his generous friend, who subsequently became a prolific editor and lecturer. Recollections of Writers, a memoir of Keats and other writers by Cowden-Clarke (1787-1877) and his wife, appeared in 1878.

His school companions…the unusual vigor and pugnacity of his disposition…  Both Colvin (8-9) and Forman (1: xxix-xxx) quote lengthy reminiscences by Keats’s school friends, Cowden-Clarke and Edward Holmes, about his "penchant…for fighting" and his "highly pugnacious spirit," and Milnes (15-17) makes the same point. Lampman paraphrases Holmes, who remarks that "Keats in childhood was not attached to books. …He was a boy whom any one from his extraordinary vivacity and personal beauty might easily fancy would become great—but rather in some military capacity than in literature. …[His] violence and vehemence [his] pugnacity and generosity of disposition…will help to paint Keats in boyhood" (qtd. in Colvin 8 and Forman 1: xxix-xxx).

the varied and elaborate imagery…of Spencer’s [sic] poems…  See note, above. Milnes writes that Keats "reveled in the gorgeousness of the imagery" of The Faerie Queene.

…in the beginning of 1817…he cast aside his medical studies  Milnes chronicles the gradual displacement of medicine by poetry in Keats’s life (see 21-22) and Colvin states that he "gave way gradually to his growing passion for poetry" between 1814 and April, 1817" (15).

Leigh Hunt, and…that company of young poets and artists…  After reviewing the somewhat contradictory evidence, Colvin writes that "[t]he introduction [of Hunt and Keats] seems to have taken place early in the spring of 1816" (34), and proceeds to review the "congenial spirits" whom Keats met through Hunt: John Hamilton Reynolds, James Rice, Benjamin Robert Haydon, Shelley and others (36-46, and see Milnes 25-29). Colvin discusses Hunt’s theories of "versification" in detail and with little sympathy, observing that "the rhythmical form…of Endymion" is usually said to have been influenced by The Story of Rimini and commenting on Hunt’s "vivacious airs" and "sentimental optimism" (27-35). He also suggests that in some of the poems written at the time of his blossoming friendship with Hunt, Keats attempted "to express…the pleasures of nature as he felt them in straying about the beautiful, then rural Hampstead woods and slopes" (35)—Hampstead being an area north (and now a suburb) of London.

…the "Epistle to George Felton Matthew [sic]"…  Keats’s verse letter to George Felton Mathew (1795-1854) is the first of the "Epistles" in his Poems (1817). It is discussed by both Milnes, who discerns in it "[t]hat freedom from the bonds of conventional phraseology which so clearly designates true genius" (22), and by Colvin, who discerns in Poems as a whole a "vital poetic faculty and instinct" contaminated by "much that only illustrates…crudity of taste" (52). Colvin goes on to describe Keats’s first volume as a manifestation of his "newly-awakened literary faculty" and "character as a poet" (56).

…the last poem, "Sleep and Poetry"…  Colvin describes this poem, which does, indeed, conclude Poems (1817), as "the most personal and interesting, as well as probably the last-written…in the volume" (52). It is dated "November, 1815" (1: 56).

In the second Epistle…  Dated "August, 1816" (1: 62), Keats’s epistle "To my Brother George" is the specific subject of Colvin’s remarks about Keats’s "newly-awakened literary faculty" (see note, above) and carries the biographer’s praise for the "rhythmical movement attempted in [some of its] lines" and the "touch…[of] Keats’s …exquisite perception and enjoyment of external nature" in one of its passages (56).

"At times ’tis true…hidden treasure[.]"  Except for a few variations in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of "To my Brother George" 113-16 is accurate. Milnes quotes the same lines (without the first few words) and adduces their "foretaste of fame" as evidence of a healthy "intellectual ambition" (23).

"The third epistle to…Clarke…  Dated "September, 1816" (1: 68), "To Charles Cowden Clark" (1817) begins with a description of a swan and proceeds to the lines paraphrased by Lampman: "I have never penn’d a line to thee: / Because my thoughts were never free, and clear, / And little fit to please a classic ear" and so on (1: 63-64). At line 53, Keats credits Cowden-Clarke with teaching him "all the sweets of song."

"Spencerian vowels…Saturn’s ring?"  Except for the misspelling of "Spenserian" and a few variations in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of "To Charles Cowden Clark" (56-67) is accurate. Milnes quotes individual lines from the same passage, remarking that the epistle of which they are a part is "written in a bolder and freer strain than the others; the Poet in excusing himself for not having addressed his Muse to Mr. Clarke before…implies that he is growing conscious of a possible brotherhood" with "the great masters of song" and reveals a "justness of perception…allied with redundancy of fancy" (24-25). Colvin quotes the entire passage (54).

"I stood tiptoe upon a little hill"…  Forman notes that this poem was finished in December 1816 (1: 9n.) and Colvin calls attention to the "lingering trains of peaceful summer imagery, and loving inventories of ‘Nature’s gentle doings’" in the longer pieces in Poems (1817), speculating that the "London-born and Middlesex-bred [Keats] was gifted…as if by some mysterious birthright, with a delighted insight into all the beauties, and sympathy with all the life, of the woods and fields" (57).

…the stories of Psyche and Endymion…  The tale of Cupid’s love for the beautiful Psyche and its laborious but ultimately happy consequences, is told in books 4-6 of Apuleius’ Golden Ass (circa 155). Somewhat analogously, Endymion was a handsome shepherd who engendered the love of Selene (Keats’s Cynthia), who descended every night to entrance him while he slept. In "I stood tip-toe upon a little hill" 141-242, Keats touches upon these and other portions of the "Greek mythology" with which, in Colvin’s words, he had "a natural sympathy" (see also notes, above); indeed, Colvin regards part of the poem as "a sort of prelude" to Endymion (see "Style" and notes, below).

"Here are sweet peas…tiny rings."  Except for a few variations in punctuation and the substitution of "above" for "about" (1: 14), Lampman’s quotation of "I stood tip-toe…" 57-60 is accurate.

the versification is still crude and boyish…  Lampman is paraphrasing Colvin: ‘[t]here is obviously a great immaturity and uncertainty in all these outpourings, an intensity and effervescence of emotion out of proportion as yet both to the intellectual and the voluntary powers, much confusion of idea, and not a little of expression. Yet in the first book of Keats there is much that the lover of poetry will always cherish. Literature…hardly affords another example of work at once so crude and attractive" (60-61). Colvin continues in this vein and, as noted above, focuses continually on Keats’s "versification."

"In the calm grandeur…hawthorn glade."  Except for a variation in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of "I stood tip-toe…" 127-30 is accurate. Milnes quotes the same passage (26).

Although he knew nothing of Greek and very little of Latin…ordinary compendiums of mythology…  Like Milnes, who names the compendiums (see note, above), Colvin remarks that at school Keats "had not gone beyond Latin, and…did…[not] acquire Greek" (58). Colvin also remarks on Keats’s "delight in the…beauty" of Greek myths and his "sympathy with the phase of imagination that engendered them" (58). Moreover, he quotes a large part of the "passage conjuring up the wonders and beneficences of [Endymion and Cynthia’s] bridal night" as an example of Keats’s "sympathetic touch for the collective feelings and predicaments of men" (59).

"The evening weather…never may be broken"  Lampman’s quotation of "I stood tip-toe…" 215-38 contains several variations in punctuation and spelling and two substitutions: "the placid" for "their placid" and "With arms" for "With hands" (1: 23-24).

"Sleep and Poetry"  Colvin quotes lines 162-229 of the long poem that concludes Keats’s Poems (1817), describing them as "the central expression of the spirit of literary emancipation then militant and about to triumph in England. The two great captains of revolution, Coleridge and Wordsworth, have both expounded their cause, in prose. …But neither has left any enunciation of theory having power to thrill the ear and haunt the memory like the rhymes of this young untrained recruit in the cause of poetic liberty and the return to nature" (63-64).

the singing robes about him…  In The Reason of Church Government (1642), Milton suggests that "the cool element of prose" does not permit a poet to "speak…of himself" as he can when "soaring in the high region of his fancies with his garland and singing robes about him" (667).

"If I do hide myself…the most heart-easing things."  The line numbers and significant variations of Lampman’s quotations from "Sleep and Poetry" (1: 102-08) are as follows:

(1) "If I do hide myself…The end and aim of poesy[.]":  lines 275-80 and 285-93, with the substitution of "I shall" for "I will" and "there will" for "there shall." Colvin also quotes lines 281-91.

(2) "First the realm…my fancy sees[.]":  lines 101-04.

(3) "Can I ever…human hearts[.]":  lines 121-25, with the omission of "And" before "can".

(4) "Is there so small…of old?":  lines 162-65.

(5) "Ah, dismal souled…awake?":  lines 187-93.

(6) "Now tis a fairer season…and glad.":  lines 221-24 and 228-29. In the manuscript, the omission of lines 225-27 is signalled by "x"s.

(7) "Yet in truth…the grand sea.":  lines 230-35.

(8) "A drainless shower…the thoughts of man[.]":  lines 235-47, with the omission of "of" from "supreme of power".

(9) "They shall be…things[.]":  lines 267-68, with the omission of "And" before "they".

a new evangel  A new gospel or doctrine of salvation.

He had no sympathy with the art, which aims only to excite…  See "The Modern School of Poetry in England" and "The Poetry of Byron."

"Poetry," he says, "…‘I am a primrose!’"  Except for variations in punctuation and the omission of "it" from "startle it or," Lampman’s quotation from Keats’s letter of February 3, 1818 to Reynolds is accurate (Milnes 65-66; Forman 6: 137-38).

"Hadst thou lived in days of old"…  "To *   *   *   * " in Poems (1817) is composed in the same form (tetrameter couplets) as "L’Allegro" and "Il Penseroso."

"Nymph of the downward smile and sidelong glance"…  "To G.A.W.," Sonnet 6 in Poems (1817). Prior to 1935, both poems were indeed assumed to have been addressed to Georgiana Augusta Wylie, who later married Keats’s brother George, but "Hadst thou lived…" is now known to have been addressed to Mary Frogley (see Forman 1: 41-42 and 79). George and Georgiana Keats emigrated in May 1818 and the poet did occasionally write to her rather than to his brother or to them both (see, for example, Milnes 218-20).

"On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer"…  Milnes says of some of the sonnets in Poems (1817) that they are "as noble in thought, rich in expression, and harmonious in rhythm as any in the language, and among the best may be ranked that "On first looking into Chapman’s Homer’ [Sonnet 11]" (23-24).

"To my Brother George"  Sonnet 1 in Poems (1817).

"The ocean…what has been[.]"  Except for variations in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of "To my Brother George," 5-8 is accurate.

"Keen fitful gusts are whispering here and there"…  Sonnet 9 in Poems (1817). Forman notes that, according to Cowden-Clarke, "this sonnet was written on the occasion of Keats’s first becoming acquainted with Leigh Hunt at the Cottage in the vale of Health, Hampstead" (1: 83n.).

The sonnets addressed to Haydon…  Sonnets 13 and 14 in Poems (1817) are addressed to the historical painter Benjamin Robert Haydon (1786-1846), "one of [Keats’s] chief companions and correspondents" and the subject of "painful associations" and a lengthy tribute by Milnes because his "high talents" and "passion for lofty art" failed to secure artistic success and social recognition (28-29). Forman notes that Haydon "died by his own hand" (1: 90).

…the Hunt circle…Haydon’s studio…"Great spirits now on earth are sojourning"…  Lampman is paraphrasing Milnes: "Keats was in the habit of frequently passing the evening in his friend’s painting-room, where many men of genius were wont to meet, and, sitting before some picture on which he was engaged, criticize, argue, defend, attack, and quote their favorite writers. …The morning after one of these innocent and happy symposia, Haydon received a note inclosing the picturesque sonnet ‘Great spirits now on Earth are sojourning’ [Sonnet 14]. …Haydon in his acknowledgment…mentioned that he would forward it to Wordsworth" (30-31). Milnes quotes Keats’s reply in which he states his "reverence" for Wordsworth and remarks on his perspicacity in penetrating "the veil of prejudice then hanging over that now-honored name" (31).

Keats…Matthew Arnold…perfect flexibility…  Lampman was doubtless thinking of Arnold’s high estimate of Keats in his Introduction of 1880 (see "Poetic Interpretation" and "Style"), but in differentiating Keats from Shelley and Wordsworth in terms of his "open[ness] to all impressions" he probably also had in mind comments by Shairp (see the notes to the same essays) and Colvin, particularly the latter’s analysis of Keats’s "tone of reserve" with regard to Shelley: "with his strong vein of every-day humanity, sense, and humour, and his innate openness of mind, [Keats] may well have been as much repelled as attracted by the unearthly ways and accents of Shelley, his passionate negation of the world’s creeds and the world’s law, and his intense proselytizing ardour" (39). Colvin writes of the Keats of Poems (1817) that "[h]e has grasped and vehemently asserts the principle that poetry should not strive to enforce particular doctrines… but that…its aim [is] the creation of beauty" (61).

"But," he says, "…scarcely cared to visit them[.]"  Lampman’s quotation of Keats’s letter of February 3, 1818 is accurate except for variations in punctuation, the substitution of "and" for "or" after "imaginative" and "in" for "into" before "breeches", the omission of a sentence between "himself" and "We," and the addition of "own" between "his" and "petty" (Milnes 65-66; Forman 6: 137-38). Colvin quotes extensively from the same letter to illustrate Keats’s belief in "the necessity, for a poet, of an all-embracing receptivity and openness of mind" (216-17). An "Elector of Hanover" was one of the princes and archbishops of the German Empire who had the right to elect an new emperor.

But to return to Keats[’] first volume…  In this paragraph, Lampman reiterates some of Colvin’s insights and arguments (see notes, above) in order to propose the notion of the "effect of contrast" as an alternative explanation of Keats’s "freshness of perception."

Early in 1817…give up the study of medicine…  Lampman’s description of Keats’s medical experiences is a digest of Milnes’ account, which he reads in part: "[t]he uncongenial profession to which Keats had attached himself now became every day more repulsive. …[O]n presenting himself for examination at Apothecaries’ Hall…he passed. …[A]lthough successful in all his operations, he found his mind so oppressed…with an over-wrought apprehension of the possibility of doing harm, that he came to the determined conviction that he was unfit for [the medical profession]. …‘My dexterity,’ he said, ‘used to seem to me a miracle, and I resolved never to take up a surgical instrument again’" (31-32).

"I find I cannot…leviathan"  Lampman omits several words between "eternal poetry" and "I began" but his quotation from Keats’s letter of April 17-18, 1817 to Reynolds is substantially accurate (Milnes 35; Forman 6: 29-30; and see Colvin 16).

No sooner had he abandoned medicine…important work in verse…  "I shall forthwith begin my ‘Endymion,’ Keats told Reynolds in his letter of April 17-18, 1817 (Milnes 35; Forman 6: 30).

"A long poem…rudder."  This quotation, which is accurate except for variations of punctuation and capitalization, is drawn from an extract of a letter to his brother George that Keats included in a letter to Reynolds on October 8, 1817 (Milnes 52; Forman 6: 76).

"There is no greater sin…balanced."  Lampman’s quotation of a letter of May 1817 is accurate except for variations in spelling and punctuation, and the substitution of "oneself with" for "one’s self into" and "a heavy" for "its heavy" (Milnes 38; Forman 6:44).

…in April 1817…the advice of Haydon…Isle of Wight  "Mr. Haydon seems to have been…a wise and prudent counselor, and to have encouraged him to brace his powers by undistracted study…[and] to leave London for awhile" (Milnes 32). On April 17-18, 1817, Keats wrote to Reynolds from Carisbrook on the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England that he would be beginning Endymion "forthwith" (Milnes 35; Forman 6: 30), and he discusses its progress in subsequent letters from different locations in southern England. "‘Endymion’ was finished at Burford Bridge, on the 28th of November, 1817," states Milnes; "so records the still existing manuscript" (58).

Endymion…profusion of imaginative riches…royal mastery of versification…  Lampman echoes Milnes and Colvin in his estimate of Endymion. "It…shows the confidence of the poet in his own profusion of diction," writes Milnes (58), and Colvin: "even where [the] verse runs most diffusely, [Keats] rarely fails in delicacy of musical and metrical ear, or in variety and elasticity of sentence structure" (109). In his lengthy discussion of the Endymion myth and Keats’s literary sources, Colvin remarks that "[t]he divine vision which haunts Endymion in dreams is for Keats symbolical of Beauty itself, and it is the passion of the human soul for beauty which he attempts…to shadow forth in the quest of the shepherd-prince after his love" (95). Colvin also remarks that a "thread of allegoric thought and purpose…seems to run loosely through the poem as a whole" (97).

"‘Wherein lies happiness? …heaven!’"  Except for minor variations in punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of Endymion 1: 777-81 is accurate.

"So I will begin…make an end."  Except for minor variations of punctuation and capitalization, Lampman’s quotation of Endymion 1: 39-57 is accurate.

And then the opening scene…  Even Lampman’s syntax in this paragraph echoes Colvin’s account of the first book of Endymion, which reads in part: "[Keats] interweaves with his central Endymion myth whatever others pleased him best, as those of Pan, of Venus and Adonis, of Cybele…of Glaucus and Scylla, of Circe, of Neptune, and of Bacchus; leading us through labyrinthine transformations, and on endless journeyings by subterranean antres and aërial gulfs and over the floor of the ocean. …The account of the feast of Pan contains passages which in the quality of direct nature-interpretation are scarcely to be surpassed in poetry. …What can be more fresh and stirring?—what happier in rhythmical movement?—or what more characteristic of the true instinct…[of] Keats…?" (97-98).

The Episode of Adonis…  In Book 2, Endymion is conducted by a Naiad to a lavish underground temple where he encounters Adonis, the "youth / Of fondest beauty" (2: 393-94) beloved by Venus, the goddess of love, who arrives to give Endymion encouragement (1: 387-669). Colvin regards the "subterranean temple" of the episode as "most un-Grecian" in its "magnificence" (101).

"He turned…above his head!"  Lampman omits a line between the fourth and fifth lines of his quotation, drops the "s" from "Towards," and introduces variations in punctuation, but otherwise accurately quotes Endymion 2: 1018-23 (the concluding lines of the book). Colvin quotes the same passage, accurately (102).

Glaucus  In Greek mythology, Glaucus is a sea god who became immortal through eating a magical herb. Colvin observes that "Keats handles th[e]…legend [of Glaucus and Scylla, the lover of Poseidon] with great freedom, omitting its main point, the transformation of Scylla by Circe into a devouring monster, and making the enchantress punish her rival not by this vile metamorphosis, but by death, from which after many ages Glaucus is enabled by Endymion’s help to rescue her, and together with her the whole sorrowful fellowship of true lovers [is] drowned at sea" (102). Keats gives "[t]he story of Glaucus" in Endymion 3: 191-1032.

"the image of sleep in the fourth book"  Endymion 4: 367-562.

When Keats wrote Endymion…  Here, as in his earlier estimate of Endymion, Lampman echoes his secondary resources. Milnes quotes Hunt to the effect that Keats "‘broke up his lines in order to distribute the rhyme properly…and not having yet settled with himself any principle of versification, the very exuberance of his ideas led him to make use of the first rhymes that offered’"(58) and Colvin, who also refers to Hunt’s criticisms, cites several instances of "hardly tolerable blemishes of execution and of taste" in the poem, as well as a "tendency to linger and luxuriate over every imagined pleasure with an over-fine and doting relish" (107-09).

The following…passages…  The line numbers and significant variations of Lampman’s illustrative quotations from Endymion are as follows:

(1) "‘The Morphean fount…quality[.]"’: 1: 747-54, with the omission of "s" from "channels";

(2) "For in good truth…mushrooms[?]": 1: 212-15;

(3) "‘Be still…naked brain[.]"’: 1: 293-96;

(4) "‘Prythee…sweet son!"’: 3: 916-21, with "‘Cytherea’" instead of "‘Cythera"’, "‘well-nurtured’" instead of "‘well-natured’", and ‘"blessings"’ instead of "‘blesses"’;

(5) "It was a sounding grotto…storm.": 2: 878-83, with the substitution of "harbour" for "arbour";

(6) "At this maddened stare…the morn.": 2: 195-98;

(7) "‘Thy bright team…heaven[.]"’: 3: 955-59;

(8) "As when a new…indolence.": 2: 347-50, with the substitution of "as when a new" for "as when heav’d anew", "lengthening" for "lengthened", and "to shore" for "to the shore".

No one was more acutely aware…than Keats himself…  Colvin regards Keats’s self-deprecating Preface to Endymion: a Poetic Romance (1818) as the "best criticism" of the poem and its "best defence…[as] a letter he wrote six months after it was printed" (110). Before quoting (accurately, except for the addition of the "I" in "thereby I have") a different passage from the same letter of October 9, 1818 to James Augustus Hessey (Milnes 145-46; Forman 7: 122), Lampman quotes (accurately) a letter of September 28, 1817 to Haydon (Milnes 50-51, Forman 6: 72-73).

The preface  Forman prints both the published and the original prefaces (2: 11-15), and Milnes indicates that it was "Reynolds [who] seems to have objected" to the latter (88).

"I have not the slightest…hostility"  Except for a few variations in punctuation and capitalization, Lampman quotes accurately from Keats’s defence of his original preface in a letter of April 9, 1818 to Reynolds (Milnes 88; Forman 6: 186-87).

"‘First…it had better not come at all[.]"’  In addition to numerous variations in punctuation, spelling, and capitalization, Lampman’s quotation from Keats’s letter of February 27, 1818 to John Taylor expands the poet’s "1st" and "2nd," adds "and" after "progress," and replaces the words between "twilight" and "that if Poetry" ("but it is easier to think what poetry should be than to write it—and this leads me to another axiom") with "And lastly" (Milnes 88; Forman 6: 154-55).

The early month of the winter of 1817-18…  "Keats passed the winter of 1817-18 at Hampstead, gayly enough among his friends; his society was much sought after, from the delightful combination of earnestness and pleasantry which distinguished his intercourse with men. …He joked well or ill, as it happened, and with a laugh which still echoes sweetly in many ears; but at the mention of oppression or wrong…he rose into grave manliness at once, and seemed like a tall man. His habitual gentleness made his occasional looks of indignation terrible" (Milnes 58-59, and see Colvin 80-81). Lampman’s acknowledged quotation from Milnes (59) (Lord Houghton) contains several variations of punctuation.

"Oh, for a life of sensations…essential Beauty[.]"  Except for numerous variations of punctuation and capitalization and the omission of "of" from "but of the holiness," Lampman’s quotations from Keats’s letter of November 22, 1817 to Benjamin Bailey are accurate (Milnes 53-54; Forman 6: 97-98).

"Many have original minds…forest trees."  In addition to minor variations of spelling and punctuation, Lampman’s quotation from Keats’s February 19, 1818 letter to Reynolds omits "almost" from "that almost any man," replaces "in" with "at" in "other in numberless points," and substitutes "briers" for "briar" (Milnes 68; Forman 6: 148-49).

It has been said…that his was the most Shakespearian genius since Shakespeare…  This is said by Matthew Arnold in his Introduction to Keats in Ward’s English Poets (1880); see Complete Prose Works 9: 214-15.

…objective…subjective…Wordsworth…Shelley…  The distinction that Lampman makes here recalls the arguments and sources of his essay on "Poetic Interpretation," as well as those of the early part of the present essay.

"‘As to the poetical character…children[.]"’  Except for some variations in punctuation and the silent omission of a sentence between "identical nature" and "When," Lampman’s quotation from Keats’s October 27, 1818 letter to Richard Woodhouse is accurate (Milnes 149-50; Forman 7: 129-30). In the manuscript, the ellipses are signalled by crosses. It is interesting that one of the sentences elided (after Imogen) contains one of Keats’s best known phrases, "the camelion Poet." Iago is the malignant villain in Shakespeare’s Othello and Imogen the innocent victim in his Cymbeline.

…Mrs. Procter…Hazlitt’s lectures…glorious sight."  Except for variations in punctuation and the omission of "of" from "side of his face" Lampman’s quotation is accurate. Milnes attributes the description to "[a] lady" who saw Keats in 1818 at the lectures of the critic William Hazlitt (1778-1830), and Colvin attributes it to "Mrs. Proctor" (47), which he spells "Procter" in a note disputing her account of the colour of Keats’s eyes and hair (224). (In the manuscript, Lampman has overwritten the second "o" in the name with "e".) The "personal descriptions" by Hunt, Haydon, and the anonymous pedestrian that Lampman quotes (accurately) are assembled by Colvin (46-47). That of the painter Joseph Severn (1793-1879), who executed several portraits of Keats and was with him at his death, appears in William Sharp’s Life and Letters of Joseph Severn (1892), 21 (Lampman quotes it accurately except for the substitution of "who" for which).

There was now at all times in Keats’ character…  In his summary chapter on Keats’s "Character and Genius," Colvin asserts that "[i]n all ordinary relations of life, his character was conspicuous alike for manly spirit and sweetness" and he goes to some lengths to credit the poet with resisting what he himself recognized as a "‘horrid morbidity of temperament’" and a "perilous capacity and appetite for pleasure" (211-12).

"‘That sort of probity…this world."’  Lampman accurately quotes Keats’s letter of January 13, 1818 to his brothers George and Thomas (Forman 6: 115).

In March 1818…Teignmouth in Devonshire…  In this paragraph Lampman is paraphrasing Colvin (86-87, 148) and Milnes (93); the former records that Keats had "agreed with Reynolds that they should each write some metrical tales from [the Italian writer Giovanni] Boccaccio [1313-1375], and publish them in a joint volume" and both mention that two such tales appeared in Reynolds’ Garden of Florence (1821) and that "Isabella; or, the Pot of Basil" (1820) was the only one that Keats completed.

With "The Pot of Basil"…full maturity…  Colvin finds that "[f]alse touches and misplaced beauties are…not wanting" in "Isabella" but that, on the whole, the poem is a success: Keats’s "powers of imagination and of expression have alike gained strength and discipline. …[He] handles the measure flowingly and well in a manner suited to his tale of pathos. Over the purely musical and emotional resources of his art he shows a singular command" (149-50). Although Lampman disagrees with Colvin on "the human pathos and passion" (160) of the poem, he clearly agrees that in it Keats has thrown off "the weakness and ineffectiveness" of his early poetry—its "worn-out verbal currency" and the dictates of "rhyme"— and shines "for the first time with a full ‘effluence’" (147-48). To an extent, Lampman’s views also echo and engage those of Arnold in the Preface to his Poems (1853): "Isabella…is a perfect treasure-house of graceful and felicitous words and images…vivid and picturesque turns of expression. …But the action, the story…is…so feebly…conceived…so loosely constructed, that the effect produced by it…is absolutely null" (Complete Prose Works 1: 10).

"The Eve of St. Agnes"…  Colvin enthuses at length about this poem, which he considers an "unsurpassed example…of the pure charm of coloured and romantic narrative in English verse" (160, and see 160-63). Lampman writes of "The Eve of St. Agnes" (1820) at greater length in "Poetic Interpretation."

From this time the darkness begins to gather…  In this paragraph, Lampman rehearses information drawn from Milnes (146, 163-64) and Colvin (90-91, 127-28, 132). Thomas Keats died in December 1818 and George Keats emigrated in May of the same year. Keats had indeed "suffered some disillusionment as to the success of his poems": the reviews of Endymion (1818) included vitriolic attacks in the August issue of Blackwood’s Magazine and the April (September publication) issue of the Quarterly Review (see Milnes 133-45; Forman 2: 244-67; Colvin 121-27).

"‘morbidity of temperament’"…‘"Burden of the Mystery’"  These phrases occur in a letter of May 10-11, 1817 to Haydon and May 3, 1818 to Reynolds (Milnes 37, 96, 99; Forman 6: 43, 7: 5, 10). The latter is taken from Wordsworth’s "Tintern Abbey" 38, and refers to the unintelligibility of existence.

"The first we step into…‘Burden of Mystery’."  Except for variations in punctuation and capitalization, Lampman’s quotation of Keats’s May 3, 1818 letter to Reynolds is accurate (Milnes 98-99; Forman 7: 9-10).

"An extensive knowledge…without fear."  This quotation from Keats’s May 3, 1818 letter to Reynolds is also accurate, except for variations in punctuation, the omission of part of a sentence (between "little" and "The difference") and the replacement of "and" by "or" in "with and without knowledge" (Milnes 96; Forman 7: 5).

…a walking tour to…Scotland…George Armitage Brown…  Milnes documents this "walking tour through the lakes and Highlands with…[Charles] Brown" in some detail (107-33), as does Colvin (111-20), who notes Keats’s responses to the Scottish scenery and blames the "Scotch tour" for "the first distinct and settled symptoms of failure in [his] health, and the development of his hereditary tendency to consumption. In [a]…letter to his brother…he speaks of a ‘slight soar [sic] throat’". …[H]is throat-trouble, the premonitory sign of worse, never really or for any length of time left him afterwards" (120).

Endymion had become another target for the…northern reviewers…  See note, above. Colvin discusses the "Cockney School of Poetry" review in Blackwood’s Magazine and the "Quarterly article on Endymion" at some length, attributing the former to either John Gibson Lockhart (1794-1854), a principal contributor to Blackwood’s and the author of Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott (1837-1838), or a colleague (John Wilson) and the latter to William Gifford (1756-1826), the editor of the Quarterly and, like Lockhart, an arch-Tory (121-27). Colvin also cites Byron on the "‘homicidal’" effect of these reviews and mentions Shelley’s belief that "the critics…killed" Keats (109-10).

"Praise or blame…what is fine[.]"  Except for variations of punctuation and capitalization, Lampman’s quotation of Keats’s letter of October 9, 1818 to James Augustus Hessey is accurate (Milnes 145; Forman 7: 121-22). Colvin remarks that Keats "took his treatment at the…hands [of the reviewers] more coolly than older and less sensitive men had taken the like," and quotes the same passage from his letter to Hessey (125-26).

bravos  Assassins, with a possible allusion to Shelley, Queen Mab 4: 178-79: "The hired bravos who defend / The tyrant’s throne."

Added to this Keats…unfortunate love passion…  Milnes is restrained and non-judgemental in his discussion of Keats’s relationship with Fanny Brawne (1800-1865), the woman with whom he fell in love in 1818 (see 162-63, 210, 226), but Colvin, taking his cue, perhaps, from Arnold’s tone of disapproval in his Introduction in Ward’s English Poets, condemns the relationship as "unlucky": "[t]he passion wrought fiercely in his already fevered blood; its alternations of doubt and torment and tantalizing rapture sapped his powers, and redoubled every strain to which bereavement, shaken health, and anticipations of poverty, exposed them" (132, and see 142). In his Preface, Colvin disapproves of the publication by Forman of the Letters of John Keats to Fanny Brawne (1878) (vi). Lampman echoes Colvin’s view that "though kind and constant to her lover…[Fanny Brawne] did not fully realize what manner of man he was" (131).

"What can I do…peace again[?]"  Milnes introduces the fragment "To___" from which these lines are accurately quoted as "an interesting study of the human heart" (210).

"Yourself—your soul—…blind!"  Except for variations in punctuation Lampman accurately quotes the last six lines of "I cry your mercy—pity— love—aye, love!," which Milnes numbers Sonnet 19 and dates 1819 (392).

"…house-keeping with his friend Brown at Hampstead…"  "When Keats was left alone by his brother’s death [in December 1818]…Brown pressed on him to…reside entirely in his house: this he consented to do, and the cheerful society of his friend seemed to bring back his spirits, and at the same time to excite him to fresh poetical exertions. It was then he began ‘Hyperion’…" (163). Colvin adds that Keats had "already begun to work [on Hyperion] before his brother died" (129). See "Poetic Interpretation," where Lampman discusses Hyperion in detail.

The form and manner…of Paradise Lost…  After quoting Keats’s letter on "the Miltonic inversions" in Hyperion (see note, below), Colvin discusses its debts to Milton at length, making points similar to Lampman’s: "[t]he influence, and something of the majesty, of Paradise Lost are in Hyperion. …But Miltonic the poem hardly is in any stricter sense. …As to diction and the poetic use of words, Keats shows almost as masterly an instinct as Milton himself. …Miltonic echoes occur in Hyperion…[b]ut they are not frequent, nor had Keats adopted as much of Milton’s technical manner as he seems to have supposed" (157-59).

"I am convinced…like a lover[.]"  Except for variations in spelling and punctuation, Lampman’s quotation from Keats’s letter of August 14, 1819 to Bailey is accurate (Milnes 197; Forman 8: 25-26).

"I have given up Hyperion…sensations."  Except for variations in punctuation and spelling, Lampman’s quotation of Keats’s letter of September 21, 1819 to Reynolds is accurate (Milnes 205; Forman 8: 49; and see note, above regarding Colvin’s quotation of the same passage).

flexile  Flexible, adaptable, versatile (OED).

"She was a goddess…the early Gods."  Except for differences in punctuation, spelling, and capitalization, Lampman’s quotation of Hyperion 1: 26-51 is accurate, as, apart from the addition of "the"—is the introductory phrase from 1: 95. Lampman uses both quotations in "Poetic Interpretation."

"So far her voice…supreme contempt[.]"  Except for variations in punctuation, Lampman accurately quotes Hyperion 2: 300-08, a passage that also appears in "Poetic Interpretation." Colvin cites the same passage as an example of Keats’s "Masterly…choice of similitudes, drawn from the vast inarticulate sounds of nature" (156).

In January Keats wrote the "Eve of St. Agnes"…  "[H]e laid [Hyperion] aside in January to take up the composition of "St. Agnes’ Eve, that unsurpassed example…of the pure charm of coloured and romantic narrative" (Colvin 160, and see note, above). Lampman also echoes Colvin’s view that "[f]rom the opening stanza…to the close, where the lovers make their way past the sleeping porter and the friendly bloodhound into the night, the poetry seems to throb in every line with the life of imagination and beauty" (161).

"She hurried…slept among his ashes cold."  Lampman’s quotation of the last three stanzas of "The Eve of St. Agnes" is accurate except for variations in punctuation, spelling, capitalization, the substitution of "the" for "his" in the first line, and the addition of "there" in the fifth. (Forman 3: 135-38). The final stanza is quoted in "Poetic Interpretation."

"Saint Agnes Eve…was acold[.]" Colvin argues that "the unique charm" of "The Eve of St. Agnes" lies "in the richness and vitality of the accessory and decorative images" and suggests that "the opening stanza…makes us feel the chill of the season to our bones" (163, 161). The opening lines of the poem, which Lampman quotes very carelessly, read "St. Agnes’ Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was! / The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;" (Forman 3: 97).

"The boisterous…noise is gone[.]"  Except for variations in punctuation and the substitution of "clarionet" for "clarinet," Lampman’s quotation of "The Eve of St. Agnes" 258-61 is accurate (Forman 3: 124).

About the end of January…the "Eve of S[ain]t Mark"…  Colvin discusses this poem immediately after "The Eve of St. Agnes," noting that it was "begun or planned in the January [of 1819]" (145). Milnes includes it among Keats’s "Miscellaneous Poems," labelling it "unfinished" and dating it 1819, and Forman includes it among the Posthumous and Fugitive Poems—that is, the poems not included in Keats’s three published volumes or his Poetical Works (1841).

"Upon a Sabbath…aguish hills."  Lampman’s quotation of the opening lines of "The Eve of Saint Mark" is accurate except for variations in punctuation and spelling and the substitution of "With" for "From" in the fifth line (Milnes 377; Forman 4: 169-70).

"Bertha…saintly imageries"  Lampman’s quotation of "The Eve of Saint Mark" 39-56 is accurate except for variations in spelling and punctuation and the substitution of "Dazed with" for "And dazed" in the final line (Milnes 378-79; Forman 4: 171-72).

"…the spring of 1819…five at least of the odes." "[I]t was on the odes…that he was chiefly occupied in the spring months of 1819. …Of the five composed in the spring of 1819, two, those on Psyche and the Grecian Urn, are inspired by the old Greek world of imagination and art; two, those on Melancholy and the Nightingale, by moods of the poet’s own mind; while the fifth, that on Indolence, partakes in a weaker degree of both inspirations" (Colvin 170-71). In Aspects of Poetry, Shairp sees Keats "leaving behind him all traces of early mannerism [in the odes], and attaining to that large utterance…which was worthy of himself. …In his later poems, from behind the love of sensuous beauty…there was coming out a deeper thoughtfulness and humanity (127-28).

A nightingale had built her nest…  "The admirable ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ was suggested by the continual song of the bird that, in the spring of 1819, had built her nest close to the house, and which often threw Keats into a sort of trance of tranquil pleasure. One morning he took his chair from the breakfast-table, placed it upon the grass-plot under a plum-tree, and sat there for two or three hours with some scraps of paper in his hands. Shortly afterwards…Brown saw him thrusting them away, as waste paper, behind some books, and had considerable difficulty in putting together and arranging the stanzas of the ode" (Milnes 163-64; and see Colvin 175-76).

"Fade far away…fairy lands forlorn."  Except for variations of punctuation and spelling, Lampman’s quotation of the third and seventh stanzas of "Ode to a Nightingale" (1820) is accurate (Forman 3: 147, 149-50).

"The Ode on a Grecian Urn"…marbles in the British Museum… Colvin suggests that "[t]he sight, or the imagination, of a piece of ancient sculpture" (172) prompted "Ode on a Grecian Urn" (1820) and that in "Ode to Indolence" (1848) Keats "again calls up the image of a marble urn," but he rejects the notion that either poem was inspired by a "single specimen of antiquity"—as, indeed, he rejects the idea that "Ode to a Nightingale" invokes a "particular nightingale" (172-75).

Tennyson…"Legend of Fair Women"…"Palace of Art"  In the final pages of Life and Letters, Milnes sees Keats as a "direct influence" on Tennyson (253-54) and in Aspects of Poetry, Shairp sees Keats as the principal source of the "rich-melodied and highly-colored style" of which Tennyson is the "master" and many other Victorian poets "lesser" practitioners (130). "A Dream of Fair Women," the first stanza of which mentions Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women, was published in 1832, as was "The Palace of Art." See also "Style" and "Poetic Interpretation."

Matthew Arnold…"Thyrsis"…"Scholar Gipsy"  Both of Arnold’s poems, published in, respectively, 1867 and 1853, do indeed owe debts to Keats, not least in their elaborate stanza forms.

"Who are those…and all ye need to know[.]"  Except for variations in punctuation, capitalization, and spelling, Lampman’s quotation of the fourth and fifth stanzas of "Ode on a Grecian Urn" are accurate, the exception being lines 7-8 of stanza 3, which should read "Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn? / And, little town, thy streets for evermore" (Forman 3: 156). See also "Poetic Interpretation."

…"Ode to Psyche," upon which we are told by the poet himself…  In a letter of February 13-May 3, 1819 to his brother and sister-in-law, Keats encloses a copy of the "Ode to Psyche," commenting that it is "the first and only [poem] with which [he] ha[s] taken even moderate pains" (Milnes 180; Forman 7: 289). Colvin regards the "Ode to Psyche" as "disfigured" and "strained" (171-72).

…the date of the fragmentary "Ode to Melancholy"…  Neither Milnes (190-91) nor Colvin (175) nor Forman (3: 184-86) dates the "Ode on Melancholy" (1820). Colvin praises its "characteristic easy magnificence of imagery and style" and quotes the same passage as Lampman (175).

"Ay, in the very temple…trophies hung."  Except for variations in spelling and punctuation, Lampman’s quotation of the final lines of the "Ode on Melancholy" are accurate. Interestingly enough, Colvin also has "sovereign" rather than the "sovran" of the original (Forman 3: 186).

It was apparently also about this time…"La Belle Dame Sans Merci"…the school of Ros[s]etti…  Colvin, unaware that a transcript of "La Belle dame sans merci" (1848) was included in Keats’s letter of February 14-May 3, 1819 (see note, above, and Forman 7: 276-78), states that it was written "in the course of the spring or summer (1819)" and discusses its date of composition in a note (230). He precedes his discussion of it by noting that in "The Eve of Saint Mark," Keats "anticipates in a remarkable degree the feeling and method of the modern pre-Raphaelite schools," particularly "the spirit of [Dante Gabriel] Rossetti [1828-1882]" and "the tones and cadences of [William] Morris in some tale[s] of the Earthly Paradise" (165) (and see "the Modern School of Poetry in England"). Lampman evidently agreed with Colvin’s concluding estimate of the poem: "the union of infinite tenderness with a weird intensity, the conciseness and purity of the poetic form, the wild yet simple magic of the cadences, the perfect ‘inevitable’ union of sound and sense, make of La Belle Dame Sans Merci the master-piece, not only among the shorter poems of Keats, but even…among them all" (166-67). "La Belle dame sans merci" is included in Milnes’ Life, Letters, and Literary Remains (1848) and in subsequent editions of the Poetical Works.

The summer of 1819…Keats and Brown together at Shanklin…"King Otho"…  Lampman’s discussion of the composition, fate, and limitations of "King Otho" (1848), a historical drama based on the life of the roman Emperor Marcus Salvius Otho (32-69), combines information and wording drawn from Milnes (191-93) and Colvin (143, 178-79), but is particularly indebted to the former, who comments at length on the weaknesses of such joint ventures, the "unfitness of the tragedy for representation" on stage, and "the beauty and power of [the] passages" written by Keats: "[t]here is scarce a page without some touch of a great poet, and the contrast between the glory of the diction and the poverty of the invention is very striking" (192-93).

Keats…"King Stephen"…  "As soon as Keats had finished ‘Otho,’…Brown suggested to him the character and reign of King Stephen [circa 1097-1154, King of England from 1135-1154]…as a fit subject for an English historical tragedy. This Keats undertook…and wrote some hundred and thirty lines; this task, however, soon gave place to the impressive tale of ‘Lamia’" (Milnes 193). "Of the second historical play, King Stephen, which Keats began by himself at Winchester…[t]he few scenes he finished are not only marked by his characteristic splendour and felicity of phrase: they are full of a spirit of heady action and the stir of battle: qualities which he had not shown in any previous work" (Colvin 179).

"Lamia" is perhaps Keats’ supreme triumph in metrical skill…Dryden…  Milnes writes that "Lamia" (1820) was written "after much study of [John] Dryden’s versification" (193) and Colvin states that its "rhymed heroics" are handled, "not as in Endymion, but in a manner founded on that of Dryden" (167). Hero and Leander (1598), by Christopher Marlowe, (1564-1593) is a tragedy that Keats might have read during the composition of his own aborted plays, but there is no evidence to support Lampman’s speculation (although Colvin does find "some of the speeches" in "King Otho" "strikingly" reminiscent of Marlowe [179]). See "Poetic Interpretation" (and notes) for a more detailed discussion of "Lamia," and "Style" for Lampman’s observations on Dryden.

"As men talk in a dream…colonnade[.]"  Except for a few variations in punctuation and spelling, Lampman’s quotation of "Lamia" 1: 350-61 is accurate. Colvin quotes the same passage as "an instance of the power and reality of scenic imagination" (168).

"Do not all charms…melt into a shade[.]"  Except for a few variations in punctuation and capitalization, Lampman’s quotation of "Lamia" 2: 229-38 is accurate.

"How beautiful the season…I composed upon it."  In his letter from Winchester to Reynolds of September 22, 1819 (Milnes 205; Forman 2: 418), Keats follows the remarks that Lampman quotes (accurately, but, as usual, with variations in punctuation) with the opening line of "To Autumn" (1820) or "Ode to Autumn." Milnes observes that Winchester "was always a favorite residence of Keats: the noble cathedral and its quiet close—the green-sward and elm-walks, were especially agreeable to him" (196).

So the summer and autumn of 1819 passed away…  In this paragraph, Lampman draws on the letters assembled by Milnes (196-210) for the period from August to November 1819, during which Keats expressed bitter feelings about the reading public and the publishing world: "[o]ne of my ambitions is…to upset the drawling of the blue-stocking literary world" (197); "I shall now consider them (the people) as debtors to me for verses, not myself to them for admiration, which I can do without. …I…look with hate and contempt upon the literary world" (198); "I feel it in my power to become a popular writer. I feel it in my power to refuse the poisonous suffrage of a public" (199) and so on. At the same time, as this last excerpt indicates, Keats mooted plans to earn money "by temporary writing in periodical works" and, to further this end, to move to "cheap lodgings in town…[to] be in the reach of books and information" (200-201, 207). "I will write, on the liberal side of the question, for whoever will pay me," he told Brown on September 23, 1819; "I shall apply to Hazlitt, who knows the market as well as anyone, for something to bring me in a few pounds as soon as possible" (207-08). Milnes observes that Keats "took possession of his new abode" in London but had "miscalculated his…powers of endurance" and that "a still stronger impulse [towards Fanny Brawne] drew him back to Hampstead" (210). He also states that Keats’s study of Ludovico Ariosto (1475-1534)—presumably his dramas as well as Orlando Furioso (1532)—led to the writing of "The Cap and Bells" (1848), which Colvin characterizes as a mixture of "fairy fancy" and "worldly flippancy" that contains much of Keats’s "suppleness and grace. …The story…turn[s] on the perverse loves of a fairy emperor and a fairy princess of the East. The two are unwillingly betrothed, each being meanwhile enamoured of a mortal. The eighty-eight stanzas, which were all that Keats wrote of the poem, only carry us as far as the flight of the emperor Elfinian to England…" (182-83).

…the pathetic attempt to remodel Hyperion…  In this paragraph, Lampman continues to draw on Colvin: "[b]esides his morning task…on the Cap and Bells, Keats…‘was deeply engaged in re-modelling… Hyperion. …’ The result…is of a singular and pathetic interest in Keats’s history. …Now, in the decline of his powers, he…began to re-write [Hyperion]…partly…to give expression to thoughts and feelings which were pressing on his mind. …[H]e now identifies th[e] Greek Mnemosyne, the mother of the Muses, with the Roman Moneta [Juno in her role as counsellor]; and…makes his Mnemosyne-Moneta the priestess and guardian of Saturn’s temple" (185-86). Colvin suggests that "the especial interest of the poem lies in the light which it throws on the inward distresses of his mind, and on the conception he had by this time come to entertain of the poet’s character and lot" (187). To make his point, he quotes and analyses the passage in which the dreamer, after ascending the stairs in the temple, "learns from [Mnemosyne-Moneta] the meaning of the ordeal"—the passage that introduces and includes the lines quoted by Lampman (187-88).

"‘Those whom thou spakest of…these temples[.]"’  Lampman’s quotation of The Fall of Hyperion 1: 161-80 contains many variations of punctuation and capitalization from the version published by Milnes (now Lord Houghton) in the second edition of The Life and Letters of John Keats (1867) and quoted by Colvin (see previous note), and a comparison of the passage in all three texts suggests that Lampman may have taken his quotation from Colvin rather than Houghton. For a nineteenth-century discussion of the provenance and bibliographical complexities of The Fall of Hyperion, see Forman 3: 257-82.

This was the fatal result…  In this paragraph, Lampman echoes Colvin’s analysis of the lines that they both quote: "the poet, [Keats] means, is one who to indulge in dreams withdraws himself from the wholesome activities of ordinary men. …If he is a trifler indifferent to the troubles of his fellow men, he is condemned to perish swiftly and be forgotten. …In the conception Keats here expresses of the human mission and responsibility of his art there is nothing new. Almost from the first dawning of his ambition, he had looked beyond the mere sweets of poetry towards ‘a nobler life, / Where I may find the agonies, the strife / Of human hearts’" (188-89). Lampman’s commentary reflects his awareness of the portion of Moneta’s speech that precedes the lines that he quotes from Colvin’s excerpt: "‘None can usurp this height…But those to whom the miseries of the world / Are misery, and will not let them rest,"’ to which the dreamer replies "‘Are there not thousands…Who feel the giant agony of the world, / And…like slaves to poor humanity, / Labour for mortal good?"’ (qtd. in Colvin 187-88).

On the 3d of February 1820…spitting of blood…  In quoting Brown’s account of the onset of the final stages of Keats’s tuberculosis as given by Milnes (222), Colvin adds Brown’s name and the date of "Feb. 3" (193). Lampman’s quotation reflects variations on Milnes’ account that appear in Colvin’s rehearsal of the exchange between Keats and Brown, but also contains additional variations of punctuation and the substitution of "mistaken" for "deceived".

He rallied, however,…  In this paragraph, Lampman reworks Colvin’s account of the "winter and spring" of 1819-1820, which reads, in part: "[d]uring the first weeks of his illness [Keats] had been strictly enjoined to avoid not only the excitement of writing, but even that of reading, poetry. …Passion with lack of hope were working havoc in his blood, and frustrating any efforts of nature towards recovery. The relapse was not long delayed. Fresh haemorrhages occurred on the 22nd and 23rd of June. …In writing to Fanny Brawne he at times cannot disguise nor control his misery, but breaks into piteous outcries, the complaints of one who feels himself chained and desperate while mistress and friends are free, and whose heart is racked between desire and helplessness, and a thousand daily pangs of half-frantic jealousy and suspicion" (196-97). Milnes describes Severn’s offer to accompany Keats to Italy at a time when his "future prospects" as a painter looked better than ever as a "sacrifice" (232) and Colvin gives the date of their departure from London as "Sept. 18" (199). Both provide details of the two weeks’ bad weather encountered by the vessel in the English Channel, and both record that Keats wrote "Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art…" (1848) after a brief respite on the "Dorchester coast" during which his spirits and inspiration were revived by the beauty of the scenery (Milnes 233; Colvin 201). Lampman follows Colvin, however, in quoting the entire sonnet (which Milnes saves to conclude the Literary Remains) and in asserting that it was written, not as Milnes claims "in a copy of Shakespeare’s Poems he had given to Severn a few days before" (233), but "on a blank leaf of the folio copy of Shakespeare’s poems which had been given him by Reynolds" (201). (In fact, both Milnes and Colvin are correct: Reynolds gave a copy of Shakespeare’s Poetical Works to Keats who, in turn, gave it to Severn.)

"Bright star…swoon to death[.]"  Except for variations in spelling, punctuation, and capitalization, Lampman’s quotation of "Keats’s Last Sonnet" (Milnes 393) or "Keats’s last verses" (Colvin 202) is accurate (see also Forman 4: 235-36).

After a short sojourn in Naples…  In this paragraph, as in the previous one, Lampman reworks Colvin’s account, which includes the sentence that he quotes (accurately) from Keats’s letter of November 1, 1820 to Brown as given by Milnes (237, but see Forman 8: 252), and reads in part: "in the Bay of Naples [the vessel] was…subjected to ten days’ quarantine. …At Naples…[t]he political state and servile temper of the people…grated on Keats’s liberal instincts. …Reaching Rome, [Keats and Severn] settled at once in lodgings which Dr. (afterwards Sir James) Clark had taken for them. …On Dec. 10 came a relapse which left no doubt of the issue. Haemorrhage…and then came a period of violent fever, with scenes the most piteous and distressing" (202-05). Milnes alludes to "the love and care of Mr. Severn and Dr. Clark" (239) and quotes extensively from Severn’s letters of December 14, 1820 to February 27, 1821, which include the passage that Lampman quotes with the omission of "eyes" and the substitution of "on" for "upon" (246). (Colvin quotes the same passage and makes the same substitution [see 208].)

Archdeacon Bailey…Reynolds…Haydon…  The testimonials that Lampman assembles are excerpted from Colvin’s concluding chapter on Keats’s "Character and Genius" (213-14). Colvin gives Houghton’s manuscripts as the source of the testimonials, and states that the one from "Archdeacon Bailey" was written after the appearance of the Life, Letters, and Literary Remains in 1848. Lampman truncates one of Colvin’s quotations by omitting "griefs and" between "the" and "distresses" (Colvin 214).

Under a grassy slope…innumerable violets.  Lampman’s final paragraph contains some numerical and temporal information appropriate to the date of his essay but in all other respects is a reworking of Milnes’ more extensive description of Keats’s grave, which reads in part: "Keats was buried in the Protestant cemetery at Rome, one of the most beautiful spots on which the eye and heart of man can rest. It is a grassy slope, amid verdurous ruins…and surmounted by the pyramidal tomb…ascribed to…Caius Cestius, a tribune of the people. …In one of those mental voyages into the past, which often precede death, Keats had told Severn that ‘he thought the intensest pleasure he had received in life was in watching the growth of flowers;" and another time, after lying a while still and peaceful, he said ‘I feel the flowers growing over me.’ And they do grow, even all the winter long—violets and daisies mingling with the fresh herbage, and, in the words of Shelley, ‘making one in love with death, to think that one should be buried in so sweet a place’" (248).

Mr. Thomson’s Old Man Savarin

Lampman’s review of Edward William Thomson’s Old Man Savarin and Other Stories (Toronto: William Briggs, 1895) was published in The Week (Toronto), August 9, 1895: 880-881, the text reprinted here. It has been previously reprinted in The Letters of Edward William Thomson to Archibald Lampman (1891-1897), ed. Arthur S. Bourinot (Ottawa: Bourinot, 1957): 33-34.

Lampman probably wrote "Mr. Thomson’s Old Man Savarin" in the last couple of weeks of July 1895. On the 18th of that month he informed Thomson that he had "just received ‘Old Man Savarin’ but ha[d] only had time…to read three of the tales—all of them very good. ‘The Privilege of the Limits’ I read again with great satisfaction. It is a delightful piece of humour" (Annotated Correspondence 147). A little over a month later, on August 22, he sent Thomson a "copy of ‘The Week’ with [the] notice in it," explaining that he had been away on "four weeks’ vacation" at Montebello, Quebec "when it appeared, and they did not send me down any papers—hence my delay in forwarding the paper to you" (88).

When the review was published in The Week, Lampman and Thomson (1849-1924) had been friends for some five years. A political journalist and, later, editorial writer for the Globe (Toronto) from 1878 to 1891, Thomson was impressed enough by Among the Millet to address an editorial in the March 12, 1890 issue of the newspaper to Sir John A. Macdonald suggesting that the government should foster Canadian talent by appointing Lampman to a better paid and less "laborious" position in the civil service. On March 28, 1890, Lampman wrote to thank Thomson for his "friendly editorial" (Annotated Edition 1), "thus beginning a friendship and a correspondence which were to endure until Lampman’s death in 1899" (Lynn xii). In the spring of 1891, Lampman attempted to further Thomson’s literary ambitions by introducing one of his short stories to Scribner’s Magazine (New York) and Harper’s New Monthly Magazine (New York). After Thomson assumed an editorial position with the Youth’s Companion in Boston in June of the same year, Lampman’s poems began appearing regularly in that periodical, and in ensuing years the two friends visited back and forth several times. It was largely through Thomson’s efforts that Lampman’s Lyrics of Earth (1895) was accepted for publication by Copeland and Day of Boston and it may have been partly a result of Lampman’s encouragement that Thomson put together a collection of short stories. "I have chust exactly been reading your tale of the ‘Privilege of the Limits’ mirofer," Lampman wrote on October 4, 1891 in imitation of Thomson’s use of dialect for local colour; "I think it is an excellent tale, genuinely humourous, and effectively told. You ought indeed to think of collecting together a little volume, a little miscellany of tales in different veins. If you would, as I told you before, I should take infinite pleasure in writing articles upon it in whatsoever papers I could get at" (Annotated Correspondence 19). "Mr. Thomson’s Old Man Savarin," then, is but one manifestation of a continuum of mutual admiration and support.

Thomson’s experiences prior to his journalistic career provided the raw material for several of the short stories in Old Man Savarin. In the eighteen sixties, he served briefly in the Union Army in the American Civil War and in the Queen’s Own Rifles during the Fenian Raids on Canada. After studying civil engineering in the late ’sixties and early ’seventies, he worked for several years as a surveyor in eastern Ontario, a profession to which he returned in 1883-1884 during the Manitoba land boom. The knowledge of French and Scottish Canadian life that he would have gained in eastern Ontario was doubtless supplemented by a stint as Montreal correspondent for the Globe.

Old Man Savarin and Other Stories is Thomson’s first and, arguably, most accomplished book. It was followed by several other collections of short stories and poems (see McMullen).

"the blue eyes…silent as a sword"
 Lampman is quoting from "Great Godfrey’s Lament" (74, 81).

an ingenious tale of…two Russian Nihilists  Lampman is referring to "Verbitzsky’s Stratagem."

three tales of the American Civil War  "The Ride by Night," "Drafted," and "A Turkey Apiece."

the following sentences of description from "Drafted"  Lampman quotes two paragraphs from pp. 184-85 of Old Man Savarin and Other Stories. In the final sentence of the quotation, he has substituted "penetrating" for Thomson’s "punctuating".


The untitled, undated, and unsigned essay that begins "The cause of Socialism" is pencil-written in a notebook held in the National Archives (MG 29 D 59 vol. 6, 2500-2510). On the front cover of the notebook is an etching of a beaver by C.R.H. Moore and, in a mixture of typefaces, "The 200-PAGE | SCRIBBLING BOOK | [line] | J. DURIE & SON, | Importers, Booksellers, Stationers, and Publishers, | 33 & 35 SPARKS STREET, | OTTAWA. | "; on the back cover are several arithmetical tables and a multiplication table. The pages of the notebook measure 19 x 24.4 cm. As "Untitled Essay on Socialism," the essay has been previously published in Archibald Lampman: Selected Prose, ed. Barrie Davies (Ottawa: Tecumseh, 1975): 51-54.

On the front cover of the notebook containing the essay are scrawled in red pencil and probably not in Lampman’s handwriting "1895" and "Sapphics." At the front of the notebook is an undated draft of "Lisa," an unpublished narrative poem that Lampman evidently sent to Edward William Thomson in late March or early April 1894 (see Annotated Correspondence 115-19). The notebook also contains a prose note on "Dollard des Ormeaux" (the subject of "At the Long Sault: May, 1660" [circa August, 1898-January, 1899 (Early, "Chronology" 85)]), drafts of several poems (including "Sapphics") dated from December 28, 1895 to March 4, 1896, and a draft of the optimistic ending of "The Land of Pallas" (circa August, 1891-February, 1896 [Early, "Chronology" 84), in which the speaker, after returning from the "lovely lands" of his agrarian socialist vision to "a mighty city"

[…]preached the rule of faith and brotherly communion
The law of peace and beauty, and the death of strife,
And painted in great words the horror of disunion[,]
The vainness of self-worship and the waste of life[.]

I preached, but pointlessly the powerful from their stations
Rebuked me as an anarch envious and bad
And they that served them with lean hands and bitter patience
Smiled only out of hollow orbs and deemed me mad[.]

But still I preached and wrought, still I bore my message
For well I knew that on and upward without cease
The Spirit works for ever, and by faith and presage,
That somehow yet the end of human life is peace.

All this evidence would suggest that "[Socialism]" was written in the mid-eighteen nineties, possibly in or about 1895. Perhaps it was "one of [the] essays" that Lampman hoped to complete in the fall of 1895 (See Annotated Correspondence 152-54 and the headnote to "Poetic Interpretation").

Lampman’s engagement with Socialism may safely be assumed to date from at least the mid-eighties when, to judge by a spate of articles in Canadian periodicals (see, for example, the June 1885 to June 1886 issues of Rouge et Noir), the origins, tenets and schemes of the various thinkers and groups who advocated community over competition became subjects of widespread interest and discussion in Canada. Carl Y. Connor, drawing upon sources that are now lost, provides an illuminating account of the "social and political" ideas to which Lampman was exposed after his more to Ottawa in 1882:

No doubt [he] was influenced somewhat by the flaming socialism of his friend, James Macoun. With A[rchibald] C. Campbell, he would argue vigorously but never be quite converted to Henry George’s views of single tax [as expressed in Progress and Poverty (1879)]. He was said to be a Fabian, but it is doubtful if he ever identified himself very definitely with any sect. Yet the ideal of socialism was always in his mind. He followed with interest New Zealand experiments in the control of public land sale, government operated railways and democratic parliament. He believed that Canada had a wonderful opportunity to give the world an object lesson in enlightened social reform by adopting socialism as a form of government, but he was shrewd enough to realize that there was probably no country in the world in which it would be more difficult to convince the people of the desirability of such a step. (84)

A socialist friend not mentioned in this passage was the American writer and single tax advocate Hamlin Garland who wrote to Lampman in 1889 with praise for Among the Millet (1888) and, quickly thereafter, a statement of his credo:

No tax on Labor or the Products of Labor!
Wages to Labor; Interest to Capital; Ground Rent to Community.
A Tax on Goods is a Tax on Labor; a Tax on Land Value is a Tax on

"The day of reform is upon us as of old when Chattel Slavery threatened," Garland proclaimed to Lampman in May 1889; "[p]oets, actors, painters, novelists are all getting into it here. I’ve been in it since ’83. I’ve been speaking since ’87. It permeates my stories and poems. You promised me your picture. I’m doubly desirous of seeing it now." Garland’s solicitousness, coupled with the fact that his letter begins with the offer of a "fraternal grip" and ends "fraternally," suggests that he was responding to an admission of socialist sympathies on Lampman’s part. Little wonder, then, that on October 17, 1897, Garland would ask his Canadian confrère for "an expression of opinion favorable to [the] cause" of Henry George as mayor of New York: Lampman may not have been convinced by Archibald Campbell that a single tax on land could finance social reform, but he apparently shared with George and Garland the belief that progress and poverty were incommensurable in any society worth to be called civilized.

Although Lampman’s socialistic ideas had deep roots in the Canadian and American environments, they also drew succour from British sources. The heavy reliance on Thomas Carlyle in "Friendship" and "Gambetta" suggests an awareness of his flamboyant presentation of feudal socialism as an alternative to capitalist culture in Past and Present (1843) and elsewhere; an admiring reference to Charles Kingsley in "The Modern School of Poetry in England" indicates an acquaintance with Christian socialism and its "attempt to settle social problems in the spirit of Christian brotherhood" (Connor 83); and several pages of excerpts from John Ruskin’s Lectures on Art (1870) in a notebook of circa 1885 (see Appendix) reflect an interest in the aesthetic socialism that spawned the Arts and Crafts Movement of the ’seventies, ’eighties, and ’nineties. Moreover (and despite the contempt expressed for Morris’s long poems in "The Modern School of Poetry in England"), the dreamy utopian socialist of News from Nowhere (1890) lies centrally in the background of "The Land of Pallas," a poem that Lampman’s friend and fellow proponent of the brotherhood of man, William Douw Lighthall (see the notes to "Two Canadian Poets"), "always thought was his ideal for a future Canada" (Letter to Duncan Campbell Scott; and see Bentley, "A Wizard to the Northern Poets" ).

But Lampman’s reputation as a Fabian points to a particular source for some of his socialist ideas in Fabian Essays in Socialism (1889), an enormously influential collection that includes pieces on "The Basis of Socialism," "The Organization of Society," and "The Transition to Social Democracy" by, among others, Sidney Webb and George Bernard Shaw. While each of the eight essays in the collection embodies the individual interests of its author, all of them reflect the Fabian rejection of revolutionary Marxism in favour of a gradual and peaceful evolution towards socialism through parliamentary action and economic reform. (Founded in 1884 to bring about "‘the reconstruction of Society in accordance with the highest moral possibilities"’ [qtd. in Pease 31], the Fabian Society was instrumental in the creation of the London School of Economics [1895] and the British Labour Party [1906]). In Shaw’s essay on the "Economic" basis of Socialism alone, Lampman would have encountered a compelling analysis of the evolution and characteristics of capitalist society that begins with "the cultivation of the earth" and the establishment of "Private Property" (3-4) and proceeds through such topics as "Rent," "Exchange Value," "Wages," and "‘Overpopulation"’ (5-29). In Webb’s essay on the "Historic" basis of the movement, he would have found an eloquent statement of the Fabian conviction that "it is through the slow and gradual turning of the popular mind to new principles that social reorganization bit by bit comes" (34). Lampman may not have "identified himself very definitely with any sect," but, if he had, "[Socialism]" suggests that the sect would have been the Fabian Society.

Because it is written in pencil and, in places, heavily revised "[Socialism]" presents more than usual difficulties of transcription. It also contains two additions on facing pages that have been inserted where most appropriate.

…human nature just emerging from its barbarous infancy… 
Although Lampman is probably using the word "barbarous" loosely to mean the opposite of civilized, the term evokes the four stages theory of social development that originated in eighteenth-century Britain and France and helped to shape nineteenth-century ideas of the evolution of "human nature." According to the theory, all societies develop through four stages, the savage, the barbaric, the agricultural, and the commercial, with the ownership of property that comes with agriculture being the decisive step towards advanced civilization (see Meek, and Bentley, Mimic Fires). The commonplace analogy between organic and social growth implied by Lampman’s use of the terms "infancy" and "manhood" also has eighteenth-century origins in the work of Giambattista Vico, one of the progenitors of modern sociology. In the closing paragraphs of "The Outlook," the final piece in Fabian Essays on Socialism, Hubert Bland anticipates Lampman’s opening statements when he asserts that "Socialism is founded upon a triple rock, historical, ethical, and economic. It gives, to those who make it, a great hope—a hope which, once it finds entrance into the heart of man, stays to soften life and sweeten death. By the light of the Socialist Ideal he sees the evil—yet sees it pass. Then and now he begins to live in the cleaner, braver, holier life of the future. …[T]he ideal of the Socialist…bid[s] him trust the inspiration of the poet [Robert Burns]…‘That man to man the world o’er / Shall brothers be for a’ that.’" (219-20).

Here on the one hand are a million human beings. …On the other hand is the broad and fruitful earth…  Lampman’s juxtaposition of a vast, impoverished population and "tract upon tract of…unoccupied and untilled land" recalls early nineteenth-century arguments for emigration to North America as a solution to the problems of overpopulation set forth by Thomas Robert Malthus in An Essay on the Principle of Population (1793). The immediate context for Lampman’s question of "[h]ow these two cannot be brought together—this starving people, a land…unutilized"—was what Goldwin Smith called in 1891 the "sudden change" that came "over the attitude of the occupants of the American continent on the subject of Emigration" in the late eighteen eighties: "[t]ill lately the portals were opened wide and all the destitute of the earth were bidden to come in. …Now the door is half shut, and there are a good many, if they could, would shut it altogether. …Moreover, the Trade Unions want to close the labour market. They have forced the Canadian Government to give up assisting immigration" (Canada 51). Prior to 1891, immigration to Canada had been largely unrestricted (the notable exception being the 1885 British Columbia head tax on Chinese), but between 1891 and 1896 selective policies were in force. Under Clifford Sifton, who became Wilfrid Laurier’s Minister for the Interior in 1896, the settlement of the farm lands of the West was actively encouraged, with immigrants being drawn, not only from Britain and the United States, but, controversially, from eastern Europe.

the old fashioned economist…"Law of Supply and Demand"…   Lampman probably had in mind the theoretical descendants of Adam Smith who advocated economic policies that were based on the dynamics of the market place and criticized by their opponents as catering to self-interest. Carlyle rails against such policies and their adherents in several places, for example in the opening chapters of Past and Present (1843): "[t]he world, with its Wealth of Nations…and suchlike has…left [wages] to be scrambled for by the Law of the Stronger, law of Supply-and-demand, law of Laissez-faire, and other idle Laws and Un-Laws.…To the present Editor…‘enlightened Egoism’…is not the rule by which man’s life can be led. That ‘Laissez-faire,’ ‘Supply-and-demand,’ ‘Cash-payment for the sole nexus,’ and so forth, were not, are not and will never be, a practicable Law of Union for a Society of Men" (Works 10: 21, 33). Shaw also pillories Smith in the discussion of "Private Property or Unsocialism" in his essay on the "Economic" basis of Socialism (see 4-5).

the private individual may take possession of the common earth… Shaw traces at length "the effects of settling a country by private property" under various headings including "Rent," "Wages" and "Capitalism" to conclude in "‘Illth"’ with a swingeing indictment of the coexistence of "wealth" and "misery" in modern society that cites as an instance the American "accumulation of riches" leading to a craving for "luxuries" (22). In "The Land of Pallas" (1900; and see headnote) "all the earth was common…all men wrought together without greed or striving, / And all the store of all to each man was his own" (Poems 203).

The man who has land and money  In the manuscript, this phrasing replaces "The capitalist".

abstract justice  Ideal justice.

At the end of the sixth century…Arabia…Mohammed…  When Muhammed (circa 570-632) was born, Arabia (the peninsula lying between the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea in southwest Asia) was the site of a number of tribally based societies that were in continual conflict with one another. On the basis of the revelations and doctrines contained in the Koran, Muhammed created a united Muslim community that fused the tribal factions of Arabia into the force that spread Islam into southern Asia, through north Africa, and across the Straits of Gibralter into Spain (the Indus River flows through today’s West Pakistan, and the Pillars of Hercules are the rock of Gibralter and Mount Acho in North Africa).

Forty years ago…German unity…the man…  The architect of German unity was Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince von Bismarck (1815-1898) who, as foreign minister and minister-president of the principality of Prussia from 1862 to 1871 orchestrated wars with Denmark (1864), Austria (1866), and France (1870-1871) to create and consolidate the German Empire (see "German Patriotic Poetry" and "Gambetta"). Bismarck was chancellor of the German Empire from 1871 to 1890.

Socrates  The Greek philosopher Socrates (469-499 BC) devoted his life to the pursuit and teaching of philosophy, particularly the knowledge of virtue. Consonant with his ideals, he was himself an exponent of the ethical life and was indifferent to his outward appearance. His opinions, character, and way of life provoked the enmity of some of his fellow Athenians, and in 399 he was accused of impiety and the corruption of youth, tried and condemned to death.

the Greeks who perished in the struggle for liberty…  Perhaps Lampman was thinking of Leonidas and the other Greeks who died at Thermopylae during the Persian invasion of 480BC.

Erasmus  The Dutch theologian, satirist, and classical scholar Desiderius Erasmus (1465-1536) entered a monastery at the age of thirteen and became a priest in 1492. Refusing all offers of preferment within the Church, he devoted himself to scholarship and literary composition, producing works as diverse as Moriæ encomium (Praise of Folly) and an edition of the New Testament in Greek.

Galileo  The Italian physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) is popularly remembered for the espousal of the Copernican theory of the universe that led to his imprisonment, but he also published numerous treatises and essays that helped to lay the groundwork of modern science.

Columbus  Despite his discoveries on behalf of Spain between 1492 and 1504, Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) died in poverty and obscurity.

Watt and Arkwright…  Only in the long view were fruits of the discoveries of James Watt (1736-1819) and Sir Richard Arkwright (1732-1792) "reaped by other and meaner men": Watt patented and manufactured the condensing steam engine that he invented, and Arkwright, a manufacturer of cotton cloth, benefitted from his invention of the spinning frame and other mechanical devices. In his essay on the "Historic" basis of Socialism, Webb mentions Watt, Arkwright, and several other eighteenth-century inventors, commenting that "[f]rom the inventions of these men came the machine industry [of the Industrial Revolution] with its innumerable secondary results—the Factory System and the upspringing of…industrial towns, and the evangelization of the waste places of the earth by the sale of grey shirting" (37-38).

Milton and Wordsworth  See "Style" and "Poetic Interpretation" for Lampman’s high estimation of the characters of these authors, who did, indeed, shun material luxury.

the men who are leading the Socialist movement today…  Lampman is probably referring to the members of the Executive Council of the Fabian Society (see headnote) who are described as follows in the table of contents of Fabian Essays in Socialism (1889): Sidney Webb, "Ll.B., Barrister at Law, Lecturer on Political Economy at the City of London College," William Clarke, "M.A., Cambridge," Sydney Olivier, "B.A., Oxford," and Graham Wallas, "M.A., Oxford."

Buddah  The founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama of the Sakyas (circa 563-circa 480 BC) attained enlightenment (nirvana) circa 525 and thereafter became a teacher.

Joan of Arc  Inspired by voices of St. Catherine and St. Michael, Joan of Arc (1412-1431) led the French armies to victory against the English, who subsequently tried her for heresy and burned her at the stake.

St. Francis of Assisi  In 1208 Francis of Assisi (circa 1181-1226) obeyed Christ’s injunction to "go…to the lost sheep" with "neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses" (Matthew 10. 6, 9), renounced his worldly goods, and set about saving souls with a group of like-minded followers who were the basis of the Franciscan order.

Luther  The German religious reformer Martin Luther (see notes to "Gambetta").

Melancthon [sic]  A colleague of Luther, Philip Melanchthon (or Melanthon) (1497-1560) gave scholarly shape to the theological principles of the Protestant Reformation.

Hofer  The Tirolese patriot Andreas Hofer (1767-1810) led a series of revolts against the Bavarian rule of Tyrol between 1805 and 1810, when he was captured and executed.

Cavour  Camille Benso, Conte di Cavour (1810-1861) was a supporter of Garibaldi and a leading figure in the Italian Risorgimento movement who helped to achieve the unification of Italy in 1861.

Garibaldi  The Italian patriot and military leader, Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882) was a fervent believer in liberty who played a major role in the achievement of Italian independence and unity.

Newton  The English mathematician and physicist, Isaac Newton (1642-1726) discovered differential calculus and the composition of white light, but is most famous for his formation of the law of gravitation.

Comte  The founder of Positivism, the French Philosopher Auguste Comte (1798-1857), held the bizarre belief that sociology was destined to be the highest science.

Darwin  Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882) propounded the theory of evolution by natural selection in numerous publications, mostly notably On the Origin of Species (1859) and The Descent of Man (1871), that irrevocably altered perceptions of nature and humankind.

the great French Revolution  Webb observes that "the French Revolution…shewed, or seemed to shew, …that a genuine social reconstruction was not only desirable but possible" and proceeds to treat the major democratic gains of nineteenth-century Britain as the product of its influence (38-40).

Who dares picture to himself the September massacres…  Lampman’s use of The French Revolution in "Gambetta" (see notes) suggests that his picture of the Reign of Terror that overcame the French Revolution between September, 1793 and July, 1794 was strongly coloured by Carlyle’s accounts of the massacres of September 1792 (4: 26-42) and the "Feast of Pikes" in August 1793 (Works 6: 181-83).

Men like Wordsworth and Coleridge…  A writer who was as disillusioned as Wordsworth and Coleridge (see "Style" and "Poetic Interpretation") by the Reign of Terror was Edmund Burke (1729-1797), who set down his disillusionment and disgust in Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790).

The change will work itself out gradually…  See headnote.


"Happiness" was first published in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 18 (July, 1896): 309-312, the text reprinted here. It has previously been reprinted in three places, Happiness: a Preachment by Archibald Lampman and Carrying to You the Best Wishes of the Ryerson Press (Toronto: Ryerson, 1925), Archibald Lampman’s Letters to Edward William Thomson (1890-1898), ed. Arthur S. Bourinot (Ottawa: Bourinot, 1956) and Archibald Lampman: Selected Prose, ed. Barrie Davies (Ottawa: Tecumseh, 1975), 105-110, all three times with its conclusion abbreviated by the placement of the first sentence of the final paragraph ("So it is with happiness") at the end of the preceding paragraph and the omission of the remainder of the essay ("We spend long lives …our darkest miseries").

A draft of "Happiness" that begins "We paddled into a little lake—I and my friends—in our well-pitched canoe" and ends with the schema of the three "portals" appears in a notebook of c.1891 in the National Archives (MG 29 D 59 vol. 7, 3036-3060). The same notebook contains the final draft of "Two Canadian Poets" (see headnote). But, while the groundwork for "Happiness" was laid in c.1891, it was not completed until the fall of 1895. "I am pretty much finished one of my essays—on the very novel subject of ‘Happiness’," Lampman informed Edward William Thomson on October 9 of that year, adding: "[i]t will not sell. I know it. I guess it is a pretty stupid production and wouldn’t deserve to. There is only one thing to be said about it; its stupidity is different from the stupidity in common circulation" (Annotated Correspondence 154). On January 10, 1896, Lampman’s attitude to the essay turned from pessimism to jubilation: "I sold my essay on ‘Happiness’ to Harper.—The Lord be praised! (Annotated Correspondence 163).

As Lampman’s self-deprecating remarks about the novelty of its subject-matter suggest, his essay is a small contribution to a long and intense debate about the sources and character of happiness. Sparked in the early decades of the eighteenth century by the (utilitarian) argument that, since the world was created by a God whose benevolence would dispose him to desire man’s pleasure and happiness (rather than pain and misery), the goal of human activity should be the pursuit and maximization of happiness, the debate involved many distinguished participants in Britain and North America, including Jeremy Bentham, Thomas Carlyle, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and, in Canada, the W.D. Lighthall of Spiritualized Happiness-Theory or, New Utilitarianism (1890). Very likely, Lampman was familiar with voices on both sides of the debate—with the "greatest…happiness" principle of the utilitarians (Lighthall 12) and with the counter argument that, rather than being the goal of human life, happiness is the by-product of activities that are in keeping with what Matthew Arnold calls the "law of the higher life" (Complete Prose Works 8: 156). Indeed, Arnold’s discussion of "conduct" in the essay from which this phrase is taken, the Preface to his Last Essays on Church and Religion (1877), probably provided Lampman with a starting point for "Happiness":

It will generally be admitted…that all experience as to conduct brings us at last to the fact of two selves, or instincts, or forces—name them how we will, and however we may suppose them to have arisen,—contending for the mastery in man: one, a movement of first impulse and more involuntary, leading us to gratify any inclination that may solicit us, and called generally a movement of man’s ordinary or passing self, of sense, appetite, desire; the other, a movement of reflection and more voluntary, leading us to submit inclination to some rule, and called generally a movement of man’s higher or enduring self, or reason, spirit, will. The thing is described in different words by different nations and men relating their experience of it, but as to the thing itself they all, or all the most serious and important among them, agree. This, I think, will be admitted. Nor will it be denied that they all come to the conclusion that for a man to obey the higher self, or reason, or whatever it is to be called, is happiness and life for him; to obey the lower is death and misery. (8: 154)

In the opening paragraph of Lampman’s essay, the "higher self" becomes the "good genius" that guides fortunate individuals on the upward "road of happiness—such happiness as can be commonly attained by man." By the same process of adaption, Arnold’s "ordinary or passing self" that "lead[s] us to gratify any inclination" becomes the temptress of Lampman’s second paragraph, whose "portal" leads to "the road of mere delight, of emotional inclination, of aimless excitement."

Lampman’s addition of a third alternative—"the way of the commonplace, the path of routine"—to "each man" as he "emerg[es] from…childhood" is a complication, not only of Arnold’s scheme, but also of the classical theme of "The Choice of Hercules" that probably provided a second starting point for "Happiness." As a classical scholar, Lampman would almost certainly have been familiar with the original Greek version of "The Choice of Hercules" in Xenophon’s Memorabilia Socratis (2: 10), but several details in the opening paragraphs of his essay, particularly the presence of "the ægis of Pallas Althene" above the "portal" of the "good genius," suggest a debt to the third earl of Shaftesbury’s famous depiction of the theme in his Characteristiks of Men, Manners, Opinions, and Times (1711; rev. ed. 1714):

HERCULES…being young, and retir’d to a solitary place in order to deliberate on the choice he was to make of the different ways of Life, was accosted…by the two Goddesses, VIRTUE and PLEASURE. ’Tis on the issue of the Controversy between the Two, that the Character of HERCULES depends. …The Choice he actually made [was] of a Life full of Toil and Hardship, under the conduct of VIRTUE, for the deliverance of Mankind from Tyranny and Oppression. …VIRTUE…may be habited either as an AMAZON, with the Helmet, Lance, and in the Robe or Vest of PALLAS; or as any other of the Virtues, Goddesses, or Heroines. …As for the Shape, Countenance, or Person of V[I]RTUE; that which is usually given to PALLAS may fitly serve as a model for this Dame; as on the other side, that which is given to VENUS may serve in the same manner for her Rival. …[T]he arduous and rocky way of VIR[T]UE requires to be emphatically represented…with one Foot advanc’d, in a sort of climbing Action, over the rough and thorny Ground. …Concerning PLEASURE…[s]he may be drawn either standing, leaning, sitting, or lying; without a Crown, or crown’d either with Roses, or with Myrtle. …[N]otwithstanding the supine Air and Character of Ease and Indolence, which shou’d be given her, she must retain still so much Life and Action, as is sufficient to express her persuasive Effort, and Manner of Indication towards her proper Paths; those of the flowry kind, and Vale below, whither she wou’d willingly guide our hero’s steps. (3: 350-65)

Pallas Athene  In classical Greece, Pallas Athene, the daughter of Zeus and Metis, was the patron goddess of Athens and the patroness of various arts and handicrafts. In Lampman’s work, she is associated with wisdom and the agrarian utopia of "The Land of Pallas" (Poems 201-10).

genius  In a bound volume of "Manuscript Poems and Notes…1894-1899" (which, however, contains some material dated 1892 and 1893), Lampman describes "[g]enius [as] that faculty in a man which enables him to accomplish great things by the slenderest means—means which all other men would overlook. That is why a genuine work of genius always looks as if it had been easily done—and indeed in a sense it may have been easily done for the intense concentration brought to bear upon it hardly affects the worker himself or labor, but rather as a sort of electrical play" (MG 29 D 59 vol. 2, 1039).

Circe  In Greek mythology, Circe, a daughter of Helios, was banished to the island of Æea for the murder of her husband, the Prince of Colchis. There her knowledge of magic and potions enabled her to turn Ulysses’ companions into swine (a condition from which Ulysses was able to secure their release). Lampman’s depiction of Circe may owe something to Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s sonnet "For ‘The Wine of Circe’ by Edward Burne-Jones" (1870), where her offer of "all rapture in Love’s name" reduces her guests to "cowering beasts" in an infernal landscape (Works 211).

land of Cockagne  An imaginary country of luxury and idleness in which delicacies of food and drink are available for the taking.

the alter and the ego  The other (and the service of others) and the self (and self-interest).

Work is only toil…  In several places, most pertinently in the chapter entitled "Happy" (III, iv) in Past and Present (1843), Carlyle champions the nobility of work as an antidote to the utilitarian gospel of happiness, surrounding a diatribe against Lord Byron with such observations as the following: the "Greatest-Happiness Principle seems to me fast becoming a rather unhappy one.—What if we should cease babbling about ‘happiness,’ and leave it resting on its own basis, as it used to do! …Observe, too, that all this [pothering and uproaring for…happiness] is all a modern affair; belongs not to the old heroic times, but to these dastard new times. ‘Happiness our being’s end and aim,’ all that very paltry speculation is at bottom…not yet two centuries old in the world" (Works 10: 154-56).

Nature abhors…a vacant soul  Lampman’s statement is a play on Benedict de Spinoza’s famous (and almost proverbial) observation that "Nature abhors a vacuum" (Ethics I, xv).

poisonous humor  Lampman is referring loosely to the ancient theory that four fluids in the human body (blood, phlegm, yellow and black bile) are responsible for an individual’s temperament or character.

things excellent in their practical beauty and usefulness  It was a tenet of the Arts and Crafts Movement with which Lampman aligns himself here that even the most ordinary objects should be beautiful as well as useful.

safety valve…superfluous energy…  In his figurative use of the device used in a steam boiler to release pressure that is becoming dangerous (that is, to let off steam), Lampman reveals a hydraulic understanding of human physiology that reflects contemporary American concerns with the physical and psychological results of the "pressures" of urban and industrial society. That this topic was of particular interest to Lampman’s readers is indicated by the "Editor’s Study," Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 89 (October, 1894), which offers various suggestions "to lessen the strain of modern life," including "absolute change of occupation for a period" (vacations) and a "reduction in the hours of labour" required in "many professional occupations" to create more "time for recreation" (799-801; and see Bentley, "Carman and Mind Cure").

Unhappy is the soul which is possessed of an energy too wayward and too violent…  Here and in the ensuing paragraphs, Lampman may have been thinking of the character type represented for him by Byron (see "The Poetry of Byron").

Stoicism  The philosophy based on the doctrines of the Athenian teacher Zeno (d. circa 261 BC), who advocated an austere passivity that is indifferent to pleasure, pain and other feelings, including happiness.

Happiness may almost be defined as the consciousness of adequate self-expression attained by the individual, within the limitations imposed by the social structure  Lampman’s tentative definition recalls Arnold’s view that happiness results from conduct that is based on "reflection" and obedience "to some rule" (see headnote).

Storm and stress  In alluding to Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress), the German Romantic movement of the late eighteenth century whose masterpieces include Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther, Lampman suggests a correspondence between the "agitations" of youth and Romanticism and, by extension, between the maturity of the individual and the maturity of the Victorian period.

It is in memory…that our deepest and securest pleasures consist  This is a recurring theme of Lampman’s poetry. See particularly "Winter-Store" (Poems 165-73).

We paddled into a little lake…  Very likely, Lampman’s "parable" is based in part on the canoe trips that he records in the fragmentary diaries reprinted in Archibald Lampman: Selected Prose 81-86.