THE COMPLETE POEMS
of FRANCIS SHERMAN


EDITED BY LORNE PIERCE


 

A Bibliography
BY
LORNE PIERCE


A Francis Sherman Check List in which is included some unpublished correspondence, associated with the poet’s first books, now in the archives of The Royal Bank of Canada, and made available through the courtesy of Mr. S. R. Noble and Mr. G. W. MacKimmie, Assistant General Managers of the bank.


A. BOOKS AND BROCHURES


MATINS
. Copeland and Day, Boston, 1896. Contains thirty poems.

Colophon: “The first editions of this book consists of five hundred copies with thirty-five additional copies on English hand-made paper printed by the Rockwell and Churchill Press of Boston during November, 1896.”

Library Edition:

Covers 4 ¼ × 7″; bound in dark green art cloth boards with lilies and Lions ingrained [designed by F. Richard Anderson]. MATINS [single leaf ornament] / BY FRANCIS/SHERMAN, stamped in gold on both front and back covers; MAT-/ INS BY/FRAN- /CIS/SHER-/BOSTON/COPELAND/AND DAY/ 1896/ stamped in gold on the spine; 14 blank pages; sub-title page [verso blank]; title page [printed in rubricated red]:MATINS/ BY FRANCIS/ SHERMAN/ ornament [wood cut 2 ⅜″ × 3 1/16”, three lilies on a single stem; rose wreath with monogram CD in Centre; legend—Sicut Lilium Inter Spinas] /Boston/ Copeland and Day/ MDCCCXCVI/; copyright page; dedicatory page—To My Father—[verso blank]; contents [verso blank]; text—58 pages numbered; colophon; 13 blank pages; pages untrimmed.

Limited Edition:

Covers 4 ⅜″× 7 ⅛″; bound in brown paper boards with no stamping on front and back covers; white paper label on spine: /double rule/ MATINS/ rule/ 1896/ double rule/; text printed on English hand-made deckle-edge paper with “W. King, Alton Mill” watermarks; printing identical with ordinary edition except for the title page, which is printed in black ink, and from different type: MATINS/ FRANCIS SHERMAN/, publisher’s device with same details in a new and smaller design/ publisher’s imprint the same.

The Royal Bank Collection: Copy of Limited Edition, inscribed by the publisher—“F. D., Dec., ’96.” Also six trial proofs of the title page on [page 159] various types of paper in both black and red, using two devices, one of which was chosen for the regular edition. The Royal Bank possess the original title page and table of contents. The title page [foolscap, water-marked “Old Hempstead Bond”] is in holograph: AT THE GATE/ FRANCIS SHERMAN/ TO MY FATHER/. The second foolscap page is typed [black], and follows the contents of the book; opposite the titles are two columns “MSS. page,” and Number of lines,” which show that the MS. had fifty-nine pages, running to 1,440 lines.

 

EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS BY FRANCIS SHERMAN TO FRED H. DAY RELATING TO MATINS

I

Merchants’ Bank of Halifax,
Fredericton, 3. vii. 1896.


    Did I not say that of course I would agree with your plans for the Book?—I surely intended to.   
    And about the title: when I sent you the typewritten MSS. to add to that which Roberts1 left with you—I suggested the title “Between the Battles,”—that begin the name of one of the lyrics which Roberts thinks best. Of course,—even were it not that Lampman2 has preempted the title—“Poems of Earth” is not very good for the typewritten portion: I only chose that title for the little book that I copied out.      
    Don’t you like the sound of Between the Battles? But perhaps you don’t care for the poem itself.
    There is another little thing I have been thinking about lately: Instead of the design on the cover of Miss Brown’s3 book would it be possible to have the French lilies and the English lions?—You know I Am a Canadian; and it seems to me as if a design such as this (and I am quite sure it has not yet been used, on a book, at least) would let others know it, too. Of course I would sooner have everything about the book perfectly plain and simple rather than out of taste; But don’t you think my idea could be worked out by some artist?

 

II

Fredericton, N.B.
Sept. 20, 1896.

 

    I have made as many of Miss Brown’s corrections as I dare: nearly all, I think, of the most important. Those I have been stubborn about, I have noted in red ink: if you look them over I think you will admit that there is something to be said on my side. I am glad that [page 160] you think some of the poems omitted by her are good enough to go in. In place of “Kingship” and “The House of Fame,” and “The Awakening” (and two of those on Miss Brown’s list) I have given you two new ones (“The Builder” and “On the Hillside”) which, I think, are of my very best, and “The King’s Hostel” and “Wet Willows” which were praised in Mrs. Moulton’s kind letter. “The House of Fame” I withhold for the present, but some day I hope you will put forth for me a sequence of sonnets several of which are already written.
    And now about the title. I am pleased with “At the Gate.” Isn’t the service you mean “Lauds”? (Do you remember—in The Staff and Scrip

                                “They sing but faintly, who sang well
                                        The matin-orisons,
                                               The lauds and nones.”?)

Do you think that any of those three words would do? “Lauds,” by itself, sounds rather harsh, I think. Can you suggest any combination? How would “Lauds and Orisons” do? But perhaps Miss Brown has thought of a better.
    I shall dedicate the book “To my father.”
    I think that is all you speak about. Two or three of the poems are at present out at the Magazines, but I have no fear that any of them will be accepted4. Still, I have written the holders to return at once unless they want to keep them, so it will be all right.
    Has anything been done yet about the cover? I trust you will be able to carry out my idea of it.          
                                                                                            (Signature).
    May I date the book (on the last page).
                                  “Fredericton,
                                   1893-1896.”?
    You will notice that “The Tower beyond the Tops of Time,” which Miss Brown praises so much, is by C. G. D. Roberts. How did it get Among my MSS.?

 

III

Merchants’ Bank of Halifax,
Fredericton, Sep. 23, 1896.


    Is “Little Hours” the phrase you mean? I hear that that name is sometimes used for the earliest service, but whether it is only local or not I don’t know. It would make an excellent title—don’t you think so?—Simply, “Little Hours,” or “A Book of Little Hours,” or “Little Hours: Poems,” or—what? [page 161]

 

IV

 Merchants’ Bank of Halifax,
Fredericton, Oct. 1, 1896.


    Unless you prefer Little Hours let us have Matins.
    The cover design is well done, and will, I think, please most people. It is hardly what I meant—a little more noticeable, perhaps. Of course, I understand that the design on cloth will be softer than this one on paper: would not dark green on light green look best?

 

V

Fredericton,
Dec. 19, ’96


    The Brown covers came today and are a thousand times more pleasing than I dreamed they could be. I am so glad for their title-page: the only thing I have to regret about the green covers is that I asked for the red title page—the little black design is just perfect—There—you’ll think this is a woman writing to you!
    May I have—say—half a dozen more of the cloth and two more copies of the brown? I did not think I would wish to give away so many—but most of them will bring forth notices, and all of them will sell more. Please send them as soon as you like.
    I hope the book is going off as well as you expected, for I should feel like a criminal—after all your kindness—if the people do not approve of your judgment of my verse.
    As for thanks for the way you have tried to please my whims and for the time of your own that you have spent on my little book—they will have to wait until I see you. Let us hope that will be at Easter.
    Be sure to send the blank pages you speak of. I will gladly copy out the rest.
    Why do you say that everything “turns out wrong these days”—What is the matter?

 

VI

Merchants’ Bank of Halifax,
Fredericton, 30 Dec., 1896


    Of course I have read Arnold: Every word he has written—politics, religion, criticism and poetry, Tristram I know by heart—and love—but it is not what I would try to do. One cannot forget that it was written in 18—. No one can hold a higher opinion of M.A. than I do: he has even—at times—de-Christianized me. I wonder what he would think of the modern Athenian? Would he say there is more of the Philistine there than of an apostle of sweetness and light?
    Carman sends me the clipping. His letter is full of praise for my book, and says that the review will do it good! Now, that isn’t honest—even if it be genius. [page 162]
    Why must he be always irresponsible? Of course, if people knew that he knew me they would take his remarks all right, but as it is I am afraid most people will think that I am rather a fool, or a plagiarist. However—and—entre nous—do you think he is quite old enough to patronize anybody?—or anybody’s first book?
    It makes me homesick for No.9 to hear how you honored my stuff. (SIGNATURE).
   
    There isn’t a single copy of Matins for sale in this town!
    Have you been too busy to fill orders?
    And when will Francis Thompson’s book be out? I have hardly slept since I saw it announced in your fine list. You must send me the first copy!

 

A letter from Louise Chandler Moulton.

Envelope dated May 11, 1896.
Sunday Eve.

My Dear Fred:
    I have been enjoying a very great pleasure. To tell the truth, I did not think it would be a pleasure for I usually hate to read even type-written MSS. But I wanted to read Mr. Francis Sherman’s poems because you were interested in them; and I have given this afternoon to them.
    I don’t at all agree with Alice Brown in thinking “A life” is the “high-water mark”—I think there are others that are incomparably finer.
    “The Conquerors”—“At the Gate”—“The King’s Hostel”—“At Matins”—“The Mother” (especially the concluding stanza)—are all finer, far, in my opinion, though there are some noble lines in “A Life.” “The Window of Dreams” and “The Relief of Wet Willows” would be stunning ballads if condensed a little and amended here and there.
    Anyway, Mr. Sherman is a poet—and I feel it far more strongly than of any new poet whose acquaintance I have made in many a day.
    Who is he? Where is he? Can you make him known to me? His MSS. I’ll keep till you come for it. I wish you would bring Mr. Sherman, and tell when beforehand that I might be sure to be free.
                                                     .      .      .      .      .      .      .
 

  Thank you for letting me see Francis Sherman’s sympathetic fascinating work.


Yours ever,                                                 
Louise Chandler Moulton. [page 163]

 

A letter to Fred. H. Day from Richard Garnett.

British Museum.
Aug. 8, 1897.


    I have to thank you very much for sending me Mr. Sherman’s little volume. He is a true poet, and frequently recalls to me the feelings with which I read William Morris’ first volume on its first appearance. He also has affinities with Francis Thompson, while free from the extravagancies which so greatly mar the latter’s work. I shall look to his future career with much interest. Here and there there seems a slight want of keeping; it might be useful if he went carefully over the entire volume, asking himself at every stanza, What did I precisely mean by this?

R. Garnett.


_______________


IN MEMORABILIA MORTIS.
The University Press, John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, Mass., 1896. Contains six sonnets. [Printed for Copeland and Day. The ornament on the title page incorporates the monogram CD, together with the three lilies on a single stem, a garland of roses and the legend Sicut Lilium Inter Spinas. An almost identical water-mark is found in the paper of this book.]

Colophon: “The six sonnets In Memorabilia Mortis, written at Fredericton, New Brunswick, on the third day of October, MDCCCXCVI, by Francis Sherman, are privately printed at the University Press, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, early in December of the same year.”

Text pages 5 ¾″  × 7 ½″ [covers 6″× 8″]; bound in gray laid antique wrappers, deckle-edge, cover stamped in black ink: IN MEMORABILIA MORTIS; saddle back stitched with white linen thread; printed on antique-laid, deckle-edged, hand-made paper; 6 blank pages; sub-title page [verso blank]; title page: IN MEMORABILIA MORTIS/ BY FRANCIS SHERMAN/ ornament/ [woodcut 5/8 × 3 1/16 with lilies and monogram CD—Copeland and Day—as described above, printed in black ink]/ MDCCCXVI; verso contains quotation:
                                         “But ye—shall I behold you
                                           When leaves fall,
                                           In some sad evening of the
                                           Autumn-tide?”
6 pages text [the first page with borders and initial, in imitation of designs by William Morris, to whose memory the book is dedicated]; the remaining five sonnets have ornamental initials only; colophon and crest of the Harvard University Press; 7 blank pages. [The pages are numbered 6 to 11 only.]

Copy in The Lorne Pierce Collection, Queen’s University, inscribed: “To B. C. [Bliss Carman] from his old pupil, F. S., December, 1896.” [page 164]
Another copy inscribed: “Francis Sherman, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.”

The Royal Bank Collection: “To Fred Holland Day from his grateful friend, Francis Sherman, December, 1896.”

The Rufus Hathaway Collection, University of New Brunswick, inscribed by Louise Imogen Guiney to Lionel Johnson.
    NOTE: The Hollow Land, by William Morris, reprinted by Thomas B. Mosher, Portland, Maine [1900], quotes, in the prefatory, the first six lines of sonnet III, and all of sonnet IV, except lines 11, 12 and 14, from In Memorabilia Mortis.

In Memorabilia Mortis MANUSCRIPT:

    The complete autograph MSS. is preserved in The Royal Bank of Canada archives. It consists of twenty pages, 5 ⅛″ × 6 ⅜″, of orange colored paper folded in booklet form. Four blank pages; title page: For F. H. D. Six sonnets written by F. S., October 3, 1896; quotation:
                        But ye—shall I behold you when leaves fall
                         In some sad evening of the autumn-tide?;
verso blank; the sonnets are written on the right-hand pages only, and the folios numbered, bottom right, from one to six; three blank pages at the end.
    There are several variants from the printed text:

Sonnet     I: line 3—“Beholding first of all the world the dawn”;
                        [text—“The glad, first herald of triumphant dawn.”]
                    line 7—“and all the gold was gone”
                        [text—“and all the song was gone,”]
                    line 14—“Grew weary”
                        [text—“Had wearied”]

Sonnet II:    line 5—“clung around the wall”
                        [text—“clung along the wall”]
                    line 9—“That day no sunset flamed”
                        [text—“And while no sunset flamed”
                    line 10—“As it had been in life, in death even so”;
                        [text—“And no great moon rose where the hills were low,”]
                    line 11—“It faded out as it had never been”:
                        [text” The day passed out as if it had not been”:]
                    line 14—“In summer-time its leaves had not been green.”
                        [text “Early in Spring its young leaves were not green.”]

Sonnet IV:   line 4—“with gold hair plaited wonderfully.”
                        [text—“with yellow hair bound wonderfully.”]
                    line  8—“henceforth lost to me.”
                        [text—“Surely lost to me.”]
                    line 9—“the days went over,”
                        [text—“But as the days went over,”] [page 165]

Sonnet   V:  line   2—“mine attire!”
                        [text—“My attire!]
                    line 12—“my sword was fashioned”
                        [text―“my sword was sharpened”]

 


EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS BY FRANCIS SHERMAN TO FRED H. DAY RELATING TO IN MEMORABILIA MORTIS

 

I

Merchants’ Bank of Halifax,
Fredericton, 22 Oct., 1896.


    And I was not sure, even, that you would like them! It would make me very happy to see them printed by you. But, surely, I can make them more worthy of your firm’s imprint: your copy is as I first wrote them.

 

II


    A single page of holograph MSS. seems to indicate that Sherman or Day planned a little folder containing two sonnets, anticipating In Memorabilia Mortis.
  “These two sonnets are taken from a sequence of six, written on the death of William Morris, and privately printed for Francis Sherman by Copeland and Day, who are issuing Matins, the young Canadian’s first book of verse. By one of the fine anachronisms of literature, the spirit of an elder time, the lore of ‘old far-off forgotten things,’ have pitched their tent in Sherman’s measures, and render it possible for a youth of our bustling day to bid adequate farewell to so remote a poetic spirit as that of Morris.”



III

Envelope dated Nov. 11, 1896.
Fredericton.
Tuesday night.


    Isn’t this typewritten pretty well?5 I have just done it myself, and I hope you will think the changes are for the better. Your letters came today; the package I have not yet received—I wait patiently.
    I didn’t know you intended a large paper edition of Matins. Of course we won’t have a label on the side! Just plain, smooth, brown—if one cares for the inside, as I hope some people will.
    But I suppose I must wait for the package before answering your letter. Only I know I shall agree with you in everything. I really [page 166] don’t know what you can add to the Sonnet device for me.6 A Ledger?—or a Five dollar note? I am afraid your lilies will have to be mine, too; they were—long ago. What can you suggest for my share? Because the Sonnets must have a device of some kind.


Wednesday Noon


     Which do you like—red or black? Certainly, the Mrs. Browning page is perfect7 (and the border is a thousand times too good for the Sonnets—mine, I mean), but perhaps red will take with most people.



IV

Fredericton.
Dec. 7,’96.


    When I sent The Sonnets to you I felt the same about them as you did: they meant too much to me for me to dream of making them public. But when you spoke of The Book-Buyer, I thought that it would be fairer to you, as publisher, to let you do with them as you thought best. Because, if people thought them good—certainly it would help the sale of Matins to have some of my work printed in The Book Buyer.
    I hope you are not displeased at the way things have turned out: because I am not. And I suppose it is due to you that The Bookman prints a sonnet of mine (alas—its terrible last line! but what can I say now save that I knew it was wrong as soon as I reread the copy of the one I had sent them. Had I hoped for an acceptance I should have recalled the MSS.)
    I know that the good notice in the Notes is due to you because I have just had a stunning letter from Mr. MacArthur,8 who says that you sent him an advance copy.

 

V

Fredericton.
Dec. 10, ’96.


    What can I say to thank you? And what do you mean by the presswork being poor? It is simply the most beautiful thing in the world—to me.

F.S. [page 167]

 

VI

Fredericton.
Jan. 22, ’97.


    I hope to be in Boston for Easter, but things about the office will be so that I shall not be able to leave here before the afternoon of April 17th; that would get me to your city early Sunday morning.
    Of course, I am not sure of all this, but I am going to try hard to get to Boston some time this Spring for three or four days: I am quite sure that I shall not go farther than Boston.
    You don’t tell me when Thompson’s new volume1 is to be ready. I wish you could think as much of his poetry as I do: I think you said that you did not place it among the highest.
    And have you seen The Book of the Native4 yet? I hope that it will change your opinion of R. You must admire some of the lyrics in the opening part of the book: the ballads are not so good.
    And now I remember to ask you where you found the phrase In Memorabilia. A friend of mine here (a professor of classics at the University) says that he has looked into every dictionary in the world in the hope of finding out where Tennyson got his In Memoriam. As he says, it may be a later Latin: do you know?


____________


A PRELUDE
. Copeland and Day, Boston, 1897.

Colophon: “A Prelude written by Francis Sherman is privately printed for him and for Herbert Copeland and F. H. Day and their friends Christmas MDCCCXCVII.”

Covers, 4 ⅜″ × 5 ¾″; bound in gray antique-laid deckle-edge wrappers; cover stamped in black ink: A PRELUDE/privately printed/ at Christmas/ a rule/ 1897/; saddle-back stitched white linen thread; printed on antique-laid deckle-edged hand-made paper, with Copeland and Day lily-design watermark; 4 blank pages; title page―identical with cover stamps [verso blank]; 8 pages text, numbered 3 to 10; colophon [verso blank].

Copy in The Lorne Pierce Collection, Queen’s University, inscribed: “W. T. R./ F. S.” [W. T. Raymond, “Tyng,” a friend of Carman, Sherman and Roberts, later Professor of Classics at the University of New Brunswick.]

Another Copy, inscribed: B. C. /F. S.”

The Royal Bank Collection holds the typescript of A Prelude. It is typed in blue on four pages of foolscap. The title, “A Song of Faith,” is written at the head. The author’s signature and “Fredericton, N. B.” [stamped in red], are on the upper right corner. The pages are numbered in ink. The only author’s corrections are punctuation marks, chiefly exclamatory, and the underlining of five lines at the end of part seven to indicate italics. He enclosed the last quatrain of the poem in quotation marks, but in the proofs decided to italicize this also. In a letter to Day, December 3, he states: “The copy isn’t any too plain: but it is the best I have.”

 

EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS BY FRANCIS SHERMAN TO FRED H. DAY RELATING TO A PRELUDE

I

Fredericton.
18 May, ’97.


    Perhaps you were right about the Y. B.9 These are the verses I intended to try it with. You may think them good, but I am sure that you will not accuse me of trying to strike a John Lane level.
    Can you suggest any place where I can use them? I have tried The Atlantic—with the usual results. I would like to see them printed in some respectable journal and I would far rather give them to a decent one than sell them some place where they would have bad companions. Let me know your opinion of them, anyway, will you?
    Isn’t the Thompson ready yet?

(SIGNATURE).


     Some day, I am going to call the verses “A Prelude” and print them in front of a series of “House” sonnets.

 

II

Fredericton.
October 27, 1897.


    Can you find time to glance over these?—and, later, to let me know that you haven’t forgotten me?
    I’ve been working hard this summer: since June I have been in charge of this branch—the most important of the twenty-eight our Bank has in Canada. And not one holiday since I saw you! Don’t you think I ought to get a good increase of salary at the year’s end? For awhile, the extra responsibility and worry knocked out of me all inclination to make rhymes; but, of late, I have been scribbling again. Result: about twelve hundred lines of better stuff than the best of Matins. Next fall, I hope to offer your honorable house—Poems: Chiefly Sonnets.10 [page 169]
     But perhaps Matins disappointed you! You have never told me how it went off. While I think, will you send me three cloth copies, and one to The Educational Publishing Co., Toronto, Canada, who write me that they are issuing a series of articles on Canadian verse?
     Didn’t I send you some Jubilee verses and an article on Francis Thompson?11 If you wish any of your publications reviewed for New Brunswick book-buyers I shall be glad to do it for you.

(SIGNATURE).
    Why didn’t you issue Carman’s last book?12 Isn’t it fine and lovely and sweet?

 

III

Fredericton.
Dec. 1, 1897.


    Until Thanksgiving Day—when your letter came—I was afraid that something had gone wrong, that I had said or done something to annoy you.
    But your warm praise for my work has relieved me. It is very good of you to say those kind things and to quote me Dr. Garnett’s letter.13
    I was a long time using the nice paper you sent me, was I not14? But you know what it is to be busy—even if you don’t know what it is to work in a Bank! And I hope, that I have at last made good use of the paper: surely the old things aren’t good enough to send you. Do tell me how you like the new.
    O! how I wish for a holiday! The first week I have I offer to you, first.
    No: I haven’t read The Treasure, though I have I have read about it. I know I should like it. Here, we have been reading hardly anything but Kipling: isn’t The Feet of the Young Men (in Scribner’s) glorious? Meredith’s Collected Verse and The Coming of Love I suppose you have seen: the latter agreeably surprised me. Have you read The Earth Breath? It is very fine: the best new verse I have read for a long time. Have you seen Yone Noguchi’s last book? He found me through your address, and sends me his verses from time to time, with the dearest, strangest letters you ever read. His is certainly [page 170] a very fine nature; in spite of their formlessness, very beautiful.
    I want to get about fifty copies of a poem (A Prelude: 167 lines) printed for private circulation. I think it would only take eight or nine pages the size of Matins: the same paper would do. You will not mind getting me figures, will you? And, afterwards, seeing that it is done properly? Just a plain, heavy type without decorations.

Continually yours,               
F. S.

    I shouldn’t bother you if they could do such things decently up here in the North.


—————


TWO SONGS AT PARTING. Privately printed, Fredericton, 1899. (Probably printed by Copeland and Day, Boston. The cover had “Issued from” only.)

Cover, 4⅜″ × 6 5/16″; text pages 4″ × 5 1/8″; bound in plain grey paper wrappers; saddle-back stitched with gray silk thread; Cover stamped in black ink: TWO SONGS AT PARTING, WRITTEN BY/ JOHN BODKIN AND FRANCIS SHERMAN/ AND PRIVATELY ISSUED FROM FREDER-/ ICTON LATE IN THE WINTER OF 1899/; printed on antique-laid, deckle-edge paper (watermark, Strathcona Deckle Edge); 3 blank pages; sonnet, signed J. B.; sonnet, signed F. S.; 3 blank pages.

Copy in The Lorne Pierce Collection, Queen’s University, inscribed: “B.C./F.S., 1899.”

The Royal Bank Collection:   “F. H. D./F. S. Easter, 1899.”

The First Sonnet, by John Bodkin, is as follows:
                
                 O, little city by the blue St. John!
                 I came to thee a lonely, batter’d man:
                 I sought thee when my trust in men was gone,
                 Moved by some accident of vagrant plan.
                 I stayed and loved thee for thy broad repute,
                 Mother of poets! And thy brave, straight ways
                 Renewed me till my long-time silent lute
                 Throbb’d in my fingers as in those wild days
                When I did carol just for love of song.
                 My second mother! I can tarry long
                 Nowhere for my uneasy, wastrel bent:
                 But, surely, if the fight be to the strong,
                 Then shall I come to thee, and age among
                 Thy wise, stanch people and thy proud content.
                                                                                                      J. B.   [page 171]

 

EXTRACT FROM A LETTER TO FRED. H. DAY ABOUT THE TIME TWO SONGS AT PARTING WAS PUBLISHED

 

Merchants’ Bank of Halifax,
Montreal, March 2, 1899.


    Your letters are worth the waiting for anyway!
    And this one came to me in one of my bluest moments. Just think, I have to stop smoking (by doctor’s orders) my throat and lungs are bothering me so. And you can remember how I am always a-smoking.
     This is all the typewritten MSS. I have here—or any place—that you haven’t already seen. I hope you will read it some time and tell me about it.15
     I am sorry for your troubles—of all kinds, they seem.
     Lamson’s16 downfall I hadn’t heard of. I—the banker part of me—am not surprised: and I dare say his sins were greater from your—which is the artist’s—point of view.
     I am trying to get used to being away from home. I did want to go to Cuba—principally because it would have been so interesting to me for a year or two. Then I should have returned to F’ton and passed my days more peaceably. But now, I think I am not going south at all. I am here for a while in a most responsible position, and expect shortly to go to New York or Boston—how I pray it may be the latter!

————―


THE DESERTED CITY. Privately printed, 1899. (Printed by Copeland and Day. The booklet is identical in binding, paper, watermark and type with The Prelude.)

Cover , 3 ¼″ × 6 ¾″; text pages 3 ¾″× 5 ¾″; bound in grey antique laid, deckle-edge wrappers; saddle-back stitched with white linen thread; cover: THE DESERTED CITY/ STRAY SONNETS WRITTEN BY F. S./ AND RESCUED FOR THE FEW WHO/ LOVE THEM BY H. D./ ornament [three lilies on a single stem, also used on title page, and as water-mark]/ Privately printed/ MDCCCXCIX/; 2 blank pages; title page, identical with cover stamping [verso blank] ; 10 PAGES TEXT, numbered 4 to 12; 2 blank pages.
There are a few textual errors. In “The House of Faith” [p. 5], line 4, read “what joy” for “the joy.” In “The House of Color” [p. 10], first line, read “Fine gold” for “Mine gold.” In “Victory” [p. 11], lines 5 and 6, read:
              “Up road in April, who, meeting the rain,
                Did turn, the first shy mayflower still un-met?” [page 172]
for:         “Upward in April, who, meeting the rain,
                 Did turn, the fist shy mayflowers still are met?”

Copy in The Lorne Pierce Collection, Queen’s University, inscribed: “B.C./ F.S., Havana, 1899.”

The Royal bank Collection contains the page proofs of The Deserted [sic] City. They are folded in a Copeland and Day letter-head. The front cover of this improvised wrapper is a pen-and-ink layout for the book cover, in what appears to be F. H. Day’s hand. On the back of the wrapper he has scribbled in pencil: “As an experiment cut off all but the three lilies [sic] from device used in Victory and try that.” The lilies are cut down and pasted on the page proofs. The wording and device on the cover of the booklet are identical. The text begins on page three [headed “The Deserted [sic] City”], with “In April,” which was later omitted, no doubt to limit the collection to sonnets, and to avoid badly broken pages. The compositor had set a slug for the initial to “The House of Color,” and the proof-reader printed in a capital F. Even then the poem was printed “Mine gold” for “Fine gold.”

The Deserted City MANUSCRIPT:

This typescript, in The Royal Bank, Collection, comprises nine pages. PAGE 1: a half sheet containing “In April,” typed in green, and signed, “Francis Sherman/Fredericton, N.B the rain,” line 5), and “Victory,” both in holograph on a Copeland and Day letterhead./ this poem was never published. PAGE 2: a half sheet with “The House of Tears” and “The House of Night” typed in purple. Page 3: “The House of Faith” [reading “with the rain,” line 5], and “Victory,” both in holograph on a Copeland and Day letterhead [Copland and Day / Publishers import-/ers and Vendors of /Fine books. 69 Cornhill, Boston/189―]. PAGE 4: foolscap, typed in blue—“The House of Mercy”, [line reading, “days are over,” was altered by someone in the publishers’ office –in pencil—to, “days are past”, and in the last line, “I comfort him,” was changed to “comfort thou him,”―but neither alteration Sherman evidently approved]; “The House of Regret” and “The House of Sin.” PAGE 5: foolscap, typed in black—“The House of Music” and “The House of Color” [line 9 author inserts “and I,” “Once, when the hills [and I ] were all aflame.” PAGE 6: foolscap typed in purple—“The House of Beauty”; “The House of Earth”; [line 5 reads, “Ye too shall weary of Precious things and gold,” and “Precious” is struck out]; “The House of  Love.” PAGE 7: foolscap, typed in purple―”The House of Change”; “The House of Content”; “The House of Doubts.” PAGE 8: foolscap, typed in  black―”The House of Wisdom”; “The Fourth Day.”   PAGE 9: foolscap, typed in purple―“The Last Storm” [line 3 “hidden” altered to ‘hid”; line 9 reads, “And yet tomorrow, at noon, when I shall go,” and is altered];
“A Last Word” [line 10 reads “even to the noonday throng,” and line 11 “echo of any song,” both with emendations.]


—————


IN THE SOUTH. Privately printed, and dated “Havana, Christmas, 1899.” The leaflet measures 8 ½″× 12 3/8″. The poem and date line are on page two, the other three pages are blank. The paper is hand- [page 173] made, parchment quality, deckle edge, identical with that used in A Canadian Calendar: XII Lyrics, even to the José Guarro watermark and crowned device.

The Royal Bank Collection: Copy inscribed “F. H. D./F. S.”


—————


A CANADIAN CALENDAR: XII LYRICS. Habana: MCM.

Colophon: “A Canadian Calendar: XII Lyrics, written by Francis Sherman and privately printed in Havana, is issued at Christmastide, MCM.”

Text pages 6 ¼″× 8 ½″; unattached brown butcher paper wrappers, 6 ⅛″ × 9 ¼″; the back cover folded in; front cover printed in black hand-lettered type: A CANADIAN / CALANDAR / XII LYRICS / HABANA: MCM/; title [identical with cover] stamped in black ink; text printed on deckle-edge, hand-made paper, with the watermark, José Guarro; saddle back stitched with green silk thread; 4 blank pages; title page, identical with cover [verso blank]; contents [verso blank]; 2 blank pages; dedication: To/ F. H. D. [verso blank]; contents [verso blank]; 2 blank pages; text―15 pages unnumbered; blank page; colophon; 9 blank pages.

Sherman corrected one error in the text. X. “Fellowship,” part 3, first stanza, line four, read were for here.

A Canadian Calendar MANUSCRIPT:

The author’s presentation copy of the MS. Is preserved in The Royal Bank of Canada Archives. It consists of twenty-six leaves and end papers sewn with green silk cord and bound in full levant. The maroon cover measure 4 3/8″ × 7 ¼″, and is hand-tooled with gold border lines and four-pointed stars, front and back covers, edges, end-board strips, and ribbed spine. The legend on the spine is: A / CANA / DIAN/ ‘CAL- / EN / DAR / BY F. S./, 1897/. The MS. is in holograph on antique-laid, hand-made paper [with a crowned device] all three edges being gilt. The title page reads: A. CANADIAN. CALENDAR /. WRITTEN. BY F.S. FOR. F. H. D./, MDCCCXCVII./ The text follows on the righthand pages, which are numbered from one to twenty. The contents page is as follows: TWELVE. LYRICS―A. LIST.

  I.   In the North                                                       VII. At the Year’s Turn.*
 II.  A Road-song in May.                                       VIII.  The Watch.
III.  At Twilight.*                                                       IX.  Fellowship.
 IV. The Ghost.                                                           X.   A Hearth-Song.*
  V. A Song in august.                                               XI.   The Lodger.
VI.  The Return.*                                                      XII.   The Last Storm.*17 

[page 174]


The Royal Bank Collection likewise possesses the MSS. of two poems which were submitted as substitutes for verses deleted from the bound MS. “March Wind” is written in ink on three sheets of orange-colored paper   [6¼″  × 10″], the poem being divided into six numbered parts, and signed, “F.S., March, 1898.” This poem appeared as lyric No. XII in A Canadian Calendar.

“The Landsman,” written in ink on two sheets of the same colored paper, is signed, “F. S., March, 1898.” It was published as lyric No. III in A Canadian Calendar.

 

B. POEMS APPEARING IN MAGAZINES


“Fellowship,” published in The Chap-Book, Chicago, March 1, 1898, and reprinted as lyric X in A Canadian Calendar.

“Easter Song,” published in The Churchman, New York, April 14, 1896, and reprinted in Matins.

“The Conqueror,” published in The Independent (the leading contribution), New York, Sept. 24, 1896, and reprinted in Matins.

“The House of Forgiveness,” published in The Bookman, New York, Nov.,1896, and never reprinted.

“At Advent-tide,” published in The Chap-Book, Chicago, Dec. 15, 1896.

“The House of Content”; ‘The House of Doubt”; “The House of Color”; “The House of Change.”

These four sonnets first appeared in The University Monthly (U.N.B.), for April, 1897, and were reprinted in The Deserted City, 1899. Dated proof-sheet with author’s initials in the Royal Bank Collection.

“Because Thou Hast No Dreams of My Distress,” published in The Bibelot, published by Thomas B. Mosher, Portland, Maine, July, 1897. Not reprinted.

“A Word from Canada,” published in The Canadian Magazine, Toronto, August, 1897. A double-page proof-sheet, with ornamental border, signed in the corner, “F.H.D. from F. S., August, 1897”; is in the Royal Bank Collection. Not reprinted.

“The Ghost,” published in the Home Journal, N.Y., August, 18, 1897, and reprinted in A Canadian Calendar (lyric IV), 1900. Initialled and dated clipping The Royal Bank Collection.

“To Autumn,” written at Fredericton, was published in The Independent, N.Y., October 21, 1897, and appeared in A Canadian Calendar (lyric VI), 1900. Initialled and dated proof-sheet in The Royal Bank Collection. [page 175]

“The House of Sin,” written at Fredericton, was published in The Speaker, December 4, 1897, and reprinted in The Deserted City, 1899. Dated author’s proof in The Royal Bank Collection.

“An Acadian Easter,” published in The Atlantic Monthly, April, 1900, as the leading contribution, and not reprinted. The author’s typescript, “Acadian Easter: IV Lyrics,” is in The Royal Bank Collection. It consists of five pages of foolscap typed in purple. The author’s corrections are confined to punctuation and spacing. The pages are numbered in pencil, and on page one, also in pencil, the author has written: “The Atlantic has accepted this!”

“So, After All―,” written July 2, 1901, and first published in his Presidential Address before The Royal Society of Canada, by Charles G. D. Roberts. The address was first printed in The Dalhousie Review, Halifax, January, 1935, and later was published in The Royal Society’s Transactions. The address is now printed, slightly abridged, as the Foreword to the Collected Poems. This is Sherman’s last known poem, and the MS. is the possession of Mrs. Francis Sherman.

 

C. UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPTS


The Royal Bank Collection contains most of the known Sherman manuscripts in existence. Those which have been published are noted under their titles among the printed works. There are a few others unpublished until now.

“In Exile,” is written in lead pencil on four sheets of orange-colored paper (6¼″ × 10″), and signed “F. S., Feb., ’98.”

“A Song,” also in pencil, is on one page of the same colored paper, and signed “F. S., ’98.”

“Processional,” typed in purple on foolscap (Alexis Bond). No date.

“The Meeting,” typed in black on foolscap. No date.

“To Doctor John Donne,” typed in purple on foolscap (Westminster Bond). No date.

 

D. PUBLISHED REFERENCES TO FRANCIS SHERMAN


Review of Matins. The Book Buyer, p. 1000, New York, 1896.

     “A poet hitherto almost unknown is Mr. Francis Sherman, whose first book of verse, Matins, has just appeared. With these credentials he rightly becomes a member of that group of young and gifted verse-[page 176]makers, Lampman, Carman, Scott, and others,―all of them Canadians. The long imaginative ballad, ‘A November Vigil,’ in this collection, is worthy of comparison with, and suggestive of, the work of Mr. John Davidson. The sonnets are dignified, and, aside from the longer pieces, are the best of these poetical first-fruits. Here are promise and a fair beginning; may the rest be easy winning!”

Review of In Memorabilia Mortis. The Rambler, New York, Dec., 1896.

     “The two fine sonnets which follow, ‘A Little While before the Fall Was Done,’ and ‘Then, Suddenly, I Was Awake,’ are taken from a privately printed edition of a sequence written by a Canadian poet, Mr. Francis Sherman, on the death of William Morris, and entitled In Memorabilia Mortis. Mr. Sherman’s first book of verse, Matins, is noted on another page. These sonnets are filled with the spirit in which Morris himself wrote, and with the love of ‘old, far-off, forgotten things,’ and it would seem that Mr. Sherman has been able, in these lines, to bid a not unworthy farewell to so remote a poetic spirit as that of Morris or Rossetti.”

Highways of Canadian Literature. By J. D. Logan and Donald G. French. McClelland and Stewart, Toronto, 1924, pp. 222-224.

Francis Sherman: Canadian Poet. An article in Willison’s Monthly, March, 1927. By R. H. Hathaway

An Outline of Canadian literature. By Lorne Pierce. The Ryerson Press, Toronto, 1927 (Louis Carrier & Co., Montreal and New York, 1927), pp. 108, 109.

An Acadian Singer. By H. G. Wade. First appeared in The Western Home Monthly, and was privately reprinted by the author at The Stovel Press, Winnipeg, 1930, in an edition limited to one hundred copies. Contains quotations from critics in praise of Francis Sherman; a short biographical note; four illustrations; quotations from Sherman’s poetry; and a reprint of In Memorabilia Mortis.

English Canadian Literature. By Lorne Pierce. Transactions of the Royal Society, Ottawa, 1932, p. 59.

Three Fredericton Poets. By Lorne Pierce. The Ryerson Press, Toronto, 1933. Privately printed, and limited to 250 copies. Sub-title: “Writers of the University of New Brunswick and the New Dominion.” The Alumni Oration, Encaenia, May 19, 1933. Pages [page 177] 11-17 on Charles G. D. Roberts; pp. 18-24 on Bliss Carman; pp. 25-30 on Francis Sherman.

Who Was Who. Charles G.  D. Roberts, Editor-in-Chief. Vol. 1 published by The Trans-Canada Press, Toronto, 1934. Article on Francis Sherman by Lorne Pierce, pp. 465-468.

 

E. ANTHOLOGIES CONTAINING POEMS BY FRANCIS SHERMAN


A Treasury of Canadian Verse
. Selected and Edited by Theodore Harding Rand. Oxford University Press, London and Toronto, 1910, pp. 338-341.

The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse. Chosen by Wilfred Campbell. Oxford University Press, Toronto, N.D., pp. 227-230.

Our Canadian Literature. Representative Verse. Chosen by Bliss Carman and Lorne Pierce. The Ryerson Pierce, Toronto, 1935. [page 178]

 

 


 
 

1 Charles G. D. Roberts. [back]

2 Archibald Lampman, Lyrics of Earth, published by Copeland and Day. 1893. [back]

3 Alice Brown author of Meadow-Grass, The Road to Castalay, et., published by Copeland and Day.
[back]

4 Several were published. See Bibliography, Section B. [back]

5 The MSS. of In Memorabilia Mortis. [back]

6 See description of device on pp. 159, 164. [back]

7 Copeland and Day published Sonnets from the Portuguese, No. III in their English Love Sonnets Series, with an ornamental border for the first sonnet [“I Thought Once How Theocritus Had Sung”], and initial letters, designed by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue. The border and initial letter were used for the first sonnet in Sherman’s brochure, and the device was printed in black. [back]

8 Peter McArthur, editor of Truth [1895-1897], published many contributions by Stephen Leacock, Duncan Campbell Scott and Bliss Carman during his editorship. [back]

9 The Yellow Book. Copeland and Day were American agents. The Prelude was not published in this periodical. [back]

10 Probably refers to The Deserted City. [back]

11 No copy remains of the Thompson MS. For the Jubilee verses see pp. 143-145. [back]

12 Ballads of Lost Haven: A Book of the Sea [1897]. Lamson, Wolffe & Co. [back]

13 See p. 164. [back]

14 Fred Day provided Sherman with hand-made paper on which to copy some of his poems. They were later published, I part, as A Canadian Calendar [c.f. p. 174.] [back]

15 Probably most of these were published by Sherman in Havana, 1900. [back]

16 Lamson, senior partner of Lamson, Wolffe and Co. Their publishing business failed. Like Copeland and Day they were famous for their beautiful books and limited editions, and a flair for titles which did not promise commercial success. [back]

17 The figured poems were omitted from the published book, except “The Last Storm,” which Sherman had included in The Deserted City. The dedicatory poem, “Because Thy Separate Ways,” likewise was omitted, and fourth stanza of “In the North,” which reads:

    There! a robin greets the morning! And we dreamed that joy was over
    O Love! how we were foolish; yet today have we grown wise;
    For I seek my mistress April—your desire is Earth for lover,
    And my gladness is your answer, and behold, I find your eyes! [back]