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- Canada and Other Poems - 1/22 -





I introduce the following poetical attempts to the public, with great diffidence. I am not sure but a direct apology would be in better taste, but the strength derived from the purpose I had in view, in writing and publishing them, sustains me without saying anything further by way of excuse. Like Burns, I wished to do something for my country, and chose this method of doing it.

The literature of this country is in its infancy. It must not always remain so, or the expectations we have in regard to making it a great nation, will never be fulfilled. Literature gives life to a nation, or rather it is the reflection of a nation's life and thought, in a mirror, which cheers, strengthens and ennobles those who look into it, and study what is there displayed. Literature must grow with our nation, and, when growing, it will aid the latter's progress in no small degree.

Pedantic critics may find fault with my modest productions, and perhaps justly, in regard to grammatical construction, and mechanical arrangement, but I shall be satisfied, if the public discern a vein of true poetry glittering here and there through what I have just written. The public are the final judges of compositions of this sort, and not the writer himself, or his personal friends. It is they, therefore, who must decide whether these humble attempts of my 'prentice hand, shall be numbered with writings that have been forgotten, or whether their author shall be encouraged to strike his lyre in a higher key, to accompany his Muse, while she tries to sing in a loftier strain.

In passing an opinion on my literary venture, of course the youthful state of our country will be taken into consideration, for it is a state which necessarily tinges all of our productions, literary or otherwise, with a certain amount of crudity. Consequently, reasonable men will not expect that felicity of expression, and that ripeness and happiness of thought, which would be expected in the productions of an older country, although they may be aware that true poetry is not the result of education, or even the refinements of a nation long civilized.

With these words by way of introduction and explanation, I dedicate this little book of mine to the Canadian public, hoping that whatever they may think of me as a poet, they will not forget that I am a loyal Canadian, zealous in behalf of anything that may tend to refine, instruct and elevate my country, and anxious to see her take an honourable stand among the other nations of the earth.


PORT ALBERT, March, 1887.

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Canada Youthful Fancies Sunrise Christmas New Year's Day Happiness Love Hate Display Thought Purity Is There Room for the Poet Ireland David's Lamentation over Saul and Jonathan A Virtuous Woman The Tempest Stilled Nature's Forces Ours Man Life Ode to Man The Reading Man Man and His Pleasures Lines in Memory of the Late Archdeacon Elwood, A.M. Thomas Moore Robert Burns Byron Goderich Kelvin Niagara Falls Autumn A Sunset Farewell By the Lake The Teacher Grace Darling The Indian Lines on the North-West Rebellion Louis Riel Ye Patriot Sons of Canada A Hero's Decision John and Jane The Truant Boy A Swain to his Sweetheart The Fisherman's Wife The Diamond and the Pebble Temptation Slander Woman Sympathy Love and Wine. How Nature's Beauties Should be Viewed To a Canary The School-Taught Youth A Dream A Snow Storm To Nova Scotia The Huntsman and His Hound The Maple Tree The Pine Tree A Sabbath Morning in the Country Catching Speckled Trout A Protestant Irishman to his Wife Memories of School Days Verses Written in Autograph Albums

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* * * * *


Hail! joyous morn. Hail! happy day, That ushers in another year, Fraught with what sorrow, none can say, Nor with what pain, to mortals here.

Another year has roll'd away, With all its sorrows, joys and fears, But still the light of hope's glad ray, Yet beams within our heart, and cheers.

One year, one span of time has pass'd, So swift to some, to others slow; But it has gone, and we should cast Along with it, remorse and woe.

Of things we've done, or only thought, 'Tis useless now the bitter tear, Of actions unavailing wrought, Let them repose upon their bier.

We should, indeed, e'en yet atone For what our reason says we can, But never let remorse's groan Degrade us from our state as man.

Let us discharge the debts we owe, But still some debts will be unpaid; But we, if we forgive, also, Should ne'er, despairing, feel afraid.

The future is before us still, And to that future we should gaze, With hope renew'd, with firmer will, To tread life's weary, tangl'd maze.

We ne'er should let the gloomy past, Bow down our heads in dark despair, But we should keep those lessons fast, Which e'en our follies taught us there.

Experience, so dearly bought, By folly, or by ignorance, Should, in our inmost system wrought, Our daily life improve, advance.

Then let us press towards the goal, The common goal of all mankind, Go on, while seasons onward roll, Nor cast one fainting look behind.

And, as we journey through this year, Let us in watchfulness beware Of all that brings remorseful tear, Or future terror and despair.

Let us with thoughtful vision scan Each step we take, each act we do, That we may meet our brother man, With no unrighteous thing to rue.

A happy, happy, bright New Year, I wish to all the sons of men, With happy hearts, and merry cheer, Till it has roll'd its round again.

Canada and Other Poems - 1/22

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