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Selected Poetry of Charles G. D. Roberts (1860-1943)


from Representative Poetry On-line
Prepared by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto
from 1912 to the present and published by the University of Toronto Press from 1912 to 1967.
RPO Edited by Ian Lancashire
A UTEL (University of Toronto English Library) Edition
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries
© 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Index to poems

And men looked up with startled eyes
And hurried on their way,
As if they had been called, and told
How brief their day.
        (Monition, 9-12)
  1. Ave! (An Ode for the Shelley Centenary, 1892)
  2. Bat, Bat, Come Under my Hat
  3. Canada
  4. The Cow Pasture
  5. The Departing of Gluskâp
  6. An Epitaph for a Husbandman
  7. The Frosted Pane
  8. The Great and Little Weavers
  9. The Herring Weir
  10. The Iceberg
  11. In an Old Barn
  12. Monition
  13. O Earth, Sufficing All our Needs
  14. Philander's Song
  15. The Potato Harvest
  16. The Salt Flats
  17. The Skater
  18. The Solitary Woodsman
  19. Tantramar Revisited
  20. Twilight on Sixth Avenue at Ninth Street


Notes on Life and Works

Charles G. D. Roberts was born on January 10, 1860, in Douglas, New Brunswick, and grew up near the Tantramar marshes by Sackville. Educated at Fredericton Collegiate School from 1874 to 1876, and at the University of New Brunswick from 1876 to 1879, Roberts quickly published his first book of poetry, Orion, and Other Poems (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1880; PS 8485 .O22 O7). He married Mary Fenety that same year, and they had five children up to 1892. After acting as schoolmaster in Chatham and Fredericton, he taught English and French at King's College in Windsor, Nova Scotia, from 1885 to 1895. Three volumes of poetry came out during this period

In Divers Tones (Boston: D. Lothrop, 1886; PS 8485 .O22 I48)
Poems of Wild Life (London: W. Scott, 1888; PN 6110 N2R63)
Songs of the Common Day and Ave (Toronto: W. Briggs, 1893; B-10 0376)

and Roberts was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada this year.

After resigning from King's College in 1895, and determining to work free-lance, Roberts separated from his wife, daughter, and sons in 1897, leaving Canada for New York City, where he stayed from until 1907, and then for Europe, first in Paris, by 1910 in Munich, and after 1912 in London, England, until 1925. During this period he earned his living from writing fiction, especially animal stories and romances, and non-fiction prose. He served during War World I in the 16th Battalion of the King's Regiment, then as captain at the London Canadian War Records Office, and last as a Major and a press correspondent in France. While living outside Canada, Roberts produced four volumes of verse:

New York Nocturnes and Other Poems (Boston: Lamson, 1898; B-10 6603)
Poems (New York: Silver Burdett, 1901; rev. 1907; PS 8485 .O22 A17)
The Book of the Rose (Toronto: Copp, Clark, 1903; Ps 8485 .O22 B6)
New Poems (London: Constable, 1919; PS 8485 O22N4)

In 1925 Roberts went to live in Toronto and his wandering, expatriotic life ended. He gave poetry recital tours in 1925-26. His wife Mary died in 1930. Late in his life, when Roberts was recognized as the father of Canadian literature, he brought out four more substantial volumes of poetry:

The Vagrant of Time (Toronto: Ryerson, 1927; PS 8485 .O22 V3)
The Iceberg, and Other Poems (Toronto: Ryerson, 1934; PS 8485 O22 I3)
Selected Poems (Toronto: Ryerson, 1936; PS 8485 .O22 A17)
Canada Speaks of Britain and Other Poems of the War (Toronto: Ryerson, 1941; cap Fisher Rare Book Library)

Roberts received many honours: he was awarded the Royal Society of Canada's first Lorne Pierce Medal and was elected President of the Canadian Authors' Association in 1926, and he was knighted on June 3, 1935. Before his death on November 26, 1943, he was married again to Joan Montgomery. Roberts is buried in Fredericton.

See also

Biographical information

Given name: Charles G. D.
Family name: Roberts
Birth date: 1860
Death date: 1943
Nationality: Canadian
Literary period: modern