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Selected Poetry of William Wilfred Campbell (1858?-1918)


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
© 2004, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Index to poems

Far up the roadway, drifted deep,
Where frost-etched fences gleam;
Beneath the sky's wan, shimmering sleep
My solitary way I keep
Across the world's white dream;
The only living moving thing
In all this mighty slumbering.
        (The Sky Watcher, 8-14)
  1. The Avenging Angel
  2. Bereavement of the Fields
  3. The Blind Caravan
  4. The Dread Voyage
  5. The End of the Furrow
  6. The Higher Kinship
  7. How One Winter Came in the Lake Region
  8. Indian Summer
  9. An October Evening
  10. Out of Pompeii
  11. Pan the Fallen
  12. The Politician
  13. The Sky Watcher
  14. Stella Flammarum: An Ode to Halley's Comet
  15. The Winter Lakes


Notes on Life and Works

Born in Kitchener (then Berlin), Ontario, Campbell grew up in Wiarton, attended high school in Owen Sound, and studied at University College in 1881-82 (where he wrote for the student newspaper The Varsity) and Wycliffe College in 1882-83, Toronto, and then at the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He married Mary Dibble of Woodstock, Ontario, in 1884, and worked as rector of the congregations of West Claremont, New Hampshire, and of St. Stephen, New Brunswick, until giving up the ministry in 1892. His first two volumes of verse were Sunshine and Snowflakes (1888) and Lake Lyrics (1889). A failure of religious faith forced him to abandon the ministry in 1892; the preceding year he had accepted a position in the office of the Secretary of State in Ottawa, and from 1909 on in the Dominion Archives there. He contributed to the "Mermaid Inn" literary columns in the Toronto Globe in the early 1890s, and he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 1892. He published volumes of verse and verse drama regularly and late in life took a keen interest in Canada's involvement in World War I, his son Basil serving as a major in the second Canadian Pioneer Battalion in September 1914. Wilfred Campbell died in Ottawa and is buried in Beechwood Cemetery. Carl F. Klinck's Wilfred Campbell: A Study in Late Provincial Victorianism (Toronto: Ryerson, 1942; PS 8455 A6Z75 Robarts Library) includes biographical details.

Biographical information

Given name: William Wilfred
Family name: Campbell
Birth date: 1858?
Death date: 1918