The Poetical Review: a Brief Notice of Canadian Poets and Poetry by A.C. Stewart

[excerpt, p. 16-17]

William Kirby, 1817-1906
From his Le Chien d’or

Where wild Niagara hurls his torrents down
A poet dwells who wears a sanguine crown ;
There Kirby with his strong and graphic pen
Shall rouse the warring legions up again : —
English and French, and Redmen, marshalled are,
And shake the plains, beneath the shock of war,
Yet not the reeking charge and bloody fray,
The lingering siege, or the victorious day,
Alone are his, he can at list digress
To plant the thorn that symbol of distress
An spin his little yarn of love betrayed
The faithful wife and the seducing maid : —
Ah ! fated concubine thy wicked hand
Is doomed to slay the lover “Bois-le-Grand”
Vain thy caresses, in his mortal pain,
He knows thee not but calls his chatelaine,
Yet faithful still like Conrad’s Kaled thou
Watched to the last and sharest his glory now.
Such is the story told in time and rhyme
That makes ridiculous this antique crime ;
Kirby no more thy leisure hours abuse
Collect thy customs but tempt not the muse.

Note by A.C. Stewart: Mr. Kirby is a bright star in William Douw’s Heaven, he will live longer probably, than Lighthall himself, Government official, author of “Canadian Idylls,” writer of some very good verse, and much rubbish.  [William Douw Lighthall was  a Canadian poet and philosopher]

Source: A.C. Stewart.  The Poetical Review: a Brief Notice of Canadian Poets and Poetry.  Toronto: J. Anderson, Printer, 1896. See the complete poem here

The “little yarn of love betrayed” is the poem Spina Christi, which can be viewed here

Stewart (1867-1944) came to Canada from Ireland, and became a tunnel and bridge contractor in Fort William, Ontario.

Kirby (1817-1906) came to Canada from Yorkshire, settled in present day Niagara-on-the-Lake, was a customs collector and author, and publisher of the Niagara Mail newspaper.  Read more about him here