Thomas Humphry Ward, ed. The English Poets. 18801918. Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
Critical Introduction by Pelham Edgar
Archibald Lampman (18611899)
[Born at Morpeth, Canada, 1861; died at Ottawa, 1899. He became a clerk in the Civil Service. He published two volumes of verse, Among the Millet and Lyrics of Earth, and was preparing a third volume, Alcyone, for the press at the time of his death. His collected poems were published in 1900 with a memoir by Mr. Duncan Campbell Scott.]
A NEW manner and a new temper of thought came into Canadian literature shortly after 1880, and Mr. Roberts and Mr. Carman, Mr. Wilfred Campbell, Mr. D. C. Scott, and Archibald Lampman, are the poetic voices of our renaissance. Each was soon to develop his own peculiar vein, but they all shared a kindred enthusiasm for nature, Mr. Roberts and Mr. Carman reproducing the atmosphere of the Eastern sea-board, Mr. Campbell writing vigorous lyrics of the Great Lakes region, and Mr. Scott and Lampman taking as their province the beautiful country that lies about Ottawa, where cultivation merges so rapidly into the untamed beauty of the Laurentian hills that bound the near horizon.
Of this group Lampman has subordinated himself most completely to the influences which flow from nature, and he takes rank as the finest of our descriptive poets. He cannot be said to have any systematic philosophy of nature, unless it be that to yield oneself completely to her sway is to master the secret of unselfish and noble living. It is not exciting poetry, and it is probable that the more dramatic methods and the more fluid technique of our present-day writers have made us careless of his quieter perfection. But Lampmans work has solid virtues that will keep it alive long after the collapse of many an ultra-modernist reputation, and among Canadian poets at least he will remain a classic.