Biography of Ethelwyn Wetherald
Agnes Ethelwyn Wetherald was a Canadian poet.
She was born at Rockwood, Ontario, the daughter of Rev. William Wetherald, a Quaker minister. She was educated at the Friends' Boarding School in Union, New York, and at Pickering College. She sold her first poem to St. Nicholas Magazine at 17, and soon was contributing to many publications throughout Canada and the United States, including The Globe, The Week, and Rose-Belford's Canadian Magazine. She co-wrote a novel, An Algonquin Maiden (1887), with Graeme Mercer Adam, and in 1895 published her first volume of poetry.
She worked for several decades as a proofreader, journalist, and editorial assistant at newspapers in Ontario and the north-eastern United States. For a time she 'conducted the Women's Department' of the under the pseudonym "Bel Thistlethwait." She adopted a child, Dorothy, in 1911 when she was 54, and in 1921 published a book of children's verse, Tree-Top Mornings, dedicated to Dorothy.
Reviewing her 1907 book, The Last Robin, The Globe pronounced: "The salient quality of Miss Wetherald's work is its freshness of feeling, a perennial freshness, renewable as spring. This has a setting of harmonious form, for the poet's ear is delicately attuned to the value of words, both as to the sound and the meaning.... The sonnets are an important part of the volume, and, to some minds, will represent the most important part. Miss Wetherald's sonnets are flowing in expression and harmonious in thought; some are beautiful."
The Dictionary of Literary Biography calls the best of her poems "musical, restrained, and precise," and "equal to much of the work of her better-known Canadian contemporaries such as Archibald Lampman, Bliss Carman, and Duncan Campbell Scott." On occasion, it adds, "her themes and images recall the poetry of Emily Dickinson."
Ethelwyn Wetherald's Works:
The House of the Trees and other poems. Toronto: William Briggs, 1895.
Tangled in Stars: Poems. Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1902.
The Radiant Road. Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1904.
The Last Robin: Lyrics and Sonnets. Toronto: William Briggs, 1907.
Poems, Lyrics, and Sonnets. Toronto: Musson, 191?.
Tree-top Mornings. Boston: Cornhill, 1921.
Lyrics and Sonnets
An Algonquin maiden: a romance of the early days of Upper Canada (with Graeme Mercer Adam). London: S. Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1887.
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Dear grey-winged angel, with the mouth set stern
And time-devouring eyes, the sweetest sweet
Of kisses when two severed lovers meet
Is thine; the cruelest ache in hearts that yearn,
The fears that freeze, the hopes that leap and burn,
Thine-thine! And thine the drum-and-trumpet beat
Of hearts that wait for unreturning feet,
When comes at last the hour of their return.
Of Love's fair ministers thou art the chief.