Frederick George Scott
Biography of Frederick George Scott
Frederick George Scott was a Canadian poet and author, known as the Poet of the Laurentians. He is sometimes associated with Canada's Confederation Poets, a group that included Charles G.D. Roberts , Bliss William Carman, Archibald Lampman, and Duncan Campbell Scott . Scott published 13 books of Christian and patriotic poetry. Scott was a British imperialist who wrote many hymns to the British Empire—eulogizing his country's roles in the Boer Wars and World War I. Many of his poems use the natural world symbolically to convey deeper spiritual meaning. Frederick George Scott was the father of poet F. R. Scott.
Frederick George Scott was born 7 April 1861 in Montreal, Canada. He received a B.A. from Bishop's College, Lennoxville, Quebec, in 1881, and an M.A. in 1884. He studied theology at King's College, London in 1882, but was refused ordination in the Anglican Church of Canada for his Anglo-Catholic beliefs. In 1884 he became a deacon. In 1886 he was ordained an Anglican priest at Coggeshall, Essex. He served first at Drummondville, Quebec, and then in Quebec City, where he became rector of St. Matthew's Anglican Church.In April 1887, Scott married Amy Brooks, who would bear him six children. In 1889, anthologist W.D. Lighthall included two of his poems in his anthology, Songs of the Great Dominion, and as well used a quotation from Scott, "All the future lies before us / Glorious in that sunset land", on the title page as the book's epigraph.In 1914, well over the age of 50, Scott enlisted to fight in World War I. He held the rank of Major and served as the Senior Chaplain to the 1st Canadian Division. After the war he became chaplain of the army and navy veterans.During the Quebec Conference of 1943, Scott was invited by Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt to a private meeting where he read some of his poetry.Frederick George Scott died on 19 January 1944 in Quebec City, leaving a daughter and four sons.
In 1885, Scott printed his first chapbook, Justin and Other Poems, later included in The Soul's Quest and Other Poems (London 1888). "Several of Scott's early narrative poems, and his later didactic novel Elton Hazelwood (1891), describe typically Victorian crises of faith and the recognition of 'life and death as they are'.... Scott's many religious poems and his novel offer a more explicit rendering of the Victorian pessimism underlying the poetry of his more significant contemporaries, Charles G.D. Roberts and Archibald Lampman."John Garvin, who included Scott's poems in his 1916 anthology Canadian Poets, wrote of him: "Frederick George Scott, 'The Poet of the Laurentians,' has this supreme gift as a writer: the art of expressing noble, beautiful and often profound thoughts, in simple, appropriate words which all who read can understand. His poems uplift the spirit and enrich the heart." "The Unnamed Lake" has been called his best-known poem.
Garvin included a quotation from M.O. Hammond writing in the Toronto Globe: "Frederick George Scott's poetry has followed three or four well-defined lines of thought. He has reflected in turn the academic subjects of a library, the majesty of nature, the tender love of his fellowmen, and the vision and enthusiasm of an Imperialist. His work in any one field would attract attention; taken in mass it marks him as a sturdy, developing interpreter of his country and of his times. Whether he writes of 'Samson' and 'Thor,' of the 'Little River,' or whether he expands his soul in a 'Hymn of Empire,' his lines are marked by imagination, melody, sympathy and often wistfulness. Living on the edge of the shadow-flecked Laurentians, he constantly draws inspiration from them, and more than any other has made articulate their lonely beauties. His pastoral relations with a city flock give colour and tenderness to not a few of his poems of human relationships. His ardent love of the Empire gives rein to his restless, roving thoughts and has finally drawn him to the battle-front as a chaplain." The Canadian Encyclopedia calls him "an Anglican priest, minor poet and staunch advocate of the civilizing tradition of imperial Britain, who instilled in his son a commitment to serve mankind, a love for the regenerative balance of the Laurentian landscape and a firm respect for the social order."
In 1900, Scott was elected a Fellow to the Royal Society of Canada during the Quebec Tercentenary. At the ceremony he read an ode he had written for the occasion titled "Canada."In 1916, Scott was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George.In 1918, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.
Frederick George Scott's Works:
Justin and Other Poems. Quebec: private, 1885.
The Soul's Quest and Other Poems. London: Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., 1888.
My Lattice and Other Poems. Toronto: William Briggs, 1894. Montreal: C.W. Coates, 1894.
The Unnamed Lake and Other Poems. Toronto: William Briggs, 1897.
Poems Old and New. Toronto: William Briggs, 1899, 1900.
A Hymn of Empire and Other Poems. Toronto: William Briggs, 1906.
Poems. London: Constable, 1910.
The Gates of Time, and Other Poems. London: Samuel Bagster & Sons, 1915.
In the Battle Silences: Poems Written at the Front. Toronto: Musson, 1916.
In Sun and Shade: A Book of Verse. Québec: Dussault & Proulx, 1926.
New Poems. Quebec: Victor LaFrance Ltd., 1929.
Selected Poems. Canada, 1933.
Collected Poems. Vancouver: Clarke & Stuart Co. Ltd., 1934.
Poems Old and New. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1936.
The Key of Life. Quebec, 1907.
Elton Hazelwood: a memoir by his friend, Henry Vane. New York: Whittaker, 1892. (a novel). .
The Great War As I Saw It. F.D. Goodchild, 1922.
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Frederick George Scott Poems
What is the gift we have given thee, Sister? What is the trust we have laid in thy hand? Hearts of our bravest, our best, and our dearest, Blood of our blood we have sown in thy land.
O rising Sun, so fair and gay, What are you bringing me, I pray, Of sorrow or of joy to-day?
In lonely watches night by night Great visions burst upon my sight, For down the stretches of the sky The hosts of dead go marching by.
O little hands, long vanished in the night-- Sweet fairy hands that were my treasure here-- My heart is full of music from some sphere, Where ye make melody for God's delight.
In The Winter Woods
WINTER forests mutely standing Naked on your bed of snow, Wide your knotted arms expanding To the biting winds that blow,
The Unnamed Lake
It sleeps among the thousand hills Where no man ever trod, And only nature's music fills The silences of God.
The Sting Of Death
`Is Sin, then, fair?' Nay, love, come now, Put back the hair From his sunny brow;
WHY hurry, little river, Why hurry to the sea? There is nothing there to do But to sink into the blue
We Hail Thee Now, O Jesus
We hail thee now, O Jesus, thy presence here we own, though sight and touch have failed us, and faith perceives alone;
The Burden Of Time
Before the seas and mountains were brought forth, I reigned. I hung the universe in space, I capped earth's poles with ice to South and North, And set the moving tides their bounds and place.
The immortal spirit hath no bars To circumscribe its dwelling place; My soul hath pastured with the stars Upon the meadow-lands of space.
These mountains reign alone, they do not share The transitory life of woods and streams; Wrapt in the deep solemnity of dreams, They drain the sunshine of the upper air.
O GRIP the earth, ye forest trees, Grip well the earth to-night, The Storm-God rides across the seas To greet the morning light.
I hear a cry from the Sansard cave, O mother, will no one hearken? A cry of the lost, will no one save? A cry of the dead, though the oceans rave,
O little hands, long vanished in the night--
Sweet fairy hands that were my treasure here--
My heart is full of music from some sphere,
Where ye make melody for God's delight.
Though autumn clouds obscure the starry height,
And winds are noisy and the land is drear,
In this blank room I feel my lost love near,
And hear you playing--hands so small and white.
The shadowy organ sings its songs again,