George A. Mackenzie

(20 July 1849-1899 / Toronto)

Biography of George A. Mackenzie

George A. Mackenzie poet

George Allan Mackenzie was a Canadian poet who worked as a lawyer.

Life

Mackenzie was born in Toronto, the oldest son of Catherine Eliza and Rev. John George Delhoste Mackenzie. His father was the first master of Trinity College, University of Toronto. As a boy he enlisted in the Canadian militia, and took part in the Battle of Ridgeway. In 1866 he entered Trinity College, where he graduated with first-class honors and was awarded the Prince of Wales Prize.
He was called to the Bar in 1873. He joined the law firm of Jones Bros., which became "Jones Bros. and Mackenzie," and later "Jones, Mackenzie, and Leonard." He retired in 1900 due to failing health.

In 1886 he married Elle Therese Demuth of Philadelphia. The couple had one son (who was killed in action in World War I) and one daughter. Elle Mackenzie died in 1899.

His poems were published in 1914, in In That New World Which is the Old. He moved to England in 1915.

Writing

J.D. Logan: "Mr. Mackenzie belongs to that rare company of cultured, refined, modest minds who regard poetry as dainty messages of the spirit for appreciation by souls akin to themselves.... He is, above all things, an artist in versification. Technically viewed his sonnets are superb. They are much more than this in beauty of thought and spiritual appeal.... 'In That New World Which Is The Old' is remarkable for a novel simile in the octette.... 'Magellan' is rhythmically as fine as Joaquin Miller's celebrated 'Columbus,' and in quiet dignity much more satisfying.... 'Malcolm' is a narrative poem, finely movingly signalizing the function of the tragedy of Love in the Restoration of Faith. Written in blank verse, iambic pentameter, the beauty of the poem, apart from its high spiritual dignity, lies in its refined diction and in its extraordinary imagery, whenever the poet wishes to enhance a sentiment or a vivid picture of reality. It has many fine lines and memorable metaphors.

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Magellan

There is no change upon the deep:
To-day they see the prospect wide
Of yesterday; the same waves leap;
The same pale clouds the distance hide,
Or shaped to mountain-peaks their hopes of land deride.

On and still on the soft winds bear
The rocking vessel, and the main
That is so pitiless and so fair,

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