Biography of J.Edgar Middleton
Jesse Edgar Middleton was a Canadian poet and songwriter, best known for writing the English lyrics to the "Huron Carol."
He was born in Pilkington, Ontario, the son of Margaret Agar and Rev. Eli Middleton, a Methodist minister. He attended Dutton High School and Strathroy Collegiate. He then taught school for three years, and then became a proofreader in Cleveland, Ohio for three years. In 1899 he married Bessie A. Jackson, who bore him one son. He became music critic for the Mail and Empire, and in 1904 joined The News, where he wrote a column, "On the Side." He led the choir at Centennial Methodist Church, and sang in Toronto's Mendelssohn Choir.
He translated the "Huron Carol" (originally written in the Wendot language by Jean de Brebeu circa 1643) in 1926.
J.Edgar Middleton's Works:
Sea Dogs and Men at Arms: A Canadian Book of Songs. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1918.
"The Colonial," "Off Heligoland," "Hell's Half Acre": Canadian Poets (edited by John Garvin). Toronto: McClelland, Goodchild & Stewart, 1916.
"Jesous Ahatonhia (The Huron Carol)": Canadian Poetry in English (compiled by Bliss Carman, Lorne Pierce, and V.B. Rhodenizer). Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1954.
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J.Edgar Middleton Poems
Peace And War
A pleasant river, clear and blue, Went singing to the sea. The sunbeam joined them hand in hand To dance the melody.
Hell's Half Acre
Six years of life in the reek of things Where love is a fay unknown; A wolfish boy on the crowded street Who stoops for the cruel stone;
Ghostly ships in a ghostly sea,– Here's to Drake in the Spanish main!– Hark to the turbines, running free, Oil-cups full and the orders plain.
I never saw the cliffs of snow, The Channel billows tipped with cream, The swirling tides which ebb and flow About the Island of my dream.
I never saw the cliffs of snow,
The Channel billows tipped with cream,
The swirling tides which ebb and flow
About the Island of my dream.
I never saw the English downs
Upon an April day,
The quiet old Cathedral towns,
The hedgerows white with may.
And still the name of England