Laura Elizabeth McCully

(1886-1924 / Toronto)

Biography of Laura Elizabeth McCully

Laura Elizabeth McCully poet

Laura Elizabeth McCully (1886-1924) is a Canadian poet.


McCully was born in Toronto, the daughter of Helen (Fitzgibbon) and Samuel Edward McCully. As a teenager she began publishing poetry, and winning prizes in the Young People's Corner of the Toronto Mail and Empire. She was educated at University College, Toronto, graduating in 1909 with first-class honors in English, French, German, and history. She spent the 1909-1910 academic year as a fellow of Yale College.

Her first collection of poetry, Mary Magdalene and other poems, was published in 1914. During World War I she worked in a munitions plant, and worked on a translation of Beowulf into modern English.


James L. Hughes: "Miss McCully's poetry is enriched by classical illustrations, and expressed in forceful and melodious language. Her imagination relates us to the universe and to humanity. Wordsworth found new lessons in the fields and woods, and taught them; Lanier made trees, flowers and clouds our intimate friends; when we read Miss McCully's nature poems we are not conscious of the moralizing of the poet, we are in the glens ourselves looking at the afterglow, with the purity, the glory, the growth spirit and the transforming beauty of nature flowing into our lives. In a few flaming lines her stories reveal the love, the despair, and the ultimately triumphant faith of humanity. With tender pathos she unveils the evils of social and industrial conditions, and in clear tones arouses each soul, and makes it conscious of the splendour of the better conditions ahead, and thrills it with the determination to achieve for justice, freedom, and truth."

Laura Elizabeth McCully's Works:

Mary Magdalene and Other Poems. Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1914.

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The Troubadour's Lyre

Sing low, my precious lyre, low in each string,
Thou wast not framed for exaltation's burst,
Or chant sustained, straining thy golden chords,
Sing low, sing low, thou constant friend, my lyre!

For now we two may wander forth in peace,
Shattered our shackles are and stricken from us,
And we shall rise and steal out into the world,
Singing all day, on every way, my lyre.

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