Biography of Thomas O'Hagan
Dr. Thomas O'Hagan (March 6, 1855 - March 1, 1939) was a Canadian poet, teacher, and academic.
He was born in the Gore of Toronto (now part of Mississauga, Ontario), the youngest of five children of John and Bridget (O'Reilly) O'Hagan. When he was less than a year old, the family moved to rural Bruce Country, near the village of Paisley, where he grew up.
He attended St. Michael's College in Toronto, and then the University of Ottawa, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in 1882 and Master of Arts in 1885., and Syracuse University in 1889, where he was awarded a Ph.D. in 1889.. He also did postgraduate work at Cornell, Columbia, Chicago, Louvain, Grenoble and Fribourg Universities.
He alternated, and paid for, his studies with periods of teaching. From 1884 to 1888 he taught classics and history at Barrie, Pembroke, and Mitchell Collegiates. After graduating from Syracuse he taught at Walkerton High School, and then became principal of Waterdown Collegiate.
He wrote both poetry and academic essays, and became known as a popular lecturer on many subjects. From 1910 to 1913 he was chief editor of The New World in Chicago.
He was a regular contributor to the Catholic World magazine for over 30 years.
He died, after a two-year illness, at Mercy Hospital in Toronto. He is buried at St. Mary Immaculate Church in Chepstow, Ontario.
O'Hagan's first book of poetry, A Gate of Flowers, was praised by John Greenleaf Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Louis Fréchette, and Charles G.D. Roberts. Poet Nicholas Flood Davin wrote to him: "I cannot deny myself the pleasure of telling you what I think about these verses. They are instinct with true inspiration, and should have, for all time, a place in Irish literature."
The Canadian Magazine called "The Song My Mother Sings" (from his second book, In Dreamland') "the finest poem of its kind ever published in Canada
Thomas O'Hagan's Works:
A Gate of Flowers and Other Poems. Toronto: William Briggs, 1887.
In Dreamland, and other poems. Toronto: Williamson, 1893.
Songs of the Settlement and other poems. Toronto: William Briggs, 1899.
In the Heart of the Meadow, and other poems. Toronto: William Briggs, 1914.
Songs of Heroic Days. Toronto: William Briggs, 1916.
The Collected Poems of Thomas O'Hagan. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1922.
The Tide of Love. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1928.
Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy the University of Toronto.
Studies in Poetry: Critical, analytical, interpretative. Boston: Marlier, 1900.
Canadian Essays, Critical and Historical. Toronto: William Briggs, 1901.
Essays: Literary, Critical and Historical. Toronto: William Briggs, 1909.
Chats by the Fireside: A study in life, art, and literature. Somerset, OH: Rosary Press, 1911.
Essays on Catholic Life. Baltimore, MD: John Murphy, 1916.
What Shakespeare is Not. Toronto: Hunter-Rose, 1936.
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Thomas O'Hagan Poems
The Old Brindle Cow
OF all old memories that cluster round my heart, With their root in my boyhood days, The quaintest is linked to the old brindle cow With sly and mysterious ways.
I KNOW not what my heart hath lost; I cannot strike the chords of old, The breath that charmed my morning life Hath chilled each leaf within the wold.
The Song My Mother Sings
SWEET unto my heart is the song my mother sings As eventide is brooding on its dark and noiseless wings; Every note is charged with memory–every memory bright with rays Of the golden hours of promise in the lap of childhood's days;
The Dance At Mcdougall's
IN a little log house near the rim of the forest With its windows of sunlight, its threshold of stone, Lived Donald McDougall, the quaintest of Scotchmen, And Janet his wife, in their shanty, alone:
The Chrism Of Kings
IN the morn of the world, at the day break of time, When kingdoms were few and empires unknown, God searched for a Ruler to sceptre the land, And gather the harvest from the seed He had sown.
The Bugle Call
DO you hear the call of our Mother From over the sea, from over the sea? The call to her children in every land; To her sons on Afric's far-stretched veldt;
An Idyl Of The Farm
O THERE'S joy in every sphere of life from cottage unto throne, But the sweetest smiles of nature beam upon the farm alone; And in memory I go back to the days of long ago, When the teamster shouted 'Haw, Buck! ' 'Gee! ' 'G'lang! ' and 'Whoa! '
I KNOW not what my heart hath lost;
I cannot strike the chords of old,
The breath that charmed my morning life
Hath chilled each leaf within the wold.
The swallows twitter in the sky,
But bare the nest within the eaves;
The fledglings of my care are gone,
And left me but the rustling leaves.