William Henry Drummond

Life
1864-1907 [var. 1854]; Canadian poet, Irish by birth; b. Currawn House, near Mohill, Co. Leitrim, emig. to Canada with family, aged ten; learned fishing from Lord Palmerston; ed. Montreal High and McGill; MD Lennoxville, 1884; used ‘voyageur’ and ‘habitant’ dialects; worked as telegrapher, supporting his mother and brothers, who became millionaires; practised in Quebec and Montreal, where he died in a smallpox epidemic; wrote amusing French-Canadian dialect verse in English; The Habitant and other French Canadian Poems (NY 1894), collected by his wife, Isobel Harvey, so popular that five other collections; Johnny Courteau (1901); The Voyageur (1905); his style was only approximately Quebecois, being formed - according to one reviewer - by his own experience among the Highland-Scotch. It was enthusiastically received as realistic in England. His ear for of French Canadian was attuned at Bord-a-Plouffe during six summer sessions as a telegrapher from the age of fifteen. OCCL KUN

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Works
The Habitant and other French Canadian Poems (NY 1894), collected by his wife; Phil-o-Rum’s Canoe and Madeleine de Vercheres (NY&Lon 1898); Johnny Courteau and other poems (1901); The Voyageur and other poems (1905); The Poetical Works of William Henry Drummond (1912), with memoir [portrait] by his widow.

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Criticism
J. B. Lyons, William Henry Drummond: Poet in Patois (Ontario: Fitzhenry &Whiteside 1994), 217pp.

 

References
Belfast Public Library holds [poss. by another author], The Great Fight (1908); The Habitant (1911).

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