Updated: Apr 13, 2021
The Canadian Authors Meet is a satirical poem by F. R. Scott, first published in McGill Fortnightly Review in April 1927. And then, it was published in the collection of poetry Selected Poems in 1966 in Toronto: Oxford University press. This poem is the expression of Scott’s very picture of devastation. This poem accuses the pretending poets of Canada.
Expansive puppets percolate self-unction
Beneath a portrait of the Prince of Wales.
Miss Crotchet's muse has somehow failed to function,
Yet she's a poetess. Beaming, she sails
From group to chattering group, with such a dear
Victorian saintliness, as is her fashion,
Greeting the other unknowns with a cheer—
Virgins of sixty who still write of passion.
The air is heavy with Canadian topics,
And Carman, Lampman, Roberts, Campbell, Scott,
Are measured for their faith and philanthropics,
Their zeal for God and King, their earnest thought.
The cakes are sweet, but sweeter is the feeling
That one is mixing with the literati;
It warms the old, and melts the most congealing.
Really, it is a most delightful party.
Shall we go round the mulberry bush, or shall
We gather at the river, or shall we
Appoint a Poet Laureate this fall,
Or shall we have another cup of tea?
O Canada, O Canada, O can
A day go by without new authors springing
To paint the native maple, and to plan
More ways to set the selfsame welkin ringing?
The overall setting of this poem is an English Literary Club party where a group of budding Canadian poets meet and discuss on famous literary works and authors. Scott laughs out loud at the folly of the fake poets. Scott in the first stanza says, those Canadian poets- ‘the puppets’ who are spreading gradually in Canada are seen beneath a portrait of Wales (Edward V111). Here he tells the connection of English Origin i.e. The Britain. Miss Crotchet (a character made by the poet) is one among the group. ‘Her Muse has somehow failed to function’. The poet here tries to say that she was actually about to produce a work of art (poetry) and unfortunately her Muses has failed her and that happens only once in a blue moon (in an ironical tone). Yet, she is a poetess with pride and her movements are compared to ‘sail’, her actions ‘Victorian Saintliness’. She greets the other Unknowns in the group with cheer, the ones who Scott calls as ‘Virgins of sixty who still write with passion’ he refers to their inability to produce a piece of art.
In the third stanza, Scott pictures the discussion among the group. They were discussing seriously on famous Canadian poets such as William Bliss Carman, Archibald Lampman, Charles G. D. Roberts, William Wilfred Campbell, F. R. Scott etc. Not just about their works but also their generosity level, their choice of God and King and their earnest thoughts. Fourth stanza is about how delightful (worse) the party is which has become sweeter in the presence of these literary intellectuals. Fifth stanza is the best of all. Here, he reveals the level of the literary intelligence among them. “Shall we go round the mulberry bush” is a famous nursery poem and “Shall we gather at the river” is a Christian hymn titled ‘Hanson Place’ both has nothing to do with literature and is being discussed at the top. Though, they consider themselves standard and so, they are now at the verge of selecting a Poet Laureate among them. As they are all in a heated conversation a nice cup of tea would be soothing.