The Book of Soden

Australia : Part 2 


(Source: Archivanet. Canadian Archives on the Internet.)


SELECTED POETRY OF 

WILLIAM HENRY DRUMMOND (1854 – 1907)

William Henry Drummond ( known until 1875 as William Henry Drumm), 

telegraphist,physician,poet,professor and public lecturer, was born 13.April,1854 

near Mohill (Republic of Ireland), son of George Drumm and ELIZABETH MORRIS SODEN;

married 18.April,1894 May Isobel Harvey in Savanna la Mar,Jamaica,and they had three sons

one of whom survived infancy,and one daughter;died 6.April,1907 in Cobalt,Ontario.


The eldest of four sons born to an officer in the Royal Irish

Constabulary,William Henry Drumm spent his early years in County

Leitrim. He attended school in Tawley,where his parents had stayed

shortly after his birth. Sometime in 1863-64 the family returned

briefly to Mohill. According to May Isobel Drumond,after George Drumm

was dismissed from the police force because of a quarrel with Lord

Leitrim over ‘the Landlord system’,he had a ‘paralytic stroke from

which he never really recovered.’ Disgusted with conditions in

Ireland and worried about the family’s future,he and his wife decided

to emigrate with their children to Lower Canada;they arrived in

Montreal in the summer of 1864. 


In February 1866 Drumm died and his family,left without even his small pension,faced financial hardship.

In order to survive,Mrs.Drumm opened a store in the front room of

their house,the boys all sold newspapers and ,when he was 14,William

Henry left school and became an apprentice telegraphist........

....In 1875,having been convinced by a cousin that ‘ the name

Drumm was but a corruption of the name Drummond our ancient family

name,’he officially changed his surname and that of his mother and

brothers to Drummond.


William Henry Drummond graduated with an M.D. from McGill University in 1884 

and started practising in the eastern townships 

(along the St. Lawrence River) to which his dialect poems so often refer. 


 In 1888 he moved to Montreal . it was ten years later,

well after his marriage May Isobel that Drummond   published his first book of poetry, 

the Habitant (1897) . He went on to publish five more books of poetry,

Phil – o – Rum’s Canoe (1848); Johnnie Courteau (1901) ; the Voyager (1905); 

and the Great Fight (1908) and to become one of the most widely-read and 

loved poets of his nation . he ws made Fello of the Royal Society of Canada in 1899 

and received two honorary degrees ,the first from the University of Toronto in 1902,

 and then from Bishop’s University  in 1905.


See  the CANADIAN BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY ; William Henry Drummond :

 Poet in Patois  by J.B.Lyons.

                                          'De nice leetle Canadienne'

                                           You can pass on de worl'w'ever you lak,

                                           Tak' de steamboat for go Angleterre,

                                           Tak' car on de State,an'den you come back,

                                            An' go all de place,I don't care -

                                            Ma frien' dat's a fack,I know you will say,

                                            W'en you come on dis contree again,

                                            Dere's no girl can touch,w'at we see ev'ry day,

                                            De nice leetle Canadienne

                                            (Lines 1 - 8)

Excerpted from the Toronto University Selection of Drummond’s Poetry.


Sources: -

 Archivanet. Canadian Archives on the Internet.

Canadian Biographical Dictionary, under Drummond

William Henry Drummond , Poet in Patois by J.B.Lyons

David Pease, Ontario, Canada, 2015

Margaret Laughton, St. Catherine's , Ontario, Canada, 1998