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A World of Songs: Selected Poems, 1894–1921

University of Toronto Press, 2019

Book Two in The L.M. Montgomery Library

Cover of /A World of Songs: Selected Poems, 1894–1921/

Celebrated as a novelist and made famous by her novel Anne of Green Gables and its sequels, L.M. Montgomery (1874–1942) is far less known for also writing and publishing hundreds of poems over a period of half a century. Although this output included a chapbook and a full-length collection in which she presented herself primarily as a nature poet, most of her poems appeared in periodicals, including women’s magazines, farm papers, faith-based periodicals, daily and weekly newspapers, and magazines for children. As a shrewd businesswoman, she learned to find the balance between literary quality and commercial saleability and continued to publish poetry even though it paid less than short fiction.

A World of Songs: Selected Poems, 1894–1921, the second volume in The L.M. Montgomery Library, gathers a selection of fifty poems originally published across a twenty-five-year period. Benjamin Lefebvre organizes this work within the context of Montgomery’s life and career, claiming her not only as a nature poet but also as the author of a wider range of “songs”: of place, of memory, of lamentation, of war, of land and sea, of death, and of love. Many of these poems echo motifs that readers of Montgomery’s novels will recognize, and many more explore surprising perspectives through the use of male speakers. These poems offer today’s readers a new facet of the career of Canada’s most enduringly popular author.


“The two greatest strengths of A World of Songs are its author and its editor, the first a major Canadian writer whose books have sold millions of copies—a fact that has not disqualified her from being the subject of serious academic scholarship—the other a world-renowned Montgomery scholar with, to judge by his publications, an encyclopedic knowledge of her work.”
—André Narbonne, Department of English, University of Windsor

“L.M. Montgomery’s verse has considerably more merit than that of many popular versifiers and yet has been unduly neglected, even by Montgomery scholars. A World of Songs expands the current limited horizon of Montgomery’s verse and possesses biographical/historical interest, including insights into publishing verse in the late Romantic period.”
—Kevin McCabe, co-editor of The Poetry of Lucy Maud Montgomery

“L.M. Montgomery is a major writer of personal and general significance to many readers, and her work is of wide interest. The poems selected for this volume complement her better-known novels and short stories. Reading them will reward readers with insights and unanticipated pleasures.”
—Jane Ledwell, PEI poet and co-editor of L.M. Montgomery and War

Publishing History

Trade paperback, January 2019
Unjacketed hardcover, January 2019
Ebook, February 2019


Acknowledgments (ix)

A Note on the Author (xi–xii)

Abbreviations (xiii–xiv)

Preface (xv–xix)


The Gable Window (5–6)


The Poet’s Thought (9)

Songs of Place

In Lovers’ Lane (13–14)

The Fir Lane (15–16)

In an Old Garden (17–18)

The Old Home Calls (19)

The Exile (20)

The Summons (21)

Songs of Memory

Three Days (25)

Companioned (26)

Do You Remember? (27)

Memory Pictures (28)


The Singer (31)

Songs of Lamentation

Irrevocable (35)

I Would Be Well (36–37)

Night Watches (38–39)

If I Had Known (40)

The Book (41)

Longing (42)

The Mother (43–44)

Songs of War

The Last Prayer (47–48)

The Three Songs (49–50)

We Who Wait (51)

Our Women (52)


One of the Shepherds (55–57)

Songs of Land and Sea

When the Fishing Boats Go Out (61)

When the Fishing Boats Come In (62–63)

Rain in the Woods (64)

My Pictures (65)

The Wind in the Poplars (66–67)

The Sea-Shell (68)

Before Storm (69)

A Shore Picture (70)

The Sea to the Shore (71)

Songs of Death

Too Late (75–76)

I Have Buried My Dead (77–78)

Omega (79–80)

An Old Man’s Grave (81)

The Treasures (82)

Songs of Love

If Love Should Come (85)

Assurance (86)

The Gray Silk Gown (87–88)

On the Bridge (89)

Gratitude (90)

With Tears They Buried You To-day (91–92)

Forever (93)

To One Hated (94)

The Lover’s Catechism (95)


The Poet (99)


What I Would Ask of Life (103)

Afterword (105–20)

Notes (121–28)

Bibliography (129–34)

Index by Title (135–36)

Index by Date (137–38)

Index by First Line (139–40)