Blewett, Jean. “Her Portrait.” “Canadian Poetry.” By John A. Cooper. National Review 29 (1897): 378.

This poem was reprinted in an article written by John A. Cooper, editor of the Canadian Magazine, in the National Review (New York and London) 1897.  Mr. Cooper “confine[s him]self to setting and answering two questions: ‘Should Canada be expected to have a poetry distinctively her own?’ and ‘What is the nature of Canadian Poetry?'” (364).

The article includes a few of the well-known female poets of the time, namely Mary Jane Katzman Lawson, Sarah Ann Curzon, Jean Blewett, Susan Frances Harrison, E. Pauline Johnson, Elizabeth Susan MacLeod, and Agnes Maule Machar.

In preface to the following poem, Mr. Cooper comments that Jean Blewett’s poetry “lacks depth and finish sometimes, but is always genuine.” I suppose we should be grateful that in the patriarchal 1890s, any women made it into his article, presenting as it purports to do, the best of Canadian poetry to the more sophisticated populations of New York and London?

Her Portrait

A little child she stood that far-off day,
When Love, the master-painter, took his brush,
And on the walls of mem’ry dull and grey
Traced tender eyes, wide brow, and changing blush,
The gladness, and the youth, the bending head
All covered over with its curls of gold,
The dimpled arms, the two hands filled with bread,
To feed the little sparrows brown and bold
That fluttered to her feet. It hangs there still,
Just as ’twas painted on that far-off day,
Nor faded in the blush upon the cheek,
The sweet lips hold their smiling and can thrill;
And still, the eyes, so tender and so meek,
Light up the walls of mem’ry dull and grey.