Title:Witch of the Westcot : A Tale of Nova Scotia, in three cantos; and other Waste Leaves of Literature
Publisher:  Joseph Howe, Halifax, 1831, 1831
Seller ID: 74612
SHIELS, Andrew. The Witch of the Westcot : A Tale of Nova Scotia, in three cantos; and other Waste Leaves of Literature. Halifax: printed and published by Joseph Howe, 1831. First Edition. Pp. (10),-213,(11) of notes at rear. 8vo, brown paper covered boards with green cloth spine.
TPL 1671, Long, Nova Scotia Authors and Their Work: A Bibliography of the Province p.212 Rhodenizer p. 837, Watters p.182.
For more on Andrew Shiels ( b. March 12, 1793 in the parish of Oxnam, Roxburghshire, Scotland - d. November 5, 1879 at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia) blacksmith, poet, and magistrate, see the DCB, Vol.10, pp.652-3.
"A supporter of Joseph Howe, Andrew Shiels was appointed a justice of the peace for Halifax County on 20 Nov. 1848 in the commission appointed by the Reformers after the winning of responsible government. In 1857 the Court of Quarter Sessions appointed Andrew Shiels a stipendiary magistrate, and in 1860 he became a member of the commission for the relief of insolvent debtors in Halifax County.
Shiels is remembered as a colourful local character who wrapped himself in a long plaid cloak in cold weather, as a man of strong opinions active in the affairs of the community, and as a respected magistrate. At the time of his death the Presbyterian Witness said, “He was a fast friend and an implacable enemy.” During the greater part of his life he belonged to the Presbyterian Church, but after a misunderstanding with members of the local presbytery he joined the Methodists.
Largely self-educated, Shiels read widely and had an excellent memory. He was influenced by the history, tales, and imagery of his native border country and by the poetry of Robert Burns. His popular verse appeared frequently in the Halifax newspapers for 50 years over the pseudonyms “Albyn” and “the Bard of Ellenvale.” Witch of the Westcot : A Tale of Nova Scotia, in three cantos was an ambitious work. An historical tale in verse, it was based on the Indian massacre at Dartmouth in 1751, and in the preface he remarked on his difficulty in adapting his border vernacular to the English spoken in Nova Scotia. He also commented on the colony’s apathy towards poetry, which be believed to be due to pioneering conditions. His most significant poems were those devoted to nature and those where he attempted to draw upon the history and imagery of his adopted country. He was also strong in satire." - Phyllis Blakeley in the DCB Vol.10, pp.652-3.
A collection of poems by the Scottish-born emigrant to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, highlighted by the ambitious title poem, which is an historical poem about the massacre of natives in the Dartmouth region shortly after the founding of the town on the shores Halifax Harbour in 1751.
This particular volume by the "bard of Ellenvale" was published by eminent Nova Scotian Joseph Howe, of whom Shiels was an ardent supporter. This is one of the earlier volumes published by Howe, printed when Howe was only 27.
Also includes: "Legend of Loon", "The Truant and Foamwreath", "The Ploughman, an Ode", "The Cot and the Yardie", "Flower of Friendship", "The Coxcomb and Countryman", "Stanzas to a Scottish Thistle", "Stanzas to T----n", "Friendship", "St. Patrick's Day Song", "Anthem of Albyn, song", and "The pier of Leith, song".
Outer hinges split, the title label on browned spine is missing, 2" X 0.5" chunk missing from upper right corner of front board with another similar-sized portion tenuously attached, smaller chip to bottom right front corner, crack between pp. 16-17, pp. 35-38 loose, the following leaves are nearly detached: 3-6, 9-14, 91-94, 115-118, 131-134, 155-158, 211-213(1), some marginal smudging and foxing, a couple of small white spots to boards, else very good. Scarce. 2,000.00