The Shell


The Shell, by A.C. Stewart. A William Briggs publication of the Methodist Book and Publishing House, 1917, with its illustrative shell and die-cut binding.

The Shell with Fragments and Reverberations, by Alexander Charles Stewart, 1867-1944, was published in 1917 by William Briggs. It is a book of poetry dedicated to the Chivalrous Sons of Canada, to the native-born and his foster brother and to the boy who from the battlefield of Vimy wrote his Mother that he had “Borne himself like a Canadian.”

The Preface reads in part, “In this day of High Speed and High Explosive, lightning transformations and sudden readjustments, conceptions are destroyed almost before completion and completion itself is but the point to immediate reconstruction….This little volume, then, does not pretend to claim attention on any basis beyond its fragmentary consonance with the wreckage of the Great War.”

The Shell

I’m the High-Explosives Shell,

The Giant Shell!

The lathed and polished copper-ring’d, the Masterpiece of Hell,

The deadly Shell!

Sired by God of Death in destruction’s maddened mood,

Nurtured in the womb of Wrath–

Queen of devastation’s brood;

From my mother earthquake-torn,

I, the lyddite-soul’d, was born

I am the Shell!

Alexander Charles Stewart was born in county Down, Ireland on August 16, 1867. He came to Canada as a child and was educated in Pickering Township, Ontario. He became a tunnel and bridge contractor at Fort William, Ontario. When he was not acting as contractor, he wrote poetry. He died at Port Dover June 12,1944


About The Ryerson Press Archive

My name is Clive Powell. I worked for McGraw-Hill Ryerson for 35 years. Recently I was asked to find a home for 3000 publications that represent the Ryerson Press Archive. I am happy to share my discoveries.
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One Response to The Shell

  1. Cathie says:

    Hmm, great story, but there must have been some intended discomfort for the reader, who must hold an unexploded shell while digesting the content, by the nature of the die cut binding.

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