Sir Charles G.D. Roberts's first book, Orion, and Other Poems, was published by J.B. Lippincott & Co of Philadelphia in 1880, an event which is widely seen as marking the renaissance of poetry in Canada. In a stirring and famous tribute, Archibald Lampman wrote that "It seemed to me a wonderful thing that such work could be done by a Canadian. It was like a voice from some new paradise of art, calling us to be up and doing."

Ironically, despite its influence, Orion does not contain Roberts's best work; the poems, many of them based on classical mythology, are derivative and tedious. It is only in Roberts's second book, In Divers Tones (1886), that poems such as "The Tantramar Revisited" and "The Potato Harvest" begin to justify Lampman's historic faith.