As a special correspondent for the The Independent, Roberts travelled the globe including Tampa and Cuba during the Spanish American War (1898) and in Newfoundland (1899). In November 1903, he married Frances Seymour Allen, the daughter of the Rev. Thomas Allen. During the Great War (1914-1918) Roberts served with the Canadian army in France and England. His wartime experience provided material for several novels and for a book of prose.
Roberts proved to be a prolific writer of adventure stories and historical romances. He published no fewer than 30 novels including, The Red Feathers (1907), Captain Love (1908), Comrades of the Trails (1910), A Cavalier of Virginia : A Romance (1910), The Harbour Master (1913), The Wasp (1914), The Red Pirogue (1924), and The Golden Highlander (1929). Although best known as a novelist he did produced several volumes of poetry, notably, The Leather Bottle (1934); an anthology of verse, Northland Lyrics, with William Carman Roberts and Elizabeth Roberts Macdonald (1899); and contributed numerous stories and poems to Canadian, American and British magazines and periodicals. In 1931 the University of New Brunswick awarded him honorary doctor of literature degree in recognition of his literary talents. Thede Roberts died at Digby, Nova Scotia on 24 February 1953.
Somewhere he failed me, somewhere he slipt away—
Youth, in his ignorant faith and his bright array.
The tides go out and the flooding tides come in,
And still the old years pass and the new begin
Somewhere we lost each other, last year or yesterday.
Somewhere he failed me. . . . Down at the harbor-side
I waited for him a little where the anchored argosies ride,
I thought he came. ’Twas the dawn-wind blowing free ’:
I thought he came. ’Twas but the shadow of me!
Somewhere he turned and left me, about the turn of the tide.
Perhaps I shall find him. It may be he waits for me,
Sipping those wines we knew, beside some tropic sea.
The tides still serve, and I am out and away
To search the spicy harbors of yesterday
Where the lamps of the town are yellow behind the lamps of the quay.
Somewhere he left me, some time he turned away—
Youth, of the careless heart and the bright array.
Was it in Bados? God! I would pay to know.
Or was it on Spanish Hill, where the roses blow?
Shall I hear his laughter to-morrow in painted Olivio?
Somewhere I failed him, somewhere I let him depart—
Youth, who could only sleep for the morn’s fresh start. . . .
The tides slipt out, the tides washed out and in,
far and oft were we lured by the capstan’s din . . .
Shall find you south of the Gulf?—or are you dead in my heart?
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