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JAMES MONTGOMERY. MONT CONTGOMERY wrote verses at a | and infernal. It was the subject of his

very early age. Before he had com- day-dreams when he should have been pleted his tenth year he had imitated quite poring over his arithmetic or his Latin a number of those fantastic pieces of dog- grammar, and of his feverish visions by gerel sung by the Moravians, and mis- night, when he should have been asleep. named hymns. From hymn-writing he Pretty well for a boy of fifteen! and not soared, in his boyish imagination, to the wonderful that the young poet was turned production of a grand epic. His theme out of the Moravian school, in Yorkshire, was The Worldthe scene, away back, on the charge of incorrigible indolence. myriads of ages before the creation of That expulsion, a grief to his parents, angels. “I meant,” says he, “to begin who had intended him for the ministry at the beginning, or rather earlier still ; among the United Brethren, altered the for my plan contemplated a representation whole current of his life. Employment of the Almighty, happy and alone in the was found for him as a shop-boy with a solitudes of eternity.” Then angels were baker of bread and biscuits, where his to be created, wars in heaven were to conduct was even less satisfactory than at be described-a dreadful battle between school ; the time which should have been Michael and his hosts on the one side, and devoted to the interests of the shop being Lucifer and his legions on the other. In occupied with poetic inventions, versefact, the poem was to be a magnificent making, the composition of original music, epitome of all history, celestial, secular, | and“ blowing out his brains with a haut

boy.” In this situation he did not con- from inclination. But his prudence was tinue long, nor allow himself the disgrace of no avail. The Iris was printed on the of being turned off. He ran away. With same presses from which had issued the a fairly written copy of one of his shorter Register, and the Register had made itpoems in his pocket, he approached one self obnoxious to the government officials of England's affable noblemen, the Earl by the boldness of its tone, and more Fitzwilliam. With a low bow and a pal- especially by the escape of its editor, for pitating heart, the young fugitive present- whose seizure a warrant had been preed the verses to his lordship, who read pared. In the sapience of the authorities, them on the spot, and gave the lad a and in token of their disinterested loyalty, guinea. This was the first-fruits of his it was deemed essential that vengeance muse in the shape of gold. It was a long should light somewhere ; and if the Retime before she got any more for him. gister man could not be found, his suc

As an assistant of a general shop-keeper cessor of the Iris could, and alas for our in a country town, Montgomery earned his unlucky poetical editor, he was seized, imbread for a year or two longer; and then, prisoned, tried, condemned, found guilty, to the great joy of his heart, found his way fined twenty pounds, and incarcerated six to London, where he was employed by a months. What for? Simply this. A book-publisher of some celebrity. The poor man, who made a living by hawking duties of this new position were some- ballads, was taken up for having treason what congenial to his temperament, and in his possession. It was found in his the bookseller spoke words of encourage- basket. Where did he get it? At the ment to the young poet. He was not office of the Iris, was the answer. That willing, however-sagacious man!--to run was enough. The result we have already the risk of publishing his poetry. Then stated. But the curious reader may want our hero prepared a little story-book for to know the shape, size, color or quality children, which did not take; and then he of the treason. Here it is, a stanza found wrote a novel on the model of Tom Jones, in a ballad printed at Montgomery's office, which nobody would print.

and which Montgomery, in all probability, Disheartened and discouraged, but still never saw until he read it in the indictbent on authorship, we next find him in ment to which he was called to plead : Sheffield, a clerk in the office of a weekly

· Europe's fate on the contest's decision de paper called the Register. In addition to

pendshis specific duties Montgomery wrote an Most important the issue will be ; occasional article for its columns; and For should France be subdued, Europe's liberty when, after a service of about two years,

If she triumphs, the world will be free." the Register was discontinued, in company with a partner, who furnished the He bore his imprisonment with equanecessary cash, he bought the presses, nimity, employed his time mainly in vertype, and other printing material, and sifying, and on his release published an commenced, as editor-in-chief, the public address to the readers of the Iris, in which cation of the world-renowned Sheffield he says :Iris.

“Whatever some persons may say or thiuk Now, in his twenty-third year, he had of me, no man is a firmer friend either to his a vehicle of communication with the pub- king or his country than myself. lic. He aimed to make the Iris an in

All private resentment and animosity against

those who have hitherto been my enemies and tellectual and interesting paper, and he

persecutors I have left behind in my prison, succeeded. He filled its columns with and may they never escape thence! If I cancondensed abstracts of the news of the

not obtain, I will at least endeavor to deserve day, with well-written essays, with an

the public favor.” occasional original tale, and with poetry. After his release, scarcely four months Politics he always hated, and the indis- elapsed before the bird was caught again, pensable editorial task of preparing an and caged: this time for " a false, scanoccasional political article, in those stormy dalous, and malicious libel.” Harsh terms times, was the most irksome and unpleas- to be used against so gentle a spirit ; and ant of his duties. On the exciting topics the warrant for them was found, or said of the day he was exceedingly cautious, to be found, in an account given by the not so much from fear of consequences as editor of a riot in Sheffield, in which

ends;

zone,

several of his townsmen were wounded ** Thy chains are broken! Africa, be free! and two killed by a company of Volun- Thus saith the island-empress of the sea; teers. Here is the libel referred to :

Thus saith Britannia. O, ye winds and waves !

Waft the glad tidings to the land of slares; “R. A. Athorpe, Esq., Colonel of the Volun- Proclaim on Guinea's coast, by Gambia's side, teers, who had been previously ordered to hold

And far as Niger rolls his eastern tide, themselves in readiness, now appeared at their Through radiant realms, beneath the burning head, and, in a peremptory tone, commanded the people instantly to disperse, which not being Where Europe's curse is felt, her name unknown, instantly complied with, a person who shall be

Thus saith Britannia, empress of the sea : nameless plunged with his horse among the 'Thy chains are broken Africa, be free !!" unarmed, defenseless people, and wounded with his sword men, women, and children promis The World before the Flood, Greencuously.”

land, and The Pelican Island, appeared at His sentence this time was a fine of intervals, and tended to increase the reputhirty pounds, with sureties for good be- tation of the author. In each of these havior in future, and imprisonment for six poems are to be found passages of great months. The fine was readily paid, and beauty, noble thoughts nobly expressed, the sureties were found without difficulty; and rapturous bursts of vivid and daring but the imprisonment was hard to bear, imagination. As tales, however, they are and weighed grievously upon his spirits.

deficient in incident, and are apt to weary He solaced himself with the composition the reader with the slow pace of the narof short poems, and sought there the con- rative, while they cloy him with their solations of that religion, a lively faith in sweetness. Montgomery is not equal in which, prompting ever to good works, was

dramatic power to many far inferior thenceforth a distinguishing trait in his writers, and his constructive faculty was character.

comparatively small. His minor poems, After this second imprisonment, to the however, are, many of them, faultless ; end of a long life of usefulness and honor, and upon them, rather than his larger his course was smooth and tranquil. Ever works, his fame will mainly rest. We ready to assist the unfortunate, and to

know not where is to be found anything befriend the friendless ; to speak boldly

of the kind more perfect than The Battle for the oppressed, and by his presence, of Alexandria, commencing with that

melodious stanza :his poetry, and his substance, to give countenance and aid to every effort for " Harp of Memnon! sweetly strung the furtherance of Christianity; no man To the music of the spheres; was more highly honored in his life-time,

While the Hero's dirge is sung, and few more sincerely lamented in death.

Breathe enchantment to our ears." It is our purpose, however, to speak of

How vividly does he paint the battlehim more especially as a poet, and although in this respect he attained not to

scene, and, in a few admirably chosen the first rank, yet is Montgomery

words, depict its horrors !

" Then the mighty pour'd their breath, “ One of the few, the immortal names

Slaughter feasted on the brave !
That were not born to die."

'Twas the carnival of death, His first successful poetic publication

'T was the vintage of the grave." was The Wanderer of Switzerland. Edi- And the death of the chieftain in the arms tion after edition was called for in quick of victory :succession, and the author's share of the profits amounted to eight hundred pounds “Charged with ABERCROMBIE's doom, sterling. The poem, written in the swift Lightning wing'd a cruel ball; footed trochaic measure, is remarkable for

'T was the herald of the tomb,

And the hero felt the call. terseness of expression, and is full of noble sentiments. In 1809 he gave to the “ Felt-and raised his arm on high ; world The West Indies, a poem of en

Victory well the signal knew,

Darted from his awful eye, tirely different structure and character.

And the force of France o'erthrew." It was written in commemoration of the abolition of the slave-trade by the British In a similar strain is his Ode to the government. The introductory lines give Volunteers of Britain on the Prospect of a good specimen of the whole :

Invasion :

“ The lowering battle forms

hymns in the book being from his pen.
Its terrible array;

Watts is next in rank as to the number
Like clashing clouds in mountain storms,
That thunder on their way,

of his contributions; and Montgomery fol

lows him, being credited with more than “The rushing armies meet;

fifty of the hymns in the volume. One of And while they pour their breath,

the best of his productions is a part of his The strong earth shudders at their feet, The day grows dim with death." version of the seventy-second psalm. It

is Hymn 126 in the Methodist collection, And then the apostrophe to England's beginning with the line, departed heroes, how full of poetic fire !

“ Hail to the Lord's Anointed." “Ghosts of the mighty dead! Your children's hearts inspire ;

Owing to its length the compilers omitAnd while they on your ashes tread, ted several stanzas, some of which are Rekindle all your fire.

fully equal to those retained. As, for in“ The dead to life return;

stance, the following, from the middle of Our fathers' spirits rise ;

the Psalm :My brethren, in your breasts they burn, They sparkle in your eyes.”

“ Arabia's desert ranger

To Him shall bow the knee; The poet follows the volunteers to the

The Etbiopian stranger battle-field and to victory, and then comes

His glory come to see. the noble stanza :

With offerings of devotion

Ships from the isles shall meet, “Spirit of vengeance, rest;

To pour the wealth of ocean
Sweet mercy cries, • Forbear!'

In homage at his feet."
She clasps the vanquish'd to her breast;
Thou wilt not pierce them there."

And yet another stanza, even more beau

tiful, and in the very strain of King David : But the victory is not gained without loss :

“The mountain dew shall nourish

A seed, in weakness sown, “Daughters of Albion, weep;

Whose fruit shall spread and flourish,
On this triumphant plain

And shake like Lebanon.
Your fathers, husbands, brethren sleep, O'er every foe victorious
For you and freedom slain.

He on his throne shall rest,

From age to age more glorious, “0, gently close the eye That loved to look on you;

All-blessing and all-blest.” 0, seal the lip whose earliest sigh, Whose latest breath was true;

Montgomery is remarkable for the vigor

of his thoughts and the terseness of his “With knots of sweetest flowers

expressions, more especially at the close Their winding-sheet perfume;

of his compositions. If he is ever feeble, And wash their wounds with true-love showers,

it is in the middle. He almost always And dress them for the tomb.

ends well, as in that expressive hymn on “For beautiful in death

the descent of the Holy Spirit, which has The warrior's corse appears,

already become a favorite in many conEmbalm'd by fond affection's breath, gregations. The whole hymn is perfect, And bathed in woman's tears."

but mark the closing stanza :But it is in sacred poetry more espe

* Spirit of truth, be thou cially that our author excels, and these

In life and death our guide ;

O Spirit of adoption, nou efforts of his muse will be embalmed in

May we be sanctified." the heart of the militant Church, until all of every name who love the Lord Jesus In the Christian Psalmist, published by unite in the songs of the Redeemer in himself, the adverb is in italics, as here the Church triumphant. Not the least printed. attractive feature of the Methodist Hymn- So too in that most appropriate sacraBook-pronounced, by a competent critic mental hymn, (No. 268,) each stanza endof another denomination, the best compi- ing with the line Jation in the language-is its large selec

“I will remember thee,” tion from the lyrics of the Sheffield Bard. Charles Wesley, as was proper, holds the when he comes to the close, he varies it first place, more than one half of the thus :

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measure.

“And when these failing lips grow dumb, phrase of Addison, in the stately iambic And mind and memory flee;

It is No. 848, beginning,
When thou shalt in thy kingdom come,
Jesus, remember me."

“ The Lord my pasture shall prepare." In the penitential hymn (No. 429) enti

The transposition of the third and fourth tled Light dawning upon the Soul, which stanzas, as found in the Methodist Collecis a part of our author's version of Psalm tion, was suggested by the late Bishop cxxx, how poetical and Scriptural are the Hedding. It is a manifest improvement. concluding stanzas !

Charles Wesley's version, which is less

literal than either of the others, and seems “Glory to God above,

indeed indebted to the sweet singer of The waters soon will cease ; For lol the swift-returning dove

Israel only for the key-note, is in the Brings home the sign of peace.

anapæstic measure. It is No. 916, be

ginning, “ Though storms his face obscure, And dangers threaten loud,

“Thou Shepherd of Israel and mine." Jehovah's covenant is sure,

The middle stanza, in which the poet His bow is in the cloud."

takes one of his loftiest flights, is omitted Hymn 943—

by our compilers, on the ground, perhaps, “ Forever with the Lord !

of the startling boldness of the sentiments,

as indicated in the lines here italicized :is a little gem. It is however only about

“O show me that happiest place, one-fourth of the poem, of which, although

The place of thy people's abode, the whole of it would have been too long Where saints in an ecstasy gaze, for a congregation to sing at once, we And hang on a crucified God. could wish that our compilers had given

“Thy love for a sinner declare, us a few more stanzas—these for instance:

Thy passion and death on the tree;

My spirit to Calvary bear, "The trump of final doom

To suffer and triumph with thee." Will speak the self-same word, And heaven's voice thunder through the The third version of the Psalm under tomb,

consideration (No. 915) was first pubForever with the Lord !

lished in the Wesleyan Magazine for “The tomb shall echo deep

the year 1804. It is from the pen of T. That death-awakening sound;

Roberts. The metre is peculiar. It is The saints shall hear it in their sleep,

a faithful paraphrase, and a good hymn. And answer from the ground.

Montgomery's version is No. 849; and, “ Then upward as they fly,

all things considered, we are inclined to That resurrection word

give it the first place. In the third Shall be their shout of victory, • Forever with the Lord !'

stanza our compilers have, by a simple

transposition of two words, improved the “ The resurrection word,

rhythm of the original :The shout of victory, Once more— Forever with the Lord ! “In the midst of affliction my table is spread; Amen, so let it be."

With blessings unmeasured my cup runneth

o'er; Perhaps the best specimen of his sacred With oil and perfume thou anointest my head: poetry, and, as a hymn, unsurpassed if O what shall I ask of thy proridence more !" equaled by any in the language, is entitled

In the original the third line readsthe Song of Jubilee. It is No. 1,004 in the Methodist Collection. It is a speci

“With perfunie and oil," &c. men of the lively trochaic measure, which The following beautiful verses were Watts seldom attempted, and in which written by Montgomery when imprisoned most of the best hymns of Wesley are in the castle of York. They were ocwritten.

casioned by the death of one of his fellowThe poetical versions of a part of the prisoners, Joseph Browne, a Quaker, who, twenty-third Psalm are very numerous. with seven others of his religious comThere are four of them in the Methodist munity, had suffered the loss of all his Hymn Book, each by a different author, worldly goods for conscience' sake. By and each distinguished for peculiar beau- comparing them with hymn 1,101 in the ties. The first is the well-known para- | Methodist Collection, the reader will see

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