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Oh, had her lover seen her thus alone,
Thus holy, wrestling thus, and all for him!
Nor did he not; for ofttimes Providence
With unexpected joy the fervent prayer
Of faith surprised. Returned from long delay,
With glory crowned of righteous actions won,
The sacred thorn, to memory dear, first sought
The youth, and found it at the happy hour
Just when the damsel kneeled herself to pray.
Wrapped in devotion, pleading with her God,
She saw him not, heard not his foot approach.
All holy images seemed too impure
To emblem her he saw. A seraph kneeled,
Beseeching for his ward before the throne,
Seemed fittest, pleased him best. Sweet was the thought i
But sweeter still the kind remembrance came
That she was flesh and blood formed for himself,
The plighted partner of his future life.
And as they met, embraced, and sat embowered
In woody chambers of the starry night,
Spirits of love about them ministered,
And God'approving, blessed the holy joy !
Friendship.-From the Same.
Nor unremembered is the hour when friends
Met. Friends, but few on earth, and therefore dear;
Sought oft, and sought almost as oft in vain ;
Yet always sought, so native to the heart,
So much desired and coveted by all.
Nor wonder thou-thou wonderest not, nor need'st.
Much beautiful, and excellent, and fair
Was seen beneath the sun ; but nought was seen
More beautiful, or excellent or fair
Than face of faithful friend, fairest when seen
In darkest day ; and many sounds were sweet,
Most ravishing and pleasant to the ear;
But sweeter none than voice of faithful friend:
Sweet always, sweetest heard in loudest storm.
Some I remember, and will ne'er forget;
My early friends, friends of my eyil day;
Friends in my mirth, friends in my misery too:
Friends given by God in mercy and in love;
My counsellors, and comforters, and guides;
Mv joy in bliss, my second bliss in joy ;
Companions of my young desires ; in doubt,
My oracles, my wings in high pursuit.
Oh, I remember, and will ne'er forget
Our meeting spots, our chosen sacred hours,
Our burning words that uttered all the soul,
Our faces beaming with unearthly love;
Sorrow with sorrow sighing, hope with hope
Exulting, heart embracing heart entire!
As birds of social feather helping each
His fellow's flight, we soared into the skies,
And cast the clouds beneath our feet, and earth,
With all her tardy leaden-footed cases,
And talked the speech, and ate the food of heaven!
These I remember, these selectest men,
And would their names record; but what avails
My mention of their name? Before the throne
They stand illustrious 'mong the loudest harps,
And will receive thee glad, my friend and theirs
For all are friends in heaven, all faithful friends;
And many friendships in the days of time
Begun, are lasting here, and growing still ;
So grows ours evermore, both theirs and mine.
Nor is the hour of lonely walk forgot
In the wide desert, where the view was large.
Pleasant were many scenes, but most to me
The solitude of vast extent, untouched
By hand of art, where nature sowed herself,
And reaped her crops; whose garments were the clouds ;
Whose minstrels, brooks ; whose lamps. the moon and stars ;
Whose organ-choir, the voice of many waters;
Whose banquets, morning dews; whose heroes, storms;
Whose warriors, mighty winds ; whose lovers, flowers;
Whose orators, the thunderbolts of God;
Whose palaces, the everlasting hills;
Whose ceiling, heaven's unfathomable blue;
And from whose rocky turrets, battled high,
Prospect immense spread out on all sides round,
Lost now beneath the welkin and the main,
Now walled with hills that slept above the storm.
Most fit was such a place for musing men,
Happiest sometimes when musing without aim.
Happiness.-From the same.
Whether in crowds or solitudes, in streets
Or shady groves, dwelt Happiness, it seems
In vain to ask; her nature makes it vain ;
Though poets much, and hermits, talked and sung
Of brooks and crystal founts, and weeping dews,
And myrtle bowers, and solitary vales,
and with the nymph made assignations there,
And wooed her with a love-sick oaten reed;
And sages too, although less positive,
Advised their sons to court her in the shade.
Delirious babble all ! Was happiness.
Was self-approving, God-approving joy,
In drops of dew, however pure ? in gales,
However sweet? in wells, however clear?
Or groves, however thick with verdant shade?
True, these were of themselves exceeding fair;
How fair at morn and even! worthy the walk
Of loftiest mind, and gave, when all within
Was right, a feast of overflowing bliss;
But were the occasion, not the cause of joy.
They waked the native fountains of the soul
Which slept before, and stirred the holy tides
Of feeling up, giving the heart to drink
From its own treasures draughts of perfect sweet.
The Christian faith, which
better knew the heart
Of man, him thither sent for peace, and thus ,
Declared: Who finds it, let him find it there;
Who finds it not, for ever let him seek
In vain ; 'tis God's most holy, changelees will,
True Happiness had no localities,
No tones provincial, no peculiar garb.
Where Daty went, she went, with Justice went,
And went with Meekness, Charity, and Love,
Where'er a tear was dried, a wounded heart
Bound up, a bruised spirit with the dew
Of sympathy anointed, or a pang
Of honest suffering soothed, or injury
Repeated oft, as oft by love forgiven;
Where'er an evil passion was subdued,
Or Virtue's feeble embers fanned; where'er
A sin was heartily abjured and left;
Where'er a pious act was
done, or breathed
A pious prayer, or wished a pious wish;
There was a high and holy place, a spot
Of sacred light, a most religious fane,
Where Happiness, descending, sat and smiled.
But these apart. In sacred memory lives
The morn of life, first morn of endless days,
Most joyful morn! Nor yet for nought the joy.
A being of eternal date commenced,
A young immortal then was born! And who
Shall tell what strange variety of bliss
Burst on the infant soul, when first it looked
Abroad on God's creation fair, and saw
The glorious earth and glorious heaven, and face
Of man sublime, and saw all new, and felt
All new! when thought awoke, though never more
To sleep! when first it saw, heard, reasoned, willed,
And triumphed in the warmth of conscious life!
Nor happy only, but the cause of joy,
Which those who never tasted always mourned.
What tongue !--no
tongue shall tell what bliss o'erflowed
The mother's tender heart, while round her hung
The offspring of her love, and lisped her name;
As living jewels dropped unstained from heaven,
That made her fairer far, and sweeter seem,
Than every ornament of costliest hue!
And who hath not been ravished, as she passed
With all her playful band of little ones,
Like Luna with her daughters of the sky,
Walking in matron majesty and grace?
All who had hearts here pleasure found : and oft
Have I, when tired with heavy task, for tasks
Were heavy in the world below, relaxed
My weary thoughts among their guiltless sports,
And led them by their little hands a-field,
And watched them run and crop the tempting flower-
Which oft, unasked, they brought me, and bestowed
With smiling face, that waited for a look
Of praise—and answered curious questions, but
In much simplicity, but ill to solve:
And heard their observations strange and new;
And settled whiles their little quarrels, soon
Ending in peace, and soon forgot in love.
And still I looked upon their loveliness,
And sought through nature for similitudes
Of perfect beauty, innocence, and bliss,
And fairest imagery round me thronged;
Dew-drops at day-spring on a seraph's locks,
Roses that bathe about the well of life,
Young Loves, young Hopes, dancing on Morning's cheek,
Gems leaping in the coronet of Love!
So beautiful, so full of life, they seemed
As made entire of beams of angel's eyes.
Gay, guileless, sportive, lovely little things !
Playing around the den of sorrow, clad
In smiles, believing in their fairy hopes,
And thinking man and woman true! all joy,
Happy all day, and happy all the night!
JAMES MONTGOMERY, a religious poet of deservedly high reputation, was borne at Irvine, in Ayrshire, November 4, 1771. His father was a Moravian missionary, who died whilst propagating Christianity in the Island of Tobago. The poet was educated at the Moravian school at Fulneck, near Leeds, but declined being a priest, and was put apprentice to a grocer at Mirfield, near Fulneck. In his sixteenth year, with 3s. 6d. in his pocket, he ran off from Mirfield, and after some suffering, became a shop-boy in the village of Wath, in Yorkshire. He next tried London, carrying with him a collection of his poems, but failed in his efforts to obtain a publisher. In 1791, he obtained a situation as clerk in a newspaper office in Sheffield; and his master failing, Montgomery, with the aid of friends, established the 'Sheffield Iris,' a weekly journal, which he conducted with marked ability, and in a liberal, conciliatory spirit, up to the year 1825. His course did not always run smooth. In January 1794, amidst the excitement of that agitated period, he was tried on a charge of having printed a ballad, written by a clergyman of Belfast, on the demolition of the Bastille in 1789; which was then interpreted into a seditious libel. The poor poet, notwithstanding the innocence of his intentions, was found guilty, and sentenced to three months' imprisonment in the castle of York, and to pay a fine of £20. In January 1795 he was tried for a second imputed political offence—a paragraph in his paper which reflected on the conduct of a magistrate in quelling a riot at Sheffield. He was again convicted, and sentenced to six months' imprisonment in York Castle, to pay a fine of£30, and to give security to keep the peace for two years.
*All the persons, says the amiable poet, writing in 1840 ' who were actively concerned in the prosecutions against me in 1794 and 1795, are dead, and, without exception, they died in peace with me. I believe I am quite correct in saying, that from each of them distinctly, in the sequel, I received tokens of good-will, and from several of them substantial proofs of kindness. I mention not this as a plea in extenuation of offences for which I bore the penalty of the law; I rest my justification, in these cases, now on the same grounds, and no other, on which I rested my justification then. I mention the circumstance to the honour of the deceased, and as an evidence that, amidst all the violence of that distracted time, a better spirit was not extinct, but finally prevailed, and by its healing influence did indeed comfort those who had been conscientious sufferers.'
Mr. Montgomery's first volume of poetry-he had previously written occasional pieces in his newspaper-appeared in 1806, and was entitled • The Wanderer of Switzerland, and other Poems.' It speedily went
through two editions; and his publishers had just issued a third, when the 'Edinburgh Review of January 1807 denounced the unfortunate volume in a style of such authoritative reprobation as no mortal verse could be expected to survive.' The critique, indeed, was insolent and unfeeling-written in the worst style of the ‘Review,' when all the sins of its youth were full-blown and unchecked. Among other things. the reviewer predicted that in less than three years nobody would know the name of The Wanderer of Switzerland,' or of any other of the poems in the collection. Within eighteen months from the utterance of this oracle, a fourth impression-1500 copies-of the condemned volume was passing through the press whence the 'Edinburgh Review' itself was issued, and it has now reached nearly twenty editions. The next work of the poet was · The West Indies,' a poem in four parts, written in honour of the abolition of the African slave-trade by the British legislature in 1807. The poem is in the heroic couplet, and possesses a vigour and freedom of description, and a power of pathetic painting, much superior to anything in the first volume. Mr. Montgomery afterwards published Prison Amusements, written during his nine months' confinement in York Castle in 1794 and 1795. In 1813 he came forward with a more elaborate performance, 'The World before the Flood,' a poem in the heroic couplet, and extending to ten short cantos. His pictures of the antediluvian patriarchs their happy valley, the invasion of Eden by the descendants of Cain, the loves of Javan and Zillah, the translation of Enoch, and the final deliverance of the little band of patriarch families from the hand of the giants, are sweet and touching, and elevated by pure and lofty feeling. Connected with some patriotic individuals in his own neighbourhood ' in many a plan for lessening the sum of human misery at home and abroad,' our author next published 'Thoughts on Wheels' (1817), directed against state lotteries; and “The Climbing Boy's Soliloquies,' published about the same time, in a work written by different authors, to aid in effecting the abolition, at length happily accomplished, of the cruel and unnatural practice of employing bovs in sweeping chimneys. In 1819 he published 'Greenland,' a poem in five cantos, containing a sketch of the ancient Moravian Church, its revival in the eighteenth century, and the origin of the missions by that people to Greenland in 1733. The poem, as published, is only a part of the author's original plan, but the beauty of its polar descriptions and episodes recommended it to public favour. The only other long poem by Mr. Montgomery is - The Pelican Island,' suggested by a passage in Captain Flinder's voyage to Terra Australis, describing the existence of the ancient haunts of the pelican in the small islands on the coast of New Holland. The work is in blank verse, in nine short cantos, and the narrative is supposed to be delivered by an imaginary being who witnesses the series of events related, after the whole has happened. The poem abounds in minute and delicate descriptions of