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"THE WORLD IS SELDOM WHAT IT SEEMS;-TO MAN, WHO DIMLY SEES,
WHAT IS THE WORLD?-A WIldering maze,-(MONTGOMERY)
[JAMES MONTGOMERY was born at Irvine, in Ayrshire, November 4,
He was educated at the Moravian school at Fulneck, near Leeds,
and afterwards apprenticed to a grocer; but having a strong predilection
for a literary life, he visited London, in the hope of obtaining a publisher
for his poems. Failing in this, he became a clerk in a newspaper office at
Sheffield, where, after a few years, he established the Sheffield Iris, a
weekly journal, which he conducted with equal energy and ability up to
the year 1825. He then retired on a moderate competence honourably
won by a life of labour, and on a pension of £200 conferred by Government,
to enjoy the delights of a lettered ease and the society of admiring friends.
He died in 1854, aged eighty-three. His principal works are:-"The
Wanderer in Switzerland" (1806); "The West Indies" (1808); The
World before the Flood" (1813); "Greenland" (1819); and "The Pelican
"All Mr. Montgomery's poems," says Professor Wilson, "are stamped with the character of the man. Most of them are breathings of his own devout spirit, either delighted or awed by a sense of the Divine goodness and mercy towards itself, or tremblingly alive, not in mere sensibility to human virtues and joys, crimes and sorrows, for that often belongs to the diseased and depraved, but in solemn, moral, and religious thought, to all of good or evil befalling his brethren of mankind. 'A sparrow cannot fall to the ground,' a flower of the field cannot wither immediately before his eyes, without awakening in his heart such thoughts as we may believe God intended should be awakened even by such thoughts as these; for the fall of a sparrow is a Scriptural illustration of his providence, and his hand formed the lily, whose array is more royal than was that of Solomon in all his glory."]
THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA.
JONG lay the ocean-paths from man concealed;
Light came from heaven, -the magnet was revealed,
A surer star to guide the seaman's eye
Than the pale glory of the northern sky;
Alike ordained to shine by night and day,
Through calm and tempest, with unsetting ray;
Where'er the mountains rise, the billows roll,
Still with strong impulse turning to the pole,
WHERE SIN HATH TRACKED TEN THOUSAND WAYS."-MONTGOMERY.
REALITIES APPEAR AS DREAMS, AND DREAMS REALITIES."-MONTGOMERY.
"HOPE, UNYIELDING TO DESPAIR, SPRINGS FOR EVER FRESH AND FAIR;-(MONTGOMERY)
True as the sun is to the morning true,
Though light as film, and trembling as the dew.
Then man no longer plied with timid oar,
And failing heart, along the windward shore;
Broad to the sky he turned his fearless sail,
Defied the adverse, wooed the favouring gale;
Bared to the storm his adamantine breast,
Or soft on ocean's lap lay down to rest;
While free, as clouds the liquid ether sweep,
His white-winged vessels coursed the unbounded deep;
From clime to clime the wanderer loved to roam,
The waves his heritage, the world his home.
Long in vain
Then first Columbus, with the mighty hand
Of grasping genius, weighed the sea and land;
The floods o'erbalanced:-where the tide of light,
Day after day, rolled down the gulf of night,
There seemed one waste of waters.
His spirit brooded o'er the Atlantic main;
When sudden as creation burst from nought,
Sprang a new world through his stupendous thought,
Light, order, beauty!-While his mind explored
The unveiling mystery, his heart adored;
Where'er sublime imagination trod,
He heard the voice, he saw the face of God.
Far from the western cliffs he cast his eye
O'er the wide ocean stretching to the sky:
In calm magnificence the sun declined,
And left a paradise of clouds behind :
Proud at his feet, with pomp of pearl and gold,
The billows in a sea of glory rolled.
"Ah! on this sea of glory might I sail,
Track the bright sun, and pierce the eternal veil
That hides those lands, beneath Hesperian skies,
Where daylight sojourns till our morrow rise!"
EARTH'S SERENEST PROSPECTS FLY, HOPE'S ENCHANTMENTS NEVER DIE."-MONTGOMERY.
"WHEN VIRTUE DROOPS, AS COMFORTS FAIL, AND SORE AFFLICTIONS PRESS THE MIND,-(MONTGOMERY,
Thoughtful he wandered on the beach alone;
Mild o'er the deep the vesper planet shone,
The eye of evening, brightening through the west
Till the sweet moment when it shut to rest :
'Whither, O golden Venus! art thou fled?
Not in the ocean-chambers lies thy bed;
Round the dim world thy glittering chariot drawn
Pursues the twilight, or precedes the dawn;
Thy beauty noon and midnight never see,
The morn and eve divide the year with thee."
Soft fell the shades, till Cynthia's slender bow
Crested the furthest wave, then sunk below:
"Tell me, resplendent guardian of the night,
Circling the sphere in thy perennial flight,
What secret path of heaven thy smiles adorn,
What nameless sea reflects thy gleaming horn?"
Now earth and ocean vanished, all serene
The starry firmament alone was seen;
Through the slow, silent hours, he watched the host
Of midnight suns in western darkness lost,
"Lights of heaven!" he
Till Night himself, on shadowy pinions borne,
Fled o'er the mighty waters, and the morn
Danced on the mountains.
"Lead on;-I go to win a glorious bride:
Fearless o'er gulfs unknown I urge my way,
Where peril prowls, and shipwreck lurks for prey:
Hope swells my sail;-in spirit I behold
That maiden world, twin-sister of the old,
By nature nursed beyond the jealous sea,
Denied to ages, but betrothed to me.'
The winds were prosperous, and the billows ore
The brave adventurer to the promised shore;
Far in the west, arrayed in purple light,
Dawned the new world on his enraptured sight:
THE CHRISTIAN'S NATIVE AIR."-MONTGOMERY.
SWEET HOPE PROLONGS HER PLEASING TALE, TILL ALL THE WORLD AGAIN LOOKS KIND."-MONTGOMERY.
"LORD, WHEN WE SEARCH THE HUMAN HEART, WE FIND A FALLEN WORLD WITHIN;-(MONTGOMERY)
WHEN AGE ADVANCES, MAY WE GROW IN FAITH AND LOVE,-(MONTGOMERY)
THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA.
Not Adam, loosened from the encumbering earth,
Waked by the breath of God to instant birth,
With sweeter, wilder wonder gazed around,
When life within and light without he found;
When, all creation rushing o'er his soul,
He seemed to live and breathe throughout the whole.
So felt Columbus, when, divinely fair,
At the last look of resolute despair,
The Hesperian isles, from distance dimly blue,
With gradual beauty opened on his view.
In that proud moment, his transported mind
The morning and the evening worlds combined,
And made the sea, that sundered them before,
A bond of peace, uniting shore to shore.
Vain, visionary hope! rapacious Spain
Followed her hero's triumph o'er the main;
Her hardy sons, in fields of battle tried,
Where Moor and Christian desperately died,-
A rabid race, fanatically bold,
And steeled to cruelty by lust of gold,—
Traversed the waves, the unknown world explored,
The cross their standard, but their faith the sword:
Their steps were graves; o'er prostrate realms they trod;
They worshipped Mammon while they vowed to God.
[From "The West Indies," part i.]
AND WALK IN HOLINESS BELOW TO HOLINESS ABOVE."-JAMES MONGOMERY.
THERE IS NO HEALTH IN ANY PART; SIN REIGNS THROUGHOUT, AND DEATH BY SIN."-MONTGOMERY.
"WE PERISH if we ceasE FROM PRAYER; OH, GRANT US POWER TO PRAY;-(MONTGOMERY)
LIKE GENIAL DEW, LIKE FERTILE showers,
THE COMMON LOT.
NCE, in the flight of ages past,
There lived a man :-And who was he?
Mortal! howe'er thy lot be cast,
That man resembled thee.
Unknown the region of his birth,
The land in which he died unknown:
His name hath perished from the earth;
This truth survives alone :-
That joy and grief, and hope and fear,
Alternate triumphed in his breast;
His bliss and woe,—a smile, a tear!
Oblivion hides the rest.
The bounding pulse, the languid limb,
The changing spirit's rise and fall;
We know that these were felt by him,
For these are felt by all.
He suffered-but his pangs are o'er ;
Enjoyed—but his delights are fled ;
Had friends-his friends are now no more;
And foes-his foes are dead.
He loved--but whom he loved the grave
Hath lost in its unconscious womb;
Oh! she was fair!-but nought could save
Her beauty from the tomb.
THE WORDS OF WISDOM FALL."-MONTGOMERY.
AND WHEN TO MEET THEE WE PREPARE, LORD, MEET US BY THE WAY."-MONTGOMERY.