Imágenes de páginas

butes of God. The “Satires" and the alterations in the construction of sere“ Night Thoughts" of Dr. Young had, ral lines, and imparted to others vahowever, already proved that it was rious minute and delicate touches, more than possible for the same mind which, in their combined effect, have to be engaged on topics so widely dis- given to the whole a stronger approxisimilar, and his success had demon- mation towards perfection. Additional strated that there was nothing incom- lines are also interspersed throughout patible in this diversified direction of the whole, amounting to about twenty the same poetical talents and mental pages, but without in the least respect energies.

altering any feature of its original With this illustrious example be- character. fore him, the author called forth all Having called his readers to witness his powers, and sent his " Omnipre- the birth of creation, and to see how sence of the Deity” into the world. the Holy SpiritOn its first appearance it was seized

“ With mighty wings outspread with much avidity by various classes Dovelike, sate brooding on the vast abyss, of readers, many of whom were no

And made it pregnant, doubt actuated by very different mo

the author, in the following lines, intives. A perusal of its pages soon

vites us to contemplate the ubiquity gave circulation to its fame, and this

of God: was followed by a demand for copies which the first impression was inade

“ And thus Thou wert, and art the Founquate to supply.

tain soul, One edition after

And countless worlds around thee live and roll; another has since been called for, and In sun and shade, in ocean and in air, the eighth is now in circulation. Diffused, yet undiminished-every where : of this poém many of the literary From worlds to atoms, angels down to man.

All life and motion from Thy source began, journals have spoken in terms of high

“ Lord of all being, where can fancy fly, panegyric; and nearly all of them, To what far realms, unmeasured by thine eye ? favorably. It is but fair lo state, that Where can we hide beneath Thy blazing sun, the editor of the Literary Gazette Where dwell'st Thou not, the boundless, views

less One ? seized an early opportunity to expa

“ Shall guilt couch down within the cavern's tiate on its excellencies. *

gloom, During the subsequent editions And quivering, groaning, meditate her doom?

Or scale the mountains where the whirlwinds through which the work has passed,

rest, the author has introduced some slight And in the night-blast cool her fiery breast !

* We cannot here forbear quoting a specimen from each of the reviews in the London Literary Gazette of the above works of Montgomery. They show that there must either have been a difference in the merit of the two works which one could hardly believe possible in the productions of the same pen within so short a period, or that the judgment of the editor must bare been influenced, in one or both cases, by something else than the intrinsic value of the work under review. In speaking of " The Age Reviewed,” the Gazette of June 9, 1827, has the following remarks :- Other bilious creatures try to spit and sputter their phlegm out in periodicals, or, at largest, in bits of pamphlets : but here we huve the disease in the afflicting form of octavo, and the quantity of froth and filth has a claim to attract more medical notice, and demand from humanity more curative physic ..... For the maladies of alliteration and antithesis, which constitute the whole virus of his pseudo poetry, we see no hope of cure : they are not merely in, they are the system ; and it would be as easy to make a Demosthenes out of a dumbwaiter, as a poet out of such garbish ..... Thus we have a compound of ignorance, incomprehensible verbiage, mean abuse, nonsense, vulgarity, folly, and obscenity-altogether one of the most despicable publications that ever insulted public caste-pushed forward with a degree of egotism and assurance, which, if ever information and judgment should accrue to the writer, (a result hardly to be hoped,) must be the source of much regret and mortification to him in his maturer years."-In a review of “ The Omnipresence of the Deity," the same writer, in the Literary Gazette for Feb. 2, 1828, thus speaks of that work and its author :-"We have no hesitation in ranking it in the very highest class of English Sacred Poesy. It reflects a new lustre on the name of Montgomery; and well deserves the utmost favor both of religious and poetical readers...... We most heartily recommend this extraordinary production to all the admirers of true genius ..... It is indeed a magnificent and sublime coniposition ..... Mr. M.'s lemperature is of the true and high poetic tone..... He has the soul to attempt, and the capacity to reach, the nobler, the noblest, inspirations of the Muse."


Within the cavern-gloom Thine eye can see, No stormy murmurs roll upon the waves.
The sky-clad mountains lift their heads to Nature is hush'd, as if her works adored,
Thee !

Still'd by the presence of her living Lord ! Thy Spirit rides upon the thunder storms, “ And now, while through the ocean-manDark’ning the skies into terrific forms !

tling haze Beams in the light’ning, rocks upon the seas, Roars in the blast, and whispers in the breeze. And moonlight loveliness hath veil'd the land,

A dizzy chain of yellow lustre plays, In calm and storm, in heaven and earth, Thou Go, stranger, muse thou by the wave-worn art,

strand : Trace but Thy works—they bring Thee to the Cent’ries have glided o'er the balanc'd earth,

heart! The fulness of Thy presence who can see


Myriads have bless'd, and myriads curs'd their Man cannot live, great God, and look on Thee; Still, yon sky-beacons keep a dimless glare, Around Thy form eternal lightnings glow,-- Unsullied as the God who thron’d them there! Thy voice appals the shudd'ring world below. Though swelling earthquakes heave the as“ Oh ! Egypt felt Thee when, by signs un

founded world, scared,

And king and kingdom from their pride are To mock Thy might the rebel monarch dared; hurl'd, Thou look’dst, and Ocean sever'd at the glance! Sublimely calm, they run their bright career, Undaunted still the charioteers advance : Unheedful of the storms and changes here. Thou look’dst again, she clashed her howling We want no hymn to hear, or pomp to see, waves,

For all around is deep divinity!” And roar'd in stormy triumph o'er their graves!

In speaking of man's immortality, “ On Sinai's mountain, when Thy glory came In rolls of thunder, and in clouds of fame;

the author, in the following extract, There, while volcanic smoke Thy throne o'er- inquires how, if this doctrine is not cast,

true, we are to account for the high And the mount shrunk beneath the trumpet- aspirations of the soul.

blast, How did Thy presence smite all Israel's eye ! “ And shall the soul, the fount of reason, die, How dreadful were the gleams of Deity! When dust and darkness round its temple lie ? “ There is a voiceless eloquence on earth,

Did God breathe in it no ethereal fire, Telling of Him who gave her wonders birth;

Dinless and quenchless, though the breath exAnd long may I remain th' adoring child

pire ? Of nature's majesty, sublime or wild;

Then why were godlike aspirations given, Hill, flood, and forest, mountain, rock, and sea,

That, scorning earth, so often frame a heaven? All take their terrors and their charms from Why does the ever-craving wish arise Thee,-

For something nobler than the world supplies ? From Thee, whose hidden but supreme control Ah, no ! it cannot be that men were sent Moves through the world, a universal soul.”

To live and languish on in discontent ;

That Soul was moulded to betrayful trust, After surveying the beauties of na

To feel like God, and perish like the dust.” ture with which our earth is richly

These quotations will give to those adorned, and the sublimer spectacles of our readers who have not read the which it occasionally presents to view, volume from which they are taken, a and discovering that the “ mercy- better idea of its nature and merits fountains of Divinity stream through than any reniarks we could make. all,” he thus directs his contemplation Faults inay be detected in these specito the starry heavens :

mens, and throughout the work; but “Now turn from earth to yonder glorious sky, we think the candid reader will agree Th’imagin'd dwelling-place of Deity ! Ye quenchless stars ! so eloquently bright,

with us that they are such as alUntroubled sentries of the shadowy night, most necessarily belong to the earWhile half the world is lapp'd in downy dreams, ly years of the author, and are infiAnd round the lattice creep your midnight nitely more than atoned for by the

beams, How sweet to gaze upon your placid eyes, genius and beauty with which they In lambent beauty looking from the skies ! are accompanied.

“ And when, oblivious of the world, we stray In May, 1828, but four months afAt dead of night along some noiseless way, How the heari mingles with the moon-lit hour,

ter the appearance of his “ OmnipreAs if the starry heavens suffused a power! sence of the Deity,” Mr. Montgomery See ! not a cloud careers yon pensile sweep, came again before the public as the A waveless sea of azure, still as sleep ; Full in her dreamy light, the Moon presides,

author of a work of a very different Shrin'd in a halo, mellowing as she rides ; character, entitled, “ The Puffiad : a And far around, the forest and the stream Satire." The object of the author in Bathe in the beauty of her emerald beam : The lull?d winds, too, aje sleeping in their this poem seems to have been to atcaves,

tack the practice of Pusing, and its

professors, particularly those in the create so much surprise as his “Omliterary line, against whom he pours nipresence of the Deity,” although, out a flood of wrath. The charges of as a whole, in no degree inferior to being too personal in his attacks on that work; for the genius and strength eminent individuals, of using mean of talent displayed in it were not comparisons, and coarse and vitupera- so unexpected, the perusal of the fortive language, were preferred against mer having given its readers a knowhim by more than one periodical jour- ledge of what the author was capable nal; and we must give it as our opin- in treating of subjects which require ion, that although there are many cle- that the Poet should ver passages in the poem, the Puffiad

“ Tread on shadowy ground, sink was not worthy of the high fame which Deep-and aloft ascending, breathe in worlds its author had so recently and deserv- To which the heaven of heavens is but a Feil." edly acquired. We can only quote As a review of this volumne has althe following lines, in which Mr. M. ready been published in the Athenespeaks in no very flattering terms of um,* it will be unnecessary at present his contemporary poets.

to do more than select a few short “ Like a mix'd herd of pigs, the sons of extracts. From the fate of Genius rhyme,

we quote a portion, as an example Methinks I see them up Parnassus climb: One grunts an epic with a hideous howl,

probably of the writer's own emotions. And nods his pond'rous head, and shakes his “ To have thy glory mapp'd upon the chart jowl;

of Time, and be immortal in the truth Another, half between a grunt and groan, And offspring of a lofty soul; to build Snuffles along, delighted with his tone; A monument of mind, on which the world The last, a little, whimpering, frisky thing, May gaze, and round it future ages throng, Squeaks a shrill stanza on the state and king. Such is the godlike wish forever warm Two faults, amid ten thousand more, combine And stirring in thy spirit's depth : and oft To bring dishonor on the poet's line ;

Beneath the mute magnificence of heaven, Facility and DULNESS :--both alike

When wandering at the radiant hour of noon, With sickly weariness the reader strike : Ambition dares, and hope secures thee all! First comes your vain-struck versifying fool, Who boasts at every hour his rhyme to rule ;

“ Romantic boy ! ambition is thy curse; So acquiescent is his frothy Muse,

And ere upon the pinnacle of fame She drivels nonsense whensoe'er he choose;

Thou stand'st, with triumph beaming from thy

brow, By sea or land--at supper or at tea-A-bed or up-one living rhyme is he !

The grave will hold thee and thy buried hopes.

The path to glory is a path of fire “ And round him, when he takes his quill in To feeling hearts, all gifted though they be, hand,

And martyrs to the genius they adore : What viewless, trash-inspiring Spirits stand ! The wear of passion and the waste of thought, First, Flippancy with her insensate tongue, The glow of inspiration, and the gloom Then Metaphor amid her daubings hung, That like a death-shade clouds the brightest Then Rhyme, with bells upon her hands and hour,toes,

And that fierce rack on which a faithless world And nimble Nonsense cackling as she goes ! Will make thee writhe-all these ennerving Thus aided, boldly is the strain begun,

pangs, And ready lines like loosen'd sluices run; With agonies that mock the use of words, While in one changeless, inexpressive chime, Thou canst not bear-thy temple is a tomb !" The syllables rush scamp’ring into rhyme !" In October, 1828, Mr. M. again

In the “ Vision of Heaven,” the appeared in the field in which he had Poet is in fancy borne upward, and

“* Beneath the span previously reaped so rich a harvest of

Of heaven, all earth lay languishing in light; fanie—that of Sacred Poetry. The Her streamlets with a bee-like murmur ran, work which he now presented to the And while the trees like living creatures waved public consisted of four poems,-“A Their plumage to the wind, the bird and breeze

Together hymn'd and harmonised the air. Universal Prayer; Death ; a Vision of

“ I roam'd, then sate delighted on a mound Heaven ; and a Vision of Hell,”-and Green-tress'd and glitt'ring in the dizzy rays two minor pieces : the whole in blank Of eve, and heavenward turn’d my musing eye. verse. This voluine was well receiv

Who ever glanced the heavens, nor dream'd of

God, .ed by the public. It did not indeed Of human destiny, and things divine ?

* See page 240, vol. 1.

O that mine eye could pierce yon azure cope! Of youth, in manhood's more imposing cares. Thus stirred the daring thought ; and while it Nor titled pomp, nor princely mansions; swell warm'd

The cloud of envy o'er my heart; for these Within, a trance like heavenly music stole Are oft delusive, though adored : but when Upon my spirit, weaning earthly sense, The Spirit speaks, or beauty from the sky Till, in a vision, up the airy deep

Descends into my being-when I hear It darted, as a sky-bird to the clouds !

The storm-hymns of the mighty ocean roll, ... Thus disembodied, thro' the air I wing’d, Or thunder sound, the champion of the storm! Till earth beneath me in the glassy depth

Then feel I envy for immortal words, Lay twinkling like a star."

The rush of living thought; oh! then I long

To dash my feelings into deathless verse, He recognises Milton in the celes- That may administer to unborn time, tial regions ; but,

And tell some lofty soul how I have lived “ Fairest of all fair visions seen above,

A worshiper of Nature and of Thee !” Remember'd loves and unforgotten friends What need of any panegyric, after Were recognised again! Along a mead Of bright immensity I saw them stray;

quoting passages like these ? Not anguish-worn, or rack'd with inward fears, From the preceding sketch it will But shining in the beauty of the bless'd : be seen that Mr. Montgoinery is still Oh! ye in life so loved, in death so mourned ! How oft affection through the desart world

a very young man. Through a train Delights to track ye where your feet have trod, of favorable circumstances, but more Thro' fav’rite walks, or fancy haunted bowers! by intrinsic merit, he has written himOn twilight breezes wing your voices ? or In fairy music fraught with infant years,

self into reputation ; we hope he will Are echoes woven from your hymns above ?

have the prudence not to write himIn mournful days and melancholy hours self out of it. We would strongly We think of you: we shrine ye in the stars,

caution him against venturing his chaAnd recreate ye in celestial dreams!”

racter for trifes. Many who have We must quote one eloquent burst

been less successful would rejoice at of personal feeling.

his downfall, and even lend a helping “ How oft,-be witness, Guardian of our days!

hand to accomplish his overthrow. In noons of young delight, while o'er the down, The pinnacle to which he is elevated Humming like bees, my happy playmates is hazardous in the extreme. We

roam'd, I loved on high and hoary crag to muse,

must say of him, in conclusion, and it And round the landscape with delighted eye : is his most encouraging praise, that The sky besprinkled o'er with rainbow hues, we think him capable of much more As if angelic wings had wanton'd there ; The distanced city capp'd with hazy towers;

than he has done : he has feelings that And river shyly roaming by its banks require to be cultivated by thoughts, Of green repose,-together with the play -there are high models for him to Of elfin-music on the fresh-wing'd air, Entranced with these, how often have' glow'd emulate, and a store of years that may With thoughts that panted to be eloquent,

be sown for golden barvest ;-and our Yet only ventured forth in tears !

parting advice is, “ While we com

mend you for the present, let your Though haply mellow'd by correcting time, I thank thee, Heaven, that the bereaving world

own hopes dwell upon the future, -for Hath not diminish'd the subliming hopes

futurity is the poet's best heritage."


“ And now,


[ocr errors]

[The following humorous description of tion, that having heard this work called a the pleasures and pains attending an ele- splendid annual, he is induced to publish vation to, and fall from, rank and power, in its pages his own history, hoping for is by the author of“ Sayings and Doings.” sympathy from its readers, seeing that he It is from the July number of a monthly has been a SPLENDID ANNUAL” himself.] journal intended as a continuation of the " Anniversary,” an Annual, which last My name is Scropps—I am an Alderyear ranked among the first of the many

man-1 was Sheriff-I have been elegant volumes of the same charac- Lord Mayor-and the three great eras Mr. Scropps says,

his introduc- of my existence were the year of


my shrierally, the year of my mayor- decessor Whittington, might have alty, and the year after it. Until I heard in that peal a prediction of my had passed through this ordeal I had future exaltation ; certain it is I did no conception of the extremes of not; and, wearied with my journey, I happiness and wretchedness to which took up my lodging for the night at a a human eing may be carried, nor very humble house near Smithfield, to ever believed that society presented which I had been kindly recommend to its members, an eminence so ex- ed by the driver of a return postchaise, alted as that which I once touched, of whose liberal offer of the moiety of or imagined a fall so great as that his bar to town I had availed myself which I experienced.

at Barnet. I came originally from that place to As it is not my intention to deduce which persons of bad character are a moral from my progress in the said to be sent-I mean Coventry, world at this period of my life, I need where my father for many years con- not here dilate upon the good policy tributed his share to the success of of honesty, or the advantages of temparliamentary candidates, the happi- perance and perseverance, by which I ness of new married couples, and worked my way upwards, until aster even the gratification of ambitious meriting the confidence of an excelcourtiers, by taking part in the manu- lent master, I found myself enjoying facture of ribands for election cock- it fully. To his business I succeeded ades, wedding favors, and cordons of at his death, having several years bechivalry; but trade failed, and, like fore, with his sanction, married a his betters, he became bankrupt, but, young and deserving woman, about unlike his betters, without any conse my own age, of whose prudence and quent advantage to himself; and I, skill in household matters I had long at the age of fifteen, was thrown had a daily experience. In the subupon the world with nothing but a ordinate character of his sole domesstrong constitution, a moderate educa- tic servant, in which she figured when tion, and fifteen shillings and eleven I first knew ber, she had but few oppence three farthings in my pocket. portunities of displaying her intellec

With these qualifications I started tual qualities, but when she rose in from my native town on a pedestrian the world, and felt the cheering influexcursion to London; and although I ence of prosperity, her mind, like a fell into none of those romantic ad- balloon soaring into regions where the ventures of which I had read at bright sun beams on it, expanded, and school, I met with more kindness than she became, as she remains, the kind the world generally gets credit for, unsophisticated partner of my sorrows and on the fourth day after my depart- and my pleasures, the friend of my ure, having slept soundly, if not mag- heart, and the guiding star of my nificently, every night, and eaten with destinies. an appetite which my mode of tra To be brief, Providence blessed my velling was admirably calculated to efforts and increased my means; I stimulate, reached the great metropo- became a wholesale dealer in everylis, having preserved of my patrimony thing, from barrels of gunpowder no less a sum than nine shillings and down to pickled herrings; in the seven pence.

civic acceptation of the word I was a The bells of one of the churches in merchant, amongst the vulgar I am the city were ringing merrily as I de- called a drysalter. I accumulated scended the heights of Islington; and wealth ; with my fortune my family were it not that my patronymic also grew, and one male Scropps, and Scropps never could, under the most four female ditto, grace my board at improved system of campanology, be least once in every week; for I hold jingled into anything harmonious, I it an article of faith to have a sirloin have no doubt I, like my great pre- of roasted beef upon my table on Sun

« AnteriorContinuar »