« ElőzőTovább »
he added, in a lower tone, as he took his brother's hand in his own still feeble grasp, “Tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner!" - Transformed.
ONTGOMERY, JAMES, a British poet; born
at Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, November 4,
1776; died at Sheffield, Yorkshire, April 30, 1854. He was sent to a school at Fulneck, Yorkshire, at the age of five, and began to write verses before he was ten. In 1786 he was placed under a tradesman at Mirfield, Yorkshire; after a year he ran away to Wash, where he took a similar position. This he held for five years, excepting eight months as a book
a seller's clerk in London. In 1792 he removed to Sheffield to assist Joseph Gates in conducting the Register, a Liberal paper; this passed into his control two years later, and its name was changed to the Iris. He edited it till 1825. Under the oppressive laws of that era he was twice fined and imprisoned, in 1795 and 1796, the second time for an alleged seditious libel. His Prison Amusements, written in jail, appeared in 1797. It was followed by The Wanderer of Switzerland (1806); The West Indies (1809); The World Before the Flood (1812); Greenland (1819); The Pelican Island (1827). These longer pieces did not best exhibit his talents, and he wisely devoted most of his strength to lyrics, for which he had a graceful and effective talent. The amiability and purity of his character were reflected in his poems, which won great popularity, while he personally came to be greatly respected and beloved, especially in the religious world.
Always a Moravian, he was closely associated alike with the clergy of the English Church and with the Dissenting bodies, and his pen was at the service of every philanthropic and missionary movement. He is known most widely by his Hymns. He also published Prose by a Poet, Lectures on Poetry and English Literature (1830). In 1835 he was pensioned, and the same year declined the chair of rhetoric in Edinburgh University.
THE COMMON LOT.
Once, in the flight of ages past,
There lived a man - and who was he?
That man resembled thee.
Unknown the region of his birth,
The land in which he died unknown:
This truth survives alone:
That joy and grief, and hope and fear,
Alternate triumphed in his breast:
Oblivion hides the rest.
The bounding pulse, the languid limb,
The changing spirits rise and fall,
For these are felt by all.
He suffered but his pangs are o'er;
Enjoyed — but his delights are fled;
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 naught could save
Her beauty from the tomb.
He saw whatever thou hast seen,
Encountered all that troubles thee; He was — whatever thou hast been;
He is — what thou shalt be.
The rolling seasons, day and night,
Sun, moon, and stars, the earth and main, Erewhile his portion, life and light,
To him exist in vain.
The clouds and sunbeams o'er his eye,
That once their shades and glory threw, Have left in yonder silent sky
No vestige where they flew.
The annals of the human race,
Their ruins, since the world began, Of him affords no other trace
Than this -- There lived a man!
THE OLD MAN'S SONG.
Shall man of frail fruition boast'?
Shall life be counted dear, Oft but a moment, and at most
A momentary year?
There was a time that time is past
When, youth, I bloomed like thee;
When thou shalt fade like me:
Like me, through varying seasons range,
And past enjoyments mourn:
To winter in its turn.
In infancy, my vernal prime,
When life itself was new, Amusement plucked the wings of time,
Yet swifter still he flew.
Summer my youth succeeded soon,,
My sun ascended high, And pleasure held the reins till noon,
But grief drove down the sky.
Like autumn, rich in ripening corn,
Came manhood's sober reign; My harvest-moon scarce filled her hour,
When she began to wane.
Close followed age, infirm old age,
The winter of my year;
To rise beyond the sphere?
I long to cast the chains away
That hold my soul a slave,
Enfranchised from the grave.
Life lies in embryo — never free
Till Nature yields her breath; Till Time becomes Eternity,
And man is born in death.
Night is time for rest:
How sweet, when labors close, To gather round an aching breast
The curtain of repose, Stretch the tired limbs and lay the head Down on our own delightful bed !
Night is the time for dreams :
The gay romance of life, VOL. XVII.-5
When truth that is, and truth thať seems,
Mix in fantastic strife:
To plough the classic field,
Its wealthy furrows yield,
Night is the time to weep:
To wet with unseen tears
The joys of other years;
Night is the time to watch:
O'er ocean's dark expanse To hail the Pleiades, or catch
The full moon's earliest glance, That brings into the homesick mind All we have loved and left behind.
Night is the time for care:
Brooding on hours misspent,
Come to our lonely tent;
When from the eye the soul
Of yonder starry pole
Night is the time to pray:
Our Saviour oft withdrew