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who, after having completed his studies, rarely was it necessary to inflict any chaswas offered some mark of respect by the tisement upon him. Twice only was he corporation of a great town. Rising to re-beaten, and then very gently. For acts of ply, he cast his eyes around him and said, "Messieurs!" Having made this observation and allowed due time for applause, he bethought him that it would be worth while saying it again, and accordingly he repeated, "Messieurs!" This, at least, was emphatic; the whole assembly hung upon the word, and listened anxiously for its successor; but the princely lips were stationary, his eye was vacant. An uneasy sensation began to spread; each man looked at his neighbor; people felt ashamed, as they always do when listening to a hesitating orator. At length, however, a third time the air was moulded into sound, and a third time the emphatic "Messieurs!" was uttered. The force of patience, or even loyalty could no farther go; a general titter went round, and the unfortunate young man rushed out of the room, hid himself from the public gaze, and, with tears in his eyes, cursed the tutors who had given him the rudiments of all the sciences, but had not taught him how to express himself in his own language.

We must

commission he seems rarely to have de-
served punishment. No one feared that he
would do ill, but that he would do nothing.
He was not even greedy after those things
which children most covet, as sugar, sweet-
meats, and cakes. It was necessary to
compel him to eat them, which was done
from an opinion that this refusal of delicate
food arose from excessive delicacy of taste.
Montaigne left college in 1546, and
from that time until he was grown up
or nothing is known of his life.
suppose that he continued, though not
very assiduously, the studies he had begun,
but that the manners, habits, opinions, and
ideas of his times, opposed themselves to
any inclination he might have felt to devote
the principal part of his leisure to the ac-
quisition of book-learning. It would seem
that, from the period of which we speak
until he was nearly forty years of age, his
life resembled that of his neighbors and
equals. We know that he early became
councillor in the parliament of Bourdeaux,
that he led a dissipated life for some time,
that he made a mariage de convenance; but
it is almost impossible to trace the pro-
gress of his intellect. That it did devel-
ope itself we know, and likewise that it de-
veloped itself in the direction which might
have been expected from his early educa-
tion. But there is little beyond conjecture

From what we have said above, it would appear that the rapidity with which Montaigne went through his studies was almost unexampled. His extravagant assertions of incapacity, therefore, seem designed to exalt his natural powers by the depreciation of his acquirements. The truth seems to be, that young Montaigne was not what to enable us to determine whether he lost is called a brilliant boy. He was inclined to physical inactivity, so much so that it was difficult to persuade him to join in the games natural to his age; but it is evident that his idleness arose partly from love of contemplation. When he did condescend to play, however, his thoughts and sentiments so governed his actions, that he never attempted to gain an advantage by any of those arts of childish dishonesty which evince the absence of a rule within.

The slow, deliberate, and somewhat stolid manners of Montaigne when a boy, arose in part, likewise, out of a certain pride springing from a consciousness of superiority. His meditations, which he employed about few things, and such only as he could seize with a firm grasp, produced as offspring ideas singularly daring, and opinions above his age. These, in general, he kept to himself, digesting them in private for his own use. His character seems to have been at all times gentle, and

or gained more from having been plunged for nearly twenty years in the gaieties of French society in the sixteenth century.

From Tait's Magazine.
JAMES MONTGOMERY.

BY GEORGE GILFILLAN, AUTHOR OF " A GALLERY
OF LITERARY PORTRAITS."

SOME four or five years ago, the inhabitants of a large city in the north of Scotland were apprised, by handbills, that James Montgomery, Esq., of Sheffield, the poet, was to address a meeting on the subject of Moravian missions. This announcement, in the language of Dr. Caius, "did bring de water into our mouth." The thought of seeing a live poet, of European reputation, arriving at our very door, in a remote cor

And is

ner, was absolutely electrifying. We went strings of the popular passions, have enjoyed. early to the chapel where he was announc a better reception than this true, tender, and ed to speak, and ere the lion of the evening holy poet? But secondly, Is not this true, appeared, amused ourselves with watching tender, and holy poet partly himself to and analyzing the audience which his ce- blame? Has he not put himself in a false lebrity had collected. It was not very nu- position? Has he not too readily lent himself merous, and not very select. Few of the as an instrument of popular excitement? grandees of the city had condescended to Is this progress of his altogether a poet's honor him with their presence. Stranger progress? Would Milton, or Cowper, or still, there was but a sparse supply of cler- Wordsworth have submitted to it? gy, or of the prominent religionists of the it in good taste for him to eke out his oratown. The church was chiefly filled with fe- tions by long extracts from his own poems ? males of a certain age, one or two stray" hero Homer, it is true, sang his own verses; but worshippers," like ourselves, a few young la- he did it for food. Montgomery recites dies who had read some of his minor poems, them, but it is for fame. and, whose eyes seemed lighted up with a We pass now gladly-as we did in thought, gentle fire of pleasure in the prospect of then-from the progress to the poet-pilgrim seeing the author of those "beautiful verses himself. We have long admired and loved. on the Grave, and Prayer," and two or three James Montgomery. We loved him ere. who had come from ten miles off to see and we could admire him: we wept under his hear the celebrated poet, When he at spell ere we did either the one or the other.. length appeared, we continued to marvel at We will not soon forget the Sabbath evening the aspect of the platform. Instead of be--it was in golden summer tide-when we ing supported by the élite of the city, instead first heard his "Grave" repeated, and wept. of forming a rallying centre of attraction as we heard it. It seemed to come, as it and unity to all who had a sympathy with professed to come, from the grave itself—a piety or with genius for leagues round it, a still small voice of comfort and of hope, few obscure individuals presented them- even from that stern abyss. It was a fine. selves, who seemed rather anxious to catch and bold idea to turn the great enemy into a little éclat from him, than to delight to do a comforter, and elicit such a reply, so tenhim honor. The evening was rather ad-der and submissive, to the challenge, “O vanced ere he rose to speak. His appear-Grave, where is thy victory?" Triumphing ance, so far as we could catch it, was quite in prospect over the Sun himself, the grave in keeping with the spiritual cast of his po-proclaims the superiority and immunity of etry. He was tall, thin, bald, with a face the soul

The Sun is but a spark of fire,

A transient meteor in the sky;
But thou! immortal as his Sire,
Shalt never die.

of sharp outline, but mild expression; and we looked with no little reverence on the eye which had shot fire into the Pelican Island, and on the hand (skinny enough we ween,) which had written "The Grave." Surely no well in the wilderness ever He spoke in a low voice, sinking occasion-sparkled out to the thirsty traveller a voice ally into an inaudible whisper: but his ac-more musical, more tender, and more cheertion was fiery and his pantomime striking.ing, than this which Montgomery educes In the course of his speech he alluded, with from the jaws of the narrow house. Soon considerable effect, to the early heroic afterwards we became acquainted with some struggles of Moravianism, when she was of his other small pieces, which then seized. yet alone in the death-grapple with the pow- and which still occupy the principal place ers of Heathen darkness, and closed (when in our regards. Indeed it is on his little did he ever close a speech otherwise?) by poems that the permanency of his fame is: quoting a few vigorous verses from himself. likely to rest, as it is into them that he has We left the meeting, we remember, with chiefly shed the peculiarity and the beauty of two wondering questions ringing in our his genius. James Montgomery has little. ears: first, Is this fame? of what value inventive or dramatic power; he cannot reputation, which, in a city of sixty thou-write an epic: none of his larger poems, sand inhabitants, is so freezingly acknow-while some are bulky, can be called great; ledged? Would not any empty, mouthing but he is the best writer of hymns, (undercharlatan, any "twopenny tear-mouth," any standing a hymn simply to mean a shor irepainted, stupid savage, any clever juggler, ligious effusion,) in the language He any dexterous player upon the fiery harp- catches the transient emotions of the piou

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heart, which arise in the calm evening walk, manly enthusiasm. One is reminded of the where the saint, like Isaac, goes out into artless sinkings and soarings, lingerings and the fields to meditate; or under the still hurryings of David's matchless minstrelsies, and star-fretted midnight; or on his own which come and go like the sounds of mudelightful bed;" or in pensive contempla- sic borne on the wind. Profound insight: tions of the "Common Lot;" or under the is not peculiarly Montgomery's forte. He Swiss heaven, where evening hardly closes is rather a seraph than a cherub; rather a the eye of Mont Blanc, and stirs lake Le- burning than a knowing one. He kneels ; man's waters with a murmur like a sleeper's he looks upward with rapt eye; he covers prayer wherever, in short, piety kindles at times his face with his wing; but he does into the poetic feeling such emotions, he not ask awful questions, or cast strong catches, refines, and embalms in his snatch-though baffled glances into the solid and ines of lyric song. As Wordsworth has ex- tolerable glory. You can never apply to pressed sentiments which the "solitary lov-him the words of Gray. He never has er of nature was unable to utter, save with" passed the bounds of flaming space, where glistening eye and faltering tongue," so angels tremble as they gaze." He has Montgomery has given poetic form and never invaded those lofty but dangerous rewords, to breathings and pantings of the gions of speculative thought, where some Christian's spirit, which himself never sus- have dwelt till they have lost all piety, save pected to be poetical at all, till he saw them its grandeur and gloom. He does not rea reflected in verse. He has caught and crys- son, far less doubt, on the subject of religion tallized the tear dropping from the penitent's at all; it is his only to wonder, to love, to eye; he has echoed the burden of the heart, weep, and to adore. Sometimes, but selsighing with gratitude to Heaven; he has dom, can he be called a sublime writer. In arrested and fixed in melody, the "upward his "Wanderer of Switzerland," he blows glancing of an eye, when none but God is a bold horn, but the echoes and the avalannear." In his verse, and in Cowper's, the ches of the highest Alps will not answer or poetry of ages of devotion has broken si- fall to his reveille. In his "Greenland," lence, and spoken out. Religion, the most he expresses but faintly the poetry of poetical of all things, had, for a long season, Frost; and his line is often cold as a glabeen divorced from song, or had mistaken cier. His "World before the Flood," is a pert jingle, impudent familiarity, and dog- misnomer. It is not the young virgin ungerel, for its genuine voice. It was reserved drowned world it professes to be. In his for the bards of Olney and Sheffield, to re-" West Indies," there is more of the ardent new and to strengthen the lawful and holy wedlock.

Montgomery, then, is a religious lyrist, and as such, is distinguished by many peculiar merits. His first quality is a certain quiet simplicity of language, and of purpose. His is not the ostentatious, elaborate, and systematic simplicity of Wordsworth; it is unobtrusive, and essential to the action of his mind. It is a simplicity, which the diligent student of Scripture seldom fails to derive from its pages, particularly from its histories and its psalms. It is the simplicity of a spirit which religion has subdued as well as elevated, and which consciously spreads abroad the wings of its imagination, under the eye God. As if each poem were a prayer, so is he sedulous that its words be few and well ordered. In short, his is not so much the simplicity of art, nor the simplicity of nature, as it is the simplicity of faith. It is the virgin dress of one of the white-robed priests in the ancient temple. It is the simplicity which, by easy and rapid transition, mounts into bold and

emancipator than of the poet; you catch
but dimly, through its correct and measured
verse, a glimpse of Ethiopia, a dreadful ap-
pellant, standing with one shackled foot on
the rock of Gibraltar, and the other on the
Cape of Good Hope, and "stretching forth
her hands" to an avenging God. And al-
though, in the horrors of the middle passage,
there were elements of poetry, yet it was a
poetry which our author's genius is too
gentle and timid fully to extract.
As soon
could he have added a story to Ugolino's
tower, or another circle to the Inferno, as
have painted that pit of heat, hunger, and
howling despair, the hold of a slave vessel.
Let him have his praise, however, as the
constant and eloquent friend of the negro,
and as the laureate of his freedom. The
high note struck at first by Cowper in his
lines, "I would not have a slave," &c., it
was reserved for Montgomery to echo and
swell up, in reply to the full diapason of the
liberty of Ham's children proclaimed in all
the isles which Britain claims as hers. And
let us hope that he will be rewarded before

the close of his existence, by hearing, though [serted in Longfellow's beautiful romance of it were in an ear half shut in death, a loud- Hyperion, with no notice or apparent knower, deeper, more victorious shout springing ledge of their authorship. They describe from emancipated America, and of saying, like Simeon of old, "Lord, now let thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.'

a mood of his own mind while passing a night among the Alps, and contain a faithful transcript of the emotions which, thick and sombre as the shadows of the mounThe plan of "The Pelican Island" was tains, crossed his soul in its solitude. There an unfortunate one, precluding as it did al- are no words of Foster's, which to us posmost entirely human interest, and rapid sess more meaning than that simple expresvicissitude of events; and resting its power sion in his first essay, "solemn meditations principally upon the description of foreign of the night." Nothing in spiritual history objects, and of slow though majestic pro- is more interesting. What vast tracts of cesses of nature. Once, and once only, in thought does the mind sometimes traverse this and perhaps in any of his poems, does when it cannot sleep! What ideas, that he rise into the rare region of the sublime. had bashfully presented themselves in the It is in the description of the sky of the light of day, now stand out in bold relief, south, a subject which indeed is itself in- and authoritative dignity! How vividly spiration. And yet, in that solemn sky, the appear before us the memories of the past! great constellations, hung up in the wonder- How do, alas! past struggles and sins reing evening air, the Dove, the Raven, the turn to recollection, rekindling on our Ship of Heaven, "sailing from Eternity;" cheeks their first fierce blushes unseen in the Wolf, "with eyes of lightning watching the darkness! How new a light is cast upthe Centaur's spear;" the Altar blazing, on the great subjects of spiritual contemeven at the footsteps of Jehovah's throne;" plation! What a "browner horror" falls the Cross," meek emblem of Redeeming upon the throne of death, and the pale love," which bends at midnight as when kingdoms of the grave! What projects are they were taking down the Saviour of the then formed, what darings of purpose conworld, and which greeted the eye of Hum-ceived, and how fully can we then underboldt as he sailed over the still Pacific, had stand the meaning of the poet, so hung and so burned for ages, and no poet had sung their praises. "In lonely glens, amid the roar of rivers, Patience, ye gloWhen the st Il nights were moonless,have I known rious tremblers! In a page of this "Peli-Joys that no tongue can tell; my pale lip quivers can Island," a page bright as your own When thought revisits them!" beams, and like them immortal, shall your splendors be yet inscribed. This passage, And when, through the window, looks in which floats the poem, and will long memor-on us one full glance of a clear large star, ize Montgomery's name, is the more re- how startlingly it seems, like a conscious, markable, as the poet never saw but in mild, yet piercing eye; how strongly it imagination that unspeakable southern mid-points, how soothingly it mingles with our night. And yet we are not sure but, of ob- meditations, and as with a leash of fire leads jects so transcendent, the "vision of our them away into still remoter and more mysown" is the true vision, and the vision that terious regions of thought! Such a mediought to be perpetuated in song. For our tation Montgomery has embodied in these parts, we, longing as we have ever done to beautiful verses; but then He is up amid the see the Cross of the South, would almost midnight and all its stars; he is out amid fear to have our longings gratified, and to the Alps, and is catching on his brow the find the reality, splendid as it must be, sub-living breath of that rarest inspiration which stituted for that vast image of bright quiv-moves amid them, then and then alone. ering stars, which has so long loomed before our imaginations, and so often visited our dreams. Indeed, it is a question, in reference to objects which must, even when seen, derive their interest from imagination, whether they be not best seen by its eye alone.

Among Montgomery's smaller poems, the finest is the " Stanzas at Midnight," composed in Switzerland, and which we see in

We mentioned Cowper in conjunction with Montgomery in a former sentence.They resemble each other in the pious purpose and general simplicity of their writings, but otherwise are entirely distinct.Cowper's is a didactic, Montgomery's a romantic piety. Cowper's is a gloomy, Montromery's a cheerful religion. Cowper has in him a fierce and bitter vein of satire, often irritating into invective; we find no

traces of any such thing in all Montgomery's writings. Cowper's withering denunciations seem shreds of Elijah's mantle, torn off in the fiery whirlwind. Montgomery is clothed in the softer garments, and breathes the gentler genius of the new economy.And as poets, Montgomery, with more imagination and elegance, is entirely destitute of the rugged strength of sentiment, the exquisite keenness of observation, the rich humor and the awful personal pathos of Cowper.

Montgomery's hymns (properly so called), we do not much admire. They are adapted, and seem written, for such an assemblage of greasy worshippers,such lank-haired young men, such virgins wise and foolish, such children small and great, as meet to lift up their "most sweet voices" within Methodistic sanctuaries. They have in them often a false gallop of religious sentimentalism. Their unction has been kept too long, and has a savor not of the sweetest; they abound less indeed than many of their class, in such endearing epithets as "dear Lord," "dear Christ," "sweet Jesus," &c.; but are not entirely free from these childish decorations. A stern Scottish taste, accustomed to admire such effusions as the Dies Iræ, and to sing such productions as our rough and manly Psalms, and our sweet and unpretending Paraphrases, cannot away with the twopenny trump of the English devotional hymn, degraded by recollections of Watts' Psalms, Wesley, Tate, and Brady, even when it is touched by the master hands of a Cowper or a Montgomery. That one song, sung by the solitary Jewish maiden in Ivanhoe, (surely the sweetest strain ever uttered since the spoilers of Judah did by Babel's streams require of its captives a song, and were answered in that melting melody which has drawn the tears and praises of all time,) is worth all the hymnbooks that were ever composed. Montgomery's true hymns, are those which bear not the name, but which sing, and for ever will sing, their own quiet tune to simple and pious spirits.

Of Montgomery's prose we might say much that was favorable. It is truly "Prose by a Poet," to borrow the title of one of his works. You see the poet every now and then dropping his mask, and showing his flaming eyes. It is enough of itself to confute the vulgar prejudice against the prose of poets. Who indeed but a poet has ever written, or can ever write good prose, prose that will live? What prose, to take but one example, is comparable to the prose VOL. IX. No. II. 17

of Shakspeare-many of whose very best passages, as Hamlet's description of man, Falstaff's death, the speech of Brutus, that dreadful grace before meat of Timon, which is of misanthropy the quaintest and most appalling quintessence, and seems fit to have preceded a supper in Eblis, &c., are not in verse? Montgomery's prose criticism we value less for its exposition of principles, or for its originality, in which respects it is deficient, than for its generous and eloquent enthusiasm. It is delightful to find in an author, who had so to struggle up his way to distinction, such a fresh and constant sympathy with the success and the merits of others. In this point he reminds us of Shelley, who, hurled down at one time, by universal acclamation, into the lowest abyss of contempt, both as an author and a man, could look up from it to breathe sincere admiration toward those who had usurped the place in public favor to which he was, and knew he was, entitled. We are not reminded of the Lakers, whose tarnlike narrowness of critical spirit is the worst and weakest feature in their characters.Truly a great mind never looks so contemptible as when, stooping from its pride of place, it exchanges its own high aspirations after fame, for poor mouse-like nibblings at the reputation of others.

Many tributes have been paid of late years to the Pilgrim's Progress. The lips of Coleridge have waxed eloquent in its praise; Southey and Macaulay have here embraced each other; Cheever, from America, has uttered a powerful sound in proclamation of its unmatched merits but we are mistaken if its finest panegyric be not that contained in Montgomery's preface, prefixed to the Glasgow edition. In it all the thankfulness cherished from childhood, in a poet's and a Christian's heart, toward this benign and beautiful book, comes gushing forth; and he closes the tribute with the air of one who has relieved himself from a deep burden of gratitude. Indeed, this is the proper feeling to be entertained toward all works of genius; and an envious or malign criticism upon such is not so much a defect in the intellect, as it is a sin of the heart. It is a blow struck in the face of a benefactor. A great author is one who lays a priceless treasure at our door; and if we at once reject the boon and spurn the giver, ours is not an error simply, it is a deadly crime.

The mention of Bunyan and Montgomery in conjunction, irresistibly reminds us of a

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