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OR, COMPENDIUM OF. RELIGIOUS, MORAL, & PHILOSOPHICAL KNOWLEDGE.
« LEARNING HAS DECLARED WAR AGAINST IGNORANCE."
descent, but somewhat unfortunate as to the
inheritance of family property. The father of ROBERT MONTGOMERY.
the elder Montgomery, and grandfather of (With a Portrait.)
the youthful poet, was, we have been given Few works within the compass of modern to understand, a brother to General Montliterature, have beamed upon the world gomery, whose exploits rendered him conwith so much sudden and unexpected spicuous during the American war, and splendour, as a satire entitled, “ The Age whose name is enrolled with those of other reviewed," and a poem on “ The Omni heroes, who distinguished themselves during presence of the Deity," for both of which, that eventful period. The poet's grandwe understand, the public are indebted to father was a merchant, who, amidst his the pen of Mr. Robert Montgomery. Of speculations, was by his relation deprived these publications, the latter has excited of a large fortune, which his family ought such a deep and general interest, in the to have enjoyed. This disaster occasioned minds of the reading portion of the com- great distress amongst its several branches, munity, that in the short space of four and made sad havoc in their destinies and months, no less than five editions have hopes. issued from the press. This circumstance Our poet's mother was the daughter of a is at once highly flattering to the author's gentleman originally bred to the law. He talents, and equally creditable to those by was the descendant of a highly respectable whom his works have been patronized. family in Hampshire, and though a man of
To those who have been charmed with unassuming and retiring habits, was highly the emanations of Mr. Montgomery's ge- esteemed by all who knew him, as an nius, the contour and lineaments of his orator, a theologian, and a mathematician.' countenance cannot fail to be pleasing. Mr. Robert Montgomery, after receiving Under this impression we were led to solicit an excellent classical education, was for a his portrait, and in our application we have season destined for some profession, and been successful. It has been taken pur. at one time was desirous of entering posely for the Imperial Magazine by an Magdalen Hall, to prepare himself for the eminent artist, and executed in a masterly church. While this was in contemplation, style; it is now presented to the public, like many of his youthful compeers, he accompanied with a brief biographical produced numerous scraps of poetry, some sketch, the particulars of which, though of which were not very remarkable either scanty, have been derived from the most for harmony of numbers or profundity of authentic sources.
thought, while others were distinguished by Of one whose career in literature has various degrees of merit. With some of been as short as it has been successful these detached and fugitive pieces, the and fortunate, little perhaps can be said of author's first appearance was in the pages of any interest to veterans who have been the Imperial Magazine. This circumstance through life engaged in similar pursuits. was not without its influence on his future It is, however, always pleasing to trace the resolutions to attempt a more elevated flight development of intellect under all ages and on the Parnassian hills. circumstances, and to gather facts which There can be little doubt, that many, at tend to illustrate the mental character; and this early age, have written pieces far supetherefore, without any further prefatory rior to those of our author, who, as they remarks, we shall lay before the reader the advanced in years, were never able to few particulars we have been able to acquire poetical fame, or literary reputacollect.
tion. The early notice which their proMr. Robert MONTGOMERY, who is still ductions obtained, vanished as they 'adin his minority, was born at Bath in the vanced to maturity. Those, on the conyear 1807. His father was a gentleman of trary, composed by Mr. Montgomery, Irish extraction, of honourable and ancient excited at first little or no attention, while 114.-VOL. X.
the lapse of a few years, ripening to matu- | praise. These in their united testimonies rity the fertility of his genius, has placed soon drew the public eye from the tribunal him on an eminence which the most fortu. in which it had been sentenced, and “The nate bards of our country have been | Age reviewed” instantly assumed its proper proud to occupy. The phenomena of the station among the poetical compositions of human mind puzzle prognostication as the day. well as deceive it, and we must wait the As a satire, it is strong, active, galling, arrival of more light than philosophy or and every where full of vigour. Viewing reason now possesses, before we can hope it as an edge-tool, we can scarcely dare to to unfold its latent mysteries.
touch it without cutting our fingers ; as a The first avowed and decisive attempt serpent, it bites with severity whatever of Mr. M. to appear before the public in comes within its reach; and wherever we the character of an author, was in a weekly trace its progress, the effects.of its stings periodical entitled, “ The Inspector,” which are always left behind. . consisted of essays, fragments, sketches, Young, ardent, and enthusiastic, the and effusions of various kinds, though author, hurried on by the energies of his uniformly of a moral and useful tendency.muse, unfortunately discharged his arrows This hebdomadal pamphlet first started in against numerous individuals, without that his native city, under his immediate super- due discrimination of character, which, as intendence, and was sold at threepence the friend of virtue and morals, he ought per number. Here it continued for six always to have kept in view. We do months; but the atmosphere of Bath not not, however, charge him with having been being congenial to its constitution, it was actuated by any malignant motives, towards removed to London, where, though che- those whose zeal and peculiarities have rished by its parent, and assisted by some procured them a gibbet in his pages; but able literary physicians, its illness increased, we feel assured, that in a future edition, and, after languishing for a season, it gave which we understand he is now carefully up the ghost.
revising for the press, his discretion will Our author being now in London, and find ample opportunities of expunging the occasion of his coming having been offensive passages, and of directing the discontinued, some new effort for the exer | whole force of his satirical energy into a cise of his talents became necessary, not channel where it may subserve the cause of merely for the acquirement of fame, but virtue, and benefit mankind. for what, to bards as well. as others, has a From among a motley swarm, whom still more imperious claim. Thus circum- infamy has rendered notorious, the author stanced, he laid the foundation of a severe in this pointed satire has selected two, and biting satire, entitled, “The Age whose characters, in the following lines, he reviewed," which, accompanied with a thus forcibly delineates : spirited political dialogue, entitled, “ The
" Now for the apex of polluted souls, Runaways,” came before the public in an No shame subdues, no reverence controuls,
Puff'd into pertness, pand'ring to the time,
Two pinnacles of blasphemy and crime ;-
Blots on her land, and pestful to the air, to drop still-born from the press. By the
C and T- !-may each kindred name,
Be linked to one eternity of shame! Literary Gazette it was condemned in language of no common severity, the writer of
« First, thou, the cap'ring coxcomb of the two,
With head upshooting from thy coat of blue,the article having embodied in his invective
Say, what has" Reverend" to do with thee,
Sav, what has " Reve nearly all the harshest terms of reproach Though big and bloated with effrontery? which the English nomenclature could
Wert Reverend, when round thee lolled a gang,
To drink the poison of thine impious slang; afford. Of this unqualified condemnation, And on Heav'n's book, tby cursed feet then trod, the true cause may be found in some sar
To foam thy foulness at the throne of God ?-
And drunken fevers through thy bosom burn'd, th
Mean to the larc'ny of a paltry pot,
At once a rogue, an Atheist, and a sot! note by no means calculated to mitigate the Or. Om
Or, Reverend, when to each Christian fane, irritation which they could hardly fail to Thou lead'st the barking bull-dogs of thy train, excite, and which issued in the castigation
In mean and native brutishness of mind,
To growl thy dogmas, and pervert the blind ?to which we have alluded.
Go, caitiff !---put a mask upon that face, But while the writer in the Literary Ga The staring mirror of thy soul's disgrace,
Go, seek some dunghill to haraugue thy breed, zette was revenging himself on the work, by
And there enjoy the dark satanic creed :
Though stiff in port, and stately with thy glass, which he retaliated, nearly every other perio- | Till even infant tongues shall liso thee.'vile,
May good men frown whene'er they see thee pass, | And Britons hoot thee from their tainted isle !
" The base we've had, of ev'ry kind and hue,
| gyric, but not more highly than its intrinsic The bloody, lech'rous, and annat'ral tooBut never, yet, the wretch that equall'd thee,
merits deserve. Among these, it is out Thou synonyme of all depravity ;
fair to state, that the editor of the Literary Thy mind as canker'd as thy columns vile,
Gazette seized an early opportunity to Thou pois'nous, poor polluted thing.- - ! For THEE must heaven's empyreal portals close, expatiate on its excellencies. "This he has And Hope he buried in her dead repose !
done in an ample and honourable manner, For thee must glorious aspirations cease, Nor Faith, still vision out her heav'n of peace,
and by thus counteracting the effects of bis And minds no longer dare to feel divine,
severe critique on “The Age reviewed," But turn distorted, fester'd, lewd as thine! If yet within thee dwell one thought of shame,
he has redeemed his own credit, while If the least true feeling for thy country's claiin, doing justice to the author. Our opinion of And common nature but preserve her right,
its philosophy and execution may be found Then tear thy hellish pictures from our sight; If vile tbou must be,-hie thee to some den,
in our number for March of the present year, To feast the fancies of thy fellow-men ;
col. 275, when a copy of the first edition fell But stand not forth to Britain's public eye, The monger-fiend of painted blasphemy;
into our hands. Illustrative of that opinion, Now go !--and quickly end thy course perverse, we gave several extracts from the poem, Hung on the gibbet of a nation's curse!”.
which, though short, could not fail to place p. 246 to 248.
the author and his production in a very Mr. Montgomery having by this satire
favourable light. They were almost prorendered himself conspicuous as an author,
miscuously taken, and may therefore be turned his attention to another subject
considered as fair specimens of the whole. encircled on every side with dignity, so
During the subsequent editions through lemnity, and awe, and in the course of the which it has since passed, the author has present year produced his celebrated poem
introduced some slight. alterations in the on “ The Omnipresence of the Deity.”
construction of several lines, and imparted This was a bold and daring attempt. Of
to others various minute and delicate his mental and poetical vigour for this
touches, which, in their combined effect, arduous undertaking, no one who had read
have giveu to the whole a stronger approxihis satire, could justly entertain a doubt;
mation towards perfection. Additional but with many it was somewhat question
lines are also interspersed throughout the able, if he could ascend that elevated region
whole, amounting to about twenty pages, with a becoming grace, and sustain his but without in the least respect altering any flight while soaring in the empire of infinity, | feature of its original character. and contemplating the attributes of God. Having called his
The Saures, and the “ Night Thoughts" birth of creation, and to see how the Holy
he Satires,” and the “ Night Thoughts" ,. Having called his readers to witness the of Dr, Young had, however, already proved Spiritthat it was more than possible for the same
Z" With mighty wings outspread mind to be engaged on topics so widely Dovelike, sat brooding on the vast abyss, dissimilar, and his success had demonstra And made it pregnant," ted, that there was nothing incompatible in the author, in the following lines, invites us this diversified direction of the same poetical to contemplate the ubiquity of God : talents and mental energies.
" And thus thon wert, and art the Fountain soul.
And countless worlds around thee live and roll; the author called forth all his powers, and
In sun and shade, in ocean and in nir,
Diffused, yet undiminished - every where :
2 on All life and motion from Thy source began, “ The Omnipresence of the Deity," into From worlds to atoms, angels down to man. the world. On its first appearance it was! “Lord of all being, where can fancy fly,
To what far realms, unmeasured by thine eye?
Where can we hide beneath Thy blazing sun, of readers, many of whom were no doubt where dwell'st Thou not, the boundless, viewless actuated by very different motives. A One. perusal of its pages soon gave circulation to "Shall guilt, couch down within the cavern's its fame, and this was followed by a de gloom,
And quivering, groaning, meditate her doom? mand for copies which the first impression
Or scale the mountains where the whirlwinds rest, was inadequate to supply. A second edi And in the night-blast cool her fiery breast? tion was put to press; this also was spee
Within the cavern-gloom Tbine eye can see,
Thy Spirit rides upon the thunder storins, lowed ; and this was succeeded by a fourth,
Dark’ning the skies into terrific forms!
Beams in the light'ning, rocks upon the seas, which was but a prelude to a fifth, that is
Roars in the blast, and whispers in the breeze; now in circulation. Five editions of this In calm and storm., in heaven and earth Thou art,
Trace but Thy works- they bring Thee to the poem have therefore appeared in the short
beart! space of four months.
| The fulness of Thy presence who can see, of this poem nearly all the literary jour
Man cannot live, great God, and look ou Thee ;