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The goatherd—he who snatched him from the flood,
All gazed with horror:-deep unuttered thought In every muscle of his visage wrought; His eye as if his eye could see the air, Was fixed; up-writhing rose his horrent hair; His limbs grew dislocate, convulsed his frame; Deep from his chest mysterious noises came, Now purring, hissing, barking, then they swelled To hideous dissonance; he shrieked, he yelled, As if the legion-fiend his soul possessed, And a whole hell were worrying in his breast, Then down he dashed himself on earth, and rolled In agony, till powerless, stiff, and cold, With face upturned to heaven, and arms outspread, A ghastly spectacle he lay as dead; The living too stood round, like forms of death, And every pulse was hushed, and every breath.
Meanwhile the wind arose, the clouds were driven In watery masses through the waste of heaven, The groaning woods foretold a tempest nigh, And silent lightnings skirmished in the sky.
Ere long the wizard started from the ground, Gillily reeled, and looked bewildered round, Till on the king he fixed his hideous gaze; Then wrapt with ecstacy and broad amaze. He kneeled in adoration, humbly bowed His face upon his hands, and cried aloud; Yet so remote and strange his accents fell, They seemed the voice of an invisible: -“Hail! king and conqueror cf the peopled earth, And inore than king and conqueror know thy birth; Thou art a ray of uncreated fire, The Sun himself is thy celestial sire; The Moon thy mother, who to me consigned, Her babe in secrecy, to bless mankind. These eyes have watched thee rising, year by year, More great, more glorious in thine high career. As the young eagle plies his growing wings In bounded flights, and sails in wider rings, Till to the fountain of meridian day, Full plumed and perfected h- soars away; Thus have I marked thee, since thy course began, Still upward tending to thy sire the sun; Now milway meet him; form yon flaming height, Chase the vain phantoms of cherubic light; There build a tower; whose spiral top shall rise, Circle o'er circle, lessening to the skies: The stars, thy brethren, in their spheres shall stand To hail thce welcome to thy native land; The moon shall clasp thee in her glad embrace, The sun behold his image in thy face, And call thee, as his offspring and his heir, His throne, his empire, and his orb to share.”
He, like his sire the sun, in transient clouds,
In silent expectation, sore amazed, The king and chiestains on the sorcerer gazed; Awhile no sound was heard, save through the woods, The wind deep-thundering, and the dashing floods: At length, with solemn step, amidst the scene, Where that false prophet showed his frantic mien, Where lurid flames from green-wood altars burned, Enoch stood forth; on him all eyes were turned, O'er his dim form and saintly visage fell The light that glared upon that priest of hell. Unutterably awful was his look; Through every joint the giant-monarch shook; Shook, like Belshazzer, in his festive hall, When the hand wrote his judgment on the wall;” Shook, like Eliphaz, with dissolving fright,f In thoughts amidst the visions of the night, When as the spirit passed before his face, No limb, nor lineament his eye could trace; A form of mystery, that chilled his blood, Close at his couch in living terror stood, And deathlike silence, till a voice more drear, More dreadful than the silence, reached his ear: Thus from surrounding darkness Enoch brake, And thus the giant trembled while he spake.
“The proud shall perish:—mark how wild his air In impotence of malice and despair, What phrensy fires the bold blasphemer's cheek? He looks the courses which he can not speak. A hand hath touched him that he once defied Touched, and for ever crushed him in his pride; Yet shall he live, despised as feared before; The great deceiver shall deceive no more ; Children shall pluck the beard of him, whose arts Palsied the boldest hands, the stoutest hearts; His vaunted wisdom fools shall laugh to scorn, When muttering spells, a spectacle forlorn, A drivelling idiot, he shall fondly roam From house to house, and never find a home."
The wizard heard his sentence; nor reinained, A moment longer; from his trance unchained,
He plunged into the woods;–the prophet then Turned, and took up his parable again.
“The proud shall perish :-Monarch know thy doom; Thy bones shall lack the shelter of a tomb; Not in the battle-field thine eyes shall close, Slain upon thousands of thy slaughtered foes; Not on the throne of empire, nor the bed Of weary nature, thou shalt bow thine head : Death lurks in ambush; death, without a name, Shall pluck thee from thy pinnacle of fame; At eve, rejoicing o'er thy finished toil, Thy soul shall deem the universe her spoil; The dawn shall see thy carcase cast away, The wolves, at sunrise, slumber on their prey. Cut from the living, whither dost thou go? Had.'s is inoved to meet thee from be"ow: The kings thy sword had slain, the nighty dead, Start from their thrones at thy descending tread; They ask in scorn,-‘Destroyer' is it thus * Art thou, -thou too,-become like one of us 7 Torn from the feast of music, wine, and mirth, The worms thy covering, and thy couch the earth : How art thou fallen from thine ethereal height, Son of the morning ! sunk in endless night: How art thou fallen, who saidst, in pride of soul, I will ascend above the starry pole, Thence rule the adoring nations with my nod, And set my throne above the mount of God. Spilt in the dust, thy blood pollutes the ground; Sought by the eyes that feared thee, yet not fond, Thy chieftains pause, they turn thy relics o'er, Then pass thee by, for thou art known no more. Hail to thine advent potentate, in hell, Unfeared, unflattered, undistinguished dwell; On earth thy fierce ambition knew no rest, A worm, a flame for ever in thy breast; Here feel the rage of unconsuming fire, Intense, eternal, impotent desire; Here lie, the deathless worm’s unwasting prey, In chains of darkness till the judgment-day.”
“Thus while the dead thy fearful welcome sing, Thy living slaves bewail their vanished king. Then, though thy reign with infamy expire, Fulfilled in death shall’be thy vain desire; The traitors, reeking with thy blood, shall swear, They saw their sovereign ravished through the air, And point thy star revolving o'er the night, A baleful comet with portentous light, 'Midst clouds and storms, denouncing from afar Famine and havoc, pestilence and war. Temples, not tombs, thy monuments shall be, And altars blaze on hills and groves to thee; A pyramid shall consecrate thy crimes, Thy name and honors to succeeding times; There shall thine image hold the highest place Among the gods of man's revolted race
“That race shall perish:—men and giants, all Thy kindred and thy worshippers shall fall. The babe, whose life with yesterday began, May spring to youth, and ripen into man, But ere his locks are tinged with fading gray, This world of sinners shall be swept away. Jehovah lists his standard to the skies, Swist at the signal winds and vapors rise; The sun in sackcloth veils his face at noon,_ The stars are quenched, and turned to blood the moon, Heaven's fountains open, clouds dissolving roll In mingled cataracts from pole to pole. Earth's central sluices burst, the hills upturn, In rapid whirlpools down the gulf are borne; The voice, that taught the deep his bounds to know, “Thus far, O sea nor farther shalt thou go,'— Sends forth the floods, commissioned to devour, With boundless license and resistless power; They own no impulse but the tempest’s sway, Nor find a limit but the light of day.
“The vision onens:—sunk beneath the wave, The kuilty share a universal grave;
One wilderness of waters rolls in tiew,
“Eastward I turn;–o'er all the deluged lands, Unshaken yet, a mighty mountain stands, Where Seth, of old, his flock to pasture led, And watched the stars at midnight. from its head; An island Low, its dark majestic form Scowls through the thickest ravage of the storm; While on its top, the monument of fame, Built by thy murderers to adorn thy name, Defies the shock;—a thousand cubits high, The sloping pyramid ascends the sky. Thither, their latest refuge in distress, Like hunted wolves, the rallying giants press; Round the broad base of that stupendous tower, The shuddering fugitives collect their power, Cling to the dizzy cliff, o'er ocean dend, And howl with terror as the deeps ascend. The mountain’s strong foundations still endure, The heights repel the surge.—A while secure And cheered with frantic hope, thy votaries climb The fabric, rising step by step sublime. Beyond the clouds they see the summit glow In heaven’s pure daylight o'er the gloom below; There too thy worshipped image shines like fire, In the full glory of thy fabled sire. They hail the omen, and with heart and voice, Call on thy name, and in thy smile rejoice; False omen on thy name in vain they call; Fools in their joy;-a moment and they fall. Rent by an earthquake of the buried plain, And shaken by the whole disrupted main, The mountain trembles on its sailing base, It slides, it stoops, it rushes from its place : From all the giants burst one drowning cry; Hark! 'tis thy name—they curse it as they die; Sheer to the lowest gulf the pile is hurled, The last sad wreck of a devoted world.
“So fall transgressors:—Tyrant now fulfil Thy secret purposes, thine utmost will ; Here crown thy triumphs :—life or death decree, The weakest here disdains thy power and thce.”
Thus when the patriarch ceased, and every ear Still listened in suspense of hope and fear, Sublime, ineffable, angelic grace Beamed in his meek and venerable face; And sudden glory, streaming round his head, O'er all his robes with lambent lustre spread; His earthly features grew divinely bright, His essence seemed transforming into light. Brief silence, like the pause between the flash, At midnight, and the following thunder-crash, Ensued:—Anon, with universal cry, The giants rushed upon the prophet—“Die!” The king leapt foremost from his throne;—he drew His battle-sword, as on his mark he flew; With aim unerring, and tempestuous sound, The blade descended decp along the ground; The foe was fied, and, sels "erwhelmed, his strength Hurled to the earth his Atlantean length; But ere his chiefs could stretch the helping arm, He sprang upon his feet in pale alarm: Headlong and blind with rage he searched tround, But Enoch walked with God and was not food.
Yet where the captives stood, in holy awe, Rapt on the wings of cherubim, they saw Their sainted sire ascending through the night; He turned his face to bless them in his flight,
Then vanished:—Javan caught the prophet's eye,
Thus from the wolves this little flock was torn, And sheltering in the mountain-caves till morn, They joined to sing, in strains of full delight, Songs of deliverance through the dreary night.
The giants’ phrensy, when they lost their prey, No tongue of man or angel might portray; First on their idol gods their vengeance turned, Those gods on their own altar-piles they burned ; Then, at their sovereign's mandate, sallied forth To rouse their host to combat, from the north ; Eager to risk their uttermost emprise, Perish ere morn, or reign in paradise. Now the slow tempest, that so long had lowered, Keen in their faces sleet and hailstones showered, The win is blew loud, the waters roared around, An earthquake rocked the agonizing ground; Red in the west the burning mount, arrayed With tenfold terror by incumbent shade, (For moon and stars were rapt in dunnest gloom,) Glared like a torch amidst creation’s tomb : So Sinai's rocks were kindled when they felt Their Maker’s footstep, and began to melt; Darkness was his pavilion, whence he came, High in the brightness of descending flame, While storm, and whirlwind, and the trumpet’s blast, Proclaimed his law in thunder, as he passed.
The giants reached their camp:—the night's alarms Meanwhile had startled all their slaves to arms; They grasped their weapons as from sleep they sprang, From tent to tent the brazen clangor rang; The hail, the earthquake, the mysterious light Unnerved their strength, o'erwhelmed them with affright. * Warriors to battle;—summon all your powers; Warriors to conquest;-paradise is ours;” Exclaimed their monarch 1–not an arm was raised, In vacancy of thought, like men amazed, And lost amidst confounding dreams, they stood, With palsied eyes, and horror-frozen blood. The giants' rage to instant madness grew ; The king and chiefs on their own legions flew, Denouncing vengeance;—then had all the plain Been heaped with myriads by their leaders slain, But ere a sword could fall,—by whirlwinds driven, In mighty volumes, through the vault of heaven, From Eden's summit, o'er the camp accurst, The darting fires with noon-day splendor burst; And fearful grew the scene above, below, With sights of mystery, and sounds of wo. The embattled cherubim appeared on high, And coursers, winged with lightning, swept the sky; Chariots, whose wheels with living instinct rolled, Spirits of unimaginable mould, Powers, such as dwell in heaven's serenest light.
oo pure, too terrible for mortal sight, From depth of midnight suddenly revealed, In arms, against the giants took the field. On such a host Elisha's servant gazed, When all the mountain round the prophet blazed; ? With such a host, when war in heaven was wrought, Michael against the prince of darkness fought.
Roused by the trumpet, that shall wake the dead, The torpid foe in consternation fled: The giants headlong in the uproar ran, The king himself the foremost of the van, Nor e'er his rushing squadron led to fight With swifter onset than he led that flight. Homeward the panic-stricken legions flew ; Their arms, their vestments, from their limbs they threw, O'er shields and helms the reinless camel strode, And gold and purple strewed the desert road. When through the Assyrian army, like a blast, At midnight the destroying angel passed, The tyrant that defied the living God, Precipitately thus his steps retrod; Even by the way he came, to his own land, Returned to perish by his offspring's hand." So fled the giant-monarch;—but unknown The hand that smote his life;—he died alone, Amidst the tumult treacherously slain; At morn his chieftains sought their jord in vain, Then, reckless of the harvest of their toils, Their camp, their captives, all their treasured spoils, Renewed their flight o'er eastern hills afar, With life alone escaping from that war, In which their king had hailed his realm complete, The world’s last province bowed beneath his feet.
Montgomery's life he was for ever separated from his parents. since, previous to their departure as missionale: for the West Indies, where his mother died in 1789, and his father in 1790, he resided with them but for three months in the year 1784. How happy the parents of Mr. Montgomery had been in lacing their son, circumstanced as they were: under the gui§. and tuition of the pious and learned Moravian brothren,
can now be easily perceived from the result it has produced. r... "...withoana:no that everv reader of Mr. Montgomery's
works may trace in them the effects of a mind naturally virtuous and religious, we can not withhold from believing that he is in a great measure indebted to the education he has received for his well-earned fame as a moral poet. He began to write sacred poetry when he was no older than ten years, and report even goes so far as to say, that he had composed at this tender age, two volumes of such poetry. On finishing his studies in the seminary of the Moravian §ed. which occupied ten years, he was placed by his friends as an aprentice with a very worthy man of his own persuasion, who ept a retail shop at Mirfield, near Wakefield. This was a calling in no manner calculated to suit the genius of Montso and not being under the articles of apprenticeship, e left his master at the end of a year and a half, with only three shillings and sixpence in his pocket, but big with the expectotion of reaching London, which now his youthful imagistation portrayed as the patron city of learning and talent. His humble means, however, did not allow him to proceed as far as he expected, and he found himself constrained on the fifth day, to enter into an employment at Wath, near Rotherham, which was not dissimilar to that he had left behind him at Mirfield. Previous to his departure from this latter place, he had left a letter with his employer, in which, besides testifying his uneasiness of mind, he promised to be heard from again in a few days. He now fulfilled his promise, and reào. at the same time a character to reconmend him to the trust of his new master. His upright conduct and virtuous habits not only gained him this from his late employer and the rest of the Moravian brethren, but also the promise of an establishment more congenial to his wishes, if he would return. This, however, he declined, candidly confessing the cause of his melancholy, but concealing the ambitious motives which >rompted him to withdraw from their benevolent protection. t was his |. master, with whom he remained only twelve months, that many years afterward, in the most calamitous riod of Montgomery's life, sought him out amidst his misortunes, not for the purpose of offering consolation only, but to serve him substantially by every means in his power. The interview which took place between the old man and his former servant, the evening previous to his trial at Doncaster, will ever live in the memory of him who can forget an injury but not a kindness. No father could have evinced a greater affection for a darling son ; the tears he shed were honorable to his feelings, and were the best testimony to the conduct and integrity of James Montgomery. On leaving Wath, he found means to introduce himself to Mr. Harrison, a bookseller, in London, in consequence of naving sent him, loo to his departure, a volume of manuscript poems. This gentleman gave Mr. Montgomery emFo in his shop, but not undertaking the publication of is poems, he recommended the poet to the study of prose, as likely to be more profitable than poetry. Mr. Montgomery began now to perceive that London was not so much the land of promotion as he fancied it to be ; and having had at the end of eight months a misunderstanding with Mr. Harrison, which was accompanied with the misfortune of not being able to dispose of an eastern tale in prose, he returned to his former employment in Yorkshire. He removed in 1792 to Sheffield, and engaged himself with Mr. Gales, the publisher of a very popular newspaper, at that time known by the title of the Sheffield Register. Mr. Montj. became a useful correspondent to this paper, and ined so far the good opinion and affection of Mr. Gales and is family, that 5. vied with each other in demonstrating their §. and regard for him. In 1794, when Mr. Gales left England to avoid a political prosecution, Mcntgomery, with the assistance of a literary gentleman, with whom he had not been even personally acquainted, became the publisher of the Register, which title he changed for that of the Iris. He was not, however, long in his new profession before he fell twice into the hands of Justice, and underwent each time the penalty of fine and imprisonment. His first crime was to have printed a song, composed by an Irish clergyman, at the entreaty of a man whom he had never seen before. He was tried for this at the Quarter Sessions of 1795, and found guilty qf publishing; but this verdict being tantamount to an acquittal, it was refused by the court, and the jury were sent to reconside, for another hour, when they gave in a general verdict rf guilty. The sentence, which was a fine of twenty pounds and three months imprisonment in York Castle. Our readers may think that we are forgetting ourselves in this part of Mr. Montgomery's biography, and are leading them back to some renote and barbarous age; but such a trial did take }. at no earlier a period than thirty or forty years ago. ing his confinement, an active friend superintended his business, and on resuming his editorial duties he commenced a series of essays, entitled the Whisperer, which, notwithstanding that they were written in haste for his paper, contained a very considerable share of genuine humor. Though he was very anxious not to leave it in the power of
the law to find him guilty of an offence a second time. it was mot however long after undergoing his first penalty, that he
had to experience the severity of another. He gave in his paper, as he thought, in a correct manner, the particulars of a riot that took place in the streets of Sheffield, and in which two men were shot by the military. His statement of the cir. cumstances, however, gave offence to a magistrate in the neighborhood, who preferred a hill of indictment against Mr Montgomery; and notwithstanding that the latter had a great many witnesses who verified his account of the transaction in the Iris, he was found o at Doncaster Sessions, in January, 1796, and sentenced to pay a fine of thirty pounds, and suffer another imprisonment in York Castle, for the space of six months. He found his constitution greatly impaired in consequence of these two imprisonments, and immediately after his last liberation, he repaired to Scarborough for the benefit of his health. It may be said that this was the first time for him to behold the sea as a poet, and the delight which the sight of it afforded his mind was not greater than the health restored to. his body. His visits thither were consequently repeated, and it was one of these which gave birth to his poem on the Ocean,
written in the summer of 1805. In 1797, he published lis Prison “Amusements,” and in 1806, produced the volume .
containing the “Wanderer of Switzerland.” His time was now chiefly occupied in editing his paper, and no work of con- | siderable magnitude appeared from his pen until the year 1809, when his West Indies was published in quato, with superb embellishments. Three years after the appearance of this last-mentioned poem, he produced “The World before | the flood." which is to stamp o fame for ever as a superior et. , po has been frequently, and perhaps justly, observed, that the delight which beautiful poetry affords, is obtained to: often to the prejudice of moral feelings and precepts, which are better calculated to ennoble the human mind. Hut had we not Milton, Fenelon, Klopstock, and even the divine writers themselves, to show the fallacy of this bold accusation, brought against the most powerful language and effort c man, the poems of Montgomery alone would form a compila. tion of proofs so able ...i so manifest in themselves, as to :fully sufficient for composing a refutation at once unanswer ble and undoubted. Every line of his poetry invites to a love of virtue and all that is amiable in our nature; while it film the soul at the same time with the sweet luxury of pure, yet delightful enjoyment, and creates within us an admiration and esteem for that art under which so many great and happy powers have been put forth. The “World before the Flood,” is by far Mr. Montgomery's best poem. It is divided into ten cantos, written in the he. roic couplet, and has for the foundation of its story, the invasion of Eden by the descendants of Cain. The author's intro. ductory note says:— No place having been found, in Asia, to correspond exactly with the Mosaic description of the site of Paradise, the Author of the following Poem has disregarded both the learned and the absurd hypotheses on the subject, and at once imagining an inaccessible tract of land, at the confluence of four rivers, which after their junction take the name of the largest, and become the Euphrates of the ancient world, he has placed “the happy garden” there. Milton's noble fiction of the Mount .*.*. being removed by the deluge, and pushed
“Down the great river to the opening gulf,”
and there converted into a barren isle, implies such a change in the water-courses as will, poetically at least, account for the difference between the scene of this story and the presert
face of the country, at the point where the Tigris and the E . . .
phrates meet. On the eastern side of these waters, the Autho supposes the descendants of the younger children of Adam to dwell, possessing the land of Eden: the rest of the world having been gradually colonized by emigrants from these, or peopled by the posterity of Cain. In process of time, aft + the sons o of men, and there were giants in the earth, the latter assumed to be lords and rulers over mankind, till among themselves arose one, excelling all his brethren in knowledge and power, who became their king, and by their aid, in the course of a
God had formed connexions with the daughters
long life, subdued all the inhabited earth, except the land of
Eden. This land, at the head of a mighty army, principally composed of the descendants of Cain, he has invaded and conquered, even to the banks of Euphrates, at the opening of the action of the poem. It is only necessary to add, that for the sake of distinction, the io. are frequently denominated from Cain, as “the host of Cain,”—“ the sorce of Cain,"— “ the camp of Cain,”—and the reinnant of the defenders of Eden are, in like manner, denominated from Eden.—The Jews have an ancient tradition, that some of the giants, at the deluge, fled to the top of a high mountain, and escaped the ruin that involved the rest of their kindred. In the tenth Canto of the preceding poem a hint is borrowed from this to dition, but is made to yield to the superior authority of Scrip