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THE POET AND HIS POETRY.
[SAMUEL Rogers, is the son of a Banker, and was born in London. His first work was an “ Ode to Superstition,” and other poems, published in 1786. His poetical reputation was, however, established by the “Pleasures of Memory." a poem abounding in felicitous touches of feeling and expression. His latest work is “Italy," published about seven years ago, which affords evidence that poetical fervour is not to be impaired by years. The poetry of this. and of his former productions, is remarkable rather for correctness and ele cance of versification, than passion or vigour; but he is always natural, and gives living pictures of things which ever find a mirror in the heart. His obiect seems to be to refine and to improve. His pieces are never overcharged with ornament, but there is a charm about them that forcibly attracts the reader, which is a great proof of their possessing at least some scintillations of the “Universally True,” which is of every clime and of all time.]
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EXTRACTS FROM ROGERS.
If ever you should come to Modena,
'Tis of a lady in her earliest youth,
Gazes his fill, and comes and comes again,
But then her face,
Alone it hangs
She was an only child-her name Genevra,
Just as she looks there in her bridal dress,
Great was the joy; but at the nuptial feast,
And filled his glass to all ; but his hand shook,
Weary of his life,
Full fifty years were past, and all forgotten,
There then had she found a grave! Within that chest had she concealed herself, Fluttering with joy, the happiest of the happy ; When a spring lock, that lay in ambush there, Fastened her down for ever!
TO AN OLD OAK.
Round thee alas! no shadows move,
From thee no sacred murmurs breathe !
And the wolf howl beneath !
There once the steel-clad knight reclined,
His sable plumage tempest-toss'd; And as the death-bell smote the wind, From towers long fled by human kind,
His brow the hero cross'd!
Then culture came, and days serene,
And village-sports, and garlands gay : Full many a pathway cross'd the green, And maids and shepherd-youths were seen
To celebrate the May !
Father of many a forest deep,
Whence many a navy thunder fraught ! Erst in thy acorn-cells asleep, Soon destined o'er the world to sweep,
Opening new spheres of thought !
Wont in the night of woods to dwell,
The holy Druid saw thee rise ;
Of human sacrifice !
Thy singed top and branches bare
Now straggle in the evening sky; And the wan moon wheels round to glare On the long corse that shivers there
Of him who came to die !
(JAMES MONTGOMERY was born at Irvine, Ayrshire, in 1771. His parents belonged to the church of the United Brethren, commonly called Moravians,
-a sect by no means numerous in England, and still more limited in Scotland. Having previously sojourned for a short time at a village in the Irish county of Antrim, they placed the future Poet at the school of their society, at Fulnick, near Leeds, and embarked for the West-Indies, as missionaries among the negro slaves. They were the victims of their zeal and humanity; the husband died in Barbadoes, and the wife in Tobago.
The name of James Montgomery is intimately associated with the religious poetry of the present generation. Without displaying extraordinary poetic genius, in the commencement of his career, he has obtained a mastery over the minds of a large portion of the community, equal to a poet's highest ambition. Many young bards, with far more promise of future excellence in sacred poetry than Montgomery, have shone out upon us, but like shooting stars, though they have traversed from one part of the heavens to the other, have been but for a moment bright, then lost for ever. Montgomery with a silent, steady, persevering energy has toiled far up Parnassus, and like the fabled hind has left in his footmarks many flowers, and it may be said ama. ranthine ones. His whole course has been a progressive one. In brief, he has obtained celebrity not less from the purity of his subjects, and the Christian benevolence which characterizes all his efforts, than from his genius. Honourable as the celebrity he has attained may be to himself, it is far more honourable to his age and country, because it affords a satisfactory proof in defiance of the sneer of the libertine, that we are a religious people. Montgomery's principal poetical works are the “Wanderer of Switzerland,” the "West Indies," the “ World before the Flood,” “Greenland,” and the “Pe. lican Island." The first of these poems has little poetical character, and merely gives indications of undeveloped poetic power. The “ West Indies," written in honour of the abolition of the African slave trade by the British legislature in 1807, shows the author to be capable of an extended range of thought, and contains passages of sterling beauty. The love of country, and of home, and the character of the slave which is finely delineated, appeal most powerfully to the heart, and no one can read these passages without feeling & holy love for one and an utter contempt for the other. The “World before the Flood,”-a fine subject but not adequately treated, gives evidence of a rich imagination, and an intimate acquaintance with those sympathies and pas. sions which are the truest touchstones of poetry. “Greenland,” is beautifully descriptive in many parts and breathes out most copiously holy and fervid aspirations. The “ Pelican Island," the last of Montgomery's lengthened productions, is written in blank verse and surpasses his other works, by the beauty and sublimity of its imagery. The subject is in itself highly poetical, and the poem contains evidence of a mind whose poetic grasp had become boundless, and universal. It is philosophical and descriptive, resembling both Akenside and Cowper, yet occasionally glowing with the more fervid expressiveness of the modern school of poetry. It is in short the climax of the poet's efforts, and in all probability the last of any magnitude that will ever emanate from his mind.