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pear, and we sit by the side of the Poet as he gazes from his boat floating on the Lake of Lugano, on the Church of San Salvador, which was almost destroyed by lightning a few years ago, while the altar and the image of the patron saint were untouched, and devoutly listen while he exclaims

“ Cliffs, fountains, rivers, seasons, times,

Let all remind the soul of heaven;
Our slack devotion needs them all;
And faith, so oft of sense the thrall,
While she, by aid of Nature, climbs,

May hope to be forgiven.” We do not hesitate to pronounce “ Eclipse of the Sun, 1820,” one of the finest lyrical effusions of combined thought, passion, sentiment, and imagery, within the whole compass of poetry. If the beautiful be indeed essentially different from the sublime, we here feel that they may be made to coalesce so as to be in their united agencies one divine power.

We called it lyrical, chiefly because of its transitions. Though not an ode, it is odelike in its invocations; and it might be set and sung to music if Handel were yet alive, and St Cecilia to come down for an hour from heaven. How solemn the opening strain ! and from the momentary vision of Science on her speculative Tower, how gently glides Imagination down, to take her place by the Poet's side, in his bark afloat beneath Italian skies—suddenly bedimmed, lake, land, and all, with a something between day and night. In a moment we are conscious of Eclipse. Our slight surprise is lost in the sense of a strange beauty-solemn not sad-settling on the face of nature

and the abodes of men. In a single stanza filled with beautiful names of the beautiful, we have a vision of the Lake, with all its noblest banks, and bays, and bowers, and mountains—when in an instant we are wafted away from a scene that might well have satisfied our imagination and our heart—if high emotions were not uncontrollable and omnipotent-wafted away by. Fancy with the speed of Fire-lakes, groves, cliffs, mountains, all forgotten—and alight amid an aërial host of figures, human and divine, on a spire that seeks the sky. How still those imaged sanctities and purities, all white as snows of Apennine, stand in the heavenly region, circle above circle, and crowned as with a zone of stars! They are embued with life. In their animation the figures of angels and saints, insensate stones no more, seem to feel the Eclipse that shadows them, and look awful in the portentous light. In his inspiration he transcends the grandeur even of that moment's vision-and beholds in the visages of that aërial host those of the sons of heaven darkening with celestial sorrow at the Fall of Manwhen

Throngs of celestial visages,
Darkening like water in the breeze,

A holy sadness shared. Never since the day on which the wondrous edifice, in its consummate glory, first saluted the sun, had it inspired in the soul of kneeling saint a thought so sad and so sublime—a thought beyond the reaches of the soul of him whose genius bade it bear up all its holy adornments so far from earth, that the silent company seem

sometimes, as light and shadow moves among them, to be in ascension to heaven. But the Sun begins again to look like the Sun, and the poet, relieved by the joyful light from that awful trance, delights to behold

“ Town and Tower,
The Vineyard and the Olive Bower,

Their lustre re-assume; and “breathes there a man with soul so dead,” that it burns not within him as he hears the heart of the husband and the father breathe forth its love and its fear, remembering on a sudden the far distant whom it has never forgotten—a love and a fear that saddens, but disturbs not, for the vision he saw had inspired him with a trust in the tender mercies of God? Commit to faithful memory, O Friend! who may some time or other be a traveller over the wide world, the sacred stanzas that brings the Poem to a close—and it will not fail to comfort thee when sitting all alone by the well in the wilderness, or walking along the strange streets of foreign cities, or lying in thy cot at midnight afloat on far-off



ye, who guard and grace my Home
While in far-distant Lands we roam,
Was such a vision given to you?
Or, while we look'd with favour'd eyes,
Did sullen mist hide lake and skies
And mountains from your view ?

“ I ask in vain-and know far less,

If sickness, sorrow, or distress
Have spared my Dwelling to this hour;
Sad blindness! but ordained to prove
Our faith in Heaven's unfailing love,
And all-controlling power.”

Let us fly from Rydal to Sheffield. James Montgomery is truly a religious poet. His popularity, which is great, has, by some scribes sitting in the armless chairs of the scorners, been attributed chiefly to the power of sectarianism. He is, we believe, a sectary; and, if all sects were animated by the spirit that breathes throughout his poetry, we should have no fears for the safety and stability of the Established Church ; for in that selfsame spirit was she built, and by that selfsame spirit were her foundations dug in a rock. Many are the lights-solemn and awful all-in which the eyes of us mortal creatures may see the Christian dispensation. Friends, looking down from the top of a high mountain on a city-sprinkled plain, have each his own vision of imagination—each his own sinking or swelling of heart. They urge no inquisition into the peculiar affections of each other's secret breasts-all assured, from what each knows of his brother, that every eye there may see God —that every tongue that has the gift of lofty utterance may sing his praises aloud—that the lips that remain silent may be mute in adoration—and that all the distinctions of habits, customs, professions, modes of life, even natural constitution and form of character, if not lost, may be blended together in mild amalgamation under the common atmosphere of emotion, even as the towers, domes, and temples, are all softly or brightly interfused with the huts, cots, and homesteads—the whole scene below harmonious because inhabited by beings created by the same God—in his own image—and destined for the same immortality.


It is base therefore, and false, to attribute, in an invidious sense, any of Montgomery's fame to any such

No doubt many persons read his poetry on account of its religion, who, but for that, would not have read it; and no doubt, too, many of them neither feel nor understand it. But so, too, do many persons read Wordsworth's poetry on account of its religionthe religion of the woods—who, but for that, would not have read it; and so, too, many of them neither feel nor understand it. So is it with the common-mannerspainting poetry of Crabbe- the dark-passion-painting poetry of Byron—the high-romance-painting poetry of Scott—and so on with Moore, Coleridge, Southey, and the rest. But it is to the mens divinior, however displayed, that they owe all their fame. Had Montgomery not been a true poet, all the Religious Magazines in the world could not have saved his name from forgetfulness and oblivion. He might have flaunted his day like the melancholy Poppy-melancholy in all its ill-scented gaudiness; but as it is, he is like the Rose of Sharon, whose balm and beauty shall not wither, planted on the banks of “that river whose streams make glad the city of the Lord.”

Indeed, we see no reason why poetry, conceived in the spirit of a most exclusive sectarianism, may not be of a very high order, and powerfully impressive on minds whose religious tenets are most irreconcilable and hostile to those of the sect. Feelings by being unduly concentrated, are not thereby necessarily enfeebled

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