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comparison is therefore peculiarly natural and graceful. Dew on a bramble is no more like a woman's eyes than dew anywhere else. There is a very pretty Eastern tale, of which the fate of plagiarists often reminds us. The slave of a magician saw his master wave his wand, and heard him give orders to the spirits who arose at the summons. He accordingly stole the wand, and waved it himself in the air; but he had not observed that his master. used the left hand for that purpose. The spirits thus irregularly summoned, tore him to pieces, instead of obeying his orders. There are very few who can safely venture to conjure with the rod of Sir Walter, and we are sure that Mr. Robert Montgomery is not one of them.
Mr. Campbell, in one of his most pleasant pieces, has this line
"The sentinel stars set their watch in the sky." The thought is good-and has a very striking propriety where Mr. Campbell placed it-in the mouth of a soldier telling his dream. But, though Shakspeare assures us that "every true man's apparel fits your thief," it is by no means the case, as we have already seen, that every true poet's similitude fits your plagiarist. Let us see how Mr. Robert Montgomery uses the image
"Ye quenchless stars! so eloquently bright,
Certainly the ideas of eloquence--of untroubled repose--of placid eyes, on the lambent beauty of which it is sweet to gaze, harmonize admirably with the idea of a sentry!
We would not be understood, however, to say, that Mr. Robert Montgomery cannot make similitudes for himself. A very few lines farther on, we find one which has every mark of originality, and on which, we will be bound, none of the poets whom he has plundered will ever think of making reprisals:
"The soul, aspiring. pants its source to mount, As streams meander level with their fount."
We take this to be, on the whole, the worst similitude in the world. In the first place, no stream meanders, or can possibly meander, level with its fount. In the next place, if streams did meander level with their founts, no two motions can be less alike than that of meandering level, and that of mounting upwards.
We have then an apostrophe to the Deity, couched in terms which, in any writer who dealt in meanings, we should call profane, but to which, we suppose, Mr. Robert Montgomery attaches no idea whatever.
familiarity so far as to bid the Supreme Being stop and meditate on the importance of the interests which are under his care. The grotesque indecency of such an address throws into shade the subordinate absurdities of the passage, the unfurling of whirlwinds, the un rolling of thunder, and the upheaving of worlds.
"Yes! pause and think, within one fleeting hour,
No field-preacher ever carried his irreverent
Then comes a curious specimen of our poet's English--
"Yet not alone created realms engage
Thy faultless wisdom, grand, primeval sage! For all the thronging woes to life allied Thy mercy tempers, and Thy cares provide." We should be glad to know what, the word "For" means here. If it is a preposition, it makes nonsense of the words, "Thy mercy tempers." If it is an adverb, it makes nonsense of the words, "Thy cares provide."
These beauties we have taken, almost at random, from the first part of the poem. The second part is a series of descriptions of various events,-a battle--a murder-an execution--a marriage---a funeral---and so forth. Mr. Robert Montgomery terminates each of these descriptions, by assuring us that the Deity was present at the battle, murder, execution, marriage, or funeral, in question. And this propo sition, which might be safely predicated of every event that ever happened, or ever will happen, forms the only link which connects these descriptions with the subject, or with each other.
How the descriptions are executed, our readers are probably by this time able to conjecture. The battle is made up of the battles of all ages and nations; "red-mouthed cannons, uproaring to the clouds," and "hands grasping firm the glittering shield." The only military operations of which this part of the poem re. minds us are those which reduced the Abbey of Quedtinburgh to submission---the Templar with his cross---the Austrian and Prussian grenadiers in full uniform--and Curtius and Dentatus with their battering-ram. We ought not to pass by unnoticed the slain war-horse, who will no more
"Roll his red eye, and rally for the fight;" or the slain warrior, who, while lying on his bleeding breast," contrives to "stare ghastly and grimly on the skies." As to this last exploit, we can only say, as Dante did on a simi
"Forse per forza gia di parlasia
Si stravolse cosi alcun del tutto: Ma io nol vidi, nè credo che sia."
The tempest is thus described--“But lo! around the marsh'lling clouds unite, Like thick battalions halting for the fight; The sun sinks back, the tempest-spirits sweep. Fierce through the air, and flutter on the deep, Till from their caverns rush the maniac blasts, Tear the loose sails, and split the creaking masts, And the fash'd billows, rolling in a train, Rear their white heads, and race along the main!
What, we should like to know, is the differ ence between the two operations which Mr Robert Montgomery so accurately distinguishes from each other---the fierce sweeping of the tempest-spirits through the air, and the rushing
of the maniac blasts from their caverns? And We should be sorry to stake our faith in a why does the former operation end exactly higher Power on Mr. Robert Montgomery's when the latter commences? logic. Does he believe that lightning, and bubbles, and the phenomena of dreams, are designless and self-created? If he does, we cannot conceive why he may not believe that the whole universe is designless and self-created. A few lines before, he tells us that it is the Deity who bids thunder rattle from the skiey deep." His theory is therefore this, that God made the thunder, but that the lightning made itself.
But Mr. Robert Montgomery's metaphysics are not at present our game. He proceeds to set forth the fearful effects of atheism.
We cannot stop over each of Mr. Robert Montgomery's descriptions. We have a shipwrecked sailor, who "visions a viewless temple in the air;"'-a murderer, who stands on a heath, "with ashy lips, in cold convulsion spread;"- -a pious man, to whom, as he lies in bed at night,
"The panorama of past life appears,
Warms his pure mind and melts it into tears;”— a traveller, who lose. his way, owing to the thickness of the "cloud-battalion," and the want of "heaven-lamps, to beam their holy light." We have a description of a convicted felon, stolen from that incomparable passage in Crabbe's Borough, which has made many a rough and cynical reader cry like a child. We can, however, conscientiously declare, that persons of the most excitable sensibility may safely venture upon it in Mr. Robert Montgomery's alteration. Then we have the " poor, mindless, pale-faced, maniac boy," who
"Rolls his vacant eye, To greet the glowing fancies of the sky."
What are the glowing fancies of the sky? And what is the meaning of the two lines which almost immediately follow?
"A soulless thing, a spirit of the woods,
He loves to commune with the fields and floods."
How can a soulless thing be a spirit? Then comes a panegyric on the Sunday. A baptism follows:-after that a marriage; and we then proceed, in due course, to the visitation of the sick, and the burial of the dead.
Often as death has been personified, Mr. Montgomery has found something new to say about him.
"O Death! thou dreadless vanquisher of earth,
If there be any one line in this passage about which we are more in the dark than about the rest, it is the fourth. What the difference may be between the victims and the martyrs, and why the martyrs are to lie before Death, and the victims behind him, are to us great mysteries.
We now come to the third part, of which we may say with honest Cassio, "Why, this is a more excellent song than the other." Mr. Robert Montgomery is very severe on the infidels, and undertakes to prove that, as he elegantly expresses it,
"One great Enchanter helm'd the harmonious whole." What an enchanter has to do with helming, or what a helm has to do with harmony, we do not quite understand. He proceeds with his argument thus:
"And dare men dream that dismal Chance has framed
All that the eye perceives, or tongue has named;
"Then, blood-stain'd Murder, bare thy hideous arm,
"And here let Memory turn her tearful glance
Whether Rebellion shakes her own hand, shakes the hand of Memory, or shakes the hand of France, or what any one of the metaphors would mean, we know no more than we know what is the sense of the following passage:
"Let the foul orgies of infuriate crime
When leagued Rebellion march'd to kindle man,
Who dropped no tear upon the dreadful scene. When pushed the life-blood from thine angel form, And martyr'd beauty perish'd in the storm, Once worshipp'd paragon of all who saw, Thy look obedience, and thy smile a law," &c. What is the distinction between the foul orgies and the raging havoc which the foul orgies are to picture? Why does Fright go behind Re bellion, and Murder before? Why should not Murder fall behind Fright? Or why should not all the three walk abreast? We have read
of a hero who had
"Amazement in his van, with Flight combined,
the very reverse of what Mr. Robert Montgo- | ner of the Morning Post-can produce emolu. mery intends to say.
Our poet then proceeds to demonstrate the immortality of the soul:
ment and fame? The circulation of this writer's poetry has been greater than that of Southey's Roderic, and beyond all comparison greater than that of Carey's Dante, or of the best works of Coleridge. Thus encouraged, Mr. Robert Montgomery has favoured the public with volume after volume. We have given so much space to the examination of his first and most popular performance, that we have none to spare for his Universal Prayer, and his smaller poems, which, as the puffing journals tell us, would alone constitute a sufficient title to literary immortality. We shall pass at once to his last publication, entitled Satan.
This poem was ushered into the world with the usual roar of acclamation. But the thing was now past a joke. Pretensions so unfounded, so impudent, and so successful, had aroused a spirit of resistance. In several magazines and reviews, accordingly Satan has been handled somewhat roughly, and the arts of the puffers have been exposed with good sense and spirit. We shall, therefore, be very concise.
"And shall the soul, the fount of reason, die,
The soul is a fountain; and therefore it is not to die, though dust and darkness lie round its temple, because an ethereal fire has been oreathed into it, which cannot be quenched though its breath expire. Is it the fountain, or the temple, that breathes, and has fire breathed into it?
Mr. Montgomery apostrophizes the
"Immortal beacons,-spirits of the just."
and describes their employments in another world, which are to be, it seems, bathing in light, hearing fiery streams flow, and riding on living cars of lightning. The deathbed of the sceptic is described with what we suppose is meant for energy.
"See how he shudders at the thought of death!
"Creation shudders with sublime dismay,
Of the two poems, we rather prefer that on the Omnipresence of the Deity, for the same reason which induced Sir Thomas Moore to rank one bad book above another. Marry, this is somewhat. This is rhyme. But the other is neither rhyme nor reason." Satan is a long soliloquy, which the Devil pronounces in five or six thousand lines of blank verse, concerning geography, politics, newspapers, fashionable society, theatrical amusements, Sir Walter Scott's novels, Lord Byron's poetry, and Mr. Martin's pictures. The new designs for Milton have, as was natural, particularly attracted the attention of a personage who
occupies so conspicuous a place in them. Mr. Martin must be pleased to learn, that, whatever may be thought of those performances on earth, they give full satisfaction in Pandemonium, and that he is there thought to have hit off the likenesses of the various thrones and dominations very happily.
A man as stiff as marble, shuddering and gibbering violently, would certainly present so curions a spectacle, that the shades, if they came in his way, might well stare.
We then have the deathbed of a Christian made as ridiculous as false imagery and false English can make it. But this is not enough: -The Day of Judgment is to be described,and a roaring cataract of nonsense is poured forth upon this tremendous subject. Earth, we are told, is dashed into Eternity. Furnace blazes wheel round the horizon, and burst into bright wizard phantoms. Racing hurricanes unroll and whirl quivering fire-clouds. The white waves gallop. Shadowy worlds career around. The red and raging eye of ImaginaThe motto to the poem of Satan is taken tion is then forbidden to pry further. But fur-from the Book of Job:-"Whence comest ther Mr. Robert Montgomery persists in pry thou? From going to and fro in the earth, and ing. The stars bound through the airy roar. walking up and down in it." And certainly, The unbosomed deep yawns on the ruin. The Mr. Robert Montgomery has not failed to make billows of Eternity then begin to advance. his hero go to and fro, and walk up and down. The world glares in fiery slumber. A car With the exception, however, of this propencomes forward driven by living thunder. sity to locomotion, Satan has not one Satanic quality. Mad Tom had told us, that "the prince of darkness is a gentleman;" but we had yet to learn that he is a respectable and pious gentleman, whose principal fault is, that he is something of a twaddle, and far too liberal of his good advice. That happy change in his character which Origen anticipated, and of which Tillotson did not despair, seems to be rapidly taking place. Bad habits are not eradicated in a moment. It is not strange, therefore, that so old an offender should now and then relapse for a short time into wrong disposi tions. But to give him his due, as the proverb recommends, we must say, that he always returns, after two or three lines of impiety, to his preaching tone. We would seriously advise
And this is fine poetry! This is what ranks its writer with the master-spirits of the age! This is what has been described over and over again, in terms which would require some qualification if used respecting Paradise Lost! It is too much that this patchwork, made by stitching together old odds and ends of what, when new, was, for the most part, but tawdry frippery, is to be picked off the dunghill on which it ought to rot, and to be held up to admiration as an inestimable specimen of art. And what must we think of a system, by means of which verses like those which we have quoted-verses fit only for the poet's cor
Mr. Montgomery to omit, or alter, about a hundred lines in different parts of this large volume, and to republish it under the name of "Gabriel." The reflections of which it consists would come less absurdly, as far as there is a more and a less in extreme absurdity, from a good than from a bad angel.
We can afford room only for a single quotation. We give one taken at random-neither worse nor better, as far as we can perceive, than any other equal number of lines in the book. The Devil goes to the play, and moral izes thereon as follows:
"Music and pomp their mingling spirit shed
Attend the second, are a sensual :ibe
Here we conclude. If our remarks give pain to Mr. Robert Montgomery, we are sorry for it. But, at whatever cost of pain to indi viduals, literature must be purified of this taint. And, to show that we are not actuated by any feelings of persona) enmity towards him, we hereby give notice, that, as soon as any book shall, by means of puffing, reach a second edition, our intention is, to do unto the writer of it as we have done unto Mr. Robert Montgomery.
CIVIL DISABILITIES OF THE JEWS.*
THE distinguished member of the House of | to say, some person or persons must have a Commons who, towards the close of the late right to political power. Parliament, brought forward a proposition for the relief of the Jews, has given notice of his intention to renew it. The force of reason, in the last session, carried the measure through one stage, in spite of the opposition of power. Reason and power are now on the same side; and we have little doubt that they will conjointly achieve a decisive victory. In order to contribute our share to the success of just principles, we propose to pass in review, as rapidly as possible, some of the arguments, or phrases claiming to be arguments, which have been employed to vindicate a system full of absurdity and injustice.
It is because men are not in the habit of considering what the end of government is, that Catholic disabilities and Jewish disabili ties have been suffered to exist so long. We hear of essentially Protestant governments and essentially Christian governments, words which mean just as much as essentially Protestant cookery, or essentially Christian horsemanship. Government exists for the purpose of keeping the peace, for the purpose of compelling us to settle our disputes by arbitration instead of settling them by blows, for the purpose of compelling us to supply our wants by industry instead of supplying them by rapine. The constitution, it is said, is essentially This is the only operation for which the ma Christian; and therefore to admit Jews to office chinery of government is peculiarly adapted, is to destroy the constitution. Nor is the Jew the only operation which wise governments injured by being excluded from political power. ever propose to themselves as their chief ob For no man has any right to his property; a man ject. If there is any class of people who are has a right to be protected from personal injury. not interested, or who do not think themselves These rights the law allows to the Jew; and interested, in the security of property and the with these rights it would be atrocious to inter-maintenance of order, that class ought to have fere. But it is a mere matter of favour to admit any man to political power; and no man can justly complain that he is shut out from it. We cannot but admire the ingenuity of this contrivance for shifting the burden of the proof from those to whom it properly belongs, and who would, we suspect, find it rather cumbersome. Surely no Christian can deny that every numan being has a right to be allowed every gratification which produces no harm to others, and to be spared every mortification which produces no good to others. Is it not a source of mortification to a class of men that they are excluded from political power? If it be, they have, on Christian principles, a right to be freed from that mortification, unless it can be shown that their exclusion is necessary for the averting of some greater evil. The presumption is evidently in favour of toleration. It is for the persecutor to make out his case.
The strange argument which we are considering would prove too much even for those who advance it. If no man has a right to political power, then neither Jew nor Gentile has such a right. The whole foundation of government is taken away. But if government be taken away, the property and the pervons of men are insecure; and it is acknowledged that men have a right to their property and to personal security. If it be right that the property of men should be protected, and if this can only be done by means of government, then it must be right that government should exist. Now there cannot be government unless some person or persons possess political power. Therefore it is right that some person or persons should possess political power. That is
no share of the powers which exist for the purpose of securing property and maintaining order. But why a man should be less fit to exercise those powers because he wears a beard, because he does not eat ham, because he goes to the synagogue on Saturdays instead of going to the church on Sundays, we cannot conceive.
The points of difference between Christianity and Judaism have very much to do with a man's fitness to be a bishop or a rabbi. But they have no more to do with his fitness to be a magistrate, a legislator, or a minister of finance, than with his fitness to be a cobbler. Nobody has ever thought of compelling cob. blers to make any declaration on the true faith of a Christian. Any man would rather have his shoes mended by a heretical cobbler than by a person who had subscribed all the thirtynine articles, but had never handled an awl. Men act thus, not because they are indifferent to religion, but because they do not see what religion has to do with the mending of their shoes. Yet religion has as much to do with the mending of shoes as with the budget and the army estimates. We have surely had several signal proofs within the last twenty years that a very good Christian may be a very bad Chancellor of the Exchequer.
But it would be monstrous, say the persecu tors, that Jews should legislate for a Christian community. This is a palpable misrepresen. tation. What is proposed is, not that the Jews should legislate for a Christian community, but that a legislature composed of Christians and Jews should legislate for a community com posed of Christians and Jews. On nine hundred and ninety-nine questions out of a thousand, on all questions of police, of finance, of civi
➡ Statement of the Civil Disabilities and Privations af- and criminal law, of foreign policy, the Jew fecting Jews in England. 8vo. London: 1829.
VOL. V. 84
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