Imagens das páginas



JAMES MONTGOMERY, one of the most popular of the sacred or religious poets of England, was born at Irvine in Ayrshire, on the 4th of November, 1771. His parents were Irish- his father a preacher of the Society of United Moravian Brethren. James was designed for the same office, and in his sixth year was placed in the Moravian establishment at Fulneck, near Leeds, where he was as effectually excluded from the world and all its ways, as if he had been immured in a Dominican convent.

A love of poetry was kindled in him by hearing one of his masters read aloud Blair's Grave. He refused to study for the ministry; and both his parents being then dead (they had died in Barbadoes, his father having been sent on a missionary enterprise to the West Indies), the Brethren at Fulneck put James apprentice to a grocer in Mirfield. He disliked the drudgery of the shop, wrote verses, and at length ran away, with three shillings and sixpence in his pocket.

After some wayside hardships and wanderings, he got engaged as shop-boy in the pretty Yorkshire village of Wath, where he remained for a twelvemonth. He next removed to London, intent on publishing a volume of poetry; but the Brethren of the Row were as adverse to his poetical ambition as the Brethren of Fulneck; and he was glad to obtain employment from one of the number, Harrison, a well-known publisher, as clerk and assistant. He soon tired of London, and retraced his steps back to Wath, perhaps induced in some degree by recollection of a certain Nancy Wainwright, one of the Wath beauties, whom, I am afraid," he says, "I sometimes looked at in church more than was proper." The looks came to nothing; and this is the only instance of any thing like an approach to gallantry in the long bachelor life of Montgomery.


In his twenty-first year he made another and final removal. He went to Sheffield as clerk to Mr. Gales, an auctioneer and publisher of a weekly newspaper, the Sheffield Register. This paper was liberal in its tone and tendencies, and Mr. Gale was marked out as a disaffected man. The whole nation was at that time agitated by the example or by dread of revolutionized France; spies and informers abounded; and local rulers, like the government, were jealous and eager to convict. The Sheffield editor was wrecked in the political storm; the Register went down, and in its place

« AnteriorContinuar »