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and imagination shall desiderate something characteristic in nature, of the mountain or the man. But the poet who hugs to his bosom every thing he loves or admires--themselves, or the thoughts that are their shadows—who is himself still the centre of the enchanted circle—who, in the delusion of a strong creative genius, absolutely believes that were he to die, all that he now sees and hears delighted would die with him—who not only sees

“ Poetic visions swarm on every bough,” but the history of all his own most secret emotions written on the very rocks—who gathers up the many beautiful things that in the prodigality of nature lie scattered over the earth, neglected or unheeded, and the more dearly, the more passionately loves them, because they are now appropriated to the uses of his own imagination, who will by her alchymy so further brighten them that the thousands of eyes that formerly passed them by unseen or scorned, will be dazzled by their rare and transcendant beauty-he is the “prevailing Poet!” Montgomery neither seeks nor shuns those dark thoughts that will come and go, night and day, unbidden, forbidden across the minds of all men—fortified although the main entrances may be; but when they do invade his secret, solitary hours, he turns even such visitants to a happy account, and questions them, ghostlike as they are, concerning both the future and the past. Melancholy as often his views are, we should not suppose him a man of other than a cheerful mind; for whenever the theme allows or demands it, he is not averse to a sober glee, a composed gayety that, although we cannot say it ever so far sparkles out as to deserve to be called absolutely brilliant, yet lends a charm to his lightertoned compositions, which it is peculiarly pleasant now and then to feel in the writings of a man whose genius is naturally, and from the course of life, not gloomy indeed, but pensive, and less disposed to indulge itself in smiles than in tears.

SACRED POETRY.

CHAPTER III.

People now-a-days will write, because they see so many writing; the impulse comes upon them from without, not from within ; loud voices from streets and squares of cities call on them to join the throng, but the still small voice that speaketh in the penetralia of the spirit is mute; and what else can be the result, but, in place of the song of lark, or linnet, or nightingale, at the best a concert of mocking-birds, at the worst an oratorio of ganders and bubbleys ?

At this particular juncture or crisis, the disease would fain assume the symptoms of religious inspiration. The poetasters are all pious—all smitten with sanctityChristian all over—and crossing and jostling on the Course of Time—as they think, on the high-road to Heaven and Immortality. Never was seen before such a shameless set of hypocrites. Down on their knees they fall in booksellers’ shops, and, crowned with foolscap, repeat to Blue-Stockings prayers addressed in doggerel to the Deity! They bandy about the Bible as if it were an Album. They forget that the poorest sinner has a soul to be saved, as well as a set of verses to be damned; they look forward to the First of the Month with more fear and trembling than to the Last Day; and beseech a critic to be merciful upon them

with far more earnestness than they ever beseeched their Maker. They pray through the press—vainly striving to give some publicity to what must be private for evermore; and are seen wiping away, at tea-parties, the tears of contrition and repentance for capital crimes perpetrated but on paper, and perpetrated thereon so paltrily, that so far from being worthy of hell-fire, such delinquents, it is felt, would be more suitably punished by being singed like plucked fowls with their own unsaleable sheets. They are frequently so singed; yet singeing has not the effect upon them for which singeing is designed; and like chickens in a shower that have got the pip, they keep still gasping and shooting out their tongues, and walking on tip-toe with their tails down, till finally they go to roost in some obscure corner, and are no more seen among bipeds.

Among those, however, who have been unfortunately beguiled by the spirit of imitation and sympathy into religious poetry, one or two—who for the present must be nameless—have shown feeling; and would they but obey their feeling, and prefer walking on the ground with their own free feet, to attempting to fly in the air with borrowed and bound wings, they might produce something really poetical, and acquire a creditable reputation. But they are too aspiring; and have taken into their hands the sacred lyre without due preparation. He who is so familiar with his Bible, that each chapter, open it where he will, teems with household words, may draw thence the theme of many a pleasant and pathetic song. For is not all human nature, and all human

life shadowed forth in those pages? But the heart, to sing well from the Bible, must be embued with religious feelings, as a flower is alternately with dew and sunshine. The study of The Book must have been begun in the simplicity of childhood, when it was felt to be indeed divine—and carried on through all those silent intervals in which the soul of manhood is restored, during the din of life, to the purity and peace of its early being. The Bible must be to such a poet even as the sky-with its sun, moon, and stars—its boundless blue with all its cloud-mysteries—its peace deeper than the grave, because of realms beyond the graveits tumult louder than that of life, because heard altogether in all the elements. He who begins the study of the Bible late in life, must, indeed, devote himself to it-night and day—and with a humble and a contrite heart as well as an awakened and soaring spirit, ere he can hope to feel what he understands, or to understand what he feels—thoughts and feelings breathing in upon him, as if from a region hanging, in its mystery, between heaven and earth. Nor do we think that he will lightly venture on the composition of poetry drawn from such a source. The very thought of doing so, were it to occur to his mind, would seem irreverent; it would convince him that he was still the slave of vanity, and pride, and the world.

They alone, therefore, to whom God has given genius as well as faith, zeal, and benevolence—will, of their own accord, fix their Pindus either on Lebanon or Calvary-and of these but few. The genius must be

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