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To deathless resurrection. Heaven and earth
O thou that readest ! take this parable
WRITTEN DURING NINE MONTHS OF CONFINEMENT IN THE
CASTLE OF YORK, IN THE YEARS 1795 AND 1796.
HE circumstances to which the following effusions
owed their existence were briefly these :- When Montgomery took up his abode in Sheffield, and
became the clerk of Joseph Gales, the printer, the heat of parties raged violently; and Gales, as the publisher of the “Sheffield Register," was at the mercy of all the bad passions of the town. This newspaper had a large circulation, which proved fatal to the proprietor by drawing the “notice" of the Government. A letter from a printer at Sheffield, found in the possession of “ Citizen Hardy," was falsely attributed to Gales, who sought safety by flight." Montgomery, then twenty-three years of age, reigned in his stead; and on July 4th, 1794, the first number of the “ Iris," in succession to the “Register," was published. But his own hour was at hand. For an offence hardly appreciable by judicial analysis, the printing of a patriotic song for a street hawker, he was twice sentenced to the penalties of fine and imprisonment; in January, 1795, and in January, 1796; the first time, a fine of twenty pounds and three months' confinement; the second, six months confinement and a fine of thirty pounds.
The Author, in the original Preface to these “trifles," as he calls them, touchingly says:
“ These Pieces were composed in bitter moments, amid the horrors of a gaol, under the pressure of sickness. They were the transcripts of melancholy feelings-the warm effusions of a bleeding heart. The writer amused his imagination with attiring his sorrows in verse, that, under the romantic appearance of fiction, he might sometimes forget that his misfortunes were real.”
VERSES TO A ROBIN REDBREAST,
WHO VISITS THE WINDOW OF MY PRISON EVERY DAY.
WELCOME, pretty little stranger !
Welcome to my lone retreat!
Robin! how I envy thee,
Happy child of liberty !
Shakes the world with tempests round,
Robin! what are these to thee?
Thou art blest with liberty.
Mourns in solid icy chains;
Robin ! thou art gay and free,
Happy in thy liberty.
While my cates one crumb afford;
Robin! come and live with me,
Live-yet still at liberty.
Steal upon the blooming year;
Thy sweet song shall warble clear;
# The Ouse.
Then shall I too, joined with thee,
Swell the hymn of liberty.
In this iron-hearted age,
Then, poor pris'ner! think of mc,
GENTLE Moon! a captive calls :
Gentle Moon! awake, arise; Gild the prison's sullen walls;
Gild the tears that drown his eyes.
Throw thy veil of clouds aside;
Let those smiles, that light the pole, Through the liquid æther glide,
Glide into the mourner's soul.
Cheer his melancholy mind;
Soothe his sorrows, heal his smart: Let thine influence, pure, refined,
Cool the fever of his heart.
Chase despondency and care,
Fiends that haunt the guilty breast : Conscious virtue braves despair ;
Triumphs most when most oppressed. Now I feel thy power benign
Swell my bosom, thrill my veins; As thy beams the brightest shine
When the deepest midnight reigns.
Say, fair shepherdess of night!
Who thy starry flock dost lead
At this moment, dost thou see,
From thine elevated sphere,
Thinks, and drops a feeling tear?
On a brilliant beam convey
This soft whisper to his breast : “Wipe that generous drop away;
He for whom it falls is blest:
“Blest with freedom unconfined,
Dungeons cannot hold the soul; Who can chain the immortal mind?
None but He who spans the pole.” Fancy, too, the nimble fairy,
With her subtle magic spell, In romantic visions airy
Steals the captive from his cell.
On her moonlight pinions borne,
Far he flies from grief and pain; Never, never to he torn
From his friends and home again.
Stay, thou dear delusion! stay;
Beauteous bubble! do not break;-Ah! the pageant flits away :
Who from such a dream would wake?
THE CAPTIVE NIGHTINGALE.
NOCTURNAL silence reigning,
A nightingale began,
Of cruel-hearted man;
Like withered moss so dry;