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The poet's own plans for future life were in some degree affected by those of his relatives. About the middle of September he returned home, again to mingle in a hundred little matters of local interest, which his good nature did not permit him to decline. The postmaster of Sheffield had just died, and Montgomery sought to have his daughter appointed. There were so few decent situations to which females could be properly appointed, that he thought it desirable not to lessen the number, and his experience led him to think that the charge of a local post-office might be even better given to a woman than to a man. When he published a newspaper, he employed as his agents the managers of the local post-offices-the women always paid him-he never lost a penny by them, while he could not say the same of the men. His protegee on this occasion succeeded.
The name of Dr. Urwick of Dublin occurs in a letter to Dr. Railles, of Liverpool, and is mentioned in a tone of affectionate respect with which many will cordially sympathise. "Twice," says Montgomery, "I adventured through the sea of Liverpool-for to me the town with its Lys and bye-ways was as path- ready-made angel." Miss Jane Por
less and bewildering as the great deep itself towards your chapel, and by enquiring at every corner or open door, I reached the spot in safety. On the first occasion you were absent, but your pulpit was well occupied by good Dr. Urwick of Dublin, and an excellent discourse he delivered."
An account of some high words between two clergymen is mentionel. Montgomery said, "I dare say both were to blame-but 1 know whose opposition I would prefer to have encountered. Mr. is very quiet in his manner, but his words strike you like cannon balls; there is no turning them aside. Mr. the other hand is quick and voluble, but his words make no more impression than a shower of rain on a goose's back."
An odd incident occurred about this time to Montgomery. A lady and gentleman drove up to Montgomery's house. The gentleman stated that he called to executed a commission from his deceased brother, who had at one time submitted some manuscript poems to Montgomery, by
whom he was dissuaded from pub lishing them. He often said he owed a debt of obligation to Montgomery, and, when dying, directed that after his interment a handsome silver inkstand should be purchased and presented to the poet. The ink-stand bore the inscription, from T. E. to J. M.
A visit from the American poet, Bryant, gave pleasure to Montgomery; but Mr. Holland's record of the conversation, at which he was present, while it gives us a favourable impression of Bryant, is too long for extract, and does not well admit of abridgment. The anxiety of the Americans to see all our notabilities is pretty often exemplified in these volumes, and of the strange accounts of our distinguished men published in the American newspapers, we have one amusing specimen. An article appeared in "the Boston Atlas," entitled, "The two Montgomeries, James and Robert," in which the writer describes himself as having been introduced to James at Bristol. James, speaking of Mrs. Hemans, is made to say, that he had from her some of the most delightful letters ever penned, and that she was "a
ter is described as having been at a party in Bristol, and invited for the purpose of meeting Montgomery.She is described as "" thin, pale, and very old-maidish." Montgomery had never had any letters from Mrs. Hemans--never said she was "a ready-made angel"-never met Miss Jane Porter except once in Londor, and then thought her not only "a fine, but a lovely woman." The next place in which this writer says he met Montgomery was at Olneywhere he showed all Cowper's haunts.. Montgomery was never at Olney. Two years pass, and the writer now visits Montgomery, who tells him of his house having been robbed of a silver ink-stand, the gift of the ladies of Sheffield. The thief, when he saw Montgomery's name on the ink-stand, was stung with remorse, and remembering that he had been taught some of Montgomery's verses when a child, returned the property. Of all this there was not a word true; but in addition to all this, he represents Montgomery as taking him to hear a lecture of Ebenezer Elliott's, the
I more should love and better understand
corn-law rhymer, after which they returned to Elliott's, who spoke through the evening on subjects of general literaiure. Not one word of truth in the entire.
Mr. Wyse, son of the British Minister at Athens, was one of Montgomery's visitors. Hartley Coleridge, whom he met at Wordsworth's, gave him as a letter of introduction the following sonnet which strikes us as of great beauty :Poets there are whom I am well content
Only to see in mirror of their verse —
Feeling their very presence might disperse The glorious vision which their lines present. But never could ny shaping wit invent
An inage worthy of a Christian bard,
Such as thou art --but ever would discard
That fite or fault, or whatsoe'er it be,
A vague imagination unto me.
We have said that these volumes are too many. Considered as the biography of James Montgomery, they no doubt are; but it must be remembered that they contain a portion of what may properly be called his works-which, unless in this way preserved, would be wholly lost. What estimate of his powers may be formed in future days it would be hazardous to predict. There can be little doubt that upon his own times few writers have been more influential, and no doubt that his talents were at all times conscientiously exerted for good.
Engraved portraits of Montgomery and his friends are given as frontispieces with the volumes and there are vignettes in the title pages, of the places where he resided,
A GOSSIP ON FORTUNE.
The superstition of Fortune belongs ed from the weakness ? Cæsar apto the romance of our nature, in one peals to his Fortune as a charm against of its primeval and simplest forms. the hurricane. The stern Marius As old as the buman heart, it is near- uses his masculine reason but to disly as interesting; and if not the most tinguish the portents that are to save beautiful exercise of the imagination, him from peril. Mahomet is all fate ; is certainly one of the most pictur- Bonaparte all star and destiny. Cromesque. It may be true, or it may be well confides in September three ; false ; but adhering to us in every Louis Napoleon in December two ; stage of life and social progress, it is
and that wonderful man, SYLLA, who at all events nature, and must put in its owned a nature of less weakness than lot of truth or falsehood with all our any of them, deliberately willed to be other instincts.
known not as Magnus” like PomWhen our reveries carry us (as pey, nor the laurelled Dictator like sometimes the more charming of them Cæsar, nor as King or Emperor like will) to the first-remembered springs Cromwell or Bonaparte, but simply of our intellect, there are few of us as “ FELIX,” the favoured child of who do not recall some vague confi- Fortune. dence in an unknown force, bound to What then is it--this vague influsupply us with results quite inde- ence, so poetic, so historical, which, pendently of the law of cause and believed so naturally, exists so alleffect; and some of us, the more ima- pervadingly, and is found equally ginative, will even recollect with a powerful at the two extremes of huWalter Scott, how a marble or knot- man thought ? What is the idea, or, ted string, a particular point in the rather, what are the ideas we form on ring, or special place in the class, be- what we thus variously express as came converted into a temporary amu- chance, fatality, fortune, and deslet, under the dim influences opened tiny ? to us by our first glimpse at the Great Looking for our
answer to the Unknown.
more remarkable illustrations supAnd, absurd as this seems, where plied us by history, or our own obthe man of genius better protect
servations, it would sezm- that the
only uniform characteristic of the gin its march of disasters, nor end superstition is the acknowledgment of till its wonderful chieftain had reachsome vague, exterior, irresistible in- ed the fabulous denouement of a Profuence everywhere present, and every- methean chain on the bleakest islet where forcing more or less of the of the Atlantic ! And when the world's experience in courses of its historians tell us that, after putting own. Everything else offers but
away from his throne and bosom the modes or accidents in its develop- gentle partner of so astounding a forment, referring now to the nature of tune, he gave the rest of the day to the interposition, now to the means write out that enthralment of Spain by which it is indicated or secured. which was to be his own divorce
One of the most common notions from greatness, who does not see Forwhich thus originate, is that which tune peeping over his shoulder, and supposes good or ill fortune to follow
laughing her best at the fine sport of some special individuality, radiating such an engineer, so hoisted, and by to these for themselves, to those for such a petard ? others, like light as it happens to fall Among the rare celebrities poson dark or polished surfaces.
sessing this felicity in their own perThe founder of the Rothschild fa- sons, there occur to us for the momily was accustomed to attribute ment but Goethe as a literary man, much of his wonderful success to his and Augustus Cæsar as a public principle of having no man in his ser
character; the first enjoying a leisure vice whose career had been marked as glorious as it was useful for half a by a series of ill-luck.
century, the second surviving for a It was a similar belief in the time
still longer period so unvarying a of Law, that turned the Parisian's career of successful greatness during hump into a writing-desk for the use the stormiest era in the world's hisof superstitious speculators -- many tory, that his personal Fortune became a disappointed hope of fortune on one elevated by the Romans into a deity, side helping to construct the reality giving to their oaths the most solemn of fortune on the other.
of their sanctions. This personal influence, especially The instances of persons whose inaccredited to women, must have been fluences have been wholly unfortunate associated by the Romans with Vo- to themselves and those surrounding lumnia, the mother of Coriolanus, them, are more numerous as more when they erected a Temple in her remarkable ; Agrippina, for example, honour to the Fortune of Woman-a to Germanicus; Lady Macbeth to the gallant thing enough in the old se- Shakespearean hero; Margaret to nators, and which would have been Henry the Sixth ; Henrietta Maria to all in their favour, if, in permitting but Charles the First, and Marie Anthe newly married to worship there, toinette to Louis the Sixteenth; wothey had not left our wisdom galled men of personal qualities so like, and with the doubt whether the brides the evil genius of husbands so simihad the privilege, as most or least larly distinguished by character and needing the benefits of the institu- fortunes, that it would cost nothing tion.
to suppose the same brace of souls Thus agnin, the imperial fortunes had been fated to play nearly the of the great Corsican have been same role on different scenes under thonght to have come and gone with successive transmigrations. Accordthe rare graces of his first wife—the ing to Napoleon, whose personal exsecond of the two Creoles raised from a perience must often have brought private station to the sovereignty of this subject under the study of his France at its grandest epochs. As penetrating genius, they belong to the marriage secured him the Italian a class of persons who always decampaign, with its brilliant recom- stroy those to whom they are attached, pences ; so Wagram, that won him whether from want of tact or of good his divorce, won him also the end of fortune it does not signify." his prosperity. The last of the vic- Akin to them, but with influences tories which carried a gain with it, less out of their own personal sphere, the roar of its ten thousand cannon were Nicias, Mary Stuart, James thé but struck the hour when the might- Second and his descendants, and jest of nodern inonarcbies was to be. (with Homer, Dante, Socrates, Co
lumbus, Bernard Palissier, Walter Raleigh) probably a majority of the great minds who have aspired to help the world to better things.
about a legal point that had no precedent, and which, therefore, visited all the courts to establish one. Had he made a fortune himself?-The day he was to realize his shares fell, and before he could sell, were worth no more than the advances he had raised on them. And in this way unworthy fate went on pursuing the poor fellow, until, resolved on withdrawing himself wholly from her European support, at last he settled somewhere in Massachusetts as an ice merchant ; my last news going no further than to his being "burnt out" under clear circumstances of spontaneous com bustion.
Among the decided instances of this class-the unlucky par excellence -and who by their very name appear to short-sighted people to controvert the theory of eternal justiceI may recall a worthy Irishman, living in a comparatively private station, who insists, with Napoleon, that he was born from all eternity for an unusual succession of adversities, he has been so carefully pre-hardened against their influences. Though he has gone through an unprecedented series of little Marengos and Waterloos, in which the victories have been ever on the other side, he has yet a smile of sympathy for others' woe, and a ready jes for his own.
If I may credit to the letter his own statement, his first good fortune was his appointment, after infinite intrigues, to the secretaryship of an hospital. But the war came, and the building got no further than the first floor. Just as he had the reversion of an Irish borough, the vacancy came; but the borough was already in schedule A, by a majority small as its own constituency. Starting practice as a surgeon, he already counted on a small income as chiropodist to a gouty general, but the patient's age and infirmities entitling him to an active command, he left his legs cn the battle-field, and with them the corn-crop our friend was to have lived A bishop had some curious infirmity, which became the touchstone of professional skill: at the moment he ought to have felt cured secundem artem, he died. An admiral owed him a debt that was to clear the next quarter's bills: a day before that fixed for the payment, he was sent on foreign service and never returned. Had he two patients to operate on, either of whom would have made his fortune-One died the morning half London was met to witness his triumph; the other, more provoking still, got well. Did he marry a rich wife -One trustee went into the Gazette, the other for good reasons travelled to foreign parts, and the journal that announced his ruin had been paid by him the day before to advertise his first blessing of twins. Was a fortune left him?-It was spent
But, passing from these elucidations of personal luck, let us say a word on that odder form of the superstition which associates fortune with things or acts in themselves indifferent. Such are amulets, Augustus wearing some portion of a sea-calf; Charlemagne, and, after him, Louis Napoleon, some trinket of hidden value; the Turks using minerals in association with Solomon; the sailors, who fear shipwreck in the company of an ecclesiastic, expecting to escape it when armed with a child's caul; and so on, through infinite varieties; as though faith, all potent alone, shed its virtue on things the most inert that fell under its shadow.
But not only have we good or ill fortune, but these are supposed to have some power of prefiguring themselves things in appearance the most trivial being invested with the faculty of becoming their portents.
The Romans degraded a priest, because at a solemn moment his mitre fell and unmade a dictator, because a rat squeaked while they were making out his appointment. Caesar crossed the Rubicon because he saw a fine figure of a man on the opposite bank; his nephew felt assured of winning the battle of Actium, because he met a peasant of the name of Nicolaus mounted on an ass. Wolsey foresaw his own fall in that of his crosier-head: Sejanus foretold his doom from seeing a flight of crows: Dr. Johnson preferred not to go under a ladder: Montaigne not to put on the left stocking first; and hundreds of persons get a day's unhappiness if they see the new moon through glass, meet a magpie in one position rather than another, or en
counter any other of the thousand ill- heaven, and there worshipping her as omens traditional fancy has invented a divinity. against us.
Say the best of all these opinions, But though prophecies, like nice what are they but a veiled atheism, customs, curt'sied to great monarchs, except for a half truth generalized as the most direct of them have at times usual into a whole falsehood ? been construed with impunity into It is true enough, no doubt, that the ordinances of a silly destiny, we often interpose chance and forwhich might be satisfied to the ear tune, because we fail to discern the without much attention to the hope. liuks between the common series of Alexander was held to have untied causes and effects; but conceding all the Gordian knot with a slice of his we may for the power of strong volisword ; and Julius Cæsar to have ful- tion and persistent energy, we must filled the promise that a Scipio should yet go further, very much further, always be conqueror in Africa, by for a consistent theory of human afputting a low man of that name in fairs. nominal command of the army.
The world is not all ourselves, nor But if auguries were thus the law even all we see, and our lives depend of the future and the religion of the for their character on influences present, they seem to have stood on which, so far from commanding, we wholly different footings when consi- can often not scan. The world raises dered as part of a systematic faith, and the world crushes, alike giving or simply as individual experiences. and alike taking away with no nice disCicero, who laughs with his brother cernment of ourqualities, either moral augurs at the institution, submits with or physical. As on one side, all heathendom to the authority of eighteen on whom fell the tower of isolated manifestations. Even the in- Siloam were by no means sinners credulous Epicurus, who believed the above those dwelling in Jerusalem,” world a fortuitous concurrence of so, on the other," of the many atoms, recommended the neglect of lepers in Israel only one, and he a auguries, not because of their vanity, Syrian, was cured." It may be the but because the philosopher should most mysterious of our dispensations, be above the precautions they sug
but it is not the less a dispensation, gest.
that “the race shall not always be to Yet, while mastering some of the the swift, nor the battle to the details of this curious worship, the strong." old question remains, what is For- But as even in the first scene of a tune? And what is the possible value true drama, there exists a sure, if of the presages with which we sur- unseen, approximation to justice, round her ? The facts, it must be though the actual incident be but the admitted, are sufficiently dark, but triumph of vice; so may we be certhe explanations of the old authori- tain that in the great play of lifeties leave them darker still.
life taken as a whole--the tendencies Horace, who dedicates an ode to of success are toward virtue. We her praise, tells us she is preceded by have all so instinctive a leaning to stern Necessity, armed by all its dread some such theory, that it seems like appliances, but accompanied by meek- the voice of nature proclaiming a truth eyed Hope and white-robed Fidelity to us beyond the reach of our reason--a picture rather than an explana ings. Charles V., in his older wickedtion.
ness, reproached fortune with favourLucan says, fortune is only another ing only the young. The latter days name for our own doings; somebody of Louis XIV, and Napoleon Bonaelse, that "pluck is luck;" a third, parte found her as adverse as more that luck is a word to be talked about, innocent years had found her favourbut that it is skill that leads to fors able. We love in lotteries to stake tune; a fourth, that every one is his our ventures under the names of own fortune-maker (“ quisque suce children ; and, watching small gamfortunæ faber"); and finally, our grave bling among respectable people, who friend Juvenal assures us that for- has not been prone to think that the tune is but hap-hazard ; that the true greater luck was the part of the power is prudence, although men young, the simple, and the virtuous, persist in elevating the impostor to rather than of the old, the crafty, or the
VOL. XLVIII.-X0. CCLXXXIV.