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Mount, on the Glossop road, the West End of Sheffield. It is, I suppose, at least a mile and a half from the old Iris office, and is one regular ascent all the way. The situation is lovely, lying high; and there are many pleasant villas built on the sides of the hill in their ample pleasure-grounds, the abodes of the wealthy manufacturers. The Mount, par excellence, is the house, or rather terrace, where Montgomery lives. It is a large building, with a noble portico of six fine Ionic columns, so that it looks a residence fit for a prince. It stands in ample pleasure grounds, and looks over a splendid scene of hills and valleys. The rooms enjoy this fine prospect over the valleys of the Sheaf and Porter, which, however, was obscured while I was there with the smoke blowing from the town.
In the drawing-room hangs the portrait of the Incognita, on whom the beautiful lyric under that title was written, and which may be found in the same volume as Greenland. As is there stated, he saw the picture at Leamington; it hung, in fact, in his lodgings, and completely fascinated his fancy-and no wonder. One may imagine the poet, continually met on returning from his walks by that “vision of delight,” addressing it in the words of that charming poem.
It is evidently a family portrait, and is no doubt by Lely or Kneller, probably by the latter; at all events by a master. It is of the size of life, three-quarters figure; a slender young lady in a pale silk dress. She is very beautiful, and the expression of her countenance is extremely amiable. All that Mr. Montgomery could learn from his landlady was, that it had belonged to Sir Charles Knightly of Warwickshire; and there can, therefore, be little doubt that this fascinating creature, fit to inspire any poet, was one of his family. The landlady, no great judge of either beauty or art, said she was willing to sell it for two guineas, and Montgomery, in a joyful astonishment, at once paid her the money, and secured the prize.
Below Mr. Montgomery's house, on the other side of the road, lie the botanic gardens. These stretching down the hillside, lie charmingly. They are extensive and delightful. The kind and active poet, though in his seventy-fifth year, would accompany me to see them. You enter by a sort of Grecian portico, and to the right hand along the top of the gardens, see a fine long conservatory, in which the palms, parasitical, and other tropical plants are in the most healthy state. The curator, a very sensible Scotchman, seemed to have a particular pleasure in pointing out his plants to us. What struck me most was, however, not so much the tropical plants, as the size to which he has cultivated certain plants which we commonly see small. The common, sweet-scented heliotrope, in a pot, was at least five feet high, and had a stem quite woody, and at least an inch in diameter. It formed, in fact, a tree, and being in full bloom, filled all the conservatory with its odor. The fuchsias were the same, though this is not so unusual. They were tied up to rods, and reaching to the very roof, formed archways hung with their crimson blossoms. The scarlet geraniums were the same ; had stems nearly as thick as one's wrist, and were not, I suppose, less than twelve feet high. How much superior to the dwarf state in which we usually keep this magnificent plant! The curator said that they cut all the side branches from these plants quite close, in the autumn or early spring, and that they shoot out afresh and flower.
The gardens themselves are extensive, beautifully varied, richly stocked, and sloped with fine turf. In one place you come to secluded waters and thickets; in another to an open wide lawn, all filled with beds of every imaginable kind of roses in glowing masses; in another, to the remains of the original forest, with its old trees and heathery sward; and with fine views over the neighboring valleys in different directions. It is a most delightful place for walking in, and is naturally a great resort and luxury of the poet. We traversed it, I suppose, for a couple of hours in all directions, and talked over a multitude of poets and poetry. I was glad to find Montgomery as ardent an admirer of Tennyson and of Moile's State Trials as myself, my review of the latter poet in the Eclectic having first brought them under his notice. At the gate of these pleasant gardens I take my present adieu of James Montgomery, the most genuinely religious poet of the age. With a wisdom, foundod not on calculation, but on a sacred sense of duty, he had made even his ambition subservient to his aspirations as a Christian, and he has thus reared for himself a pedestal in the poetic Walhalla of England peculiarly his own. The longer his fame endures, and the wider it spreads, the better it will be for virtue and for man.
WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR is one of the class of fortunate authors. He was born with the silver spoon in his mouth ; and he was far more fortunate than the host of those who are born thus; he cared little for the silver spoon of indulgence, and has always been ready to help himself to his share of the enjoyment of life with the wooden ladle of exertion. His fortune has given him all those substantial advantages which fortune can give, and he has despised its corrupting and effeminating influence. It gave him a firstrate, education ; a power of going over the surface of the earth at his pleasure, of seeing all that is worth seeing at home and abroad, of indulging the real and true pleasure of surveying the varieties and the sublimities of scenery, and studying the varieties and genuine condition of man. Hence his original talents, which were strong, have been strengthened; his mind, which was naturally broad, has been expanded ; his classical tastes have been perfected
by the scenery of classic countries, while he read the ancient works of those countries, not twisted into pedantic onesidedness in monkish institutions of barren learning. To him classical literature was but the literature of one, though of a fine portion of the human race. He imbibed it with a feeling of freshness where it grew, but at the same time he did not avert his eyes from the world of to-day. It was humanity in its totality which interested him. Hence the universality of his genius; the healthiness of his tastes; the soundness of his opinions. In stretching his inquiries into all corners of the world he loosened himself from the restrictions of sects, parties, and coteries. Born an aristocrat, he has nevertheless remained fully conscious of the evils of aristocracy; educated at the schools and in the bosom of the Established Church, he is as vividly sensible of the pride and worldliness of the hierarchy as any dissenter, without the peculiar bigotry and narrowness of dissent. Born a gentleman, he has felt with and for the poor; being interested, if men of landed estate are interested, in things remaining as they are, he has announced himself, in no timid terms, for advance, liberty, and law for the many.
These are the characteristics of the man and of his works. His prose and his poetry, his life and his conversation, alike display them. The man is a man of large and powerful physical frame, of a passionate, impulsive, yet reflective mind. There is no disguise about him. He lives, he writes, he talks, from the vigorous strength of this great and equally developed nature, and you can not be a day in his society without hearing him enunciate every principle of his action, and much of its history. His sentiments and doctrines seem continually to radiate on all around him, from the living central fire of a heart which feels, as a sacred duty, every great truth, which the mind has received into its settled conviction. It is therefore astonishing, after a few hours' conversation with him, to find on opening his works how much of his philosophy you are acquainted