Home  »  The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century  »  James Montgomery (1771–1854)

Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By The Grave (1804) (“There is a calm”)

James Montgomery (1771–1854)

THERE is a calm for those who weep,

A rest for weary pilgrims found,

They softly lie and sweetly sleep

Low in the ground.

The storm that wrecks the winter sky

No more disturbs their deep repose,

Than summer evening’s latest sigh

That shuts the rose.

I long to lay this painful head

And aching heart beneath the soil;

To slumber in that dreamless bed

From all my toil.

For Misery stole me at my birth,

And cast me helpless on the wild:

I perish—O my mother earth!

Take home thy child.

On thy dear lap these limbs reclined

Shall gently moulder into thee;

Nor leave one wretched trace behind

Resembling me.

Hark!—a strange sound affrights mine ear;

My pulse,—my brain runs wild,—I rave;

—Ah! who art thou whose voice I hear?


“The GRAVE, that never spake before,

Hath found at length a tongue to chide;

O listen!—I will speak no more:—

Be silent, Pride!

“Art thou a wretch of hope forlorn,

The victim of consuming care?

Is thy distracted conscience torn

By fell despair?

“Do foul misdeeds of former times

Wring with remorse thy guilty breast?

And ghosts of unforgiven crimes

Murder thy rest?

“Lash’d by the furies of the mind,

From Wrath and Vengeance wouldst thou flee?

Ah! think not, hope not, fool, to find

A friend in me.

“By all the terrors of the tomb,

Beyond the power of tongue to tell;

By the dread secrets of my womb;

By Death and Hell;

“I charge thee, LIVE!—repent and pray;

In dust thine infamy deplore;

There yet is mercy;—go thy way,

And sin no more.

“Art thou a Mourner?—Hast thou known

The joy of innocent delights,

Endearing days for ever flown,

And tranquil nights?

“O LIVE!—and deeply cherish still

The sweet remembrance of the past:

Rely on Heaven’s unchanging will

For peace at last.

“Art thou a Wanderer?—Hast thou seen

O’erwhelming tempests drown thy bark?

A ship-wreck’d sufferer, hast thou been,

Misfortune’s mark?

“Though long of winds and waves the sport,

Condemn’d in wretchedness to roam,

LIVE!—thou shalt reach a sheltering port,

A quiet home.

“To Friendship didst thou trust thy fame

And was thy friend a deadly foe,

Who stole into thy breast to aim

A surer blow?

“LIVE!—and repine not o’er his loss,

A loss unworthy to be told:

Thou hast mistaken sordid dross

For friendship’s gold.

“Seek the true treasure seldom found,

Of power the fiercest griefs to calm,

And soothe the bosom’s deepest wound

With heavenly balm.

“Did Woman’s charms thy youth beguile,

And did the fair one faithless prove?

Hath she betray’d thee with a smile,

And sold thy love?

“LIVE!—’twas a false bewildering fire:

Too often Love’s insidious dart

Thrills the fond soul with wild desire,

But kills the heart.

“Thou yet shalt know how sweet, how dear,

To gaze on listening Beauty’s eye;

To ask—and pause in hope and fear

Till she reply.

“A nobler flame shall warm thy breast,

A brighter maiden faithful prove;

Thy youth, thine age, shall yet be blest,

In woman’s love.

“——Whate’er thy lot—whoe’er thou be,—

Confess thy folly,—kiss the rod,

And in thy chastening sorrows see

The hand of God.

“A bruisèd reed He will not break;

Afflictions all His children feel:

He wounds them for His mercy’s sake,

He wounds to heal.

“Humbled beneath His mighty hand,

Prostrate His Providence adore:

’Tis done!—Arise! He bids thee stand,

To fall no more.

“Now, Traveller in the vale of tears,

To realms of everlasting light,

Through Time’s dark wilderness of years,

Pursue thy flight.

“There is a calm for those who weep,

A rest for weary pilgrims found;

And while the mouldering ashes sleep

Low in the ground,

“The Soul, of origin divine,

God’s glorious image, freed from clay,

In Heaven’s eternal sphere shall shine

A star of day!

“The Sun is but a spark of fire,

A transient meteor in the sky:

The Soul, immortal as its sire,

Shall never die.”