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Short poem

Selected Poetry of James Montgomery (1771-1854)

from Representative Poetry On-line
Prepared by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto
from 1912 to the present and published by the University of Toronto Press from 1912 to 1967.
RPO Edited by Ian Lancashire
A UTEL (University of Toronto English Library) Edition
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries
© 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Index to poems

Art thou a woman? -- so am I; and all
That woman can be, I have been, or am;
A daughter, sister, consort, mother, widow.
Whiche'er of these thou art, O be the friend
Of one who is what thou canst never be!
        (Inscription under the Picture of an Aged Negro-woman, 1-5)
  1. A Cry from South Africa
  2. Inscription under the Picture of an Aged Negro-woman

Notes on Life and Works

Born November 4, 1771, in Ayrshire, Scotland, James Montgomery was brought up and educated by Moravians near Leeds after his parents left for America, never to return. He became an editorial assistant to the Sheffield Register in 1792. Acquiring the newspaper himself, he renamed it the Isis and in it advocated reformist causes at an unpopular time, during the French Revolution, and went to jail for his trouble twice in 1795-96. He returned to his journalism then and published a book of poems about his imprisonment. This led to an avocation in poetry and letters. He brought out volumes of poems and hymns from 1797 until the mid-19th-century. After 25 years in the news business, Montgomery retired from journalism and lived on a Literary Fund pension until his death on April 30, 1854. Throughout his life he actively worked for humanitarian causes and gained the respect and affection of his fellow poets.

Biographical information

Given name: James
Family name: Montgomery
Birth date: 4 November 1771
Death date: 30 April 1854
Literary period: Romantic
          Man of Letters
Residence: Ayrshire, Scotland to 1771
First RPO edition: 2001