James Montgomery

(4 November 1771 – 30 April 1854 / Irvine in Ayrshire)

James Montgomery
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James Montgomery was a British editor, hymnwriter and poet. He was particularly associated with humanitarian causes such as the campaigns to abolish slavery and to end the exploitation of child chimney sweeps.

Early Life and Poetry

Montgomery was born at Irvine in Ayrshire, the son of a pastor and missionary of the Moravian Brethren. He was sent to be trained for the ministry at the Moravian School at Fulneck, near Leeds, while his parents left for the West Indies, where both died within a year of each other. At Fulneck, secular studies were banned, but James nevertheless found means of borrowing and reading a good deal of poetry and made ambitious plans to write epics ... more »

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Best Poem of James Montgomery

A Poor Wayfaring Man Of Grief

A poor wayfaring Man of grief
Hath often crossed me on my way,
Who sued so humbly for relief
That I could never answer nay.
I had not power to ask his name,
Whereto he went, or whence he came;
Yet there was something in his eye
That won my love; I knew not why.

Once, when my scanty meal was spread,
He entered; not a word he spake,
Just perishing for want of bread.
I gave him all; he blessed it, brake,
And ate, but gave me part again.
Mine was an angel’s portion then,
For while I fed with eager haste,
The crust was manna to my taste.

I ...

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