Three Sonnets by Gerard Montgomery.

Knight's Quarterly Magazine 2 (January 1824) 230-31.

Rev. John Moultrie

In the third of this sequence of three sonnets John Moultrie refers to his own love — Miss Fergusson, presumably — as "My Gloriana bright, my Faery Queen!" p. 231. The first is dated "March, 1822," the second "Nov. 1822," and the third, more recent, is not dated. At the time they were written the poet was tutoring a boy at Eton College and living at Windsor. Knight's Quarterly Magazine was supplied by a coterie of poets writing under pseudonyms, some of whom, including Moultrie and W. M. Praed, had earlier published together in the Etonian. John Moultrie may refer to these sonnets in the second canto of "La Belle Tryamour," which gives further details of his life and loves: "Hereafter I, perhaps, may let you see | Some sonnets penn'd by love at twenty-three," stanza 81. The poems are reprinted as Sonnets VI-VIII in Poems (1876), with "Rosine" altered to "Adine."

LADY! I know three poets who know thee;
And all write sonnets, in the which they swear
That thou art most superlatively fair,
Meek, silver-voiced — and so forth. As for me,
Not having see thee, I am fancy-free;
And, pretty lady, little do I care
Whether thou art indeed beyond compare,
A being to whom Bards must bow the knee,
Or a mere woman, with good face and shape.—
I only know that I'm so tired of hearing
The list of thy perfections, that I gape
Sometimes, instead of duly sonneteering;
And therefore am I called brute, bear, and ape,
And other names past mentioning or bearing.

I look'd on the pale face which poets love,
And scann'd its sweetness with a steadfast eye;
I listen'd to the eloquent witchery
Of her low, plaintive song: — awhile she wove
Her cobweb meshes round me, and did move
My soul to a wild worship. Then did I,
By the strong aid of wakeful Memory,
Whose sprites for ever at Love's bidding rove,
Summon Ianthe from her silent cell.
Sudden, in all the glory and the pride
Of intellectual beauty, at my side
She stood, and on my soul her bright eyes fell,
Beaming with earnest thought, — I heard one tone
Of her far voice — and straight that phantom pale was flown.

Oh! not for worlds, thou simple-soul'd Rosine,
Would I be loved by thee. — Yet I confess
That thou dost wear a deeper loveliness
Than the most lovely whom these eyes have seen,
Save One — and she is of a different mien;
Wild-eyed, and how wild-hearted! — yet no less
Fit than thyself a poet's love to bless—
My Gloriana bright, my Faery Queen!
Thou, Lady, in thy meek, affectionate eyes,
Bearest such magic as, I well believe,
Few can resist; to me the charms they weave
Spring from thy gentle wedded sympathies:
And couldst thou less adore thy wayward mate,
Oh! I should hate thee with a poet's hate!

[pp. 230-31]