James Montgomery

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

The Flash at Midnight


The flash at midnight! - 'twas a light
That gave the blind a moment's sight
Then sank in tenfold gloom;
Loud, deep, and long, the thunder broke,
The deaf ear instantly awoke,
Then closed as in the tomb:
An angel might have passed my bed,
Sounded the trump of God, and fled.

So life appears; - a sudden birth,
A glance revealing heaven and earth
It is - and it is not!
So fame the poet's hope deceives,
Who sings for after time, and leaves
A name - to be forgot,
Life - is a lightning-flash of breath;
Fame - but a thunder clap at death.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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