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From these childish and absurd affecta- | Silent and sad, and gazing, hand in hand; tions, we turn with pleasure to the manly While bending low, their eager eyes explore Gense and correct picturing of Mr. Crabbe ; The bell rolls late, the moping owl flies round, and, after being dazzled and made giddy Fear marks the Hight and magnifies the sound; with the elaborate raptures and obscure origi- The busy priest, detain'd by weightier care, nalities of these new artists, it is refreshing to Defers his duty till the day of prayer; meet again with the spirit and nature of our And waiting long, the crowd retire distrest, old masters, in the nervous pages of the To think a poor man's bones should lie unblest." author now before us.
pp. 10, 17. The poem that stands first in the volume, The scope of the poem is to show, that the is that to which we have already alluded as villagers of real life have no resemblance to having been first given to the public upwards the villagers of poetry; that poverty, in sober of twenty years ago. It is so old, and has of truth, is very uncomfortable; and vice by no late been so scarce, that it is probably new means confined to the opulent. The following to many of our readers. We shall venture, passage is powerfully, and finely written :therefore, to give a few extracts from it as a specimen of Mr. Crabbe's original style of
“ Or will you deem them amply paid in healih,
Labour's composition. We have already hinted at the Gothen! and see them rising with the sun,
fair child, that languishes with wealih? description of the Parish Workhouse, and in- Through a long course of daily toil to run ; sert it as an example of no common poetry :- See them beneath the dog.star's raging heat,
When the knees tremble and the temples beat ; " Theirs is yon house that holds the parish poor, Whose walls of mud scarce bear the broken door ; The labour past, and toils to come explore ;
Behold them, leaning on their scythes, look o'er l'here, where the putrid vapours fagging play, And the dull wheel hums doleful through the day ;- When their warm pores imbibe the evening dew.
Through fens and marshy moors their steps pursue, T'here children dwell who know no parents' care ; Parents, who know no children's love, dwell there; Contend with weakness, weariness, and shame;
“ There may you see the youth of slender frame Heart-broken matrons on their joyless bed,
Yet urg'd along, and proudly loath to yield,
He strives to join his fellows of the field;
Till long.coniending nature droops at last ;
His cheerless spouse ihe coming danger sees, The moping idiot and the madman gay.
And mutual murmurs urge the slow disease. “Here, too, the sick their final doom receive,
Yet grant them healih, 'tis not for us to tell, Here brought amid the scenes of grief, to grieve ;
Though the head droops not, that the heart is well; Where the loud groans from some sad chamber Or will you praise that homely, healthy fare, Mixt with the clamours of the crowd below. (tlow, Plenteous and plain, that happy peasants share ? “Say ye, opprest by some fantastic woes,
Oh! trifle not with wants you cannot feel ! Some jarring nerve that baffles your repose ; Nor mock the misery of a stinted meal; Who with sad prayers the weary doctor tease,
Homely not wholesome-plain not plenieous-such To name the nameless ever-new disease ;
As you who praise would never deign to touch! How would ye bear in real pain to lie,
"Ye gentle souls, who dream of rural ease, Despis'd, neglected, left alone to die?
Whom ihe smooth stream and smoother sonnet How would ye bear to draw your latest breath, Where all that's wretched paves the way for death? Go look within, and ask if peace be there:
Go! if the peaceful coi your praises share, (please ; “Such is that room which one rude beam divides, If peace be his-hat drooping, weary sire, And naked rafters form the sloping sides ;
Or theirs, that offspring round their feeble fire! Where the vile bands that bind the tha ch are seen, Or hers, that matron pale, whose trembling hand And lath and mud are all that lie between;. Turns on the wretched hearth th' expiring brand.”' Save one dull pane, chat, coarsely patch d, gives
pp. 8–10. To the rude tempest, yet excludes the day: (way Here, on a matted flock, with dust o'erspread, We shall only give one other extract from The drooping wretch reclines his languid head; this
poem ; and we select the following fine For him no hand the cordial cup applies," &c.
description of that peculiar sort of barrenness
which prevails along the sandy and thinly The consequential apothecary, who gives inhabited shores of the Channel : an impatient attendance in these abodes of misery, is admirably described; but we pass
“Lo! where the heath, with with’ring brake grown
o'er, to the last scene :
Lends the light turf that warms the neighbouring "Now to the church behold the mourners come, From thence a length of burning sand appears, Sedately torpid and devoutly dumb;
Where the thin harvest waves its wither'd ears ; The village children now their games suspend, There thistles stretch their prickly arms afir, 'To see the bier that bears their ancient friend; And to the ragged infant ihreaten war ; For he was one in all their idle sport,
There poppies nodding, mock the hope of toil, And like a monarch rul'd their little court; There ihe blue bugloss paints the sterile soil : The pliant bow he form'd, the flying ball,
Hardy and high, above ihe slender sheaf, The bat, the wicket, were his labours all;
The slimy mallow waves her silky leaf; Ilim now they follow to his grave, and stand, O'er the young shout the charlock throws a shade,
And clasping cares cling round the sickly blade ;
With mingled tints the rocky coasts abound,
And a sad splendour vainly shines around.''
To drag it to the ground;
The next poem, and the longest in the
volume, is now presented for the first time to And this it seenis, is Nature, and Pathos, and the public. It is dedicated, like the former, Poetry :
to the delineation of rural life and characters,
pp. 5, 6.
and is entitled, “The Village Register;"' and, “See ! on the floor, what frowzy patches rest! upon a very simple but singular plan, is divi- What nauseous fragments on yon fractur'd chest ! ded into three parts, viz. Baptisms, Marriages, And round ihese posts that serve this bed for feet • and Burials. After an introductory and gen- This bed where all those latter'd garments lie, eral view of village manners, the reverend Worn by each sex, and now perforce thrown by. author proceeds to present his readers with · See! as we gaze, an infant litts its head, an account of all the remarkable baptisms, Lest by neglect, and burrow'd in that bed ; marriages, and funerals, that appear on his The mother-gossip has the love supprest, regisier for the preceding year; with a sketch An infant's cry once waken'd in her breast," &c.
· Here are no wheels for either wool or flax, of the character and behaviour of the respect. But packs of cards-made up of sundry packs ; ive parties, and such reflections and exhorta. Here are no books, but ballads on the wall, tions as are suggested by the subject. The Are some abusive, and indecent all; poem consists, therefore, of a series of por- Pistols are here, unpair’d; with nets and hooks, iraits taken from the middling and lower of every kind, for rivers, ponds, and brooks ; ranks of rustic life, and delineated on occa- With recent poison from the Dutchman's still;
An ample flask that nightly rovers fill, sions at once more common and more inter- A box of tools with wires of various size. esting, than any other that could well be Frocks, wigs, and hais, for night or day disguise, imagined. They are selected, we think, with And bludgeons stout to gain or guard a prize.great judgment, and drawn with inimitable “ Here his poor bird, ih'inhuman cocker bring accuracy and strength of colouring. They Arms his hard heel, and clips his golden wings; are finished with much more minuteness and And shouts and curses as the batile bleeds:
With spicy food ih' impatient spirit feeds, detail, indeed, than the more general pictures Struck through the brain, depriv'd of both his eyes, in " The Village;" and, on this account, may The vanquish d bird must combat till he dies ! appear occasionally deficient in comprehen- Must faintly peck at his victorious foe, sion, or in dignity. They are, no doubt, exe- And reel and stagger at each feeble blow; cuted in some instances with too much of When fall'n, the savage grasps his dabbled plumes,
His blood-stain'd arms, for other deaths assumes; a Chinese accuracy; and enter into details And damns the craven-fowl, that lost his stake, which many readers may pronounce tedious And only bled and perish'd for his sake!" and unnecessary.
Yet there is a justness and force in the representation which is
Mr. Crabbe now opens his chronicle; and entitled to something more than indulgence; the first babe that appears on the list is a and though several of the groups are com- natural child of the miller's daughter. This posed of low and disagreeable subjects, still, damsel fell in love with a sailor; but her we think that some allowance is to be made father refused his consent, and no priest for the author's plan of giving a full and exact would unite them without it. The poor girl view of village life, which could not possibly yielded to her passion; and her lover went to be accomplished without including those baser varieties." He aims at an important moral sea, to seek a portion for his bride :effect by this exhibition; and must not be The varying look, the wand'ring appetite;
• Then came the days of shame, the grievous night, defrauded either of that, or of the praise which the joy assum'd, while sorrow dimm'd the eyes, is due to the coarser efforts of his pen, out of the forc'd sad smiles that follow'd sudden sighs, deference to the sickly delicacy of his more And every art, long us'd, but us’d in vain, fastidious readers. We admit, however, that To hide thy progress, Nature, and thy pain. there is more carelessness, as well as more
Day after day were past in grief and pain, juaintness in this poem than in the other; Her boy was born :- No lads nor lasses came
Week after week, nor came the youih again ; and that he has now and then apparently To grace the rite or give the child a name; heaped up circumstances rather to gratisy Nor grave conceited nurse, of office proud, his own taste for detail and accumulation, Bore the young Christian, roaring through the than to give any additional effect to his de- In a small chamber was my office done, (crowd ; scription. With this general observation, we
Where blinks, through paper'd panes, the setting beg the reader's attention to the following Where noisy'sparrows, perch'd on penthouse near,
sun ; abstract and citations.
Chirp Tuneless joy, and mock ihe frequent tear." The poem begins with a general view, first " Throughout ihe lanes, she glides at evening's of the industrious and contented villager, and There sofily lulls her infant to repose ; (close, then of the profligate and disorderly: The Then sits and gazes, but with viewless look, first compartment is not so striking as the last. As gilds the moon ihe rimpling of the brook'; Mr. Crabbe, it seems, has a set of smugglers She hears their murmurs as the waters flow;
Then sings her vespers, but in voice so low, among his flock, who inhabit what is called And she too murmurs, and begins to find the Street in his village. There is nothing The solemn wand'rings of a wounded mind! comparable to the following description, but
pp. 47–49. some of the prose sketches of Mandeville:
We pass the rest of the Baptisms; and "Here, in cabal, a disputatious crew
proceed to the more interesting chapter of Each evening meet; the sot, the cheat, the shrew; Marriages. The first pair here is an old snug Riots are nighily heard-he curse, the cries bachelor, who, in the first days of dotage, Of beaten wife. perverse in her replies :
had married his maid-servant. The reverend Boys in their first stol'n rags, to steal begin, Mr. Crabbe is very facetious on this match; And girls, who know not sex, are skill'd in gin! Snarers and smugglers here their gains divide,
and not very scrupulously delicate. Ensnaring females here their victims hide;
The following picture, though liable in part And here is one, the Sibyl of the Row,
to the same objection, is perfect, we think, in Who knows all secrets, or affects to know. - that style of drawing :
" Next at our altar stood a luckless pair,
The ardent lover, it seems, turned out å Brought by strong passions --and a warrant--there ; brutal husband :By long rent cloak, hung loosely, strove the bride, 'From ev'ry eye, what all perceivid to hide ; While the boy-bridegroom, shuffling in his pace,
"If present, railing, till he saw her pain'd; Now hid awhile, and then expos'd his face ;
If absent, spending what their labours gain'd:
Till that fair form in want and sickness pin'd, As shame alternately with anger strove The brain, confus'd with muddy ale, to move!
And hope and comfort fled that genıle mind." In haste and stamm'ring he perform'd his part, And look'd the rage that rankled in his heart. It may add to the interest which some Low spake the lass, and lisp'd and minc'd the readers will take in this simple story, to be
while; Look'd on the lad, and faintly try'd to smile ;
told, that it was the last piece of poetry that With soft'nened speech and humbled tone she
was read to Mr. Fox during his fatal illness ; To stir the embers of departed love; [strove
and that he examined and made some flatterWhile he a tyrant, frowning walk'd before, ing remarks on the manuscript of it a few Felt the poor purse, and sought the public door; days before his death. She sadly following in submission went,
We are obliged to pass over the rest of the And saw the final shilling foully spent !
Marriages, though some of them are extremeThen to her father's hut the pair withdrew, And bade to love and comfort long adieu!"
ly characteristic and beautiful, and to proceed pp. 74, 75
to the Burials. Here we have a great variety The next bridal is that of Phæbe Dawson, the bustling farmer's wife—the infant-and
of portraits,-the old drunken innkeeperthe most innocent and beautiful of all the village maidens. We give the following description of her deserted mansion is strik:
next the lady of the manor. The following pretty description of her courtship :
ing, and in the good old taste of Pope and Now, through the lane, up hill, and cross the Dryden :(Seen but by few, and blushing to be seen-- (green, Dejected, thoughiful, anxious and afraid.)
"Forsaken stood the hall, Led by the lover, walk'd the silent maid :
Worms are the floors, the tap'stry fled the wall; Slow through the meadows rov'd they, many a mile, No fire the kitchen's cheerless grate display'd; Toy'd by cach bank, and trifled at each stile; No cheerful light the long-clos'd sash convey'd; Where, as he painted every blissful view,
The crawling worm that turns a summer fly, And highly colour'd what he strongly drew, Here spun his shroud and laid him up to die The pensive damsel, prone to tender fears,
The winter-death ;-upon the bed of state, Dimm'd the fair prospect with prophetic tears." The bat, shrill-shrieking, woo'd his flick'ring mate:
pp. 76, 77. To empty rooms, the curious came no more, This is the taking side of the picture : At And surly beggars curs'd the ever-bolted door.
From empty cellars, turn'd the angry poor, the end of two years, here is the reverse. To one small room the steward found his way, Nothing can be more touching, we think, than Where tenants follow'd, to complain and pay. the quiet suffering and solitary hysterics of
pp. 104, 105. this ill-fated young woman :
The old maid follows next to the shades of " Lo! now with red rent cloak and bonnet black, mortality. The description of her house, furAnd torn green gown, loose hanging at her back, niture, and person, is admirable, and affords One who an infant in her arms sustains, And seems, with patience, striving with her pains ; a fine specimen of Mr. Crabbe's most minute Pinch'd are her looks, as one who pines for bread: finishing ; but it is too long for extracting. We Whose cares are growing, and whose hopes are fled: rather present our readers with a part of the Pale her parch'd lips, her heavy eyes sunk low, character of Isaac Ashford :And tears unnotic'd from their channels flow; Serene her manner, till some sudden pain
“Next to these ladies, but in nought allied, Frets the meek soul, and then she's calm again ! - A noble peasant, Isaac Ashford, died. Her broken pitcher to the pool she takes,
Noble he was—contemning all things mean, And every step with cautious terror makes; His truth unquestion'd, and his soul serene: For not alone ihat infant in her arms,
Of no man's presence Isaac felt afraid : But nearer cause, maternal fear, alarms!
At no man's question Isaac look'd dismay'd: With water burden'd, then she picks her way, Shame knew him not, he dreaded no disgrace," &c. Slowly and cautious, in the clinging clay;
" Were others joyful, he look'd smiling on, Till in mid-green she trusts a place unsound, And gave allowance where he needed none; And deeply plunges in th' adhesive ground; Yet far was he from stoic-pride remov'd; From whence her slender foot with pain she He felt, with many, and he warmly lov'd: takes," &c.
I mark'd his action, when his infant died, “And now her path, but not her peace, she gains, and an old neighbour for offence was tried ; Safe from her task, but shiv'ring with her pains; The still tears, stealing down that furrow'd cheek, Her home she reaches, open leaves the door, Spoke pity, plainer than the tongue can speak," &c. And placing first her infant on the floor,
pp. 111, 112 She bares her bosom to the wind, and sits, And sobbing struggles with the rising fils !
The rest of the character is drawn with In vain !--they come-she feels th' inflaming grief, equal spirit: but we can only make room for That shuis the swelling bosom from relief; the author's final commemoration of him. That speaks in feeble cries a soul distrest, Or the sad laugh that cannot be represt;
"I feel his absence in the hours of prayer, The neighbour-matron leaves her wheel, and flies And view his seat, and sigh for Isarc there! With all the aid her poverty supplies;
I see, no more, those white locks thinly spread, Unsee'd, the calls of nature she obeys,
Round the bald polish of that honour'd head; Nor led by profit, nor allur'd by praise ;
No more that awful glance on playful wight, And waiting long, till these contentions cease, Compellid to kneel and iremble at the sight; She speaks of comfort, and departs in peace.' To fold his fingers all in dread the while,
pp. 77, 78. | Till Mr. Ashford soften'd to a smile !
No more that meek, that suppliant look in prayer, Shone softly-solemn and serene,
The setting sun's sad rays were seen."
" The Hall of Justice,” or the story of the We then bury the village midwife, super: Gipsy Convict
, is another experiment of dr. seded in her old age by a volatile doctor;
Crabbe's. It is very nervous-very shocking then a surly rustic misanthrope ; and last of
-and all, the reverend author's ancient sexton, woman is accused of stealing, and tells her
very powerfully represented. The whose chronicle of his various pastors is given story in impetuous and lofty language. rather at too great length. The poem
ends with a simple recapitulation.
“My crime ! this sick’ning child to feed, We think this the most important of the Í seiz'd the food your witness saw; new pieces in the volume; and have ex- I knew your laws forbade the deed,
But yielded to a stronger law!"'. tended our account of it so much, that we can afford to say but little of the others. " The “But I have griefs of other kind,
Troubles and sorrows more severe ; Library and "The Newspaper" are republications. They are written with a good deal
Give me to ease my tortạr'd mind,
Lend to my woes a patient ear; of terseness, sarcasm, and beauty; but the And let me if I may not find subjects are not very interesting, and they will A friend to help-find one to hear. rather be approved, we think, than admired
• My mother dead, my father lost, or delighted in. We are not much taken either I wander'd with a vagrant crew; with " The Birth of Flattery." With many A common care, a common cost, nervous lines and ingenious allusions, it has
Their sorrows and their sins I knew ; something of the languor which seems insep
With them on want and error forc'd, arable from an allegory which exceeds the
Like them, I base and guilty grew! length of an epigram.
“So through the land I wand'ring went, "Sir Eustace Grey” is quite unlike any of
And little found of grief or joy ;
But lost my bosom's sweet content, the preceding compositions. It is written in When first I loy'd the gypsy boy. a sort of lyric measure; and is intended to
"A sturdy youth he was and tall, represent the perturbed fancies of the most
His looks would all his soul declare, terrible insanity settling by degrees into a
His piercing eyes were deep and small, sort of devotional enthusiasm. The opening And strongly curl'd his raven hair. stanza, spoken by a visiter in the madhouse, “Yes, Aaron had each manly charm, is very striking.
All in the May of youthful pride ;
He scarcely fear'd his father's arm, “I'll see no more!-the heart is torn
And every other arm defied. -
Oft when they grew in anger warm,
(Whom will not love and power divide !) And oft again their griefs shall feel,
1 rose, their wrathful souls to calm, As each upon the mind shall steal;
Not yet in sinful combat eried." That wan projector's mystic style,
pp. 240—242. That luinpish idiot leering by,. That peevish idler's ceaseless wile,
The father felon falls in love with the beAnd that poor maiden's half-form'd smile, trothed of his son, whom he despatches on While struggling for the full-drawn sigh! some distant errand. The consummation of I'll know no more!"-p. 217.
his horrid passion is told in these powerful There is great force, both of language and stanzas :conception, in the wild narrative Sir Eustace "The night was dark, the lanes were deep, gives of his frenzy; though we are not sure
And one by one they took their way; whether there is not something too elaborate,
He bade me lay me down and sleep! and too much worked up, in the picture. We
I only wept, and wish'd for day. give only one image, which we think is orig
Accursed be the love he bore
Accursed was the force he us'dinal. He supposed himself hurried along by
So let him of his God implore two tormenting demons.
For mercy !--and be so refus'd!"'-p. 243. “ Through lands we fed, o'er seas we flew, It is painful to follow the story out. The And halted on a boundless plain ;
son returns, and privately murders his father; Where nothing fed, nor breath'd. nor grew, and then marries his widow! The profligate But silence rul'd the still domain.
barbarity of the life led by those outcasts is "Upon that boundless plain, below,
forcibly expressed by the simple narrative of The setting sun's last rays were shed,
the lines that follow : And gave a mild and sober glow, Where all were still, asleep, or dead;
“I brought a lovely daughter forth,
His father's child, in Aaron's bed!
He took her from me in his wrath,
• Where is my child ?'— Thy child is dead.' And cloth’d ihe crumbling spoils of Time. " 'Twas false! We wander'd far and wide,
Through town and country, field and fen, ". There was I fix'd, I know not how,
Till Aaron fighting, fell and died,
And I became a wife again."'--p. 248.
We have not room to give the sequel of this The same mild evening's sloeping ray
dreadful ballad. It cerainly is not pleasing
reading; but it is written with very unusual, enough to pass judgment on her future propower of language, and shows Mr. Crabbe to geny: But we trust, that a larger portion of have great mastery over the tragic passions of public favour than has hitherto been dealt 10 pity and horror. The volume closes with some him will encourage him to greater efforts; and verses of no great value in praise of Women. that he will soon appear again among the
We part with regret from Mr. Crabbe; but worthy supporters of the old poetical estabwe hope to meet with him again. If his muse, lishment, and come in time to surpass the to be sure, is prolific only once in twenty-four revolutionists in fast firing, as well as in weight years, we can scarcely expect to live long l of metal.
(April, 1810.) The Borough : a Poem, in Twenty-four Letters. By the Rev. GEORGE CRABBE, LL. B.
8vo. pp. 344. London: 1810. We are very glad to meet with Mr. Crabbe, by far the greater part of his poetry is of a so soon again; and particularly glad to find, that different and a higher character; and aims his early return has been occasioned, in part, at moving or delighting us by lively, touchby the encouragement he received on his last ing, and finely contrasted representations of appearance. This late spring of public favour, the dispositions, sufferings, and occupations we hope, he will yet live to see ripen into ma- of those ordinary persons who form the far ture fame. We scarcely know any poet who greater part of our fellow-creatures. This, deserves it better; and are quite certain there too, he has sought to effect, merely by placing is none who is more secure of keeping with before us the clearest, most brief, and most posterity whatever he may win from his con- striking sketches of their external conditiontemporaries.
the most sagacious and unexpected strokes The present poem is precisely of the char- of character--and the truest and most pathetic acter of The Village and The Parish Register. pictures of natural feeling and common sufferIt has the same peculiarities, and the same ing. By the mere force of his art, and the faults and beauties; though a severe critic novelty of his style, he forces us to attend might perhaps add, that its peculiarities are to objects that are usually neglected, and 10 more obtrusive, its faults greater, and its beau- enter into feelings from which we are in geneties less. However that be, both faults and ral but too eager to escape ;-and then truste beauties are so plainly produced by the pe- to nature for the effect of the representation. culiarity, that it may be worth while, before It is obvious, at first sight, that this is not a giving any more particular account of it, to try task for an ordinary hand; and that many inif we can ascertain in what that consists. genious writers, who make a very good figure
And here we shall very speedily discover, with battles, nymphs, and moonlight landthat Mr. Crabbe is distinguished from all other scapes, would find themselves quite helpless, poets, both by the choice of his subjects, and if set lown among streets, harbours, and by his manner of treating them. All his per- taverns. The difficulty of such subjects, ir: sons are taken from the lower ranks of life; short, is sufficiently visible—and some of and all his scenery from the most ordinary the causes of that difficulty: But they have and familiar objects of nature or art. His their advantages also ;-and of these, and characters and incidents, too, are as common their hazards, it seems natural to say a few as the elements out of which they are com- words, before entering more minutely into the pounded are humble; and not only has he merits of the work before us. nothing prodigious or astonishing in any of The first great advantage of such familiai his representations, but he has not even at- subjects is, that every one is necessarily wel tempted to impart any of the ordinary colours acquainted with the originals; and is there. of poetry to those vulgar materials. He has fore sure to feel all that pleasure, from a no moralising swains or sentimental trades- faithful representation of them, which results men; and scarcely ever seeks to charm us by from the perception of a perfect and successthe artless graces or lowly virtues of his per- ful imitation. In the kindred art of painting; sonages. On the contrary, he has represented we find that this single consideration has been his villagers and humble burghers as alto- sufficient to stamp a very high value upon gether as dissipated, and more dishonest and accurate and lively delineations of objects, in discontented, ihan the profligates of higher themselves uninteresting, and even disagree. life; and, instead of conducting us through able; and no very inconsiderable part of the blooming groves and pastoral meadows, has pleasure which may be derived from Mr led us along filthy lanes and crowded wharfs, Crabbe's poetry may probably be referred ta to hospitals, alms-houses, and gin-shops. In its mere truth and fidelity; and to the brevity some of these delineations, he may be con- and clearness with which he sets before his sidered as the Satirist of low life-an occupa- readers, objects and characters with which tion sufficiently arduous, and, in a great de- they have been all their days familiar. gree, new and original in our language. But ! In his happier passages, however, he has a