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higher merit, and imparts a far higher grati-jors, ploughmen, and artificers. If the poet fication. The chief delight of poetry consists, can contrive, therefore, to create a sufficient not so much in what it directly supplies to interest in subjects like these, they will infalthe imagination, as in what it enables it to libly sink deeper into the mind, and be more supply to itself;—not in warming the heart prolific of kindred trains of emotion, than subby its passing brightness, but in kindling its jects of greater dignity. Nor is the difficulty own latent stores of light and heat;—not in of exciting such an interest by any means so hurrying the fancy along by a foreign and ac- great as is generally imagined. For it is cidental impulse, but in setting it agoing, by common human nature, and common human touching its internal springs and principles of feelings, after all, that form the true source activity. Now, this highest and most delight of interest in poetry of every description ;ful effect can only be produced by the poet's and the splendour and the marvels by which striking a note to which the heart and the affec- it is sometimes surrounded, serve no other tions naturally vibrate in unison ;-by rousing purpose than to fix our attention on those one of a large family of kindred impressions, workings of the heart, and those energies of by dropping the rich seed of his fancy upon the the understanding, which alone command all fertile and sheltered places of the imagination. the genuine sympathies of human beingsBut it is evident, that the emotions connected and which may be found as abundantly in the with common and familiar objects—with ob- breasts of cottagers as of kings. Wherever jects which fill every man's memory, and are there are human beings, therefore, with feel. necessarily associated with all that he has ings and characters to be represented, our atever really felt or fancied, are of all others tention may be fixed by the art of the poetthe most likely to answer this description, and by his judicious selection of circumstances, to produce, where they can be raised to a suf- by the force and vivacity of his style, and the ficient height, this great effect in its utmost clearness and brevity of his representations. perfection. It is for this reason that the images In point of fact, we are all touched more and affections that belong to our universal na- deeply, as well as more frequently, in real ture, are always, if tolerably represented, in- life, with the sufferings of peasants than of finitely more captivating, in spite of their princes; and sympathise much oftener, and apparent commonness and simplicity, than more heartily, with the successes of the poor, those that are peculiar to certain situations, than of the rich and distinguished. The ochowever they may come recommended by casions of such feelings are indeed so many, novelty or grandeur. The familiar feeling of and so common, that they do not often leave maternal tenderness and anxiety, which is any very permanent traces behind them, but every day before our eyes, even in the brute pass away, and are effaced by the very rapidity creation—and the enchantment of youthful of their succession. The business and the love, which is nearly the same in all charac- cares, and the pride of the world, obstruct the ters, ranks, and situations-still contribute far development of the emotions to which they more to the beauty and interest of poetry than would naturally give rise; and press so close all the misfortunes of princes, the jealousies of and thick upon the mind, as to shut it, at most heroes, and the feats of giants, magicians, or seasons, against the reflections that are perladies in armour. Every one can enter into petually seeking for admission. When we the former set of feelings; and but a few have leisure, however, to look quietly into our into the latter. The one calls up a thousand hearts, we shall find in them an infinite mulfamiliar and long-remembered emotionstitude of little fragments of sympathy with which are answered and reflected on every our brethren in humble life-abortive moveside by the kindred impressions which ex- ments of compassion, and embryos of kindness perience or observation have traced upon and concern, which had once fairly begun to every memory: while the other lights up but live and germinate within them, though witha transient and unfruitful blaze, and passes ered and broken off by the selfish bustle and away without perpetuating itself in any kin- fever of our daily occupations. Now, all these dred and native sensation.

may be revived and carried on to maturity by Now, the delineation of all that concerns the art of the poet ;-and, therefore, a power. the lower and most numerous classes of so- ful effort to interest us in the feelings of the ciety, is, in this respect, on a footing with the humble and obscure, will usually call forth pictures of our primary affections-ihat their more deep, more numerous, and more permaoriginals are necessarily familiar to all men, nent emotions, than can ever be excited by and are inseparably associated with their own the fate of princesses and heroes. Indepen. most interesting impressions. Whatever may dent of the circumstances to which we have be our own condition, we all live surrounded already alluded, there are causes which make with the poor, from infancy to age ;-we hear us at all times more ready to enter into the daily of their sufferings and misfortunes ;- feelings of the humble, than of the exalted and their toils, their crimes, or their pastimes, part of our species. Our sympathy with their are our hourly spectacle. Many diligent enjoyments is enhanced by a certain mixture readers of poetry know little, by their own of pity for their general condition, which, by experience, of palaces, castles, or camps; and purifying it from that taint of envy which alstill less of tyrants, warriors, and banditti ;

-most always adheres to our admiration of the but every one understands about cottages, great, renders it more welcome and satisfac. streets, and villages; and conceives, pretty tory to our bosoms; while our concem for their correctly, the character and condition of sail- sufferings is at once softened and endeared to

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ns, by the recollection of our own exemption and anatomical precision; and must make from them, and by the feeling, that we fre- both himself and his readers familiar with the quently have it in our power to relieve them. ordinary traits and general family features of

From these, and from other causes, it ap- the beings among whom they are to move, bepears to us to be certain, that where subjects, fore they can either understand, or take much taken from humble life, can be made suffi- interest in the individuals who are to engross ciently interesting to overcome the distaste their attention. Thus far, there is no excess and the prejudices with which the usages of or unnecessary minuteness. But this faculty polished society too generally lead us to re- of observation, and this power of description, gard them, the interest which they excite will hold out great temptations to go further. commonly be more profound and more lasting There is a pride and a delight in the exercise than any that can be raised upon loftier of all peculiar power; and the poet, who has themes; and the poet of the Village and the learned to describe external objects exquiBorough be oftener, and longer read, than the sitely, with a view to heighten the effect of poet of the Court or the Camp. The most his moral designs, and to draw characters popular passages of Shakespeare and Cowper, with accuracy, to help forward the interest or we think, are of this description: and there is the pathos of the picture, will be in great danmuch, both in the volume before us, and in ger of describing scenes, and drawing charMr. Crabbe's former publications, to which acters, for no other purpose, but to indulge his we might now venture to refer, as proofs of taste, and to display his talents. It cannot be the same doctrine. When such representa- denied, we think, that Mr. Crabbe has, on tions have once made an impression on the many occasions, yielded to this temptation. imagination, they are remembered daily, and He is led away, every now and then, by his for ever. We can neither look around, nor lively conception of external objects, and by within us, without being reminded of their his nice and sagacious observation of human truth and their importance; and, while the character; and wantons and luxuriates in demore brilliant effusions of romantic fancy are scriptions and moral portrait painting, while recalled only at long intervals, and in rare his readers are left to wonder to what end so situations, we feel that we cannot walk a step much industry has been exerted. from our own doors, nor cast a glance back on His chief fault, however, is his frequent our departed years, without being indebted to lapse into disgusting, representations; and the poet of vulgar life for some striking image this, we will confess, is an error for which we or touching reflection, of which the occasions find it far more difficult either to account or were always before us, but—till he taught us to apologise. We are not, however, of the how to improve them-were almost always opinion which we have often heard stated, allowed to escape.

that he has represented human nature under Such, we conceive, are some of the advan- too unfavourable an aspect; or that the distages of the subjects which Mr. Crabbe has taste which his poetry sometimes produces, in a great measure introduced into modern is owing merely to the painful nature of the poetry ;-and such the grounds upon which scenes and subjects with which it abounds. we venture to predict the durability of the On the contrary, we think he has given a justreputation which he is in the course of ac- er, as well as a more striking picture, of the quiring. That they have their disadvantages true character and situation of the lower oralso, is obvious; and it is no less obvious, that ders of this country, than any other writer, it is to these we must ascribe the greater part whether in verse or in prose; and that he has of the faults and deformities with which this made no more use of painful emotions than author is fairly chargeable. The two great was necessary to the production of a pathetic errors into which he has fallen, are—that he effect. has described many things not worth describ- All powerful and pathetic poetry, it is obing ;—and that he has frequently excited dis- vious, abounds in images of distress. The gust, instead of pity or indignation, in the delight which it bestows partakes strongly of breasts of his readers. These faults are ob- pain; and, by a sort of contradiction, which vious--and, we believe, are popularly laid to has long engaged the attention of the reflecthis charge : Yet there is, in so far as we have ing, the compositions that attract us most observed, a degree of misconception as to the powerfully, and detain us the longest, are true grounds and limits of the charge, which ihose that produce in us most of the effects of we think it worth while to take this opportu- actual suffering and wretchedness. The conity of correcting.

lution of this paradox is to be found, we think, The poet of humble life must describe a in the simple fact, that pain is a far stronger great deal—and must even describe, minutely, sensation than pleasure, in human existence; many things which possess in themselves no and that the cardinal virtue of all things that beauty or grandeur. The reader's fancy must are intended to delight the mind, is to produce be awaked—and the power of his own pencil a strong sensation. Life itself appears to condisplayed:- -a distinct locality and imaginary sist in sensation; and the universal passion reality must be given to his characters and of all beings that have life, seems to be, that agents: and the ground colour of their com- they should be made intensely conscious of mon condition must be laid in, before his pe- it

, by a succession of powerful and engrossing culiar and selected groups can be presented emotions. All the mere gratifications or natuwith any effect or advantage. In the same ral pleasures that are in the power even of the way, he must study characters with a minute most fortunate, are quite insufficient to fill this

vast yraving for sensation : And accordingly, | Crabbe, to his condemnation. Every form of we see every day, that a more violent stimu- distress, whether it proceed from passion or lus is sought for by those who have attained from fortune, and whether it fall upon vice or the vulgar heights of life, in the pains and virtue, adds 10 the interest and the charm of dangers of war—the agonies of gaming-or poetry-except only that which is connected the feverish toils of ambition. To those who with ideas of Disgust—the least taint of which have tasted of those potent cups, where the disenchants the whole scene, and puts an end bitter, however, so obviously predominates, both to delight and sympathy. But what is the security, the comforts, and what are call- it, it may be asked, that is the proper object ed the enjoyments of common life, are intol- of disgust? and what is the precise descrip, erably insipid and disgusting. Nay, we think tion of things which we think Mr. Crabbe so we have observed, that even those who, with. inexcusable for admitting? It is not easy to out any effort or exertion, have experienced define a term at once so simple and so signifiunusual misery, frequently appear, in like cant; but it may not be without its use, to manner, to acquire a sort of taste or craving indicate, in a general way, our conception of for it; and come to look on the tranquillity of its true force and comprehension. ordinary life with a kind of indifference not It is needless, we suppose, to explain what unmingled with contempt. It is certain, at are the objects of disgust in physical or exterleast, that they dwell with most apparent satis- nal existences. These are sufficiently plain and faction on the memory of those days, which unequivocal; and it is universally admitted, have been marked by the deepest and most that all mention of them must be carefully ex. agonising sorrows; and derive a certain de- cluded from every poetical description. With light from the recollections of those over- regard, again, to human character, action, and whelming sensations which once occasioned feeling, we should be inclined to term every so fierce a throb in the languishing pulse of thing disgusting, which represented misery, their existence.

without making any appeal to our love, resIf any thing of this kind, however, can be pect, or admiration. If the suffering person traced in real life—if the passion for emotion be amiable, the delightful feeling of love and Þe so strong as to carry us, not in imagination, affection tempers the pain which the contembut in reality, over the rough edge of present plation of suffering has a tendency to excite, pain—it will not be difficult to explain, why it and enhances it into the stronger, and there should be so attractive in the copies and fic- fore more attractive, sensation of pity. If tions of poetry. There, as in real life, the there be great power or energy, however, great demand is for emotion; while the pain united to guilt or wretchedness, the mixture with which it may be attended, can scarcely, of admiration exalts the emotion into some. by any possibility, exceed the limits of en- thing that is sublime and pleasing: and even durance. The recollection, that it is but a in cases of mean and atrocious, but efficient copy and a fiction, is quite sufficient to keep it guilt, our sympathy with the victims upon down to a moderate temperature, and to make whom it is practised, and ouractive indignation it welcome as the sign or the harbinger of that and desire of vengeance, reconcile us to the agitation of which the soul is avaricious. It humiliating display, and make a compound is not, then, from any peculiar quality in pain- that, upon the whole, is productive of pleasure. ful emotions that they become capable of The only sufferers, then, upon whom we affording the delight which attends them in cannot bear to look, are those that excite pain tragic or pathetic poetry--but merely from the by their wretchedness, while they are too decircumstance of their being more intense and praved to be the objects of affection, and too powerful than any other emotions of which weak and insignificant to be the causes of the mind is susceptible. If it was the consti- misery to others, or, consequently, of indigna. tution of our nature to feel joy as keenly, or to tion to the spectators. Such are the depraved, sympathise with it as heartily as we do with abject, diseased, and neglected poor-creasorrow, we have no doubt that no other sensa- tures in whom every thing amiable or restion would ever be intentionally excited by pectable has been extinguished by sordid pasthe artists that minister to delight. But the sions or brutal debauchery ;-who have no fact is, that the pleasures of which we are ca- means of doing the mischief of which ihey pable are slight and feeble compared with the are capable—whom every one despises, and pains that we may endure; and that, feeble no one can either love or fear. On the charas they are,

the sympathy which they excite acters, the miseries, and the vices of such falls much more short of the original emotion. beings, we look with disgust merely: and, When the object, therefore, is to obtain sen- though it may perhaps serve some moral pursation, there can be no doubt to which of the pose, occasionally to set before us this humitwo fountains we should repair; and if there liating spectacle of human nature sunk to be but few pains in real life which are not, in utter worthlessness and insignificance, it is some measure, endeared to us by the emo- altogether in vain to think of exciting either tions with which they are attended, we may pity or horror, by the truest and most forcible be pretty sure, that the more distress we in- representations of their sufferings or their troduce into poetry, the more we shall rivet enormities. They have no hold upon any of the attention and attract the admiration of the the feelings that lead us to take an interest in reader.

our fellow-creatures ;-we turn away from There is but one exception to this rule--them, therefore, with loathing and dispassionand it brings us back from the apology of Mr. I ate aversion :-we feel our imaginations poljuted by the intrusion of any images con- | altogether of a succession of unconnected nected with them; and are offended and descriptions, and is still more miscellaneous disgusted when we are forced to look closely in reality, than would be conjectured from the upon those festering heaps of moral filth and titles of its twenty-four separate compartcorruption.


As it does not admit of analysis, It is with concern we add, that we know no therefore, or even of a much more particular writer who has sinned so deeply in this re- description, we can only give our readers a spect as Mr. Crabbe-who has so often pre- just idea of its execution, by extracting a sented us with spectacles which it is purely few of the passages that appear to us most painful and degrading to contemplate, and characteristic in each of the many styles it bestowed such powers of conception and ex- exhibits. pression in giving us distinct ideas of what One of the first that strikes us, is the we must ever abhor to remember. If Mr. following very touching and beautiful picture Crabbe had been a person of ordinary talents, of innocent love, misfortune and resignationwe might have accounted for his error, in all of them taking a tinge of additional sweetsome degree, by supposing, that his frequent ness and tenderness from the humble consuccess in treating of subjects which had been dition of the parties; and thus affording a usually rejected by other poets, had at length striking illustration of the remarks we have led him to disregard, altogether, the common ventured to make on the advantages of such impressions of mankind as to what was allow- subjects. The passage occurs in the second able and what inadmissible in poetry; and to letter, where the author has been surveying, reckon the unalterable laws by which nature with a glance half pensive and half sarcastihas regulated our sympathies, among the cal, the monuments erected in the churchyard. prejudices by which they were shackled and He then proceeds:impaired. It is difficult, however, to conceive how a writer of his quick and exact observa- Yes! there are real Mourners- I have seen tion should have failed to perceive, that there A fair sad Girl, mild, suffering, and serene ; is not a single instance of a serious interest Attention (through the day) her duties claim'd, being excited by an object of disgust; and And to be useful as resign d she aim'd; that Shakespeare himself, who has ventured Pity for grief, or pardon for neglect;

Neatly she dress'd, nor vainly seem'd i' expect every thing, has never ventured to shock our Bui when her wearied Parents sunk to sleep, feelings with the crimes or the sufferings of She sought this place to meditate and weep; beings absolutely without power or principle. Then to her mind was all the past display'd, Independent of universal practice, too, it is That faithful Memory brings to Sorrow's aid: still more difficult to conceive how he should Her tender trust, and his unquestion’d truth; have overlooked the reason on which this in ev'ry place she wander'd, where they'd been, practice is founded; for though it be gener- And sadly-sacred held the parting-scene ally true, that poetical representations of suf- Where last for sea he took his leave ;-that place fering and of guilt produce emotion, and con-With double interest would she nightly trace," &c. sequently delight, yet it certainly did not That he should softly sleep, and smartly look ;

“Happy he sail'd; and great the care she took, require the penetration of Mr. Crabbe to dis- White was his better linen, and his check cover, that there is a degree of depravity was made more trim than any on the deck; which counteracts our sympathy with suffer- And every comfort Men at Sea can know, ing, and a degree of insignificance which ex- Was hers to buy, to make, and 10 bestow : tinguishes our interest in guilt. We abstain For he to Greenland sail'd, and much she told, from giving any extracts in support of this Yet saw not danger; dangers he'd withstood, accusation, but those who have perused the Nor could she trace the Fever in his blood : volume before us, will have already recol. His Messmates smil'd at flushings in his cheek, lected the story of Frederic Thompson, of And he too smil'd, but seldom would he speak; Abel Keene, of Blaney, of Benbow, and a

For now he found the danger, felt ihe pain, good part of those of Grimes and Ellen Orford With grievous symptoms he could not explain.

“ He call’d his friend, and prefac'd with a sigh --besides many shorter passages. It is now A Lover's message- Thomas ! I must die! time, however, to give the reader a more Would I could see my Sally! and could rest particular account of the work which contains My throbbing temples on her faithful breast, them.

And gazing go!-if not, this trifle iake, The Borough of Mr. Crabbe, then, is a

And say vill death, I wore it for her sake : detailed and minute account of an ancient Give me one look, before my life be gone,

Yes! I must die! blow on, sweet breeze, blow on! English sea-port town, of the middling order; Oh! give me that! and let me not despaircontaining a series of pictures of its scenery, One last fond look and now repeat the prayer.' and of the different classes and occupations

" He had bis wish; had more ; I will not paint of its inhabitants. It is thrown into the form The Lover's meeting : she beheld him faintof letters, though without any attempt at the With tender fears, she took a nearer view, epistolary character; and treats of the vicar He tried to smile, and, half succeeding, said, and curate—the sectaries—the attornies—the * Yes! I must die ;-and hope for ever fled ! apothecaries; and the inns, clubs, and stroll- “Still long she nurs'd him; tender thoughts ing players, that make a figure in the place : meantime --but inore particularly of the poor, and their were interchang’d, and hopes and views sublime. characters and treatment; and of almshouses, She took some portion of the dread away! prisons, and schools. There is, of course, no With him she pray'd, to him his Bible read, anity or method in the poem-which consists Sooth'd the faint heart, and held the aching head :


pp. 23–27.

She came with smiles the hour of pain to cheer; The hours of innocence ;-he timid louk
A part she sigh'd; alone, she shed the tear; of his lov'd maid, when first her hand he took
Then, as if breaking from a cloud, she gave And told his hope ; her trembling joy appears,
Fresh light, and gili the prospect of the grave. Her forc'd reserve, and his retreating fears.

One day he lighter seem'd, and they forgot “ Yes! all are with him now, and all the while
The care, the dread, ihe anguish of their lot; Life's early prospects and his Fanny smile:
They spoke with cheerfulness, and seem'd to think, Then come his sister and bis village friend,
Yet said not so— perhaps he will not sink.' And he will now the sweetest moments spend
A sudden brightness in his look appear'd, - Life has 10 yield :-No! never will he find
A sudden vigour in his voice was heard ;

Again on earth such pleasure in his mind. {among She had been reading in the Book of Prayer, He goes through shrubby walks these friends And led him forth, and plac'd him in his chair ; Love in their looks and pleasure on the tongue. Lively he seem'd, and spoke of all he knew, Pierc'd by no crime, and urg'd by no desire The friendly many, and ine favourite few; For more than true and honest hearts require, Nor one that day did he to mind recall,

They feel the calm delight, and thus proceed But she has treasur'd, and she loves them all; Through the green lane, -then linger in the mead, -When in her way she ineets them, they appear Stray o'er ihe heath in all its purple bloom, Peculiar people-death has made them dear! And pluck the blossom where the wild-bees hum; He nam'd his friend, but then his hand she prest, Then through the broomy bound with ease they And fondly whisper'd, “Thou must go to rest.'

pass, I go!' he said ; but, as he spoke, she found And press the sandy sheep-walk's slender grass, His hand more cold, and fluti'ring was the sound; Where dwarfish flowers among the gorse are spread. Then gaz'd affrighten’d; but she caught at last And the lamb brou zes by the linnet's bed! A dying look of love-and all was past !

Then 'cross the bounding brook they make their "She plac'd a decent stone his grave above, O'er its rough bridge--and there behold the bay ! Neatly engrav'd-an offering of her Love; The ocean smiling to the fervid sunFor that she wrought, for that forsook ber bed, The waves that fainıly tall and slowly runAwake alike to duly and ihe dead;

The ships at distance, and the boats at hand : She would have griev'd, had friends presum'd to And now they walk upon the sea-side sand, spare

Counting the number, and what kind they be, The least assistance-'twas her proper care. Ships softly sinking in the sleepy sea :

“Here will she come, and on the grave will sit, Now arm in arm, now parted, ihey behold Folding her arms, in long abstracted fit ;

The glitt'ring waters on the shingles rollid: But if observer pags, will take her round,

The limid girls, half dreading their design, And careless seem, for she would not be found ; Dip the small foot in the retarded brine, Then come again, and thus her hour employ, And search for crimson weeds, which spreading While visions please her, and while woes destroy." Or lie like pictures on the sand below; (flow,

With all those bright red pebbles, that the sun

Through the small waves so softly shines upon ; There is a passage in the same tone, in the And those live lucid jellies which the eye letter on Prisons. It describes the dream of Delights to trace as they swim glitt'ring by : a felon under sentence of death; and though Pearl-shells and rubied star-fish they admire, the exquisite accuracy and beauty of the And will arrange above the parlour fire

Tokens of bliss!"-pp. 323–326. landscape painting are such as must have recommended it to notice in poetry of

If these extracts do not make the reader

any order, it seems to us to derive an uspeakable feel how deep and peculiar an interest may charm from the lowly simplicity and' humble be excited by humble subjects, we should content of the characters--at least we can almost despair of bringing him over to our not conceive any walk of ladies and gentlemen opinion, even by Mr. Crabbe's inimitable dethat should furnish out so sweet a picture as scription and pathetic pleading for the parish terminates the following extract. It is only poor. The subject is one of those, which to doing. Mr. Crabbe justice to present along many will appear repulsive, and, to some with it a part of the dark foreground which fastidious natures perhaps, disgusting. Yet, he has drawn, in the waking existence of the if the most admirable painting of external poor dreamer.

objects—the most minute and thorough know

ledge of human character—and that warm " When first I came glow of active and rational benevolence which Within his view, I fancied there was shame,

lends a guiding light to observation, and an I judg’d Resentment; 1 mistook the airThese fainier passions live not with Despair ;

enchanting colour to eloquence, can entitle a Or but exist and die :-Hope, Fear and Love,

poet to praise, as they do entitle him to more Joy, Doubt, and Hate, may other spirits move, substantial rewards, we are persuaded that But touch not his, who every waking hour the following passage will not be speedily Has one fix'd dread, and always feels its power. forgotten. Ile takes his tasteless food; and, when 'tis done, Counts up his meals, now lessen'd by that one; "Your plan 1 love not :-with a number you For Expectation is on Time intent,

Have plac'd your poor, your pitiable few;
Whether he brings us Joy or Punishment.

There, in one house, for all their lives to be,
"Yes! e'en in sleep th' impressions all remain; The pauper-palace, which they hate to see!
He hears the sentence, and he feels the chain ; That giant building, that high bounding wall,
He seems the place for that sad act to see,

Those bare-worn walks, that lofty thund'ring hall. And dreams the very thirst which then will be ! That large loud clock, which tolls each dreaded A priest attends-it seems the one he knew

hour, In his best days, beneath whose care he grew. Those gates and locks, and all those signs of power :

“ At this his terrors take a sudden flight- It is a prison, wjih a milder name, He sees his native village with delight;

Which few inhabit without dread or shame."The house, the chamber, where he once array'd Alas! their sorrows in their bosoms dwell, His youthful person : where he knelt and pray'd: They've much to suffer, but have nought to tell Then too the comforts he enjoy'd at home, They have no evil in ihe place to state, The days of joy; the joys themselves are come ;-|And care not say, it is the house they hate :

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