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They own there's granted all such place can give, To gain the plaudits of the knowing few,
He left her to her own pursuits in life; Like death's dread mansion, this allows not place Deaf to reports, to all expenses blind, For joyful meetings of a kindred race.
Profuse, not just—and careless but not kind.” " Is not the mairon there, to whom the son
pp. 193, 194. Was wont at each declining day to run; He (when his toil was over) gave delight,
Clelia is another worthless character, drawn By lifting up the latch, and one 'Good night ?' with infinite spirit, and a thorough knowledge Yes. she is here; but nightly to her door of human nature. She began life as a sprightThe son, still lab'ring, can return no more. * Widows are here, who in their huts were left, and a beauty in the half-bred circles of the
ly, talking, Airting girl, who passed for a wit Of husbands, children, plenty, ease, bereft; Yet all that grief within the humble shed borough; and who, in laying herself out to Was soften'd, soften'd in the humbled bed : entrap a youth of better condition, unfortuBut here, in all its force, remains the grief, nately fell a victim to his superior art, and And not one soft'ning object for relief. " Who can, when here, the social neighbour came the smart mistress of a dashing attor
forfeited her place in society. She then beWho learn the story current in the street ? (meet ? Who to the long-known intimate impart
ney—then tried to teach a school-lived as Facts they have learn'd, or feelings of the heart ?
the favourite of an innkeeper-let lodgings They talk, indeed; but who can choose a friend, wrote novels-set up a toyshop-and, finally, Or seek companions, at their journey's end ?”'. was admitted into the almshouse. There is
" What, if no grievous fears their lives annoy, Is it not worse, no prospects to enjoy!
nothing very interesting perhaps in such a 'Tis cheerless living in such bounded view,
story; but the details of it show the wonderful With nothing dreadful, but with nothing new;
accuracy of the author's observation of charNothing to bring them joy, to make them weep-acter; and give it, and many of his other The day itself is, like the night, asleep;
pieces, a value of the same kind that some Or on the sameness, if a break be made,
pictures are thought to derive from the truth 'Tis by some pauper to his grave convey'd ; By smuggled news from neighb'ring village told,
and minuteness of the anatomy which they News never true, or truth a iwelve month old!
display. There is something original, too, By some new inmare doom'd with them to dwell, and well conceived, in the tenacity with which Or justice come to see that all goes well; he represents this frivolous person, as adOr change of room, or hour of leave to crawl hering to her paltry characteristics, under On the black footway winding with the wall, 'Till the stern bell forbids, or master's slerner call
. cluding view is as follows.
“Now friendless, sick, and old, and wanting bread, Expires—while strangers prat:le round his bed."'.
True, bitter tears; and yet that wounded pride, pp. 241-244.
Among the poor, for poor distinctions sigh'd ! These we take to be specimens of Mr. Though now her tales were to her audience fit; Crabbe’s best style;—but he has great variety; Though now her dress—but lei me not explain
Though loud her tones, and vulgar grown her wit; -and some readers may be better pleased The piteous patchwork of the needy vain, with his satirical vein—which is both copious The Airrish form to coarse materials lent, and original. The Vicar is an admirable And one poor robe through fifty fashions sent); sketch of what must be very difficult to draw; Sull'iwas her wish, her comfort to be seen:
Though all within was sad, without was mean- good, easy man, with no character at all. She would to plays on lowest terms resort, His little
, humble vanity ;-his constant care where once her box was to the beaux a court ; to offend no one;-his mawkish and feeble And, strange delight! 10 that same house, where zallantry—indolent good nature, and love of Join'd in the dance, all gaiety and glee, (she gossipping and trifting--are all very exactly, Now with the menials crowding to the wall,
She'd and very pleasingly delineated.
see, not share, the pleasures of the ball, To the character of Blaney, we have already How she too triumph'd in the years of old.”
And with degraded vanity unfold, objected, as offensive, from its extreme and
pp. 209, 210. impotent depravity. The first part of his history, however, is sketched with a masterly The graphic powers of Mr. Crabbe, indeed, hand; and affords a good specimen of that are too frequently wasted on unworthy subSententious and antithetical manner by which jects. There is not, perhaps, in all English Mr. Crabbe sometimes reminds us of the style poetry a more complete and highly finished and versification of Pope.
piece of painting, than the following descrip
tion of a vast old boarded room or warehouse, Blaney, a wealthy heir at twenty.one, which was let out, it seems, in the borough, Allwenty-five was ruin'd and undone : These years with grievous crimes we need not load, and vagabonds of every description. No Dutch
as a kind of undivided lodging, for beggars He found his ruin in the common road; Gam'd without skill, without inquiry bought,
painter ever presented an interior more disLent without love, and borrow'd without thoughi. tinctly to the eye; or ever gave half such a Bnt
, gay and handsome, he had soon the dower Of a kind wealthy widow in his power;
group to the imagination. Then he aspir'd to loftier flighis of vice!
« That window view !-oil'd paper and old glass To singing harlots of enormous price :
Stain the strong rays, which, though impeded, pass, And took a jockey in his gig to buy
And give a dusty warmth to that huge room, An horse, so valued, that a duke was shy: The conquer'd sunshine's melancholy gloom;
When all ihose western rays, without so bright, The dark warm flood ran silently and slow; Within become a ghasily glimm'ring light, There anchoring, Peter chose from man to hide As pale and faint upon the floor they fall,
There hang his head, and view the lazy tide Or feebly gleam on the opposing wall:
In its hot slimy channel slowly glide; That floor, once oak, now piec'd with fir unplan'd, Where the small eels that left the deeper way Or, where nor piec'd, in places bor'd and stain'd; For the warm shore, within the shallows play, That wall once whiten'd, now an odious sight, Where gaping muscles, left upon the mud, Siain'd with all hues, except its ancient white. Slope their slow passage to the fallen flood;
" Where'er the floor allows an even space, Here dull and hopeless he'd lie down and trace Chalking and marks of various games have place ; How sidelong crabs had scrawld their crooked race; Boys, without foresight, pleas'd in halters swing! Or sadly listen to the tuneless cry On a fix'd hook men cast a flying ring;
Of fishing Gull or clanging Golden Eye." While gin and snuff their female neighbours share,
pp. 305, 306. And the black beverage in the fractur’d ware.
Under the head of Amusements, we have a “On swinging shelf are things incongruous stor’d; Scraps of their food—the cards and cribbage board spirited account of the danger and escape of With pipes and pouches; while on peg below, a party of pleasure, who landed, in a fine Hang a lost member's fiddle and its bow :
evening, on a low sandy island, which was Thai still reminds them how he'd dance and play, covered with the tide at high water, and were Ere sent untimely to the Convict's Bay!
left upon it by the drifting away of their boat. · Here by a curtain, by a blanket there, Are various beds conceal'd, but none with care; “On the bright sand they trode with nimble feet, Where soine by day and some by night, as best Dry shelly sand that made the summer seat; Suit their employments, seek uncertain rest; The wond’ring mews flew flutt'ring o'er their head, The drowsy children at their pleasure creep
And waves ran sofily up their shining bed."-p. 127. To the known crib, and there securely sleep. “ Each end contains a grate, and these beside
While engaged in their sports, they discover Are hung utensils for their boild and fry'd All us'd at any hour, by night, by day,
their boat floating at a distance, and are struck As suit the purse, the person, or the prey.
with instant terror. “ Above ihe fire, the mantel-shelf contains Of china-ware some poor unmatch'd remains;
“Alas! no shout the distant land can reach, There many a tea-cup's gaudy fragment stands,
Nor eye behold i hem from the foggy beach; All plac'd by Vanity's unwearied hands;
Again they join in one loud powerful cry, For here she lives, e'en here she looks about,
Then cease, and eager listen for reply. To find small some consoling objects out.
None came-the rising wind blew sadly by. “ High hung at either end, and next the wall,
They shout once more, and then they turn aside, Two ancient mirrors show the forms of all.”
To see how quickly flow'd the coming tide : pp. 249–251.
Between each cry they find the waters steal
On their strange prison, and new horrors feel; The following picture of a calm sea fog is Foot after foot on the contracted ground by the same powerful hand :
The billows fall, and dreadful is the sound!
Less and yet less the sinking isle became, “When all you see through densest fog is seen; And there was wailing, weeping, wrath, and blame. When you can hear the fishers near at hand Had one been there, wiih spirit strong and high, Distincily speak, yet see not where they stand; Who could observe, as he prepar'd 10 die, Or sometimes them and not their boat discern, He might have seen of hearts the varying kind, Or half.conceal'd some figure at the stern;
And trac'd the movement of each different mind: Boys who, on shore, to sea ihe pebble cast, He might have seen, that not the gentle maid Will hear it strike against the viewless mast; Was more than stern and haughty man afraid," &c. While the stern boaiman growls his fierce disdain, “ Now rose the water through the less'ning sand, At whom he knows not, whom he threats in vain. And they seem'd sinking while they yet could stand!
"'Tis pleasant then to view the nets float past, The sun went down, they look'd from side to side, Net after net vill you have seen the last;
Nor aught except the gaih'ring sea descry'd ; And as you wait till all beyond you slip,
Dark and more dark, more wet, more cold it grew, A boat comes gliding from an anchor'd ship, And the most lively bade to hope adieu ; Breaking the silence with the dipping oar,
Children, by love, ihen lifted from the seas, And their own tones, as labouring for the shore ; Felt not the waters at the parent's knees, Those measur'd tones with which the scene agree, But wept aloud; the wmd increas'd the sound, And give a sadness to serenity:-pp. 123, 124. And the cold billows as they broke around.
But hark! an oar, We add one other sketch of a similar char. That sound of bliss! comes dashing to their shore : acter, which though it be introduced as the Still, still the water rises, ' Haste! they cry, haunt and accompaniment of a desponding Oh! hurry, seamen, in delay we die!' spirit, is yet chiefly remarkable for the singu: The drifted boat, and thus her crew reliev'd.)
(Seamen were these who in their ship perceiv'd lar clearness and accuracy with which it And now the keel just cuts the cover'd sand, represents the dull scenery of a common tide Now to the gunwale stretches every hand ; river. The author is speaking of a solitary With irembling pleasure all confus'd embark, and abandoned fisherman, who was com- And kiss the tackling of their welcome ark; pelled
While the most giddy, as they reach the shore,
Think of their danger, and their God adore.". " Al the same times the same dull views to see,
pp. 127-130. The bounding marsh-bank and the blighied iree; The water only, when the sides were high,
In the letter on Education, there are some When low, the mud half-covered and half-dry; fine descriptions of boarding-schools for both The sun-burn'd tar that blisters on the planks, rexes, and of the irksome and useless restraints And bank-side stakes in their uneven ranks : which they impose on the bounding spirits Heaps of eniangled weeds that slowly float, As the tide rolls by the impeded boat.
and open affections of early youth. This is ** When tides were neap, and, in the sultry day, followed by some excellent remarks on the Through the tall bounding mud-banks made their ennui which so often falls to the lot of the Which on each side rose swelling, and below (way. I learned-or that description at least of the
learned that are bred in English univer- been the model of our author in the follow sities. But we have no longer left room for ing :any considerable extracts; though we should " That woe could wish, or vanity deviso." have wished to lay before our readers some part of the picture of the secretaries
“Sick without pity, sorrowing without hope.” scription of the inns—the strolling players,
“Gloom to the night, and pressure to the chain"and the clubs. The poor man's club, which and a great multitude of others. partakes of the nature of a friendly society, On the other hand, he appears to us to be is described with that good-hearted indulgence frequently misled by Darwin into a sort of which marks all Mr. Crabbe's writings. mock-heroic magnificence, upon ordinary oc
casions. The poet of the Garden, for instance, “ The printed rules he guards in painted frame, makes his nymphs And shows his children where to read his name."
“Present the fragrant quintessence of tea.” We have now alluded, we believe, to what is best and most striking in this poem; and,
And the poet of the Dock-yards makes his though we do not mean to quote any part of carpenters what we consider as less successful
, we must “Spread the warm pungence of o'erboiling tar.” say, that there are large portions of it which
Mr. Crabbe, indeed, does not scruple, on appear to us considerably inferior to most of
some occasions, to adopt the mock-heroic in the author's former productions. The letter on the Election, we look on as a complete Griffin becomes bankrupt, he says
When the landlord of the
good earnest. failure—or at least as containing scarcely any thing of what it ought to have contained.
“ The insolvent Griffin struck her wings sublime,” The letters on Law and Physic, too, are tedi- and introduces a very serious lamentation ous; and the general heads of Trades, Amuse- over the learned poverty of the curate, with ments, and Hospital Government, by no means this most misplaced piece of buffoonery :amusing. The Parish Clerk, too, we find dull,
Oh! had he learn’d to make the wig he wears !!! and without effect; and have already given our opinion of Peter Grimes, Abel Keene, and One of his letters, too, begins with this Benbow. We are struck, also, with several wretched quibbleomissions in the picture of a maritime borough. “ From Law to Physic stepping at our ease, Mr. Crabbe might have made a great deal of
We find a way to finish-by Degrees." a press-gang; and, at all events, should have
There are many imitations of the peculiar given us some wounded veteran sailors, and some voyagers with tales of wonder from rhythm of Goldsmith and Campbell, too, as
our readers must have observed in some of foreign lands. like all Mr. Crabbe's other performances, by combination, are better, at all events, than The style of this poem is distinguished, our longer specimens ; — but these, though
they do not always make a very harmonious great force and compression of diction—a sort of sententious brevity, once thought essential the tame heaviness and vulgarity of such to poetical composition, but of which he is verses as the following :now the only living example. But though this
*As soon is almost an unvarying characteristic of his could he have thought gold issued from the moon.” style, it appears to us that there is great “A seaman's body—there'll be more to-night.” variety, and even some degree of unsteadi
“ Those who will not to any guide submit, ness and inconsistency in the tone of his ex
Nor find one creed to their conceptions fitpression and versification. His taste seems True Independents: while they Calvin hate, scarcely to be sufficiently fixed and settled as They heed as liuile what Socinians state."--p. 54. to these essential particulars; and, along with
" Here pits of crag, with spongy, plashy base, a certain quaint, broken, and harsh manner
To some enrich th' unculiivated space," &c. &c. of his own, we think we can trace very frequent imitations of poets of the most opposite
Of the sudden, harsh turns, and broken concharacter. The following antithetical and ciseness which we think peculiar to himself
, half-punning lines of Pope, for instance :
the reader may take the following speci
mens: “Sleepless himself, to give his readers sleep;"
Has your wife's brother, or your unele's son, and
Done aught amiss; or is he thought t' have
done ?" " Whose trifling pleases, and whom trifles please ;have evidently been copied by Mr. Crabbe in “Stepping from post to post he reach'd the chair ;
And there he now reposes :-hat's the Mayor !" the following, and many others :
He has a sort of jingle, too, which we think " And in the restless ocean, seek for rest.” is of his own invention ;—for instance, “Denying her who taught thee to deny."
“For forms and feasts that sundry times have past, "Scraping they liv'd, but not a scrap they gave." And formal feasts that will for ever last.” " Bound for a friend, whom honour could not bind." We term it free and easy; and yet we " Among the poor, for poor distinctions sigh’d.”
Find it no easy matter to be free.” In the same way, the common, nicely bal- We had more remarks to make upon the anced line of two members, which is so char- taste and diction of this author; and had noted acteristic of the same author, has obviously several other little blemishes, which we meant 1
10 have pointed out for his correction : but we mirable account in maintaining the interest,
-from which, indeed, neither the author nor train of adventures. At present, it is impos-
of his readers, that it is commonly relinquish. That' very powerful and original a very foolish kind of presumption to offer performance, indeed, the chief fault of which any advice as to the direction of his efforts; is, to be set too thick with images—to be too but we own we have a very strong desire to strong and undiluted, in short, for the diges. see Mr. Crabbe apply his great powers to the tion of common readers—makes us regret, construction of some interesting and connected that its author should ever have stopped to be story. He has great talents for narration; and trifling and ingenious or condescended to that unrivalled gift in the delineation of char- tickle the imaginations of his readers, instead acter, which is now used only for the creation of touching the higher passions of their naof detached portraits, might be turned to ad- I ture.
(November, 1812.) Tales. By the Reverend GEORGE CRABBE. 8vo. pp. 398. London : 1812. We are very thankful to Mr. Crabbe for their venial offences, contrasted with a strong these Tales; as we must always be for any sense of their frequent depravity, and too thing that comes from his hands. But they constant a recollection of the sufferings it proare not exactly the tales which we wanted. duces ;-and, finally, the same honours paid We did not, however, wish him to write an to the delicate affections and ennobling pas. Epic--as he seems from his preface to have sions of humble life, with the same generous imagined. We are perfectly satisfied with testimony to their frequent existence; mixed the length of the pieces he has given us; and up as before, with a reprobation sufficiently delighted with their number and variety. In rigid, and a ridicule sufficiently severe, of these respects the volume is exactly as we their excesses and affectations. could have wished it. But we should have If we were required to make a comparative liked a little more of the deep and tragical estimate of the merits of the present publicapassions; of those passions which exalt and tion, or to point out the shades of difference overwhelm the soul—to whose stormy seat by which it is distinguished from those that the modern muses can so rarely raise their have gone before it, we should say that there flight-and which he has wielded with such are a greater number of instances on which terrific force in his Sir Eustace Grey, and the he has combined the natural language and Gipsy Woman. What we wanted, in short, manners of humble life with the energy of were tales something in the style of those true passion, and the beauty of generous two singular compositions—with less jocu- affection ;-—in which he has traced out the larity than prevails in the rest of his writings course of those rich and lovely veins in the -rather more incidents—and rather fewer rude and unpolished masses that lie at the details.
bottom of society ;-and unfolded, in the midThe pieces before us are not of this descrip- dling orders of the people, the workings of tion ;—they are mere supplementary chapters those finer feelings, and the stirrings of those to "The Borough,” or “The Parish Register.” loftier emotions which the partiality of other The same tone—the same subjects—the same poets had attributed, almost exclusively, to style, measure, and versification ;—the same actors on a higher scene. finished and minute delineation of things We hope, too, that this more amiable and ordinary and common
on-generally very en- consoling view of human nature will have gaging when employed upon external objects, the effect of rendering Mr. Crabbe still more but often fatiguing when directed merely to popular than we know that he already is, insignificant characters and habits;-the same among that great body of the people, from strange mixture too of feelings that tear the among whom almost all his subjects are taken, heart and darken the imagination, with starts and for whose use his lessons are chiefly inof low humour and patches of ludicrous ima- tended : and we say this, not only on account gery ;—the same kindly sympathy with the of the moral benefit which we think they humble and innocent pleasures of the poor may derive from them, but because we are and inelegant, and the same indulgence for 1 persuaded that they will derive more pleasure
from them than readers of any other descrip-, classes, there are not as many as thirty tion. Those who do not belong to that rank thousand. It is easy to see therefore which of society with which this powerful writer is a poet should choose to please, for his own chiefly conversant in his poetry, or who have glory and emolument, and which he should not at least gone much among them, and at- wish to delight and amend, out of mere tended diligently to their characters and occu- philanthropy. The fact too we believe is, pations, can neither be half aware of the that a great part of the larger body are to the exquisite fidelity of his delineations, nor feel full as well educated and as high-minded as in their full force the better part of the emo- the smaller ; and, though their taste may not tions which he has suggested. Vehement be so correct and fastidious, we are persuaded passion indeed is of all ranks and conditions; that their sensibility is greater. The misand its language and external indications fortune is, to be sure, that they are extremely nearly the same in all. Like highly rectified apt to affect the taste of their superiors, and spirit, it blazes and inflames with equal force to counterfeit even that absurd disdain of and brightness, from whatever materials it is which they are themselves the objects; and extracted. But all the softer and kindlier that poets have generally thought it safest to affections, all the social anxieties that mix invest their interesting characters with all with our daily hopes, and endear our homes, the trappings of splendid fortune and high and colour our existence, wear a different station, chiefly because those who know least livery, and are written in a different character about such matters think it unworthy to symin almost every great caste or division of pathise in the adventures of those who are society; and the heart is warmed, and the without them! For our own parts, however, spirit touched by their delineation, exactly in we are quite positive, not only that persons the proportion in which we are familiar with in middling hfe would naturally be most the types by which they are represented.- touched with the emotions that belong to When Burns, in his better days, walked out their own condition, but that those emotions in a fine summer morning with Dugald Stew- are in themselves the most powerful, and art, and the latter observed to him what a consequently the best fitted for poetical or beauty the scattered cottages, with their white pathetic representation. Even with regard walls and curling smoke shining in the silent to the heroic and ambitious passions, as the sun, imparted to the landscape, the present vista is longer which leads from humble poet answered, that he felt that beauty ten privacy to the natural objects of such pastimes more strongly than his companion could sions; so, the career is likely to be more imdo; and that it was necessary to be a cottager petuous, and its outset more marked by strikto know what pure and tranquil pleasures ing and contrasted emotions :—and as to all often nestled below those lowly roofs, or to the more tender and less turbulent affections, read, in their external appearance, the signs upon which the beauty of the pathetic is of so many heartfelt and long-remembered altogether dependant, we apprehend it to be enjoyments. In the same way, the humble quite manifest, that their proper soil and and patient hopes—the depressing embarrass- nidus is the privacy and simplicity of humble ments—the little mortifications—the slender life;—that their very elements are dissipated triumphs, and strange temptations which arise by the variety of objects that move for ever in middling life, and are the theme of Mr. in the world of fashion; and their essence Crabbe's finest and most touching represen- tainted by the cares and vanities that are tations—can only be guessed at by those who diffused in the atmosphere of that lofty region. glitter in the higher walks of existence; while But we are wandering into a long dissertaihey must raise many a tumultuous throb and tion, instead of making our readers acquainted many a fond recollection in the breasts of with the book before us. The most satisfacthose to whom they reflect so truly the image tory thing we can do, we believe, is to give of their own estate, and reveal so clearly the them a plain account of its contents, with secrets of their habitual sensations.
such quotations and remarks as may occur to We cannot help thinking, therefore, that us as we proceed. though such writings as are now before us The volume contains twenty-one tales ;must give great pleasure to all persons of taste the first of which is called " The Dumb Oraand sensibility, they will give by far the great-tors." This is not one of the most engaging ; est pleasure to those whose condition is least and is not judiciously placed at the portal, to remote from that of the beings with whom tempt hesitating readers to go forward. The they are occupied. But we think also, that second, however, entitled “The Parting it was wise and meritorious in Mr. Crabbe to Hour," is of a far higher character, and occupy himself with such beings. In this contains some passages of great beauty and country, there probably are not less than pathos. The story is simply that of a youth three hundred thousand persons who read for and a maiden in humble life, who had loved amusement or instruction, among the mid- each other from their childhood, but were ton dling classes* of society. In the higher poor to marry: The youth goes to the West
Indies to push his fortune; but is captured * By the middling classes, we mean almost all by the Spaniards and carried to Mexicn, those who are below the sphere of what is called where, in the course of time, though still fashionable or public life, and who do not aim at sighing for his first love, he marries a Span. distinction or notoriety beyond the circle of their ish girl
, and lives twenty years with her and equals in fortune and situation.
his children-he is then impressed, and care