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and the boy is obliged to steal privately to his disconsolate uncle. One day his father catches him at his door; and, after beating him back, proceeds to deliver a severe rebuke to his brother for encouraging the child in disobedience-when he finds the unconscious culprit released by death from his despicable insults and reproaches! The great art of the story consists in the plausible excuses with which the ungrateful brother always contrives to cover his wickedness. This cannot be exemplified in an extract; but we shall give a few lines as a specimen.


Cold as he grew, still Isaac strove to show,

By well-feign'd care, that cold he could not grow;
And when he saw his Brother look distress'd,
He strove some petty comforts to suggest ;
On his Wife solely their neglect to lay,
And then t'excuse it as a woman's way;
He too was chidden when her rules he broke,

And then she sicken'd at the scent of smoke!

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George, though in doubt, was still consol'd to find
His Brother wishing to be reckon'd kind :

That Isaac seem'd concern'd by his distress,
Gave to his injur'd feelings some redress;
But none he found dispos'd to lend an ear
To stories, all were once intent to hear!
Except his Nephew, seated on his knee,
He found no creature car'd about the sea;

But George indeed · - for George they call'd the boy,
When his good Uncle was their boast and joy-
Would listen long, and would contend with sleep,
To hear the woes and wonders of the deep:

Till the fond Mother cried - That man will teach
The foolish boy his loud and boisterous speech.'
So judg'd the Father- and the boy was taught

To shun the Uncle, whom his love had sought."—368, 369.
"At length he sicken'd, and this duteous Child
Watch'd o'er his sickness, and his pains beguil'd;
The Mother bade him from the loft refrain,
But, though with caution, yet he went again;
And now his tales the Sailor feebly told,
His heart was heavy, and his limbs were cold!
The tender Boy came often to entreat
His good kind friend would of his presents eat:
Purloin'd or purchas'd, for he saw, with shame,
The food untouch'd that to his Uncle came ;
Who, sick in body and in mind, receiv'd
The Boy's indulgence, gratified and griev'd!

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"Once in a week the Father came to say,

George, are you ill?'.

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and hurried him away;
Yet to his wife would on their duties dwell,
And often cry, Do use my brother well;
And something kind, no question, Isaac meant,
And took vast credit for the vague intent.

"But, truly kind, the gentle Boy essay'd
To cheer his Uncle, firm, although afraid;
But now the Father caught him at the door,
And, swearing yes, the Man in Office swore,
And cried, Away! How! Brother, I'm surpris'd,

That one so old can be so ill advis'd,'" &c.

- p. 370, 371.


After the catastrophe, he endures deserved remorse

and anguish.


He takes his Son, and bids the boy unfold
All the good Uncle of his feelings told,

All he lamented -- and the ready tear

Falls as he listens, sooth'd and, griev'd to hear,

"Did he not curse me, Child?' —‘He never curs'd,
But could not breathe, and said his heart would burst:
' And so will mine!' Then, Father, you must pray;

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My Uncle said it took his pains away.'”—p. 374.

The last tale in the volume, entitled "The Learned Boy," is not the most interesting in the collection; though it is not in the least like what its title would lead us to expect. It is the history of a poor, weakly, paltry lad who is sent up from the country to be a clerk in town; and learns by slow degrees to affect freethinking, and to practise dissipation. Upon the tidings of which happy conversion his father, a worthy old farmer, orders him down again to the country, where he harrows up the soul of his pious grandmother by his infidel prating -and his father reforms him at once by burning his idle books, and treating him with a vigorous course of horsewhipping. There is some humour in this tale; — and a great deal of nature and art, especially in the delineation of this slender clerk's gradual corruption and in the constant and constitutional predominance of weakness and folly in all his vice and virtue-his piety and profaneness.

We have thus gone through the better part of this volume with a degree of minuteness for which we are

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not sure that even our poetical readers will all be dis posed to thank us. But considering Mr. Crabbe as upon the whole, the most original writer who has ever come before us; and being at the same time of opinion, that his writings are destined to a still more extensive popularity than they have yet obtained, we could not resist the temptation of contributing our little aid to the fulfilment of that destiny. It is chiefly for the same reason that we have directed our remarks rather to the moral than the literary qualities of his works; — to his genius at least, rather than his taste- and to his thoughts rather than his figures of speech. By far the most remarkable thing in his writings, is the prodigious mass of original observations and reflections they every where exhibit; and that extraordinary power of conceiving and representing an imaginary object, whether physical or intellectual, with such a rich and complete accompaniment of circumstances and details, as few ordinary observers either perceive or remember in realities; - a power which, though often greatly misapplied, must for ever entitle him to the very first rank among descriptive poets; and, when directed to worthy objects. to a rank inferior to none in the highest departments of poetry.

In such an author, the attributes of style and versification may fairly be considered as secondary; - and yet, if we were to go minutely into them, they would afford room for a still longer chapter than that which we are now concluding. He cannot be said to be uniformly, or even generally, an elegant writer. His style is not dignified—and neither very pure nor very easy Its characters are force, precision, and familiarity;now and then obscure-sometimes vulgar, and some times quaint. With a great deal of tenderness, and occasional fits of the sublime of despair and agony, there is a want of habitual fire, and of a tone of enthusiasm in the general tenor of his writings. He seems to recol lect rather than invent; and frequently brings forward his statements more in the temper of a cautious and conscientious witness, than of a fervent orator or impas



sioned spectator. His similes are almost all elaborate and ingenious, and rather seem to be furnished from the efforts of a fanciful mind, than to be exhaled by the spontaneous ferment of a heated imagination. His versification again is frequently harsh and heavy, and his diction flat and prosaic; - both seeming to be altogether neglected in his zeal for the accuracy and complete rendering of his conceptions. These defects too are infinitely greater in his recent than in his early compositions. "The Village" is written, upon the whole, in a flowing and sonorous strain of versification; and "Sir Eustace Grey," though a late publication, is in general remarkably rich and melodious. It is chiefly in his narratives and curious descriptions that these faults of diction and measures are conspicuous. Where he is warmed by his subject, and becomes fairly indig nant or pathetic, his language is often very sweet and beautiful. He has no fixed system or manner of versification; but mixes several very opposite styles, as it were by accident, and not in general very judiciously; -what is peculiar to himself is not good, and strikes us as being both abrupt and affected.

He may profit, if he pleases, by these hints and, if he pleases, he may laugh at them. It is no great matter. If he will only write a few more Tales of the kind we have suggested at the beginning of this article, we shall engage for it that he shall have our praises --and those of more 'fastidious critics-whatever be the qualities of his style or versification.



(JULY, 1819.)

Tales of the Hall. By the Reverend GEORGE CRABBE. 2 vols. 8vo. pp. 670. London: 1819.

MR. CRABBE is the greatest mannerist, perhaps, of all our living poets; and it is rather unfortunate that the most prominent features of his mannerism are not the most pleasing. The homely, quaint, and prosaic style — the flat, and often broken and jingling versification - the eternal full-lengths of low and worthless characterswith their accustomed garnishings of sly jokes and fami liar moralising are all on the surface of his writings; and are almost unavoidably the things by which we are first reminded of him, when we take up any of his new productions. Yet they are not the things that truly constitute his peculiar manner; or give that character by which he will, and ought to be, remembered with future generations. It is plain enough, indeed, that these are things that will make nobody remembered and can never, therefore, be really characteristic of some of the most original and powerful poetry that the world has

ever seen.

Mr. C., accordingly, has other gifts; and those not less peculiar or less strongly marked than the blemishes with which they are contrasted; an unrivalled and almost magical power of observation, resulting in descriptions so true to nature as to strike us rather as transcripts than imitations—an anatomy of character and feeling not less exquisite and searchingsional touch of matchless tenderness and a deep and dreadful pathetic, interspersed by fits, and strangely interwoven with the most minute and humble of his details. Add to all this the sure and profound sagacity of the remarks with which he every now and then startles us in the midst of very unambitious discussions; and

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