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in placing the scenes and persons he described before the mind of the reader. Whether he paints a storm on the East Coast, or exhibits the succession of images passing through the imagination of the condemned felon, or shows the mental stages by which the enthusiast of virtue proceeds to crime, everything is represented with an appearance of scientific precision, which in an ordinary poet would be offensive, but which from Crabbe's point of view is just and necessary. At the same time, with all this Dutch minuteness, he possessed, as we see in The Lover's Journey, and Delay has Danger, exceptional skill in describing Nature in the aspect which she presents to minds labouring under strong emotions. His powers of pathos are extraordinary, and his faculty of giving pain is often put to an illegitimate use. When his humour is under his control it is admirable, and of all the poets who have used the heroic couplet, Pope himself not excepted, he is the best writer of easy dialogue. As a painter of character he evidently modelled himself on Pope, but the style of the two poets is as different as their genius. Pope, an unequalled observer within a limited compass, is most careful to choose rare types and to embody their prominent features in the most select and pregnant words; Crabbe, on the other hand, trusts to the largeness of his experience, and to the general human interest of his descriptions, and, though preserving the antithetical form of Pope's verse, makes comparatively little attempt at epigrammatic expression It is noticeable that, as his subjects become more numerous and extended, his care in composition seems to diminish; there is far more literary finish in The Village than in Tales of the Hall.
W. J. COURTHOPE.
THE VILLAGE AS IT IS.
(From The Village, Book I.]
Fled are those times, when in harmonious strains,
On Mincio's banks, in Cæsar's bounteous reign,
No; cast by fortune on a frowning coast,
Rank weeds, that every art and care defy,
THE CONVICT'S DREAM.
[From The Borough, Letter xxiii.]
Yes ! e'en in sleep the impressions all remain,
Now comes the dream again: it shows each scene
At this his terrors take a sudden flight,
Then too the comfort he enjoyed at home,
All now is present ; 'tis a moment's gleam,
Yes! all are with him now, and all the while Life's early prospects and his Fanny's smile : Then come his sister and his village friend, And he will now the sweetest moments spend Life has to yield ;-No! never will he find Again on earth such pleasure in his mind : He goes through shrubby walks these friends among, Love in their looks and honour on the tongue : Nay, there's a charm beyond what nature shows, The bloom is softer and more sweetly glows. Pierced by no crime and urged by no desire For more than true and honest hearts require, They feel the calm delight, and thus proceed Through the green lane-then linger in the mead ; Stray o'er the heath in all its purple bloom, And pluck the blossoms where the wild bees hum ; Then through the broomy bound with ease they pass, And press the sandy sheep-walk's slender grass, Where dwarfish flowers among the gorse are spread, And the lamb browses by the linnet's bed ; Then 'cross the bounding brook they make their way O'er its rough bridge--and there behold the bay! The ocean smiling to the fervid sunThe waves that faintly fall and slowly runThe ships at distance and the boats at hand ; And now they walk upon the seaside sand, Counting the number and what kind they bo, Ships softly sinking in the sleepy sea ; Now arm in arm, now parted, they behold
The glittering waters on the shingles rolled ;
[From T'he Borough, Letter xii.]
Sad happy race! Soon raised and soon depressed, Your days all passed in jeopardy and jest ; Poor without prudence, with afflictions vain, Not warned by misery, not enriched by gain : Whom justice, pitying, chides from place to place, A wandering, careless, wretched, merry race, Who cheerful looks assume, and play the parts Of happy rovers with repining hearts; Then cast off care, and, in the mimic pain Of tragic woe, feel spirits light and vain, Distress and hope-the mind's, the body's, wear, The man's affliction and the actor's tear: Alternate times of fasting and excess Are yours, ye smiling children of distress.
Slaves though ye be, your wandering freedom seems, And with your varying views and restless schemes, Your griefs are transient, as your joys are dreams.