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his scope of inquiry may be, when he tells what he knows, divulges something which others do not know; the multitude of his thoughts must of necessity be so familiar to every one, that they can pretend to no particular distinction; but there will be such a family likeness among them, that none will seem spurious; all will be recognized as his legitimate offspring; and a few at least will be so full of the spirit of their parent, that it will be self-evident that no other man but himself could have given them birth. If every poet would thus aim at originality, and instead of mere cross-readings of memory-the bulk of ordinary poetry is nothing else-wouldcommunicate the lessons of his understanding and experience, learned by heart, and not by rote; though we will not undertake to say that there would be less frivolity foisted upon the public, we are sure there would be less dulness. In an author's works we should at any rate have the substance of his own conceptions, instead of the shadows of other people's, falling across his pages, as they flitted through his brain; and we should see the distinct image of Nature herself reflected from the mirror of his individual mind, in place of a miserable copy of discordant features, made up from a thousand wretched portraits of her in common-place-books. Every vo lume thus curiously composed might add something to the public stock of ideas,-to that treasury of knowledge which has been accumulating since the creation, and which is the richest inheritance of the posterity of Adam; for in it is included all the truth that has been discovered on earth, or revealed from heaven, in all ages and among all nations.

We have been led into this perplexed lucubration, through which we fear that few of our readers will follow us patiently, if they follow us at all, by the conviction left on our minds from the perusal of the volume before us, that every man of moderate talents may step forth as an original writer, in any path of elegant literature to which his taste inclines him, if he will courageously exercise his powers on those subjects that are most frequently within his view, and of which he has the opportunity of acquiring the greatest knowledge. Of this noble and successful daring Mr. Crabbe is a signal example. His poetical qualifications are considerably limited: fancy, fervour, grace, and feeling, he has only in a low degree; his talents are chiefly of the middle order, but they are admirable in their kind, and he employs them to the utmost advantage. Strength, spirit, truth, and discrimination, are conspicuous in all his pieces; his peasant-characters are drawn with Dutch drollery, and his village-pictures finished with Flemish minuteness. His diction is copious and energetic, though frequently hard and prosaic; it remarkably abounds with antitheses, catch

words, and other products of artifice and labour. His verse is fluent, but exceedingly monotonous; the pause in his heroic measure falling sometimes through ten couplets in a page after the fourth and fifth syllables:. but he often strikes out single lines of perfect excellence, sententious as proverbs, and pointed like epigrams. A vein of peculiar English humour runs through his details; a bitter pleasantry, a moody wit, a sarcastic sadness, that seems at once to frown and smile, to scorn and pity. He is a poet half way between Pope and Goldsmith; but he wants the taste of the one, and the tenderness of the other; we are often reminded of each, yet he never seems the servile imitator of either, while his style and his subjects, especially in facetions description, occasionally elevate him to an equality with both. He sometines borrows phrases, and even whole lines, from other authors; and as he does this from indolence, not from necessity, he deserves the discredit which such obligations throw upon his pages. One of his most masterly sketches in the Parish Register, that of the old blind Landlord, is ruined at the conclusion by the quotation of a line from the Night Thoughts, the substance of which the author had previously paraphrased in the context. No themes have been more hacknied in rhyme than the delights of villages, and the peace and innocence of country people; but as all the villages of former bards had been situated in Arcadia, Mr. Crabbe bad nothing to do but to look at home, in his own parishes, (the one near a smuggling creek on the sea-coast, and the other among the flats of Leicestershire,) to become the most original poet that ever sang of village life and manners.

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In the preface to this collection of his new and republished poems, Mr. Crabbe brings such critical recommendations in his hand, as ought perhaps to silence anonymous Reviewers. What can we say to His Grace the late Duke of Rutland, The Right Honourable the Lord Thurlow, Dr. Samuel Johnson, Mr. Burke, the Right Honourable Charles James Fox, Henry Richard Lord Holland, The Reverend Richard Turner,' &c. &c.? Truly we can do neither more nor less than make our bow, and retire in mute astonishment to find a poet in so much good company. However, we will whisper one surly hint in his ear, as he shews us to the door, Mr. C., you are much too obsequious to great folks not to provoke the spleen of little ones.' But if Mr. Crabbe is a willow in his Preface, he is an oak in the Village.' This is his master-piece. It was published more than twenty years ago; the best parts of it are familiar to most readers of poetical miscellanies, having been frequently reprinted.

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This Piece ought to have concluded about the 106th line of the Second Part: but Mr. C., not content with being the Censor

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of the Poor, most unseasonably becomes the Panegyrist of the Rich; at the end of the Village' he has lighted a great bonfire of adulation to the Rutland family, and though he dances about it with abundant grace and gravity, we cannot help thinking that he ought to have chosen another time and place for demonstrations of gratitude to his munificent patrons.The Newspaper,' and The Library,' are also republications of singular ingenuity, which, however, require no particular notice from us.

The Parish Register, a new Poem, like, the book from which it borrows its title and its subject, is divided into three

parts, Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials. We will quote a few of the last lines first, as a simple summary of the Village Life.

• Here, with an infant joyful sponsors come,
Then bear the new-made Christian to its home;
A few short years, and we behold him stand
To ask a blessing, with his bride in hand:
A few, still seeming shorter, and we hear

His widow weeping, at her husband's bier.' P. 132.

The plan of this poem has simplicity, and perhaps nothing else, to recommend it; but the execution is intitled to very high praise; though there are some languid and heavy paragraphs, the humour and satire are well supported to the conclusion. Each part consists of a preamble, and a series of characters. From the general introduction, under the head of Baptism,' we extract the following picture of the reprobate end of the village; it is drawn with tremendous truth, and loathsome fidelity; but it is equal to any passage in the volume, and displays Mr. Crabbe's peculiar talent in its utmost force.


Fair scenes of peace! ye might detain us long,

But Vice and Misery now demand the song;

And turn our view from dwellings simply neat,
To this infected row, we term our street.

Here, in cabal, a disputatious crew

Each evening meet; the sot, the cheat, the shrew;
Riots are hightly heard, the curse, the cries
Of beaten wife, perverse in her replies;

While shrieking children hold each threat'ning hand,
And sometimes life and sometimes food demand:
Boys in their first stol'n rags, to swear begin,
And girls, who knew not sex, are skill'd in gin;
Snarers and smuglers here their gains divide,
Ensnaring females here their victims hide;
And here is one, the Sybil of the Row,
Who knows all secrets, or affects to know;
Sceking their fate, to her the simple run,
To her the guilty, theirs awhile to shun i

Mistress of worthless arts, deprav'd in will,
Her care unblest and unrepaid her skill,
Slave to the tribe, to whose command she stoops,
And poorer than the poorest maid she dupes.

6 Between the road-way and the walls, offence Invades all eyes and strikes on every sense; There lie, obscene, at every open door,

Heaps from the hearth and sweepings from the floor;
And day by day the mingled masses grow,
As sinks are disembogu'd and gutters flow.


There hungry dogs from hungry children steal,
There pigs and chickens quarrel for a meal
There dropsied infants wail without redress,
And all is want and woe and wretchedness:
Yet should these boys with bodies bronz'd and bare,
High-swoln and hard outlive that lack of care-
Forc'd on some farm the unexerted strength,
Though loth to action, is compell'd at length,
When warm'd by health, as serpents in the spring,
Aside their slough of indolence they fling.

Yet ere they go, a greater evil comes-
See crowded beds in those contiguous rooms;
Beds but ill parted, by a paltry screen,
Or paper'd lath or curtain, dropt between ;
Daughters and sons to yon compartments creep,
And parents here, beside their Children sleep;
Ye who have power, these thoughtless people part,
Nor let the Ear be first to taint the heart.

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pp. 40-43

Here are no wheels for either wool or flax,
But packs of cards, made up of sundry packs;
Here is no clock, nor will they turn the glass,
And see how swift th' important moments pass;
There are no books, but ballads on the wall,
Are some abusive, and indecent all;
Pistols are here, unpair'd; with nets and hooks,
Of every kind, for rivers, ponds, and brooks;
An ample flask that nightly rovers fill,
With recent poison from the Dutchman's still;
A box of tools with wires of various size,
Frocks, wigs, and hats, for night or day disguise,
And bludgeons stout to gain or guard a prize.

To every house belongs a space of ground,
Of equal size once fenc'd with paling round;
That paling now by slothful waste destroy'd,
Dead Gorse and stumps of Elder fill the void;
Save in the center-spot, whose walls of clay
Hide sots and striplings at their drink and play ;-
Within, a board, beneath a til'd retreat,
Allures the bubble and maintains the cheat;
Where heavy ale in spots like varnish shows,
Where chalky tallies yet remain in rows;


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Black pipes and broken jugs the seats defile,
The walls and windows, rhymes and reck'nings vile;
Prints of the meanest kind disgrace the door,
And cards in curses torn, lie fragments on the floor.
Here his poor bird, th' inhuman Cocker brings,
Arms his hard heel, and clips his golden wings;
With spicy food, th' impatient spirit feeds,
And shouts and curses as the battle bleeds:
Struck through the brain, depriv'd of both his eyes,
The vanquish'd bird must combat till he dies;
Must faintly peck at his victorious foe,
And reel and stagger at each feeble blow;

When fall'n, the savage grasps his dabbled plumes,
His blood-stain'd arms, for other deaths assumes;
And damns the Craven-fowl, that lost his stake,

And only bled and perish'd for his sake.' pp. 43, 44.

We cannot afford another extract from this part. The cruel case of the Miller's Daughter, and the magnificent fortune of Sir Richard Monday, the parish foundling, cannot fail to attract particular attention.

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The Marriage' department of this poem will probably be found the most entertaining to most readers; but we have only room to find fanlt. How could so correct a writer as Mr. Crabbe fall into such a breach of grammar as appears in this couplet?

• Like Lovelace, thou thy coat display'd,

And hid the snare prepar'd to catch the maid. p. 80.

We will, however, make one whimsical quotation from the
next page.
After celebrating the marriage of the 'Squire and
the Lady, he thus mentions the subscription of their names,
and others, in his original Parish Register:

How fair these names, how much unlike they look
To all the blurr'd subscriptions in my book;
The bridegroom's letters stand in row above,
Tapering yet stout like pine-trees in his grove;
While free and fine the bride's appear below,
As light and slender as her Jasmines grow;
Mark now in what confusion, stoop or stand,
The crooked scrolls of many a clownish hand,
Now out, now in, they droop, they fall, they rise,
Like raw recruits drawn forth for exercise;
Ere yet reform'd and modell'd by the drill,
The free-born legs stand striding as they will.

Much have I tried to guide the fist along,
But still the blunderers plac'd their blottings wrong:
Behold these marks uncouth! how strange that men,
Who guide the plough, should fail to guide the pen ;
For half a mile, the furrows even lie;

For half an inch, the letters stand awiy.' p. 81.

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