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may be that
there can be, however, no doubt that the Poet wilfully exaggerated in his descriptions of human vice, and details of human suffering; and that he himself neither believed nor imagined his fellow-beings so odious and depraved as he describes them. His desire to be original led him into this large error, to reject the garb in which poetry had for ages been wont to array the works of the creation; and to clothe them in a dress quite as unnatural and equally opposed to reality. The rustic population of our country are neither so wretched nor so degraded as they are, with few exceptions, made to appear. The poor, as well as the rich, have their vices—but their virtues also. It is not only while writing of men and women that Crabbe “looks askance:” he can perceive in the people who surround him little that is good, and less that is gracious; but he has neither eye nor ear for the beautiful sights and delicious sounds of inanimate nature. To him, the breeze is ever harsh and unmusical,—seldom moving except to produce wrecks; and hill, and stream, and valley, are barren, muddy, and unprofitable. He contemplates all things, animate and inanimate, “through a glass, darkly.” The consequence has naturally been, that Crabbe never was a popular Poet. Yet the rough energy of his descriptions, the vigorous and manly style of his versification, the deep though oppressive interest of his stories, and his stern maxims of morality, with a little more of a kindly leaning towards humanity—must have secured for him universal admiration.
Turn to the watery world !—but who to thee
Be it the summer noon: a sandy space The ebbing tide has left upon its place; Then just the hot and stony beach above, Light twinkling streams in bright confusion move;
(For heated thus, the warmer air ascends,
Yet sometimes comes a ruffling cloud to make The quiet surface of the ocean shake, As an awaken'd giant with a frown Might show his wrath, and then to sleep sink down.
View now the winter-storm ! above, one cloud, Black and unbroken, all the skies o'ershroud; Th’ unwieldy porpoise through the day before Had roll'd in view of boding men on shore; And sometimes hid and sometimes show'd his form, Dark as the cloud, and furious as the storm.
All where the eye delights, yet dreads to roam, The breaking billows cast the flying foam Upon the billows rising,--all the deep Is restless change; the waves so swell’d and steep, Breaking and sinking, -and the sunken swells, Nor one, one moment, in its station dwells : But nearer land you may the billows trace, As if contending in their watery chase; May watch the mightiest till the shoal they reach, Then break and hurry to their utmost stretch; Curl'd as they come, they strike with furious force, And then, reflowing, take their grating course, Raking the rounded flints, which ages past Roll’d by their rage, and shall to ages last.
Now to his grave was Roger Cuff convey'd,
His words were truth's. Some forty summers fled,
For home the sailor now began to sigh :
Now all his kindred,-neither rich nor poor,
In piteous plight he knock'd at George's gate,
To pious James he then his prayer address'd : “ Good lack," quoth James, “ thy sorrows pierce my breast! And, had I wealth, as have my brethren twain, One board should feed us, and one roof contain: But plead I will thy cause, and I will pray; And so farewell !-Heaven help thee on thy way!" “ Scoundrel !” said Roger, (but apart,)—and told His case to Peter. Peter too was cold : “ The rates are high ; we have a-many poor ;
Then the gay niece the seeming pauper press’d : “ Turn, Nancy, turn, and view this form distress'd ;-Akin to thine is this declining frame, And this poor beggar claims an Uncle's name.”
“ Avaunt! begone !" the courteous maiden said, “ Thou vile impostor ! Uncle Roger's dead : I hate thee, beast; thy look my spirit shocks ! Oh! that I saw thee starving in the stocks !”.
“My gentle Niece !” he said, -and sought the wood. “ I hunger, fellow; pritbee give me food !"
" Give! am I rich ? This hatchet take, and try
" Come, surly John, thy wealthy kinsman view,”
Such was their life : but when the woodman died,
* * * * * *
Let me not have this gloomy view
About my room, around my bed ;
To cool my burning brows instead.
Let them their fragrant spirits shed;