« ÎnapoiContinuați »
THE PARTING HOUR.
elements are dissipated by the variety of objects that move for ever in the world of fashion; and their essence tainted by the cares and vanities that are diffused in the atmosphere of that lofty region. But we are wandering into a long dissertation, instead of making our readers acquainted with the book before us. The most satisfactory thing we can do, we believe, is to give them a plain account of its contents, with such quotations and remarks as may occur to us as we proceed.
The volume contains twenty-one tales ; -- the first of which is called “ The Dumb Orators." This is not one of the most engaging; and is not judiciously placed at the portal, to tempt hesitating readers to go forward. The second, however, entitled “The Parting Hour,” is of a far higher character, and contains some passages of great beauty and pathos. The story is simply that of a youth and a maiden in humble life, who had loved each other from their childhood, but were too poor to marry.
The youth goes to the West Indies to push his fortune ; but is captured by the Spaniards and carried to Mexico, where, in the course of time, though still sighing for his first love, he marries a Spanish girl, and lives twenty years with her and his children — he is then impressed.
- . and carried round the world for twenty years longer ; and is at last moved by an irresistible impulse, when old and shattered and lonely, to seek his native town, and the scene of his youthful vows. He comes and finds his Judith like himself in a state of widowhood, but still brooding, like himself, over the memory of their early love. She had waited twelve anxious years without tidings of him, and then married: and now when all passion, and fuel for passion, is extinguished within them, the memory of their young attachment endears them to each other, and they still cling together in sad and subdued affection, to the exclusion of all the rest of the world. The history of the growth and maturity of their innocent love is beautifully given: but we pass on to the scene of their parting.
“ All things prepard, on the expected day Was seen the vessel anchord in the bay.
ANCIENT MARINER'S RETURN.
From her would seamen in the evening come,
but how sweet, And without pain, when they again should meet! 29. The sad and long-delayed return of this ardent adventurer is described in a tone of genuine pathos, and in some places with such truth and force of colouring, as to outdo the efforts of the first dramatic representation.
“ But when return'd the Youth ?- the Youth no more
• No one was present; of its crew bereft,
328 CRABBE'S TALES
MEETING OF LONG-PARTED LOVERS.
A swarthy matron he beheld, and thought
The Booths ! yet live they?' pausing and oppressid:
Feeling a strange and solemn sympathy."— p. 31, 32.
“ But now a Widow, in a village near,
“ The once-fond Lovers met: Not grief nor age,
My nature's weakness, and my soul's distress.'' There is something sweet and touching, and in a higher vein of poetry, in the story which he tells to Judith of all his adventures, and of those other ties, of which it still wrings her bosom to hear him speak.We can afford but one little extract.
“ There, hopeless ever to escape the land,
He to a Spanish maiden gave his hand;
And wept in pity for the English Maid."— p. 35, 36. The close is extremely beautiful, and leaves upon the mind just that impression of sadness which is both salutary and delightful, because it is akin to pity, and mingled with admiration and esteem.
“ Thus silent, musing through the day, he sees
So strong his eager fancy, he affrights
" 'Tis now her office; her attention see!
And where is he? Ah! doubtless in those scenes
p. 39, 40.
The third tale is “ The Gentleman Farmer,” and is of a coarser texture than that we have just been considering — though full of acute observation, and graphic delineation of ordinary characters. The hero is not a farmer turned gentleman, but a gentleman turned farmer — a conceited, active, talking, domineering sort
person — who plants and eats and drinks with great vigour — keeps a mistress, and speaks with audacious scorn of the tyranny of wives, and the impositions of priests, lawyers, and physicians. Being but a shallow fellow however at bottom, his confidence in his opinions declines gradually as his health decays; and, being seized with some maladies in his stomach, he ends with
marrying his mistress, and submitting to be triply governed by three of her confederates; in the respective characters of a quack doctor, a methodist preacher, and a projecting land steward. We cannot afford any extracts from this performance.
The next, which is called “Procrastination,” has something of the character of the “Parting Hour;" but more painful, and less refined. It is founded like it on the story of a betrothed youth and maiden, whose marriage is prevented by their poverty; and this youth, too, goes to pursue his fortune at sea; while the damsel awaits his return, with an old female relation at home. He is crossed with many disasters, and is not heard of for many years. In the mean time, the virgin gradually imbibes her aunt's paltry love for wealth and finery; and when she comes, after long sordid expectation, to inherit her hoards, feels that those new tastes have supplanted every warmer emotion in her bosom ; and, secretly hoping never more to see her youthful lover, gives herself up to comfortable gossiping and formal ostentatious devotion. At last, when she is set in her fine parlour, with her china and toys, and prayer-books around her, the impatient man bursts into her presence, and reclaims her vows! She answers coldly, that she has now done with the world, and only studies how to prepare to die! and exhorts him to betake himself to the same needful meditations. We shall give the conclusion of the scene in the author's own words. The faithful and indignant lover replies:
“ Heav'n's spouse thou art not: nor can I believe