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Where crowds assembled I was sure to run,
Hear what was said, and muse on what was done ;
Attentive list'ning in the moving scene,
And often wond'ring what the men could mean.
- To me the wives of seamen loved to tell
What storms endanger'd men esteem'd so well;
What wondrous things in foreign parts they saw,

Lands without bounds, and people without law.
" No ships were wreck'd upon that fatal beach,

But I could give the luckless tale of each ;
Eager I look'd, till I beheld a face
Of one dispos'd to paint their dismal case ;
Who gave the sad survivors' doleful tale,
From the first brushing of the mighty gale
Until they struck! and, suffering in their fate,
I long'd the more they should its horrors state ;
While some, the fond of pity, would enjoy

The earnest sorrows of the feeling boy.
“ There were fond girls, who took me to their sido

To tell the story how their lovers died !
They praised my tender heart, and bade me prove
Both kind and constant when I came to love!”

Once he saw a boat upset ; and still recollects enough to give this spirited sketch of the scene.

• Then were those piercing shrieks, that frantic flight,
All hurried ! all in tumult and affright!
A gathering crowd from different streets drew near,
All ask, all answer

none attend, none hear!
"O! how impatient on the sands we tread,
And the winds roaring, and the women led!
They know not who in either boat is gone,

But think the father, husband, lover, one.
" And who is she apart? She dares not come

To join the crowd, yet cannot rest at home:
With what strong interest looks she at the waves,
Meeting and clashing o'er the seamen's graves !
'Tis a poor girl betroth'd a few hours more,
And he will lie a corpse upon the shore !
One wretched hour had pass'd before we knew
Whom they had saved ! Alas! they were but two!
An orphan'd lad and widow'd man

- no more!
And they unnoticed stood upon

the shore,
With scarce a friend to greet them — widows view'd
This man and boy, and then their cries renewid.”.

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362

CRABBE

STORY OF RUTH.

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He also pries into the haunts of the smugglers, and makes friends with the shepherds on the downs in summer; and then he becomes intimate with an old sailor's wife, to whom he reads sermons, and histories, and jest books, and hymns, and indelicate ballads ! The character of this woman is one of the many examples of talent and labour misapplied. It is very powerfully, and, we doubt not, very truly drawn — but it will attract few

readers. Yet the story she is at last brought to tell of her daughter will command a more general interest. “ Ruth

I may tell, too oft had she been told !
Was tall and fair, and comely to behold;
Gentle and simple, in her native place
Not one compared with her in form or face;
She was not merry, but she gave our hearth
A cheerful spirit that was more than mirth.
“There was a sailor boy, and people said

He was, as man, a likeness of the maid;
But not in this for he was ever glad,

While Ruth was apprehensive, mild, and sad.”. They are betrothed — and something more than betrothed — when, on the eve of their wedding-day, the youth is carried relentlessly off by a press-gang; and soon after is slain in battle! - and a preaching weaver then woos, with nauseous perversions of scripture, the loathing and widowed bride. This picture, too, is strongly drawn ; — but we hasten to a scene of far more power as well as pathos. Her father urges her to wed the missioned suitor; and she agrees to give her answer on Sunday.

“She left her infant on the Sunday morn,
A creature doom'd to shame! in sorrow born.
She came not home to share our humble meal,
Her father thinking what his child would feel
From his hard sentence ! Still she came not home.
The night grew dark, and yet she was not come !
The east-wind roar'd, the sea return'd the sound,
And the rain fell as if the world were drown'd:
There were no lights without, and my good man, .
To kindness frightend, with a groan began
To talk of Ruth, and pray! and then he took
The Bible down, and read the holy book ;

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HUMBLE AND TRUE PATHOS.

363

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For he had learning: and when that was done
We sat in silence whither could we run
We said — and then rush'd frightend from the door,
For we could bear our own conceit no more :
We call'd on neighbours — there she had not been;
We met some wanderers ours they had not seen:
We hurried o'er the beach, both north and south,
Then join'd, and wander'd to our haven's mouth:
Where rush'd the falling waters wildly out,
I scarcely heard the good man's fearful shout,
Who saw a something on the billow ride,
And — Heaven have mercy on our sins! he cried,
It is my child ! -- and to the present hour
So he believes — and spirits have the power!
“And she was gone ! the waters wide and deep

Rolld o'er her body as she lay asleep!
She heard no more the angry waves and wind,
She heard no more the threat'ning of mankind;
Wrapt in dark weeds, the refuse of the storm,
To the hard rock was born her comely form !
“ But 0! what storm was in that mind! what strife,
That could compel her to lay down her life!
For she was seen within the sea to wade,
By one at distance, when she first had pray'd;
Then to a rock within the hither shoal,
Softly, and with a fearful step, she stole ;
Then, when she gain'd it, on the top she stood
A moment still — and dropt into the flood !
The man cried loudly, but he cried in vain,

She heard not then — she never heard again!' Richard afterwards tells how he left the sea and entered the army, and fought and marched in the Peninsula; and how he came home and fell in love with a parson's daughter, and courted and married her ; — and

he tells it all very prettily,

— and, moreover, that he is very happy, and very fond of his wife and children. But we must now take the Adelphi out of doors; and let them introduce some of their acquaintances. Among the first to whom we are presented are two sisters, still in the bloom of life, who had been cheated out of a handsome independence by the cunning of a speculating banker, and deserted by their lovers in consequence of this calamity. Their characters are drawn with infinite skill and minuteness, and their whole story told with

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CRABBE

JUSTIFIABLE MAN-HATING.

great feeling and beauty ; – but it is difficult to make extracts.

The prudent suitor of the milder and more serious sister, sneaks pitifully away when their fortune changes. The bolder lover of the more elate and gay, seeks to take a baser advantage.

“ Then made he that attempt, in which to fail

Is shameful, still more shameful to prevail.
Then was there lightning in that eye that shed
Its beams upon him, and his frenzy Aed;
Abject and trembling at her feet he laid,
Despis'd and scorn d by the indignant maid,
Whose spirits in their agitation rose,
Him, and her own weak pity, to oppose :
As liquid silver in the tube mounts high,

Then shakes and settles as the storm goes by!"The effects of this double trial on their different tempers are also very finely described. The gentler Lucy is the most resigned and magnanimous. The more aspiring Jane suffers far keener anguish and fiercer impatience; and the task of soothing and cheering her devolves on her generous sister. Her fancy, too, is at times a little touched by her afflictions – and she writes wild and melancholy verses. The wanderings of her reason are represented in a very affecting manner ; but we rather choose to quote the following verses, which appear to us to be eminently beautiful, and make us regret that Mr. Crabbe should have indulged us so seldom with those higher lyrical effusions.

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APPROACHES OF OLD AGE.

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There violets on the borders blow,

And insects their soft light display,
Till as the morning sunbeams glow,

The cold phosphoric fires decay.
There will the lark, the lamb, in sport,

In air, on earth, securely play,
And Lucy to my grave resort,

As innocent, but not so gay.
“O! take me from a world I hate,

Men cruel, selfish, sensual, cold ;
And, in some pure and blessed state,

Let me my sister minds behold:
From
gross

and sordid views refin'd,
Our heaven of spotless love to share,
For only generous souls design'd
And not a Man to meet us there."-vol i.

p.

212 - 215. “ The Preceptor Husband ” is exceedingly well managed – but it is rather too facetious for our present mood. The old bachelor, who had been five times on the brink of matrimony, is mixed up of sorrow and mirth; — but we cannot make room for any extracts, except the following inimitable description of the first coming on of old age, though we feel assured, somehow, that this malicious observer has mistaken the date of these ugly symptoms; and brought them into view nine or ten, or, at all events, six or seven years too early. years had

pass'd and forty ere the six,
When time began to play his usual tricks !
The locks once comely in a virgin's sight,
Locks of pure brown, display'd th' encroaching white;
The blood once fervid now to cool began,
And Time's strong pressure to subdue the man :
I rode or walk'd as I was wont before,
But now the bounding spirit was no more ;
A moderate pace would now my body heat,
A walk of moderate length distress my feet.
I show'd my stranger-guest those hills sublime,
But said, 'the view is poor, we need not climb!'
At a friend's mansion I began to dread
The cold neat parlour, and the gay glazed bed ;
At home I felt a more decided taste,
And must have all things in my order placed ;
I ceas'd to hunt; my horses pleased me less,
My dinner more! I learn'd to play at chess ;

“ Six

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