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Where crowds assembled I was sure to run,
Lands without bounds, and people without law.
But I could give the luckless tale of each ;
The earnest sorrows of the feeling boy.
To tell the story how their lovers died !
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,
none attend, none hear!
But think the father, husband, lover, one.
To join the crowd, yet cannot rest at home:
- no more!
STORY OF RUTH.
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 !
He was, as man, a likeness of the maid;
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,
HUMBLE AND TRUE PATHOS.
For he had learning: and when that was done
Rolld o'er her body as she lay asleep!
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
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 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.
APPROACHES OF OLD AGE.
There violets on the borders blow,
And insects their soft light display,
The cold phosphoric fires decay.
In air, on earth, securely play,
As innocent, but not so gay.
Men cruel, selfish, sensual, cold ;
Let me my sister minds behold:
and sordid views refin'd,
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,