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a wide field of usefulness in comforting and relieving his poor parishioners, as well as instructing them, which were calculated to make a man like Crabbe happy. By all classes he soon became much beloved; and was, in all senses, a most excellent pastor. In his own children he seems to have been peculiarly blest ; his two sons, clergymen, being all that he could desire, and they and his grandchildren held him in the warmest and most reverential affection.
One of his great haunts were the quarries near Trowbridge, where he used to geologize assiduously; for, after his wife's death, he ceased to retain his taste for botany; her youthful botanical rambles with him no doubt now coming back too painfully upon him.
His parsonage was a good, capacious old house, of gray stone, and pointed gables, standing in a large garden surrounded by a high wall. It lies almost in the heart of the town, and within a hundred yards of the church-yard. In his time, I understand, the garden was almost a wood of lofty trees. Many of these have since been cut down. Still it is a pleasant and spacious retirement, with some fine trees about it. The church is a very old building, and threatening to tumble. At the time of my visit workmen were busy lowering the tower, and the northern aisle showed no equivocal marks of giving way, and must come down. The church-yard was also undergoing the process of leveling; the turf was removed, and it altogether looked dismal. A very civil and intelligent sexton, living by the churchyard gate, in a cottage overhung with ivy, showed me the church, and appeared much interested in the departed pastor and poet. I ascended into the pulpit, and imagined how often the author of The Borough had stood there and addressed his congregation. There is a monument to his memory in the chancel, by Baillie. The old man is represented as lying on his death-bed, by which are two celestial beings, as awaiting his departure. The likeness to
Crabbe is said to be excellent. The inscription is as follows : “Sacred to the memory of the Rev. George Crabbe, LL.B., who died February the third, 1832, in the seventyeighth year of his age, and the nineteenth of his services as rector of this parish. Born in humble life, he made himself what he was. By the force of his genius he broke through the obscurity of his birth; yet never ceased to feel for the less fortunate. Entering, as his works can testify, into the sorrows and privations of the poorest of his parishioners; and so discharging the duties of his station, as a minister and a magistrate, as to acquire the respect and esteem of all his neighbors. As a writer he is well described by a great cotemporary, as 'Nature's sternest painter, yet her best.'”
In the north aisle is also a tablet to the memory of the wife of his son George, who it appears died two years after Crabbe himself, and in the very year, 1834, in which her husband published his, excellent and most interesting life of his father.
Trowbridge impressed me, as numbers of other places have done where men of genius have lived, with the fleeting nature of human connections. Crabbe, so long associated with Trowbridge, was gone; his sons were gone; neither of them succeeding him in the living; and all trace of him, except his monument, seemed already wiped out from the place. Another pastor occupied his dwelling and his pulpit; and the population seemed to bear no marks of a great poet having been among them; but were rich subjects for such a pen as that of Crabbe. The character of the place may be judged of by its head inn. It was a fair; and I found the court-yard of this old-fashioned inn set out with rows of benches, all filled with common people drinking. On one side of the yard was a large room, in which the fiddle went merrily, and a crowd of dancers hopped as merrily to it. At a window near that room, on the same side, a woman was delivering out pots of ale, as fast as somebody within could supply them, to the people in the yard. On the other side of the court lay, however, the main part of the inn. Here a gallery ran along which conducted to the different bedrooms, through the open air, and from this sundry spectators were surveying the scene below. All was noise; loud and eager talking; and odors not the most delectable, of beer, fish, and heaven knows what. The house was dirty, dark, and full of the same fumes. People, of all sorts, were passing up and down stairs, and in and out of the house in crowds. The travelers' room was the only place, I was informed, where there was much room or comfort. Thither I betook myself; and while my dinner was preparing, I heard the fine, strong, clear voice of a woman in an adjoining room, which I instantly recognized, by the style of singing, to be German. I walked into the said room to see who was the singer, and what was her audience. It was a strong-built, healthy-looking German girl, who was accompanying her singing on a guitar, in a little room close packed with the ordinary run of people. To these she was singing some of the finest airs of Germany, with no mean skill or voice; but in a language of which they did not understand a syllable. My appearance among them occasioned some temporary bustle; but this soon passed, and they politely offered me a chair. I stayed to hear several songs, and proposed some of the most rare and excellent that I knew, among them some Austrian airs, which, in every instance, the poor girl knew and sung with great effect. As I went out, two Frenchwomen were entering with a tambourine; and I soon heard them, accompanied by a fiddle, also performing their parts. Thus, through the whole day, the strolling musicians of the fair entered this little concertroom of the head inn of Trowbridge, and entertained the fair-going bacchanals. It was a scene which Crabbe would have made much of.
JAMES HOGG, THE ETTRICK SHEPHERD.
Bur Tannahill and would have bite is the die
AMONG the many remarkable men which the humble walks of life in Scotland have furnished to the list of poets, Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, is one of the most extraordinary. There have been Allan Ramsay, the barber, Burns, the ploughman, Allan Cunningham, the stone cutter, Tannahill and Thom, the weavers. Had there been no Burns, Hogg would have been regarded as a miracle for a rural poet; yet how infinite is the distance between the two! Burns's poetry is full of that true philosophy of life, of those noble and manly truths which are expressions for eternity of what lives in every bosom, but can not form itself on every tongue.
“His lines are mottoes of the heart,
His truths electrify the sage." Such a poet becomes at once and forever enshrined in the heart of his whole country; its oracle and its prophet. To no such rank can James Hogg aspire. His chief characteristics are fancy, humor, a love of the strange and wonderful, of fairies and brownies, and country tradition, mixed up with a most amusing egotism, and an ambition of rivaling in their own way the greatest poets of his time. He wrote The Queen's Wake, in imitation of Scott's metrical romances, and bragged that he had beaten him in his own line. Byron, Wordsworth, Southey, Rogers, Campbell, all the great poets of the day he imitated, and that in a wonderful manner for any man, not simply for a poor shepherd of Ettrick. Scott had a poem on Waterloo, Hogg had a Waterloo too, and in the same metre ; Byron wrote Hebrew Melodies, and Hogg wrote Sacred Melodies; and On Carmel's Brow, The Guardian Angels, The Rose of Sharon, Jacob and Laban, The Jewish Captive's Parting, etc., left no question as to the direct rivalry. His third volume was one published as avowed poems by Scott, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, and Wilson. He had conceived the scheme of getting a poem from each of these popular authors, and publishing them in a volume, by which to raise money for the stocking of a farm. Byron consented, and destined Lara for Hogg's benefit ; but Scott at once refused, not approving the plan, for which Hogg most unceremoniously assailed him; and Byron being afterward induced not to send Lara, Hogg set about at once, and wrote poems for them and the others named, and published them under the title of the Poetic Mirror. Of these poems, which were clever burlesques rather than serious forgeries, I may speak anon; here I wish only to point out one of the most striking characteristics of Hogg, that of imitation of style. This was also shown in the famous Chaldee Manuscript, which appeared in Blackwood's Magazine, and created so much noise. But this great versatility of manner; this ambition of rivaling great authors in their own peculiar fields, marked a want of a prominent caste of genius of his own. There was an absence of individuality in him. There was nothing, except that singular egotism and somewhat extravagant fancy, which could lead you on reading a poem of his to say, that is Hogg and can be no one else. His poems are generally extremely diffuse; they surprise and charm you on opening them, at the vigor, liveliness, and strength of the style, but they are of that kind that the farther you go the more this charm wears off; you grow weary, you hardly know why; you can not help protesting to yourself that they are very clever, nay, wonderful; yet there wants a certain soul, a condensation, a something to set upon them the stamp of that genius which seizes on your love and admi