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and to fisher Grimes, companionless unless for hovering apparitions of the father he had cursed and beaten, and the three London workhouse apprentices he was rumoured to have murdered ; condemned by righteous opinion to his own haunted society :

to live each day,
To wait for certain hours the tide's delay,-
At the same time the same dull views to see,
The bounding marsh-bank, and the blighted tree,
The water only, when the tides were high,
When low, the mud half-cover'd and half-dry,
The sun-burnt tar that blisters on the planks,
And bank-side stakes in their uneven ranks,
Heaps of entangled weeds that slowly float,
As the tide rolls by the impeded boat.

Lastly, we have the common village tragedies of maidens who loved not wisely but too well a hundred years ago. Never has the misery of the betrayed, where virtue survives lost honour, been burnt-in, without a pang spared, as, over and over again, and always with a fresh ache added, in The Tales of the Hall, the Borough, and the Parish. See, for example, Lucy, after her brief romance of a sailor's unlicensed love, as

Throughout the lanes she glides, at evening's close,
And softly lulls her infant to repose ;
Then sits and gazes, but with viewless look,
As gilds the moon the rippling of the brook,
And sings her vespers, but in voice so low.
She hears their murmurs as the waters flow;
And she too murmurs, and begins to find
The solemn wanderings of a wounded mind;
Visions of terror, views of woe succeed,
The mind's impatience to the body's need ;
By turns to that, by turns to this a prey,
She knows what reason yields, and dreads what madness may.?


Follow Ruth, as distracted between her disgrace, grief for her undoer-captured by a press-gang, and slain in a sea-fight before he could return to wed her—and disgust at the ranting hypocrite her father was forcing her to marry, she wanders to the wild shore to die. Her mother repeats the tale as told to her :

'But oh! 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 dropp'd into the flood !'3

Unhappy she ; yet unhappier, perhaps, Phoebe Dawson,


pride of Lammas Fair, The sweetest flower that ever blossom’d there, wedded too late to her seducer, a captious tyrant, and a lazy sot.

The misery of it all is intensified rather than diminished by the apartness of the poet. The wofulness issues from the facts themselves. Comment is not added to heighten it. He might almost be thought to have found nothing excessively strange in the anguish upon anguish of another of the victims, Ellen Orford ; the perfidy to her of a rich lover, maltreatment by a bigoted husband, and his suicide, the death by the hangman of one son, the worse fate of two remaining children, culminating in her own blindness. Her original self-abandonment, and the man's perjuries do not appear to surprise, or greatly shock, the chronicler. Reprobation of womanly weakness and masculine faithlessness was, as may be gathered from Miss Austen's references to


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such faults, not extremely violent in the days of George III. Crabbe speaks by the mouth of a parent :

They were as children, and they fell at length;
The trial doubtless is beyond their strength

Whom grace supports not.' 4 In Ellen's history the initial transgression counts simply as one of the trials she underwent, and blessed God for enabling her to survive.

But it is not all sorrow, disappointment, sin, privation, pettiness, in the Suffolk towns and villages. Mixed, if in unequal shares, there still, as actually seen, are some positive graces and lights. We are shown the widowed, childless merchant, grudging himself the poorest clothing, the meanest fare ; who slinks by night to cheer the wretched and, walking home through the wintry darkness, is roused to anger at the thoughtfulness of his servants,

When fire and rushlight met his troubled eyes ; who finally spends on the erection and endowment of an almshouse whatever wealth he could not otherwise distribute. He had his recognition. At his death there was mourning by many an orphan and widow who shed no tears over the grave of munificent Sir Denys Brand, reviver of the Races, and builder of the jail. Of a stamp yet rarer is the discovery by Burgess Charles, the prosperous Tory, that blood is thicker than water. Suddenly he hears that the ruin he had always predicted, and, as he fancied, desired, was befalling his visionary Radical brother, Burgess James :

'James a bankrupt ! Boy, my hat and cane.
No! he'll refuse my offers—let me think !
So would I his; here, give me pen and ink.
There ! that will do.—What ! let my father's son,
My brother, want, and I-Away, and run,

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Run as for life, and then return-but stay
To take his message--Now, away, away!'

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And they too sleep! and, at their joint request,

Within one tomb, beneath one stone, they rest 15
A hallowed churchyard that, if only that there also lies
the 'noble peasant ’, Isaac Ashford :

Noble he was, contemning all things mean,
His truth unquestion’d, and his soul serene ;
Of no man's presence Isaac felt afraid ;
At no man's question Isaac look'd dismay'd ;
Shame knew him not, he dreaded no disgrace ;
Truth, simple truth, was written in his face ;
Yet while the serious thought his soul approv'd,
Cheerful he seem'd, and gentleness he loved ;
A friend to virtue, his unclouded breast
No envy stung, no jealousy distress'd-
Bane of the poor! it wounds their weaker mind,
To miss one favour, which their neighbours find-
Yet far was he from stoic pride removed ;
He felt humanely, and he warmly loved ;
I mark’d his action, when his infant died,
And his old neighbour for offence was tried ;
The still tears, stealing down that furrow'd cheek,
Spoke pity, plainer than the tongue can speak.
If pride were his, 'twas not their vulgar pride
Who, in their base contempt, the great deride ;
Nor pride in learning—though my Clerk agreed,
If fate should call him, Ashford might succeed ;
Nor pride in rustic skill, although we knew,
None his superior, and his equals few ;-
But if that spirit in his soul had place,
It was the jealous pride that shuns disgrace ;
A pride in honest fame by virtue gain'd,
In sturdy boys to virtuous labours train'd;
Pride in the power that guards his country's coast,
And all that Englishmen enjoy and boast ;

Pride in a life that slander's tongue defied,-
In fact, a noble passion, misnamed Pride.

At length he found, when seventy years were run,
His strength departed, and his labour done ;
When he, save honest fame, retain'd no more,
But lost his wife, and saw his children poor;
'Twas then a spark of—say not discontent-
Struck on his mind, and thus he gave it vent :-

* Kind are your laws—’tis not to be denied-
That in yon House, for ruin'd age, provide,
And they are just ; —when young, we give you all,
And for assistance in our weakness call, —
Why then this proud reluctance to be fed,
To join your poor, and eat the parish-bread ?
On some old master I could well depend ;
See him with joy and thank him as a friend ;
But ill on him, who doles the day's supply,
And counts our chances who at night may die ;
Yet help me, Heav'n! and let me not complain
Of what I suffer, but my fate sustain.'

Such were his thoughts, and so resign'd he grew;
Daily he placed the Workhouse in his view!
But came not there, for sudden was his fate,
He dropp'd, expiring, at his cottage-gate.

I feel his absence in the hours of prayer,
And view his seat, and sigh for Isaac there ;
I see no more those white locks thinly spread
Round the bald polish of that honour'd head;
But he is blest, and I lament no more

A wise good man contented to be poor.
Show me a worthier monument to warrior or statesman !

Modern English poetry can exhibit no range of portraits—breathing etchings—to equal The Borough, The Parish Register, The Tales, The Tales of the Hall. They have the directness, the stereoscopic palpableness of Chaucer's art. Had Crabbe but possessed his elder's gift of condensing and grouping, the same sense of colour,

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