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of letting themselves be snared for life by the demon of • Juxtaposition,' as Clough puts it :
• Allah is great, no doubt, and Juxtaposition his prophet.' The girl's vulgar relatives, the steward of a large estate and his wife, who are instrumental in entrapping him, are painted with a truth and humour worthy of Shakespeare.
Other tales containing passages of great power must be passed over here; but some more lengthened notice is claimed by the narrative of The Elder Brother,' which may be said, perhaps, to be Crabbe's highest effort. It is hinted, from the first, that George, the elder brother, was a man with 'a past,' one who had enjoyed material success, had amassed wealth but never known happiness, and had taken refuge from stinging remembrances in an acted cynicism, through which his genuine feeling penetrates as he becomes more intimate with his new-found relative. The interchange of the history of their love affairs is led up to by a passage which will find an echo in many a heart among those who have had more than the average share of life's trials and disappointments. The younger brother speaks :““Can you not, brother, on adventures past A thought, as on a lively prospect, cast? On days of dear remembrancel days that seem, When past-nay, ev'n when present, like a dream; These white and blessed days, that softly shine On few, nor oft on them-have they been thine?"
George answered: "Yes! dear Richard, through the years
More blest and bright for the preceding fear."' A few more lines introduce Richard's story, the story of a happy day crowned by a happy engagement,just such a day as thousands of wedded lovers may look back upon. The whole is very simply told ; it is in its simplicity and reality, rising to a warm gush of sincere and unaffected emotion at the close, that the charm lies. This is succeeded by the very different story of the elder brother, prefaced by the observation• Who tells what thou shalt hear, esteems his hearer well'
the history of a romantic and foolish passion, aroused by
'I found, though not with ease, this private seat
The shutters half unclosed, the curtains fell
And leave the troubled place to solitude and gloom.'
* But is it she? O! yes; the rose is dead,
To the question whether his heart had been 'faithful' he
*My faith must childish in your sight appear,
a shrewd hit which turns the lady to explanation and excuse, rounded off with a song in which her easy philosophy of life is set to a sweet sad music :
• Buried be all that has been done,
Or say that nought is done amiss,
In such bewildering world as this?
Or with a tender look reprove;
But that we meet, and that we love.'
• She looked for idle vice the time to kill,
And subtle, strong apologies for ill’:
“Yes! there was yet a female friend, an old
And turn'd from truth! Yet truth at length prevail'd.' The man's sorrow, at once over this poor lost though finally repentant creature, and over the wreck of the best years of his own life on her account_his lapse into commercial greed and speculation as some kind of object for living, and his final revulsion from so low an end of exist
ence, are briefly but powerfully described in the remaining portion of the narrative, which the speaker sums up in the following lines :
'Yet much is lost, and not yet much is found,
Although the human interest is always paramount with Crabbe, he has an eye to the scenic setting of his drama, and even where there is no lengthened or detailed description we seem to be conscious of the background. The influence of the flat dreary landscape of the Suffolk seacoast, with its marshy tracts and its miles of shingle beach, seems indeed to have got into his blood, and colours his scenes almost unawares to the reader and perhaps to himself. Where he gives special attention to the landscape he is, as already observed, essentially a realist; he brings it before us by a series of minute touches, as in the description of the fen country in The Lover's Journey,' and the admirable painting of the melancholy morning landscape which Tennyson so much admired in ‘Delay has Danger.' In less detailed descriptions he has nevertheless very real touches; in the section on ‘Prisons' in . The Borough,' the walk through the lane and over the cliffs down to the bay is sketched so that we seem to accompany the party on their route ; in everything concerning the sea (for which he had a passion) he is truthful and observant; we see on a calm hot day the
Faint lazy waves o'er-creep the ridgy sand,
Or tap the tarry boat with gentle blow';
* And higher up, a ridge of all things base,
Occasionally, though rarely, he can give us one of those igati true poetic generalisations which seem to sum up the spirit bent of the scene in a single line, as in the calm where we see
Ships softly sinking in the sleepy sea,'
or the bright fresh incident in the morning scene in Tales of the Hall,
The morning breeze had urged the quickening mill'
recalling one element of the picturesque which is now all add for but swept away from English landscape.
Reference ought to be made, before concluding, to three still a poems of Crabbe's which are exceptional among his works! In both in form and feeling— Sir Eustace Grey,'«The Hall of them at Justice,' and The World of Dreams,'; all comparatively poder as early poems, in which a rather free stanza form takes the side place of the rhymed couplet, and which contain passages si rich of great power and pathos, though they are somewhat el misp crude in form and expression.
These are of specialist in interest as indicating that Crabbe, had he devoted himself entirely to poetry, might have proved that he possessed higher imaginative power and greater versatility in literary handling than would be surmised from the realistic tendency and the uniformity of style which characterise the bulk of his poems. It is by these latter, however-by his studies of human nature, character, and passion, drawn from direct observation of life-that he is mainly to be judged ; it is in these that his peculiar powers are displayed; and the reader will, we hope, admit that even the inadequate illustration furnished by the foregoing remarks and quotations is sufficient to justify the question already propounded—what have our literary critics been about, that they have suffered such a writer to drop into neglect and oblivion ?
In conclusion, let it be added that we do not think any real good has been done for Crabbe's reputation by the well-intended efforts of Fitzgerald and of Mr Holland to reintroduce him to the public by selections and extracts. Fitzgerald indeed took what, considering that he had a real and enthusiastic admiration for Crabbe, must be called the reprehensible course of partially re-writing and altering passages, to get rid of what he considered to be the