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Tales just adverted to, can answer any beneficial purpose, it is well; and their unpleasing character becomes in that case a consideration wholly subordinate; but as poetry, a person must have a strangely modified taste, pot to say, a sensibility a little the worse for wear, who can experience in the perusal, any of that pleasure wbich works of taste are adapted and designed to awaken. The same remarks will apply, with some qualification, to the remaining stories of William Bailey, the Cathedral Walk, and Smugglers and Poachers. In the last, however, there is more of the poet displayed in the vivid description of the work. ings of imagination, and the strong beatings of the naked
human heart. The subject is the very reverse of pleasing, but the terror and gloom which hang over it, have charms for the imagination, which supply the deficiency of other sources of interest.
We have reserved for our concluding extracts, the story of Sir Owen Dale, to which we referred as an exception to the inferior character of the second volume. It is one of the best in the work, and its moral tendency is excellent. Sir' Owen has resolved upon a singular method of revenging himself, but, as the parties are circumstanced, an efficient one, upon à fair coquette who had first tempted, and then rejected, the offer of his hand. While bent upon the execution of his plan, be calls upon a tenant who had had far more ample provocation to vengeance, in his wife's infidelity; and from him, Sir Owen receives a lesson which sends bim home determined to revoke his purpose, thankful that the object of his old attachment had not been stolen from him after her band had become his,
The character of Ellis, the easy, not refined, but affectionate and unsuspicious husband, is very true to life. He,' a thriving
man,'- would sometimes quit the parlour fire for the town inn, while his wife, left to muse at home in sullen discontent, soon began to yield to the wish that some social spirit would come to the farm to relieve her solitude. One of kindred miod at length presents himself, in a young man placed with a neighbouring farmer in order to learn the business. He finds in farmer Ellis, a man of information and sense; in bis wife,
A lovely being who could please too well;
Early and well the wife of Ellis knew
• Friendship with woman is a dangerous thing-
They find how little is to guilt opposed.' With steady and delicate hand, Mr. Crabbe traces the steps by which the domestic happiness of Ellis is for ever blasted, not forgetting his own just remark, that there are crimes which
they almost share who paint them well.' Vice is never fascinating in his pages, nor does the description supply an impulse at variance with tbe moral of the Tale.
- While the Farmer read of public crimes,
That made one passage in the columns there.? Sir Owen's visit to his tenant, is supposed to happen some years after the event, and he goes in expectation of bearing from bim a tale of vengeance. The picture which Ellis draws of the abject misery in which he, two years after, discovered the lost pair, is horrible and loathsome, such as Mr. Crabbe excels in enabling the reader to realize, and such as in this instance he may be forgiven for delighting to paint, on account of the lesson it supplies.
• " What indeed I meant
« The ragged sheeting o'er her person drawn,
“ If hell's seducing crew
I brought them to a cot
“ Nay his name restore,
the Saviour died upon the tree
Vol. II. pp. 39–46. Passages such as these, make us the more deeply regret that the Author should ever have lost sight of the noble purpose to which his extraordinary talents might, with so much honour to himself, and so much advantage to his readers, have been uniformly dedicated.
Compared with Mr. Crabbe's former volumes, the Tales of the Hall, exbibit, we think, no marks of decay or exhaustion of faculty, and they are, upon the whole, less obnoxious to criticism than some of his productions. A few inadvertencies, and an oceasional negligence of style, may have been noticed in our extracts; but upon these, we have deemed it perfectly unnecessary to remark. The Author is himself too old a practitioner to stand in need of hints from any of our profession, relative to the minutiæ of composition; and, of all the writers of the day, he is the one the least likely to tempt into a reproduction of his faults, a tribe of imitators. Although a mannerist, his manner is not of a kind to seduce a copyist : it is, in general, too cool, too dry to take even with bis admirers as a model, nor would it be endurable at second hand. But what places Mr. Crabbe peculiarly beyond the reach of imitation, is
not so much bis manner, as his style of thought, and his materials for thinking. Few poetical writers are more entirely free from egotism, or seem to have their own feelings and concerns so little implicated in their productions; and yet, there are few whose works bear more decided marks of indivi. duality of character. To be the author of these Tales, a man must have passed through a noviciate of no ordinary kind, must have been subjected to the modifying process of circumstances which serve to account for whatever is morbid in his feelings, and for much that is excellent in his faculties; and he must have lived long, and seen much of life, in order to have acquired that treasure of good and evil knowledge from which Mr. Crabbe draws bis, seemingly inexhaustible materials.
On all these accounts, we deem bim safe from the impertinence of imitation; and an originality of this substantial nature affords, perhaps—the best security for the permanence of a Writer's literary existence.
Art. III. The Connexion between the Sacred Writings and the Litera
ture of Jewish and Heathen Authors, particularly that of the Classical Ages, illustrated, principally with a view to Evidence in Confirmation of the Truth of Revealed Religion. By Robert Gray, D.D. Prebendary of Durham and of Chichester, and Rector of Bishop Wearmouth. Second Edition, 2 vols. 8vo. pp. 368, 504. Price 21s.
1819. IT T is not often that the Dedication of a work attracts so much of our attention as to detain us in the examination of
of its sentiments or statements. Nor should we, in the present instance, notice the pages in which the Author pays his acknowledgements to his patron, the Bishop of Durham, but for the sake of shewing bow eflectually the doctrine of the following passage is invalidated by a declaration of the learned Prebendary, wbich occurs in the body of “ The Connexion."
It is impossible,' says Dr. Gray, 'not to be convinced, that we must look to those who early imbibe sound knowledge under institutions in which a due regard is paid to religious instruction, for that firm and cordial defence of our constitution, both in church and state, which is necessary, when there is often so much cause to lament a vague latitude of opinion, as to doctrines essential to the preservation of truth; and a coldness with respect to institutions sanctioned by the example of the purest ages, compacted with the frame of our constitution and laws, and indispensable to the maintenance of our civil and religious interests.'
We do not mean to examine this passage for the purpose of determining how far a due regard to religious instruction is paid, in the institutions alluded to; or whether a vague latitude
of opinion as to doctrines essential to the preservation of trathi,'