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The moment of his grandeur was, when, after he had stated the argument of his adversary, with much greater strength than his adversary had done, and with much greater than any of his hearers thought possible, he seized it with the strength of a giant, and tore and trampled on it to destruction. If, at this moment, he had possessed the power of the Athenian over the passions or the imaginations of his hearers, he might have disposed of the house at his pleasure, but this was denied to him; and, on this account, his speeches fell very short of the effect which otherwise they must have produced.

It is difficult to decide on the comparative merit of him and Mr. Pitt: the latter had not the vehement reasoning or argumentative ridicule of Mr. Fox; but he had more splendor, more imagery, and much more method and discretion. His long, lofty, and reverential panegyrics of the British constitution, his eloquent vituperations of those whom he described as advocating the democratic spirit then let loose on the inhabitants of the earth, and his solemn adjuration of the house, to defend and to assist him in defending their all against it, were, in the highest degree, both imposing and conciliating. In addition, he had the command of bitter contemptuous sarcasm, which tortured to madness. This he could expand or compress at pleasure: even in one member of a sentence, he could inflict a wound that was never healed.

Mr. Fox had a captivating earnestness of tone and manner; Mr. Pitt was more dignified than earnest. The action of Mr. Fox was easy and graceful; Mr. Pitt's cannot be praised. It was an observation of the reporters in the gallery, that it required great exertion to follow Mr. Fox while he was speaking; none to remember what he had said; that it was easy and delightful to follow Mr. Pitt; not so easy to recollect what had delighted them. It may be added, that, in all Mr. Fox's speeches, even when he was most violent, there was an unquestionable indication of good humour, which attracted every heart. Where there was such a seeming equipoise of merit, the two last circumstances might be thought to turn the scale but Mr. Pitt's undeviating circumspection, sometimes concealed, sometimes ostentatiously displayed,-tended to obtain for him, from the considerate and the grave, a confidence which they denied to his rival.

MR. BURKE.

Greatly inferior to both of these extraordinary men, if we are to judge of him by his speeches as he delivered them, but greatly superior to both, if we are to judge of him by his speeches as he published them,-Edmund Burke will always hold an eminent rank among the most elevated characters of this country. Estimating

him by his written speeches, we shall find nothing comparable to him till we reach the Roman orator. Equal to that great man in dialect, in imagery, in occasional splendor, and in general information, excelling him in political wisdom, and the application of history and philosophy to politics,―he yields to him in pathos, in grace, in taste, and even in that which was not the forte of Cicero, in discretion; and as an orator, in spite of his rich illustration, and his charming and sublime philosophy, he sinks before Demosthenes.

What particularly distinguished him from the Greek and Roman orators, and from his contemporary rivals, were the countless lessons of civil and moral wisdom by which he dignified his compositions, and both enforced and illustrated his arguments; his sudden transitions from the grand to the gay, from sublimity to pleasantry, from the refined and recondite to the ordinary and obvious.

In familiar conversation, the three great men, whom we have mentioned, equally excelled: but even the most intimate friends of Mr. Fox complained of his too frequent ruminating silence. Mr. Pitt talked; and his talk was fascinating. Mr. Burke's conversation was rambling, but splendid, rich, and instructive beyond comparison.

LORD ERSKINE'S ELOQUENCE.

The eloquence of this remarkable man was an era at the bar. His addresses to juries have not been equalled: they alike captivated their understandings, their imaginations, and their passions. He often rose to the highest oratory, but it was always simple; and even in his sublimest flights, there was much that was very familiar; but this rather set off than clouded their splendor, rather increased than diminished their general effect. His skill in the conduct of a cause, and in the examination of witnesses, has never been surpassed; his discretion never forsook him, even in his highest forensic enthusiasm; his manners were always most gentlemanly; at the bar he was uniformly loved and admired; and, when he accepted the seals, no one, as Lord Eldon justly remarked of him, could have a greater wish to discharge properly the office which was conferred on him, or greater talents to qualify him for a proper discharge of it.

BOURDALOUE.

When we recollect before whom Bourdaloue preached; that he had for his auditors the most luxurious court in Europe, and a monarch abandoned to ambition and pleasure, we shall find it impossible not to honor the preacher for the dignified simplicity with which he uniformly held up to his audience the severity of

Now and then, and ever

the gospel, and the scandal of the cross. with a very bad grace, he makes an unmeaning compliment to the monarch. On these occasions, his genius appears to desert him; but he never disguises the morality of the gospel, or withholds its threats. In one of the sermons which he preached before the monarch, he described, with matchless eloquence, the horrors of an adulterous life, its abomination in the eye of God, its scandal to man, and the public and private evils which attend it: but he managed his discourse with so much address that he kept the king from suspecting that the thunder of the preacher was ultimately to fall upon him. In general, Bourdaloue spoke in a level tone of voice, and with his eyes almost shut. On this occasion, having wound up the attention of the monarch and the audience to the highest pitch, he paused. The audience expected something terrible, and seemed to fear the next word. The pause continued for some time at length the preacher, fixing his eyes directly on his royal hearer, and in a tone of voice equally expressive of horror and concern, said, in the words of the prophet, "Thou art the man!" then, leaving these words to their effect, he concluded with a mild and general prayer to Heaven for the conversion of all sinners. A miserable courtier observed, in a whisper, to the monarch, that the boldness of the preacher exceeded all bounds, and should be checked. "No, sir," replied the monarch; "the preacher has done his duty; let us do ours." When the service was concluded, the monarch walked slowly from the church, and ordered Bourdaloue into his presence. He remarked to him his general protection of religion, the kindness which he had ever shown to the Society of Jesus, his particular attention to Bourdaloue and his friends. He then reproached him with the strong language of the sermon; and asked him what could be his motive for insulting him, thus publicly, before his subjects? Bourdaloue fell on his knees: "God is my witness that it was not my wish to insult your majesty; but I am a minister of God, and must not disguise his truths. What I said in my sermon is my morning and evening prayer. May God, in his infinite mercy, grant me to see the day when the greatest of kings shall be the holiest." The monarch was affected, and silently dismissed the preacher; but, from this time, the court began to observe that change which afterward, and at no distant period, led Louis to a life of regularity and virtue.

252

GEORGE CRABBE, 1754-1832.

"Farewell, dear Crabbe! thou meekest of mankind,
With heart all fervor, and all strength of mind;
With tenderest sympathy for others' woes,
Fearless all guile and malice to expose;
Steadfast of purpose in pursuit of right,

To drag forth dark hypocrisy to light,

To brand the oppressor, and to shame the proud,
To shield the righteous from the slanderous crowd;
To error lenient, and to frailty mild,

Repentance ever was thy welcome child:

In every state-as husband, parent, friend,

Scholar or bard-thou couldst the Christian blend.
Hogarth of Song! be this thy perfect praise:-
Truth prompted, and Truth purified thy lays;
The God of Truth has given thy verse and thee
Truth's holy palm-His Immortality."

GEORGE CRABBE was born at Aldborough, in Suffolk, on the 24th of December, He was apprenticed to an 1754, and was the son of an officer of the customs. apothecary, and received an education merely sufficient to qualify him for that occupation, but by no means answering to that eminent literary success which he afterward attained. His poetical taste was first kindled by the perusal of verses, which from time to time appeared in the "Philosophical Magazine,"periodical taken by his father. The attractions of the Muse soon overcame those of Esculapius, and in 1778 he quitted the profession of medicine, which he had always disliked, and went to London, determining to apply himself to literature. He had but little more in his pocket than a bundle of his poems; and these, alas ! he could find no one who would venture to publish; so that at length he printed, at his own risk, his first published work, "The Candidate," which appeared anonymously in 1780. It was favorably noticed in the "Monthly Review," to the editor of which it was addressed. Finding, however, that he could not hope for much success while he remained personally unknown, without any introduction, and impelled by distress, he made himself known to Edmund Burke. From this moment his fortune was made. That great and good man received him with much kindness, read his productions with approbation, afforded him the advantage of his criticism and advice, recommended him to Dodsley, the publisher, invited him to his house, and introduced him to some of his distinguished literary friends, among whom were Johnson, Reynolds, and Fox.

"The

Crabbe's first published poems, after his acquaintance with Burke, were Library," and "The Village," both of which received the benefit of the observations of the great statesman and critic, and the second of which was mainly com"ordained posed at Burke's residence at Beaconsfield. In 1781, Crabbe, who had been qualifying himself for "the church" at Burke's recommendation, was a deacon, and took priest's orders the following year," and he, of course, had two or three "livings" presented to him.2 In 1783, appeared "The Village," which

1 JOHN DUNCAN, ESQ., of New College, Oxford.

2 Lord Chancellor Thurlow bestowed upon him, successively, the "living" of Frome St. Quintin, in Dorsetshire, which he held for six years, and the rectories of Muston and West Allington, in the diocese of Lincoln.

had received the corrections and commendations of Dr. Johnson. He next produced "The Newspaper," in 1785, after which his poetical labors were suspended for some time, probably on account of the duties of his profession and the cares of a growing family, though he ascribes it to the loss of those early and distinguished friends who had given him the benefit of their criticism. In 1809, appeared "The Parish Register;" in 1810 one of his best poems, "The Borough;" and in 1812, "Tales in Verse.” His last publication was entitled "Tales of the Hall," and was published in 1819. The latter years of his life he spent in the tranquil and amiable exercise of his domestic and clerical duties, at the rectory of Trowbridge, esteemed and admired by his parishioners, among whom he died, after a short illness, on the 8th of February, 1832.

Crabbe is one of the most original of English poets, and, as has been well remarked, "his originality is of that best kind, which displays itself not in tumid exaggeration or flighty extravagance-not in a wide departure from the sober standard of truth-but in a more rigid and uncompromising adherence to it than inferior writers venture to attempt." He is pre-eminently the poet of the poor, describing with graphic minuteness their privations, temptations, and vices.2 But, while he spares some of their vices, he does more justice to their virtues, and renders them more important objects of consideration, than perhaps any other imaginative writer. His chief characteristics are simplicity, force, pathos, and truth in describing character; and through these, and the originality of his style, he compels us to bestow our attention on objects that are usually neglected. All his works are distinguished by high moral aims. He had a heart to feel for his fellow-man, in however low and humble a sphere he may be placed, and he directs our sympathy where it is well for the cause of humanity that it should be directed, but where the squalidness of misery and want too frequently repels it.3

An edition of his poems, in eight volumes, was published by Murray in 1851, the first volume being occupied by a very pleasing piece of filial biography by his son, the Rev. George Crabbe.4

THE PARISH WORKHOUSE.

Theirs is yon house that holds the parish poor,
Whose walls of mud scarce bear the broken door!

Johnson, in a letter to Sir Joshua Reynolds, thus writes:-"I have sent you back Mr. Crabbe's poem, which I read with great delight. It is original, vigorous, and elegant."

* Mr. Crabbe exhibits the common people of England pretty much as they are, and as they must appear to every one who will take the trouble of examining into their condition; at the same time that he renders his sketches in a very high degree interesting and beautiful-by selecting what is most fit for description-by grouping them into such forms as must catch the attention or awake the memory-and by scattering over the whole such traits of moral sensibility, of sarcasm, and of useful reflection, as every one must feel to be natural and own to be powerful."-Edinburgh Review, xii. 133.

Though his having taken a view of life too minute, too humiliating, too painful, and too just, may have deprived his works of so extensive, or, at least, so brilliant a popularity as some of his contemporaries have attained; yet I venture to believe that there is no poet of his times who will stand higher in the opinion of posterity. He generally deals with the short and simple annals of the poor;' but he exhibits them with such a deep knowledge of human nature, with such general ease and simplicity, and such accurate force of expression, whether gay or pathetical, as, in my humble judgment, no poet, except Shakspeare, has excelled."-J. WILSON CROKER, in Boswell's Johnson, viii. 164.

• See articles in "Edinburgh Review," xii. 131; xvi. 30; xx. 277; xxxii. 118; and lx. 255.

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