Imatges de pÓgina


GEORGE CRABBE, 1754-1832. GEORGE CRABBE was born at Oldborough, in Suffolk county, December 24, 1754,--and, with such early training as the Dame and the Latin school of the Borough afforded, was apprenticed to a surgeon and apothecary, at fourteen, and in due time essayed practice—but failing to obtain it, in 1775 went to London to try his fortune as a writer-was, in the hour of his utmost need, domesticated in the family of Edmund Burke, and encouraged by him in the publication of the Library,—in 1781, showing a strong partiality for the ministry, he was appointed chaplain to the Duke of Rutland, at Beloni Castle, and afterward a curate of his native village-in 1783, appeared his poem, the Village,—in 1807, his Parish Register,-in 1810, the Boroughs,-in 1813, Tales in Verse, and in 1817 and '18, the Tales of the Hall. He died at Trowbridge, in February, 1832. His pictures of humble life of the trials and sufferings of the poor-his tenderness and practical wisdom, will secure him a permanent place in English literature. He has not forgotten his early dame school and schoolmistress, nor the schools of the borough where he was born, whose characters and local history he thus reproduces.

SCHOOLS OF THE BOROUGH. Schools of every Kind to be found in the Borough-The School for Infants-The Schonl Prepara

tory: the sagacity of the Mistress in foreseeing Character-Day-Schools of the lower Kind-A Master with Talents adapted to such Pupils : one of superior Qunlifications-Boarding Schools: that for young ladies : one going first to the Governess, one finally returning Home-School for Youth : Master and Teacher; vurivus Dispositions and Capacities—The Miser Boy-The BoyBully-Sons of Farmers: how nmused-What Study will effect, examined-A College Life: one sent from bis College to a Benefice; one retained there in Dignity-The Advantages in either Case not considerable-Where, then, the Good of a literary Lile-Answered-Conclusion.

To every class we have a School assign'd, (1.)
Rules for all ranks and food for every mind :
Yet one there is, that small regard to rule
Or study pays, and still is deem'd a School;
That where a deaf, poor, patient widow sits,
And awes some thirty infants as she knits;
Infants of humble, busy wives, who pay (2)
Some trifling price for freedom through the day.
At this good matron's kut the children meet,
Who thus becomes the mother of the street.
Her room is small, they can not widely stray,
Her threshold high, they can not run away:
Though deaf, she sees ibe rebel-heroes shout, -

Though lame, ber white rod nimbly walks about ;
With band of yam she keeps offenders in,
And to ber gown the sturdiest rogue can pin;
| Aided by these, and spells, and tell-tale birds,
Her power they dread and reverence her words.

To Learning's second seats we now proceed,
Where humming students gilded primers read;
Or books with letters large and pictures gay,
To make their reading but a kind of play-
" Reading made Easy," so the titles tell:
But they who read must first begin to spell: (3)
There may be profit in these arts, but still,
Learning is labor, call it what you will;
Upon the youthsul mind a heavy load,
Nor most we bope to find the royal road.
Some will their easy steps to science show,
And some to hear'n itself their by-way know;
Ah! trust them not,—who fame or bliss would share,
Must learn by labor, and must live by care.

Another matron, of superior kind,
For higher schools prepares the rising mind;
Preparatory she her leaming calls, (4)
The step first made to colleges and balls.

She early sees to what the mind will grow,
Nor abler jndge of infant-powers I know;
She sees what soon the lively will impede,
And how the steadier will in turn succeed;
Observes the dawn of wisdom, fancy, taste,
And knows what parts will wear, and what will waste;
She marks the mind too lively, and at once
Sees the gay coxcomb and the rattling dunce.

Long has she lived, and much she loves to trace Her former pupils, now a lordly race; Whom when she sees ricb robes and furs bedeck, She marks the pride which once she strove to check. A Burgess comes, and she remembers well How hard her task to make his worship spell: Cold, selfish, dull, onanimate, unkind, 'T was but by anger be display'd a mind: Now civil, smiling, complaisant, and gay, The world has worn th' unsocial crust away; That sullen spirit now a softness wears, And, save by fits, e'en dullness disappears: But still the matron can the man behold, Dull, selfish, bard, inanimate, and cold. A Merchant passes,—“Probity and truth, Prudence and patience, mark'd thee from thy youth." Thus she observes, but oft retains her fears For him, who now with name unstain'd appears ; Nor hope relinquishes, for one who yet Is lost in error and involved in debt; For latent evil in that heart she found, (5) More open here, but here the core was sound.

Various our Day-Schools ; here behold we one Empty and still :-the morning duties done.

Soild, tatter'd, worn, and thrown in various heaps,
Appear their books, and there confusion sleeps
The workmen all are from the Babel fled,
And lost their tools, till the return they dread;
Meantime the master, with his wig awry,
Prepares his books for business by-and-by:
Now all th' insignia of the monarch laid
Beside him rest, and none stand by afraid ;
He, while his troop light-hearted leap and play,
Is all intent on duties of the day;
No more the tyrant stern or judge severe,
He feels the father's and the husband's fear.

Ah! little think the timid trembling crowd,
That one so wise, so powerful, and so proud,
Should feel hinself, and dread the humble ills
of rent-day charges and of coal-man's bills ;
That while they mercy from their judge implore,
He fears himself-a knocking at the door ;
And feels the burthen as his neighbor states
His humble portion to the parish-rates.

They sit th' allotted hours, then eager run,
Rushing to pleasure when the duty's done;
His hour of leisure is of different kind,
Then cares domestic rush upon his mind,
And half the ease and comfort he enjoys,
Is when surrounded by slates, books, and boys.

Poor Reuben Dixon has the noisiest school (6)
of ragged lads, who ever bow'd to rule;
Low in his price--the men who heave our coals,
And clean our causeways, send him boys in shoals.
To see poor Reuben, with his fry beside,
Their half-check'd rudeness and his half-scorn'd pride,-
Their room, the sty in which th' assembly meet,
In the close lane behind the Northgate-street;
T'observe his vain attempts to keep the peace,
Till tolls the bell, and strise and troubles cease,-
Calls for our praise ; his labor praise deserves,
But not our pity; Reuben has no nerves :
'Mid noise, and dirt, and stench, and play, and prate,
He calmly cuts the pen or views the slate.

But Leonard ;- yes, for Leonard's fate I grieve, (7)
Who loathes the station which he dares not leave;
He can not dig, he will not beg his bread,
All his dependence rests upon his head;
And deeply skill'd in sciences and arts,
On vulgar lads he wastes superior parts.

Alas! what grief that feeling mind sustains,
In guiding hands and stirring torpid brains ;
He whose proud mind from pole to pole will move,
And view the wonders of the worlds above;
Who thinks and reasons strongly :-hard his fate,
Confined forever to the pen and slate.
True he submits, and when the long dull day
Has slowly pass'd in weary tasks away,
To other worlds with cheerful view he looks,
And parts the night between repose and books.

Amid bis labors, he has sometimes tried
To turn a little from his cares aside :
Pope, Milion, Dryden, with delight has seized
His soul engaged and of his trouble eased :
When, with a heavy eye and ill-done sum,
No part conceived, a stupid boy will come;
Then Leonard first subdues the rising frown,
And bids the blockhead lay his blunders down;
O'er which disgusted he will turn his eye,
To his sad duty his sound mind apply,
And, vex'd in spirit, throw his pleasures by.

Turn we to Schools which more than these afford-
The sound instruction and the wholesome board;
And first our School for Ladies : (8) pity calls
For one soft sigh, when we behold these walls,
Placed near ihe town, and where, from window high,
· The fair, confined, may our free crowds espy,
With many a stranger gazing up and down,
And all the envied tumult of the town;
May, in the smiling summer-eve, when they
Are sent to sleep the pleasant hours away,
Behold the poor (when they conceive the bless'd)
Employ'd for hours, and grieved they can not rest.

Here the fond girl, whose days are sad and few
Since dear mamma pronounced the last adieu,
Looks to the road, and fondly thinks she hears
The carriage-wheels, and struggles with her tears.
All yet is new, the misses great and small,
Madam herself, and teachers, odious all;
From laughter, pity, nay command, she turns,
But melts in softness, or with anger burns ;
Nauseates her food, and wonders who can sleep
On such mean beds, where she can only weep:
She scorns condolence-but to all she hates
Slowly at length her mind accommodates;
Then looks on bondage with the same concern
As others felt, and finds that she inust learn
As others learn'd—the common lot to share,
To search for comfort and submit to care.

There are, 't is said, who on these seats attend,
And to these ductile minds destruction vend;(9)
Wretches-(to virtue, peace, and nature, foes)-
To these soft minds, their wicked trash expose;
Seize on the soul, ere passions take the sway,
And let the heart, ere yet it feels, astray.
Smugglers obscene! and can there be who take
Infernal pains, the sleeping vice to wake?
Can.there be those, by whom the thoughts defiled
Enters the spotless bosom of a child ?
By whom the ill is to the heart convey'd,
Who lend the foe, not yet in arms, their aid,
And sap the city-walls before the siege be laid !

Oh! rather skulking in the by-ways steal,
And rob the poorest traveler of his meal;
Burst through the humblest trader's bolted door ;

Bear from the widow's hut her winter-store ;
With stolen steed, on highways take your stand,
Your lips with curses arın'd, with death your hand ;-
Take all but lise--the virtuous more would say,–
Take life itself, dear as it is, away,
Rather than guilty thus the guileless soul betray.

Years pass away-let us suppose them past,
Th' accomplish'd nymph for freedom looks at last ;
All bardships over, which a school contains,
Th' spirit's hondage and the body's pains ;
Where teachers make the heartless, trembling set
Of pupils suffer for their own regret;
Where winter's cold, attack'd by one poor fire,
Chills the fair child, commanded to retire ;
She felt it keenly in the morning air,
Keenly she felt it at the evening prayer.
More pleasant summer; but then walks were made,
Not a sweet ramble, but a slow parade ;
They moved hy pairs beside the hawthorn-hedge,
Only to sct their feelings on an edge;
And now at eve, when all their spirits rise,
Are sent to rest, and all their pleasure dies ;
Where yet they all the town alert can see,
And distant plough-boys pacing v'er the lea

These and the tasks successive masters brought-
The French they con'd, the curious works they wrought :
The hours they made their taper fingers strike
Note after note, all due to them alike;
Their drawings, dancings on appointed days,
Playing with globes, and getting parts of plays;
The tender friendships made 'twixt heart and heart,
When the dear friends had nothing to impart :-

All! all! are over ;-now th'accomplish'd maid
Longs for the world, of nothing there afraid :
Dreams of delight invade her gentle breast,
And fancied lovers rob the heart of rest;
At the paternal door a carriage stands,
Love knits their hearts and Hymen joins their hands.
Ah!-world unknown ! how charming is thy view,
Thy pleasures many, and each pleasure new:
Ah!-world experienced! what of thee is told ?
How few thy pleasures, and those few how old!

Within a silent street, and far apart
From noise of business, from a quay or mart,
Stands an old spacious building, and the din
You hear without, explains the work within;
Unlike the whispering of the nymphs, this noise
Loudly proclaims a “ Boarding School for Boys; (10)
The master heeds it not, for thirty years
Have render'd all to his familiar ears ;
He sits in comfort, 'mid the various sound
Of mingled tones for ever flowing round;
Day after day he to his task attends, –
Unvaried toil, and care that never ends,-
Boys in their works proceed; while his employ

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