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SPECIMEN OF BYRON'S VERSE.
He died on the 19th of April 1824; and three days later, his turbulent Suliotes gathered, pale and tearful, round his coffin, to hear the funeral service read. The body of 1824 the poet was carried to England, and interred in the family vault at Hucknall, near Newstead.
The Prisoner of Chillon, a sweetly mournful sketch written at Geneva; The Lament of Tasso; The Prophecy of Dante; Beppo, a light tale of Venetian life; Mazeppa; and the terrible Vision of Judgment, written in mockery of a like-titled poem by Southey, with whom he had a deadly feud, complete the list of Byron's more important works.
ADDRESS TO THE OCEAN.
(FROM "CHILDE HAROLD.")
ROLL on, thou deep and dark-blue ocean-roll !
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan-
His steps are not upon thy paths—thy fields
His petty hope in some near port or bay,
The armaments, which thunder-strike the walls
They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar
SPECIMEN OF BYRON'S VERSE.
Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee.
Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow-
Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form
The monsters of the deep are made; each zone
And I have loved thee, Ocean ! and my joy
And trusted to thy billows far and near,
“NATURE's sternest painter, yet the best," wrote Lord Byron of the poet Crabbe. It was a just and generous compliment, deriving additional value from the brilliance of the pen that traced the words.
Well might George Crabbe be a painter of stern and gloomy scenes, for with these he had been familiar from earliest childhood. His first recollections were of a flat and ugly coast, bordered with slimy rock-pools, washed by discoloured waves, and tenanted only by a race of wild, amphibious, weather-beaten men, who, for the most part, added to their lawful calling as fishermen the yet more hazardous occupation of the smuggler. Such was the scenery, and such were the people round Aldborough in Suffolk, where in 1754 he was born. His father, the salt-master or collector of salt duties in that little town, treated his 1754 Bon George, as he seems to have treated everybody else, with considerable harshness. But the boy had early found a consolation for the passing griefs of childhood. He used to cut out for his private reading the occasional verses of a periodical, for which his father subscribed. Over and over again the treasured scraps were conned, until the happy owner began to imitate their simple music.
The life of Crabbe, before settling down into the quietude of à rural parish, presents pleasant and painful scenes. The boy of fourteen, who had already got some grounding in classics and mathematics, was apprenticed to a surgeon at Wickham Brook,
SEEKING FASE IN LONDON. near Bury St. Edmunds. Here he met with such ill-treatment, that it was thought right to remove him to another master, at Woodbridge in his native shire. Secretly, amid all discouragements and sorrows, the young poet, even when he was rolling pills or grinding nauseous drugs in a mortar, had been cultivating his new-found talent for making verses. In the house of his hard taskmaster he had filled a drawer with poetry." And, while - at Woodbridge, he won a prize for a poem on Hops, which was proposed by the proprietor of a certain magazine. The success of this Inaiden effort sealed the future fate of Crabbe. Thenceforward for life he was a poet; and in a short time, after a brave attempt to establish himself in his profession at Aldborough, he was drawn by an irresistible magnetism into the then perilous struggles of literary life in London.
This is the strangest period of his story. An apothecary's shopman and a country clergyman have nothing wonderful about their daily lives. But there is often a romance about the career of a literary adventurer, especially during his earlier struggles, which possesses a remarkable fascination. Even the first step Crabbe took towards getting to London was original and odd. He had no money. He sat down and wrote a letter, asking the loan of five pounds from Mr. Dudley North, whose brother had once contested the town of Aldborough at an election. The money came. A sloop bound for London was in the harbour, and soon the exsurgeon stood in the solitude of those busy streets.
There he went through the old routine of hard work and bitter rejection, in the midst of which so many earnest, hopeful hearts have failed and broken. His poems were refused; a publisher, to whom he had intrusted the issuing of a work on his own account, failed; his money was nearly gone; and want ståred him in the face. Just at this crisis he thought of his letter to North and the cordial reply. At once acting on the recollection, he wrote, enclosing poems, to the Prime Minister, the Lord Chancellor, and others No answer came. He would try the great Edmund Burke. With a beating heart he knocked at the statesman's door one night, handed in a letter, and then went in pitiable agitation to walk to
PUBLICATION OF “THE VILLAGE.” 395
and fro on Westminster Bridge, till the lamps went out along the river, and the red dawn began to glimmer in the east. Burke's kindness was prompt and real. Appointing a time for Crabbe to call, he looked over the manuscripts; picked out two, The Library and The Village; good-naturedly pointed out some passages in need of change; and, better than all, took the works to Dodsley's shop and recommended them to that eminent bookseller. Going further still, he brought the poet out to Beaconsfield, where he introduced him to some of the first men of the day. The tide had turned, and thenceforward there was no struggle in the peaceful life of Crabbe. In 1781 The Library was published. Lord Chancellor Thurlow became his friend, though tardily. At Burke's suggestion the poet qualified himself for entering the Church, and was ordained in the August of 1782. The quondam surgeon went back to Aldborough as curate of the parish, with every prospect of competence and fame. His good friend Burke did not forget the struggler he had saved from want, or worse than want. The statesman's influence having obtained for him the domestic chaplaincy in the household of the Duke of Rutland, he exchanged Aldborough parsonage for Belvoir Castle. Then appeared in 1783 The Village, the revisal of which was among the last works of Dr. John- 1783 son's toilsome life; and so decided was the success of A.D. the poem, that its publication may be regarded as the seal of George Crabbe's fame. Presented by Thurlow with two small livings in Dorsetshire, the successful poet married without delay that gentle Suffolk girl who had waited for him so long. The quiet current of his days then flowed on without any striking change or remarkable sorrow, except the gentle regrets of moving occasionally from one parish to another, and that one darkest cloud of his life, the loss of his affectionate wife. In 1785 he published The Wewspaper; and then his name was not seen in the publishers' lists for two-and-twenty years. The flowers, insects, and rocks of his parish, wherever he might be, engaged much of his studious love. With his sons, whom he taught at home, he read French and