George Crabbe.

The poetical works of George Crabbe online

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Throughout the world shall rove the generous b.and,
And deal the gifts of Heaven from hand to hand.
In thy blest days no tyrant shall be seen.
Thy gracious king shall rule contented men ;
In thy blest days shall not a rebel be,
But patriots all and well-approved of thee.

"Such powers are thine, that man b}' tlieo shall wrest
The gainful secret from the cautious breast ;
Nor then, with all his care, the good retain,
But yield to thee the secret and the gain.
In vain shall much experience guard the heart
Against the charm of thy prevailing art ;
Admitted once, so soothing is thy strain,
It comes the sweeter, when it comes again ;
And when confess'd as thine, what mind so strong
Forbears the plcasore it indulged so long?

" Softener of every ill ! of all our woes
The balmy solace ! friend of fiercest foes !
Begin thy reign, and like the morning rise !
Bring joy, bring beauty, to our eager eyes ;
Break on the drowsy world like opening day,
While grace and gladness join thy ttow'ry way ;
While every voice is j)raise, while every heart is gay.

" From thee all )irospects shall new beauties take,
'Tis thine to seek them and 'tis thine to make ;
On the cold i'en I see thee turn thine eyes.
Its mists recede, its chilling vapour flies ;
Th' enrai>tured lord th' impros-ing ground surveys,



THE Bir.TH OF FLATTERY. 447

And for his Eden asks the traveller's praise,
^Vhich yet, unview'd ot thee, a bog had been.
Where spungy rushes hide the plashj-^ green.

" I see thee breathing on the barren moor,
That seems to bloom, although so bleak before ;
There, if beneath the gorse the primrose spring,
Or the pied daisy smile below the ling.
They shall new charms, at thy command disclose,
/And none shall miss the myrtle or the rose.
The wiry moss, that whitens all the hill.
'Shall live a beauty by thy matchless skill ;
Gale* from the bog shall j-ield Arabian balm.
And the grey willow wave a golden palm.

" I see thee smiling in the pictured room.
Now breathing beauty, now reviving bloom ;
There, each immortal name 'tis thine to give
To graceless forms, and bid the lumber live.
Shouldst thou coarse boors or gloomy martyrs see.
These shall thy Guides, these thy Teniers be ;
There shalt thou Raphael's saints and angels trace.
There make for Rubens and for Eej'nokls place.
And all the pride of art shall find, in her disgrace.

' ' Delight of either sex ! thy reign commence ;
With balmy sweetness soothe the weary sense,
And to the sickening soul thy cheering aid dispense.
Queen of the mind ! thy golden age begin ;
In mortal bosoms varnish shame and sin ;
Let all be fair without, let all be calm within."

The vision tied, the happy mother rose,
Kiss'd the fair infant, smiled at all her foes.
And Flattery made her name :— lier reign began :
Her own dear sex she ruled, then vanquish'd man :
A smiling friend, to every class she spoke.
Assumed their manners, and their habits took ;
Her, for her humble mien, the modest loved ;
Her cheerful looks the light and gay approved :
The just beheld her firm ; the valiant, brave :
Her mirth the free, her silence pleased the grave :
Zeal heard her voice, and, as he preach'd aloud,
Well pleased ho caught her whispei's fnnn the crow d
(Tliose whispers, soothing-sweet to every ear.
Which some refuse to pay, but none to hear) :
i^liame fled her jtresence, at her gentle strain,
Care softly smiled, and GuUl forgot its pain :
The wretched thought, the haiipy found, her true,
The leam'd confess'd that .she their merits know :
The rich — could they a constant friend condemn ?
The poor believed— for who should flatter them ?

Thus on her name though all disgrace attend,
In every creature she beholds a friend.

• Mgrlca gale, n Bbrub growing in boggy and fenny grounds.



448 crabbe's poems.



REFLECTIONS UPON THE SUBJECT—

Quid juvat errores, mersA jam piippe, fateri ?
Quid laciirymce delicta juvaut coiuuiissa secutie ?

ChAimiAS, in Eutropium, lib. ii. lin. 7.

What avails it, when shipwreck'd, th.at error appears ?
Are the crimes we commit wash'd away by our tears ?

When all the fiercer passions cease

(The glory and disgrace of youth) :
When the deluded soul in peace

Can listen to the voice of truth :
When we are taught in whom to trust,

And how to sjjare, to spend, to give
(Our prudence kind, our pity just),

'Tis then we I'ightly learn to live.

Its weakness when the body feels,

Nor danger in contempt defies :
To reason when desire appeals.

When on experience hope relies :
When every passing hour we prize,

Nor rashly on our follies spend :
But use it as it quickly flies,

With sober aim to serious end :
When prudence bounds our utmost views.

And bids us wrath and wrong forgive ;
When wc can calmly gain or lose, —

'Tis then we rightly learn to live.

Yet thus, when we our way discern,

And can upon our care (Icpcnd,
To travel safely, when we learn.

Behold ! we're near our journey's end.
We've trod the maze of error round,

Long wand'ring in the winding glade :
And, now the torcih of truth is found.

It only shows us where we stray'd :
Light for ourselves, what is it worth,

When we no more our way can choose ?
For others, when wo hold it forth.

They, in their pride, the boon refuse.

By long experience taught, wo now

Can rightly judge of friends and foes.
Can all the worth of these allow,

And all their faults discern in those ;
Relentless hatred, erring love.

We can for sacred truth forego ;
We can the warmest friend reprove,

And bear to praise the fiercest foe :



BEFLECTI0N3. 4 19

To vrhat effect ? Our friends are gone

Beyond reproof, regard, or care ;
And of our foes remains there oue

Tlie mild relenting thoughts to share ?

Now 'tis our boast that we can quell

The wildest passions in their rage ;
Can their destructive force repel,

And their impetuous wrath assuage :
Ah I Virtue, dost thou arm, when now

This bold rebellious race are fled ;
When all these tyrants rest, and thou

Art warring with the might}' dead ?
llevenge, ambition, scorn, and pride,

And strong desire and fierce disdain,
The giant brood by thee defied,

Lo ! Time's resistless strokes have slain.

Yet Time, who could that race subdue

(O'erpowering strength, aj^peasing rage),
Leaves yet a persevei-ing crew.

To try the failing powers of age.
Vex'd by the constant call of these,

Virtue awhile for coiKjuost tries ;
But wearj' grown, ami fond of ease.

She makes with them a compromise :
Av'rice himself she gives to rest,

But lilies him with her strict commands ;
Bids Pity touch his torpid breast.

And Justice hold his eager hands.

Yet is there nothing men can do,

When chilling age comes creeping on ?
Cannot we yet some good pursue !

Are talents buried '( genius gone ?
If passions slumber in the breast,

If follies from the heart be fled ;
Of laurels let us go in quest.

And place them on the poet's head.

Yes, we'll redeem the wasted time,

And to neglected studies flee ;
We'll build again the lofty rhyme,

Or live. Philosophy, with thee :
For rciusoning clear, foi- flight sublime,

Eternal fame reward shall be ;
And to what gloiious heights we'll climb,

Th' admiring crowd shall envying sto.

Begin the song ! begin the tlieme ! —

Alas ! and is Invention ilead ?
Dreaui we no more the golden ilream ?

Is Mem'ry with her treasures fled?
Yes, 'tis too late — now Ilc.ison guides

The mind, solo judge in all debate ;
•Z a



450 crabbe's poems.

And thus the important point decides.
For laurels, 'tis alas ! too late.
What is possess'd we may retain.
But for new conquests strive in vain.

Beware, then, Age, that what was won
In life's past labours, studies, views,
Be lost not, now the labour 's done,
When all thy part is, — not to lose :
When thou canst toil or gain no more.
Destroy not what was gain'd beiore.

For, all that's gain'd of all that's good.

When time shall his weak frame destroy
(Their use then rightly understood).

Shall man, in hapi)ier state, enjoy.
Oh ! argument for truth divine,

For study's cares, lor virtue's strife ;
To know th' enjoyment will be thine.

In that renew'd, that endless lile !



SIR EUSTACE GREY.

Scene. — A Madhouse.

Persons. — Visitor, Physician, and Patient.

VISITOR.

I'll know no more ; — the heart is torn
By views of woe we cannot heal ;

Long shall I see these things forlorn,
And oft again their griefs shall feel.
As each upon the mind shall steal :

That wan jjrojector's mystic style,
That lumpish idiot leering by,

That peevish idler's ceaseless wile.

And that poor maiden's liall-form'd smile.
While struggling lor the lull-drawn sigh ! —

I'll know no more.

PHYSICIAN.

Yes, turn again ;
Then speed to happier scenes thy way,

When thou hast view'd, what yet remain.
The ruins of Sir Eustace Orcy,

The sport of maiJness, misery's prey :
But he will no liistorian need.

His cares, his crimes, will he display,
And show (as one from frenzy freed)
The proud lost mind, the rash-done deed.

That cell to him is Grayling Hall : —

Approach ; he'll bid thee welcome there ;



SIR EUSTACE GREY. 431

Will sometimes for his servant call,

And sometimes point the vacant chair :
He can, with free and easy air,

Appear attentive and pohto ;
Can veil his woes in manners fair.

And pity with respect excite.

PATIENT.

Who comes ? — Approach ! — 'tis kindly done : —

My leam'd physician, and a friend.
Their pleasures quit, to visit one

Who cannot to their ease attend,
Nor joys bestow, nor comforts lend.

As when I lived so blest, so well.
And dreamt not I must soon contend

With those malignant powers of hell.

THYSICIAN.

" Less warmth. Sir Eustace, or we go."

PATIENT.

See ! I am calm as infant love,
A very child, but one of woe.

Whom you should pity, not reprove : —
But men at ease, who never strove

With passions wild, will calmly show
How soon we maj' their ills remove.

And masters of their madness grow.

Some twenty j'ears, I think, are gone —

(Time flies I know not how, away)
The sun upon no happier shone.

Nor prouder man, than Eustace Grey.
Ask where you would, and all would say.

The man admired and praised of all,
By rich and poor, by grave and gay.

Was the young lord of Groyling Hall.

Yes ! I had youth and rosy health ;

Was nobly form'd, as man might be ;
For sickness, then, of all my wealth,

I never gave a single fee :
The ladies fair, the maidens free.

Were all accustom'd then to say.
Who would a handsome figure see,

Should look upon Sir Eustace Grey.

He had a frank and j)leasant look,

A cheerful eye and accent l)land ;
His very siieech and manner spoke

The generous heart, the open hand ;
About him all was gay or grand.

Ho had the praise of great and small ;
Ho bought, improved, projected, pLuuiM,

And rcii;ird a print-e at Grevling Hall.
•J c; 2



452



ceabbe's poems.

My laily I — she was all we love :

All pi-aise (to speak her worth) is foint ;
Her nianiicrs show'd the yielding dove,

Her morals, the seraphic saint :
She never breathed nor look'd coniiilaint ;

No equal upon earth had she —
Now, what is this fair thing: I l)aint ?

Alas ! as all that live shall be.

There was, beside, a gallant youth.

And him my bosom's friend I had ; —
Oh ! I was rich in verj' truth,

It made me proud — it made me mad : —
Yes, I was lost — but there was cause I —

Where stood my tale? — I cannot find —
But I had all mankind's applause.

And all the smiles of womankind.

There were two cherub-things beside,

A gracious girl, a glorious boj' ;
Yet more to swell my lull-blown pride.

To varnish higher my fixding joy,
Pleasures were ours without alloy,

Nay, Paradise, — till my frail Eve
Our bliss was tempted to destroj' —

Deceived and fated to deceive.

But I deserved ; — for all that time.

When I was loved, admired, caress'd.
There was within, each secret crime,

Unfelt, uncancell'd, unconfcs&'d :
I never then my God addrcss'd.

In grateful praise or humble prayer ;
And if His Word was not my jest —

(Dread thought !) it never was my care.

I doubted : — fool I was to doubt !

If that all-piercing eye could see, —
If He who looks all worlds throughout.

Would so minute and carotid be
As to perceive and punish me : —

With man I would be great and high,
But with my God so lost, that He,

In His large view, should pass me by.

1'lius blest with children, friend, and wife,

Blest far beyond the vulgar lot ;
Of all that gladdens human life,

Where was the good that I had not?
But my vile heart had sinful sjiot,

And Heaven beheld its deep'ning stain ;
Eternal justice I forgot,

And mercy sought not to obtain.

Come near, — I'll softly speak the rest ! —
Alas ! 'tis known to all the crowd,



SIR EUSTACE GREY. 453

Iler guilty love was all coufess'd ;

And his, who so much truth avow'd.
My faithless friend's.— In pleasure proud

I sat, when these cursed tidini^s came ;
Their guilt, their flight was told al<jud,

And Envy smiled to heai- my shame !

I call'd on Vengeance ; at the word

She came : — Can I the deed forget ?
I held the sword — the accursed sword

The blood of his false heart made wet ;
And that fair victim paid her debt,

She pined, she died, she loathed to live ; —
I saw her dying — see her yet :

Fair fallen thing ! my rage forgive !

Those cherubs still, my life to bless.

Were left ; could I my fears remove,
Sad fears that chcck'd each fond caress.

And poison'd all parental love ?
Yet that with jealous feelings strove,

And would at last have won my will,
Had I not, wretch ! been doom'cl to y)rovo

Th' extremes of mortal good and ill.

In j'outli ! health ! joy ! in beauty's pride !

They droop'd — as flowers when blighted hs-v ;
The dire infection came : — they died,

And I was cursed — as I am now ; —
Nay, frown not, angry friend, — allow

That I was deeply, sorely tried ;
Hear then, and you must wonder how

I could such storms and strifes abide.

Storms ! — not that clouds embattled make.

When they afflict this earthly globe ;
But such as with their terrors shako

Man's bi-east, and to the bottom probe :
They make the hypocrite disrobe.

They try us all, if false or true ;
For this one Devil had power on Job ;

And I was long the slave ot two.

rUYSICIAN.

Peace, peace, my friend ; these .subjects fly ;
Collect thy thoughts — go calmly on. —

PATIENT.

And shall T then the fact deny?

I was — thou know'st — I was begone,
Like him who till'd the eastern throne.

To whom the Watchei- cried aloud ;''
That royal wretch of ]!al>ylon.

Who was so guilty and so proud.

• I'ru^liucy ul Diiiiii-1, chap. iv. *2'i.



454 chabbe's poems.

Like him, with haughty, stubborn mind,

I, in my state, my comforts sought ;
DeHght and praise I hoped to find.

In what I builded, planted, bought !
Oh ! arrogance ! by misery taught —

Soon came a voice ! I felt it come ;
" Full be his cup, with evil fraught,

Demons his guides, and death his doom ! '

Then was I cast from out my state ;

Two fiends of darkness led my way ;
They waked me early, watch'd me late.

My dread by night, my plague by day I
Oh ! I was made their sport, their play.

Through many a stormy troubled year ;
And how they used their passive prey

Is sad to tell : — but you shall hear.

And first before they sent me forth.

Through this unpitying world to run,
They robb'd Sir Eustace of his worth,

Lands, manors, lordships, ever}- one ;
So was that gracious man undone,

Was spurn'd as vile, was scorn'd as poor.
Whom every former friend would shun.

And menials drove from every door.

Then those ill-fa vour'd ones,* whom none

But my unhappy eyes could view,
Led me, with wild emotion, on,

And, with resistless terror, drew.
Through lands we fled, o'er seas wo flew,

And halted on a boundless plain ;
Where nothing fed, nor breathed, nor grew.

But silence ruled the still domain.

Upon that boundless plain, below.

The setting suti's last rays were shed,
And gave a mild and sober glow.

Where all were still, asleep, or dead ;
Vast ruins in the midst were spread,

Pillars and pediments sublime.
Where the grey moss had form'd a bed,

And clothed the crumbling spoils of time.
There was I fix'd, I know not how,

Condemn'd for untold years to stay :
Yet years were not ;— on'e dreadful Noio

Endured no change of night or day ;
The same mild evening's sloejiing ray

Shone softly solemn and serene.
And all that time I gazed away.

The setting sun's sad rays were seen.

At length a, moment's sleep stole on, —
Again came my commissiou'd foes ;

• Vide Biinyan's Pilgrim's Progreef .



SIR EUSTACE GREY. 455

Again through sea and land we're gone, —

No peace, no respite, no repose ;
Above tlie dark broad sea we rose,

We ran througli bleak and frozen land :
I had no strength their strength t' oppose,

An intant in a giant's hand.
They placed me where those streamers play,

Those nimble beams ol brilliant light;
It would the stoutest heart dismay.

To see, to feel, that dreadful siglit :
So swift, so pure, so cold, so bright,

They pierced my frame with icy wound ;
And all that half-year's polar night,

Those dancing streamers wrapp'd me round.
Slowly that darkness pass'd away.

When down ujton the earth I tell, —
Some hurried sleep was mine by day ;

But soon as toU'd the evening bell,
They forced me on, wherever dwell

Far-distant men, in cities fair.
Cities of whom no travellers tell,

Nor feet but mine were wanderers there.

Their watchmen stare, and stand aghast,

As on we hurry through the dark ;
The watch-light blinks as we go past.

The watch-dog shrinks and fears to bark ;
The watch-tower's bell sounds shrill ; and, hark !

The free wind blows — we've left the town —
A wide septilchi-al ground I mark.

And on a tombstone place mo down.

What monuments of mighty dead !

What tombs of various kinds are found !
And stones erect their shadows shed

On humble graves, with wickers bound,
Some risen fresh above the ground,

Some level with the native clay :
What sleeping millions wait the sound,

" Arise, yo dead, and come away ! "

Alas ! they stay not for that call ;

Spare me this woe ! ye demons, spare !
They come ! the shi-ouded shadows all, —

'TLs more than mortal brain can boar ;
Rustling they rise, they sternly glare

At man uj)held by vital breath ;
Who, led by wicked fiends, should dare

To join the shadowy troops of death !

Yes, I have felt all man can feel,

Till he shall pay his nature's debt ;
Ills that no iiopo has sti-ength to heal,

No mind the comlort to forget:
Whatcxcr cares the heart can Iret,

The spirits wear, the temper gall.



456 craebe's poems.

Woe, want, dread, nng-uish, all besot
My sinful soul ! — together all !

Those fiends upon a shaking fen

Fix'd me, in dark tempestuous night ;
There never trod the foot of men,

There flock'd the fowl in wint'ry flight ;
There danced the moor's deceitful light

Above the pool vviiere sedges grow ;
And when the morning sun shone bright.

It shone upon a field of snow.

They hung me on a bough so small.

The rook could build her nest no higher ;
They fix'd me on the trembling ball

That crowns the steeple's quiv'ring spire ;
They set me where the seas retire.

But drown with their returning tide ;
And made me flee the mountain's fire,

When rolling from its bm-ning side.

I've hung upon the ridgy steep

Of cliffs, and held the rambling brier ;
I've plunged below the billowy deep,

Where air was sent me to respire ;
I've been where hiuigry wolves retire ;

And (to complete my woes) I've ran
Where L'edlani's ciazy crew conspire

Against the life of reasoning man.

I've ftirl'd in storms the flapping Siiil,

By hanging fi'om the topmast-head ;
I've served the vilest slaves in jail,

And pick'd the dunghill's spoil for bread ;
I've made the badger's hole my bed ;

I've wander'd with a gipsy crew ;
I've dreaded all the guilty drcad,

And done what they would fear to do.

On sand, where ebbs and flows the floorl,

Midway the)- placed, and bade me die ;
Proiijj'd on my staff, I stoutly stood

Wlien the swift waves came rolling by ;
And high they rose, and still more high,

Till my lips drank the bitter brine ;
I sobb'd convulsed, then cast mine eye.

And saw the tide's re-flowing sign.

And then, my dreams were such as nought

Could yiehl but my unhnppy case ;
I've been of thousand devils caught.

And thrust into that horrid place
Where reign dismay', despair, disgrace ;

Furies with iron langs were there,
To tortm'e that accvuscd race

Doom'd to dismay, disgrace, despair.



SIR EUSTACE GREY. 4.j7

Harmless I was ; yet hunted down

For treasoHs, to mj' soul unfit ;
I've been piirsueil throug-li many a town,

For crimes that petty knaves commit ;
I've been adjudged t' have lost my wit,

Because I preach'd so loud and well ;
And thrown into the dunycon's i)it.

For trampling on the jjit of hell.

Such were the evils, man of sin.

That I was fated to sustain ;
And add to all, without — within,

A soul defiled with every stain
That man's reflecting mind can pain ;

That pride, wrong, rage, despair, can moke ;
In fact, they'd nearly touch'd my brain.

And reason on her throne would shako.

But pity will the vilest seek,

If punish'd guilt will not repine, —
I heard a heavenly teacher speak,

And felt the Sun of Mercy shine :
I hail'd the light ! the birth divine !

And then was seal'd among the fev.' ;
Those angrj' fiends beheld the sign,

And from me in an instant flew.

Come hear how thus the charmers cry

To wandering sheep, the strays of sin.
While some the wicket -gate pass by,

And some will knock and enter in :
Full joyful 'tis a soul to win.

For he that winneth souls is wise ;
Now hark ; the holy strains begin.

And thus the sainted preacher cries:* —

"Pilgrim, burthen'd with thy sin.

Come the way to Zion's gate.
There, till Mercy let thee in.

Knock and weej), and watch and wait.
Knock I — He knows the sinner's cry !
Weep ! — lie loves the mo\u-ncr'R tears ;
Watch ! — for siiving grace is nigh :
Wait, — till heavenly light appears.

" Hark ! it is tlie Bridegroom's voice:

Welcome, 7)ilgriin, to thy rest ;
Now within the gate rejoice.

Safe and seal'd, and bon.rht and blest !
Safe — from all the lures of vice,
Ssal'd — by signs the chosen know,

• It h»s been suggested to me, thnt this change IVom rc«t lennnefd to repose, in llie nilml
:f Sir Eustace, i» wrought liy h MitUocUstlc cnll ; nnil it in luluillteil to Ixs muIi : u nober
anil nitional couvtr»ioii coulil not have Laiiiineil while the illKonler ol the hraiu ton-
tinueil : yet the vernei) whkh follow. In a ilifleriiit ineai'nre.nif not Intinili'd to niako luiy
religiooB tpereuufiion aiiiH.'ar ridieuloua ; tliey are it) be HUi)))ofed ji» (he elh ct ol uieinory In
the di«onhre<l mind of the six'iiker, and, tliougli evidently en(hiUiijL<tle 111 renjwct to
laugua^e, arc not meant to convey any iinproin-iety of seuiiuieut.



458



crabbe's poems.

Bought— by love and life the price.
Blest— the mighty debt to owe.
" Holy pilgrim ! what for thee
In a world like this remain ?
From thy guarded breast shall flee
Fear and shame, and doubt and pain.
Fear— the hope of Heaven shall lly.
Shame — from glory's view retire,
Doubt — in certain rapture die,
Pain — in endless bliss expire."
But though my day of grace was come.

Yet still my days of grief I find ;

The former clouds' collected gloom

Still sadden the reflecting mind •

The soul, to evil things consipn'd, '

Will of their evil some retain ;
The man will seem to earth inclined.
And will not look erect agaJn.

Thus, though elect, I feel it hard

To lose what I possess'd before.
To be from all my wealth debarr'd,—

The brave Sir JEustaue is no more :
But old I wax, and passing poor.

Stern, rugged men my conduct view ;
They chide my wish, they bar my door,

'Tis hard — I weep — you see I do.

Must you, my friends, no longer stay ?

Thus quickly all my pleasures end ;
But I'll remember when I pray,

My kind physician and his friend ;
And those sad hours you deign to spend

With me, I shall reijuite them all ;
Sir Eustace for his friends shall send,

And thank their love at Greyhng Hall.

VISITOR.

The poor Sir Eustace !— Yet his hope

Leads him to think of joys again ;
And when his earthly visions droop,

His views of heavenly kind remain :
But whence that meek and humbled strain,

That spirit wounded, lost, resigu'd ?
Would not so proud a soul disdain



Online LibraryGeorge CrabbeThe poetical works of George Crabbe → online text (page 48 of 49)