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PORTRAIT OF ISAAC ASHFORD, PEASANT
I feel his absence in the hours of prayer,
faith (to give it force), are there :
[Though they fail to exhibit the attributes of the highest genius, the poems of GEORGE CRABBE will always be welcome and valued, from the plenitude of human interest with which they abound. A truly benevolent man, and a warm sympathiser in the happiness and sorrows of the lowly, among whom, as a clergyman, it was his lot to labour, Crabbe was eminently fitted to chronicle “their homely joys and destiny obscure ;” and thus written by one whose heart may truly be said to have been in his work, the “ Village Tales” and “ Tales of the Hall” spread a contagious sympathy to their readers. Crabbe was fortunate enough to secure the friendship and patronage of Edmund Burke. He died at the age of seventy-eight, honoured and respected, in 1832.
The Village Clergyman.
EAR yonder copse, where
once the garden smild, And still where many a gar
den flower grows wild ; There, where a few torn shrubs
the place disclose, The village preacher's modest
mansion rose. A man he was to all the coun
try dear, And passing rich with forty
pounds a-year. Remote from towns he ran his godly race, Nor e'er had changed, nor wish'd to change his place; Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for power, , By doctrines fashion’d to the varying hour ; Far other aims his heart had learn’d to prize, More bent to raise the wretched than to rise. His house was known to all the vagrant train, He chid their wanderings, but relieved their pain : The long-remember'd beggar was his guest, Whose beard, descending, swept his aged breast; The ruin'd spendthrift, now no longer proud, Claim'd kindred there, and had his claims allow’d; The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay, Sat by his fire, and talk'd the night awayWept o'er his wounds, or, tales of sorrow done, Shoulder'd his crutch, and show'd how fields were won.
THE VILLAGE CLERGYMAN.
Pleas'd with his guests, the good man learn'd to glow,
Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,
Beside the bed where parting life was laid,
At church, with meek and unaffected grace, His looks adorn’d the venerable place; Truth from his lips prevail'd with double sway, And fools, who came to scoff, remain'd to pray. The service past, around the pious man, With steady zeal, each honest rustic ran; E'en children follow'd, with endearing wile, And pluck'd his gown to share the good man's smile.
SONNET ON HIS BLINDNESS.
His ready smile a parent's warmth express’d,
Sonnet on his Blindness.
THEN I consider how my light is spent
And that one talent which is death to hide,