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heir reduced by extravagance to the almshouse; Clelia, a fast young lady brought to the same end; Benbow, a Bardolph of the time, another inmate; the hospital and governors, a piece written earlier in life; the poor and their dwellings, with a denunciation of the workhouse system, or system of indoor relief, and a realistic picture of a fisherman's hut and household; the parish clerk, a keenly satirical picture of the tragic fall of Jachin a censoriously virtuous critic of his neighbours,
("Not Satan's friends, nor Satan's self, could bear
the story of Ellen Orford, the victim of injustice and misfortune; that of Abel Keene who falls by passing from piety to scepticism; that of Peter Grimes who comes to be haunted by the victims of his cruelty; the prisons with a prisoner's dream of his youth and his native place,
("Where dwarfish flowers among the gorse are spread
and the schools, with portraits of the various types of teachers and scholars.
14. He closes with a lamentation over the outward futility of a scholar's life, and a brief paragraph on its inward pleasures. From this he passes to his conception of his own purpose as a poet.
'Man as he is to place in all men's view,
Yet none with rancour, none with scorn pursue.”
"But is there man whom I would injure? No!
Here he reveals the secret of his power. He is in full sympathy with all his topics. He paints lowly life and he is a part of it-the secret of Goldsmith, of Cowper, of Burns, that made them the true pioneers of a popular, a national literature. In a note to Peter Grimes he appeals for the justification of his tragic picture to Scott's Marmion, where "the ruffian ""has no shame or remorse, but the corrosion of helpless want". But the introduction of Ellen Orford
shows how little sympathy he had with the heroes, villains, or victims, of romance. He laughs at the second-hand pictures of life in the novels of the day. "I've often marvelled "that books" "should show so little how we truly live"; their characters are but
"Creatures borrowed and again conveyed
From book to book, the shadow of a shade".
To flow'ry pages of sublime distress;
And to the heroine's soul-distracting fears
I early gave my sixpences and tears".
He turns to the lowly, and never shrinks from the lowliest and most sordid detail, that he may paint reality, "the stronger features of the soul".
15. The chief evidence of the poem being written in the nineteenth century consists in one or two indirect references to the French Revolution, in the change in the state of the country population through industrialism, and in the growth. of the story element. It is the same with his Tales, though they are rather character-sketches than tales. He has gone back to the older English poetry for his inspiration and models. In his prose preface he appeals to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, and, at the beginning of each of the twenty-one Tales, he has three or four appropriate quotations from Shakespeare. He had been recommended to write an heroic poem; this is the nearest approach he or his age could make to it. As he rejected the unrealities of the new fiction, so he rejects the sublimities of the epic. He appeals, with Dryden, "to the plain sense and sober judgement" of his readers, and wishes only to entertain them. But they are full of moral lessons; they are, in fact, sermons for the middle classes in the shape of anecdotes and satirical sketches. One of the horrors of the new audience of literature during the early part of this century was freethinking; they shrank from everything that savoured of it as they would from crime. And a number of these sketches have as their theme the fate of those who read books and think thoughts that are critical of religious traditions; The Gentleman Farmer, The Learned Boy, and Edward Shore, deal with the careers of men who reject religion for reason, the two former satirically, the last tragically. The
middle class churchmen of the time, too, had great scorn and hatred of the survival of Puritanism, and the appearance of new sects; The Frank Courtship, The Struggles of Conscience, and The Convert, treat, with some humour and perhaps a shadow of intolerance, the household troubles and the inner conflict of minds that did not accept the commonsense teaching of the church. Another prominent feature of the new middle class life was the collision between new social or educațional ambitions and old circumstances or tastes. Procrastination, The Widow's Tale, The Mother, and The Brothers, hold up to scorn, with almost the irony of Thackeray, the affectations that the new wealth or comfort bred. Squire Thomas, and Advice paint the rude, often immoral, life led by the country gentleman of the beginning of the century. The Patron is a story of elections and the tragic fate of ambitious genius. The Dumb Orators slily satirises the pompous and cowardly garrulity of many of the occupants of the bench, and of the atheistical and revolutionary orators. Arabella as slily laughs at self-deceiving prudery. The Parting Hour, The Lover's Journey, and Jesse and Colin, are the usual stories of love and its rugged course. The Confidant, Resentment, and The Wager, deal with the tragic or amusing features of domestic life. They are all the observations of a keen, and, on the whole, impartial, insight into the human nature of the post-revolutionary English middle class. They are as realistic, and as mildly satirical, as his previous poems; but they are less poetical, if we exclude The Parish Register. Taken all together, his poetry gives the truest picture of the new reading public; it both paints them and mirrors them; for Crabbe belonged to them. It stands intermediate between the literature of learning and culture of narrow circles and the literature of the people. In it can best be Istudied the tastes and manners of the new audience. It gives us the keynote of both periods. For it stands aloof from the French Revolution and its influence, and passes, with the interests of the class that was about to pay authors by their numbers, out of the eighteenth century into the nineteenth.
Campbell and Bloomfield, though also representing the emotions and tastes of the new classes, and publishing each his first poem in the heroic couplet, and before the century closed, belong to the latter period. Rogers is divided. between the two. He began in the school of Gray with his Ode to Superstition (1786), when he was twenty-three years of age; he passed into the school of Goldsmith in his Pleasures of Memory (1792), and of Pope in his Epistle to a Friend (1798); his Columbus (1812) and Jaqueline (1814) are the outcome of the new passion for the romantic past and for narrative; and his Human Life (1819) and Italy (1822) belong in spirit and treatment to the first half of the nineteenth century. A minor poet is bound to change with the literature that surrounds him, or he falls out of the ranks. It is only through his earlier poems that Rogers belongs to the eighteenth century. His Ode to Superstition he had in the style of the poets of the Queen Anne period elaborated with the most painful self-criticism; though running to only 156 lines, it took him two years to write.
It is but an academic exercise modelled on the Pindaric odes of Gray and Collins, but especially on Gray's Bard. It refers to the picturesque features of various ancient rites, Greek, Hindoo, Scandinavian, Egyptian, Persian, Celtic, and deals like its models in personifications. It is formal and second-hand in its emotions and fancy. The Pleasures of Memory shows a great advance both in its choice of models and in its art. Goldsmith had met the new backward-turning fancy of the people by his poetry of reminiscence. And Rogers set himself to systematise it. He followed the psychological poets like Akenside in his choice of an abstract theme. But he fitted his treatment to the growing love of nature; he made his poem a series of landscapes and pictures, sometimes in the manner of Goldsmith, sometimes in that of Thomson, with many touches from Pope. The result is a poem of much picturesque effect and fine melody. He begins with a village scene, backed by a fancy-picture of his native place, his childhood, his school, the fortune-telling gipsy, and the old church-yard, where "I search the record of each
mouldering stone". He then apostrophises Memory, and under her guidance brings up various scenes typical or historic ; he pictures the faithful memory of the horse and dog, and the instinctive memory of the dove and the bee. In the Second Part he passes from sensuous memory, that belongs to animals as well as to man, and descants upon emotional and intellectual memory, that is only human. He versifies the romance it throws round the nun taking the veil, the African slave, the dream during sleep, the Savoyard with "pipe of merry sound", the wreck of genius, and the veteran soldier at Chelsea, and he closes with a pathetic tale of love of young Florio losing his Julia when crossing one of the lakes of Cumberland. In this last he anticipates somewhat the fervid insight of the Lake school into the beauty of mountain scenery. In An Epistle to a Friend there is not much development, except in his classical reading, and in his appreciation of the treasures of ancient art, many of which he had seen on his visit to Paris in 1791. He stands up for the wholesomeness of a country life, although in the following year he removed to the city and became a thorough denizen of it. He paints, in the style of Horace, Boileau, and Pope, all the advantages of his house, or, as he calls it, "his hermit cell",
Far from the joyless glare, the maddening strife,
And he boasts of the "clear mirror of his moral page scorning "the false lustre of licentious thought". Even this is purely imitative. He belonged essentially to the city, like the Queen Anne poets, and it was merely the new classes from which he came that drew him to the description of nature. His imitativeness is best shown by the fact that though he was brought up at the feet of Price, the sympathiser with the French Revolution, and in the midst of revolutionism, his poetry was little affected by it; and still more by the fact that though his sayings prove him to have been one of the best epigrammatists of the day and one of the keenest satirists, he chose the favourite didactic and descriptive poetry of his youth to work in, and rejected satire.