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(1) ["These Tales may be considered as supplementary chapters to The Parish Register,' or 'The Borough.' The same tone, the same subjects, the same finished and minute delineation of things quite ordinary and common; the same kindly sympathy with the humble and innocent pleasures of the Poor, and the same indulgence for their venial offences, contrasted with a strong sense of their frequent depravity, and too constant a recollection of the sufferings it produces; and, finally, the same honours paid to the delicate affections and ennobling passions of humble life, with the same generous testimony to their frequent existence, mixed up as before with a reprobation sufficiently rigid, and a ridicule sufficiently severe, of their excesses and affectations. If we were required to make a comparative estimate of the merits of the present work, or to point out the shades of difference by which it is distinguished from those that have gone before it, we should say, that there are in it a greater number of instances in which the poet has combined the natural language and manners of humble life with the energy of true passion, and the beauty of generous affection,-in which he has traced out the course of those rich and lovely veins even in the rude and unpolished masses that lie at the bottom of society, and unfolded, in the middling orders of the people, the workings of those finer feelings, and the stirrings of those loftier emotions, which the partiality of other poets had hitherto attributed almost exclusively to actors on a higher scene. It appears to us, that the volume now before us is more uniformly and directly moral and beneficial in its tendency, than any of those which Mr. Crabbe has hitherto given to the public - consists less of mere curious specimens of description and gratuitous dissections of character, but inculcates, for the most part, some weighty and practical precept, and points right on to the cheerful path by which duty leads us forward to enjoyment." Edinburgh Review, 1812.].
THE DUMB ORATORS;
THE BENEFIT OF SOCIETY.
With fair round belly, with good capon lined,
With eyes severe
Full of wise saws and modern instances. - As You Like It.
Deep shame hath struck me dumb. — King John.
He gives the bastinado with his tongue;
Let's kill all the lawyers;
We will not leave one lord or gentleman. -2 Henry VI.
And thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges.
(1) These mottoes are many, because there is a reference in them not only to the characters, but frequently to the incidents also; and they are all taken from Shakspeare, because I could more readily find them in his scenes, than in the works of any other poet to whom I could have recourse.