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Tales   By: (1754-1832)

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"TALES", by GEORGE CRABBE (1754 1832) {1}



With fair round belly, with good capon lined, With eyes severe Full of wise saws and modern instances. SHAKESPEARE, As You Like It.

Deep shame hath struck me dumb. King John.

He gives the bastinado with his tongue; Our ears are cudgell'd. King John.

. . . . . . . Let's kill all the lawyers; Now show yourselves men; 'tis for liberty: We will not leave one lord or gentleman. 2 Henry VI.

And thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges. Twelfth Night.

That all men would be cowards if they dare, Some men we know have courage to declare; And this the life of many a hero shows, That, like the tide, man's courage ebbs and flows: With friends and gay companions round them, then Men boldly speak and have the hearts of men; Who, with opponents seated miss the aid Of kind applauding looks, and grow afraid; Like timid travelers in the night, they fear Th' assault of foes, when not a friend is near. In contest mighty, and of conquest proud, Was Justice Bolt, impetuous, warm, and loud; His fame, his prowess all the country knew, And disputants, with one so fierce, were few: He was a younger son, for law design'd, With dauntless look and persevering mind; While yet a clerk, for disputation famed, No efforts tired him, and no conflicts tamed. Scarcely he bade his master's desk adieu, When both his brothers from the world withdrew. An ample fortune he from them possessed, And was with saving care and prudence bless'd. Now would he go and to the country give Example how an English 'squire should live; How bounteous, yet how frugal man may be, By well order'd hospitality; He would the rights of all so well maintain. That none should idle be, and none complain. All this and more he purposed and what man Could do, he did to realise his plan; But time convinced him that we cannot keep A breed of reasoners like a flock of sheep; For they, so far from following as we lead, Make that a cause why they will not proceed. Man will not follow where a rule is shown, But loves to take a method of his own: Explain the way with all your care and skill, This will he quit, if but to prove he will. Yet had our Justice honour and the crowd, Awed by his presence, their respect avow'd. In later years he found his heart incline, More than in youth, to gen'rous food and wine; But no indulgence check'd the powerful love He felt to teach, to argue, and reprove. Meetings, or public calls, he never miss'd To dictate often, always to assist. Oft he the clergy join'd, and not a cause Pertain'd to them but he could quote the laws; He upon tithes and residence display'd A fund of knowledge for the hearer's aid; And could on glebe and farming, wool and grains A long discourse, without a pause, maintain. To his experience and his native sense He join'd a bold imperious eloquence; The grave, stern look of men inform'd and wise, A full command of feature, heart, and eyes, An awe compelling frown, and fear inspiring size. When at the table, not a guest was seen With appetite so lingering, or so keen; But when the outer man no more required, The inner waked, and he was man inspired. His subjects then were those, a subject true Presents in fairest form to public view; Of church and state, of law, with mighty strength Of words he spoke, in speech of mighty length: And now, into the vale of years declined, He hides too little of the monarch mind: He kindles anger by untimely jokes, And opposition by contempt provokes; Mirth he suppresses by his awful frown, And humble spirits, by disdain, keeps down; Blamed by the mild, approved by the severe, The prudent fly him, and the valiant fear... Continue reading book >>

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