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THE BOROUGH.

LETTER XXII.

THE POOR OF THE BOROUGH.

PETER GRIMES.

Was a sordid soul,
Such as does murder for a meed :
Who but for fear knows no control,
Because his conscience, seard and foul,

Feels not the import of the deed;
One whose brute feeling ne'er aspires
Beyond his own more brute desires.

Scott. Marmion.

Methought the souls of all that I had murder'd
Came to my tent, and every one did threat-

Shakspeare. Richard III.

The times have been,
That when the brains were out, the man would die,
And there an end ; but now they rise again,
With twenty mortal murders on their crowns,
And push us from our stools.

Macbelh.

The Father of Peter a Fisherman-Peter's early Conduct—His

Grief for the old Man-He takes an Apprentice—The Boy's Suffering and Fate—A second Boy: how he died — Peter acquitted— A third Apprentice- A Voyage by Sea: the Boy does not return-Evil Report on Peter : he is tried and threatened - Lives alone -- His Melancholy and incipient Madness-Is observed and visited—He escapes and is taken : is lodged in a Parish-house : women attend and watch him - He speaks in a Delirium : grows more collected—His Ac. count of his Feelings and visionary Terrors previous to his Death.

THE BOROUGH,

LETTER XXII.

PETER GRIMES.

Old Peter Grimes made fishing his employ,
His wife he cabin'd with him and his boy,
And seem'd that life laborious to enjoy:
To town came quiet Peter with his fish,
And had of all a civil word and wish.
He left his trade upon the sabbath-day,
And took young Peter in his hand to pray:
But soon the stubborn boy from care broke loose,
At first refused, then added his abuse:
His father's love he scorn'd, his power defied,
But being drunk, wept sorely when he died.

Yes! then he wept, and to his mind there came
Much of his conduct, and he felt the shame,
How he had oft the good old man reviled,
And never paid the duty of a child;
How, when the father in his Bible read,
He in contempt and anger left the shed :

“ It is the word of life," the parent cried ;
- This is the life itself," the boy replied ;
And while old Peter in amazement stood,
Gave the hot spirit to his boiling blood :-
How he, with oath and furious speech, began
To
prove

his freedom and assert the man;
And when the parent check’d his impious rage,
How he had cursed the tyranny of age,-
Nay, once had dealt the sacrilegious blow
On his bare head, and laid his parent low;
The father groan'd—“ If thou art old,” said he,

And hast a son—thou wilt remember me: “ Thy mother left me in a happy time, " Thou kill'dst not her-Heav'n spares the double

crime.”
On an inn-settle, in his maudlin grief,
This he revolved, and drank for his relief.

Now lived the youth in freedom, but debarr'd
From constant pleasure, and he thought it hard;
Hard that he could not every wish obey,
But must awhile relinquish ale and play;
Hard! that he could not to his cards attend,
But must acquire the money he would spend.

With greedy eye he look'd on all he saw,
He knew not justice, and he laugh'd at law;
On all he mark’d, he stretch'd his ready hand;
He fish'd by water and he filch'd by land:

Oft in the night has Peter dropp'd his oar,
Fled from his boat and sought for prey on shore;
Oft up the hedge-row glided, on his back
Bearing the orchard's produce in a sack,
Or farm-yard load, tugg'd fiercely from the stack;
And as these wrongs to greater numbers rose,
The more he look'd on all men as his foes.

He built a mud-wall'd hovel, where he kept
His various wealth, and there he oft-times slept ;
But no success could please his cruel soul,
He wish'd for one to trouble and control;
He wanted some obedient boy to stand
And bear the blow of his outrageous hand;
And hoped to find in some propitious hour
A feeling creature subject to his power.

Peter had heard there were in London then, Still have they being !-workhouse-clearing men, Who, undisturb’d by feelings just or kind, Would parisb-boys to needy tradesmen bind: They in their want a trifling sum would take, And toiling slaves of piteous orphans make.

Such Peter sought, and when a lad was found, The sum was dealt him, and the slave was bound. Some few in town observed in Peter's trap A boy, with jacket blue and woollen cap;

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