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his own “Old Cumberland Beggar."-Shak-throughout successive centuries perused themspore in his witches' caldron, and Burns in his the thrilling thoughts excited by the sight of “haly table," are shockingly circumstantial;- names and notes inscribed on their margins or but the element of imagination creeps in amid blank pages by hands long since mouldered in all the disgusting details, and the light that the dust, or by those dear to us as our life's blood, never was on sea or shore disdains not to rest who had been snatched from our sides--the ason "eye of newt,” “toe of frog," " baboon's pects of gaiety or of gloom connected with the blood,” the garter that strangled the babe, the bindings and the age of volumes——the effects of grey hairs sticking to the haft of the parricidal sunshine playing as if on a congregation of hapknife, and all the rest of the fell ingredients.-py faces, making the duskiest shine, and the Crabbe, on the other hand, would have described gloomiest be glad—or of shadow suffusing a sombre the five blue eggs, and besides the materials of air over all the joy of the proprietor of a large the nest, and the kind of hedge where it was library who feels that Nebuchadnezzar watching built-like a bird-nesting schoolboy ; but he great Babylon, or Napoleon reviewing his legions, would never have given the “ gleam.” He would, will not stand comparison with himself seated as accurately as Hecate, Canidia, or Cuttysark, amid the broad maps, and rioh prints, and numehave given an inventory of the ingredients of rous volumes which his wealth has enabled him the hell-broth, or of the curiosities on the haly to collect, and his wisdom entitled him to enjoytable, had they been presented to his eye ; but all such hieroglyphics of interest and meaning could not have conceived them, nor would have has Foster included and interpreted in one gloomy slipped in, that one flashing word, that single but noble meditation, and his introduction to cross ray of imagination, which it required to Doddridge is the true “ Poem on the Library." elevate and startle them into high ideal life. And In Crabbe's descriptions the great want is of yet in reading his pictures of poor-houses, &c. selection. He writes inventories. He describes we are compelled to say, Well, that is poetry all that his eye sees with cold, stern, lingering after all, for it is truth ; but it is poetry of com- accuracy-he marks down all the items of wretchparatively a low order-it is the last gasp of the edness, poverty, and vulgar sin-counts the rags poetic spirit : and, moreover, perfect and match of the mendicant-and, as Hazlitt has it, describes less as it is in its kind, it is not worthy of the a cottage like one who has entered it to distrain powers of its author, who can, and has, at other for rent. His copies, consequently, would be as times risen into much loftier ground.”
displeasing as their originals, were it not that We may illustrate still farther what we mean imagination is so much less vivid than eyesight, by comparing the different ways in which Crabbe that we can endure in picture what we cannot in and Foster (certainly a prose poet) deal with a reality, and that our own minds, while reading, library. Crabbe describes minutely and success- can cast that softening and ideal veil over disgustfully the outer features of the volumes, their co-ing objects which the poet himself has not sought, lours, clasps, the stubborn ridges of their bind- or has failed to do. Just as in viewing even the ings, the illustrations which adorn them, &c. so actual scene, we might have seen it through the well that you feel yourself among them, and they medium of imaginative illusion, so the same mebecome sensible to touch almost as to sight. But dium will more probably invest, and beautify its there he stops, and sadly fails, we think, in bring- transcript in the pages of the poet. ing out the living and moral interest which As a moral poet and sketcher of men, Crabbe gathers around a multitude of books, or even is characterised by a similar choice of subject, around a single volume. This Foster has amply and the same stern fidelity. The mingled yarn done. The speaking silence of a number of books, of man's every-day life—the plain homely virtues, where, though it were the wide Bodleian or Va- or the robust and burly vices of Englishmen-the tican, not one whisper could be heard, and yet, quiet tears which fall on humble beds—the paswhere, as in an antichamber, so many great spi- sions which flame up in lowly bosoms—the amari rits are waiting to deliver their messages-their aliquid—the deep and permanent bitterness which churchyard stillness continuing even when their lies at the heart of the down-trodden English readers are moving to their pages, in joy or agony, poor the comedies and tragedies of the fireside as to the sound of martial instruments--their--the lovers' quarrels—the unhappy marriages awaking, as from deep slumber, to speak with the vicissitudes of common fortunes—the early miraculous organ, like the shell which has only deaths—the odd characters the lingering superto be lifted, and "pleased it remembers its august stitions—all the elements, in short, which make abodes, and murmurs as the ocean murmurs up the simple annals of lowly or middling society, there"-their power, so silent and sublime, of are the materials of this poet's song. Had he drawing tears, kindling blushes, awakening been a Scottish clergyman we should have said laughter, calming or quickening the motions of that he had versified his Session-book ; and certhe life's blood, lulling to repose, or rousing to tainly many curious chapters of human life might restlessness, often giving life to the soul, and be derived from such a document, and much light sometimes giving death to the body—the meaning cast upon the devious windings and desperate which radiates from their quiet countenances-- wickedness of the heart, as well as upon that inthe tale of shame or glory which their title pages extinguishable instinct of good which resides in tell--the memories suggested by the character of it. Crabbe, perhaps, has confined himself too their authors, and of the readers who have l exclusively to this circle of common things which
he found lying around him. He has seldom burst | a man love a race which seems combined to starve its confines, and touched the loftier themes, and him? This misanthropical influence Crabbe did snatched the higher laurels which were also with not entirely escape. As medical man, too, he in his reach. He has contented himself with had come in contact with little else than man's being a Lillo (with occasional touches of Shak- human miseries and diseases; and as a clergyspere) instead of something far greater. He has, man, he had occasion to see much sin and sorrow : however, in spite of this self-injustice, effected and these, combining with the melancholy incimuch. He has proved that a poet, who looks re- dental to the poetic temperament, materially dissolutely around him—who stays at home—who coloured his view of life. He became a searcher draws the realities which are near him, instead of dark of the darkest bosoms; and we see him of the phantoms that are afar—who feels and re- sitting in the gloom of the hearts of thieves, cords the passion and poetry of his daily life~ murderers, and maniacs, and watching the remay found a firm and enduring reputation. With morse, rancour, fury, dull disgust, ungratified apthe dubious exception of Cowper, no one has made petite, and ferocious or stupified despair, which out this point so effectually as Crabbe.
are their inmates. And even when he pictures And in his mode of treating such themes, what livelier scenes and happier characters, there steals strikes us first is his perfect coolness. Few poets over them a shade of sadness, reflected from his have reached that calm of his which reminds us favourite subjects, as dark, sinister countenance of Nature's own great quiet eye, looking down in a room will throw a gloom over many happy upon her monstrous births, her strange anoma- and beautiful faces beside it. lies, and her more ungainly forms. Thus Crabbe In his pictures of life, we find an unfrequent sees the loathsome, and does not loathe-handles but true pathos. This is not often, however, of the horrible, and shudders not-feels with firm the profoundest or most heart-rending kind. The finger the palpitating pulse of the infanticide or grief he paints is not that which refuses to be the murderer-and snuffs a certain sweet odour in comforted—whose expressions, like Agamemnon's the evil savours of putrefying misery and crime. face, must be veiled—which dilates almost to This delight, however, is not an inhuman, but despair, and complains almost to blasphemy-and entirely an artistic delight - perhaps, indeed, which, when it looks to Heaven, it is springing from the very strength and width of
" With that frantic air his sympathies. We admire as well as wonder at Which seems to ask if a God be there." that almost asbestos quality of his mind, through Crabbe's, as exhibited in “ Phæbe Dawson,” and which he retains his composure and critical cir- other of his tales, is gentle, submissive ; and its cumspection so cool amid the conflagrations of pathetic effects are produced by the simple recital passionate subjects, which might have burned of circumstances which might, and often have ocothers to ashes. Few, indeed, can walk through curred. It reminds us of the pathos of “Rosasuch fiery furnaces unscathed. But Crabbe- mond Gray,” that beautiful story of Lamb's, of what an admirable physician had he made to a which we once, we regret to say, presumptuously Lunatic Asylum ! How severely would he have pronounced an unfavourable opinion, but which sifted out every grain of poetry from those tu- has since commended itself to our heart of hearts, multuous exposures of the human mind! What and compelled that tribute in tears which we clean breasts had he forced the patients to make! had denied it in words. Hazlitt is totally wrong What tales had he wrung out from them, to which when he says that Crabbe carves a tear to the Lewis' tales of terror were feeble and trite! How life in marble, as if his pathos were hard and cold. he would have commanded them, by his mild, Be it the statuary of woe-has it, consequently, steady, and piercing eye! And yet how calm no truth or power? Have the chiselled tears of would his brain have remained, when others, even the Niobe never awakened other tears, fresh and of a more prosaic mould, were reeling in sym- burning, from their fountain ? Horace's vis me pathy with the surrounding delirium ! It were, flere, &c., is not always a true principle. As the indeed, worth while inquiring how much of this wit, who laughs not himself, often excites most coolness resulted from Crabbe's early practice as laughter in others, so the calm recital of an afa surgeon. That combination of warm inward fecting narrative acts as the meek rod of Moses sympathy and outward phlegm — of impulsive applied to the rock, and is answered in gushing benevolence and mechanical activity-of heart torrents. You close Crabbe's tale of grief, alall fire and manner all ice--which distinguishes most ashamed that you have left so quiet a thing his poetry, is very characteristic of the medical pointed and starred with tears. His pages, while profession.
sometimes wet with pathos, are never moist with In correspondence with this, Crabbe generally humour. His satire is often pointed with wit, leans to the darker side of things. This, per- and sometimes irritates into invective ; but of haps, accounts for his favour in the sight of Byron, that glad, genial, and bright-eyed thing we call who saw his own eagle-eyed fury at man corro- humour (how well named, in its oily softness and borated by Crabbe's stern and near-sighted vision. gentle glitter!) he has little or none. Compare, in And it was accounted for partly by Crabbe's early order to see this, his “Borough” with the “Annals profession, partly by his early circumstances, and of the Parish.” How dry, though powerful, the partly by the clerical office he assumed. Nothing one ; how sappy the other! How profound the so tends to sour us with mankind as a general one ; how pawky the other! Crabbe goes through refusal on their part to give us bread. How can his Borough, like a scavenger with a rough, stark,
and stiff besom, sweeping up all the filth : Galt, / which, more punctually than their veriest menial, like a knowing watchman of the old school-awaits often behind the chairs, and hands the golden canny Charlie-keeping a sharp look-out, but not dishes of the great. arerse to a sly joke, and having an eye to the We have not space nor time to dilate on his humours as well as misdemeanours of the streets. other works individually. We prefer, in glancEven his wit is not of the finest grain. It deals too ing back upon them as a whole, trying to answer much in verbal quibbles, puns, and antitheses with the following questions : 1st, What was Crabbe's their points broken off. His puns are neither object as a moral poet? 2dly, How far is he origood nor bad the most fatal and anti-ideal ginal as an artist? 3dly, What is his relative podescription of a pun that can be given. His sition to his great contemporaries ? And, 4thly, quibbles are good enough to have excited the what is likely to be his fate with posterity ? laugh of his curate, or gardener ; but he forgets 1st, His object.— The great distinction between that the public is not so indulgent. And though man and man, and author and author, is puroften treading in Pope's track, he wants entirely pose. It is the edge and point of character ; it those touches of satire, at once the lightest and is the stamp and the superscription of genius; the most withering, as if dropped from the fingers it is the direction on the letter of talent. Chaof a malignant fairy—those faint whispers of racter without it is blunt and torpid. Talent poetic perdition—those drops of concentrated without it is a letter, which, undirected, goes no bitterness—those fatal bodkin-stabs—and those whither. Genius without it is bullion, sluggish, invectives, glittering all over with the polish of splendid, uncirculating. Purpose yearns after profound malignity—which are Pope's glory as a and secures artistic culture. It gathers, as by a writer, and his shame as a man.
strong suction, all things which it needs into itWe have repeatedly expressed our opinion, that self. It often invests art with a moral and rein Crabbe there lay a higher power than he ever ligious aspect. This was strongly impressed exerted. We find evidence of this in his “ Hall upon us when lately seeing Macaulay and Wilson of Justice" and his “Eustace Grey.” In these on one platform. How great the difference in he is fairly in earnest. No longer dozing by his point of native powers! How greater, alas ! in parlour fire over the “Newspaper,” or napping in point of purpose and cultivation ! There is in a corner of his “Library," or peeping in through Wilson's great, shaggy soul and body, what might the windows of the “Workhouse,” or recording make many Macaulays. But it has never been the select scandal of the “Borough”—he is away fully evolved. He has not done with his might out into the wide and open fields of highest pas- what his hand found to do. He has been little sion and imagination. What a tale that “ Hall else than a vast, lazy earth-god, pelting nuts in of Justice" hears—to be paralleled only in the the summer woods, or gathering pebbles on the “ Thousand and One Nights of the Halls of margins of the summer waters ; or, rather, he Eblis!"--a tale of misery, rape, murder, and furi- rises up before his worshippers glorious and idle ous despair; told, too, in language of such lurid fire as Nebuchadnezzar's golden image. But, since as has been seen to shine o'er the graves of the Shakspere, no clearer, larger, sunnier soul has dead! But, in “ Eustace Grey,” our author's ge- existed among men. And yet Macaulay, though nius reaches its climax. Never was madness~ manifestly belonging to an inferior race, mountin its misery—its remorse—the dark companions, ed on this pedestal of purpose, stands higher "the ill-favoured ones,” who cling to it in its wild | than he. Crabbe's artistic object is tolerably way and will not let it go, although it curse them clear, and has been already indicated. His with the eloquence of Hell—the visions it sees, moral purpose is not quite so apparent. Is it the scenery it creates and carries about with it in to satirise, or is it to reform vice? Is it pity, dreadful keeping—and the language it uses, high or is it contempt, that actuates his song? What aspiring but broken, as the wing of a struck eagle are his plans for elevating the lower classes in --so strongly and meltingly revealed. And, yet, the scale of society ? Has he any, or does he around the dismal tale there hangs the breath of believe in the possibility of their permanent beauty, and, like poor Lear, Sir Eustace goes elevation ? Such questions are more easily about crowned with flowers—the flowers of earthly asked than answered. We must say that we poetry—and of a hope which is not of the earth. have failed to find in him any one overmasAnd, at the close, we feel to the author all that tering, and earnest object, subjugating everystrange gratitude which our souls are constituted thing to itself, and producing that unity in all to entertain to those who have most powerfully his works which the trunk of a tree gives to wrung and tortured them.
its smallest, its remotest, to even its withered Would that Crabbe had given us a century of leaves. And yet, without apparent intention, such things. We would have preferred to the Crabbe has done good moral service. He has “Tales of the Hall,” “ Tales of Greyling Hall,” shed much light upon the condition of the poor. or more tidings from the “ Hall of Justice.” He has spoken in the name and stead of the poor It had been a darker Decameron and brought dumb mouths that could not tell their own sorout more effectually-what the “ Village Poor- rows or sufferings to the world. He has opened house,” and the sketches of Elliott have since the “ mine,” which Ebenezer Elliott and others, done—the passions, miseries, crushed aspirations, going to work with a firmer and more resolute and latent poetry, which dwell in the hearts of the purpose, have dug to its depths. plundered poor; as well as the wretchedness 2dly. Hisoriginality.- This has been questioned by some critics. He has been called a version, confused_where sound becomes dumb and siin coarser paper and print, of Goldsmith, Pope, lence eloquent—where the earth is empty, and and Cowper. His pathos comes from Goldsmith the sky is peopled-where material beings are -his wit and satire from Pope—and his minute invisible, and where spiritual beings become gross and literal description from Cowper. If this and palpable to sense — where the skies are were true, it were as complimentary to him as opening to show riches—where the isle is full of his warmest admirer could wish. To combine noises where beings proper to this sphere of the characteristic excellences of three true poets dream are met so often that you cease to fear is no easy matter. But Crabbe has not com- them, however odd or monstrous_where magic bined them. His pathos wants altogether the has power to shut now the eyes of kings and now naiveté of sentiment, and curiosa felicitas of ex- the great bright eye of ocean—where, at the bidpression which distinguish Goldsmith's “Deserted ding of the poet, new, complete, beautiful mythoVillage.” He has something of Pope's terseness, logies, down at one time sweep across the sea, and but little of his subtlety, finish, or brilliant anon dance from the purple and mystic sky_where malice. And the motion of Cowper's mind and all things have a charmed life, the listening style in description differs as much from Crabbe's ground, the populous air, the still or the vexed sea, as the playful leaps and gambols of a kitten from the human or the imaginary beings—and where, the measured, downright, and indomitable pace as in deep dreams, the most marvellous incidents of a hound-the one is the easiest, the other are most easily credited, slide on most softly, and the severest, of describers. Resemblances, in- seem most native to the place, the circumstances, deed, of a minor kind are to be found ; but, still, and the time. “This is creation,” we exclaim : Crabbe is as distinct from Goldsmith, Cowper, nor did Ferdinand seem to Miranda a fresher and Pope, as Byron from Scott, Wordsworth, and braver creature than does to us each strange and Coleridge.
settler, whom genius has planted upon its own Originality consists of two kinds-one, the favourite isle. Crities may, indeed, take these power of inventing new materials ; and the imaginary beings—such as Caliban and Ariel — other, of dealing with old materials in a new and analyse them into their constituent parts; but way. We do not decide whether the first of there will be some one element which escapes these implies an act of absolute creation ; it im- them--aughing, as it leaps away, at their baffled plies all we can conceive in an act of creative sagacity, and proclaiming the original power of power, from elements bearing to the result the its Creator : as in the chymical analysis of an relation which the Alphabet does to the “Iliad” | Aerolite, amid the mere earthy constituents, there -genius brings forth its bright progeny, and we will still be something which declares its unfeel it to be new. In this case, you can no more earthly origin. Take Creation as meaning, not anticipate the effect from the elements than you so much Deity bringing something out of nothing, can, from the knowledge of the letters, antici- as filling the void with his Spirit, and genius will pate the words which are to be compounded out seem a lower form of the same power. of them. In the other kind of originality, the The other kind of originality is, we think, that materials bear a larger proportion to the result of Crabbe. , It is magic at second-hand. He --they form an appreciable quantity in our cal- takes, not makes, his materials. He finds a good culations of what it is to be. They are found foundation-wood and stone in plenty-and he for the poet, and all he has to do is, with skill begins laboriously, successfully, and after a plan and energy, to construct them. Take, for in- of his own, to build. If in any of his works he apstance, Shakspere's “ Tempest," and Coleridge's proaches to the higher property, it is in “ Eustace “ Anciente Marinere”-of what more creative act Grey," who moves here and there, on his wild can we conceive than is exemplified in these? | wanderings, as if to the rubbing of Aladdin's lamp. Of course, we have all had beforehand ideas similar This prepares us for coming to the third questo a storm, a desert island, a witch, a magician, a tion, what is Crabbe's relative position to his mariner, a hermit, a wedding-guest ; but these great contemporary poets? We are compelled to are only the Alphabet to the spirits of Shak- put him in the second class. He is not a philospere and Coleridge. As the sun, from the in- sophic poet, like Wordsworth. He is not, like visible air, draws up in an instant all pomps of Shelley, a Vates, moving upon the uncertain cloudy forms--paradises brighter than Eden mir- but perpetual and furious wind of his inspirored in waters, which blush and tremble as their rations. He is not, like Byron, a demoniac exreflexion falls wooingly upon them-mountains, ceeding fierce, and dwelling among the tombs. which seem to bury their snowy or rosy sum- He is not, like Keats, a sweet and melancholy mits in the very heaven of heavens — throne- voice, a tune bodiless, bloodless-dying away shaped splendours, worthy of angels to sit on upon the waste air, but for ever to be re. them, flushing and fading in the west-seas of membered as men remember a melody they have ærial blood and fire-momentary cloud-crowns heard in youth. He is not, like Coleridge, all and golden avenues, stretching away into the these almost by turns, and, besides, a Psalmist, azure infinite beyond them ;-so, from such stuff singing at times strains so sublime and holy, that as dreams are made of, from the mere empty air, they might seem snatches of the song of Eden's do these wondrous magicians build up their new cherubim, or caught in trance from the song of worlds, where the laws of nature are repealed — Moses and the Lamb. To this mystic brotherwhere all things are changed without any being hood Crabbe must not be added. He ranks with
a lower but still lofty band-with Scott, (as a “ As in a cradled Hercules you trace
The lines of empire in bis infant face."
ings and many waters, through the minster of We are often tempted to pity poor posterity on all future time ; in lower key, concerting with this score. How is it to manage with the im- those now awful voices from within the veil, mense number of excellent works which this age which have already shaken earth, and which has bequeathed, and is bequeathing it? How is uttered “ once more," shall shake not earth only, it to economise its time so as to read a tithe of but also heaven. High destiny! but not his whose them ? And should it in mere self-defence pro-portrait we have now drawn. ceed to decimate, with what principle shall the pro- We have tried to draw his mental, but not his cess be carried on, and who shall be appointed to physical likeness. And yet it has all along been preside over it? Critics of the twenty-second cen- blended with our thoughts, like the figure of one tary, be merciful as well as just. Pity the disjecta known from childhood, like the figure of our own membra of those we thought mighty poets. Re- beloved and long-lost father. We see the vespect and fulfil our prophecies of immortality. If nerable old man, newly returned from a botanical ye must carp and cavi), do not, at least, in mercy, excursion, laden with flowers and weeds (for no abridge. Spare us the prospect of this last in- one knew better than he that every weed is a sult, an abridged copy of the “Pleasures of Hope," flower—it is the secret of his poetry), with his or “Don Juan," a new abridgement. If ye must high narrow forehead, his grey locks, his glancing operate in this way, be it on “Madoc Thehama,” or shoe-buckles, his clean dress somewhat ruffled in the “Course of Time.” Generously leave room for the woods, his mild countenance, his simple ab“O'Connor's Child” in the poet's corner of a jour- stracted air. We, too, become abstracted as we nal, or for “Eustace Grey” in the space of a crown gaze, following in thought the outline of his hispiece. Surely, living in the Millenium, and rest- tory—his early struggles—his love_his advening under your vines and fig-trees, you will have tures in London-his journal, where, on the brink more time to read than we, in this bustling age, of starvation, he wrote the affecting words “ O who move, live, eat, drink, sleep, and die, at rail. Sally for you”_his rescue by Burke his taking way speed. If not, we fear the case of many of orders—his return to his native place—his mountour poets is hopeless, and that others, besides ing the pulpit stairs, not caring what his old Satan Montgomery and the author of " Silent enemies thought of him or his sermon-his marLove," would be wise to enjoy their present lau- riage—the entry, more melancholy by far than rels, for verily there are none else for them. the other, made years after in reference to it,
Seriously, we hope that much of Crabbe's “ yet happiness was denied ”--the publication of writing will every year become less and less read his different works—the various charges he occuable, and less and less easily understood ; till, in pied-his child-like surprise at getting so much the milder day, men shall have difficulty in be- money for the “ Tales of the Hall”—his visit to lieving that such physical, mental, and moral Scotland-his mistaking the Highland chiefs for degradation, as he describes, ever existed in Bri- foreigners, and bespeaking them in bad Frenchtain; and till, in future Encyclopædias, his name his figure as he went, dogged by thecaddie through be found recorded as a powerful but barbarous the lanes of the auld town of Edinburgh, which writer, writing in a barbarous age. The like he preferred infinitely to the new—the “aul may be the case with many, who have busied fale” he made of himself in pursuit of a second themselves more in recalling the past or pictur- wife, &c., &c. ; so absent do we become in thinking the present, than in anticipating the future. ing over all this, that it disturbs his abstraction ; But there are, or have been among us, a few who he starts, stares, asks us in to his parsonage, and have plunged beyond their own period, nay, be- we are about to accept the offer, when we awake, yond “all ages"--who have seen and shown us and, lo! it is a dream. the coming eras;
THE STORY OF LUKE WILLINGHAM:
A “CIVIL” PASSAGE IN THE CIVIL WARS.
BY HANNAH LAWRANCE.
NOTWITHSTANDING all that may be said in favour of our Pleasant was it—more especially to the equestrianpresent neck-or-nothing mode of travelling, it is very to trot along the high road at the sober rate of seven or questionable whether, on the whole, the sober, steady, eight miles an hour. “Snail's pace !" cries the indigjog-trot way of our forefathers was not, after all, more nant reader who has just arrived in London from Manpleasant ; whether caged up in the Wonder, a new chester, and, after dinner, intends setting out to join an coach, carrying four inside,” one hundred years ago, or evening party at Bath. Yes, good reader, pleasant, I proceeding quietly along, riding-coated and saddle-bagged, say, to mark each object on the high road, and each on a "good-pacing nag," two hundred years ago, there beautiful prospect as it gradually opened on the view; and was not much pleasurable excitement, and probably more pleasant was it to stop at each roadside village, and hear enjoyment.
the news that had just get the little community all talking