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shortness of his busy little career, and the disappointments and weaknesses by which it is beset, with a genuine admiration of the great capacities he unfolds, and the high destiny to which he seems to be reserved, works out a very beautiful and engaging picture, both of the affections by which Life is endeared, the trials to which it is exposed, and the pure and peaceful enjoyments with which it may often be filled.

This, after all, we believe, is the tone of true wisdom and true virtue-and that to which all good natures draw nearer, as they approach the close of life, and come to act less, and to know and to meditate more, on the varying and crowded scene of human existence. When the inordinate hopes of early youth, which provoke their own disappointment, have been sobered down by longer experience and more extended views-when the keen contentions, and eager rivalries, which employed our riper age, have expired or been abandoned—when we have seen, year after year, the objects of our fiercest hostility, and of our fondest affections, lie down together in the hallowed peace of the grave-when ordinary pleasures and amusements begin to be insipid, and the gay derision which seasoned them to appear flat and importunate--when we reflect how often we have mourned and been comforted-what opposite opinions we have successively maintained and abandoned-to what inconsistent habits we have gradually been formed-and how frequently the objects of our pride have proved the sources of our shame! we are naturally led to recur to the careless days of our childhood, and from that distant starting place, to retrace the whole of our career, and that of our contemporaries, with feelings of far greater humility and indulgence than those by which it had been actually accompanied :-to think all vain but affection and honour-the simplest and cheapest pleasures the truest and most precious and generosity of sentiment the only mental superiority which ought either to be wished for or admired.

We are aware that we have said "something too much of this;" and that our readers would probably have been more edified, as well as more delighted, by Mr. Rogers' text, than with our preachment upon it. But we were anxious to convey to them our sense of the spirit in which this poem is written ;-and conceive, indeed, that what we have now said falls more strictly within the line of our critical duty, than our general remarks can always be said to do;-because the true character and poetical effect of the work seems, in this instance, to depend much more ou its moral expression, than on any of its merely literary qualities.

The author, perhaps, may not think it any compliment to be thus told, that his verses are likely to be greater favourites with the old than with the young-and yet it is no small compliment, we think, to say, that they are likely to be more favourites with his readers every year they live:-And it is at vents true, whether it be a compliment

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or not, that as readers of all ages, if they are any way worth pleasing, have little glimpses and occasional visitations of those truths which longer experience only renders more familiar, so no works ever sink so deep into amiable minds, or recur so often to their remembrance, as those which embody simple, and solemn, and reconciling truths, in emphatic and elegant language—and anticipate, as it were, and bring out with effect, those salutary lessons which it seems to be the great end of our life to inculcate. The pictures of violent passion and terrible emotion — the breathing characters, the splendid imagery and bewitching fancy of Shakespeare himself, are less frequently recalled, than those great moral aphorisms in which he has so often

Told us the fashion of our own estate The secrets of our bosoms

and, in spite of all that may be said by grave persons, of the frivolousness of poetry, and of its admirers, we are persuaded that the most memorable, and the most generally admired of all its productions, are those which are chiefly recommended by their deep practical wisdom; and their coincidence with those salutary imitations with which nature herself seems to furnish us from the passing scenes of our existence.

The literary character of the work is akin to its moral character; and the diction is as soft, elegant, and simple, as the sentiments are generous and true. The whole piece, indeed, is throughout in admirable keeping; and its beauties, though of a delicate, rather than an obtrusive character, set off each other to an attentive observer, by the skill with which they are harmonised, and the sweetness with which they slide into each other. The outline, perhaps, is often rather timidly drawn, and there is an occasional want of force and brilliancy in the colouring; which we are rather inclined to ascribe to the refined and somewhat fastidious taste of the artist, than to any defect of skill or of power. We have none of the broad and blazing tints of Scott-nor the startling contrasts of Byronnor the anxious and endlessly repeated touch of Southey-but something which comes much nearer to the soft and tender manner of Campbell; with still more reserve and caution, perhaps, and more frequent sacrifices of strong and popular effect, to an abhorrence of glaring beauties, and a disdain of vulgar

resources.

The work opens with a sort of epitome of its subject-and presents us with a brief abstract of man's (or at least Gentleman's) life, as marked by the four great eras of his birth -his coming of age-his marriage-and his death. This comprehensive picture, with its four compartments, is comprised in less than thirty lines.-We give the two latter scenes only.

Soon, issuing forth, shall glitter through the trees "And soon again shall music swell the breeze; Vestures of Nuptial white; and hymns be sung, And violets scatter'd round; and old and young,

In every cottage-porch with garlands green,
Stand still to gaze, and, gazing, bless the scene!
While, her dark eyes declining, by his side
Moves in her virgin-veil the gentle Bride.

"And once, alas! nor in a distant hour,
Another voice shall come from yonder tower !
When in dim chambers long black weeds are seen,
And weepings heard, where only joy had been;
When by his children borne, and from his door
Slowly departing to return no more,
He rests in holy earth, with them that went before!
"And such is Human Life! So gliding on,
It glimmers like a meteor, and is gone!"-pp. 8-10.

After some general and very striking reflections upon the perpetual but unperceived gradations by which this mysterious being is carried through all the stages of its fleeting existence, the picture is resumed and expanded with more touching and discriminating details. Infancy, for example, is thus finely delineated:

The child is born, by many a pang endear'd.
And now the mother's ear has caught his cry;
Oh grant the cherub to her asking eye!
He comes!-she clasps him. To her bosom press'd,
He drinks the balm of life, and drops to rest.

46

Her by her smile how soon the stranger knows;
How soon, by his, the glad discovery shows!
As to her lips she lifts the lovely boy,
What answering looks of sympathy and joy!
He walks, he speaks. In many a broken word
His wants, his wishes, and his griefs are heard.
And ever, ever to her lap he flies,
When rosy Sleep comes on with sweet surprise.
Lock'd in her arms, his arms across her flung
(That name most dear for ever on his tongue),
As with soft accents round her neck he clings,
And, cheek to cheek, her lulling song she sings,
How blest to feel the beatings of his heart,
Breathe his sweet breath, and kiss for kiss impart;
Watch o'er his slumbers like the brooding dove,
And, if she can, exhaust a mother's love!"

And laughing eyes and laughing voices fill Their halls with gladness. She, when all are still, Comes and undraws the curtain as they lie In sleep, how beautiful! He, when the sky "The hour arrives, the monent wish'd and Gleams, and the wood sends up its harmony,

fear'd;

When, gathering round his bed, they climb to share
His kisses, and with gentle violence there
Break in upon a dream not half so fair,
Up to the hill top leads their little feet;
Or by the forest-lodge; perchance to meet
The stag-herd on its march, perchance to hear
The otter rustling in the sedgy mere;
Or to the echo near the Abbot's tree,
That gave him back his words of pleasantry-
When the House stood, no merrier man than he!
And, as they wander with a keen delight,
If but a leveret catch their quicker sight
Down a green alley, or a squirrel then
Climb the gnarled oak, and look and climb again,
If but a moth flit by, an acorn fall,

He turns their thoughts to Him who made them all."
pp. 34-36.
"But Man is born to suffer. On the door
Sickness has set her mark; and now no more
Laughter within we hear, or wood-notes wild
As of a mother singing to her child.
All now in anguish from that room retire,
Where a young cheek glows with consuming fire,
And innocence breathes contagion !-all but one,
But she who gave it birth!-From her alone
The medicine-cup is taken. Through the night,
And through the day, that with its dreary light
Comes unregarded, she sits silent by,
Watching the changes with her anxious eye:
While they without, listening below, above,
(Who but in sorrow know how much they love?)
From every little noise catch hope and fear,
Exchanging still, still as they turn to hear,
Whispers and sighs, and smiles all tenderness!
That would in vain the starting tear repress."
pp. 38, 39.

pp. 19, 20.

This is pursued in the same strain of tenderness and beauty through all its most interesting bearings;-and then we pass to the bolder kindlings and loftier aspirations of Youth.

66

Then is the Age of Admiration-then
Gods walks the earth, or beings more than men!
Ha! then come thronging many a wild desire,
And high imaginings and thoughts of fire!
Then from within a voice exclaims 'Aspire!'
Phantoms, that upward point, before him pass,
As in the Cave athwart the Wizard's glass," &c.
p. 24.

We cut short this tablature, however, as well as the spirited sketches of impetuous courage and devoted love that belong to the same period, to come to the joys and duties of maturer life; which, we think, are described with still more touching and characteristic beauties. The Youth passes into this more tranquil and responsible state, of course, by Marriage; and we have great satisfaction in recurring, with our uxorious poet, to his representation of that engaging ceremony, upon which his thoughts seem to dwell with so much fondness and complacency.

"Then are they blest indeed! and swift the hours Till her young Sisters wreathe her hair in flowers, Kindling her beauty-while, unseen, the least Twitches her robe, then runs behind the rest,

Known by her laugh that will not be suppress'd.
Then before All they stand! The holy vow
And ring of gold, no fond illusions now,
Bind her as his! Across the threshold led,
And ev'ry tear kiss'd off as soon as shed,
His house she enters; there to be a light
Shining within, when all without is night!
A guardian-angel o'er his life presiding,
Doubling his pleasures, and his cares dividing!
How oft her eyes read his; her gentle mind,
To all his wishes, all his thoughts inclin'd;
Still subject-even on the watch to borrow
Mirth of his mirth, and sorrow of his sorrow."
pp. 32, 33.
Beautiful as this is, we think it much infe-
rior to what follows; when Parental affection
comes to complete the picture of Connubial
bliss.

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The scene, however, is not always purely domestic-though all its lasting enjoyments are of that origin, and look back to that consummation. His country requires the arm of a free man! and home and all its joys must be left, for the patriot battle. The sanguinary the return is exquisite; nor do we know, any and tumultuous part is slightly touched; But heartfelt beauty, than some of those we are where, any verses more touching and full of

about to extract.

"He goes, and Night comes as it never came!
With shri ks of horror!-and a vault of flame!
And lo! when morning mocks the desolate,
Red runs the rivulet by; and at the gate
Breathless a horse without his rider stands!
But hush!.. a shout from the victorious bands!
And oh the smiles and tears! a sire restor'd!
One wears his helm-one buckles on his sword.

44

One hangs the wall with laurel-leaves, and all
Spring to prepare the soldier's festival;
While She best-lov'd, till then forsaken never,
Clings round his neck, as she would cling for ever!
Such golden deeds lead on to golden days,
Days of domestic peace-by him who plays
On the great stage how uneventful thought;
Yet with a thousand busy projects fraught,
A thousand incidents that stir the mind
To pleasure, such as leaves no sting behind!
Such as the heart delights in-and records
Within how silently-
-in more than words!
A Holyday-the frugal banquet spread
On the fresh herbage near the fountain-head
With quips and cranks-what time the wood-lark
there

Other cares and trials and triumphs await him. He fights the good fight of freedom in the senate, as he had done before in the fieldand with greater peril. The heavy hand of power weighs upon him, and he is arraigned of crimes against the State.

:

Scatters her loose notes on the sultry air,
What time the king-fisher sits perch'd below,
Where, silver-bright, the water lilies blow :-
A Wake-the booths whit'ning the village-green,
Where Punch and Scaramouch aloft are seen;
Sign beyond sign in close array unfurl'd,
Picturing at large the wonders of the world;
And far and wide, over the vicar's pale,
Black hoods and scarlet crossing hill and dale,
All, all abroad, and music in the gale :-
A Wedding-dance-a dance into the night!
On the barn-floor when maiden-feet are light;
When the young bride receives the promis'd dower,
And flowers are flung, herself a fairer flower
A morning-visit to the poor man's shed,
(Who would be rich while One was wanting bread ?) With thee conversing in thy lov'd retreat,
When all are emulous to bring relief,
And tears are falling fast-but not for grief:-
A Walk in Spring-Gr*tt*n, like those with thee,
By the heath-side (who had not envied me ?)
When the sweet limes, so full of bees in June,
Led us to meet beneath their boughs at noon;
And thou didst say which of the Great and Wise,
Could they but hear and at thy bidding rise,
Thou wouldst call up and question."-pp. 42-46.

"And now once more where most he lov'd to be,
In his own fields-breathing tranquillity-
We hail him-not less happy, Fox, than thee!
Thee at St. Anne's, so soon of Care beguil'd,
Playful, sincere, and artless as a child!
Thee, who wouldst watch a bird's nest on the spray,
:'-Through the green leaves exploring, day by day.
How oft from grove to grove, from seat to seat,

I saw the sun go down!-Ah, then 'twas thine
Ne'er to forget some volume half divine, [shade
Shakespeare's or Dryden's-thro' the chequer'd
Borne in thy hand behind thee as we stray'd:
And where we sate (and many a halt we made)
To read there with a fervour all thy own,
And in thy grand and melancholy tone,
Some splendid passage not to thee unknown,
Fit theme for long discourse.-Thy bell has toll'd!
-But in thy place among us we behold
One that resembles thee."-pp. 52, 53.

"Like Hampden struggling in his country's cause,
The first, the foremost to obey the laws,
The last to brook oppression! On he moves,
Careless of blame while his own heart approves,
Careless of ruin-(" For the general good
'Tis not the first time I shall shed my blood.")
On through that gate misnamed,* through which
before.
Went Sidney, Russel, Raleigh. Cranmer, More!
On into twilight within walls of stone,
Then to the place of trial; and alone,
Alone before his judges in array
Stands for his life! there, on that awful day,
Counsel of friends-all human help denied-
All but from her who sits the pen to guide.
Like that sweet saint who sat by Russel's sidet
Under the judgment-seat !—But guilty men
Triumph not always. To his hearth again,

Again with honour to his hearth restor❜d,
Lo, in the accustom'd chair and at the board,
Thrice greeting those that most withdraw their
claim

*Traitor's Gate, in the Tower.

+ We know of nothing at once so pathetic and so sublime, as the few simple sentences here alluded to, in the account of Lord Russel's trial.

Lord Russel. May I have somebody write to help my memory?

Mr. Attorney General. Yes, a Servant. Lord Chief Justice. Any of your Servants shall assist you in writing any thing you please for you. Lord Russel. My Wife is here, my Lord, to do it? -When we recollect who Russel and his wife were, and what a destiny was then impending, this makes the heart swell, almost to bursting.

6

(The humblest servant calling by his name),
He reads thanksgiving in the eyes of all,
All met as at a holy festival!

-On the day destin'd for his funeral!
Lo, there the Friend, who, entering where he lay,
Breath'd in his drowsy ear Away, away!
Take thou my cloak-Nay, start not, but obey-
Take and leave me.' And the blushing Maid,
Who through the streets as through a desert stray'd;
And, when her dear, dear Father pass'd along.
Would not be held; but, bursting through the throng,
Halberd and battle-axe-kissed him o'er and o'er;
Then turn'd and went-then sought him as before,
Believing she should see his face no more!"

pp. 48-50. What follows is sacred to still higher remembrances.

The scene of closing Age is not less beautiful and attractive-nor less true and exemplary.

"'Tis the sixth hour.
The village-clock strikes from the distant tower.
The ploughman leaves the field; the traveller hears,
And to the inn spurs forward. Nature wears
Her sweetest smile; the day-star in the west
Yet hovering, and the thistle's down at rest.

"And such, his labour done, the calm He knows, Whose footsteps we have follow'd. Round him glows

An atmosphere that brightens to the last;
The light, that shines, reflected from the Past,
-And from the Future too! Active in Thought
Among old books, old friends; and not unsought
By the wise stranger. In his morning-hours,
When gentle airs stir the fresh-blowing flowers,
He muses, turning up the idle weed;
Or prunes or grafts, or in the yellow mead
Watches his bees at hiving-time; and now,
The ladder resting on the orchard-bough,
Culls the delicious fruit that hangs in air,
The purple plum, green fig, or golden pear,
Mid sparkling eyes, and hands uplifted there.

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They stand between the mountains and the sea;
Awful memorials-but of whom we know not!
The seaman, passing, gazes from the deck.
The buffalo-driver, in his shaggy cloak,
Points to the work of magic, and moves on.
Time was they stood along the crowded street,
Temples of Gods! and on their ample steps
What various habits, various tongues beset
The brazen gates, for prayer and sacrifice!

"How many centuries did the sun go round
From Mount Alburnus to the Tyrrhene sea,
While, by some spell render'd invisible,
Or, if approach'd, approached by him alone
Who saw as though he saw not, they remain'd
As in the darkness of a sepulchre,
Proclaims that Nature had resum'd her right,
Waiting the appointed time! All, all within
And taken to herself what man renounc'd;
No cornice, triglyph, or worn abacus,
Their iron-brown o'erspread with brightest verdure!
But with thick ivy hung or branching fern,

"From my youth upward have I longed to tread
This classic ground.-And am I here at last?
Wandering at will through the long porticoes,
And catching, as through some majestic grove,
Now the blue ocean, and now, chaos-like,
Towns like the living rock from which they grew?
Mountains and mountain-gulphs! and, half-way up,
A cloudy region, black and desolate,
Where once a slave withstood a world in arms.

"The air is sweet with violets, running wild
Mid broken sculptures and fallen capitals!
Sweet as when Tully, writing down his thoughts,
Sail'd slowly by, two thousand years ago,
For Athens; when a ship, if north-east winds

We have dwelt too long, perhaps, on a work more calculated to make a lasting, than a strong impression on the minds of its readers -and not, perhaps, very well calculated for being read at all in the pages of a Miscellaneous Journal. We have gratified ourselves, however, in again going over it; and hope we have not much wearied our readers. It is followed by a very striking copy of verses written at Pæstum in 1816-and more characteristic of that singular and most striking scene, than any thing we have ever read, in prose or verse, on the subject. The ruins of Pæstum, as they are somewhat improperly called, consist of three vast and massive Temples, of the most rich and magnificent architecture; which are not ruined at all, but as entire as on the day when they were built, while there is not a vestige left of the city to which they belonged! They stand in a "In such an hour as this, the sun's broad disk desert and uninhabited plain, which stretches Seen at his setting, and a flood of light for many miles from the sea to the mountains Filling the courts of these old sanctuaries, -and, after the subversion of the Roman (Gigantic shadows, broken and confus'd, greatness, had fallen into such complete obli- Across the innumerable columns flung) vion, that for nearly nine hundred years they Led by the mighty Genius of the Place' In such an hour he came, who saw and told, had never been visited or heard of by any in- Walls of some capital city first appear'd, telligent person, till they were accidentally Half raz'd, half sunk, or scatter'd as in scorn; discovered about the middle of the last cen--And what within them? what but in the midst tury. The whole district in which they are These Three, in more than their original grandeur, situated, though once the most fertile and As if the spoiler had fallen back in fear, And, round about, no stone upon another! flourishing part of the Tyrrhene shore, has And, turning, left them to the elements." been almost completely depopulated by the Mal'aria; and is now, in every sense of the word, a vast and dreary desert. The following lines seem to us to tell all that need be told, and to express all that can be felt of a scene so strange and so mournful.

Blew from the Pæstan gardens, slack'd her course.
The birds are hush'd awhile; and nothing stirs,
Save the shrill-voic'd cigala flitting round
On the rough pediment to sit and sing;
Or the green lizard rustling through the grass,
To vanish in the chinks that Time has made!
And up the fluted shaft, with short quick motion,

66

Age has now
Stamp'd with its signet that ingenuous brow;
And, 'mid his old hereditary trees,
Trees he has climb'd so oft, he sits and sees
His children's children playing round his knees:
Envying no more the young their energies
Than they an old man when his words are wise;
His a delight how pure . . . without alloy;
Strong in their strength, rejoicing in their joy!

"Now in their turn assisting, they repay
The anxious cares of many and many a day;
And now by those he loves reliev'd, restor'd,
His very wants and weaknesses afford
A feeling of enjoyment. In his walks,
Leaning on them, how oft he stops and talks,
While they look up! Their questions, their replies,
Fresh as the welling waters, round him rise,
Gladdening his spirit."-pp. 53-61.

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The volume ends with a little ballad, entitled "The Boy of Egremond"-which is well enough for a Lakish ditty, but not quite worthy of the place in which we meet it.

(June, 1915.)

Roderick: The Last of the Goths. By ROBERT SOUTHEY, Esq., Poet-Laureate, and Member of the Royal Spanish Academy. 4to. pp. 477. London: 1814.*

THIS is the best, we think, and the most powerful of all Mr. Southey's poems. It abounds with lofty sentiments, and magnificent imagery; and contains more rich and comprehensive descriptions-more beautiful pictures of pure affection-and more impressive representations of mental agony and exultation than we have often met with in the compass of a single volume.

A work, of which all this can be said with justice, cannot be without great merit; and ought not, it may be presumed, to be without great popularity. Justice, however, has something more to say of it: and we are not quite sure either that it will be very popular, or that it deserves to be so. It is too monotonous too wordy-and too uniformly stately, tragical, and emphatic. Above all, it is now and then a little absurd-and pretty frequently not a little affected.

1

The author is a poet undoubtedly; but not of the highest order. There is rather more of rhetoric than of inspiration about himand we have oftener to admire his taste and industry in borrowing and adorning, than the boldness or felicity of his inventions. He has indisputably a great gift of amplifying and exalting; but uses it, we must say, rather unmercifully. He is never plain, concise, or unaffectedly simple, and is so much bent upon making the most of every thiug, that he is perpetually overdoing. His sentiments and situations are, of course, sometimes ordinary enough; but the tone of emphasis and pretension is never for a moment relaxed; and the most trivial occurrences, and fantastical distresses, are commemorated with the same vehemence and exaggeration of manner, as the most startling incidents, or the deepest and most heart-rending disasters. This want of relief and variety is sufficiently painful of

I have, in my time, said petulant and provoking things of Mr. Southey :-and such as I would not say now. But I am not conscious that I was ever unfair to his Poetry and if I have noted what I thought its faults, in too arrogant and derisive a spirit, I think I have never failed to give hearty and cordial praise to its beauties and generally dwelt much more largely on the latter than the former. Few things, at all events, would now grieve me more, than to think I might give pain to his many friends and admirers, by reprint ing, so soon after his death, any thing which might appear derogatory either to his character or his genius; and therefore, though I cannot say that I have substantially changed any of the opinions I have formerly expressed as to his writings, I only insert in this publication my review of his last considerable poem: which may be taken as conveying my matured opinion of his merits-and will be felt, I trust, to have done no scanty or unwilling justice to his great and peculiar powers.

itself in a work of such length; but its worst effect is, that it gives an air of falsetto and pretension to the whole strain of the compo sition, and makes us suspect the author of imposture and affectation, even when he has good enough cause for his agonies and rap tures.

How is it possible, indeed, to commit our sympathies, without distrust, to the hands of a writer, who, after painting with infinite force the anguish of soul which pursued the fallen Roderick into the retreat to which his crimes had driven him, proceeds with redoubled emphasis to assure us, that neither his remorse nor his downfal were half so intolera ble to him, as the shocking tameness of the sea birds who flew round about him in that utter solitude! and were sometimes so familiar as to brush his cheek with their wings! "For his lost crown

And sceptre never had he felt a thought
Of pain: Repentance had no pangs to spare
For trifles such as these. The loss of these
Was a cheap penalty:.. that he had fallen
Down to the lowest depth of wretchedness,
His hope and consolation. But to lose
His human station in the scale of things,..
To see brute Nature scorn kim, and renounce
Its homage to the human form divine!..
Had then almighty vengeance thus reveal'd
His punishment, and was he fallen indeed
Below fallen man... below redemp ion's reach,..
Made lower than the beasts?"-p. 17.

This, if we were in bad humour, we should be tempted to say, was little better than drivelling;-and certainly the folly of it is greatly aggravated by the tone of intense solemnity in which it is conveyed: But the worst fault by far, and the most injurious to the effect of the author's greatest beauties, is the extreme diffuseness and verbosity of his style, and his unrelenting anxiety to leave nothing to the fancy, the feeling, or even the plain understanding of his readers-but to have every thing set down, and impressed and hammered into them, which it may any how conduce to his glory that they should comprehend. There never was any author, we are persuaded, who had so great a distrust of his readers' capacity, or such an unwillingness to leave any opportunity of shining unimproved; and accordingly, we rather think there is no author. who, with the same talents and attainments, has been so generally thought tedious-or acquired, on the whole, a popularity so inferior to his real deservings. On the present occasion, we have already said, his deserv ings appear to us unusually great, and his faults less than commonly conspicuous. But though there is less childishness and trifling in this, than in any of his other productions,

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