1818 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mary Leadbeater

George Crabbe to Mary Leadbeater, 7 September 1818; Leadbeater Papers (1862) 2:356-57.



I will write my name and look for two lines; but complying with you, my dear lady, is a kind of vanity. I find, however, no particular vexation of spirit, and will do as you desire. Indeed your desire must be very unlike yours, if I were not glad to comply with it; for the world has not spoiled you, Mary, I do believe. Now it has me; — I have been absorbed in its mighty vortex, and gone into the midst of its greatness, and joined in its festivities and frivolities, and been intimate with its children. You may like me very well, my kind friend, while the purifying water, and your more effectual imagination are between us; but come you to England, or let me be in Ireland, and place us together till mind becomes acquainted with mind — and then! Ah! Mary Leadbeater! you would have done with your friendships with me! Child of simplicity and virtue, how can you let yourself be so deceived? Am I not a great fat rector living upon a mighty income, while my pure curate starves with six hungry children upon the scraps that fall from the luxurious table? Do I not visit that horrible London, and enter into its abominable dissipations? Am I not this day going to dine on venison and drink claret? Have I not been at election dinners, and joined in the Babel confusion of a town hall? Child of simplicity, am I fit to be a friend to you, and to the peaceful, mild, pure, and gentle people about you? One thing is true — I wish I had the qualification. But I am of the world, Mary.