1820 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. George Crabbe

Thomas Campbell, 1820 ca.; Life and Letters of Thomas Campbell, ed. Beattie (1849) 2:329-30.



The first time I met Crabbe was at Holland House, where he, Tom Moore, and myself, lounged the better part of a day about the Park and Library; and I can answer for one of the party, at least, being very much pleased with it. Our conversation was about novelists. Your father [Crabbe] was a strong Fieldingite, and I was as sturdy a Smollettite. His mildness in literary argument struck me with surprise in so stern a painter of nature; and I could not but contrast the unassumingness of his manners with the originality of his powers. In what may be called the ready-money small-talk of conversation, his facility might not, perhaps, seem equal to the known calibre of his talents; but in the progress of conversation I recollect remarking that there was a vigilant shrewdness that almost eluded you, by keeping its watch so quietly. Though an oldish man when I saw him, he was a "laudator temporis acti," but a decided lover of later times. The part of the morning which I spent with him and Tom Moore was to me, at least, of memorable agreeableness.