1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. George Crabbe

Thomas Frognall Dibdin, in Library Companion (1824; 1825) 2:750n.



How shall I describe the poetry of Mr. Crabbe? — original, terse, vigorous, and popular. He is the Hogarth of modern bards: or rather, I should say, if he displays Hogarth's power of conception, his pictures are finished with the point and brilliancy of Teniers. Every body reads, because every body understands his poems: but the subjects are too frequently painful, by being too true to nature, Still life, and active life, in nature, are palpably different objects to execute, You cannot copy too closely the mountains, lakes, trees, meadows, glens, and waterfalls, of one of her grandest pieces of scenery ... but if crowded allies of squallid wretchedness be entered, and the tattered garment, drunken riot, and desperate gambling, of its occupants described, you become a Hemskirk and Brauwer in poetry.