1831 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. George Crabbe

John Wilson, in "An Hour's Talk About Poetry"1831; Recreations of Christopher North (1852) 72.



Then, there is the poetry of Crabbe. We hear it is not very popular. If so, then neither is human life. For of all our poets, he has most skillfully woven the web and woven the woof of all his compositions with the materials of human life — homespun indeed, but though often coarse, always strong — and though set to plain patterns, yet not unfrequently exceeding fine is the old weaver's workmanship. Ay — hold up the product of his loom between your eye and the light, and it glows and glimmers like the peacock's back or the breast of the rainbow. Sometimes it seems to be but of the "hodden gray;" when sunbeam or shadow smites it, and lo! it is burnished like the regal purple. But did the Boroughmonger ever produce a Great Poem? You might as well ask if he built St. Pauls.