1882 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ebenezer Elliott

Epes Sargent, in Harper's Cyclopaedia of British and American Poetry (1882) 360.



Elliott (1781-1849) was born at Masborough, in Yorkshire. His father was an iron-founder, and he himself wrought at the business for many years. His vigorous Corn-law Rhymes, published between 1830 and 1836, did much to compel Government to abolish all restrictions on the importation of corn. The champion of the poor and oppressed, an intense hater of all injustice, he was no Communist, as the following epigram shows:

What is a Communist? One who has yearnings
For equal division of unequal earnings.

Elliott had a genuine taste, and the eye of an artist for natural scenery. He was by nature a poet. There is a tenderness and grace that has rarely been excelled in some of his descriptive touches. In the religious sentiment and a devout faith in the compensations of Divine Providence he was also strong. His career was manly and honorable; and in the latter part of his life his circumstances, through his own exertions, were easy, if not affluent.