1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. George Crabbe

Uvedale Price to Samuel Rogers, 6 October 1824; Clayden, Rogers and his Contemporaries (1889) 1:388-89.



Crabbe, I once saw and that's all. I might have been acquainted with him, for Sir Joshua invited me to dinner, and told me I should meet Crabbe and Johnson. I had some engagement, probably (for I was then, as Ste. Fox used to say of himself, a young man of wit and pleasure about town) at some fine house to meet fine gentlemen and ladies; whatever it was, I was blockhead enough not to break it, and I have never forgiven myself. The dinner I went to and the company there I have never thought of from that time to this; the dinner I did not go to I never should have forgotten, and if I had gone should now be recollecting every circumstance with pleasure and satisfaction, instead of crying, Oh fool! fool! fool! I am, as you know, a great admirer of Crabbe; so were Charles Fox and Fitzpatrick. The first poem of his I ever saw (I believe it his first work) was The Library; Charles brought it to Foxley soon after it came out and read a good deal of it to us, Hare being one of the audience. I particularly remember his reading the part where Crabbe has described "the ancient worthies of romance," and has given in about twenty lines the essence of knight errantry. When Fox came to "And shadowy forms with staring eyes stalk round," Hare cried out (you remember his figure and eyes), "That's meant for you."