To the Hon. Mrs. Spencer.

Poems by George Crabbe. 3 Vols [Adolphus William Ward, ed.]

Rev. George Crabbe

Two Spenserian stanzas "written July 12, 1827, after a Visit at Petersham."

Blackwood's Magazine: "The three most popular names, Scott, Crabbe, Byron, still remain to be discussed. Each in his way has become a British classic of the first class; and, generally speaking, they are none of them much spoken about, any more than Dryden or Pope. Shakespeare, Spenser, Milton, still certainly stand by themselves. But, perhaps, it would be no easy matter to say, which is, at this moment, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, or the seventh name in the calendar of English verse. No man can show his face in decent company without being, or pretending to be, perfectly familiar with our three living classics. Their works are almost essential parts of the furniture of a decent house, — as the dinner-table itself, whereas the books of our other poetical friends may be likened rather to your billiard-tables, — chess-boards, — commodes, — Buhl cabinets, and so forth" 11 (June 1822) 670.

Norma Dalrymple-Champneys: "The Hon. Mrs Spencer, born in 1770, was the daughter of Count Francis Jenison-Walworth, an Englishman who became High Chamberlain to Duke Frederick II (afterwards King) of Wurttemberg. After the death of her first husband, Count Spreti, she married the Hon. William Robert Spencer (1769-1834), poet and wit.... Crabbe was fascinated by both husband and wife, recording a 'very delightful morning' with them at Petersham, Surrey, in his London journal for 11 July 1817 ... and several other meetings. The poem may have been intended for her album which he mentions briefly under 13 July. The subject of his lapse of memory is unexplained" Poetical Works (1988) 3:407.

That new-made Honour doth forget Men's Names,
Engrossed and happy in itself — is true;
But still my Want of Memory Pardon claims;
For mine is Honour great as well as new—
Honour to know, and to be known by, you.
Wonder not, then, that I should cast away
The common Stores that in the Memory grew;
That, GEORGE appearing, I should RICHARD say
Or tell the Moon's pale Light, "lo! thine the glorious Day!"

But her best Treasures Memory still retains;
The Power of Beauty I remember yet;
Thy Smile for ever in the Soul remains,
And, though the Sun upon that Joy hath set,
Remembrance lives — it is my Pride, we met.
Oh! could I give that Day its proper Fame,
Not distant Ages should those Hours forget,
When I thy Friend — allow the Word — became;
And Honours new or old shall not efface that Name.