Where Plenty smiles - alas! she smiles for few,And those who taste not, yet behold her store,Are as the slaves that dig the golden ore,The wealth around them makes them doubly poor.
The Village, Book 1, line 136 (1783)
The murmuring poor, who will not fast in peace.
The Newspaper (1785), line 158.
A master passion is the love of news.
The Newspaper (1785), line 279.
Our farmers round, well pleased with constant gain,Like other farmers, flourish and complain.
The Parish Register (1807), Part 1: "Baptisms", line 273.
Oh, rather give me commentators plain,Who with no deep researches vex the brain;Who from the dark and doubtful love to run,And hold their glimmering tapers to the sun.
The Parish Register (1807), Part i, "Introduction". Compare "How commentators each dark passage shun, / And hold their farthing candle to the sun", Edward Young, Love of Fame, Satire vii, Line 97.
Her air, her manners, all who saw admir'd;Courteous though coy, and gentle though retir'd;The joy of youth and health her eyes display'd,And ease of heart her every look convey'd.
The Parish Register (1807), Part ii, "Marriages".
Habit with him was all the test of truth,It must be right: I’ve done it from my youth.
The Borough (1810), Letter iii, "The Vicar", line 138.
In this fool's paradise he drank delight.
The Borough (1810), Letter xii, "Players".
Books cannot always please, however good;Minds are not ever craving for their food.
The Borough (1810), Letter xxiv, "Schools".
In idle wishes fools supinely stay;Be there a will, and wisdom finds a way.
The Birth of Flattery, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
was an English poet and naturalist
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...
He was born in Aldeburgh
Aldeburgh is a coastal town in Suffolk, East Anglia, England. Located on the River Alde, the town is notable for its Blue Flag shingle beach and fisherman huts where freshly caught fish are sold daily, and the Aldeburgh Yacht Club...
, Suffolk, the son of a tax collector, and developed his love of poetry as a child. In 1768, he was apprenticed to a local doctor, who taught him little, and in 1771 he changed masters and moved to Woodbridge. There he met his future wife, Sarah Elmy, who accepted his proposal and had the faith and patience not only to wait for Crabbe but to encourage his verse writing. His first major work, a poem entitled "Inebriety", was self-published in 1775. By this time he had completed his medical training, and had decided to take up writing seriously. In 1780, he went to London, where he had little success, but eventually made an impression on Edmund Burke
Edmund Burke PC was an Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist and philosopher who, after moving to England, served for many years in the House of Commons of Great Britain as a member of the Whig party....
, who helped him have his poem, The Library
, published in 1781. In the meantime, Crabbe's religious nature had made itself felt, and he was ordained a clergyman and became chaplain to the Duke of Rutland
Earl of Rutland and Duke of Rutland are titles in the peerage of England, derived from Rutland, a county in the East Midlands of England. The Earl of Rutland was elevated to the status of Duke in 1703 and the titles were merged....
at Belvoir Castle
Belvoir Castle is a stately home in the English county of Leicestershire, overlooking the Vale of Belvoir . It is a Grade I listed building....
The two works for which Crabbe became best known were The Village
The Village is one of the best known poems by the Englishman, George Crabbe, published in 1783. The poem contrasts the traditional representation of the rural idyll in Augustan poetry with the realities of village life....
(1783) and The Borough
The Borough is a collection of poems by George Crabbe published in 1810. Written in heroic couplets, the poems are arranged as a series of 24 letters, covering various aspects of borough life and detailing the stories of certain inhabitants’ lives....
(1810), both lengthy poems dealing with the way of life he had experienced. In 1783, he also married Sarah. In 1814, he became Rector of Trowbridge
Trowbridge is the county town of Wiltshire, England, situated on the River Biss in the west of the county, approximately 12 miles southeast of Bath, Somerset....
in Wiltshire, where he remained. By the time of his death, he was well regarded and a friend of William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with the 1798 joint publication Lyrical Ballads....
, Sir Walter Scott
Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet, popular throughout much of the world during his time....
and other major literary figures of the time.
Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, OM CH was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. He showed talent from an early age, and first came to public attention with the a cappella choral work A Boy Was Born in 1934. With the premiere of his opera Peter Grimes in 1945, he leapt to...
's opera Peter Grimes
Peter Grimes is an opera by Benjamin Britten, with a libretto adapted by Montagu Slater from the Peter Grimes section of George Crabbe's poem The Borough...
is based on The Borough
. Byron, an avowed admirer of Crabbe's poetry, called him "Nature's sternest painter, yet the best". Crabbe's poetry was predominantly in the form of heroic couplets. His poetry has also been described as unsentimental in its depiction of provincial life and society.
He was also an active and notable coleopterist and recorder of beetles, and is credited for taking the first specimen of Calosoma sycophanta
The Calosoma sycophanta or forest caterpillar hunter is a large, bright green, metallic ground beetle that is native to Europe. In 1905 it was imported to New England for control of the gypsy moth...
L. to be recorded from Suffolk
Suffolk is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in East Anglia, England. It has borders with Norfolk to the north, Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south. The North Sea lies to the east...
. He published an essay on the Natural History of the Vale of Belvoir
The Vale of Belvoir is an area of natural beauty on the borders of Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire in England. Indeed, the name itself derives from the Norman-French for beautiful view.-Extent and geology:...
in John Nichols
John Nichols was an English printer, author and antiquary.-Early life and apprenticeship:He was born in Islington, London to Edward Nichols and Anne Wilmot. On 22 June 1766 he married Anne Cradock daughter of William Cradock...
's, Bibliotheca Topographia Britannica, VIII, Antiquities in Leicestershire
, 1790. It includes a very extensive list of local coleopterans, and references more than 70 species. This text was later reviewed by the renowned entomologist Horace Donisthorpe
Horace St. John Kelly Donisthorpe was an eccentric British myrmecologist and coleopterist, memorable in part for his enthusiastic championing of the renaming of the genus Lasius after him as Donisthorpea, and for his many claims of discovering new species of beetles and ants.He is often considered...
(Leics. lit. phil. Soc., 4, 1896, 198–200), who concluded that George Crabbe had both a broad knowledge of national species and was well acquainted with contemporary scientific literature, including works by Linnaeus
Carl Linnaeus , also known after his ennoblement as , was a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of binomial nomenclature. He is known as the father of modern taxonomy, and is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology...
Johan Christian Fabricius was a Danish zoologist, specialising in "Insecta", which at that time included all arthropods: insects, arachnids, crustaceans and others...
- Alfred Ainger
Alfred Ainger was an English biographer and critic.The son of an architect in London he was educated at University College School, King's College London and Trinity College, Cambridge, from where he subsequently entered the Church, and, after holding various minor preferments, became Master of the...
, Crabbe, 1903, English Men of Letters
English Men of Letters was a series of literary biographies written by leading literary figures of the day and published by Macmillan, under the general editorship of John Morley. The original series was launched in 1878, with Leslie Stephen's biography of Samuel Johnson, and ran until 1892...
series, eText from Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg is a volunteer effort to digitize and archive cultural works, to "encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks". Founded in 1971 by Michael S. Hart, it is the oldest digital library. Most of the items in its collection are the full texts of public domain books...
- Crabbe in Leicestershire – Bottesford DC