George Crabbe : Poetical Contribution

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      George Crabbe (1754-1832) : was born in Suffolk, at Aldeburgh, where his father had been a schoolmaster and a collector of customs. Crabbe comes very late among the poets now under review, but in method he is largely of the eighteenth century. He was apprenticed to a surgeon, but later left his native town to seek fame as an author in London (1780). He had little success at first, but gradually attracted attention. He fixed on a settled career by taking holy orders, and obtained the patronage of several influential men. Ultimately he obtained the valuable living of Trowbridge (1814), where he died as late as 1832, only a few months before Sir Walter Scott.

His chief poetical works are The Library (1781), The Village (1783), which made his name as a poet, The Borough (1810), and Tales (1812). The poems in their succession show little development, resembling each other closely both in subject and style. They are collections of tales, told in heroic couplets with much sympathy and a good deal of pathetic power, dealing with the lives of simple country folk such as Crabbe encountered in his own parish. There is a large amount of strong natural description, though it is subsidiary to the human interest in the stories themselves.
George Crabbe

      His chief poetical works are The Library (1781), The Village (1783), which made his name as a poet, The Borough (1810), and Tales (1812). The poems in their succession show little development, resembling each other closely both in subject and style. They are collections of tales, told in heroic couplets with much sympathy and a good deal of pathetic power, dealing with the lives of simple country folk such as Crabbe encountered in his own parish. There is a large amount of strong natural description, though it is subsidiary to the human interest in the stories themselves.

      The motivating power behind Crabbe's poetry was his desire to state the plain, unvarnished truth about the life of the peasant, and to destroy the idealized, artificial picture of it presented by the eighteenth-century pastoral. He has often been criticized for being too gloomy and pessimistic; he is pessimistic in the sense that, he is stubbornly alive to the miseries of the poor, and he is at a loss how to relieve them. Though, in technique, he was a life-long follower of the school of Pope, his work was warmly recognized by Wordsworth and other thinkers who had the welfare of the poor at heart. Crabbe, however, cannot be classed as a great poet; he lacks the supreme poetic gift of transforming even squalor and affliction into things of splendour and appeal; but he is sympathetic, sincere, and an acute observer of human nature.

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