George Crabbe



George Crabbe is buried in the sanctuary of St. James's Church, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England. There is a memorial tablet to him on the north wall of the chancel.

St James's Church, Trowbridge

Crabbe had two careers as a poet: one in the seventeenth century with poems such as The Library and The Village and one in the eighteenth century with his highly original long poems such as The Borough and Tales in Verse.

His early work was influenced by the neo classical poets such as Pope and this is apparent in his frequent use of the heroic couplet.

As a young man Crabbe abandoned a career as a doctor in order to pursue the literary life. However, he was virtually destitute when Edmund Burke recognised his potential. It was also Burke who encouraged him to enter the church.

For the last 18 years of his life Crabbe was vicar of Trowbridge. He was inspired to write whilst sitting under a mulberry tree in the rectory grounds. He was also reputed to have taken opium for 40 years with no ill effects.

Byron admired Crabbe's poetry and called him: 'Nature's sternest painter yet the best'. He was also a friend of Sir Walter Scott and Jane Austin's favourite poet. His best work is characterised by realistic and meticulously observed portraits of rural life.

In 1945 Benjamin Britten composed the opera Peter Grimes based on the character in The Borough.

There is also a monument commemorating Crabbe in Aldburgh, Suffolk - the town where he was born - and upon which he based The Borough.

George Crabbe

Thus by himself compelled to live each day,
To wait for certain hours the tide's delay;
At the same times the same dull views to see,
The boundng marsh-bank and the blighted tree;

From Peter Grimes; the Outcast (read more)






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