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Saturday, 14 June 2014

Saturday Rave: Rural Life by George Crabbe.

This is a sideways step from last week's post on John Clare, but as it's got me to George Crabbe perhaps that's appropriate.

I studied George Crabbe for A level English, and yet I am still fond of  him. What better recommendation could I make?

He, like John Clare, wrote about rural life, though while Clare was enraptured by the beauty around him, Crabbe was most interested in the way people lived together in their country communities.



Crabbe's most famous work is probably The Borough, which includes the tragic story of Peter Grimes (which was later made into an opera by Benjamin Britten), but here's a passage from Book I of The Village.

In it Crabbe is explaining why his poetry has to be the way it is.

I grant indeed that fields and flocks have charms
For him that gazes or for him that farms;
But when amid such pleasing scenes I trace
The poor laborious natives of the place,
And see the mid-day sun, with fervid ray,
On their bare heads and dewy temples play;
While some, with feebler heads and fainter hearts,
Deplore their fortune, yet sustain their parts:
Then shall I dare these real ills to hide
In tinsel trappings of poetic pride?
 
Tinsel trappings. Well, that's a useful thought for every writer to keep in mind.
 
Word To Use Today: tinsel. This word comes from the Old French estincele, a spark.
 
 

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