George Crabbe

English poet, surgeon, and clergyman

George Crabbe (December 24, 1754February 3, 1832) was an English poet, known for his realistic and unsentimental portrayals of peasant life.

George Crabbe


  • 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).

Tales in Verse (1812)Edit

  • Who calls a lawyer rogue, may find, too late
    Upon one of these depends his whole estate.
    • Tales iii, "The Gentleman Farmer".
  • Cut and come again.
    • Tale vii, "The Widow's Tale".
  • Better to love amiss than nothing to have loved.
    • Tale xiv, "The Struggles of Conscience". Compare: "'T is better to have loved and lost, Than never to have loved at all", Alfred Tennyson, In Memoriam, xxvii.
  • But 'twas a maxim he had often tried,
    That right was right, and there he would abide.
    • Tale xv, "The Squire and the Priest". Compare: "For right is right, since God is God", Frederick William Faber, The Right must win.
  • 'T was good advice, and meant, my son, Be good.
    • Tale xxi, "The Learned Boy".

Tales of the Hall (1819)Edit

  • Secrets with girls, like loaded guns with boys,
    Are never valued till they make a noise.
    • "The Maid's Story", line 84 (1819).
  • He tried the luxury of doing good.
    • Book iii, "Boys at School". Compare: "And learn the luxury of doing good", Oliver Goldsmith, The Traveller, Line 22.
  • To sigh, yet not recede; to grieve, yet not repent.
    • Book iii, "Boys at School". Compare: To sigh, yet feel no pain", Thomas Moore The Blue Stocking.
  • And took for truth the test of ridicule.
    • Book viii, "The Sisters".
  • Time has touched me gently in his race,
    And left no odious furrows in my face.

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