Neglected Genius!


Francis James Child fund, 1941 – fMS Eng 776

... If Phoebus smiled on you, BLOOMFIELD!
Why not on brother Nathan too?

Robert Bloomfield (1766-1823). The Farmer’s Boy: a Poem: autograph manuscript, 1801.

Byron’s bias against working class poets is evident in his lines on shoemaker-poet Bloomfield and his less talented brother Nathan. The manuscript has been extra-illustrated with autograph letters of the poet and his patron Capel Lofft (“the Maecenas of shoemakers”), engraved portraits, woodcuts by Thomas Bewick, and four original watercolor drawings by an unidentified artist that depict rural scenes. A second autograph manuscript of the poem at Houghton Library contains Bloomfield’s responses to Lofft’s editorial revisions to the first printed edition (1800).