Neglected Genius!


Bequest of Mary Hyde Eccles, 2003 – MS Hyde 1 (97)

This fact in Virtue’s name let CRABBE attest,
Though Nature’s sternest Painter, yet the best.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784). Autograph letter to Joshua Reynolds, March 4th, 1783.

In this letter Dr. Johnson commends The Village, a pastoral poem by George Crabbe (1754-1832), as “original, vigorous, and elegant.” Reynolds in turn urged Crabbe to adopt Johnson’s emendations and additions to the poem. A generation later, Byron would endorse Johnson’s praise of Crabbe, writing in a footnote: “I consider Crabbe and Coleridge as the first of these times, in point of power and genius.”