chapter  17
9 Pages

THE QUEST FOR CRABTREE

WithCharles Peake

We are met here to-night not primarily to investigate the private lives of the man, Joseph Crabtree, but to honour a great poet, a ‘blithe spirit’, whose art was ‘profuse’, if not ‘unpremeditated’. Yet to say this, confronts us with the grave lacuna in our studies. Of course we know of the Ode on Claret and of the Ars Salutandi. Five poems have been presented to this Foundation by earlier orators and one still has hopes of seeing the florilegium or wreath of commemorative verses, culled by our librarian himself, from the obituary columns of the provincial press-where Crabtree, having in his youth set the Romantic Movement on its feet, turned in his age to restore the spirit of the classical world, in epitaphs worthy of the Greek Anthology-and incidentally relieved the chronic poverty brought on by years of neglect.