Country Writing 1840–1900

  • Merryn Williams


Throughout the century the stereotype of a happy and innocent countryside where all the vicars were hard-working and all the girls virtuous remained very popular with urban readers, although it was ludicrous to anybody who knew the real facts. The sentimental poetry of Mary Burrows is typical of this school of thought:

Scatter’d around the verdant village green The peasants’* humble cottages are seen; Some almost hidden by the clust’ring flowers, The produce of their evening’s leisure hours. Within these small abodes the eye may see The neat and careful hand of industry.1


Agricultural Labourer Farm Labourer Rural Life Popular Education Agricultural District 


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  1. 1.
    Mary Burrows, Sketches of our Village (Ipswich and London, 1852) p. 3. This includes several bad imitations of Goldsmith.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Francis Kilvert, Diary 1870–79, ed. William Plomer (London, 1983–40) II 441–2.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    William Barnes, Poems of Rural Life in the Dorset Dialect (London, 1879).Google Scholar

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© Merryn Williams 1972

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  • Merryn Williams

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