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Poems Chiefly From Manuscript by John Clare

Part 4 out of 5

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of 1835-6. Perhaps it is unjust to Clare to consider them out of their
environment; it would be more unjust not to represent this phase of
his poetry.

_Birds in Alarm_

The firetail tells the boys when nests are nigh
And tweets and flies from every passer-bye.
The yellowhammer never makes a noise
But flies in silence from the noisy boys;
The boys will come and take them every day,
And still she lays as none were ta'en away.

The nightingale keeps tweeting-churring round
But leaves in silence when the nest is found.
The pewit hollos "chewrit" as she flies
And flops about the shepherd where he lies;
But when her nest is found she stops her song
And cocks [her] coppled crown and runs along.
Wrens cock their tails and chitter loud and play,
And robins hollo "tut" and fly away.

_Dyke Side_

The frog croaks loud, and maidens dare not pass
But fear the noisome toad and shun the grass;
And on the sunny banks they dare not go
Where hissing snakes run to the flood below.
The nuthatch noises loud in wood and wild,
Like women turning skreeking to a child.
The schoolboy hears and brushes through the trees
And runs about till drabbled to the knees.
The old hawk winnows round the old crow's nest;
The schoolboy hears and wonder fills his breast.
He throws his basket down to climb the tree
And wonders what the red blotched eggs can be:
The green woodpecker bounces from the view
And hollos as he buzzes bye "kew kew."


When midnight comes a host of dogs and men
Go out and track the badger to his den,
And put a sack within the hole, and lie
Till the old grunting badger passes bye.
He comes and hears--they let the strongest loose.
The old fox hears the noise and drops the goose.
The poacher shoots and hurries from the cry,
And the old hare half wounded buzzes bye.
They get a forked stick to bear him down
And clap the dogs and take him to the town,
And bait him all the day with many dogs,
And laugh and shout and fright the scampering hogs.
He runs along and bites at all he meets:
They shout and hollo down the noisy streets.

He turns about to face the loud uproar
And drives the rebels to their very door.
The frequent stone is hurled where eer they go;
When badgers fight, then every one's a foe.
The dogs are clapt and urged to join the fray;
The badger turns and drives them all away.
Though scarcely half as big, demure and small,
He fights with dogs for bones and beats them all.
The heavy mastiff, savage in the fray,
Lies down and licks his feet and turns away.
The bulldog knows his match and waxes cold,
The badger grins and never leaves his hold.
He drives the crowd and follows at their heels
And bites them through--the drunkard swears and reels.

The frighted women take the boys away,
The blackguard laughs and hurries on the fray.
He tries to reach the woods, an awkward race,
But sticks and cudgels quickly stop the chace.
He turns agen and drives the noisy crowd
And beats the many dogs in noises loud.
He drives away and beats them every one,
And then they loose them all and set them on.
He falls as dead and kicked by boys and men,
Then starts and grins and drives the crowd agen;
Till kicked and torn and beaten out he lies
And leaves his hold and cackles, groans, and dies.

_The Fox_

The shepherd on his journey heard when nigh
His dog among the bushes barking high;
The ploughman ran and gave a hearty shout,
He found a weary fox and beat him out.
The ploughman laughed and would have ploughed him in
But the old shepherd took him for the skin.
He lay upon the furrow stretched for dead,
The old dog lay and licked the wounds that bled,
The ploughman beat him till his ribs would crack,
And then the shepherd slung him at his back;
And when he rested, to his dog's surprise,
The old fox started from his dead disguise;
And while the dog lay panting in the sedge
He up and snapt and bolted through the hedge.

He scampered to the bushes far away;
The shepherd called the ploughman to the fray;
The ploughman wished he had a gun to shoot.
The old dog barked and followed the pursuit.
The shepherd threw his hook and tottered past;
The ploughman ran but none could go so fast;
The woodman threw his faggot from the way
And ceased to chop and wondered at the fray.
But when he saw the dog and heard the cry
He threw his hatchet--but the fox was bye.
The shepherd broke his hook and lost the skin;
He found a badger hole and bolted in.
They tried to dig, but, safe from danger's way,
He lived to chase the hounds another day.

_The Vixen_

Among the taller wood with ivy hung,
The old fox plays and dances round her young.
She snuffs and barks if any passes bye
And swings her tail and turns prepared to fly.
The horseman hurries bye, she bolts to see,
And turns agen, from danger never free.
If any stands she runs among the poles
And barks and snaps and drives them in the holes.
The shepherd sees them and the boy goes bye
And gets a stick and progs the hole to try.
They get all still and lie in safety sure
And out again when every thing's secure
And start and snap at blackbirds bouncing bye
To fight and catch the great white butterfly.


The turkeys wade the close to catch the bees
In the old border full of maple trees
And often lay away and breed and come
And bring a brood of chelping chickens home.
The turkey gobbles loud and drops his rag
And struts and sprunts his tail and then lets drag
His wing on ground and makes a huzzing noise,
Nauntles at passer-bye and drives the boys
And bounces up and flies at passer-bye.
The old dog snaps and grins nor ventures nigh.
He gobbles loud and drives the boys from play;
They throw their sticks and kick and run away.

_The Poet's Death_

The world is taking little heed
And plods from day to day:
The vulgar flourish like a weed,
The learned pass away.

We miss him on the summer path
The lonely summer day,
Where mowers cut the pleasant swath
And maidens make the hay.

The vulgar take but little heed;
The garden wants his care;
There lies the book he used to read,
There stands the empty chair.

The boat laid up, the voyage oer,
And passed the stormy wave,
The world is going as before,
The poet in his grave.

_The Beautiful Stranger_

I cannot know what country owns thee now,
With France's forest lilies on thy brow.
When England knew thee thou wert passing fair;
I never knew a foreign face so rare.
The world of waters rolls and rushes bye,
Nor lets me wander where thy vallies lie.
But surely France must be a pleasant place
That greets the stranger with so fair a face;
The English maiden blushes down the dance,
But few can equal the fair maid of France.
I saw thee lovely and I wished thee mine,
And the last song I ever wrote is thine.

Thy country's honour on thy face attends;
Men may be foes but beauty makes us friends.

_The Tramp_

He eats (a moment's stoppage to his song)
The stolen turnip as he goes along;
And hops along and heeds with careless eye
The passing crowded stage coach reeling bye.
He talks to none but wends his silent way,
And finds a hovel at the close of day,
Or under any hedge his house is made.
He has no calling and he owns no trade.
An old smoaked blanket arches oer his head,
A whisp of straw or stubble makes his bed.
He knows a lawless law that claims no kin
But meet and plunder on and feel no sin--
No matter where they go or where they dwell
They dally with the winds and laugh at hell.

_Farmer's Boy_

He waits all day beside his little flock
And asks the passing stranger what's o'clock,
But those who often pass his daily tasks
Look at their watch and tell before he asks.
He mutters stories to himself and lies
Where the thick hedge the warmest house supplies,
And when he hears the hunters far and wide
He climbs the highest tree to see them ride--
He climbs till all the fields are blea and bare
And makes the old crow's nest an easy chair.
And soon his sheep are got in other grounds--
He hastens down and fears his master come,
He stops the gap and keeps them all in bounds
And tends them closely till it's time for home.


With careful step to keep his balance up
He reels on warily along the street,
Slabbering at mouth and with a staggering stoop
Mutters an angry look at all he meets.
Bumptious and vain and proud he shoulders up
And would be something if he knew but how;
To any man on earth he will not stoop
But cracks of work, of horses and of plough.
Proud of the foolish talk, the ale he quaffs,
He never heeds the insult loud that laughs:
With rosy maid he tries to joke and play,--
Who shrugs and nettles deep his pomp and pride.
And calls him "drunken beast" and runs away--
King to himself and fool to all beside.

_Sunday Dip_

The morning road is thronged with merry boys
Who seek the water for their Sunday joys;
They run to seek the shallow pit, and wade
And dance about the water in the shade.
The boldest ventures first and dashes in,
And others go and follow to the chin,
And duck about, and try to lose their fears,
And laugh to hear the thunder in their ears.
They bundle up the rushes for a boat
And try across the deepest place to float:
Beneath the willow trees they ride and stoop--
The awkward load will scarcely bear them up.
Without their aid the others float away,
And play about the water half the day.

_Merry Maid_

Bonny and stout and brown, without a hat,
She frowns offended when they call her fat--
Yet fat she is, the merriest in the place,
And all can know she wears a pretty face.
But still she never heeds what praise can say,
But does the work, and oft runs out to play,
To run about the yard and ramp and noise
And spring the mop upon the servant boys.
When old hens noise and cackle every where
She hurries eager if the eggs are dear,
And runs to seek them when they lay away
To get them ready for the market day.
She gambols with the men and laughs aloud
And only quarrels when they call her proud.


She hastens out and scarcely pins her clothes
To hear the news and tell the news she knows;
She talks of sluts, marks each unmended gown,
Her self the dirtiest slut in all the town.
She stands with eager haste at slander's tale,
And drinks the news as drunkards drink their ale.
Excuse is ready at the biggest lie--
She only heard it and it passes bye.
The very cat looks up and knows her face
And hastens to the chair to get the place;
When once set down she never goes away,
Till tales are done and talk has nought to say.
She goes from house to house the village oer,
Her slander bothers everybody's door.

_Quail's Nest_

I wandered out one rainy day
And heard a bird with merry joys
Cry "wet my foot" for half the way;
I stood and wondered at the noise,

When from my foot a bird did flee--
The rain flew bouncing from her breast
I wondered what the bird could be,
And almost trampled on her nest.

The nest was full of eggs and round--
I met a shepherd in the vales,
And stood to tell him what I found.
He knew and said it was a quail's,

For he himself the nest had found,
Among the wheat and on the green,
When going on his daily round,
With eggs as many as fifteen.

Among the stranger birds they feed,
Their summer flight is short and low;
There's very few know where they breed,
And scarcely any where they go.

_Market Day_

With arms and legs at work and gentle stroke
That urges switching tail nor mends his pace,
On an old ribbed and weather beaten horse,
The farmer goes jogtrotting to the fair.
Both keep their pace that nothing can provoke
Followed by brindled dog that snuffs the ground
With urging bark and hurries at his heels.
His hat slouched down, and great coat buttoned close
Bellied like hooped keg, and chuffy face
Red as the morning sun, he takes his round
And talks of stock: and when his jobs are done
And Dobbin's hay is eaten from the rack,
He drinks success to corn in language hoarse,
And claps old Dobbin's hide, and potters back.


The passing traveller with wonder sees
A deep and ancient stonepit full of trees;
So deep and very deep the place has been,
The church might stand within and not be seen.
The passing stranger oft with wonder stops
And thinks he een could walk upon their tops,
And often stoops to see the busy crow,
And stands above and sees the eggs below;
And while the wild horse gives its head a toss,
The squirrel dances up and runs across.
The boy that stands and kills the black nosed bee
Dares down as soon as magpies' nests are found,
And wonders when he climbs the highest tree
To find it reaches scarce above the ground.

_"The Lass With The Delicate Air"_

Timid and smiling, beautiful and shy,
She drops her head at every passer bye.
Afraid of praise she hurries down the streets
And turns away from every smile she meets.
The forward clown has many things to say
And holds her by the gown to make her stay,
The picture of good health she goes along,
Hale as the morn and happy as her song.
Yet there is one who never feels a fear
To whisper pleasing fancies in her ear;
Yet een from him she shuns a rude embrace,
And stooping holds her hands before her face,--
She even shuns and fears the bolder wind,
And holds her shawl, and often looks behind.

_The Lout_

For Sunday's play he never makes excuse,
But plays at taw, and buys his Spanish juice.
Hard as his toil, and ever slow to speak,
Yet he gives maidens many a burning cheek;
For none can pass him but his witless grace
Of bawdry brings the blushes in her face.
As vulgar as the dirt he treads upon
He calls his cows or drives his horses on;
He knows the lamest cow and strokes her side
And often tries to mount her back and ride,
And takes her tail at night in idle play,
And makes her drag him homeward all the way.
He knows of nothing but the football match,
And where hens lay, and when the duck will hatch.


He plays with other boys when work is done,
But feels too clumsy and too stiff to run,
Yet where there's mischief he can find a way
The first to join and last [to run] away.
What's said or done he never hears or minds
But gets his pence for all the eggs he finds.
He thinks his master's horses far the best,
And always labours longer than the rest.
In frost and cold though lame he's forced to go--
The call's more urgent when he journeys slow.
In surly speed he helps the maids by force
And feeds the cows and hallos till he's hoarse;
And when he's lame they only jest and play
And bid him throw his kiby heels away.

_Farm Breakfast_

Maids shout to breakfast in a merry strife,
And the cat runs to hear the whetted knife,
And dogs are ever in the way to watch
The mouldy crust and falling bone to catch.
The wooden dishes round in haste are set,
And round the table all the boys are met;
All know their own save Hodge who would be first,
But every one his master leaves the worst.
On every wooden dish, a humble claim,
Two rude cut letters mark the owner's name;
From every nook the smile of plenty calls,
And rusty flitches decorate the walls,
Moore's Almanack where wonders never cease--
All smeared with candle snuff and bacon grease.

_Love and Solitude_

I hate the very noise of troublous man
Who did and does me all the harm he can.
Free from the world I would a prisoner be
And my own shadow all my company;
And lonely see the shooting stars appear,
Worlds rushing into judgment all the year.
O lead me onward to the loneliest shade,
The darkest place that quiet ever made,
Where kingcups grow most beauteous to behold
And shut up green and open into gold.
Farewell to poesy--and leave the will;
Take all the world away--and leave me still
The mirth and music of a woman's voice,
That bids the heart be happy and rejoice.



The snow falls deep; the forest lies alone;
The boy goes hasty for his load of brakes,
Then thinks upon the fire and hurries back;
The gipsy knocks his hands and tucks them up,
And seeks his squalid camp, half hid in snow,
Beneath the oak which breaks away the wind,
And bushes close in snow-like hovel warm;
There tainted mutton wastes upon the coals,
And the half-wasted dog squats close and rubs,
Then feels the heat too strong, and goes aloof;
He watches well, but none a bit can spare,
And vainly waits the morsel thrown away.
Tis thus they live--a picture to the place,
A quiet, pilfering, unprotected race.

_The Frightened Ploughman_

I went in the fields with the leisure I got,
The stranger might smile but I heeded him not,
The hovel was ready to screen from a shower,
And the book in my pocket was read in an hour.

The bird came for shelter, but soon flew away;
The horse came to look, and seemed happy to stay;
He stood up in quiet, and hung down his head,
And seemed to be hearing the poem I read.

The ploughman would turn from his plough in the day
And wonder what being had come in his way,
To lie on a molehill and read the day long
And laugh out aloud when he'd finished his song.

The pewit turned over and stooped oer my head
Where the raven croaked loud like the ploughman ill-bred,
But the lark high above charmed me all the day long,
So I sat down and joined in the chorus of song.

The foolhardy ploughman I well could endure,
His praise was worth nothing, his censure was poor,
Fame bade me go on and I toiled the day long
Till the fields where he lived should be known in my song.


Farewell to the bushy clump close to the river
And the flags where the butter-bump hides in for ever;
Farewell to the weedy nook, hemmed in by waters;
Farewell to the miller's brook and his three bonny daughters;
Farewell to them all while in prison I lie--
In the prison a thrall sees nought but the sky.

Shut out are the green fields and birds in the bushes;
In the prison yard nothing builds, blackbirds or thrushes,
Farewell to the old mill and dash of the waters,
To the miller and, dearer still, to his three bonny daughters.

In the nook, the large burdock grows near the green willow;
In the flood, round the moorcock dashes under the billow;
To the old mill farewell, to the lock, pens, and waters,
To the miller himsel', and his three bonny daughters.

_The Old Year_

The Old Year's gone away
To nothingness and night:
We cannot find him all the day
Nor hear him in the night:
He left no footstep, mark or place
In either shade or sun:
The last year he'd a neighbour's face,
In this he's known by none.

All nothing everywhere:
Mists we on mornings see
Have more of substance when they're here
And more of form than he.
He was a friend by every fire,
In every cot and hall--
A guest to every heart's desire,
And now he's nought at all.

Old papers thrown away,
Old garments cast aside,
The talk of yesterday,
Are things identified;
But time once torn away
No voices can recall:
The eve of New Year's Day
Left the Old Year lost to all.

_The Yellowhammer_

When shall I see the white-thorn leaves agen,
And yellowhammers gathering the dry bents
By the dyke side, on stilly moor or fen,
Feathered with love and nature's good intents?
Rude is the tent this architect invents,
Rural the place, with cart ruts by dyke side.
Dead grass, horse hair, and downy-headed bents
Tied to dead thistles--she doth well provide,
Close to a hill of ants where cowslips bloom
And shed oer meadows far their sweet perfume.
In early spring, when winds blow chilly cold,
The yellowhammer, trailing grass, will come
To fix a place and choose an early home,
With yellow breast and head of solid gold.


The thistle-down's flying, though the winds are all still,
On the green grass now lying, now mounting the hill,
The spring from the fountain now boils like a pot;
Through stones past the counting it bubbles red hot.

The ground parched and cracked is like overbaked bread,
The greensward all wracked is, bents dried up and dead.
The fallow fields glitter like water indeed,
And gossamers twitter, flung from weed unto weed.

Hill tops like hot iron glitter bright in the sun,
And the rivers we're eying burn to gold as they run;
Burning hot is the ground, liquid gold is the air;
Whoever looks round sees Eternity there.


I peeled bits of straws and I got switches too
From the grey peeling willow as idlers do,
And I switched at the flies as I sat all alone
Till my flesh, blood, and marrow was turned to dry bone.
My illness was love, though I knew not the smart,
But the beauty of love was the blood of my heart.
Crowded places, I shunned them as noises too rude
And fled to the silence of sweet solitude.
Where the flower in green darkness buds, blossoms, and fades,
Unseen of all shepherds and flower-loving maids--
The hermit bees find them but once and away.
There I'll bury alive and in silence decay.

I looked on the eyes of fair woman too long,
Till silence and shame stole the use of my tongue:
When I tried to speak to her I'd nothing to say,
So I turned myself round and she wandered away.
When she got too far off, why, I'd something to tell,
So I sent sighs behind her and walked to my cell.
Willow switches I broke and peeled bits of straws,
Ever lonely in crowds, in Nature's own laws--
My ball room the pasture, my music the bees,
My drink was the fountain, my church the tall trees.
Who ever would love or be tied to a wife
When it makes a man mad all the days of his life?

_The Winter's Come_

Sweet chestnuts brown like soling leather turn;
The larch trees, like the colour of the Sun;
That paled sky in the Autumn seemed to burn,
What a strange scene before us now does run--
Red, brown, and yellow, russet, black, and dun;
White thorn, wild cherry, and the poplar bare;
The sycamore all withered in the sun.
No leaves are now upon the birch tree there:
All now is stript to the cold wintry air.

See, not one tree but what has lost its leaves--
And yet the landscape wears a pleasing hue.
The winter chill on his cold bed receives
Foliage which once hung oer the waters blue.
Naked and bare the leafless trees repose.
Blue-headed titmouse now seeks maggots rare,
Sluggish and dull the leaf-strewn river flows;
That is not green, which was so through the year
Dark chill November draweth to a close.

Tis Winter, and I love to read indoors,
When the Moon hangs her crescent up on high;
While on the window shutters the wind roars,
And storms like furies pass remorseless by.
How pleasant on a feather bed to lie,
Or, sitting by the fire, in fancy soar
With Dante or with Milton to regions high,
Or read fresh volumes we've not seen before,
Or oer old Burton's Melancholy pore.

_Summer Winds_

The wind waves oer the meadows green
And shakes my own wild flowers
And shifts about the moving scene
Like the life of summer hours;
The little bents with reedy head,
The scarce seen shapes of flowers,
All kink about like skeins of thread
In these wind-shaken hours.

All stir and strife and life and bustle
In everything around one sees;
The rushes whistle, sedges rustle,
The grass is buzzing round like bees;
The butterflies are tossed about
Like skiffs upon a stormy sea;
The bees are lost amid the rout
And drop in [their] perplexity.

Wilt thou be mine, thou bonny lass?
Thy drapery floats so gracefully;
We'll walk along the meadow grass,
We'll stand beneath the willow tree.
We'll mark the little reeling bee
Along the grassy ocean rove,
Tossed like a little boat at sea,
And interchange our vows of love.

_Bonny Lassie O!_

O the evening's for the fair, bonny lassie O!
To meet the cooler air and walk an angel there,
With the dark dishevelled hair,
Bonny lassie O!

The bloom's on the brere, bonny lassie O!
Oak apples on the tree; and wilt thou gang to see
The shed I've made for thee,
Bonny lassie O!

Tis agen the running brook, bonny lassie O!
In a grassy nook hard by, with a little patch of sky,
And a bush to keep us dry,
Bonny lassie O!

There's the daisy all the year, bonny lassie O!
There's the king-cup bright as gold, and the speedwell never cold,
And the arum leaves unrolled,
Bonny lassie O!

O meet me at the shed, bonny lassie O!
With a woodbine peeping in, and the roses like thy skin
Blushing, thy praise to win,
Bonny lassie O!

I will meet thee there at e'en, bonny lassie O!
When the bee sips in the bean, and grey willow branches lean,
And the moonbeam looks between,
Bonny lassie O!

_Meet Me in the Green Glen_

Love, meet me in the green glen,
Beside the tall elm tree,
Where the sweet briar smells so sweet agen;
There come with me,
Meet me in the green glen.

Meet me at the sunset
Down in the green glen,
Where we've often met
By hawthorn tree and foxes' den,
Meet me in the green glen.

Meet me in the green glen,
By sweet briar bushes there;
Meet me by your own sen,
Where the wild thyme blossoms fair.
Meet me in the green glen.

Meet me by the sweet briar,
By the mole hill swelling there;
When the West glows like a fire
God's crimson bed is there.
Meet me in the green glen.

_Love Cannot Die_

In crime and enmity they lie
Who sin and tell us love can die,
Who say to us in slander's breath
That love belongs to sin and death.
From heaven it came on angel's wing
To bloom on earth, eternal spring;
In falsehood's enmity they lie
Who sin and tell us love can die.

Twas born upon an angel's breast.
The softest dreams, the sweetest rest,
The brightest sun, the bluest sky,
Are love's own home and canopy.
The thought that cheers this heart of mine
Is that of love; love so divine
They sin who say in slander's breath
That love belongs to sin and death.

The sweetest voice that lips contain,
The sweetest thought that leaves the brain,
The sweetest feeling of the heart--
There's pleasure in its very smart.
The scent of rose and cinnamon
Is not like love remembered on;
In falsehood's enmity they lie
Who sin and tell us love can die.


Peggy said good morning and I said good bye,
When farmers dib the corn and laddies sow the rye.
Young Peggy's face was common sense and I was rather shy
When I met her in the morning when the farmers sow the rye.

Her half laced boots fit tightly as she tripped along the grass,
And she set her foot so lightly where the early bee doth pass.
Oh Peggy was a young thing, her face was common sense,
I courted her about the spring and loved her ever thence.

Oh Peggy was the young thing and bonny as to size;
Her lips were cherries of the spring and hazel were her eyes.
Oh Peggy she was straight and tall as is the poplar tree,
Smooth as the freestone of the wall, and very dear to me.

Oh Peggy's gown was chocolate and full of cherries white;
I keep a bit on't for her sake and love her day and night.
I drest myself just like a prince and Peggy went to woo,
But she's been gone some ten years since, and I know not what to do.

_The Crow Sat on the Willow_

The crow sat on the willow tree
A-lifting up his wings,
And glossy was his coat to see,
And loud the ploughman sings,
"I love my love because I know
The milkmaid she loves me";
And hoarsely croaked the glossy crow
Upon the willow tree.
"I love my love" the ploughman sung,
And all the fields with music rung.

"I love my love, a bonny lass,
She keeps her pails so bright,
And blythe she trips the dewy grass
At morning and at night.
A cotton dress her morning gown,
Her face was rosy health:
She traced the pastures up and down
And nature was her wealth."
He sung, and turned each furrow down,
His sweetheart's love in cotton gown.

"My love is young and handsome
As any in the town,
She's worth a ploughman's ransom
In the drab cotton gown."
He sang and turned his furrow oer
And urged his team along,
While on the willow as before
The old crow croaked his song:
The ploughman sung his rustic lay
And sung of Phoebe all the day.

The crow he was in love no doubt
And [so were] many things:
The ploughman finished many a bout,
And lustily he sings,
"My love she is a milking maid
With red rosy cheek;
Of cotton drab her gown was made,
I loved her many a week."
His milking maid the ploughman sung
Till all the fields around him rung.

_Now is Past_

_Now_ is past--the happy _now_
When we together roved
Beneath the wildwood's oak-tree bough
And Nature said we loved.
Winter's blast
The _now_ since then has crept between,
And left us both apart.
Winters that withered all the green
Have froze the beating heart.
Now is past.

_Now_ is past since last we met
Beneath the hazel bough;
Before the evening sun was set
Her shadow stretched below.
Autumn's blast
Has stained and blighted every bough;
Wild strawberries like her lips
Have left the mosses green below,
Her bloom's upon the hips.
Now is past.

_Now_ is past, is changed agen,
The woods and fields are painted new.
Wild strawberries which both gathered then,
None know now where they grew.
The skys oercast.
Wood strawberries faded from wood sides,
Green leaves have all turned yellow;
No Adelaide walks the wood rides,
True love has no bed-fellow.
Now is past.


I wish I was where I would be,
With love alone to dwell,
Was I but her or she but me,
Then love would all be well.
I wish to send my thoughts to her
As quick as thoughts can fly,
But as the winds the waters stir
The mirrors change and fly.

_First Love_

I ne'er was struck before that hour
With love so sudden and so sweet.
Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower
And stole my heart away complete.
My face turned pale as deadly pale,
My legs refused to walk away,
And when she looked "what could I ail?"
My life and all seemed turned to clay.

And then my blood rushed to my face
And took my sight away.
The trees and bushes round the place
Seemed midnight at noonday.
I could not see a single thing,
Words from my eyes did start;
They spoke as chords do from the string
And blood burnt round my heart.

Are flowers the winter's choice?
Is love's bed always snow?
She seemed to hear my silent voice
And love's appeal to know.
I never saw so sweet a face
As that I stood before:
My heart has left its dwelling-place
And can return no more.

_Mary Bayfield_

How beautiful the summer night
When birds roost on the mossy tree,
When moon and stars are shining bright
And home has gone the weary bee!
Then Mary Bayfield seeks the glen,
The white hawthorn and grey oak tree,
And nought but heaven can tell me then
How dear thy beauty is to me.

Dear is the dewdrop to the flower,
The old wall to the weary bee,
And silence to the evening hour,
And ivy to the stooping tree.
Dearer than these, than all beside,
Than blossoms to the moss-rose tree,
The maid who wanders by my side--
Sweet Mary Bayfield is to me.

Sweet is the moonlight on the tree,
The stars above the glassy lake,
That from the bottom look at me
Through shadows of the crimping brake.
Such are sweet things--but sweeter still
Than these and all beside I see
The maid whose look my heart can thrill,
My Mary Bayfield's look to me.

O Mary with the dark brown hair,
The rosy cheek, the beaming eye,
I would thy shade were ever near;
Then would I never grieve or sigh.
I love thee, Mary dearly love--
There's nought so fair on earth I see,
There's nought so dear in heaven above,
As Mary Bayfield is to me.

_The Maid of Jerusalem_

Maid of Jerusalem, by the Dead Sea,
I wandered all sorrowing thinking of thee,--
Thy city in ruins, thy kindred deplored,
All fallen and lost by the Ottoman's sword.

I saw thee sit there in disconsolate sighs,
Where the hall of thy fathers a ruined heap lies.
Thy fair finger showed me the place where they trod,
In thy childhood where flourished the city of God.

The place where they fell and the scenes where they lie,
In the tomb of Siloa--the tear in her eye
She stifled: transfixed there it grew like a pearl,
Beneath the dark lash of the sweet Jewish Girl.

Jerusalem is fallen! still thou art in bloom,
As fresh as the ivy around the lone tomb,
And fair as the lily of morning that waves
Its sweet-scented bells over desolate graves.

When I think of Jerusalem in kingdoms yet free,
I shall think of its ruins and think upon thee;
Thou beautiful Jewess, content thou mayest roam;
A bright spot in Eden still blooms as thy home.


I would not feign a single sigh
Nor weep a single tear for thee:
The soul within these orbs burns dry;
A desert spreads where love should be.
I would not be a worm to crawl
A writhing suppliant in thy way;
For love is life, is heaven, and all
The beams of an immortal day.

For sighs are idle things and vain,
And tears for idiots vainly fall.
I would not kiss thy face again
Nor round thy shining slippers crawl.
Love is the honey, not the bee,
Nor would I turn its sweets to gall
For all the beauty found in thee,
Thy lily neck, rose cheek, and all.

I would not feign a single tale
Thy kindness or thy love to seek;
Nor sigh for Jenny of the Vale,
Her ruby smile or rosy cheek.
I would not have a pain to own
For those dark curls and those bright eyes
A frowning lip, a heart of stone,
False love and folly I despise.

_Thou Flower of Summer_

When in summer thou walkest
In the meads by the river,
And to thyself talkest,
Dost thou think of one ever--
A lost and a lorn one
That adores thee and loves thee?
And when happy morn's gone,
And nature's calm moves thee,
Leaving thee to thy sleep like an angel at rest,
Does the one who adores thee still live in thy breast?

Does nature eer give thee
Love's past happy vision,
And wrap thee and leave thee
In fancies elysian?
Thy beauty I clung to,
As leaves to the tree;
When thou fair and young too
Looked lightly on me,
Till love came upon thee like the sun to the west
And shed its perfuming and bloom on thy breast.

_The Swallow_

Pretty swallow, once again
Come and pass me in the rain.
Pretty swallow, why so shy?
Pass again my window by.

The horsepond where he dips his wings,
The wet day prints it full of rings.
The raindrops on his [ ] track
Lodge like pearls upon his back.

Then again he dips his wing
In the wrinkles of the spring,
Then oer the rushes flies again,
And pearls roll off his back like rain.

Pretty little swallow, fly
Village doors and windows by,
Whisking oer the garden pales
Where the blackbird finds the snails;

Whewing by the ladslove tree
For something only seen by thee;
Pearls that on the red rose hing
Fall off shaken by thy wing.

On that low thatched cottage stop,
In the sooty chimney pop,
Where thy wife and family
Every evening wait for thee.

_The Sailor-Boy_

Tis three years and a quarter since I left my own fireside
To go aboard a ship through love, and plough the ocean wide.
I crossed my native fields, where the scarlet poppies grew,
And the groundlark left his nest like a neighbour which I knew.

The pigeons from the dove cote cooed over the old lane,
The crow flocks from the oakwood went flopping oer the grain;
Like lots of dear old neighbours whom I shall see no more
They greeted me that morning I left the English shore.

The sun was just a-rising above the heath of furze,
And the shadows grow to giants; that bright ball never stirs:
There the shepherds lay with their dogs by their side,
And they started up and barked as my shadow they espied.

A maid of early morning twirled her mop upon the moor;
I wished her my farewell before she closed the door.
My friends I left behind me for other places new,
Crows and pigeons all were strangers as oer my head they flew.

Trees and bushes were all strangers, the hedges and the lanes,
The steeples and the houses and broad untrodden plains.
I passed the pretty milkmaid with her red and rosy face;
I knew not where I met her, I was strange to the place.

At last I saw the ocean, a pleasing sight to me:
I stood upon the shore of a mighty glorious sea.
The waves in easy motion went rolling on their way,
English colours were a-flying where the British squadron lay.

I left my honest parents, the church clock and the village;
I left the lads and lasses, the labour and the tillage;
To plough the briny ocean, which soon became my joy--
I sat and sang among the shrouds, a lonely sailor-boy.

_The Sleep of Spring_

O for that sweet, untroubled rest
That poets oft have sung!--
The babe upon its mother's breast,
The bird upon its young,
The heart asleep without a pain--
When shall I know that sleep again?

When shall I be as I have been
Upon my mother's breast
Sweet Nature's garb of verdant green
To woo to perfect rest--
Love in the meadow, field, and glen,
And in my native wilds again?

The sheep within the fallow field,
The herd upon the green,
The larks that in the thistle shield,
And pipe from morn to e'en--
O for the pasture, fields, and fen!
When shall I see such rest again?

I love the weeds along the fen,
More sweet than garden flowers,
For freedom haunts the humble glen
That blest my happiest hours.
Here prison injures health and me:
I love sweet freedom and the free.

The crows upon the swelling hills,
The cows upon the lea,
Sheep feeding by the pasture rills,
Are ever dear to me,
Because sweet freedom is their mate,
While I am lone and desolate.

I loved the winds when I was young,
When life was dear to me;
I loved the song which Nature sung,
Endearing liberty;
I loved the wood, the vale, the stream,
For there my boyhood used to dream.

There even toil itself was play;
Twas pleasure een to weep;
Twas joy to think of dreams by day,
The beautiful of sleep.
When shall I see the wood and plain,
And dream those happy dreams again?

_Mary Bateman_

My love she wears a cotton plaid,
A bonnet of the straw;
Her cheeks are leaves of roses spread,
Her lips are like the haw.
In truth she is as sweet a maid
As true love ever saw.

Her curls are ever in my eyes,
As nets by Cupid flung;
Her voice will oft my sleep surprise,
More sweet then ballad sung.
O Mary Bateman's curling hair!
I wake, and there is nothing there.

I wake, and fall asleep again,
The same delights in visions rise;
There's nothing can appear more plain
Than those rose cheeks and those bright eyes.
I wake again, and all alone
Sits Darkness on his ebon throne.

All silent runs the silver Trent,
The cobweb veils are all wet through,
A silver bead's on every bent,
On every leaf a bleb of dew.
I sighed, the moon it shone so clear;
Was Mary Bateman walking here?

_Bonny Mary O!_

The morning opens fine, bonny Mary O!
The robin sings his song by the dairy O!
Where the little Jenny wrens cock their tails among the hens,
Singing morning's happy songs with Mary O!

The swallow's on the wing, bonny Mary O!
Where the rushes fringe the spring, bonny Mary O!
Where the cowslips do unfold, shaking tassels all of gold,
Which make the milk so sweet, bonny Mary O!

There's the yellowhammer's nest, bonny Mary O!
Where she hides her golden breast, bonny Mary O!
On her mystic eggs she dwells, with strange writing on their shells,
Hid in the mossy grass, bonny Mary O!

There the spotted cow gets food, bonny Mary O!
And chews her peaceful cud, bonny Mary O!
In the mole-hills and the bushes, and the clear brook fringed with rushes
To fill the evening pail, bonny Mary O!

The cowpond once agen, bonny Mary O!
Lies dimpled like thy sen, bonny Mary O!
Where the gnat swarms fall and rise under evening's mellow skies,
And on flags sleep dragon flies, bonny Mary O!

And I will meet thee there, bonny Mary O!
When a-milking you repair, bonny Mary O!
And I'll kiss thee on the grass, my buxom, bonny lass,
And be thine own for aye, bonny Mary O!

_Where She Told Her Love_

I saw her crop a rose
Right early in the day,
And I went to kiss the place
Where she broke the rose away
And I saw the patten rings
Where she oer the stile had gone,
And I love all other things
Her bright eyes look upon.
If she looks upon the hedge or up the leafing tree,
The whitethorn or the brown oak are made dearer things to me.

I have a pleasant hill
Which I sit upon for hours,
Where she cropt some sprigs of thyme
And other little flowers;
And she muttered as she did it
As does beauty in a dream,
And I loved her when she hid it
On her breast, so like to cream,
Near the brown mole on her neck that to me a diamond shone
Then my eye was like to fire, and my heart was like to stone.

There is a small green place
Where cowslips early curled,
Which on Sabbath day I trace,
The dearest in the world.
A little oak spreads oer it,
And throws a shadow round,
A green sward close before it,
The greenest ever found:
There is not a woodland nigh nor is there a green grove,
Yet stood the fair maid nigh me and told me all her love.


I love the fitful gust that shakes
The casement all the day,
And from the glossy elm tree takes
The faded leaves away,
Twirling them by the window pane
With thousand others down the lane.

I love to see the shaking twig
Dance till the shut of eve,
The sparrow on the cottage rig,
Whose chirp would make believe
That Spring was just now flirting by
In Summer's lap with flowers to lie.

I love to see the cottage smoke
Curl upwards through the trees,
The pigeons nestled round the cote
On November days like these;
The cock upon the dunghill crowing,
The mill sails on the heath a-going.

The feather from the raven's breast
Falls on the stubble lea,
The acorns near the old crow's nest
Drop pattering down the tree;
The grunting pigs, that wait for all,
Scramble and hurry where they fall.

_Invitation to Eternity_

Say, wilt thou go with me, sweet maid,
Say, maiden, wilt thou go with me
Through the valley-depths of shade,
Of bright and dark obscurity;
Where the path has lost its way,
Where the sun forgets the day,
Where there's nor light nor life to see,
Sweet maiden, wilt thou go with me?

Where stones will turn to flooding streams,
Where plains will rise like ocean's waves,
Where life will fade like visioned dreams
And darkness darken into caves,
Say, maiden, wilt thou go with me
Through this sad non-identity
Where parents live and are forgot,
And sisters live and know us not?

Say, maiden, wilt thou go with me
In this strange death of life to be,
To live in death and be the same,
Without this life or home or name,
At once to be and not to be--
That was and is not--yet to see
Things pass like shadows, and the sky
Above, below, around us lie?

The land of shadows wilt thou trace,
Nor look nor know each other's face;
The present marred with reason gone,
And past and present both as one?
Say, maiden, can thy life be led
To join the living and the dead?
Then trace thy footsteps on with me:
We are wed to one eternity.

_The Maple Tree_

The maple with its tassel flowers of green,
That turns to red a staghorn-shaped seed,
Just spreading out its scolloped leaves is seen,
Of yellowish hue, yet beautifully green;
Bark ribbed like corderoy in seamy screed,
That farther up the stem is smoother seen,
Where the white hemlock with white umbel flowers
Up each spread stoven to the branches towers;
And moss around the stoven spreads, dark green,
And blotched leaved orchis, and the blue bell flowers;
Thickly they grow and neath the leaves are seen;
I love to see them gemmed with morning hours,
I love the lone green places where they be,
And the sweet clothing of the maple tree.

_House or Window Flies_

These little window dwellers, in cottages and halls, were always
entertaining to me; after dancing in the window all day from sunrise
to sunset they would sip of the tea, drink of the beer, and eat of the
sugar, and be welcome all summer long. They look like things of mind
or fairies, and seem pleased or dull as the weather permits. In many
clean cottages and genteel houses, they are allowed every liberty to
creep, fly, or do as they like; and seldom or ever do wrong. In fact
they are the small or dwarfish portion of our own family, and so many
fairy familiars that we know and treat as one of ourselves.


The dewdrops on every blade of grass are so much like silver drops
that I am obliged to stoop down as I walk to see if they are pearls,
and those sprinkled on the ivy-woven beds of primroses underneath the
hazels, whitethorns and maples are so like gold beads that I stooped
down to feel if they were hard, but they melted from my finger. And
where the dew lies on the primrose, the violet and whitethorn leaves
they are emerald and beryl, yet nothing more than the dews of the
morning on the budding leaves; nay, the road grasses are covered with
gold and silver beads, and the further we go the brighter they seem to
shine, like solid gold and silver. It is nothing more than the sun's
light and shade upon them in the dewy morning; every thorn-point and
every bramble-spear has its trembling ornament: till the wind gets
a little brisker, and then all is shaken off, and all the shining
jewelry passes away into a common spring morning full of budding
leaves, primroses, violets, vernal speedwell, bluebell and orchis, and
commonplace objects.


The cataract, whirling down the precipice,
Elbows down rocks and, shouldering, thunders through.
Roars, howls, and stifled murmurs never cease;
Hell and its agonies seem hid below.
Thick rolls the mist, that smokes and falls in dew;
The trees and greenwood wear the deepest green.
Horrible mysteries in the gulph stare through,
Roars of a million tongues, and none knows what they mean.

_From "A Rhapsody"_

Sweet solitude, what joy to be alone--
In wild, wood-shady dell to stay for hours.
Twould soften hearts if they were hard as stone
To see glad butterflies and smiling flowers.
Tis pleasant in these quiet lonely places,
Where not the voice of man our pleasure mars,
To see the little bees with coal black faces
Gathering sweets from little flowers like stars.

The wind seems calling, though not understood.
A voice is speaking; hark, it louder calls.
It echoes in the far-outstretching wood.
First twas a hum, but now it loudly squalls;
And then the pattering rain begins to fall,
And it is hushed--the fern leaves scarcely shake,
The tottergrass it scarcely stirs at all.
And then the rolling thunder gets awake,
And from black clouds the lightning flashes break.

The sunshine's gone, and now an April evening
Commences with a dim and mackerel sky.
Gold light and woolpacks in the west are leaving,
And leaden streaks their splendid place supply.
Sheep ointment seems to daub the dead-hued sky,
And night shuts up the lightsomeness of day,
All dark and absent as a corpse's eye.
Flower, tree, and bush, like all the shadows grey,
In leaden hues of desolation fade away.

Tis May; and yet the March flower Dandelion
Is still in bloom among the emerald grass,
Shining like guineas with the sun's warm eye on--
We almost think they are gold as we pass,
Or fallen stars in a green sea of grass.
They shine in fields, or waste grounds near the town.
They closed like painter's brush when even was.
At length they turn to nothing else but down,
While the rude winds blow off each shadowy crown.

_Secret Love_

I hid my love when young till I
Couldn't bear the buzzing of a fly;
I hid my love to my despite
Till I could not bear to look at light:
I dare not gaze upon her face
But left her memory in each place;
Where eer I saw a wild flower lie
I kissed and bade my love good bye.

I met her in the greenest dells
Where dewdrops pearl the wood blue bells
The lost breeze kissed her bright blue eye,
The bee kissed and went singing by,
A sunbeam found a passage there,
A gold chain round her neck so fair;
As secret as the wild bee's song
She lay there all the summer long.

I hid my love in field and town
Till een the breeze would knock me down,
The bees seemed singing ballads oer,
The fly's bass turned a lion's roar;
And even silence found a tongue,
To haunt me all the summer long;
The riddle nature could not prove
Was nothing else but secret love.

_Bantry Bay_

On the eighteenth of October we lay in Bantry Bay,
All ready to set sail, with a fresh and steady gale:
A fortnight and nine days we in the harbour lay,
And no breeze ever reached us or strained a single sail.
Three ships of war had we, and the great guns loaded all;
But our ships were dead and beaten that had never feared a foe.
The winds becalmed around us cared for no cannon ball;
They locked us in the harbour and would not let us go.

On the nineteenth of October, by eleven of the clock,
The sky turned black as midnight and a sudden storm came on--
Awful and sudden--and the cables felt the shock;
Our anchors they all broke away and every sheet was gone.
The guns fired off amid the strife, but little hope had we;
The billows broke above the ship and left us all below.
The crew with one consent cried "Bear further out to sea,"
But the waves obeyed no sailor's call, and we knew not where to go.

She foundered on a rock, while we clambered up the shrouds,
And staggered like a mountain drunk, wedged in the waves almost.
The red hot boiling billows foamed in the stooping clouds,
And in that fatal tempest the whole ship's crew were lost.
Have pity for poor mariners, ye landsmen, in a storm.
O think what they endure at sea while safe at home you stay.
All ye that sleep on beds at night in houses dry and warm,
O think upon the whole ship's crew, all lost at Bantry Bay.

_Peggy's the Lady of the Hall_

And will she leave the lowly clowns
For silk and satins gay,
Her woollen aprons and drab gowns
For lady's cold array?
And will she leave the wild hedge rose,
The redbreast and the wren,
And will she leave her Sunday beaus
And milk shed in the glen?
And will she leave her kind friends all
To be the Lady of the Hall?

The cowslips bowed their golden drops,
The white thorn white as sheets;
The lamb agen the old ewe stops,
The wren and robin tweets.
And Peggy took her milk pails still,
And sang her evening song,
To milk her cows on Cowslip Hill
For half the summer long.
But silk and satins rich and rare
Are doomed for Peggy still to wear.

But when the May had turned to haws,
The hedge rose swelled to hips,
Peggy was missed without a cause,
And left us in eclipse.
The shepherd in the hovel milks,
Where builds the little wren,
And Peggy's gone, all clad in silks--
Far from the happy glen,
From dog-rose, woodbine, clover, all
To be the Lady of the Hall.

_I Dreamt of Robin_

I opened the casement this morn at starlight,
And, the moment I got out of bed,
The daisies were quaking about in their white
And the cowslip was nodding its head.
The grass was all shivers, the stars were all bright,
And Robin that should come at e'en--
I thought that I saw him, a ghost by moonlight,
Like a stalking horse stand on the green.

I went bed agen and did nothing but dream
Of Robin and moonlight and flowers.
He stood like a shadow transfixed by a stream,
And I couldn't forget him for hours.
I'd just dropt asleep when I dreamed Robin spoke,
And the casement it gave such a shake,
As if every pane in the window was broke;
Such a patter the gravel did make.

So I up in the morning before the cock crew
And to strike me a light I sat down.
I saw from the door all his track in the dew
And, I guess, called "Come in and sit down."
And one, sure enough, tramples up to the door,
And who but young Robin his sen?
And ere the old folks were half willing to stir
We met, kissed, and parted agen.

_The Peasant Poet_

He loved the brook's soft sound,
The swallow swimming by.
He loved the daisy-covered ground,
The cloud-bedappled sky.
To him the dismal storm appeared
The very voice of God;
And when the evening rack was reared
Stood Moses with his rod.
And everything his eyes surveyed,
The insects in the brake,
Were creatures God Almighty made,
He loved them for His sake--
A silent man in life's affairs,
A thinker from a boy,
A peasant in his daily cares,
A poet in his joy.

_To John Clare_

Well, honest John, how fare you now at home?
The spring is come, and birds are building nests;
The old cock robin to the stye is come,
With olive feathers and its ruddy breast;
And the old cock, with wattles and red comb,
Struts with the hens, and seems to like some best,
Then crows, and looks about for little crumbs,
Swept out by little folks an hour ago;
The pigs sleep in the stye; the bookman comes--
The little boy lets home-close nesting go,
And pockets tops and taws, where daisies bloom,
To look at the new number just laid down,
With lots of pictures, and good stories too,
And Jack the Giant-killer's high renown.

_Feb._ 10, 1860.

_Early Spring_

The Spring is come, and Spring flowers coming too,
The crocus, patty kay, the rich hearts' ease;
The polyanthus peeps with blebs of dew,
And daisy flowers; the buds swell on the trees;
While oer the odd flowers swim grandfather bees
In the old homestead rests the cottage cow;
The dogs sit on their haunches near the pail,
The least one to the stranger growls "bow wow,"
Then hurries to the door and cocks his tail,
To knaw the unfinished bone; the placid cow
Looks oer the gate; the thresher's lumping flail
Is all the noise the spring encounters now.

_May_ 28, 1860.


In the cowslip pips I lie,
Hidden from the buzzing fly,
While green grass beneath me lies,
Pearled with dew like fishes' eyes,
Here I lie, a clock-a-clay,
Waiting for the time of day.

While the forest quakes surprise,
And the wild wind sobs and sighs,
My home rocks as like to fall,
On its pillar green and tall;
When the pattering rain drives by
Clock-a-clay keeps warm and dry.

Day by day and night by night,
All the week I hide from sigh;
In the cowslip pips I lie,
In rain and dew still warm and dry;
Day and night, and night and day,
Red, black-spotted clock-a-clay.

My home shakes in wind and showers,
Pale green pillar topped with flowers,
Bending at the wild wind's breath,
Till I touch the grass beneath;
Here I live, lone clock-a-clay,
Watching for the time of day.

_Little Trotty Wagtail_

Little trotty wagtail he went in the rain,
And tittering, tottering sideways he neer got straight again,
He stooped to get a worm, and looked up to get a fly,
And then he flew away ere his feathers they were dry.

Little trotty wagtail, he waddled in the mud,
And left his little footmarks, trample where he would.
He waddled in the water-pudge, and waggle went his tail,
And chirrupt up his wings to dry upon the garden rail.

Little trotty wagtail, you nimble all about,
And in the dimpling water-pudge you waddle in and out;
Your home is nigh at hand, and in the warm pig-stye,
So, little Master Wagtail, I'll bid you a good-bye.

_Graves of Infants_

Infant' graves are steps of angels, where
Earth's brightest gems of innocence repose.
God is their parent, and they need no tear;
He takes them to His bosom from earth's woes,
A bud their lifetime and a flower their close.
Their spirits are an Iris of the skies,
Needing no prayers; a sunset's happy close.
Gone are the bright rays of their soft blue eyes;
Flowers weep in dew-drops oer them, and the gale gently sighs

Their lives were nothing but a sunny shower,
Melting on flowers as tears melt from the eye.
Their deaths were dew-drops on Heaven's amaranth bower,
And tolled on flowers as Summer gales went by.
They bowed and trembled, and they left no sigh,
And the sun smiled to show their end was well.
Infants have nought to weep for ere they die;
All prayers are needless, beads they need not tell,
White flowers their mourners are, Nature their passing bell.

_The Dying Child_

He could not die when trees were green,
For he loved the time too well.
His little hands, when flowers were seen,
Were held for the bluebell,
As he was carried oer the green.

His eye glanced at the white-nosed bee;
He knew those children of the Spring:
When he was well and on the lea
He held one in his hands to sing,
Which filled his heart with glee.

Infants, the children of the Spring!
How can an infant die
When butterflies are on the wing,
Green grass, and such a sky?
How can they die at Spring?

He held his hands for daisies white,
And then for violets blue,
And took them all to bed at night
That in the green fields grew,
As childhood's sweet delight.

And then he shut his little eyes,
And flowers would notice not;
Birds' nests and eggs caused no surprise,
He now no blossoms got:
They met with plaintive sighs.

When Winter came and blasts did sigh,
And bare were plain and tree,
As he for ease in bed did lie
His soul seemed with the free,
He died so quietly.

_Love Lives Beyond the Tomb_

Love lives beyond
The tomb, the earth, which fades like dew!
I love the fond,
The faithful, and the true.

Love lives in sleep,
The happiness of healthy dreams:
Eve's dews may weep,
But love delightful seems.

Tis seen in flowers,
And in the morning's pearly dew;
In earth's green hours,
And in the heaven's eternal blue.

Tis heard in Spring
When light and sunbeams, warm and kind,
On angel's wing
Bring love and music to the mind.

And where is voice,
So young, so beautiful, and sweet
As Nature's choice,
Where Spring and lovers meet?

Love lives beyond
The tomb, the earth, the flowers, and dew.
I love the fond,
The faithful, young and true.

_I Am_

I AM: yet what I am none cares or knows,
My friends forsake me like a memory lost;
I am the self-consumer of my woes,
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shades in love and death's oblivion lost;
And yet I am, and live with shadows tost

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life nor joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems;
And een the dearest--that I loved the best--
Are strange--nay, rather stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man has never trod;
A place where woman never smiled or wept;
There to abide with my Creator, GOD,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept:
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;
The grass below--above the vaulted sky.



_A Specimen of Clare's rough drafts_

In a huge cloud of mountain hue
The sun sets dark nor shudders through
One single beam to shine again
Tis night already in the lane

The settled clouds in ridges lie
And some swell mountains calm and high

Clouds rack and drive before the wind
In shapes and forms of every kind
Like waves that rise without the roars
And rocks that guard untrodden shores
Now castles pass majestic bye
And ships in peaceful havens lie
These gone ten thousand shapes ensue
For ever beautiful and new

The scattered clouds lie calm and still
And day throws gold on every hill
Their thousand heads in glorys run
As each were worlds and owned a sun
The rime it clings to every thing
It beards the early buds of spring
The mossy pales the orchard spray
Are feathered with its silver grey

Rain drizzles in the face so small
We scarce can say it rains at all

The cows turned to the pelting rain
No longer at their feed remain
But in the sheltering hovel hides
That from two propping dotterels strides

The sky was hilled with red and blue
With lighter shadows waking through
Till beautiful and beaming day
Shed streaks of gold for miles away

The linnet stopt her song to clean
Her spreading wings of yellow green
And turn his head as liking well
To smooth the dropples as they fell

One scarce could keep one's path aright
From gazing upward at the sight

The boys for wet are forced to pass
The cuckoo flowers among the grass
To hasten on as well they may
For hedge or tree or stack of hay
Where they for shelter can abide
Safe seated by its sloping side
That by the blackthorn thicket cowers
A shelter in the strongest showers

The gardens golden gilliflowers
Are paled with drops of amber showers

Dead leaves from hedges flirt about
The chaff from barn doors winnows out
And down without a wing to flye
As fast as bees goes sailing bye
The feather finds a wing to flye
And dust in wirl puffs winnows bye

When the rain at midday stops
Spangles glitter in the drops
And as each thread a sunbeam was
Cobwebs glitter in the grass

The sheep all loaded with the rain
Try to shake it off in vain
And ere dryed by wind and sun
The load will scarcely let them run

The shepherds foot is sodden through
And leaves will clout his brushing shoe
The buttercups in gold alloyed
And daiseys by the shower destroyed

The sun is overcast clouds lie
And thicken over all the sky

Crows morn and eve will flock in crowds
To fens and darken like the clouds
So many is their cumberous flight
The dull eve darkens into night

Clouds curl and curdle blue and grey
And dapple the young summers day

Through the torn woods the violent rain
Roars and rattles oer the plain
And bubbles up in every pool
Till dykes and ponds are brimming full

The thickening clouds move slowly on
Till all the many clouds are one
That spreads oer all the face of day
And turns the sunny shine to grey

Now the meadow water smokes
And hedgerows dripping oaks
Fitter patter all around
And dimple the once dusty ground
The spinners threads about the weeds
Are hung with little drops in beads
Clover silver green becomes
And purple blue surrounds the plumbs
And every place breaths fresh and fair
When morning pays her visit there

The day is dull the heron trails
On flapping wings like heavy sails
And oer the mead so lowly swings
She fans the herbage with her wings

The waterfowl with suthering wings
Dive down the river splash and spring
Up to the very clouds again
That sprinkle scuds of coming rain
That flye and drizzle all the day
Till dripping grass is turned to grey

The various clouds that move or lye
Like mighty travellers in the sky
All mountainously ridged or curled
That may have travelled round the world

The water ruckles into waves
And loud the neighbouring woodland raves
All telling of the coming storm
That fills the village with alarm

Ere yet the sun is two hours high
Winds find all quarters of the sky
With sudden shiftings all around
And now the grass upon the ground
And now the leaves they wirl and wirl
With many a flirting flap and curl



Northamptonshire Peasant. London: Printed for Taylor and Hessey. 1820.
12mo. Pp. xxxii, 222. The second and third editions, 1820; excisions
and alterations occur, but not in all copies. Fourth edition, 1821.


volumes 12mo. Pp. xxviii, 216; vi, 211. Second edition, 1823. The
two volumes were also, at a later date, bound in one cover lettered
"Poetic Souvenir."


Taylor. 1827. 12mo. Pp. viii, 238.


THE RURAL MUSE. London: Whittaker & Co. 1835. 12mo. Pp. x, 175.

_Biographies and Selections_


THE LIFE OF JOHN CLARE. By Frederick Martin, London and Cambridge:
Macmillan & Co. 1865. Fcp. 8vo. Pp. viii, 301.


LIFE AND REMAINS OF JOHN CLARE. By J. L. Cherry. London: Frederick
Warne & Co. Northampton: J. Taylor & Son. 1873. (Issued in the
_Chandos Classics_, 1873-1877.) Fcap. 8vo. Pp. xiii, 349.


POEMS BY JOHN CLARE, selected and introduced by Norman Gale. With a
Bibliography by C. Ernest Smith. Geo. E. Over, Rugby, 1901. Fcp. 8vo.
Pp. 206.


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