The Country Girl

O dear what fine thinkings beset me
Sin' the young Farmer yesterday met me
To tell me for truth he wou'd get me
Some service more fitting in town
For he said 'twas a shame & he swore too
That I should be serv'd so & more too
& that he was vex'd oer & oer too
To see me so sadly run down

When to thank him—for curtsy'ng I dropt me
He said twas all foolish & stopt me—
& into his arms Oh he popt me!
And crumpl'd my bonnet awry
The tray sav'd the fall till he mov'd it
& this way & that way he shov'd it
Good behaviour he said how he lov'd it
When maids wa'n't so foolish & shy

O dear what fine thinkings beset me
Since the young Farmer promis'd & met me
Of what he would do & would get me
How my heart pittapatters about
Tho Fear—none but fools make a trade on—
He swore when he saw what I play'd on
‘My word is my bond pretty maiden’
Then why need I harbour a doubt

Tho the tell clacking grass's foul staining
In my holiday clothes is remaining

I ne'er shall go make no complaining
I've promise o' better in Town
So Chub needn't come no more croaking
To maul one about so provoking
I know what is what—wi'out Joking
Theres nought got by pleasing a Clown

The Early Poems of John Clare 1804-1822
ed. Eric Robinson, David Powell and Margaret Grainge
(Oxford, 2 volumes, I-II, 1989)

Come maiden dear maiden...

[Image : Anne Lee]

On Friday, 11th July working in the Clare Archives in Peterborough I had a spare 10 minutes at the end of the day.  I had been checking for errors in my transcription of a poem that will be published for the first time in Anne Lee and my future volume "In the Shadows".  I idly turned over a few pages and encountered this, also unpublished poem outside of the Clarendon Editions (see comment below) of nine verses.  The day afterward I read the first three verses - the only ones I had transcribed by then - at the public reading of Clare's work at the John Clare Festival.  Here are those verses...

Come maiden dear maiden a beautiful troop
Of images now the young morning doth wear
The lark leaves her nest & the dew splashes up
As she flies through the clover & sings in the air

The bushes that rustle & catch at thy gown
The trees that thy pathway envelopes in leaves
The grass smooth as velvet runs green up and down
& from the young morning a rapture receives

& from the green hedge that the path brushes nigh
The flight of a bird shakes the rain in the place
& the blackbird frit off from her nest rushing bye
Shakes a shower on the path that will sprinkle thy face

Unpublished Sonnet

OK... going to be away at the Festival from Thursday until Sunday, so for those who cannot make it to Helpston this year (you must have a good excuse) here is another of Lady Clementina Hawarden's delicious daughters (whoops, sorry... but they are all so beautiful) coupled with a Clare sonnet as yet unpublished, but WILL figure in our next volume "In the Shadows" which Anne Lee and I are working upon at present.

Hopes sun shines sweet but who of hopes are proud
To see how soon it meeteth with a cloud
How many hopes & memorys went with thee
That forwerd looked to better destiny
Song seems not worth the muses care
Unless to grace it womans love be there
& fame is but a shadow crowned with bays
Without the cheering sun of womans grace
When thy young bosom at the tales it heard
Heavd up & panted like a timid bird
Thy splendid beauty blushed upon the sight
Like sudden frenzy of unlooked for flight
Thou haven of my trouble when I see
That lovely face the show is past with me

Discovered in the Clare Archive by Professor Eric Robinson and Roger Rowe

To Innoscence

[Taken around 1860 this is one of Lady Clementina Hawarden's famous photos of one of her daughters.  Such an early photo and so stunning a composition.  A large collection can be viewed in the V&A.]

O Innoscence thou captivating charm
Thou beauty's gem pure, heavenly, & divine
The Virgins cheek—when thy soft flushes warm
What 'witching sweetness & what powers are thine
Coy bashfull looks turn'd from admiring eyes
Chill'd trembling paleness aw'd by fancied fear
Short timid Answers blushing sweet suprise
When Loves soft sighs are wisper'd in her ear
These charms! The very soul's recesses thrills
These sweet confusions every bosom feels
In every heart the magic sweet Instills
Which each coy lover painfully consceals—
The rose & rubys charms—frail beautys pride
But vainly please the wise—devoid of thine
A dazzling toy by fools & younkers ey'd
Like brazen lure that daubs inviting sign
Tho tempted Eve thy sweet origin lost
A 'zembling shade the virtues still retain—
Still Emmas Face thy sweetest charm can boast
& heaven it self more sweetness boasts in vain

The Early Poems of John Clare 1804-1822
ed. Eric Robinson, David Powell and Margaret Grainger
(Oxford, 2 volumes, I-II, 1989)

The Milking Hour

The sun had grown on lessening day
A table large & round
& in the distant vapours grey
Seemed leaning on the ground
When Mary like a lingering flower
Did tenderly agree
To stay beyond her milking hour
& talk awhile with me

We wandered till the distant town
Had silenced nearly dumb
& lessened on the quiet ear
Small as a beetles hum
She turned her buckets upside & down
& made us each a seat
& there we talked the evening brown
Beneath the rustling wheat

& while she milked her breathing cows
I sat beside the streams
In musing oer our evening joys
Like one in pleasant dreams
The bats & owls to meet the night
From hollow trees had gone
& een the flowers had shut for sleep
& still she lingered on

We mused in rapture side by side
Our wishes seemed as one
We talked of times retreating tide
& sighed to find it gone
& we had sighed more deeply still
Oer all our pleasures past
If we had known what now we know
That we had met the last

Selected Poems and Prose of John Clare
ed. Eric Robinson and Geoffrey Summerfield
(Oxford, 1967, 1978)

A Ballad

Upon the plain there liv’d a swain
A Flock his whole employ
Unknown loves cares & all its snares
To damp his humble joy
Industry toils while Fortune smiles
To bless him with increase
Contentment made his humble trade
A Scene of Health & Peace

But Cupid sly whose jealous eye
Envied his happiness
With pointed darts & subtle arts
Resolved on his distress
Tho’ first in vain he Worked his brain
But practised in deceit
Fresh schemes & plans where nigh at hand
& some was sure to hit

In fatal hour he proved his power
A Shepherds form he ‘tain
With hook & song he hums along
& thus acosts the swain
Go friend he cried to yonder side
The hedge that bounds the plain
For there a lamb has lost his dam
& calls for help in vain

He instant starts his tender heart
O’erlooks the subtle snare
The swain’s beguiled pleased Cupid smiled
Fair Florimel was there
The Rosys red her cheeks bespread
Her bosom lily white
To view her charms each bosom warms
Enraptured at the sight

Her heaving breast her slender waist
Her shape genteel & tall
Her charms divine Unrivaled shine
Alike confessed by all
Beneath the shade the lovely maid
Was sheltered from the sun
O luckless swain go fly the plain
Or stay & be undone

For ah t’was proved by them that loved
She had a scornful eye
Her pride was vain no way to gain
Her pity but to dye
—Stretched on the Green—her beauty seen
To all advantage there
To meet the breeze that fanned the trees
Her snowy breast was bare

She meets his view, Sweet Peace adieu!
And Pleasures known before
He sighs—Approves—Admires & loves
His heart's his own no more

Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery (1820)
Recorded in 2009 by David Rowe as 'Cupid Sly'

My dream began...

[Image: Anne Lee]

Anxiety turnd on her quiet face
& reccolections woud old memorys trace
She seemd at first as living beauty seems
Then changd more lovly in the shade of dreams
Then faded dim confusd & hurring bye
Like memory wearing into vacancy
I coud not move nor speak yet reasons power
Seemd wide awake in that spell prisoning hour
I felt as tried what ere the lot might be
& strove & struggled oer my destiny
& then my eyes in hopless wandering spied
That lovly shadow that had been my guide

Her face grew pale & awful yet a shade
Of beauty hung in every change it made

from "The Nightmare"
The Poems of John Clare
ed. J. W. Tibble (2 volumes, Dent, 1935)

This poem will form an important part of the story of John Clare and Mary Joyce's relationship to be published later in the year under the title "In the Shadows".