Young Jenny

The cockchafer hums down the rut-rifted lane
Where the wild roses hang and the woodbines entwine,
And the shrill squeaking bat makes his circles again
Round the side of the tavern close by the sign.
The sun is gone down like a wearisome queen,
In curtains the richest that ever were seen.

The dew falls on flowers in a mist of small rain,
And, beating the hedges, low fly the barn owls;
The moon with her horns is just peeping again,
And deep in the forest the dog-badger howls;
In best bib and tucker then wanders my Jane
By the side of the woodbines which grow in the lane.

On a sweet eventide I walk by her side;
In green hoods the daisies have shut up their eyes.
Young Jenny is handsome without any pride;
Her eyes (O how bright!) have the hue of the skies.
O 'tis pleasant to walk by the side of my Jane
At the close of the day, down the mossy green lane.

We stand by the brook, by the gate, and the stile,
While the even star hangs out his lamp in the sky;
And on her calm face dwells a sweet sunny smile,
While her soul fondly speaks through the light of her eye.
Sweet are the moments while waiting for Jane;
'T is her footsteps I hear coming down the green lane.

Lassie, I Love Thee

Lassie, I love thee!
The heavens above thee
Look downwards to move thee,
And prove my love true.
My arms round thy waist, love,
My head on thy breast, love;
By a true man caressed love,
Ne'er bid me adieu.

Thy cheek's full o' blushes,
Like the rose in the bushes,
While my love ardent gushes
With over delight.
Though clouds may come o'er thee,
Sweet maid, I'll adore thee,
As I do now before thee:
I love thee outright.

It stings me to madness
To see thee all gladness,
While I'm full of sadness
Thy meaning to guess.
Thy gown is deep blue, love,
In honour of true love:
Ever thinking of you, love,
My love I'll confess.

My love ever showing,
Thy heart worth the knowing,
It is like the sun glowing,
And hid in thy breast.
Thy lover behold me;
To my bosom I'll fold thee,
For thou, love, thou'st just told me,
So here thou may'st rest.

To Isabel

Arise, my Isabel, arise!
The sun shoots forth his early ray,
The hue of love is in the skies,
The birds are singing, come away!
O come, my Isabella, come,
With inky tendrils hanging low;
Thy cheeks like roses just in bloom,
That in the healthy Summer glow.

That eye it turns the world away
From wanton sport and recklessness;
That eye beams with a cheerful ray,
And smiles propitiously to bless.
O come, my Isabella, dear!
O come, and fill these longing arms!
Come, let me see thy beauty here,
And bend in worship o'er thy charms.

O come, my Isabella, love!
My dearest Isabella, come!
Thy heart's affection, let me prove,
And kiss thy beauty in its bloom.
My Isabella, young and fair,
Thou darling of my home and heart,
Come, love, my bosom's truth to share,
And of its being form a part.

I Love Thee, Sweet Mary

I love thee, sweet Mary, but love thee in fear;
Were I but the morning breeze, healthful and airy,
As thou goest a-walking I'd breathe in thine ear,
And whisper and sigh, how I love thee, my Mary!

I wish but to touch thee, but wish it in vain;
Wert thou but a streamlet, a-winding so clearly,
And I little globules of soft dropping rain,
How fond would I press thy white bosom, my Mary!

I would steal a kiss, but I dare not presume;
Wert thou but a rose in thy garden, sweet fairy,
And I a bold bee for to rifle its bloom,
A whole Summer's day would I kiss thee, my Mary!

I long to be with thee, but cannot tell how;
Wert thou but the elder that grows by thy dairy,
And I the blest woodbine to twine on the bough,
I'd embrace thee and cling to thee ever, my Mary!

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.

To a Primrose

According to his friend Octavius Gilchrist -- recorded in the “London Magazine” for January 1820 -- Clare composed the following sonnet “To a Primrose” at the age of sixteen:

Welcome, pale primrose, starting up between
Dead matted leaves of oak and ash, that strew
The every lawn, the wood, and spinney through,
Mid creeping moss and ivy's darker green!
How much thy presence beautifies the ground!
How sweet thy modest, unaffected pride
Glows on the sunny bank and wood's warm side!
And where thy fairy flowers in groups are found
The schoolboy roams enchantedly along,
Plucking the fairest with a rude delight,
While the meek shepherd stops his simple song,
To gaze a moment on the pleasing sight,
O'erjoyed to see the flowers that truly bring
The welcome news of sweet returning Spring.

The Fallen Elm (Final)

No matter--wrong was right and right was wrong,
And freedom's bawl was sanction to the song.
--Such was thy ruin, music-making elm;
The right of freedom was to injure thine:
As thou wert served, so would they overwhelm
In freedom's name the little that is mine.
And there are knaves that brawl for better laws
And cant of tyranny in stronger power
Who glut their vile unsatiated maws
And freedom's birthright from the weak devour.

The Fallen Elm (V)

Thou'st heard the knave supply his canting powers
With wrong's illusions when he wanted friends;
That bawled for shelter when he lived in showers
And when clouds vanished made thy shade amends--
With axe at root he felled thee to the ground
And barked of freedom--O I hate the sound
Time hears its visions speak,--and age sublime
Hath made thee a disciple unto time.
--It grows the cant term of enslaving tools
To wrong another by the name of right;
Thus came enclosure--ruin was its guide,
But freedom's cottage soon was thrust aside
And workhouse prisons raised upon the site.
Een nature's dwellings far away from men,
The common heath, became the spoiler's prey;
The rabbit had not where to make his den
And labour's only cow was drove away.

The Fallen Elm (IV)

What cant assumes, what hypocrites will dare,
Speaks home to truth and shows it what they are.
I see a picture which thy fate displays
And learn a lesson from thy destiny;
Self-interest saw thee stand in freedom's ways--
So thy old shadow must a tyrant be.
Tnou'st heard the knave, abusing those in power,
Bawl freedom loud and then oppress the free;
Thou'st sheltered hypocrites in many a shower,
That when in power would never shelter thee.

The Fallen Elm (III)

The children sought thee in thy summer shade
And made their playhouse rings of stick and stone;
The mavis sang and felt himself alone
While in thy leaves his early nest was made.
And I did feel his happiness mine own,
Nought heeding that our friendship was betrayed,
Friend not inanimate - though stocks and stones
There are, and many formed of flesh and bones.
Thou owned a language by which hearts are stirred
Deeper than by a feeling clothed in word,
And speakest now what's known of every tongue,
Language of pity and the force of wrong.

The Fallen Elm (II)

It seasoned comfort to our hearts' desire,
We felt thy kind protection like a friend
And edged our chairs up closer to the fire,
Enjoying comfort that was never penned.
Old favourite tree, thou'st seen time's changes lower,
Though change till now did never injure thee;
For time beheld thee as her sacred dower
And nature claimed thee her domestic tree.
Storms came and shook thee many a weary hour,
Yet stedfast to thy home thy roots have been;
Summers of thirst parched round thy homely bower
Till earth grew iron--still thy leaves were green.

The Fallen Elm (I)

Old elm, that murmured in our chimney top
The sweetest anthem autumn ever made
And into mellow whispering calms would drop
When showers fell on thy many coloured shade
And when dark tempests mimic thunder made--
While darkness came as it would strangle light
With the black tempest of a winter night
That rocked thee like a cradle in thy root--
How did I love to hear the winds upbraid
Thy strength without--while all within was mute.


Autumn comes laden with her ripened load
Of fruitage and so scatters them abroad
That each fern-smothered heath and mole-hill waste
Are black with bramble berries - where in haste
The chubby urchins from the village hie
To feast them there, stained with the purple dye;
While painted woods around my rambles be
In draperies worthy of eternity.
Yet will the leaves soon patter on the ground,
And death's deaf voice awake at every sound:
One drops--then others--and the last that fell
Rings for those left behind their passing bell.
Thus memory every where her tidings brings
How sad death robs us of life's dearest things.

Song's Eternity (II)

Mighty songs that miss decay,
What are they?
Crowds and cities pass away
Like a day.
Books are out and books are read;
What are they?
Years will lay them with the dead -
Sigh, sigh;
Trifles unto nothing wed,
They die.

Dreamers, mark the honey bee;
Mark the tree
Where the blue cap "tootle tee"
Sings a glee
Sung to Adam and to Eve
Here they be.
When floods covered every bough,
Noah's ark
Heard that ballad singing now;
Hark, hark,

"Tootle tootle tootle tee" -
Can it be
Pride and fame must shadows be?
Come and see -
Every season own her own;
Bird and bee
Sing creation's music on;
Nature's glee
Is in every mood and tone