The Wood-cutter's Night Song



Welcome, red and roundy sun,
Dropping lowly in the west;
Now my hard day's work is done,
I'm as happy as the best.

Joyful are the thoughts of home,
Now I'm ready for my chair,
So, till morrow-morning's come,
Bill and mittens, lie ye there!

Though to leave your pretty song,
Little birds, it gives me pain,
Yet to-morrow is not long,
Then I'm with you all again.

If I stop, and stand about,
Well I know how things will be,
Judy will be looking out
Every now-and-then for me.

So fare ye well! and hold your tongues,
Sing no more until I come;
They're not worthy of your songs
That never care to drop a crumb.

All day long I love the oaks,
But, at nights, yon little cot,
Where I see the chimney smokes,
Is by far the prettiest spot.

Wife and children all are there,
To revive with pleasant looks,
Table ready set, and chair,
Supper hanging on the hooks.

Soon as ever I get in,
When my faggot down I fling,
Little prattlers they begin
Teasing me to talk and sing.

Welcome, red and roundy sun,
Dropping lowly in the west;
Now my hard day's work is done,
I'm as happy as the best.

Joyful are the thoughts of home,
Now I'm ready for my chair,
So, till morrow-morning's come,
Bill and mittens, lie ye there!
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2 comments:

Ian said...

That's a wonderful poem, thanks Roger. What I like most about it is the idea that neither world - the domestic and the natural - is better than the other. They don't even seem to be separated that much, they're part of the same equation, and they complement and complete each other. The language of the opening stanza is so comfortable and comforted, and the sense of comfort has been achieved through work, and the feeling of earning. Both work and home are such an integral part of who the poet is and his worldview, it's strange to think that so many people in the twenty first century see it as completely foreign, or an ideal rather than a reality.
I grew up in Etton, a mile or so from Helpston, but never paid any attention to Clare until very recently, and now he's changing how I see the world and the way that I fit into it.

Roger R. said...

Thanks Ian... I know Etton, we visit Helpston for the Clare Festival each July and ther is nearly always a walk around his 'world'. Worth a visit. Question is, did Clare write a poem about Etton? I'll have a think!

Roger R.