The Flitting (VI)

And still they bloom as on the day
They first crowned wilderness and rock,
When Abel haply wreathed with may
The firstlings of his little flock,
And Eve might from the matted thorn
To deck her lone and lovely brow
Reach that same rose that heedless scorn
Misnames as the dog rosey now.

Give me no high-flown fangled things,
No haughty pomp in marching chime,
Where muses play on golden strings
And splendour passes for sublime,
Where cities stretch as far as fame
And fancy's straining eye can go,
And piled until the sky for shame
Is stooping far away below.

I love the verse that mild and bland
Breathes of green fields and open sky,
I love the muse that in her hand
Bears flowers of native poesy;
Who walks nor skips the pasture brook
In scorn, but by the drinking horse
Leans oer its little brig to look
How far the sallows lean across,

And feels a rapture in her breast
Upon their root-fringed grains to mark
A hermit morehen's sedgy nest
Just like a naiad's summer bark.
She counts the eggs she cannot reach
Admires the spot and loves it well,
And yearns, so nature's lessons teach,
Amid such neighbourhoods to dwell.
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The Flitting (V)

There have I sat by many a tree
And leaned oer many a rural stile,
And conned my thoughts as joys to me,
Nought heeding who might frown or smile.
Twas nature's beauty that inspired
My heart with rapture not its own,
And she's a fame that never tires;
How could I feel myself alone?

No, pasture molehills used to lie
And talk to me of sunny days,
And then the glad sheep resting bye
All still in ruminating praise
Of summer and the pleasant place
And every weed and blossom too
Was looking upward in my face
With friendship's welcome "how do ye do?"

All tenants of an ancient place
And heirs of noble heritage,
Coeval they with Adam's race
And blest with more substantial age.
For when the world first saw the sun
These little flowers beheld him too,
And when his love for earth begun
They were the first his smiles to woo.

There little lambtoe bunches springs
In red tinged and begolden dye
For ever, and like China kings
They come but never seem to die.
There may-bloom with its little threads
Still comes upon the thorny bowers
And neer forgets those prickly heads
Like fairy pins amid the flowers.
(tbc) Posted by Hello

The Flitting (IV)

Strange scenes mere shadows are to me,
Vague impersonifying things;
I love with my old haunts to be
By quiet woods and gravel springs,
Where little pebbles wear as smooth
As hermits' beads by gentle floods,
Whose noises do my spirits soothe
And warm them into singing moods.

Here every tree is strange to me,
All foreign things where eer I go,
There's none where boyhood made a swee
Or clambered up to rob a crow.
No hollow tree or woodland bower
Well known when joy was beating high,
Where beauty ran to shun a shower
And love took pains to keep her dry,

And laid the sheaf upon the ground
To keep her from the dripping grass,
And ran for stocks and set them round
Till scarce a drop of rain could pass
Through; where the maidens they reclined
And sung sweet ballads now forgot,
Which brought sweet memories to the mind,
But here no memory knows them not.
(tbc) Posted by Hello

The Flitting (III)

I dwell in trifles like a child,
I feel as ill becomes a man,
And still my thoughts like weedlings wild
Grow up to blossom where they can.
They turn to places known so long
I feel that joy was dwelling there,
So home-fed pleasure fills the song
That has no present joys to hear.

I read in books for happiness,
But books are like the sea to joy,
They change--as well give age the glass
To hunt its visage when a boy.
For books they follow fashions new
And throw all old esteems away,
In crowded streets flowers never grew,
But many there hath died away.

Some sing the pomps of chivalry
As legends of the ancient time,
Where gold and pearls and mystery
Are shadows painted for sublime;
But passions of sublimity
Belong to plain and simpler things,
And David underneath a tree
Sought when a shepherd Salem's springs,

Where moss did into cushions spring,
Forming a seat of velvet hue,
A small unnoticed trifling thing
To all but heaven's hailing dew.
And David's crown hath passed away,
Yet poesy breathes his shepherd-skill,
His palace lost--and to this day
The little moss is blossoming still.
(tbc) Posted by Hello

The Flitting (II)

I walk adown the narrow lane,
The nightingale is singing now,
But like to me she seems at loss
For Royce Wood and its shielding bough.
I lean upon the window sill,
The trees and summer happy seem;
Green, sunny green they shine, but still
My heart goes far away to dream.

Of happiness, and thoughts arise
With home-bred pictures many a one,
Green lanes that shut out burning skies
And old crooked stiles to rest upon;
Above them hangs the maple tree,
Below grass swells a velvet hill,
And little footpaths sweet to see
Go seeking sweeter places still,

With bye and bye a brook to cross
Oer which a little arch is thrown:
No brook is here, I feel the loss
From home and friends and all alone.
--The stone pit with its shelvy sides
Seemed hanging rocks in my esteem;
I miss the prospect far and wide
From Langley Bush, and so I seem

Alone and in a stranger scene,
Far, far from spots my heart esteems,
The closen with their ancient green,
Heaths, woods, and pastures, sunny streams.
The hawthorns here were hung with may,
But still they seem in deader green,
The sun een seems to lose its way
Nor knows the quarter it is in.
(tbc) Posted by Hello

The Flitting (I)

Ten months after the first posting on this weblog, it is about time we looked at 'The Flitting', with its haunting descriptions of rural landscapes and in which Clare expresses his regret moving just few miles from Helpstone, and his sense of loss.

I've left my own old home of homes,
Green fields and every pleasant place;
The summer like a stranger comes,
I pause and hardly know her face.
I miss the hazel's happy green,
The blue bell's quiet hanging blooms,
Where envy's sneer was never seen,
Where staring malice never comes.

I miss the heath, its yellow furze,
Molehills and rabbit tracks that lead
Through beesom, ling, and teazel burrs
That spread a wilderness indeed;
The woodland oaks and all below
That their white powdered branches shield,
The mossy paths: the very crow
Croaks music in my native field.

I sit me in my corner chair
That seems to feel itself from home,
And hear bird music here and there
From hawthorn hedge and orchard come;
I hear, but all is strange and new:
I sat on my old bench in June,
The sailing puddock's shrill "peelew"
On Royce Wood seemed a sweeter tune.

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From the Village Minstrel

(Vincent Van Gogh)

Young Lubin was a peasant from his birth;
His sire a hind born to the flail and plough,
To thump the corn out and to till the earth,
The coarsest chance which nature's laws allow,
To earn his living by a sweating brow;
Thus labour's early days did rugged roll,
Mixt with untimely toil-but e'en as now,
Ambitions prospects fired his little soul,
And fancy soared and sung, 'bove poverty's control.

Small joy to him were childhood's tempting tricks,
Which school-boys look for in their vacant hours;
With other boys he little cared to mix;
Joy left him lonely in his hawthorn bowers,
As haply binding up his knots of flowers,
Or list'ning unseen birds to hear them sing;
Or gazing downward where the runnel pours,
Through the moss'd bridge, in many a whirling ring;
How would he muse o'er all on pleasure's fairy wing.

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From "The Parish: A Satire"

In politics and politicians' lies
The modern farmer waxes wondrous wise;
Opinionates with wisdom all compact,
And een could tell a nation how to act;
Throws light on darkness with excessive skill,
Knows who acts well and whose designs are ill,
Proves half the members nought but bribery's tools,
And calls the past a dull dark age of fools.

As wise as Solomon they read the news,
Not with their blind forefathers' simple views,
Who read of wars, and wished that wars would cease,
And blessed the King, and wished his country peace;
Who marked the weight of each fat sheep and ox,
The price of grain and rise and fall of stocks;
Who thought it learning how to buy and sell,
And him a wise man who could manage well.

No, not with such old-fashioned, idle views
Do these newsmongers traffic with the news.
They read of politics and not of grain,
And speechify and comment and explain,
And know so much of Parliament and state
You'd think they're members when you heard them prate;
And know so little of their farms the while
They can but urge a wiser man to smile.

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Sudden Shower

Black grows the southern sky, betokening rain,
And humming hive-bees homeward hurry bye:
They feel the change; so let us shun the grain,
And take the broad road while our feet are dry.
Ay, there some dropples moistened on my face,
And pattered on my hat--tis coming nigh!
Let's look about, and find a sheltering place.
The little things around, like you and I,
Are hurrying through the grass to shun the shower.
Here stoops an ash-tree--hark! the wind gets high,
But never mind; this ivy, for an hour,
Rain as it may, will keep us dryly here:
That little wren knows well his sheltering bower,
Nor leaves his dry house though we come so near.
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