The Lament of Swordy Well (I)

Swaddywell Pit - July 2005

Swaddywell, or Swordywell as it was known 200 years ago when John Clare grew up, lived and worked nearby in Helpston, had been the site of a quarry since Roman times. It takes its name from a nearby spring where an ancient sword was reputedly found. In medieval times, quarries like Swaddywell would have provided stone for local churches and cathedrals such as Peterborough and Ely.

John Clare's "The Lament of Swordy Well"

Pe[ti]tioners are full of prayers
To fall in pitys way
But if her hand the gift forebears
Theyll sooner swear than pray
They're not the worst to want who lurch
On plenty with complaints
No more then those who go to church
Are eer the better saints

I hold no hat to beg a mite
Nor pick it up when thrown
Nor limping leg I hold in sight
But pray to keep my own
Where profit gets his clutches in
Theres little he will leave
Gain stooping for a single pin
Will stick it on his sleeve

For passers bye I never pin
No troubles to my breast
Nor carry round some names
More money from the rest
Im swordy well a piece of land
Thats fell upon the town
Who worked me till I couldnt stand
And crush me now Im down

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Anonymous said...

Really enjoy your John Clare blog.
especially the Carry Ackroyd paintings - You've done Swordy Well proud - all 9 parts! Surprised others don't comment! G.

Anonymous said...

Just love John Clare's Poetry