The Yellowhammer

When shall I see the white-thorn leaves agen,
And yellowhammers gathering the dry bents
By the dyke side, on stilly moor or fen,
Feathered with love and nature's good intents?
Rude is the tent this architect invents,
Rural the place, with cart ruts by dyke side.
Dead grass, horse hair, and downy-headed bents
Tied to dead thistles--she doth well provide,
Close to a hill of ants where cowslips bloom
And shed oer meadows far their sweet perfume.
In early spring, when winds blow chilly cold,
The yellowhammer, trailing grass, will come
To fix a place and choose an early home,
With yellow breast and head of solid gold.
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lies heessels said...

Dear Roger,

I was wondering if you could help me out... I was reading a book written by a Dutch author (Maarten 't Hart-de Droomkoningin) in which he cites a few phrases of John Clare's poem Love's Story, for example:

I do not love thee,
Yet joy's very essence,
Comes with thy footsteps,
Is complete in thy presence.


I do not love thee,
Yet thy handsome ways,
Bring me in absence,
Almost hopeless days.

I have been searching everywhere, mostly on the internet, but I can't find this poem anywhere. Can you help me find this poem?

Kindest regards,
Lies Heessels
Hedel, The Netherlands

John Goodridge said...

Hi Lies, hi Roger. You can find the poem beginning 'I do not love thee' in my index of first lines on the Clare web page (under 'Useful Indexes'):

It is called 'Love's Story' and is printed in the Oxford Authors/Major Works edition, p. 377)
John Goodridge

lies heessels said...

Hi John,
Thanks for your help!
Roger also wrote me that the poem can be found in "English Romantic Verses" by David Wright, I'm now trying to find a bookstore in the Netherlands that sells this book. Kindest regards, Lies