From 'The Village Minstrel' (3)

Leading up to the John Clare Society Festival in Helpston on Saturday 14th July, (with associated events on the 13th and 15th), a short series of excerpts, through Clare’s eyes, of the heaths, fields and fens around his home.

This year not only is Ronald Blythe giving his much anticipated annual President’s Address, but also Richard Mabey is giving a Keynote Address on “Clare – Botanist or Flower Arranger”. See you there?

And long, my dear valleys, long, long may ye flourish,
Though rush-beds and thistles make most of your pride!
May showers never fail the green's daisies to nourish,
Nor suns dry the fountain that rills by its side!
Your skies may be gloomy, and misty your mornings,
Your flat swampy valleys unwholesome may be,
Still, refuse of Nature, without her adornings
Ye are dear as this heart in my bosom to me.

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