From "January"

[Image: Carry Akroyd]

Supper removed, the mother sits,
And tells her tales by starts and fits.
Not willing to lose time or toil,
She knits or sews, and talks the while
Something, that may be warnings found
To the young listeners gaping round--
Of boys who in her early day
Strolled to the meadow-lake to play,
Where willows, oer the bank inclined
Sheltered the water from the wind,
And left it scarcely crizzled oer--
When one sank in, to rise no more!
And how, upon a market-night,
When not a star bestowed its light,
A farmer's shepherd, oer his glass,
Forgot that he had woods to pass:
And having sold his master's sheep,
Was overta'en by darkness deep.
How, coming with his startled horse,
To where two roads a hollow cross;
Where, lone guide when a stranger strays,
A white post points four different ways,
Beside the woodride's lonely gate
A murdering robber lay in wait.
The frightened horse, with broken rein,
Stood at the stable-door again;
But none came home to fill his rack,
Or take the saddle from his back;
The saddle--it was all he bore--
The man was seen alive no more!--
In her young days, beside the wood,
The gibbet in its terror stood:
Though now decayed, tis not forgot,
But dreaded as a haunted spot.--

3 comments:

Andrew said...

Roger
Thanks very much for posting these extracts from Clare. The images are also excellent. Happy New Year.
Andrew

Roger R. said...

Thank you Andrew... a labour of love. Are you a member of the John Clare Society? Woth joining if you are not, especially for our festival in July of each year.

Andrew said...

Roger
I suppose I should join. A new year is a good time for something new: I'll send off the application!
Andrew