The Driving Boy

A thought hit me yesterday... one of those stray ones that arrest you from time to time! Benjamin Britten's Spring Symphony includes lines from Clare:

Spring Symphony Op. 44: Part 1 (4) : The Driving Boy

The texts are boisterous, and include Clare's ‘The Driving Boy’ from ‘May’. Britten's setting of the last lines of the poem are always sung with particular relish:

Cracking his whip in starts of joy
A happy, dirty, driving boy.

The full text from Clare:

The driving boy beside his team
Will oer the may month beauty dream
And cock his hat and turn his eye
On flower and tree and deepning skye
And oft bursts loud in fits of song
And whistles as he reels along
Crack[ing] his whip in starts of joy
A happy dirty driving boy

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