[Image: Carry Akroyd's 'At Wicken Fen' (detail)]

As a boy, one of Clare's closest friends explored the country around Helpston with him, as Edmund Blunden comments, "... to the benefit of both". Much later whilst incarcerated in Northampton, he remembers his old friend and dedicates one of his sonnets to him:

Turnill, we toiled together all the day,
And lived like hermits from the boys at play;
We read and walked together round the fields,
Not for the beauty that the journey yields--
But muddied fish, and bragged o'er what we caught,
And talked about the few old books we bought.
Though low in price you knew their value well,
And I thought nothing could their worth excel;
And then we talked of what we wished to buy,
And knowledge always kept our pockets dry.
We went the nearest ways, and hummed a song,
And snatched the pea pods as we went along,
And often stooped for hunger on the way
To eat the sour grass in the meadow hay.

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