Child Harold

[The next four postings will be excerpts from Clare’s Child Harold]

[Image: 'Out of Doors' by Carry Akroyd]

From: The Spring Canto: High Beech
The Blackbird Has Built In The Pasture Agen
& The Thorn Oer The Pond Shows A Delicate Green
Where I Strolled With Patty Adown In The Glen
& Spent Summer Evenings & Sundays Unseen
How Sweet The Hill Brow
& The Low Of The Cow
& The Sunshine That Gilded The Bushes So Green

When Evening Brought Dews Natures Thirst To Allay
& Clouds Seemed To Nestle Round Hamlets & Farms
While In The Green Bushes We Spent The Sweet Day
& Patty Sweet Patty Was Still In My Arms
The Love Bloom That Redded Upon Her Sweet Lips
The Love Light That Glistened Within Her Sweet Eye
The Singing Bees There That The Wild Honey Sips
From Wild Blossoms Seemed Not So Happy As I
How Sweet Her Smile Seemed
While The Summer Sun Gleamed
& The Laugh Of The Spring Shadowed Joys From On High

While The Birds Sung About Us & Cattle Grazed Round
& Beauty Was Blooming On Hamlets & Farms
How Sweet Steamed The Inscence Of Dew From The Ground
While Patty Sweet Patty Sat Locked In My Arms

(lines 1108 to 1129)

“Clare’s habit of capitalising the first letter of all words informs every piece of extant date material between 17 March and 1 May 1841. It seems very likely that such ‘upper-casing’ characterised all his writing between early March and mid-May, and that the capitalised stanzas of Child Harold can therefore be reliably ascribed to this period”

John Clare – The Living Year 1841 (Tim Chilcott, editor) Trent Editions 1999


Lionel Little said...

Why did Clare capitalise every word? So many great original thinkers seem to have their minds wrecked by the enormity of the thoughts that pass through them. Was Clare's capitalisation merely a symptom of his mind buckling under the strain of his genius choked by being in such unfortunate circumstances? When the trifling blemish of his capitalizing every word is repeated it mocks a man who was a genius in the use of our language.

Roger R. said...

No-one knows Lionel. But he certainly did towards the end of his time in High Beech... then just as suddenly he stopped -- actually in the middle of a poem!