Helpstone (lines 1-10, 30-40)

In the week of the 2009 John Clare Festival at Helpston (see below), a short extract from Clare's poem 'Helpstone' - above a photo of the Clare monument in the centre of the village.

Hail, humble Helpstone! where thy valleys spread,
And thy mean village lifts its lowly head;
Unknown to grandeur, and unknown to fame;
No minstrel boasting to advance thy name:
Unletter’d spot! unheard in poets’ song;
Where bustling Labour drives the hours along;
Where dawning Genius never met the day;
Where useless Ignorance slumbers life away;
Unknown nor heeded, where, low Genius tries
Above the vulgar, and the vain, to rise.

Hail, scenes obscure! so near and dear to me,
The church, the brook, the cottage, and the tree:
Still shall obscurity rehearse the song,
And hum your beauties as I stroll along.
Dear, native spot! which length of time endears;
The sweet retreat of twenty lingering years,
And, oh! those years of infancy the scene;
Those dear delights, where once they all have been;
Those golden days, long vanish’d from the plain;
Those sports, those pastimes, now belov’d in vain.

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