Child Harold (lines 732-749)

Written in the autumn of 1841.
Clare still haunted by thoughts of Mary Joyce.

Sweet solitude thou partner of my life
Thou balm of hope & every pressing care
Thou soothing silence o’er the noise of strife
These meadow flats & trees—the Autumn air
Mellows my heart to harmony—I bear
Life’s burthen happily—these fenny dells
Seem Eden in this sabbath rest from care
My heart with loves first early memory swells
To hear the music of those village bells

For in that hamlet lives my rising sun
Whose beams hath cheered me all my lorn life long
My heart to nature there was early won
For she was natures self—& still my song
Is her through sun & shade through right & wrong
On her my memory forever dwells
The flower of Eden—evergreen of song
Truth in my heart the same love story tells
—I love the music of those village bells


Lionel Little said...

Child Harold contains many gems like this, poems hidden in the dark theme of loss that runs through 'CH'. It's as if he decided in 'CH' to omit separating individual poems as he had for so long omitted punctuation.

Roger R. said...

Certainly Lionel...

I have been for some years studying Child Harold... in particular looking at what might be the 'correct' order of reading. Tim Chilcott's "The Living Year 1841" book is very useful in this regard.

I lean towards the Al-Wasiti reading myself, but of course no-one will every really know!

My son and I have set a few CH poems to music over the past year, in an idiom that Clare himself would have recognised (i.e. folk song).