Lines, to Mary

The brook goes winding like a snake
Through many crooks and turns
Loud are the gurgles which it makes
Like music—and then mourns
The thorn leans o'er its mimic waves
That o'er the pebbles run
The mimic foam in dark place raves
Then crimples in the sun.

Will Mary teach me how to love,
Or nature how to woo
The brook below the clouds above
Each others track pursue
Do breezes speak fond woman’s name
Are portraits seen in flowers
Of those we love yet dare not claim
In springs delightful hours.

Yes in this brook I sit beside
Her voice like music dwells
The flower her presence shows with pride
And loves true story tells
The very birds within the hedge
Love's happy thoughts proclaim
All heard or seen in Spring’s first pledge
Seem speaking Mary’s name.


Ballad - The Rose Of The World

The Rose Of The World Was Dear Mary To Me
In The Days Of My Boyhood & Youth
I Told Her In Songs Where My Heart Wished To Be
& My Songs Were The Language of Truth
I Told Her In Looks When I Gazed In Her Eyes
That Mary Was Dearest To Me

I Told Her In Words & The Language Of Sighs
Where My Whole Hearts Affections Would Be
I Told her in love that all nature was true
I convinced her that nature was kind
But love in his trials had labour to do
Mary would be in the mind

Mary met me in spring where the speedwell knots grew
& the king cups were shining like flame
I chose her all colours red yellow & blue
But my love was one hue & the same
Spring summer & winter & all the year through
In the sunshine the shower & the blast
I told the same tale & she knows it all true
& Mary's my blossom at last

(Lines 1139-1158 of 'Child Harold' - Spring 1841 in High Beech, Epping) - The poem where Clare stopped capitalising every word – no-one knows why he started, nor why he ceased, doing so.

[Especially for the Students of City College, Plymouth]

Our Little Ones

When with our little ones we spent
Each Sunday after tea,
And up the wood's dark side we went
Or pasture's rushy lea,
To look among the woodland boughs
To find the bird's retreat,
Or crop the cowslip for the cows;
Then sat to rest the little feet
In many a pleasant place,
And see the lambs, who tried to bleat,
Come first in every race,
Then laugh'd the children's joys to view,
Who ran across the lea
At birds that from the rushes flew,
And many a wandering bee.

The red-bagged bee

The red-bagged bee on never weary wing
Pipe's his small trumpet round the early flowers
& the white nettles by the hedge in spring
Hears his low music all the sunny hours
Till clouds come on & leaves the falling showers
Herald of spring & music of wild blooms
It seems the minstrel of spring’s early flowers
On banks where the red nettle flowers it comes
& there all the long sunny morning hums

Tall grows the nettle

Tall grows the Nettle by the hedgeway side
& bye the old barn end they shade the wall
In sunshine nodding to the angry tide
Of winds that winnows bye—these one & all
Makes up the harmony of Spring—& all
That passes feel a sudden love for flowers
They look so green—& when the soft showers fall
They grow so fast—Dock, Burdocks, Henbane—all
Who loves not wild flowers bye the old stone wall

The Droning Bee

The droning bee has wakened up
& humming round the buttercup
& round the bright star daisy hums—
O'er every blade of grass he passes—
The dewdrop shines like looking glasses
In every drop a bright sun comes—
'Tis march, and spring, bright days we see—
Round every blossom hums the bee.

As soon as daylight in the morning
The crimson curtains of the dawning—
We hear, and see, the humming bee—
Searching for hedgerow violets
Happy with the food he gets—
Swimming o'er brook,& meadow lea—
Then sits on maple stools at rest
On the green mosses velvet breast.

About the molehill round & round,
The wild bee hums with honeyed sound—
Singing a song of spring and flowers—
To schoolboys heard in sunny hours
When all the waters seem a blaze
Of fire and sunshine in such days
When bees buzz on with coal black eye
Joined by the yellow butterfly

& when it comes a summer shower
It still will go from flower to flower
Then underneath the rushes—
It sees the silver daisy flower
& there it spends a little hour
Then hides among the bushes
But whence they come from where they go
None but the wiser schoolboy's know

(Knight Transcript - from the Northampton Asylum, therefore after 1841)


The insect world, now sunbeams higher climb,
Oft dream of spring, and wake before their time:
Bees stroke their little legs across their wings,
And venture short flights where the snowdrop hings
Its silver bell, and winter aconite
Its buttercup-like flowers that shut at night,
With green leaf furling round its cup of gold,
Like tender maiden muffled from the cold;
They sip and find their honey-dreams are vain,
Then feebly hasten to their hives again.
The butterflies, by eager hopes undone,
Glad as a child come out to greet the sun,
Beneath the shadows of a sunny shower
Are lost, nor see to-morrow's April flower.

Winter (excerpt)

With, it seems, the return of winter by the end of the week after 2 weeks of warmer weather, a part of Clare's 'Winter'. Hope it's not that cold here this week:

Oft o’er one flys the chirping lark
With rhyme hung round his chilly breast
Complaining of some dogs rude bark
That scared him from his chilly rest
& oft from snowbanks ridgy edge
The hare steps hirpling o’er the plain
Till found a bush or bunch of sedge
Then drops its ears & squats again
& feebly whines the puddocks wail
Slow circling naked woods around
& wild geese ranks that swifter sail
Oft start one with a hoarser sound
While towering at the farthest height
The heron brawls its lonely cry
Who intercepts the dazzled light
& looks a cloud speck in the sky