from "The Harvest Morning"

Ah lovley Emma mingling wi' the rest
Thy beauties blooming in low life unseen
Thy rosey cheeks thy sweetly swelling breast
But ill it suits thee in the stubs to glean
O poverty! how basely you demean
The imprison'd worth your rigid fates confine
Not fancied charms of an arcadian queen
So sweet as Emmas real beauties shine
Had fortune blest sweet girl this lot had neer been thine
The suns increasing heat now mounted high
Refreshment must recruit exausted power
The waggon stops the busy tools thrown bye
& 'neath a shock's enjoy'd the beavering hour
The bashful maid—sweet healths engaging flower
Lingering behind—oer rake still blushing bends
& when to take the horn fond swains implore
With feign'd excuses its dislike pretends
So pass the beavering hours—So harvest morning ends

(lines 47-64)
Poems descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery (1820)

No use in trying

My love is as sweet as a bean field in blossom
Like the pea bloom her cheek like the dog rose her bosom
My love she's as rich as brook banks of daiseys
Gold eyes and silver rims meeting mens praises
Her eyes are as bright as the brooks silver ripples
Milk white are her twin breast[s] & rose pink the nipples
Her ancles are sweet as a man can conceive
And her arms are as fine to[o] though hid in her sleeve

She's as rosey as morning as mild as the even
I sing her love songs but she's hard o believeing
She'll bid me good day if we meet on the causeway
If I stop to talk love, in a minute she's saucey
To kiss or come nigh her there's no use in trying
She wouldn't toutch a mans face though he were dying
And yet she is lovely as ever was seen
As the rose o' the wood or pink o' the green

My love is as sweet as a bean field in blossom
The snow drop's not whiter than is her soft bosom
The plash o' the brook it is nothing so bright
As the beam of her eye by bonny moonlight
The rose o' her cheeks no garden so fair
Can match with the red & carnations there
We met where the bean fields were misted wi dew
And if she had kissed me why nobody knew

Clare's Countryside,
Selected and Introduced by Brian Patten,
ed. Eric Robinson (London: Heinemann/Quixote Press, 1981)

A Ploughmans skill at Classification after the Lineian arrangement

‘Go wipe your shoes’ says mistress shrew
To Hodge who up for's dinner drew
‘'Tis'n't fitting that such hogs as you
‘Shou'd come into a house’
‘Why not’ says hodge—‘if thats the case
‘I cant come in a better place
‘For surely there is no disgrace
For hogs to herd wi' Sows

John Clare, Selected Poems, ed. Ian Hamilton

The Fallen Elm (excerpt)

Self interest saw thee stand in freedoms ways
So thy old shadow must a tyrant be
Thoust heard the knave abusing those in power
Bawl freedom loud & then opress the free
Thoust sheltered hypocrites in many a shower
That when in power would never shelter thee
Thoust heard the knave supply his canting powers
With wrongs illusions when he wanted friends
That bawled for shelter when he lived in showers
& when clouds vanished made thy shade amends
With axe at root he felled thee to the ground
& barked of freedom—O I hate the sound

Time hears its visions speak & age sublime
Had made thee a deciple unto time
—It grows the cant term of enslaving tools
To wrong another by the name of right
It grows the liscence of oerbearing fools
To cheat plain honesty by force of might
Thus came enclosure—ruin was its guide
But freedoms clapping hands enjoyed the sight
Though comforts cottage soon was thrust aside
& workhouse prisons raised upon the scite
Een natures dwellings far away from men
The common heath became the spoilers prey

The rabbit had not where to make his den
& labours only cow was drove away
No matter—wrong was right & right was wrong
& freedoms bawl was sanction to the song
—Such was thy ruin music making elm
The rights of freedom was to injure thine
As thou wert served so would they overwhelm
In freedoms name the little that is mine
& there are knaves that brawl for better laws
& cant of tyranny in stronger powers
Who glut their vile unsatiated maws
& freedoms birthright from the weak devours

Langley Bush

[An aerial photo of Langley Bush showing its inaccessibility to visitors]

ONE summer's day in happiest mood
I sat beside old Langley Bush,
And o'er the furze in Hanglands Wood
I listened at the singing thrush;
Naught did my idle mind engross,
The tiny flixweed's only flower
Was there, and little beds of moss
Swelled pleaching to the sunny hour.

I passed it in a sicker day.
The golden furze-blooms burnt the wind
With sultry sweets—and there I lay
Tormented with the saddest mind;
The little hill did naked lie,
The old old bush was broke and gone,
My heart had felt it glad to die
To miss life's sorrows coming on.

I looked upon its naked stump,
And pictured back the fallen tree
To days I played hop, skip and jump
As happy as a boy could be.
I turned me to that happy day
I streaked beneath its mossy bough,
And there came shadows of dismay,
So dismally, I feel it now.

I thought o'er all life's sweetest things
Made dreary as a broken charm,
Wood-ridings where the thrush still sings
And love went leaning on my arm.
I thought, and felt as desolate
As want upon a winter scene,
While by that broken stump I sat,
The type of broken hopes within.

James Reeves, Selected Poems of John Clare
(London: Heinemann, 1954)

from "The Village Minstrel"

[Photo: Langley Bush, emasulated and enclosed]

But who can tell the anguish of his mind
When reformations formidable foes
Wi civil wars on natures peace combind
& desolation struck her deadly blows
As curst improvment gan his fields inclose
O greens & fields & trees farwell farwell
His heart wrung pains his unavailing woes
No words can utter & no tongue can tell

When ploughs destroyd the green when groves of willows fell
There once was springs when daises silver studs
Like sheets of snow on every pasture spread
There once was summers when the crow flower buds
Like golden sunbeams brightest lustre shed
& trees grew once that shelterd *Lubins head
There once was brooks sweet wimpering down the vale
The brooks no more—king cup & daiseys fled

Their last falln tree the naked moors bewail
& scarce a bush is left around to tell the mournful tale
Yon flaggy tufts & many a rushy nott
Existing still in spite of spade & plough
As seemly fond & loath to leave the spot
Tells where was once the green—brown fallows now
Where Lubin often turns a saddnd brow

Marks the stopt brook & mourns oppresions power
& thinks how once he waded in each slough
To crop the yellow ‘horse blobs’ early flower
Or catch the ‘millar thumb’ in summers sultry hour
There once was days the wood man knows it well
When shades een echod wi the singing thrush
There once was hours the ploughmens tale can tell
When mornings beauty wore its earliest blush

(lines 1,048 - 1,078)

*Lubin = the poet

from "The Shepherd's Calendar - January"

[Image : John Watchorn]

The schoolboy still in dithering joys
Pastime in leisure hours employs
And be the weather as it may
Is never at a loss for play
Rolling up jiant heaps of snow
As noontide frets its little thaw
Making rude things of various names
Snow men or aught their fancy frames
Till numbd wi cold they quake away
And join at hotter sports to play
Kicking wi many a flying bound
The foot ball oer the frozen ground
Or seeking bright glib ice to play
To sailing slide the hours away
As smooth and quick as shadows run
When clouds in autumn pass the sun
Some hurrying rambles eager take
To skait upon the meadow lake
Scaring the snipe from her retreat
From shelving banks unfrozen seat
Or running brook where icy spars
Which the pale sunlight specks wi stars
Shoots crizzling oer the restless tide
To many a likness petrified
Where fancy often stoops to pore
And turns again to wonder more
The more hen too wi fear opprest
Starts from her reedy shelterd nest
Bustling to get from foes away
And scarcly flies more fast then they
Skaiting along wi curving springs
Wi arms spread out like herons wings
They race away for pleasures sake
A hunters speed along the lake

(lines 101 to 134)

10 Best New Years Literature?

(Click on the title above for the Guardian's piece)
Clare's "The Old Year" -- from January 1st 1845 -- figures at No. 2

The Old Year's gone away
To nothingness and night
We cannot find him all the day
Nor hear him in the night
He left no footstep mark or place
In either shade or sun
Tho' last year he'd a neighbours face
In this he's known by none
All nothing every where
Mists we on mornings see
They have more substance when they're here
And more of form than he
He was a friend by every fire
In every cot and hall
A guest to every hearts desire
And now he's nought at all
Old papers thrown away
Or garments cast aside
E'en the talk of yesterday
Are things identified
But time once torn away
No voices can recall
The eve of new years day
Left the old one lost to all

Jany 1st/45