from "The Cellar Door - A Ballad"

[Image: Myles Birket Foster - The Country Inn]

& pulled at the quart till the snob he declared
When he went to drink next that the bottom was bared
No matter for that said the toper & grinned
I had but a soak & neer rested for wind
Thats law said the smith with a look rather vexed
But the quart was a forfeit so pay for the next
Then they talked of their skill & their labour till noon
When the sober mans toil was exactly half done

& there the plough lay—people hardly could pass
& the horses let loose pinsoned up the short grass
& browsed on the bottle of flags lying there
By the gipseys old budget for mending a chair
The millers horse tyed to the old smithy door
Stood stamping his feet by the flies bitten sore
Awaiting the smith as he wanted a shoe
& he stampt till another fell off & made two

Till the miller expecting that all would get loose
Went to seek him & cursed him outright for a goose
But he dipt his dry beak in the mug once or twice
& forgot all his passion & toils in a trice
& the fly bitten horse at the old smithy post
Might stamp till his shoes & his legs they were lost
He sung his old songs & forgot his old mill
Blow winds high or low she might rest at her will

(lines 105-128)
John Clare, The Midsummer Cushion, ed. Kelsey Thornton and Anne Tibble (Ashington and Manchester: Mid-NAG and Carcanet, 1979, revised second edition, 1990)

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