from "Martinmass Eve"

The old dame potters out to call the rest
& supper gins prepare & welcomes every guest
Their darkling joys each juggling couple leaves
& to the humble banquet hustle down
Telling as how while staning neath the eaves
They heard the rantings of some drunken clown
& fiddles somwere scraping in the town
& gis it out a dancing there must be
& each lass 'grees to slip on better gown
& after supper take a walk & see
Wi their admiring swains to keep em company
While one in dumps broods on the corner stool
Their elder daughter doomd to worst of fate
Who made one slip in love & playd the fool
&s since condemnd to live without a mate
No youth again courts once beguiled kate
Tho hopes of sweethearts still perplex her head
& charm to try by gipseys told of late
From table slives unseen an onion red
To dream at martinmass with whom she is to wed
& as the shadowd shifting joys of hope
Is all the comfort kit can call to mind
When for the dancing sports the rest elope
She wi the old folks patient stays behind
To bed retiring full of hopes to find
The charm succeed—till the returning day
Proves gipseys wisdom empty as the wind
& all her hopes & money thrown away
Leaving her blighted youth to wither & decay

(lines 170 - 198)
Poems of John Clare's Madness, ed. Geoffrey Grigson (1949)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"If thought could move the pain away,
I'd think the very wind to calm-
that it might hurt thee not"