The Wish

And now a garden planned with nicest care
Should be my next attention to prepare;
For this I'd search the soil of different grounds
Nor small nor great should mark its homely bounds:
Between these two extremes the plan should be
Complete throughout and large enough for me.

A strong brick wall should bound the outward fence
Where by the suns all cheering influence
Walltrees should flourish in a spreading row
And Peach and Pear in ruddy lustre glow.
A five foot bed should follow from the wall
To look complete or save the trees withal

On which small seeds for sallading I'd sow
While curl-leaf Parsley should for edges grow.
My Garden in four quarters I'd divide
To show good taste and not a gaudy pride;
In this the middle walk should be the best.
Being more to sight exposed than [all] the rest.

The woodbine tree should all her sweets unfurl
Close to my door in many a wanton curl.
Aside my wall the vine should find a place
While damask roses did my window grace:
And now a walk as was the plan before
Exactly corresponding with the door
Should lead my footsteps to another bower
Whenever leisure gave the pleasant hour.

(Lines 104-164)
The Early Poems of John Clare 1804-1822,
ed. Eric Robinson, David Powell and Margaret Grainger
(Oxford, 2 volumes, I-II, 1989)

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