Coy Maidens (excerpt)

Her voice shouted Rodger, like throwing a stone
So give up old Soldier and let her alone
Go away with ye Rodger young Man do I see
If you're an old Soldier you may march on with me.

I went with the maiden over heath and o'er plain
And when Sunday was come too, I saw her again
I saw her, and courted the sun from the West
And left my last kiss on the mole of her breast.

I kissed, and we’re married, and bedded and all
And the old Kirk at Upton the green wedding saw
For the grass it was green and our years was the same
And from morning to Evening none called us to blame

(lines 7-8, 11-20)

The Later Poems of John Clare 1837-1864,
ed. Eric Robinson and David Powell
(Oxford, 2 volumes, I-II, 1984)

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