Langley Bush

O Langley Bush the shepherds sacred shade
Thy hollow trunk oft gaind a look from me
Full many a journey oer the heath Ive made
For such like curious things I love to see
What truth the story of the swain alows
That tells of honours which thy young days knew
Of 'langley court' being kept beneath thy boughs
I cannot tell-thus much I know is true
That thou art reverencd even the rude clan
Of lawless gipseys drove from stage to stage
Pilfering the hedges of the husband man
Leave thee as sacred in thy withering age
Both swains & gipseys seem to love thy name
Thy spots a favourite wi the smutty crew
& soon thou must depend on gipsey fame
Thy mulldering trunk is nearly rotten thro
My last doubts murmuring on the zephers swell
My last looks linger on thy boughs wi pain
To thy declining age I bid farwell
Like old companions neer to meet again

The Poems of John Clare
ed. J. W. Tibble (2 volumes, Dent, 1935)

All that is left of Langley Bush in 2012... a bump in a field, surrounded by 'Enclosed land legally acquired' from the commons in the early 19th century.


Anonymous said...

There is an upside here. A stones throw away is Southey Wood and on the other side of the field is castor hanglands - both survive and are beautiful.
It is a pity that langley bush (a piece of history) could not be acquired through national lottery funding or by the same people gov dept who own castor hanglands.
Its amazing it survived at all really
mike h

Anonymous said...

In addition to this frederick martin talks of clare using a hollowed out tree for shelter on the far side of the heath to write some of his poems in his earlier days.
I appreciate lots of what martin writes about is innacurate but it is highly likely clare wrote some of his poems from this very spot - very close to his beloved southey woods and castor hanglands as well. FOR ME this should be designated a world heritage sight

Roger R. said...

Couldn't agree more Mike. have you read my piece 'An Outing to Langley Bush'?