Ballad : Where is the heart thou once hast won

(Image : The blackened lintel of the Joyce Farmouse where Mary Joyce burned to death in 1838)

Here is Clare writing some years before in prescient mood:

Where is the heart thou once hast won
Can cease to care about thee
Where is the eye thou'st smiled upon
Can look for joy without thee
Lorn is the lot one heart hath met
That’s lost to thy caressing
Cold is the hope that loves thee yet
Now thou art past possessing
Fare thee well

We met we loved we’ve met the last
The farewell word is spoken
O Mary canst thou feel the past
& keep thy heart unbroken
To think how warm we loved & how
Those hopes should blossom never
To think how we are parted now
& parted, oh! for ever
Fare thee well

Thou wert the first my heart to win
Thou art the last to wear it
& though another claims akin
Thou must be one to share it
Oh, had we known when hopes were sweet
That hopes would once be thwarted
That we should part no more to meet
How sadly we had parted
Fare thee well

The Rural Muse (1835)
Second edition, ed. R. K. R. Thornton (Ashington and Manchester, 1982)

(Memorably sung by Carry Akroyd in Glinton Church as part of the 2009 John Clare Festival)

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