Justice is slow, but sure as Moses' rod

[Northampton General Asylum]

On September 22, 1893, ‘An Invite to Eternity’, along with ‘Song to Spring’, “hitherto unpublished and bearing the date ‘May 1848,’” was published in Literary World along with a short narrative by Mr. Jesse Hall of Wimbledon.  “In the month of May, 1848, having seen and admired some of John Clare’s poems, I felt a strong desire to have an interview with the poet”.  During their interview, Clare left Hall “... and went to the boundary wall with paper and pencil in hand, but very soon returned bringing a manuscript which he had written.”

Hall neglected to get copies of these apparently impromptu compositions, but Clare invited him to visit again and “intimated that he would in the meantime compose (Hall) two or three pieces.”  The next day, Clare called at Hall’s hotel and on leaving … gave (Hall) copies of what he had written – viz., ‘Invite to Eternity,’ ‘Song to Spring,’ and this short piece on ‘Justice,’ an acrostic on Hall’s name.

However, because he was “much engaged at the time,” Hall did not think to “forward what (Clare) had kindly given to” him until the 1890s.

Not exactly an amazing work, but here is the short acrostic poem on 'Justice' :

Justice is slow, but sure as Moses' rod,
Engraven as the autograph of God;
Sent from on high by Him who is all wise,
Searcher of hearts, judge of the last assize;
Engraven on the hearts of honest men;
Heart-searcher in the felon's gloomy den.
Are there opposers to the laws of truth?
Learn justice well, while manhood is in youth;
Live honest lives, and that will bring the truth.

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

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