In Hilly Wood

How sweet to be thus nestling deep in boughs
Upon an ashen stoven pillowing me
Faintly are heard the ploughmen at their ploughs
But near an eye can find its way to see
The sun beams scarce molest me wi a smile
So thick the leafy armies gather round
& where they do the breeze blows cool the while
Their leafy shadows dancing on the ground
—Full many a flower too wishing to be seen
Perks up its head the hiding grass between—
In midwood silence thus how sweet to be
Where all the noises that on peace intrude
Comes from the chittering cricket bird & bee
Whose songs have charms to sweeten solitude

The Village Minstrel, and Other Poems
(2 volumes, 1821)

From Clare's Journal (6th May 1825) :
Could not sleep all night got up at 3 o’dock in the morning & walked about the fields.  The birds were high in their songs in Royce Wood & almost deafening.  I heard the Cricket-bird* again in full cry in Royce Wood -- it is just like a childs 'screeker'.  Saw a Hawk-like bird that made an odd noise like one of the notes of the Nightingale, as if to decoy his prey into sight.

* The high, insect-like reeling song of the grasshopper warbler is the best clue to its presence. Even when you hear one it can be difficult to locate it due to the ventriloquial effect of its singing. If seen on migration it moves like a little mouse, creeping through the foliage. (RSPB)

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