The Chiff-Chaff


































My transcription of Clare's ‘The Chippichap’, published and known ever since at 'The Chiff-Chaff'.  My transcription seeks to show every change Clare made to his work, including words crossed through.

My photograph of the actual manuscript is above.  Have a go at transcribing it yourself, this is very typical of the many manuscripts within the various archives.

See at yon restless flitting bird that flies
Above the oak tree tops at play,
Uttering its restless restless melodies
Of “chipichap” throughout the day.
Its nest is built in little bush
Scarcely a foot above the ground,
Or hid in clumps of sedge or rush
In woods where they are rarely found.
Its nest are is like an oven made
With moss and leaves and bits of grass,
& all so nice and snugly laid
That hands may spoil but not replace.
It enters by a little hole,
Its inside like a downy bed is a feather bed
From farm yards poultry hovels stole;
Its eggs are small and spotted red.

& all the spring & all the May,
If I forbore the gate to clap,
Down that wood riding day by day
I’ve heard it singing ‘chipichap,’
or seen it ever on the wing
like a fairy thing
above the trees tops dancing high by  [overwritten with ‘by’And o'er the tree-tops saw it fly,        [ originally transposed
Dancing about, a fairy thing,               [ with the line above
But never yet could come so nigh
To tell the colour of its wing.
                                                                             [reverse of page
The bushes they are wet or we dripping wet,
would turn  her and seek its nestOr we would seek its curious nest,
Theyre often in such bushy places met,
Where sedges mingle with the rest.

Pet MS A51 pp. 53 r & v

1 comment:

DEI-EX said...

The version published in the various collections differs from this original. Whether there is another manuscript (there may well be) with the published version thereupon, I have no idea. Interesting light on the changes Clare made, during composition.