Two early sonnets

A pair of sonnets, written at about the same time, the first published in ‘Poems Descriptive...’ the second unpublished in any popular edition?  Puzzling...


The landscapes stretching view that opens wide
With dribbling brooks & rivers wider floods
& hills & vales & darksome lowering woods
With grains of varied hues & grasses pied
The low brown cottage in the shelter'd nook
The steeple peeping just above the trees
Whose dangling leaves keep rustling in the breeze—
& thoughtful shepherd bending oer his hook
& maidens stript haymaking too apear
& hodge a wistling at his fallow plough
& herdsman hallooing to intruding cow
All these with hundreds more far off & near
Approach my sight—& please to such excess
That Language fails the pleasure to express

Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery (1820)


Long sweeping bends of croppings brightning green
That wind along the vallies sheltering crown
Large swelling hills that nauntle up the scene
Which winters pencil tips wi bleachy brown
Here steeple points & there a misty town
As stretching thro each opening to be seen
& woods enlivning from their gloomy hue
To sprout in freshness—while the heath hills lean
In triumph on the eye their blooming goss
Wild natures brightest ornaments as now
Speckt oer wi sheep & beast & nibbling horse
That still roamd free from the long lazy plough
& the horison sweeping faintly blue
That prickt its bordering circle round the view

The Early Poems of John Clare 1804-1822,
ed. Eric Robinson, David Powell and Margaret Grainger
(Oxford, 2 volumes, I-II, 1989)

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