From Dobson and Judie

One of Clare's early narrative poems, set very firmly in Helpstone

Old Dob when sitting by the fire
Will often bid old Judie ‘hark
‘I fear the wind is rising higher
 ‘And o the night is dismal dark’

‘Ah think’ he cries, (while Judie smoaks)
‘In this most dismal wintry night
‘How many poor tir'd travelling folks
‘Now meets the storm in woeful plight!’

‘Perhaps now at this very hour
‘Some poor lost soul lays—down his head
‘Beneath a tree which turns no shower
‘And cannot find a better bed’

‘For cloth'd with snow instead of dew
‘No longer they a shelter yield
‘More worse I know 'twill winnow thro
‘Then standing in the open field’

‘O heavens now the wind gets higher
‘It grieves me;—yet I'm pleas'd to think
‘How we are blest with house and fire
‘A good warm bed, and meat, and drink,’

‘And if the lost:—(I hope as well)
‘Should ever find their homes again
That true old-saying then will tell
‘How sweet the pleasure after pain!’

(lines 137 to 160)

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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