To an infant sister in Heaven

Clare was a twin.  His sister -- although "A fine bonny wench" died within days.  John the weakling infant, survived.  Here he is years later writing of the sister he never knew.

Bessey—I call thee by that earthly name
That but a little while belongd to thee—
Thou left me growing up to sin & shame
& kept thy innoscence unstaind & free
To seek the refuge of a heaven above
Where lifes bud opens in eternity
Bessey when memory turns thy lot to see
A brothers bosom yearns thy bliss to prove
& sighs oer wishes that was not to be
Oh had we gone together had I been
Strange with the world as thou thy mothers love
What years of sorrows I had never seen
Fullness of joy that leaves no hearts to bleed
Had then with thine been purchasd cheap indeed

The Poems of John Clare
ed. J. W. Tibble
(2 volumes, Dent, 1935)

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