Ive sung farewell...

[Image : Anne Lee]

No idea of the context?  A young friend's death possibly? From a mid-1820s manuscript.  I must admit I immediately thought of Clare's return to Northborough in 1841, it being three years after Mary Joyce had died in 1838.  But the poem is much too early, and the 'scarce lived out fifteen' line rendered meaningless.

Ive sung farewell in many a rhyme
to pleasures that are fled
& I have thought me many a time
oer [my loved ones] cold & dead
but little thought when thus I sung
[and wandered neath the moon]
to one so fair so loved & young
could find a grave so soon.
The daisy now three years hath grown
above thy bed so green
and hadst thou been as living yet
& thou a flower the fairest known
scarce lived out fifteen

John Clare, Poems of the Middle Period
ed. Eric Robinson, David Powell and P.M.S. Dawson
Volumes I-II (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996); Volumes III-IV (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998)


Anonymous said...

This is published, as a variant in the notes to the poem ' 'Ah when we look on pleasant things...' in Middle Period, vol. 2, p. 220. Will you retract your claims to discoveries? Not great for Clare scholarship - could be very confusing - much though I admire the effort - and appreciate the confusion which his MSS can bring about.

Arborfield said...

So it is... and after such a lot of searching too. No claims are made by this blog (or by me). I claim nothing, just an ongoing interest is uncovering things in the nooks and crannies of the manuscripts - but as you know, if you have examined them, there is still much to be discovered. (Be rather nicer if I knew who 'Anonymous' was though).