The Old Willow

The juicey wheat now spindles into ear
& trailing pea blooms ope their velvet eyes
& weeds & flowers by crowds far off & near
In all their sunny liveries appear
For summers lustre boasts unnumbered dyes
How pleasant neath this willow by the brook
Thats kept its ancient place for many a year
To sit & oer these crowded fields to look
& the soft dropping of the shower to hear
Ourselves so sheltered een a pleasant book
Might lie uninjured from the fragrant rain
For not a drop gets through the bowering leaves
But dry as housed in my old hut again
I sit & troubleous care of half its claim deceive

Middle Period IV 267

This sonnet reminded me rather of Clare's "Round Oak Spring" written around the same time.  My photograph above looks rather a lot like what is left of Round Oak Spring to the south and west of Rice Wood.  It is now channelled into a drainage ditch.  I like to think that one of the many willows that graced the bank of the spring survived as a reminder of what was lost.

Sweet brook Ive met thee many a summers day
& ventured fearless in thy shallow flood
& rambled oft thy sweet unwearied way
Neath willows cool that on thy margin stood

Middle Period IV 280

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