Superstitions Dream (excerpt)

With All Hallows Eve fast approaching, I though it might well be in order to post one of Clare's little known 'gothic' works.  After all he shared a publisher with Percy Shelley, whose wife Mary published 'Frankenstein' anonymously in London in 1818, and under her own name in 1823 (I've always wondered if her husband's death in June 1822 prompted her to add her name to the second and subsequent editions?)  Such writing seemed to be 'in the air' in this post-Napoleonic world.

So here is part of 'The Dream', originally written as 'Superstitions Dream' before 1822.  Mrs Emmerson wrote to Clare on 7th January 1822, "What a treasure have you this day placed before me in your 'Superstitions Dream' "... John Taylor, his publisher wrote "perhaps the ablest Poem you have written".  A real surprise to me that it is not better known...

I felt all terrors of the d-----d & fell
With conscious horror that my doom was hell
And memory mockd me like a haunting ghost
With light & life & pleasures that were lost
As dreams turn night to day & day to night
So memory flashd her shadows of that light
That bade the mornings suns in glory rise
To bless green fields & trees & purple skies
& wakend life its pleasures to behold
That light flashd on me like a story told
& days mispent with friends & fellow-men
& sins committed all was with me then.
The boundless hell were tortures never tire
Glimmerd beneath me like a world on fire
That soul of fire like to its souls entombd
That still consumes & never is consumd
Seemd nigh at hand -- where oft the sulphry damps
Oerawd that light as glimmers dying lamps
Spreading a horrid gloom from side to side
A twilight scene of terrors half descryd
Sad boild the billows of that burning sea
And fates sad yellings dismal seemd to be
Blue rolld its waves with horrors uncontroled
& its live wrecks of souls dashd howling as they rolld
Again I struggld & the spell was broke
& midst the laugh of mocking ghosts I woke
& my eyes opend on a hopless sight
The early morning & its welcome light
& as I ponderd oer the past profound
I heard the cock crow and I blest the sound

(lines 143-172)
MP I 325

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