The Village Minstrel (excerpt)

[The meadow behind Swaddywell Pit]
Ye meadow blooms ye pasture flowers farwell
Ye banishd trees ye make me deeply sigh
Inclosure came & all your glories fell
Een the old oak that crownd yon rifld dell
Whose age had made it sacred to the view
Not long was left his childerns fate to tell
Where ignorance & wealth their course pursue
Each tree must tumble down—old ‘lea close oak’ adieu
Lubin beheld it all & deeply paind
Along the railed road woud muse & sigh
The only path that freedoms rights maintaind
The naked scenes drew pity from his eye
Tears dropt to mem'ry of delights gone bye
The haunts of freedom cowherds wattld bower
& shepherds huts & trees that tow[e]red high
& spreading thorns that turnd a summer shower
All captives lost & past to sad oppresions power

(lines 1103-1119)

The 'legal robbery' of the enclosures forceably reminded Clare of what has become known in English history as the Norman Yoke.  So here is a piece he wrote under that title to further explain his views of what he was witnessing in his own time.  It might well seem rather familiar to 2016 eyes.

The Norman Yoke

"Men make a boast of pedigree     as well might the descendants of Richard Turpin boast of theirs     for both honours spring from robbery & spoilation – what was William the Conqueror but a robber by wholesale & what were his followers but high way men     by his authority receiving tithes by their expertness at plunder    for which Turpin (a more noble plunderer if absence from fear or dareing achievements make one) received a halter* because he dared to rob & could show only his courage for the liscence"

Pfz. MISC MS 198 p44


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