On some friends leaving a favourite spot

[Image: Anne Lee]

Is this a poem about the beauties of Walkerd and therefore written especially with Patty in mind?  Unfortunately, it is now virtually impossible to get anywhere near Walkherd Lodge, although Mike Hobson did manage two atmospheric photographs that we used in our book "The Poet in Love"... the story of the meeting, courtship and marriage of John and Patty.  

Is it significant that in line 3 Clare deleted ‘gardens’ and substituted ‘edens’? Certainly we think that the poem beautifully describes the environs of the Lodge. (RR & ProfER)

Tho thou wert not the place of my being & birth
Tho I spent not the sports of my childhood in thee
Mid the dear spots we call edens on earth
Thou art one of the fairest thats known unto me
Five beautiful springs thee & thine have I known
Thy woods & thy brooks winding peacful at will
Thy heaths & like hermitage standing alone
Thy cottage that smoaks by the side of a hill

I have rambld the plains were no being beside
Hath intruded the whole summers day
& followd the shepherds paths dimly descryd
By the hedges all lind with dog roses & may
& wilds were no tracks but the rabbits hath been
Were flowers bloom untouched till they dye
Were the whole summer thro neer a schoolboy is seen
& the linnets brood lives in its nest till they flue

I have turnd to thy springs with the birds when adry
& hunted the flowers with the hoarse honey bee
& the few scantly pleasances that manhood supply
Were some of them sought for & gathered in thee
& a flower that grew with thee the fairest of all
That decks the soft bosom of april & may
Blooming lovly & wild by the lone cottage wall
Love wood it with rapture & won it away

& Ive walkd oer thy wilds with that flower I esteem
& livd in the peace of her cottage a guest
& mused by the charms of thy hearth & thy shame
As she shrunk on our walks on my bosom to rest
& the bowers on thy heaths sprinkld over with cows
Were we sat down in some a cool minute to spend
Enjoying the wind that fannd thro the green boughs
Where I left them & bade them farwell like a friend

Tho spring brings  the wild heath its annual bloom
Spreading white sheets of flowers on
Yet tyrants have been with the friends of her home
& strangers are there to inhabit it now
The footpath as usual inviteth us on
& the old cottage chimney still peeps oer the dell
But the friends of the blossom I gathered are gone
& bidden the fields & the dwelling farwell

We might roam as wont to the heaths yellow oer
With furze flowers & lamb toe that creeping I rove
Down the crookd path that leads to the fountain once more
The scenes of her childhood & haunts of her love
& the cottage might shine just the same in her eye
But the voice of old welcomes woud meet us no more
We might pass her lovd dwelling as strangers pass by
& no eye would notice or open the door

I lovd the dear haunts of the sweet solitudes
That round its lome walls in the circle do lye
Were no living thing all the season intrudes
But a bird or a bee humming wearisome bye
& Ive hunted for spots by the brook & have found
The lonliest existing an hour to abide
With nought but the green light of trees flitting round
& the shadow that seemed stretchd asleep by my side

The wood rides as wont wound beneath the oak bough
Still tempting the eye that admires to rove on
But stranger feet with in their lonliness now
& their old fellow hermits that lovd them are gone
The birds in the gardens shades nesting among
As fond of their neighbours that used to dwell bye
Hear strange voices now & stop short in the song
& startled peep down of fresh faces flye

The sparrows no doubt will grow coy & complain
To medlesome foes that their freedom is oer
& the fond robin pauses ere he ventures again
To pick up the crumbles of bread by the door
The martin that comes to the cottage repairs
& once met a welcome & quiet enjoyd
May now find a tyrant as cruel as theirs
& morning retreat its dwelling destroyd

The black bee that hums by the mud creviced wall
Eaen they may old friend & old neighbours deplore
While meddlesome childen with frolicsome brawl
Shoutest loudly that friendship & freedom is oer
Ive seen these delights in their season of peace
When their old friends & neighbours was labouring nigh
Ere a tyrants intrusions had warnd them to cease
& I deeply regret that such seasons are bye

Long long in seclusion their lives had been nurst
Neighbours only to blossoms to birds & to bees
Till plumb stones & damsons set when they came first
& small apple curnels had grown up to trees
& a thorn that was not when they came to the spot
Which a linnet might bring when an awe from the dell
Had grown when thet left half as high as the cot
& quite overshadowed the cub of the well

The wood bine that crept up the door & peepd in
May with them of its bloom & its home be bereft
That clung to the cot with its inmates akin
& they felt that it viewd them as such when they left
When they left birds & flowers all their neighbours behind
In the nise & the strife of a village to dwell
They seemd to have borrowd the voice of the wind
& to sigh when their last look turnd on them “farewell”

Pet MS A21 p25-9
Pet MS A30 p141-6
MP II 55

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