The Lovers Meeting

This is the first time John Clare's "The Lovers Meeting" - a reworking of Ovid's Fifth Elegy, has been published outside the Oxford University Press ‘Clarendon’ edition.  Authenticity has been at the heart of our volume.  The poem is presented exactly as Clare wrote it and has been typeset in a font designed in Northamptonshire in Clare's time (the Founder's Caslon type of Justin Howes).  A beautiful calligraphic ampersand has been specially created by Patrick Roe of The Logan Press to acknowledge its characteristic use by Clare.  Background information about the poem and its context is included. The book is bound by hand in two cloths of complimentary colours with gold blocked titles and has hand printed end papers designed by Anne Lee.


"The Lovers Meeting"

Clare's version of the Fifth Elegy of the First Book of Ovid

Our hand-made book was originally launched at John Clare Cottage, Helpston on Saturday, 9th November 2013 all now sold.

However, following a meeting with Patrick Roe of The Fine Book Bindery just two days before the launch of that edition,  it was agreed that he will produce the book for us, in an edition limited to 200 copies.  

So... the book has been produced in two versions - the initial one sold out, but The Fine Book Bindery edition still available at £20. 

Whilst we would have been able to continue to produce the books ourselves, being offered this opportunity to have our book printed and hand bound by a leading Fine Press maker of limited edition books is too important for us to ignore.  The level of quality in this artisan field of letterpress printed and hand bound books will be higher than we can possibly produce, yet we will still retain control of the book’s design and content.

Photos taken in the Cottage cafe on launch day, Friday 7th February 2014


Hot was the noon in summers sultry hour
The sun then raging with meridian power
When I more burning with the scorching heat
Of hot desire—lay hid in close retreat
Beneath the covert of a secret shade
Flush'd “with expectance of the lovley maid”
Sweet was the spot no one throughout the grove
Was better suited to the sports of Love

There is little doubt in our minds that Clare’s poetic vision was somewhat more carnal, fleshy, voluptuous than his advisers thought fitting, and of course, as a mere peasant what did he know about such sensibilities?

As Professor Robinson says in his introduction to Early Poems of John Clare (OUP) : “To survey the whole range of his poetry about Woman is to encounter a many-faceted, exhilarating, and erotic sensibility.”  This Clare certainly explored in his reworking of the Fifth Elegy of the First Book of Ovid, dating from 16 - 15 B.C. 

'The Lovers Meeting' as published by John Clare Cottage Press

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