'The Descending Spiral' - Chapbook No.16

What was the catalyst during the autumn and early winter of 1841 that made Patty Clare realise that she could not cope with her returned husband living, as they were, in Northborough?

I have always been intrigued with this year of two Asylums.  The year when Clare quit High Beech and walked the 90 miles to Werrington, where Patty picked him up off the road.  Then after a few months at home found himself being forcibly taken to Northampton General Asylum.

By Christmas his position in Northborough was impossible to maintain, “a stranger to his own family”, and he was removed to Northampton General Lunatic Asylum on 29thDecember 1841.

     & what is joy or bliss or happiness
     Mere trifling parents of a laugh or smile
     That are but cares decked in a different dress
     To cheat our hearts & sooth our hopes awhile
     Mere sabbaths in lifes agonizing toil
     To catch our breath while in its strife we dwell
     Prolonging life by shadows that beguile
     For joys beginnings have one tale to tell
     & bring their end a heart ache & farewell  

Poetically, the year was a very productive period with a vast output of all sorts, from Biblical paraphrases to the devastating denunciation of women, marriage and sexual excesses of Don Juan.  

Sandwiched between these polar opposites we encounter some of Clare’s most beautiful and haunting work, the beauty and longing of a confused mind.  But I see something else too.  I see a descending spiral.  A descent from mental confusion and day-dreaming, through depression into despair, which continued throughout much of his Northampton incarceration. In this, the sixteenth volume of my Chapbook series, I seek to show Clare’s spiral into despair, and the possible causes.

Incidentally, if you unsure exactly what a chapbook is, an introduction: http://arboureditions1.blogspot.com/2020/03/introduction-to-chapbook.html

Published in April 2020, The Descending Spiral is priced at £3.50 + £1 P&P.  To order by email drop me a message on arborfield@pm.me OR send me a message via facebook.

No comments: