On seeing two swallows late in October

[Image: Carry Akroyd]

But, little lingerers, old esteem detains
Ye haply thus to brave the chilly air
When skies grow dull with winter's heavy rains
And all the orchard trees are nearly bare;
Yet the old chimneys still are peeping there
Above the russet thatch where summer's tide
Of sunny joys gave you such social fare
As makes you haply wishing to abide
In your old dwelling through the changing year.
I wish ye well to find a dwelling here,
For in the unsocial weather ye would fling
Gleanings of comfort through the winter wide,
Twittering as wont above the old fireside,
And cheat the surly winter into spring.

Song: "The autumn's come again"

The autumn's come again
& the clouds descend in rain
& the leaves they are falling from the wood
The summer's voice is still
Save the clacking of the mill
& the lowly muttered thunder of the flood

There's nothing in the mead
But the rivers muddy speed
& the willow leaves all littered by its side
Sweet voices all are still
In the vale & on the hill
& the summer's blooms are withered in their pride

Fled is the cuckoo's note
To countries far remote
& the nightingale is vanished from the wood
If you search the Lordship round
There is not a blossom found
& where the haycock scented is the flood

My true loves fled away
Since we walked in cocks of hay
On the sabbath in the summer of the year
& she's nowhere to be seen
On the meadow or the green
But she's coming when the happy spring is near

When the birds begin to sing
& the flowers begin to spring
& the cowslips in the meadows reappear
When the woodland oaks are seen
In their monarchy of green
Then Mary & loves pleasure will be here

Where is the heart (excerpt)

Where is the heart thou once hast won
Can cease to care about thee
Where is the eye thou'st smiled upon
Can look for joy without thee
Lorn is the lot one heart hath met
That’s lost to thy caressing
Cold is the hope that loves thee yet
Now thou art past possessing
Fare thee well

We met we loved we’ve met the last
The farewell word is spoken
O Mary canst thou feel the past
& keep thy heart unbroken
To think how warm we loved & how
Those hopes should blossom never
To think how we are parted now
& parted, oh! for ever
Fare thee well

I think of Thee

David's latest YouTube upload of original music for Clare poems/songs (click on the title above).

I think of thee at early day
& wonder where my love can be
& when the evening shadows grey
O how I think of thee
Along the meadow banks I rove
& down the flaggy fen
& hope my first & early love
To meet thee once again

From Child Harold… a song (so Clare calls it) of Clare’s disturbed time in Northborough in 1841, after his long walk from Epping Forest. It is thought this poem was written in mid November of that year, and is a painful realisation that he had lost Mary Joyce forever. Perhaps he had some knowledge that he was destined for another asylum, as the last two lines of the poem read:

“whether in freedom or in thrall,
Mary, I think of thee”

Sweetly comes the grassy summer

[Double Click on the photo for the full effect]

Sweetly comes the grassy summer
And the bee its minstrel hummer
And the Swallow a new comer
Winged serpents oer the lea
Swimming in a serpentine
While their glossy black backs shine
From the sun that gleams divine
Oer wheatfield, lake and tree
Then come sweet Julie in thy prime
And we'll enjoy the summer time
Light is the cloud and bright the skies
And rich the wings of butterflies
Like Argus with a hundred eyes
Go skipping through the day
Dancing from flower to clover flower
In the warm and wanton hour
And on the white thorn blooming bower
Upon the clumps of May

Come Julie in thy youthful prime
And let's enjoy the summer time
We'll go where waters clear are flowing
We'll go where green the grass is growing
We'll go where sweet the wind is blowing
Among the willows grey

So come along my dearest Julie
Ill court thee in the meadows duly
By white thorn hedges love thee truly
And spend the summers day
On grass banks sit in pleasant weather
And gather wild flowers both together

The autumn morn...

[Image: Carry Akroyd]

The autumn morn looks mellow as the fruit
& ripe as harvest—every field & farm
Is full of health & toil—yet never mute
With rustic mirth & peace the day is warm
The village maid with gleans upon her arm
Brown as the hazel nut from field to field
Goes cheerily—the valleys native charm—
I seek for charms that autumn best can yield
In mellowing wood & time bleaching field

Child Harold (lines 657-665)

A reflection in autumn

To mark what looks like early autumn here in East Devon, a poem from Clare's wonderful collection "Poems descriptive of rural life and scenery" (1820)

Now Autumn's come—adieu the pleasing greens
The charming Lanscape & the flowrey plain
All are deserted from these motley scenes
With blighted yellow ting'd & russet stain
Tho desolation seems to triumph here
Yet these are spring to what we still shall find
The trees must all in nakedness appear
'Reft of their foliage by the blustry wind
Just so 'twill fare with me in Autumns life
Just so I'd wish—but may the trunk & all
Die with the leaves—nor taste that wintry strife
Where Sorrows urge—& fear Impedes the fall!

Cloud Shapes

Clouds rack and drive before the wind
In shapes and forms of every kind,
Like waves that rise without the roar,
And rocks that guard an untrodden shore;
Now castles pass majestic by
And ships in peaceful havens lie;
These gone, ten thousand shapes ensue,
For ever beautiful and new.

The scattered clouds lie calm and still,
And day throws gold on every hill;
Their thousand heads in glory run,
As each were worlds and owned a sun.
The rime it clings to everything,
It beards the early buds of spring;
The mossy pales, the orchard spray,
Are feathered with its silver-grey.