Summers in its Glory Now

Summer's in its glory now     Sweet the flower and green the bough
Dry is every swamp and slough     My own kind deary

Could I press thy bonny bosom     Swelling like a bursting blossom
Sweetly ripe as I suppose 'em     Then heaven would be near thee

Fair and buxsome bonny Lassie     Let us seek for places grassy
Where the brook it dimples glassy     There I'll love thee deary

On thy lilly bosom leaning     View thy eyes to guess their meaning
Kiss where not a look has been in     Thy lilly bosom deary

Clasp thee round thy gimpsy middle     Playing loves tunes without the fiddle
And loves secret joys unriddle     To kiss and cheer me

To throw my arms about thy shoulders     And in the band O' love enfold us
I' these green shades where none behold us     Where heaven would be near thee

Come my blyth and bonny deary     Let me clasp thee and lie near thee
And I of love shall ne'er be weary     To clasp my bonny deary

To kiss thy cheeks O' new blown roses     Thy breasts where hills O' alpine snow's is
As sweet as ever love supposes     To glad and cheer me

About thy bonny arms I'll clasp thee     And i' the vice o' fondness grasp thee
Till matrimony's charms shall hasp thee     And bind thee aye my deary

The Later Poems of John Clare,
ed. Eric Robinson and Geoffrey Summerfield
(Manchester University Press, 1964)

Wild Flowers

Beautiful mortals of the glowing earth
And children of the season crowd together
In showers and sunny weather
Ye beautiful spring hours
Sunshine and all together
I love wild flowers

The rain drops lodge on the swallows wing
Then fall on the meadow
Cowslips and enemonies all come with spring
Beaded with first showers
The skylarks in the cowslips sing
I love wild flowers

Blue-bells and cuckoo's in the wood
And pasture cuckoo's too
Red yellow white and blue
Growing where herd cows meet the showers
And lick the morning dew
I love wild flowers

The lakes and rivers—summer hours
All have their bloom as well
But few of these are childrens flowers
They grow where dangers dwell
In sun and shade and showers
I love wild flowers

They are such lovely things
And make the very seasons where they come
The nightingale is smothered where she sings
Above their scented bloom
O what delight the cuckoo music brings
I love wild flowers

John Clare, the Poet and the Place
Peter Moyse, (Helpston: the Crossberry Press, 1993)

Ronnie Blythe on Clare

Well, yes... as well as much else.  A special treat for Clareans worldwide may be found here :

Ronnie's piece published in the 'Church Times' today... always a wonderful read and available in most newsagents.  Ronnie has been writing his 'Word from Wormingford' now for decades.

Swaddywell, the present quarry site, was first excavated after Clare's death and the quarry he knew was Swordy Well alongside King Street. Now filled in it would have appeared in Clare's time like the present Hills and Hollows at Barnack. Apparently this method of excavation arose through people quarrying stone for their individual houses. The photo (below) shows how the old quarry at Barnack now looks, presumably very similar to the holes where Clare hid himself from view.  (With thanks to Peter Leverington)

The Rose

Or a Wish for Transformation To E. N.

How highly esteem'd is the sweet smelling rose
Tis reckon'd the ‘finest of Flowers’
Unrival'd in flower-pots and posies it glows
Nay the Queen of Parnassuse's Bowers
And was I like Proteus so powerful indew'd
With that uncommon magical power
My form should this instant be chang'd and renew'd
Yes turn'd to this beautiful flower

Tho this strange Metamorphus by me so excited
'T'is not for my love of the flowers
Nor is it the title with which I'm delighted
To be ‘Queen of parnassion bowers’
No no thats a trifle not worth the possesing
Far beneath the fond wish of a swain
In the way that I crave it—'t'would—O a blessing!
A blessing not call'd so in vain

My wish for the change—is to win Chloe's bosom
Those two swelling mountains of snow
Where so nice in the Valley—each side to repose—on!
I could see them both heave too and fro
There posses'd of my Love a rose-life (or a day)
I would kiss all its heaving alarms
And when doom'd to wither I'd secretly stray
To die in the midst of her charms

This is why I wish for't:—my Chloe my dear
Believe the fond truth that I show
Tho you cannot expect the strange scene to appear
Yet my Uncommon Love you may know!

The Early Poems of John Clare 1804-1822
ed. Eric Robinson, David Powell and Margaret Grainger
(Oxford, 2 volumes, I-II, 1989)

from "Wanderings in June"

The season now is all delight,
Sweet smile the passing hours,
And Summer's pleasures, at their height,
Are sweet as are her flowers;
The purple morning waken'd soon,
The midday's gleaming din,
Grey evening with her silver moon,
Are sweet to mingle in.
While waking doves betake to flight
From off each roosting bough,
While Nature's locks are wet with night,

How sweet to wander now!

The London Magazine (Jul 1822)
Lines 1-12

To Anna, three years old

My Anna, summer laughs in mirth,
  And we will of the party be,
And leave the crickets in the hearth
  For green fields' merry minstrelsy.

I see thee now with little hand
  Catch at each object passing bye,
The happiest thing in all the land
  Except the bee and butterfly.

       *       *       *       *       *

And limpid brook that leaps along,
  Gilt with the summer's burnished gleam,
Will stop thy little tale or song
  To gaze upon its crimping stream.

Thou'lt leave my hand with eager speed
  The new discovered things to see--
The old pond with its water weed
  And danger-daring willow tree,
Who leans an ancient invalid
  Oer spots where deepest waters be.

In sudden shout and wild surprise
  I hear thy simple wonderment,
As new things meet thy childish eyes
  And wake some innocent intent;

As bird or bee or butterfly
  Bounds through the crowd of merry leaves
And starts the rapture of thine eye
  To run for what it neer achieves.

But thou art on the bed of pain,
  So tells each poor forsaken toy.
Ah, could I see that happy hour
  When these shall be thy heart's employ,
And see thee toddle oer the plain,
  And stoop for flowers, and shout for joy.

Poems: Chiefly from Manuscript
ed. Edmund Blunden and Alan Porter
(London: Cobden-Sanderson, 1920)