The Courtship (excerpt)

A woman’s is the dearest love
There’s nought on earth sincerer
The leisure upon beauty’s breast
Can any thing be dearer?

The muses they are living things
& beauty ever dear
& though I worshipped stocks & stones
T’was woman every-where

In loves delight my steps was led
I sung of beauty’s choice
I saw her in the books I read
& all was Mary Joyce

I saw her love in beauty’s face
I saw her in the rose
I saw her in the fairest flowers
In every weed that grows

Poems of John Clare's Madness,
ed. Geoffrey Grigson (RKP, 1949)

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