The Courtship (excerpt)

Where are you going lovely maid
The morning fine & early
“I’m going to Walkerd”, Sir she said
& made across the barley

I asked her name she blushed away
The question seemed to burn her
A neighbour came & passed the day
& called her Patty Turner

I wrote my better poems there
To beautys praise I owe it
The muses they get all the praise
But woman makes the poet

A womans is the dearest love
Theres nought on earth sincerer
The leisure upon beautys breast
Can any thing be dearer

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)

Helpstone (excerpt)

Each morning wak'd with hopes before unknown
& eve possesing made each wish their own
The day gone bye left no pursuit undone
Nor one vain wish save that they went too soon
Each sport each pastime ready at their call
As soon as wanted they posses'd em all
These joys all known in happy infancy
& all I ever knew where spent on thee
& who but loves to view where these where past
& who that views but loves em to the last
Feels his heart warm to view his native place
A fondness still those past delights to trace
The vanish'd green to mourn the spot to see
Where flourish'd many a bush & many a tree
Where once the brook (for now the brook is gone)
Oer pebbles dimpling sweet went wimpering on
Oft on whose oaken plank I've wondering stood
(That led a pathway o'er its gentle flood)
To see the beetles their wild mazes run
With getty jackets glittering in the sun
So apt & ready at their reels they seem
So true the dance is figur'd on the stream
Such justness such correctness they impart
They seem as ready as if taught by art
(lines 61 to 84)
 Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery (1820)

I am - Video

Clare's 'I am' -- worth a look I reckon : >>>>> Click Here <<<<<

STANZAS : To Adelaide

Adelaide beautiful Adelaide see
The spring is returning to beauty and thee
The snowdrops are breaking the soil and appear
As white as thy neck at the spring of the year

Adelaide beautiful Adelaide here
The primroses come and tis spring of the year
The primroses come and the birds mate in pairs
O when will my life be as happy as theirs

O when shall I woo thee and sit in the shade
‘Mong violets and primroses my sweet Adelaide
When in those bright eyes will those baby's appear
That I saw when I kissed thee last spring of the year

O Adelaide beautiful Adelaide hear
The snowdrops have brought thee the spring of the year
The aconites open like rays of the sun
And tell thee the pleasures of spring is begun

Then Adelaide beautiful Adelaide hear
Let us take lovers walks at the spring of the year

The Later Poems of John Clare 1837-1864
ed. Eric Robinson and David Powell
 (Oxford, 2 volumes, I-II, 1984)

The Mothers Lullaby

Tune: BBC Recording 1951 published in Folksongs of Britain and Ireland, 1975

Hush lullaby my baby nor mix thy tears with mine
I grieve to think my parents would be no friends of thine
I grieve to think thy father - O grief my words oppose
To think thy little innosence should find so many foes

Hush lullaby my baby upon thy mothers arm
My prayers shall still the storm to rest to leave my baby warm
While to thy fathers Hall we go who fast asleep doth lye
Did he know his door was lockd on thee it might unclose his eye

Hush lullaby my baby he yet thy friend may be
& bye & bye I hope to find a friend again in thee
So hush my little baby the day comes bye & bye
The storm is gone the moon is up so hush & lullaby

Hush lullaby my baby I wake thee when I sigh
To think my parents turned us out nor bade thee a goodbye
Nor sighed to see thy breath nigh gone to meet the storm so high
But god has heard & the wind is gone so hush & lullaby

Poems of the Middle Period
ed. Eric Robinson, David Powell and P.M.S. Dawson
Volumes I-II (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996)
Volumes III-IV (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998)

John Clare and the Folk Tradition
George Deacon, 1983

Another Manuscript

A photo I took in the archive in November 2012... and this of another unpublished Clare manuscript.  It is an honour to be able to go and study these texts -- and seek to decipher Clare's handwriting!

The book I love is everywhere,
And every place the same;
God bade me make my dwelling there,
And look for better fame.
I never feared the critic's pen,
To live by my renown;
I found the poems in the fields,
And only wrote them down.

(from "Sighing for Retirement)
(lines 9 to 16)

Unpublished John Clare poem will sell for thousands

The handwriting looks authentic.  I wonder just how many 'unpublished' Clare poems are lying in wait for discovery?  BUT... there are lots unpublished in the Peterborough Library archive.

Click here to read

Ballad : Where is the heart thou once hast won

(Image : The blackened lintel of the Joyce Farmouse where Mary Joyce burned to death in 1838)

Here is Clare writing some years before in prescient mood:

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

Thou wert the first my heart to win
Thou art the last to wear it
& though another claims akin
Thou must be one to share it
Oh, had we known when hopes were sweet
That hopes would once be thwarted
That we should part no more to meet
How sadly we had parted
Fare thee well

The Rural Muse (1835)
Second edition, ed. R. K. R. Thornton (Ashington and Manchester, 1982)

(Memorably sung by Carry Akroyd in Glinton Church as part of the 2009 John Clare Festival)