The Moth a coy lover

The Moth a coy lover now ventures to creep
Out at night to steal kisses from flowers when asleep
But the Butterflye bold as the Bee for a plot
Kisses the flowers all the day whether willing or not
Now no longer able his sports to pursue
He lay neath a leaf to get out of the dew
Heres the Cockchaffer to with his old sullen drone
Sings as if he thought no song sweet as his own
The Bee too with grains of red dust on each thigh
Who had drained thro the day all the honey flowers dry
& in vain he attempted straight forward to drive
He reeled and mistook the way home to his hive
Till lost on this spot in a considerable fright
He makes on this thistle a bed for the night
Heres the rope dancing spider a trusting his threads
From his web on the branches high over their heads
Ah well may you laugh at the sports he doth make
While he dances away in no fears for his neck
The rest were all coupled & happy & they
Song the old merry songs which they sang at his day

Pet MS A31 p9

Early Spring

Winter is past—the little bee resumes
Her share of sun & shade & oer the lea
Hums its first hymnings to the flowers perfumes
& wakes a sense of gratfulness in me
The little daisey keeps its wonted pace
Ere march by april gets disarmd of snow
A look of joy opes on its smiling face
Turnd to that power that suffers it to blow
Ah pleasant time as pleasing as ye be
One still more pleasing, hope reserves for me
Where suns unsetting one long summer shine
Flowers endless bloom where winter neer destroys
O may the good mans righteous end be mine
As I may witness these unfading joys

The Village Minstrel, and Other Poems
(2 volumes, 1821)

My Mary (excerpt)

Who (save in sunday bib & tuck)
Goes daily (waddling like a duck)
Oer head & ears in grease & muck
My Mary

Unus'd to pattins or to clogs
Who takes the swill to serve the hogs?
And steals the milk for cats and dogs
My Mary

Who frost & Snow as hard as nails
Stands out o' doors & never fails
To wash up things & scour the pails
My Mary

Who bussles night & day in short
At all catch jobs of every sort
& gains her mistress' favor for't
My Mary

& who is oft repaid wi praise?
In doing what her mistress says
& yielding to her wimmy ways
My Mary

For theres none apter I believe
At ‘creeping up a Mistress' sleve’
Then this low kindred stump of Eve
My Mary

Who when the baby's all besh—t
To please its mamma kisses it?
And vows no Rose on earths so sweet
My Mary 

The Poems of John Clare
ed. J. W. Tibble (2 volumes, Dent, 1935)

Hopes sun shines...

Hopes sun shines sweet but who of hopes are proud
To see how soon it meeteth with a cloud
How many hopes & memorys went with thee
That forwerd looked to better destiny
Song seems not worth the muses care
Unless to grace it womans love be there
& fame is but a shadow crowned with bays
Without the cheering sun of womans grace
When thy young bosom at the tales it heard
Heavd up & panted like a timid bird
Thy splendid beauty blushed upon the sight
Like sudden frenzy of unlooked for flight
Thou haven of my trouble when I see
That lovely face the show is past with me

(Unpublished, but will figure in Anne Lee and my third book "In the Shadows")

The Woods

I love to roam the woods
Oft patted by the boughs
That meet from either side
& form an arch of leaves
Till hidden as it where from all the world
I stand & muse upon the pleasant scene

I seem to be myself
The only one that treads
The earth at such a time
So vacant is the mass
That spreads around me one hugh sea of leaves
& intertwining grains of thickest shades

No human eye is visible
No human sound attracts
The ear—but musing solitude
One unembodied thought
Thinks the heart into stillness as the world
Was left behind for somthing green & new

& lonely—& Ive thought
In such a spot to build
An hermitage or hut
With books & leisure left
How sweet t'would be but then again
I've turned to my old home & felt it vain

Yet sure a hut close thatched
Chafed by oerleaning boughs
In such a place when night
Dark on the crowd of trees
Found us locked in beside a blazing fire
Might give us happiness & pleasing fears

Fear books can give us
When we read strange tales
Of dwellers in the depths
Of earths untrodden shades
Where woods surround lone huts impassable
& nought lives near them but the hope of heaven

The Midsummer Cushion
ed. Kelsey Thornton and Anne Tibble
(Ashington and Manchester: Mid-NAG and Carcanet, 1979)

To P++++

[Image: Anne Lee]

Fair was thy bloom when first I met
Thy summers maiden blossom
& thou art fair & lovely yet
& dearer to my bosom
O thou wast once a wildling flower
All garden flowers excelling
& still I bless the happy hour
That led me to thy dwelling

Though nursed by field & brook & wood
& wild in every feature
Spring neer unsealed a fairer bud
Nor formed a blossom sweeter
& of all flowers the spring has met
& it has met with many
Thou art to me the fairest yet
& lovliest of any

Though ripening summers round thee bring
Buds to thy swelling bosom
That wait the cheering smiles of spring
To ripen into blossom
These buds shall added blessings be
To make our love sincerer
For as their flowers resemble thee
Theyll make thy memory dearer

& though thy bloom shall pass away
By winter overtaken
Thoughts of the past will charms display
& many joys awaken
When time shall every sweet remove
& blight thee on my bosom
Let beauty fade—to me & love
Thoult neer be out of blossom

Poems by John Clare
ed. Norman Gale (Rugby: George E. Over, 1901)

A Character (excerpt)

[Image: Anne Lee]

One of Clare’s early poems that we have chosen to figure in our planned 4th volume “Amorous Johny”

Her face cloth'd in blushes like the east in a morning
Sheds a lustre so healthful and gay
And O! her sweet neck is with Cupids adorning
More whiter than blossoms of May.

Her beautiful bosom with love sweetly swelling
Whould make e'en a Hermit to long
And O! of her eyes and her lips theres no telling
They'r out o' the reach of my song.

Her height with the rest in exactest propotion
Nought defective throughout can be seen
And her fine limbs conceal'd will oft show their sweet motion
When met by the wind on the green.

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