"There is a charm in nature felt and seen"

There is a charm in nature felt and seen
In every season of the varied year
In winters frost in springs reviving green
        'Tis every where

In foreign lands how beautiful the sight
Over a thousand mountains of snow sprey
With nought of green—but mountains pale as light
        And all the way

The springs green herbage full of flowers
And fields where lives the lark mid greener grain
We love and worship them in April hours
        Then wish again

That spring with all her joys would longer last
But summer with young buds is left to cho[o]se
And brings once more in memory of the past
        Flowers of all hues

Then autumn red and yellow quickly pass
Like broods of nestling birds upon the wing
Till all is gone and nothing but the grass
        Remembers spring

The wind the shower, the drapery of the sky
When day cools over meadows into dun
And clouds in gold and crimson glories lie
        In set of sun

A globe of fire and as a table round
Then wastes to half still shutting out the day
Till the curved rim drops quickly in the ground
        And all is gray

The Wood is Sweet (1966)
The Bodley Head

Stingo white froathing oer the polisht can

Stingo white froathing oer the polisht can
Thou boast thou glory of the English man
Thou downright death to every care & strife
Thou best of charms to foil a scolding wife
Known by the name of nappy ale or beer
Nicknamd ‘old stout’ ‘nock down’ & ‘barley cheer’
Tis thee I sing do thou thy strength infuse
& warm my song I ask no better muse
If woes distress me let me charm my soul
Where the bell calls to c---h wi out a knoll

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

Spirit of the woods awake (extract)

A recent finding... only published, as far as I am aware, in the Clarendon Editions.  An early Clare poem virtually impossible to read from the manuscript notebook. Clare wrote all the poems in pencil, then erased to reuse the little book - he was very short of paper.  The notebook dates from 1819 or thereabouts, certainly before his marriage to Patty in March 1820. Because of the difficulties in transcription, most of the poems therein have been largely overlooked.  Here is an excerpt, the first two verses.  The poem will figure in its entirety in Anne Lee and my fourth book, "Wood Pictures" which is now some weeks into its planning stage.

Spirit of the woods awake
In thy wildest dress appear
Trace with me the curdled brake
Sound thy wildness in my ear
Genius of the woods that dwells
Sweeping boughs & grains among
As I climb thy rough rude dells
Breath thy roughness in my song

While I brush the branches by
& this woods still ways forsake
Woodland spirit meet my eye
Genius of the woods awake

Breath thy wildness in my ear
To thy trees  I do belong
Genius of the woods appear
Sound thy roughness in my song

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

Adventures of a Grasshopper (excerpt)

A grasshopper idle the whole summer long
Played about the tall grass with unthinking delight
& spent the whole day with his hopping & song
& sipp'd of the dew for his supper at night
Thus night brought him food & the red rising sun
Awoke him fresh fed to his singing agen
& thus he went on with his frolic & fun
Till winter winds whistled & where was he then

The plain wore no longer the hue of his wing
All withered & brown as a desert could be
In vain he looked round for the shelter of spring
While the longest green sprig scarcely reached to his knee
The rime feathered night fell as white as a sheet
& dewdrops were frozen before they could fall
The shy creeping sun too denied him his heat
Thus the poor silly soul was deserted of all

The ant had forewarned him of what he would be
When he laughed at his toil on the parched summer plain
He now saw the folly he then could not see
But advice taen too late is but labour in vain
If he wished to work now there was nothing to find
The winter told plain twas too late in the day
In vain he looked round in the snow & the wind
Unable to toil & too saddened for 

He looked back & sighed on his singing & racket
& employed the last hope he had left him to beg
So he sought in the woods withered leaves for a jacket
Of a rushe he made crutches & limped of a leg
The winds whistled round him while seeking for pity
Oer the white crimping snows he went limping along
Sighing sad at each cottage his sorrowful ditty
But a song out of season is povertys song  

John Clare, The Rural Muse (1835)