John Clare.

Poems Chiefly from Manuscript online

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For he loved the time too well.
His little hands, when flowers were seen,
Were held for the bluebell,
As he was carried oer the green.

His eye glanced at the white-nosed bee;
He knew those children of the Spring:
When he was well and on the lea
He held one in his hands to sing,
Which filled his heart with glee.

Infants, the children of the Spring!
How can an infant die
When butterflies are on the wing,
Green grass, and such a sky?
How can they die at Spring?

He held his hands for daisies white,
And then for violets blue,
And took them all to bed at night
That in the green fields grew,
As childhood's sweet delight.

And then he shut his little eyes,
And flowers would notice not;
Birds' nests and eggs caused no surprise,
He now no blossoms got:
They met with plaintive sighs.

When Winter came and blasts did sigh,
And bare were plain and tree,
As he for ease in bed did lie
His soul seemed with the free,
He died so quietly.

_Love Lives Beyond the Tomb_

Love lives beyond
The tomb, the earth, which fades like dew!
I love the fond,
The faithful, and the true.

Love lives in sleep,
The happiness of healthy dreams:
Eve's dews may weep,
But love delightful seems.

Tis seen in flowers,
And in the morning's pearly dew;
In earth's green hours,
And in the heaven's eternal blue.

Tis heard in Spring
When light and sunbeams, warm and kind,
On angel's wing
Bring love and music to the mind.

And where is voice,
So young, so beautiful, and sweet
As Nature's choice,
Where Spring and lovers meet?

Love lives beyond
The tomb, the earth, the flowers, and dew.
I love the fond,
The faithful, young and true.

_I Am_

I AM: yet what I am none cares or knows,
My friends forsake me like a memory lost;
I am the self-consumer of my woes,
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shades in love and death's oblivion lost;
And yet I am, and live with shadows tost

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life nor joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems;
And een the dearest - that I loved the best -
Are strange - nay, rather stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man has never trod;
A place where woman never smiled or wept;
There to abide with my Creator, GOD,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept:
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;
The grass below - above the vaulted sky.



_A Specimen of Clare's rough drafts_

In a huge cloud of mountain hue
The sun sets dark nor shudders through
One single beam to shine again
Tis night already in the lane

The settled clouds in ridges lie
And some swell mountains calm and high

Clouds rack and drive before the wind
In shapes and forms of every kind
Like waves that rise without the roars
And rocks that guard untrodden shores
Now castles pass majestic bye
And ships in peaceful havens lie
These gone ten thousand shapes ensue
For ever beautiful and new

The scattered clouds lie calm and still
And day throws gold on every hill
Their thousand heads in glorys run
As each were worlds and owned a sun
The rime it clings to every thing
It beards the early buds of spring
The mossy pales the orchard spray
Are feathered with its silver grey

Rain drizzles in the face so small
We scarce can say it rains at all

The cows turned to the pelting rain
No longer at their feed remain
But in the sheltering hovel hides
That from two propping dotterels strides

The sky was hilled with red and blue
With lighter shadows waking through
Till beautiful and beaming day
Shed streaks of gold for miles away

The linnet stopt her song to clean
Her spreading wings of yellow green
And turn his head as liking well
To smooth the dropples as they fell

One scarce could keep one's path aright
From gazing upward at the sight

The boys for wet are forced to pass
The cuckoo flowers among the grass
To hasten on as well they may
For hedge or tree or stack of hay
Where they for shelter can abide
Safe seated by its sloping side
That by the blackthorn thicket cowers
A shelter in the strongest showers

The gardens golden gilliflowers
Are paled with drops of amber showers

Dead leaves from hedges flirt about
The chaff from barn doors winnows out
And down without a wing to flye
As fast as bees goes sailing bye
The feather finds a wing to flye
And dust in wirl puffs winnows bye

When the rain at midday stops
Spangles glitter in the drops
And as each thread a sunbeam was
Cobwebs glitter in the grass

The sheep all loaded with the rain
Try to shake it off in vain
And ere dryed by wind and sun
The load will scarcely let them run

The shepherds foot is sodden through
And leaves will clout his brushing shoe
The buttercups in gold alloyed
And daiseys by the shower destroyed

The sun is overcast clouds lie
And thicken over all the sky

Crows morn and eve will flock in crowds
To fens and darken like the clouds
So many is their cumberous flight
The dull eve darkens into night

Clouds curl and curdle blue and grey
And dapple the young summers day

Through the torn woods the violent rain
Roars and rattles oer the plain
And bubbles up in every pool
Till dykes and ponds are brimming full

The thickening clouds move slowly on
Till all the many clouds are one
That spreads oer all the face of day
And turns the sunny shine to grey

Now the meadow water smokes
And hedgerows dripping oaks
Fitter patter all around
And dimple the once dusty ground
The spinners threads about the weeds
Are hung with little drops in beads
Clover silver green becomes
And purple blue surrounds the plumbs
And every place breaths fresh and fair
When morning pays her visit there

The day is dull the heron trails
On flapping wings like heavy sails
And oer the mead so lowly swings
She fans the herbage with her wings

The waterfowl with suthering wings
Dive down the river splash and spring
Up to the very clouds again
That sprinkle scuds of coming rain
That flye and drizzle all the day
Till dripping grass is turned to grey

The various clouds that move or lye
Like mighty travellers in the sky
All mountainously ridged or curled
That may have travelled round the world

The water ruckles into waves
And loud the neighbouring woodland raves
All telling of the coming storm
That fills the village with alarm

Ere yet the sun is two hours high
Winds find all quarters of the sky
With sudden shiftings all around
And now the grass upon the ground
And now the leaves they wirl and wirl
With many a flirting flap and curl



Northamptonshire Peasant. London: Printed for Taylor and Hessey. 1820.
12mo. Pp. xxxii, 222. The second and third editions, 1820; excisions
and alterations occur, but not in all copies. Fourth edition, 1821.


volumes 12mo. Pp. xxviii, 216; vi, 211. Second edition, 1823. The
two volumes were also, at a later date, bound in one cover lettered
"Poetic Souvenir."


Taylor. 1827. 12mo. Pp. viii, 238.


THE RURAL MUSE. London: Whittaker & Co. 1835. 12mo. Pp. x, 175.

_Biographies and Selections_


THE LIFE OF JOHN CLARE. By Frederick Martin, London and Cambridge:
Macmillan & Co. 1865. Fcp. 8vo. Pp. viii, 301.


LIFE AND REMAINS OF JOHN CLARE. By J. L. Cherry. London: Frederick
Warne & Co. Northampton: J. Taylor & Son. 1873. (Issued in the
_Chandos Classics_, 1873-1877.) Fcap. 8vo. Pp. xiii, 349.


POEMS BY JOHN CLARE, selected and introduced by Norman Gale. With a
Bibliography by C. Ernest Smith. Geo. E. Over, Rugby, 1901. Fcp. 8vo.
Pp. 206.


POEMS BY JOHN CLARE, edited with an Introduction by Arthur Symons.
Frowde, London, 1908. I2mo. Pp. 208.


Pamphlet: no printer's name. 1912. (It includes a memoir, and a
classification of the flowers described in Clare's poems.)

_Miscellaneous Clare Volumes_


FOUR LETTERS from the Rev. W. Allen, to the Right Honourable Lord
Radstock, G.C.B., on the Poems of John Clare, the Northamptonshire
Peasant. Hatchards' (1823). 12mo. Pp. 77.


THREE VERY INTERESTING LETTERS (two in curious rhyme) by the
celebrated poets Clare, Cowper, and Bird. With an Appendix (Clare's
"Familiar Epistle to a Friend"). ff.13. Charles Clarke's private
press, Great Totham, 1837. 8vo. Only 25 copies printed. THE JOHN CLARE
CENTENARY EXHIBITION CATALOGUE. Introduction by C. Dack. Peterborough
Natural History Society, 1893. Pamphlet. Pp. viii, 28. An edition of
50 copies was printed on large paper.

_Clare's Contributions to Periodicals_

A detailed list of Clare's work in the magazines is a lengthy affair.
His main connections were with the "London Magazine" (1821-1823),
"European Magazine" (1825, 1826), "Literary Magnet" (1826, 1827),
"Spirit and Manners of the Age" (1828, 1829), the publications of
William Hone, "Athenaeum" (1831), "Englishman's Magazine" (1831),
"Literary Receptacle" (1835). He contributed once or twice to the
"Sheffield Iris," "Morning Post," and the "Champion"; and much of his
best work seems to have been printed in local papers, such as the
"Stamford Bee." The annuals often included short poems by him: the
"Amulet," "Forget-Me-Not," "Friendship's Offering," "Gem," "Juvenile
Forget-Me-Not," "Literary Souvenir," etc.

Clare's magazine writings are not always signed, and in the annuals
his poems often bear no ascription except "By the Northamptonshire
Peasant." After 1837 he appears not to have contributed poems to
any journals other than local; though Cyrus Redding in the "English
Journal," 1841, gives many of his later verses.

_Incidental Reference Volumes_

ALLIBONE, S. A. - Dictionary of English Literature.

ASKHAM, JOHN - Sonnets on the Months ("To John Clare," p. 185) - 1863.

BAKER, Miss A. E. - Glossary of Northamptonshire Words and Phrases
(Clare contributed) - 1854.

CARY, H. F. - MEMOIR OF; ii. 52-53, 94-95 - 1847.

CHAMBERS, R. - Cyclopaedia of English Literature, ii. 386-390 - 1861.

DE QUINCZY, T. - London Reminiscences, pp. 143-145 - 1897.

DE WILDE, G. - Rambles Round About, and Poems: pp. 30-49 - 1872.


DOBELL, B. - Sidelights on Charles Lamb - 1903.


(GALIGNANI'S) - Living Poets of England: pp.172-174 - 1827.

HALL, S. C. - Book of Gems: pp. 162-166 - 1838.
- A Book of Memories: pp. 107-109.

HEATH, RICHARD - The English Peasant: pp. 292-319 - 1893.

HOLLAND, J. - James Montgomery: iv. 96, 175 - 1854.

HOOD, E. P. - The Peerage of Poverty - 1870.

HOOD, THOMAS - Works, ii. 374-377 - 1882.

LAMB, CHARLES - LETTERS (Ed. W. Macdonald), ii. 22 - 1903.

LOMBROSO, CESARE - The Man of Genius, 162, 205 - 1891.

MEN OF THE TIME - _earlier issues_.

MILES, A. H. - Poets and Poetry of the Nineteenth Century. Vol. "Keats
to Lytton," pp. 79-106 (by Roden Noel) - 1905.

MITFORD, M. R. - Recollections of a Literary Life. I. 147-163 - 1857.

REDDING, CYRUS - Fifty Years' Recollections: ii. 211 - 1858.
- Past Celebrities Whom I Have Known: ii. 132 _sq_.

STODDARD, R. H. - Under the Evening Lamp: pp.120-134 - 1893.

SYMONS, ARTHUR - The Romantic Movement in English Poetry: pp. 288-293 - 1908.

TAYLOR, JOHN - Bibliotheca Northantonesis - 1869.

THOMAS, EDWARD - Feminine Influence on the Poets - 1908.
- A Literary Pilgrim in England - 1917.

WALKER, HUGH - The Literature of the Victorian Era: pp. 241-245 - 1913.

WILSON, JOHN - Recreations of Christopher North, i. 313-318 - 1842.

_Magazine Articles, &c._

1820 Analectic Magazine
June Antijacobin Review
April Eclectic Review
February Gentleman's Magazine
January, March London Magazine
July Monthly Magazine
March New Monthly
January, May New Times
February Northamptonshire County Magazine
May Quarterly Review

1821 October Ackermann's Repository
June British Critic
Eclectic Review
November European Magazine
Gentleman's Magazine
October Literary Chronicle
October Literary Gazette
November London Magazine
Monthly Review

1822 January Eclectic Review

1823 London Magazine

1827 June Ackermann's Repository
June Eclectic Review
John Bull
Literary Chronicle
March Literary Gazette
Morning Chronicle

1829 British Almanac and Companion

1831 November Blackwood's
1832 October The Alfred
August True Sun

1835 July 25 Athenaeum
August Blackwood's
July 25 Literary Gazette
New Monthly

1840 June Athenaeum
June Times

1841 May English Journal
May Gentleman's Magazine

1852 August 28 Notes and Queries

1855 March 31 Illustrated London News

1857 November 21 London Journal
January Quarterly

1858 March 6 Notes and Queries

1860 Living Age (U.S.A.)

1863 October 31 Notes and Queries
Once a Week

1864 Annual Register
July Gentleman's Magazine
July St. James's Magazine

1865 June 17 Athenaeum
Chambers' Journal
August Eclectic Review
November 11 Leisure Hour

1866 January Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine

1869 November Harper's New Monthly

1870 June 17 Literary World

1872 February 3 Notes and Queries
Overland (U.S.A.)

1873 April Athenaeum
Leisure Hour
January Literary World
Notes and Queries
Saturday Review, and many other
reviews of Cherry's volume

1874 October 17 Notes and Queries

1877 Living Age

1886 Northamptonshire Notes and Queries; 97.

1890 December 13 All the Year Round
September 6 Notes and Queries

1893 August, September Literary World

1901 July Current Literature (U.S.A.)
Monthly Review

1902 April Gentleman's Magazine

1908 December 17 Nation (New York)

1909 March Current Literature
T.P.'s Weekly

1913 January South Atlantic Quarterly

1914 October Yale Review

1915 May Fortnightly Review

1917 July 19 Dial (U.S.A.)

1919 September Cornhill Magazine

1920 February 22 Nation
March, April Athenaeum
May Oxford Outlook
July London Mercury
October Poetry Review

In addition to these references, valuable material is contained in
such local papers as the Northampton Herald, Northampton Mercury,
Stamford Mercury, Stamford Guardian, and the Peterborough Express,
and the Peterborough Standard; particularly under the important dates
1820, 1864, 1873, and 1893.


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Online LibraryJohn ClarePoems Chiefly from Manuscript → online text (page 13 of 13)