Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dedication to one's art

After huge success with his first book of poetry, John Clare subsequent books were less successful. The Writer's Almanac says he "drank too much, started to lose his mind, and was sent to an insane asylum. In 1841 he escaped and walked 80 miles back to his home, eating grass by the roadside along the way because he was so hungry. Eventually he was sent back to another asylum, where he spent the last 23 years of his life, believing he was Lord Byron or Robert Burns, and writing some of his best work." 
Come we to the summer, to the summer we will come,

For the woods are full of bluebells and the hedges full of bloom,

And the crow is on the oak a-building of her nest,

And love is burning diamonds in my true lover's breast;

She sits beneath the whitethorn a-plaiting of her hair,

And I will to my true lover with a fond request repair;

I will look upon her face, I will in her beauty rest,

And lay my aching weariness upon her lovely breast.

The clock-a-clay is creeping on the open bloom of May,

The merry bee is trampling the pinky threads all day,

And the chaffinch it is brooding on its grey mossy nest

In the whitethorn bush where I will lean upon my lover's breast;

I'll lean upon her breast and I'll whisper in her ear

That I cannot get a wink o'sleep for thinking of my dear;

I hunger at my meat and I daily fade away

Like the hedge rose that is broken in the heat of the day.


  1. A beautiful poem out of a sad life.

    Doesn't it always seem like writers do their best work when there is angst in real life?

  2. It does!
    Question is, are they so creative and different that their society judges them as insane?

  3. Love the poem.
    In the 19th century, people could be classed as 'insane' (and locked up) for exhibiting any kind of unusual behaviour, including depression or hysteria.

  4. We've added words related to science and technology. Have we added any words for love?