John Clare

(13 July 1793 – 20 May 1864 / Northamptonshire / England)

Approaching Night


O take this world away from me;
Its strife I cannot bear to see,
Its very praises hurt me more
Than een its coldness did before,
Its hollow ways torment me now
And start a cold sweat on my brow,
Its noise I cannot bear to hear,
Its joy is trouble to my ear,
Its ways I cannot bear to see,
Its crowds are solitudes to me.
O, how I long to be agen
That poor and independent man,
With labour's lot from morn to night
And books to read at candle light;
That followed labour in the field
From light to dark when toil could yield
Real happiness with little gain,
Rich thoughtless health unknown to pain:
Though, leaning on my spade to rest,
I've thought how richer folks were blest
And knew not quiet was the best.

Go with your tauntings, go;
Neer think to hurt me so;
I'll scoff at your disdain.
Cold though the winter blow,
When hills are free from snow
It will be spring again.

So go, and fare thee well,
Nor think ye'll have to tell
Of wounded hearts from me,
Locked up in your hearts cell.
Mine still at home doth dwell
In its first liberty.

Bees sip not at one flower,
Spring comes not with one shower,
Nor shines the sun alone
Upon one favoured hour,
But with unstinted power
Makes every day his own.

And for my freedom's sake
With such I'll pattern take,
And rove and revel on.
Your gall shall never make
Me honied paths forsake;
So prythee get thee gone.

And when my toil is blest
And I find a maid possest
Of truth that's not in thee,
Like bird that finds its nest
I'll stop and take my rest;
And love as she loves me.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

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