John Clare (13 July 1793 – 20 May 1864 / Northamptonshire / England)
To Anna Three Years Old
My Anna, summer laughs in mirth,
And we will of the party be,
And leave the crickets in the hearth
For green fields' merry minstrelsy.
I see thee now with little hand
Catch at each object passing bye,
The happiest thing in all the land
Except the bee and butterfly.
* * * * *
And limpid brook that leaps along,
Gilt with the summer's burnished gleam,
Will stop thy little tale or song
To gaze upon its crimping stream.
Thou'lt leave my hand with eager speed
The new discovered things to see--
The old pond with its water weed
And danger-daring willow tree,
Who leans an ancient invalid
Oer spots where deepest waters be.
In sudden shout and wild surprise
I hear thy simple wonderment,
As new things meet thy childish eyes
And wake some innocent intent;
As bird or bee or butterfly
Bounds through the crowd of merry leaves
And starts the rapture of thine eye
To run for what it neer achieves.
But thou art on the bed of pain,
So tells each poor forsaken toy.
Ah, could I see that happy hour
When these shall be thy heart's employ,
And see thee toddle oer the plain,
And stoop for flowers, and shout for joy.
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