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John Clare

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

To John Clare


Well, honest John, how fare you now at home?
The spring is come, and birds are building nests;
The old cock-robin to the sty is come,
With olive feathers and its ruddy breast;
And the old cock, with wattles and red comb,
Struts with the hens, and seems to like some best,
Then crows, and looks about for little crumbs,
Swept out by little folks an hour ago;
The pigs sleep in the sty; the bookman comes--
The little boy lets home-close nesting go,
And pockets tops and taws, where daisies blow,
To look at the new number just laid down,
With lots of pictures, and good stories too,
And Jack the Giant-killer's high renown.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • George Deacon (11/14/2005 5:56:00 AM)

    Written by Clare during his years in Northampton Asylum this strongly evokes Clare's love for his Helpston home. The bookman he refers to is almost certainly one of the itinerant chapbook sellers who would regularly have called to the village. They probably also brought with them copies of the Northampton Mercury newspaper. This was published by the Dicey family who were also prodigious pubishers of balladsheets and chapbooks. See John Clare and the Folk Tradition passim. (Report) Reply

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