The Shepherds Calendar - April Poem by John Clare

The Shepherds Calendar - April

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The infant april joins the spring
And views its watery skye
As youngling linnet trys its wing
And fears at first to flye
With timid step she ventures on
And hardly dares to smile
The blossoms open one by one
And sunny hours beguile

But finer days approacheth yet
With scenes more sweet to charm
And suns arrive that rise and set
Bright strangers to a storm
And as the birds with louder song
Each mornings glory cheers
With bolder step she speeds along
And looses all her fears
In wanton gambols like a child
She tends her early toils
And seeks the buds along the wild
That blossom while she smiles
And laughing on with nought to chide
She races with the hours
Or sports by natures lovley side
And fills her lap with flowers

Tho at her birth north cutting gales
Her beautys oft disguise
And hopfull blossoms turning pales
Upon her bosom dies
Yet ere she seeks another place
And ends her reign in this
She leaves us with as fair a face
As ere gave birth to bliss

And fairey month of waking mirth
From whom our joys ensue
Thou early gladder of the earth
Thrice welcom here anew
With thee the bud unfolds to leaves
The grass greens on the lea
And flowers their tender boon recieves
To bloom and smile with thee

The shepherds on thy pasture walks
The first fair cowslip finds
Whose tufted flowers on slender stalks
Keep nodding to the winds
And tho thy thorns withold the may
Their shades the violets bring
Which childern stoop for in their play
As tokens of the spring

The time when daiseys bloom divine
With thy calm hours begun
And crowflowers blazing blooms are thine
Bright childern of the sun
Along thy woodlands shaded nooks
The primrose wanly comes
And shining in thy pebley brooks
The horse bleb gaily blooms

The long lost charm of sparkling dew
Thy gentle birth recieves
And on thy wreathing locks we view
The first infolding leaves
And seeking firstling buds and flowers
The trials of thy skill
Were pastimes of my infant hours
And so they haunt me still

To see thy first broad arum leaves
I lovd them from a child
And where thy woodbines sprouting weaves
I joyd to trace the wild
And jocund as thy lambs at play
I met the wanton wind
With feelings that have passd away
Whose shadows cling behind

Those joys which childhood claims its own
Woud they were kin to men
Those treasures to the world unknown
When known-was witherd then
But hovering round our growing years
To gild cares sable shroud
Their spirit thro the gloom appears
As suns behind a cloud

As thou first met my infant eyes
When thro thy fields I flew
Whose distance where they meet the skyes
Was all the worlds I knew
That warmth of fancys wildest hours
Which made things kin to life
That heard a voice in trees and flowers
Has swoond in reasons strife

Sweet month thy pleasures bids thee be
The fairest child of spring
And every hour that comes with thee
Comes some new joy to bring
The trees still deepen in their bloom
Crass greens the meadow lands
And flowers with every morning come
As dropt by fairey hands

The field and gardens lovley hours
Begin and end with thee
For whats so sweet as peeping flowers
And bursting buds to see
What time the dews unsullied drops
In burnishd gold distills
On crocus flowers unclosing tops
And drooping daffodills

Each day with added glorys come
And as they leave the night
Put on the roseys lovley bloom
And blushes with delight
And suns that wait their welcome birth
With earlier haste pursue
Their journeys to this lower earth
To free their steps from dew

To see thee come all hearts rejoice
And warms with feelings strong
With thee all nature finds a voice
And hums a waking song
The lover views thy welcome hours
And thinks of summer come
And takes the maid thy early flowers
To tempt her steps from home

Along each hedge and sprouting bush
The singing birds are blest
And linnet green and speckld thrush
Prepare their mossy nest
On the warm bed thy plain supplys
The young lambs find repose
And mid thy green hills basking lies
Like spots of lingering snows

Young things of tender life again
Enjoys thy sunny hours
And gosslings waddle ocr the plain
As yellow as its flowers
Or swim the pond in wild delight
To catch the water flye
Where hissing geese in ceasless spite
Make childern scamper bye

Again the fairey tribes pursue
Their pleasures on the plain
And brightend with the morning dew
Black circles shine again
And on its superstitious ground
Where flowers seem loath to dwell
The toadstools fuzzy balls abound
And mushrooms yearly swell

The seasons beautys all are thine
That visit with the year
Beautys that poets think divine
And all delight to hear
Thy latter days a pleasure brings
That gladden every heart
Pleasures that come like lovley things
But like to shades depart

Thy opend leaves and ripend buds
The cuckoo makes his choice
And shepherds in thy greening woods
First hears the cheering voice
And to thy ripend blooming bowers
The nightingale belongs
And singing to thy parting hours
Keeps night awake with songs

With thee the swallow dares to come
And primes his sutty wings
And urgd to seek their yearly home
Thy suns the Martin brings
And lovley month be leisure mine
Thy yearly mate to be
Tho may day scenes may brighter shine
Their birth belongs to thee

I waked me with thy rising sun
And thy first glorys viewd
And as thy welcome hours begun
Their sunny steps pursued
And now thy sun is on the set
Like to a lovley eve
I view thy parting with regret
And linger loath to leave

Thou lovley april fare thee well
Thou early child of spring
Tho born where storms too often dwell
Thy parents news to bring
Yet what thy parting youth supplys
No other months excell
Thou first for flowers and sunny skyes
Sweet april fare thee well.

John Clare

John Clare

Northamptonshire / England
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