The Fortune Teller

I had scarcely sat down to examine the beautiful flower before I discovered a smoke rising from the wood which I found to proceed from a camp of gispies & I had scarcely discovred the smoke before a fine dark gipsey girl stood before me with her fine black hair parted over her forhead wrapt in a red silk hankerchief & a red cloak negligently fastened with a hook & eye just below the swelling of a bosom that might win a wish from a prince to make a pillow of under the green wood tree & with as little ceremony as if she had known me a lifetime

Pet MS A46 p56-7


The daisy button tipped wi' dew Green like the grass was sleeping
On every thing 'neath heaven blue In moonlight dew was weeping
In dark wood sung the Nightingale The moon shone round above me
My arms were clasped round Mary Gale My dearest do you love me
Her head a woodbine wet wi' dew Held in the moonlight sleeping
And two in one together grew Wi' daisy buds a weeping
O' Mary Gale sweet Mary Gale How round and bright above thee
The moon looks down on grassy vale My dearest can you love me
How sweet the moonlight sleeps and still Firdale and hedge row brere
The mole wharps mound and distant hill Is moonlight every where
The totter grasses pendalums Are still as night above me
The bees are gone and nothing hums My dearest do you love me
The moonlight sleeps o'er wood and wall Sweet Mary While you'r nigh me
Can any charm O' courtship fail And any joy pass by me
The gossamer all wet wi' dew Hung on the brere above me
She leaned her cheek and said ‘I do’ And ever mean to love thee    

LP II 775

The Invitation

Come hither, my dear one, my choice one, and rare one,
And let us be walking the meadows so fair,
Where on pilewort and daisies the eye fondly gazes,
And the wind plays so sweet in thy bonny brown hair.

Come with thy maiden eye, lay silks and satins by;
Come in thy russet or grey cotton gown;
Come to the meads, dear, where flags, sedge, and reeds appear,
Rustling to soft winds and bowing low down.

Come with thy parted hair, bright eyes, and forehead bare;
Come to the whitethorn that grows in the lane;
To banks of primroses, where sweetness reposes,
Come, love, and let us be happy again.

Come where the violet flowers, come where the morning showers
Pearl on the primrose and speedwell so blue;
Come to that clearest brook that ever runs round the nook
Where you and I pledged our first love so true.

Tibbles II 480

Superstitions Dream (excerpt)

With All Hallows Eve fast approaching, I though it might well be in order to post one of Clare's little known 'gothic' works.  After all he shared a publisher with Percy Shelley, whose wife Mary published 'Frankenstein' anonymously in London in 1818, and under her own name in 1823 (I've always wondered if her husband's death in June 1822 prompted her to add her name to the second and subsequent editions?)  Such writing seemed to be 'in the air' in this post-Napoleonic world.

So here is part of 'The Dream', originally written as 'Superstitions Dream' before 1822.  Mrs Emmerson wrote to Clare on 7th January 1822, "What a treasure have you this day placed before me in your 'Superstitions Dream' "... John Taylor, his publisher wrote "perhaps the ablest Poem you have written".  A real surprise to me that it is not better known...

I felt all terrors of the d-----d & fell
With conscious horror that my doom was hell
And memory mockd me like a haunting ghost
With light & life & pleasures that were lost
As dreams turn night to day & day to night
So memory flashd her shadows of that light
That bade the mornings suns in glory rise
To bless green fields & trees & purple skies
& wakend life its pleasures to behold
That light flashd on me like a story told
& days mispent with friends & fellow-men
& sins committed all was with me then.
The boundless hell were tortures never tire
Glimmerd beneath me like a world on fire
That soul of fire like to its souls entombd
That still consumes & never is consumd
Seemd nigh at hand -- where oft the sulphry damps
Oerawd that light as glimmers dying lamps
Spreading a horrid gloom from side to side
A twilight scene of terrors half descryd
Sad boild the billows of that burning sea
And fates sad yellings dismal seemd to be
Blue rolld its waves with horrors uncontroled
& its live wrecks of souls dashd howling as they rolld
Again I struggld & the spell was broke
& midst the laugh of mocking ghosts I woke
& my eyes opend on a hopless sight
The early morning & its welcome light
& as I ponderd oer the past profound
I heard the cock crow and I blest the sound

(lines 143-172)
MP I 325

The Luckless Journey

Tho' fine prov'd the morning O sad prov'd the ramble
     Adown by the Willows adown by the lee
Adown by the cottage where Hedge rows of bramble
     Hides it from all strangers but unlucky me

For there I espied and admir'd a young rosie
      lov'd and had hopes in possesing the flower
Till Cupid flew laughing away with the posie
     And left me the thorns which I feel at this hour

O Willows and brambles—what deamon beset me
     To make me to go where your cottage arose
Yet still was you all I could hope to forget ye
     But o there's no hopes in forgetting the rose

The wounds are not lightly that abscence should ease 'em
     No no they'r so deep twill but poison the pain
Tho lifes sober autumn may wisely appease 'em
     A pang sad Remembrance will ever retain

EP I 218

Dear brother robin... (excerpt)

Dear brother robin this comes from us all
With our kind love & could Gip write and all
Though but a dog hed have his love to spare
For still he knows and by your corner chair
The moment he comes in he lyes him down
and seems to fancy you are in the town

This leaves us well in health thank God for that
For old acquaintance Sue has kept your hat
Which mother brushes ere she lays it bye
and every sunday goes upstairs to cry
Jane still is yours till you come back agen
& neer so much as dances with the men

& Ned the woodman every week comes in
& asks about you kindly as our kin
& he with this and goody Thompson sends
Remembrances with those of all our friends
Father with us sends love untill he hears
& mother she has nothing but her tears

Yet wishes you like us in health the same
& longs to see a letter with your name
So loving brother dont forget to write
Old Gip lies on the hearth stone every night
Mother cant bear to turn him out of doors
& never noises now of dirty floors

Father will laugh but lets her have her way
& Gip for kindness get a double pay
So Robin write & let us quickly see
You dont forget old friends no more than we
Nor let my mother have so much to blame
To go three journeys ere your letter came

(lines 1-30)

MP V 168

Autumn Change

The leaves of Autumn drop by two's and three's
And the black cloud hung o'er the old low church
Is fixed as is a rock that never stirs
But look again and you may well perceive
The weather cock is in another sky
And the cloud passing leaves the blue behind

Crimson & yellow bloch'd with Iron Brown
The Autumn tans and varigates the leaves
The nuts are ripe in woods about the Town
Russet the cleared fields where the bindweed weaves
Round stubbles and still flowers the trefoil seeds
And troubles all the land from rig to furrow
Ther's nothing left but rubbish and foul weeds
I love to see the rabbits snug made burrow
Under the old edge bank or hugh mossed oak
Claspt fast with Ivy there the rabbit breeds
Where the Kite pelews and the Ravens croak
And hares and Rabbits at their leisure feed
So varying Autumn thro her changes runs
Season of sudden storms and brillient suns.

LP I 523