Imágenes de páginas

- - ---------------, ------- ~~~~ as woulsiueu,-anu latterly we imagine, not only has the writer received nothing for his productions, but the sale of them has not sufficed to pay the expenses of their publication. Clare has, we understand, made an unsuccessful, indeed a ruinous, attempt to improve his condition, by farming the ground he tilled; and has for some years existed in a state of poverty, as utter and hopeless as that in which he passed his youth. He has a wife and a very large family; and it is stated to us, that at times his mind gives way under the sickness of hope deferred. His appearance, when some years ago it was our lot to know him, was that of a simple rustic; and his manners were remarkably gentle and unassuming. He was short and thick, yet not ungraceful, in person. His coun. tenance was plain but agreeable ; he had a look and manner so dreamy, as to have appeared sullen—but for a peculiarly winning smile; and his forehead was so broad and high, as to have bordered on deformity. Further, we believe that in his unknown and uncherished youth, and in his after-days when some portion of fame and honour fell to his share, he maintained a fair character, and has subjected himself to no charge more unanswerable than that of indiscretion in applying the very limited funds with which he was furnished after the world heard of his name, and was loud in applause of his genius. It is not yet too late for a hand to reach him; a very envied celebrity may be obtained by some wealthy and good “Samaritan;"—Strawberry Hill might be gladly sacrificed for the same of having saved Chatterton. We do not place him too high when we rank John Clare at the head of the Poets who were, and continued to be, “uneducated,” according to the stricter meaning of the term. The most accomplished of British Poets will not complain at finding him introduced into their society :-setting aside all consideration of the peculiar circumstances CLARE.


The RE with the scraps of songs, and laugh, and tale,
He lightens annual toil, while merry ale
Goes round, and glads some old man's heart to praise
The threadbare customs of his early days:
How the high bowl was in the middle set
At breakfast-time, when clippers yearly met,
Fill'd full of furmety, where dainty swum
The streaking sugar and the spotting plum.
The maids could never to the table bring
The bowl, without one rising from the ring
To lend a hand; who, if 'twere ta'en amiss,
Would sell his kindness for a stolen kiss.
The large stone pitcher in its homely trim,
And clouded pint-horn with its copper rim,


Were there; from which were drunk, with spirits high,
Healths of the best the cellar could supply;
While sung the ancient swains, in uncouth rhymes,
Songs that were pictures of the good old times.

Thus ale, and song, and healths, and merry ways,
Keep up a shadow still of former days;
But the old beechen bowl, that once supplied
The feast of furmety, is thrown aside;
And the old freedom that was living then,
When masters made them merry with their men;
When all their coats alike were russet brown,
And his rude speech was vulgar as their own-
All this is past, and soon will pass away,
The time-torn remnant of the holiday.


Though low my lot, my wish is won,

My hopes are few and staid;
All I thought life would do is done,

The last request is made.
If I have foes, no foes I fear,

To fate I live resigned ;
I have a friend I value here,

And that's a quiet mind.
I wish not it was mine to wear

Flushed honour's sunny crown ;
I wish not I were Fortune's heir,-

She frowns, and let her frown.
I have no taste for pomp and strife,

Which others love to find :
I only wish the bliss of life-

A poor and quiet mind.
The trumpet's taunt in battle-field,

The great man's pedigree,-
What peace can all their honours yield ?

And what are they to me?
Though praise and pomp, to eke the strise,

Rave like a mighty wind;
What are they to the calm of life-

I mourn not that my lot is low,

I wish no higher state ;
I sigh not that Fate made me so,

Nor tease her to be great.
I am content-for well I see

What all at last shall find,-
That life's worst lot the best may be,

If that's a quiet mind.
I see the world pass heedless by,

And pride above me tower;
It costs me not a single sigh

For either wealth or power :
They are but men, and I'm a man

Of quite as great a kind,
Proud, too, that life gives all she can,

A calm and quiet mind.
I never mocked at beauty's shrine,
• To stain her lips with lies;
No knighthood's fame or luck was mine,

To win love's richest prize :
And yet I've found in russet weed,

What all will wish to find,
True love—and comfort's prize indeed,

A glad and quiet mind.
And come what will of care or woe,

As some must come to all ;
I'll wish not that they were not so,

Nor mourn that they befal :
If tears for sorrows start at will,

They're comforts in their kind ;
And I am blest, if with me still

Remains a quiet mind.
When friends depart, as part they must,

And love's true joys decay,
That leave us like the summer dust,

Which whirlwinds puff away :
While life's allotted time I brave,

Though left the last behind;
A prop and friend I still shall have,


I have traced the valleys fair
In May morning's dewy air,
My bonny Mary Lee |
Wilt thou deign the wreath to wear,
Gather'd all for thee *
They are not flowers of pride,
For they graced the dingle-side ;
Yet they grew in heaven's smile,
My gentle Mary Lee'
Can they fear thy frowns the while,
Though offered by me?

Here's the lily of the vale,
That perfumed the morning gale,
My fairy Mary Lee'
All so spotless and so pale,
Like thine own purity.
And, might I make it known,
"Tis an emblem of my own
Love—if I dare so name
My esteem for thee.
Surely flowers can bear no blame,
My bonny Mary Lee!

Here's the violet's modest blue,
That 'neath hawthorns hides from view,
My gentle Mary Lee,
Would show whose heart is true,
While it thinks of thee.
While they choose each lowly spot,
The sun disdains them not ;
I'm as lowly, too, indeed,
My charming Mary Lee ;
So I've brought the flowers to plead,
And win a smile from thee.

Here's a wild rose just in bud;

Spring's beauty in its hood,
My bonny Mary Lee :

'Tis the first in all the wood

« AnteriorContinuar »