Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

John Clare: Summer

Come we to the summer, to the summer we will come,
For the woods are full of bluebells and the hedges full of bloom,
And the crow is on the oak a-building of her nest,
And love is burning diamonds in my true lover's breast;
She sits beneath the whitethorn a-plaiting of her hair,
And I will to my true lover with a fond request repair;
I will look upon her face, I will in her beauty rest,
And lay my aching weariness upon her lovely breast.

The clock-a-clay is creeping on the open bloom of May,
The merry bee is trampling the pinky threads all day,
And the chaffinch it is brooding on its grey mossy nest
In the whitethorn bush where I will lean upon my lover's breast;
I'll lean upon her breast and I'll whisper in her ear
That I cannot get a wink o'sleep for thinking of my dear;
I hunger at my meat and I daily fade away
Like the hedge rose that is broken in the heat of the day.

--

 
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John Clare (1793 – 1864) was an English poet, the son of a farm laborer, who became known for his celebrations of the English countryside and sorrows at its disruption. His poetry underwent major re-evaluation in the late 20th century: he is now often seen as one of the most important 19th-century British poets. His biographer Jonathon Bate states that Clare was “the greatest laboring-class poet that England has ever produced. No one has ever written more powerfully of nature, of a rural childhood, and of the alienated and unstable self.

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