John Clare- ‘My Early Home’ NPD#2

My Early Home

Here sparrows build upon the trees,
And stock-dove hides her nest:
The leaves are winnowed by the breeze
Into a calmer rest;
The black-cap’s song was very sweet;
That used the rose to kiss;
It made the paradise complete:
My early home was this.

The redbreast from the sweetbrier bush
Dropt down to pick the worm;
On the horse-chestnut sang the thrush,
O’er the house where I was born.
The moonlight, like a shower of pearls,
Fell o’er this ‘bower of bliss’,
And on the bench sat boys and girls;
My early home was this.

The old house stooped just like a cave,
Thatched o’er with mosses green;
Winter around the walls would rave,
But all was calm within;
The trees are here all green again,
Here bees the flowers still kiss,
But flowers and trees seemed sweeter then;
My early home was this.

John Clare (1793-1864)

I have long loved this poem by John Clare, and it was made sweeter for me when I heard the beautiful setting Gordon Tyrrall made for it. WordPress will not let me post the little movie I made of it, but I do urge everyone to get a copy of Gordon’d Clare CD, A Distance from the Town. It is stunning.

John Clare was very attached to his home in Helpston, and was terribly homesick when he moved three miles away, writing a heartbreaking poem called ‘The Flitting’. I am still working on my John Clare book for Greenwich Exchange.


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