Graingerism instead of Frommianism: a policy that I will not keep up in a million years, and might as well chuck away on the spot, but at least the aspiration is good: it looks nice, and I can feel relieved for a second. Grigory Potemkin must have been cheerful. "I'm happy as a cherub when no one encumbers my life with declarations of esteem." (Robert Walser, tr Susan Bernofsky, The Robber.) Margaret Grainger, the editor of the Natural History Prose Writing of John Clare, writes an introduction without symmetry; she explains Clare's influences in a modulated way and she can even write the word "momentous" without being dramatic, like this: "Clare's twenty-seventh year, 1820, was momentous; it brought marriage, publication of Clare's first volume, Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery, by the London partnership of John Taylor and James Hessey in uneasy collaboration with the Stamford bookseller, Edward Drury, Taylor's cousin; and a visit to the metropolis" – followed by more -- "The poet received his first letters, made visits to the homes of local aristocracy, was pestered with callers to his house seeking 'out of a mere curiosity … to know wether [he] … was the son of a thresher & a labouring rustic,' and was taken by such patrons as Mrs Emmerson and Lord Radstock –" the word momentous is ballasted with evidence until you can relax into the impression that she has written a vision of John Clare as John Clare, and not as a parallel or symmetrical object in opposition to whoever: Wordsworth, John Dyer, or any other nature poet who was around at the time, Clare himself expressing pleasure at the work of Mrs Charlotte Smith (1749 - 1806). "[H]er poems may be only pretty but I felt much pleasd with them because she wrote more from what she had seen of nature then from what she had read of it there fore those that read her poems find new images which they have not read of before tho they have often felt them & from those assosiations poetry derives the power of pleasing in the happiest manner." (Natural History Letter II, c. 1824.)
Composed during a Walk on the Downs, Nov. 1787
The dark and pillowy cloud, the sallow trees,
Seem o'er the ruins of the year to mourn;
And, cold and hollow, the inconstant breeze
Sobs through the falling leaves and wither'd fern.
O'er the tall brow of yonder chalky bourn,
The evening shades their gather'd darkness fling,
While, by the lingering light, I scarce discern
The shrieking night-jar sail on heavy wing.
Ah! yet a little--and propitious spring
Crown'd with fresh flowers shall wake the woodland strain;
But no gay change revolving seasons bring
To call forth pleasure from the soul of pain;
Bid Syren Hope resume her long-lost part,
And chase the vulture Care--that feeds upon the heart.