Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FLITTING, by JOHN CLARE



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THE FLITTING, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I've left my own old home of homes
Last Line: Where castles stood & grandeur died
Subject(s): Country Life


I've left mine own old home of homes
Green fields & every pleasant place
The summer like a stranger comes
I pause & hardly know her face
I miss the hazels happy green
The bluebells quiet hanging blooms
Where envys sneer was never seen
Where staring malice never comes
I miss the heath its yellow furze
Molehills & rabbit tracts that lead
Through beesom ling & teazle burrs
That spread a wilderness indeed
The woodland oaks & all below
That their white powdered branches shield
The mossy paths -- the very crow
Croaks music in my native field
I sit me in my corner chair
That seems to feel itself from home
& hear bird-music here & there
From awthorn hedge & orchard come
I hear but all is strange & new
-- I sat on my old bench in June
The sailing puddocks shrill "peelew'
Oer royce wood seemed a sweeter tune
I walk adown the narrow lane
The nightingale is singing now
But like to me she seems at loss
For royce wood & its shielding bough
I lean upon the window sill
The trees & summer happy seem
Green sunny green they shine -- but still
My heart goes far away to dream
Of happiness & thoughts arise
With home bred pictures many a one
Green lanes that shut out burning skies
& old crooked stiles to rest upon
Above them hangs the maple tree
Below grass swells a velvet hill
& little footpaths sweet to see
Goes seeking sweeter places still
With bye & bye a brook to cross
Oer which a little arch is thrown
No brook is here I feel the loss
From home & friends & all alone
-- The stone pit with us shelvy sides
Seemed hanging rocks in my esteem
I miss the prospect far & wide
From Langley bush & so I seem
Alone & in a stranger scene
Far far from spots my heart esteems
The closen with their ancient green
Heaths woods & pastures sunny streams
The awthorns here were hung with may
But still they seem in deader green
The sun een seems to loose its way
Nor knows the quarter it is in
I dwell on trifles like a child
I feel as ill becomes a man
& still my thoughts like weedlings wild
Grow up to blossom where they can
They turn to places known so long
& feel that joy was dwelling there
So home fed pleasures fill the song
That has no present joys to heir
I read in books for happiness
But books are like the sea to joy
They change -- as well give age the glass
To hunt its visage when a boy
For books they follow fashions new
& throw all old esteems away
In crowded streets flowers never grew
But many there hath died away
Some sing the pomps of chivalry
As legends of the ancient time
Where gold & pearls & mystery
Are shadows painted for sublime
But passions of sublimity
Belong to pain & simpler things
& David underneath a tree
Sought when a shepherd Salems springs
Where moss did into cushions spring
Forming a seat of velvet hue
A small unnoticed trifling thing
To all but heavens hailing dew
& Davids crown hath passed away
Yet poesy breaths his shepherd skill
His palace lost -- & to this day
The little moss is blooming still
Strange scenes mere shadows are to me
Vague unpersonifying things
I love with my old home to be
By quiet woods & gravel springs
Where little pebbles wear as smooth
As hermits beads by gentle floods
Whose noises doth my spirits sooth
& warms them into singing moods
Here every tree is strange to me
All foreign things were eer I go
There's none where boyhood made a swee
Or clambered up to rob a crow
No hollow tree or woodland bower
Well known when joy was beating high
Where beauty ran to shun a shower
& love took pains to keep her dry
& laid the shoaf upon the ground
To keep her from the dripping grass
& ran for stowks & set them round
Till scarce a drop of rain could pass
Through -- where the maidens they reclined
& sung sweet ballads now forgot
Which brought sweet memorys to the mind
But here no memory knows them not
There have I sat by many a tree
& leaned oer many a rural stile
& conned my thoughts as joys to me
Nought heeding who might frown or smile
Twas natures beauty that inspired
My heart with raptures not its own
& shes a fame that never tires
How could I feel myself alone
No -- pasture molehills used to lie
& talk to me of sunny days
& then the glad sheep resting bye
All still in ruminating praise
Of summer & the pleasant place
& every weed & blossom too
Was looking upward in my face
With friendship welcome "how do ye do'
All tennants of an ancient place
& heirs of noble heritage
Coeval they with adams race
& blest with more substantial age
For when the world first saw the sun
There little flowers beheld him too
& when his love for earth begun
They were the first his smiles to woo
There little lambtoe bunches springs
In red tinged & begolden dye
For ever & like china kings
They come but never seem to die
There may-blooms with its little threads
Still comes upon the thorny bowers
& neer forgets those pinky threads
Like fairy pins amid the flowers
& still they bloom as on the day
They first crowned wilderness & rock
When abel haply crowned with may
The firstlings of his little flock
& Eve might from the matted thorn
To deck her lone & lovely brow
Reach that same rose the heedless scorn
Misnames as the dog rosey now
Give me no highflown fangled things
No haughty pomp in marching chime
Where muses play on golden strings
& splendour passes for sublime
Where citys stretch as far as fame
& fancy's straining eye can go
& piled untill the sky for shame
Is stooping far away below
I love the verse that mild & bland
Breaths of green fields & open sky
I love the muse that in her hand
Bears wreaths of native poesy
Who walks nor skips the pasture brook
In scorn -- but by the drinking horse
Leans oer its little brig to look
How far the sallows lean accross
& feels a rapture in her breast
Upon their root-fringed grains to mark
A hermit morehens sedgy nest
Just like a naiads summer bark
She counts the eggs she cannot reach
Admires the spot & loves it well
& yearns so natures lessons teach
Amid such neighbourhoods to dwell
I love the muse who sits her down
Upon the molehills little lap
Who feels no fear to stain her gown
& pauses by the hedgrow gap
Not with that affectation praise
Of song to sing & never see
A field flower grow in all her days
Or een a forests aged tree
Een here my simple feelings nurse
A love for every simple weed
& een this little "shepherds purse'
Grieves me to cut it up -- Indeed
I feel at times a love & joy
For every weed & every thing
A feeling kindred from a boy
A feeling brought with every spring
& why -- this "shepherds purse' that grows
In this strange spot -- In days gone bye
Grew in the little garden rows
Of my old home now left -- And I
Feel what I never felt before
This weed an ancient neighbour here
& though I own the spot no more
Its every trifle makes it dear
The Ivy at the parlour end
The woodbine at the garden gate
Are all & each affections friend
That rendered parting desolate
But times will change & friends must part
& nature still can make amends
Their memory lingers round the heart
Like life whose essence is its friends
Time looks on pomp with careless moods
Or killing apathys disdain
-- So where old marble citys stood
Poor persecuted weeds remain
She feels a love for little things
That very few can feel beside
& still the grass eternal springs
Where castles stood & grandeur died






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