Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO THE SNIPE, by JOHN CLARE



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TO THE SNIPE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Lover of swamps
Last Line: A dweller and a joy
Subject(s): Birds' Nests; Snipes


Lover of swamps
The quagmire over grown
With hassock tufts of sedge -- where fear encamps
Around thy home alone
The trembling grass
Quakes from the human foot
Nor bears the weight of man to let him pass
Where thou alone and mute
Sittest at rest
In safety neath the clump
Of hugh flag forrest that thy haunts invest
Or some old sallow stump
Thriving on seams
That tiney island swell
Just hilling from the mud and rancid streams
Suiting thy nature well
For here thy bill
Suited by wisdom good
Of rude unseemly length doth delve and drill
The gelid mass for food
And here mayhap
When summer suns hath drest
The moors rude desolate and spungy lap
May hide thy mystic nest
Mystic indeed
For isles that ocean make
Are scarcely more secure for birds to build
Then this flag hidden lake
Boys thread the woods
To their remotest shades
But in these marshy flats these stagnant floods
Security pervades
From year to year
Places untrodden lie
Where man nor boy nor stock hath ventured near
-- Nought gazed on but the sky
And fowl that dread
The Every breath of man
Hiding in spots that never knew his tread
A wild and timid clan
Wigeon and teal
And wild duck -- restless lot
That from mans dreaded sight will ever steal
To the most dreary spot
Here tempests howl
Around each flaggy plot
Where they who dread mans sight the water fowl
Hide and are frighted not
Tis power divine
That heartens them to brave
The roughest tempest and at ease recline
On marshes or the wave
Yet instinct knows
Not safetys bounds -- to shun
The firmer ground where sculking fowler goes
With searching dogs and gun
By tepid springs
Scarcely one stride accross
Though brambles from its edge a shelter flings
Thy safety is at loss
And never chuse
The little sinky foss
Streaking the moores whence spa-red waters spews
From pudges fringed with moss
Free booters there
Intent to kill and slay
Startle with cracking guns the trepid air
And dogs thy haunts betray
From dangers reach
Here thou art safe to roam
Far as these washy flag grown marshes stretch
A still and quiet home
In these thy haunts
Ive gleaned habitual love
From the vague world where pride and folly taunts
I muse and look above
Thy solitudes
The unbounded heaven esteems
And here my heart warms into higher moods
And dignifying dreams
I see the sky
Smile on the meanest spot
Giving to all that creep or walk or flye
A calm and cordial lot
Thine teaches me
Right feelings to employ
That in the dreariest places peace will be
A dweller and a joy






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