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Edited by Eric Robinson
Categories: 19th Century
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (192 pages)
(Pub. Jun 1995)
Close by a lonely place that seems so lone
There stands a house nobody seems to own
Yet there a pleasant man with much to say
Lives & time passes pleasantly away
The stranger often passes where he dwells
& stops his horse & hears the tale he tells
For in his garden which he calls his won
There leans an ancient & a curious stone
The childern sit upon the stone & play
He tells his tale & never asks for pay
He calls the Stone St Guthlacs now unknown
& cannot tell the letters on the stone
The stranger stands & wonders when he hears
& reads the story of a thousand years
from Peterborough MS A61
John Clare was an assiduous practitioner of the sonnet form at all periods of his poetic career. The sonnets he produced in the last few years before his institutionalisation in 1837, fist at High Beech and then in Northampton General Asylum, are of particular interest, since he exploited the inherent brevity of the form to express a simultaneous precision of observation and starkness of vision that he rarely achieved either before or after.
The present volume prints all the sonnets that Clare wrote at Northborough between 1832 and 1837 with the exception of those included in The Midsummer Cushion and The Rural Muse, both also available from Carcanet. Northborough Sonnets allows the reader to trace the development of Clare's handling of the form in this period. They constitute fascinating vignettes of rural life in the early nineteenth century and the record of a unique poetic sensibility. They are accompanied by an introduction, informative notes, and a glossary of dialect and unfamiliar words.
Table of Contents
Index of First Lines
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