Honest John Clare
In his home village the young John was seen as odd
Poor Parker's son was of a lesser god
But his fame outlived the fame of the landed gentry and squire
And all of his contemporaries in the Northampton Shire.
He worked for a local farmer as a boy by day
From the neighbours fields he kept their flock away
And other chores some hard for a young boy
And an easy childhood he did not enjoy.
He commenced writing poetry when he was quite young
And his verses were in the dialect of the local tongue
And his first book of verse brought him notice and fame
And his had become a great literary name.
But fame did not last long for honest John Clare
And worse for him his health was in need of repair
After a mental break down he was deemed to be insane
And with his wife and his children he could not remain.
He was committed to the Northampton asylum where he lived till he died
And till the end he pined for his country side
Yet his poems written in madness considered as great
Though the recognition he deserved to him came too late.
His mental disorder confused him in life
He thought that Mary Joyce and not Patty Turner was his real wife
Still his poems on Nature and love with the best can compare
But the price of fame did seem high for honest John Clare.
The story of his tragic life becoming well known
And his poems on wild life in a class of their own
And of the workings of Nature so much he did know
And his stature as a poet in time grow and grow.
He was not a stranger to heartache and tears
And he died in the Northampton asylum where he had lived for years
But the poems of the herd boy from Helpston are still living today
And such things of great beauty in time won't decay.