John Clare

Thomas Stott, "To John Clare, the Poetical Peasant" Morning Post (16 March 1822).

To thee, sweet simple "Child of Song,"
Whom rural themes inspired,
Who, by mere dint of genius strong,
So soon hast fame acquired;

To thee, a Bard of kindred mind
In youth's departed days,
But far in merit thee behind,
A willing tribute pays.

No flatterer he, thou may'st believe,
Whose pen these lines endites,
With view ungenerous to deceive,
Or envying, while he writes—

No, be assured, with pleasure he
Perused thy charming lays,
Who takes, unask'd this liberty
To give his mite of praise.

Sure some kind star upon thy birth,
Effused its influence mild,
While music, poesy, and mirth,
Contended for the child.

Genius illumed thy youthful soul
With intellectual light,
And Judgment's critical control
Directed Fancy's flight:

For thou canst paint, with skilful hand,
Delightful Nature's scenes,
And bid to our rapt view expand
Hills, valleys, streams, and greens.

To thee the blooming tribes are known
That deck each wild retreat—
In thy sweet lines, the rose full-blown,
And violet smell more sweet.

Nor yet less merit doth thy muse
In moral themes display;
Thy aim approving Virtue views,
To spread her wholesome sway.

Though penury thy early path
With chilling aspect cross'd,
The native fire of genius hath
Dispell'd her pinching frost.

A happier time at length arrives—
A brighter prospect opes—
The Muse Misfortune's blast survives—
Success shall crown thy hopes!

Ye friends of Genius! now assist,
Extend your fostering care—
And high upon your generous list,
Inscribe the name of — CLARE.