John Clare

John Clare to Henry Francis Cary, 3 January 1829; R. W. King, The Translator of Dante (1925) 226-27.

I write to beg your opinion of the inclosed Poem as one of those I intended to pass off as the writings of others — this I sent to the Everyday Book as the publication of Andrew Marvel, and the Editor took it for granted that it was so and paid me a compliment in praising it which he would not have done perhaps had it passed under my own name, and as I still have thoughts of going on with the deception I have sent it to request your opinion of it. I know nothing of the writings of the old Poets further than the Specimens of Ellis and the Songs of Ritson, but the idea of their manner is all I want to be acquainted with — I had read that Marvel was a great advocate for liberty and as death is a great leveller I thought it would add to the disguise to father upon him that subject. I have written several others for Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Henry Wooton, etc., etc.; the old manner is all that I attempt, with sprinkling a few old words [h]ere and there — but Taylor [of Taylor and Hussey] wished me not to disguise them under the names of others, but publish them under the title Visits of the Earlier Muses. But I thought if I could succeed well I should like to have published them as old things found in imaginary Books and MSS. There would be no harm in it I think, would there? You see I want your advice in the matter and I know you will give it me.