John Clare

Anonymous, "Address to a Copy of Clare's Poems, sent to Octavius Gilchrist, Esq." Morning Post (23 March 1820).

To thine, and mine, our topmost friend,
I send thee, little Book; and know, too,
Thou wilt not wish, at journey's end,
A better sort of friends to go to.

They're none o' those, where pride prevails,
As fine to thee as they may seem;
Had'st thou for Author Prince of Wales,
Thou'dst meet no more from thine esteem.

And plain and simple as ye seem,
In value scarcely worth a groat,
I know ye'll meet a friend's esteem,
And doubtless get a gilded coat.

Lord knows, I could not choose but laugh,
To see ye fixed among your betters,
Upon the learned shelves set off,
And flashed about wi' golden letters.

And then — I know thy spark o' pride—
Set off in thy exalted station,
Strutting i' glass-case side to side,
'Mong wits of almost every nation.

Should thou and I chance meet again,
When all this kindess to thee's shown—
Thou'lt turn thy nose up wi' disdain,
And think't disgrace thy Dad to own.