Thoughts From the Peasant Muse
His own version of Child Harold became a lament for past lost love, and Don Juan, A Poem became an acerbic, misogynistic, sexualised rant redolent of an ageing Regency dandy. Clare also took credit for Shakespeare 's plays, claiming to be the Renaissance genius himself.
He did not believe her family when they told him she had died accidentally three years earlier in a house fire. He remained free, mostly at home in Northborough, for the five months following, but eventually Patty called the doctors in. Upon Clare's arrival at the asylum, the accompanying doctor, Fenwick Skrimshire , who had treated Clare since ,  completed the admission papers. To the enquiry "Was the insanity preceded by any severe or long-continued mental emotion or exertion?
Here he wrote possibly his most famous poem, I Am. He died on 20 May , in his 71st year. His remains were returned to Helpston for burial in St Botolph's churchyard. Today, children at the John Clare School, Helpston's primary, parade through the village and place their "midsummer cushions" around Clare's gravestone which bears the inscriptions "To the Memory of John Clare The Northamptonshire Peasant Poet" and "A Poet is Born not Made" on his birthday, in honour of their most famous resident.
In his time, Clare was commonly known as "the Northamptonshire Peasant Poet".
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His formal education was brief, his other employment and class-origins were lowly. Clare resisted the use of the increasingly standardised English grammar and orthography in his poetry and prose, alluding to political reasoning in comparing "grammar" in a wider sense of orthography to tyrannical government and slavery, personifying it in jocular fashion as a "bitch". In his early life he struggled to find a place for his poetry in the changing literary fashions of the day.
He also felt that he did not belong with other peasants.
John Clare - Wikipedia
It is common to see an absence of punctuation in many of Clare's original writings, although many publishers felt the need to remedy this practice in the majority of his work. Clare argued with his editors about how it should be presented to the public. Clare grew up during a period of massive changes in both town and countryside as the Industrial Revolution swept Europe.
Many former agricultural and craft workers, including children, moved away from the countryside to crowded cities, as factory work became mechanized. The Agricultural Revolution saw pastures ploughed up, trees and hedges uprooted, fens drained and common land enclosed. This destruction of a way of life centuries old distressed Clare deeply. His political and social views were predominantly conservative. His early work expresses delight in both nature and the cycle of the rural year.
Poems such as "Winter Evening", "Haymaking" and "Wood Pictures in Summer" celebrate the beauty of the world and the certainties of rural life, where animals must be fed and crops harvested. Poems such as "Little Trotty Wagtail" show his sharp observation of wildlife, though "The Badger" shows his lack of sentiment about the place of animals in the countryside.
At this time, he often used poetic forms such as the sonnet and the rhyming couplet. His later poetry tends to be more meditative and uses forms similar to the folk songs and ballads of his youth.
Social Status & Food People Ate
An example of this is "Evening". Clare's knowledge of the natural world went far beyond that of the major Romantic poets. However, poems such as " I Am " show a metaphysical depth on a par with his contemporary poets and many of his pre-asylum poems deal with intricate play on the nature of linguistics.
His "bird's nest poems", it can be argued, illustrate the self-awareness, and obsession with the creative process that captivated the romantics.
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Clare was the most influential poet, apart from Wordsworth , to write in an older style. In a foreword to the anthology The Poetry of Birds , broadcaster and bird-watcher Tim Dee notes that Clare wrote about species of British wild birds "without any technical kit whatsoever. The only Clare essay published anonymously , in his lifetime was "Popularity of Authorship", a document of his predicament in Clare was relatively forgotten during the later 19th century, but interest in his work was revived by Arthur Symons in , Edmund Blunden in and John and Anne Tibble in their ground-breaking two-volume edition, while in Geoffrey Grigson edited Poems of John Clare's Madness published by Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Copyright to much of his work has been claimed since by the editor of the Complete Poetry ,  Professor Eric Robinson, although these claims were contested. Foods, like people, were arranged in hierarchies from root vegetables at the bottom to imported delicacies at the top. Roasted quadrupeds were lower in status than birds, which rose from chickens up to cranes and peacocks.
Salt, spices, and herbs masked the taste of rotting food. Sugar, honey, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon were expensive, and saffron and pepper were only for the wealthy. Kitchen hygiene was a long way in the future. Many people died from food poisoning. Other poisoning was rife as well.
A noble might have a taster, or might drink from a special cup that would detect poison. Apparently, Pope Benedict XI was poisoned by figs. Pope John XXII suspected that an enemy was trying to poison him with a wax image hidden in a loaf of bread. Perhaps he was correct, because his nephew ate it and died instead.
The Cluny museum garden in Paris gives us a good idea of what people grew, which, surprisingly, did include greens like lettuce. Diners sat on a bench along one side of a trestle table assembled for the meal and taken apart afterwards. A New Treatment for Blindness. America's Most Revolutionary Artist. At the Smithsonian Visit. Looking at Artists Looking at Themselves. Photos Submit to Our Contest. Photo of the Day. Subscribe Top Menu Current Issue.
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