31st December 1824

Recievd a letter from Hessey containing a Draft for £20, being the fund money & Earl Spencers half yearly salary — nothing further about my new poems is mentiond — wrote to Rev. H. F. Cary — Gatherd a cornflower in full bloom

30th December 1824

Recievd an answer from F Freeling to my enquiry wether the charge of a penny is legal at Deeping office for post paid & frankd letters & Newspapers & I find that it is for letters but no mention is made about newspapers so I am as ignorant as ever on that head but I will enquire further

To Cary
Dec. 30. 1824

I shoud have written long ago if I had been able for I always feel a pleasure in writing to those I esteem but had I been well I should have had little to say worth reading ... I have not yet finished my life ... I feel anxious to finish it & I feel also anxious that you shoud see it & I shall be greatly obliged for your opinion of it as I mean if I live to publish it I have gotten 8 chapters done & have carried it up to the 'Poems on Rural Life' &c — I feel it rather awkard to mention names as there are some that I cannot speak well of that is were I feel an objection I cannot flatter over it & I woud not willingly offend anyone. I have made free with myself & exposed my faults and failings without a wish to hide them, neither do 1 care what is said about me but if you shoud see anything that might be against me in speaking of others I shall be thankful of your advice & also your remarks on the thing altogether for it is written in a confusd stile & there will doubtless be found a deal of trifling in it for I am far from a close reasoner in prose . . . we must abide by providence who by the bye appears but an indifferent observer of troubles by times but we are not to play with destiny . . .

Yours sincerely & affectionatly


29th December 1824

Went with neighbour Billings to Southey Wood & Gees Holt to hunt ferns—found none—met with a new species of moss fern stripd growing on a common species like the mistletoe on a thorn it is a sort of moss mistletoe—preservd a specimen—saw a branch of blackthorn dogrose & eldern in full leaf all in one hedgerow—saw a bumbarrel* with moss as if building a nest

* Long tailed tit

26th December 1824

[Image: Carry Akroyd]

Found at the bottom of a dyke made in the roman bank some pootys of varied colors & the large garden ones of a russet color with a great many others of the meadow sort which we calld 'badgers' when I was a schoolboy found nowere now but in wet places — there is a great many too of a water species now extinct — the Dyke is 4 foot deep & the soil is full of these shells [have they not pain] here ever since the romans made the bank & does the water sorts not imply that the fields were all fen & under water or wet & uncultivated at that time I think it does — I never walk on this bank but the legions of the roman army pass by my fancys with their mysterys of nearly 2000 years hanging like a mist around them what changes hath passd since then — were I found these shells it was heath land above Windy Well

Christmas Day 1824

Gatherd a handful of daiseys in full bloom —saw a woodbine & dogrose in the woods putting out in full leaf & a primrose root full of ripe flowers what a day this usd to be when a boy how eager I usd to attend the church to see it stuck with evergreens (emblems of Eternity) & the cottage windows & the picture ballads on the wall all stuck with ivy holly Box & yew such feelings are past—& 'all this world is proud of’

24th December 1824

Recievd a letter from Lord Radstock.

23rd December 1824

Recievd a letter from Mrs Emmerson & the Observer after a long absence in France—wrote a letter to Mrs. E & to Francis Freeling Esqr

22nd December 1824

A coppled crownd hen pheasant shot very large & colord about the breast & back like the cock but the head was plain.

18th December 1824

To Charles Abraham Elton
Decr 18 1824

My dear sir
I have got from home a few days to pass away time & try to improve my present misery's by other amusements than reading &c which has long ceased to be I have at the same time taking an opportunity,.of getting a frank for what I can say is scarcely worth the paper tho at one time it might be expected that I thought:otherwise by my fondness for scribbling & if I had been well I maker no doubt but I shoud have taken so much advantage of your invitation to near from me as to make you wish you had hot . . . get so. well as to write any thing or even correct what I have written — I mentioned the Shepherd's Calender to Hessey a long time back but he made no sort of answer in return in fact this is always the way they serve me I know not how they serve you but when I ask any thing about what may concern me or mine they pass it off & talk of other things a great length from the main road — there was nothing in the Epistle’ &c that I objected to but the two verses mentioning the Casts at Devilles & that was in the expression which I thought rather flat & as spoiling the general tenour of the other verses the, rest I would rather have seen as they were I recollect the line you mention & thought then that the word 'intensity of age' very good & happy — I like the 'Solitary wasp' in 'blakesmoor' & thought that Dequinceys article on Goethe exelent. . . .

16th December 1824

Saw Henderson's collection of Ferns which is far from compleat tho some of them are beautiful learnd from him of a singular instinct in plants of the creeping or climbing kind some having a propensity to twine to the left in their climbing & others to the right—the woodbine seems to twine to the left & the travellers joy to the right but this is not an invariable fact

15th December 1824

Went to Milton saw a fine edition of Linnaeus's Botany with beautiful plates & find that my fern which I found in Harrisons close dyke by the wood lane is the thorn-pointed fern saw also a beautiful book on insects with the plants they feed on by Curtis found Artis busy over his fossil plants & Roman antiquitys but his complaints of the deceptions of publishers are akin with mine

14th December 1824

A coppled crownd Crane shot at Billings's pond in the Green — Twas 4 foot high from the toes to the bill on the breast & rump was a thick shaggy down full of powder which seem to be a sort of pounce-box to the bird to dress its feathers with to keep out the wet its neck & breast were beautifully staind with streaks of watery brown its wings & back was slate-grey the down on its head was of the same color

13th December 1824

Bought a Moore's Almanack with its fresh budget of wonderful predictions on the weather & the times alterd with such earnest ambition of pretending truth that one Shoud think the motto 'the voice of the heavens' &c means nothing more or less then the voice of Moors Almanack &c — saw 2 Will o' Whisps last night

10th December 1824

Began to take the Stamford Mercury News-paper with Bradford & Stephenson.

8th December 1824

Found the common Pollypody on an old Willow tree in Lolham Lane & a small fem in Hilly Wood scarcely larger than some species of moss & a little resembling curld parsley I have namd it the dwarf maidenhair & believe it is very scarce here

7th December 1824

Another gipsy wedding of the Smith family fiddling & drinking as usual.

5th December 1824

I have been thinking today of all the large trees about our neighbourhood & those that have curious historys about them — there was a walnutt tree (now cut down) stood in Groves yard at Glinton of which this is the history — old Will Tyers now living says while going to Peakirk one day when a boy he pickd up a walnutt & took it home to set in his garden were it throve well & bore nutts before he left the house its present occupier got great quantitys of nutts most seasons & a few years back it was cut down & the timber sold for £50

3rd December 1824

Found a very beautiful fern in Oxey Wood suppose it the white maidenhair of Hill it is very scarce here

2nd December 1824

One of the largest floods ever known is out now an old neighbour Sam Sharp out last night at Deeping Gate on attempting to get home was drownd

30th November 1824

An excessive wet day read the Literary Souvenier for 1825 in all its gilt & finery what a number of candidates for fame are smiling on its pages what a pity it is that time shoud be such a destroyer of our hopes & anxietys for the best of us are but doubts on fames promises & a century will thin the myriad worse than a plague

29th November 1824

Lent Henderson 5 Nos, of London Mag. from July to November & The Human Heart

28th November 1824

A gentleman came to see me today whose whole talk was of Bloomfield & Booksellers he told me to put no faith in them & when I told him that all my faith & MSS. likewise was in their hands already he shook his head & declared with a solemn bend of his body 'Then you are done by God They will never print them but will dally you on with well-managed excuses to the grave & then boast that they were your friends when you are not able to contradict it as they have done to Bloomfield' he then desired me to get my MSS. back by all means & sell them at a market-price at what they woud fetch he said that Bloomfield had not a £100 a year to maintain 5 or 6 in the family why I have not £50 to maintain 8 with This is a hungry difference

27th November 1824

Recievd a parcel of Ferns & flowers from Henderson the common polipody growing about the Thorp Park wall the harts tongue growing in a well at Caistor the Lady fern growing at Whittlesea Meer & tall White Lychnis with 7 new sorts of Chrysanthemums—the Paper White the bright lemon 3 sorts of lilac & 2 others — I love these flowers as they come in the melancholy of nature

26th November 1824

Went to see if the old hazel nut tree in Lea Close was cut down & found it still standing it is the largest hazel tree I ever saw being thicker then ones thigh in the trunk & the height of a moderate Ash — I once got a half peck of nuts when in the leaves of its branchs when a boy — the Inclosure has left it desolate its companion of oak & ash being gone

25th November 1824

Recievd a letter from Hessey I have not answerd his last & know not when I shall the worlds friendships are counterfeits & forgeries on that principle I have provd it & my affections are sickened unto death my memories are broken while my confidence is grown to a shadow in the bringing out of the second edition of the Minstrel they were a 12month in printing a title-page.

24th November 1824

I have often been struck with astonishment at the tales old men & women relate in their remembrances of the growth of trees the elm grooves in the Staves Acre Close at the town-end were the rooks build & that are of giant height my old friend Billings says he remembers them no thicker than his stick & saw my fathers uncle set them carrying a score on .his back at once I can scarcely believe it.

23rd November 1824

Some months back I began a system of profiting by my reading at least to make a show of it by noting down beautiful odd or remarkable passages—immitations in the poets & prosewriters which I read & I have inserted some likenesses [?] of Lord Byrons about which there has been much nattering & ink shed I never saw some of them

22nd November 1824

Lookd into Miltons Paradise Lost I once read it through when I was a boy at that time I liked the Death of Abel better what odd judgments those of boys are how they change as they ripen when I think of the slender merits of the Death of Abel against such a giant as Milton I cannot help smiling at my young fancys in those days of happy ignorance.

21st November 1824

Paid a second visit to the old castle in Ashton Lawn with my companion Billings to examine it—we strum* it & found it 20 yards long fronting the south & 18 fronting eastward we imagind about 12 foot of the walls still standing tho the rubbish has entirely coverd them except in some places were about a foot of the wall may be seen it is coverd within & without with blackthorn & privit & spurge laurel so that it is difficult to get about to view it I broke some of the cement off. that holds the stones together & it appears harder then the stones itself brought some home in my pocket for my friend Artis there is some rabbits hants* it & the earth they root out of their burrows is full of this cement & perishd stone—part of the moat is still open

* Connected with 'straum,' 'strime,' 'strome'—to 'stride', but obviously used here by Clare to mean 'measure', with approximately foot- or yard-long steps.

* As with 'shoy,' 'shy*, Clare spelt 'haunts* as he pronounced it.

20th November 1824

Went out to hunt the harts tongue species of fern & fell in with the ruins of the old castle in Ashton Lawn but found none its commonest place is in Wells in the crevices of the walls but I have found it growing about the badger-holes in Open Copy Wood got very wet & returnd home finishd the 8th chapter of my life.

19th November 1824

Had a visit from my friend Henderson & I felt revivd as I was very dull before he had pleasing News to deliver me having discoverd a new species of Fern a few days back growing among the bogs on Whittlesea Mere & our talk was of Ferns for the day he tells me there is 24 different species or more natives of England & Scotland one of the finest of the latter is calld the maidenhair growing in rock-clefts

18th November 1824

Read in Southeys Wesley he has made a very entertaining book of it but considering the subject I think he might have made more of it the character of Wesley is one of the finest I have read of they may speak of him as they please but they cannot diminish his simplicity of genius as an author & his piety as a Christian I sincerely wish that the present day coud find such a man.

17th November 1824

The Chrysanthemums are in full flower what a beautiful heart-cheering to the different seasons nature has provided in her continual successions of the bloom of flowers — ere winters bye the little acconite peeps its yellow flowers then the snowdrop & further on the crocus dropping in before the summer multitude & after their departure the tall hollyhock & little aster bloom in their showy colors then comes the michaelmas daisey & lastly the chrsanthemum while the China roses

all the year Or in the
bud or in the bloom appear.

16th November 1824

My friend Billings told me that he saw 4 swallows about the second of this month flying over his house he has not seen them since & forgot to tell me at the time — now what becomes of these swallows for the winter that they cannot go into another country now is certain & that they must abide or perish here is certain but how or were is a mystery that has made more opinions then proofs & remains a mystery

15th November 1824

Went to gather pootys on the roman bank for a collection found a scarce sort of which I only saw 2 in my life I pickd up under a hedge at Peakirk town-end & another in Bainton meadow its color is a fine sunny yellow larger than the common sort & round the rim of the base is a black edging which extends no further than the rim it is not in the collection at the British Museum

14th November 1824

Read in old Tusser with whose quaint rhymes I have often been entertaind he seems to have been acquainted with most of the odd measures now in fashion he seems to have felt a taste for enclosures & Mavor that busy note-maker & book-compiler of schoolboy memory has added an impertinent note to Tussers opinion as an echo of faint praise so much for a parsons opinion in such matters I am an advocate for open fields & I think that others experience confirm my opinion every day there is 2 pretty sonnets in Tusser & some natural images scatterd about the book the 4 following lines are pretty:

The year I compare as I find for a truth
The Spring unto Childhood the Summer to Youth
The Harvest to Manhood the Winter to Age
All quickly forgot as a play on a stage

Some of the words in the glossary have different meanings with us — to addle means to earn wages — eddish with us is the grass that grows again as soon as it is mown — staddle, bottom of a stack &c &c

13th November 1824

Lookd into Thomson's 'Winter' there is a freshness about it I think superior to the others tho rather of a pompous cast how natural all his descriptions are nature was consulted in all of them the more I read them the more truth I discover the following are great favourites of mine & prove what I mean describing a hasty flood forcing through a narrow passage he says:

It boils & wheels & foams & thunders through
Snatch'd in short eddies plays the wither'd leaf
& on the flood the dancing feather floats

12th November 1824

Burnt a will which Taylor of Deeping made for me by Mossops orders as it was a jumble of contradictions to my wishes — wrote the outline for another in which I meant to leave everything both in the copyright & fund money &c &c of all my Books M.S.S. & property in the power of my family at least in the trust of those I shall nominate trustees & Lord Radstock is one that I shoud like to trouble for the purpose.

11th November 1824

Recievd a letter from Inskip the friend of Bloomfield* - full of complaints at my neglect of writing what use is writing when the amount on both sides amounts to nothing more than waste paper I have desires to know something of Bloomfields latter days but I can hear of nothing further than his dying neglected so its of no use enquiring further for we know that to be the common lot of genius .

* Later, Thomas Inskip, author of "Cant, A Satire" (1843} was a friend during Clare's first eight years in the asylum at Northampton.

10th November 1824

Read 'Macbeth' what a soul-thrilling power hovers about this tradegy I have read it over about 20 times & it chains my feelings still to its persual like a new thing it is Shakespears masterpiece the thrilling feelings created by the description of Lady Macbeths terror-haunted walkings in her sleep sink deeper than a thousand ghosts—at least in my vision of the terrible she is a ghost herself & feels with spirit & body a double terror

9th November 1824

Read Shakespears 'Henry the Fifth' of which I have always been very fond from almost a boy I first met with it in an odd volume which I got for sixpence yet I thought then that the Welsh officer with 2 other of his companions were tedious talkers & I feel that I think so still yet I feel such an interest about the play that I can never lay it down till I see the end of it

8th November 1824

Read over the Magazine the review of Lord Byrons Conversations is rather entertaining the pretending letter of James Thomson * is a bold lye I dislike these lapt-up counterfeits mantled in truth like a brassy shilling in its silver washings those Birmingham halfpence passed off as matter of fact monies Elia can do better the rest of the articles are motley matters some poor & some middling Magazines are always of such wear

* Actually a genuine letter

7th November 1824

Recievd a packet from London with the Magazine & some copies of MSS that come very slowly & a letter very friendly worded but I have found that saying & doing Is a wide difference too far very often to be neighbours much less friends recievd a letter too from Van Dyk lookd into Wordsworth poems & read Solomons Song & beautiful as some of the images of that poem are some of them are not reconsilable in my judgment above the ridiculous I have inserted them in a blank verse fashion in the Appendix yet the more I read the Scriptures the more I feel astonishment at the sublime images I continually meet with in its poetical & prophetic books nay everywere about it all. other authors diminishes t& dwarfs by their sides

6th November 1824

Took a walk in the fields the oaks are beginning to turn reddish brown & the winds have stripped some nearly bare the underwood's last leaves are in their gayest yellows thus autumn seems to put on bridal colours for a shroud the little harvest-bell is still in bloom trembling to the cold wind almost the only flower living save the 'old man's beard' or travellers joy on the hedges

5th November 1824

Read in Bishop Percy's poems the Reliques of Ancient Poetry take them up as often as I may I am always delighted there is so much of the essence & simplicity of true poetry that makes me regret I did not see them sooner as they woud have formed my taste & laid the foundations of my judgment in writing & thinking poetically as it is I feel indebted to them for many feelings

4th November 1824

Recievd a letter & prospectus from a School¬master of Surfleet wishing me to become a correspondent to a periodical publication calld 'The Scientific Receptacle' what a crabbed name for poesy to enlist with its professes to be a kinsman to The Leeds Correspondant & the Boston Enquirer the latter of which I remember to have been much pleasd with— in which was a pretty song by Scott

3rd November 1824

Took a walk with John Billings to Swordy Well to gather some 'old man's beard' which hangs about the hedges in full bloom its downy clusters of artificial-like flowers appear at first as if the hedge was litterd with bunches of white cotton went into Hilly Wood & found a beautiful species of fern on a sallow stoven in a pit which I have not seen before there are 5 sorts growing about the woods here the common brake the fox fern the hart's tongue & the polypody 2 sorts the tall & the dwarf

2nd November 1824

Set some box edging round a border which I have made for my collection of ferns read some passages in Blair's Grave a beautiful poem & one of the best things after the manner of Shakespear its beginning is very characteristic of the subject there are crowds of beautiful passages about it who has not markd the following aged companions to many such spots of general decay ...

a row of reverend elms,
Long lashd by the rude winds.

Some rift half down
. . . others so thin atop

That scarce two crows could lodge in the same tree.

1st November 1824

Took a walk to Lolham Brigs to hunt for a species of fern that usd to grow on some willow tree heads in Lolham lane when I was a boy but coud find none got some of the yellow water-lily from the pits which the floods had washed up to set in an old water-tub in the garden & to try some on land in a swaily corner. as the horse-blob thrives well which is a water flower listend in the evening to Glinton bells at the top of the garden I always feel mellancholy at this season to hear them & yet it is a pleasure:

"I'm pleased & yet I'm sad"

31st October 1824

Took a walk got some branches of the spindle tree with its pink-colord berrys that shine beautifully in the pale sun found for the first time 'the herb true love' or 'one berry' in Oxey Wood brought a root home to set in my garden—lookd into the 2 Vols of Sermons from Lord Radstock the texts are well selected & the sermons are plain & sensibly written they are in my mind much superior to Blairs popular Sermons & that is not going great lengths in their praise for Blairs are quiet & cold & his study seems more in the eloquence & flow of Style then in the doctrine of religion for the language is beautiful but it is studied like Dr Johnson's musical periods

30th October 1824

Recievd a present of 2 Volumes of Sermons On the Doctrines & Practice of Christianity from Lord Radstock he is one of my best friends & not of much kin with the world. The chrysanthemums are just opening their beautiful double flowers I have 6 sorts this year the claret-coloured the buff the bright yellow the paper-white the purple & the rose-coloured lost one—the chocolate or coffee-color—promisd more from Milton

29th October 1824

Read some poems of Wordsworth his 'Lucy Gray' or Solitude 'The Pet Lamb' 'We are Seven' the Oak & broom 'the Eglantine & the Fountain' Two April Mornings are some of my greatest favourites When I first began to read poetry I dislikd Wordworth because I heard he was dislikd & I was astonishd when I lookd into him to find my mistaken pleasure in being delighted & finding him so natural & beautiful in his 'White Doe of Rylstone" there is some of the sweetest poetry I ever met with tho full of his mysteries.

28th October 1824

Wrote a letter to Mrs Gilchrist read some passages in Shakespear turnd over a few leaves of Knox's Essays- read Bacon's essay on the idea of a compleat garden divided into every month of the year in which the flowers bloom what beautiful Essays these are I take them up like Shakespear & read them over & still find plenty to entertain me & new thoughts that strike me as if for the first time

27th October 1824

I have been much stuck with some passages in the Poems of Aaron Hill with many happy expressions & original images I have inserted a few of them in Appendix he seems to struggle to free his ideas from the turnpike hackney-isms of sounding rhymes & tinkling periods then in fashion for most of the rhymers of that day seem to catch their little inspirations from Pope.

26th October 1824

Recievd a letter from Allan Cunningham— looked into Pope I know not how it is but I cannot take him up often or read him long together the uninterrupted flow of the verses wearys the ear there are some fine passages in the 'Essay on Man' the Pastorals are nicknamed so for daffodils breathing flutes beachen bowls silver crooks purling brooks & such like everlasting singsong does not make pastorals. His prologue to the Satires is good but that celebrated Epitaph on Gay ends burlesquely.

25th October 1824

Old Shepherd Newman dyed this morning an old tenant of the fields & the last of the old shepherds the fields are now left desolate & his old haunts look like houses disinhabited the fading woods seem mourning in the autumn wind how often hath he seen the blue skye the green fields & woods & the season's changes now he sleeps unconscious of all what a desolate mystery doth it leave round the living mind the end of Gray's 'Elegy' might well be applied to this tenant of the fields—'Oft have we seen him'

24th October 1824

Recievd a letter from Lord Radstock— finished another chapter of my life read some passages in Blair's Sermons lookd into Maddox on the culture of flowers & the Flora Domestica* which with a few improvements & additions would be one of the most entertaining books ever written if I live I will write one on the same plan & call it 'A Garden of Wild Flowers' as it shall contain nothing else with quotations from poets & others an English Botany on this plan woud be very interesting & unuterable words now in vogue only overloads it in mystery till it makes it darkness visible

23rd October 1824

Continued to read Hazlitt I like his Lectures on the Poets better than those of the comic writers & on Shakespear his View of the English Stage is not so good as either they might have remained in their first places without any loss to the world viz the Newspapers for which they were written his other works I have not seen read in Shakespear 'the Midsummer Night's Dream' for the first time I have still got 3 parts out of 4 of the plays to read & I hope I shall not leave'the world without reading them

21st October 1824

Recievd a letter from Hessey & wrote one took a walk in the fields gatherd a bunch of wild flowers that lingerd in shelterd places as loath to dye—the ragwort still shines in its yellow clusters & the little heath-bell or harvest-bell quakes to the wind under the quick banks & warm furze— clumps of wild Marjoram are yet in flower about the mole-hilly banks & clumps of meadow-sweet linger with a few bushes yet unfaded

20th October 1824

Workd in the garden at making a shed for my Auriculas the Michaelmas daisey is in full flower both the lilac-blue & the white thick-set with its little clustering stars of flowers I love them for their visits in such a melancholy season as the end of autumn—the Horse chestnut tree is losing large hand-shaped leavs that litter in yellow heaps round the trunk the walnut is compleatly bare & the leavs are tand brown & shriveld up as if scorchd the elms are as green & fresh as the oaks

A hiatus

I am away in foreign parts for a fortnight or so from the 19th… I will try to make the odd post, but may not be able to do so. Normal service will be resumed on my return.

19th October 1824

Lookd over a New vol of provincial poems by a neighbouring poet Bantons—Excursions of Fancy & poor fancies I find them there is not a new thought in them 4 years ago a poet was not to be heard of within a century of Helpstone & now there is a swarm Roses Early Muse Wilkinsons Percy both of Peterbro Messing's Rural Walks of Exton Adcock Cottage Poems of Oakham-—Cantons Excursions of Fancy of Teigh—Strattons Poems of Abbots Ripton &c &c & all of a kin wanting in natural images &c

18th October 1824

Lookd again into Don Juan like it better & feel a wish that the great poet had livd to finish it tho he appears to have lost his intended plan on setting out & to have continued it with any purpose that came uppermost—Don Juan's visit to England reads tiresome & one wishes at the end that he had met with another shipwreck on his voyage to have sent him elsewhere

17th October 1824

Recievd a letter from Mrs Gilchrist — read some passages in my Shakspear took a walk the hedges look beautiful with their hips & glossy sloes lookd into the poems of Coleridge, Lamb & Lloyd. Coleridge's monody on Chatterton is beautiful but his sonnets are not happy ones they seem to be a labour after exelence which he did not reach. Some of those by his friend Lloyd are excelent & seem to have attained it without trouble 'To Craig Millar Castle' & 'To November' are the best in my opinion—Lamb's best poetry is in Elia tho 'tis a sufficient fame in a late harvest—I wish he woud write on

16th October 1824

Wrote 2 more pages of my life find it not so easy as I at first imagind as I am anxious to give an undisguisd narrative of facts good & bad in the last sketch which I wrote for Taylor I had little vanitys about me to gloss over failings which I shall now take care to lay bare for readers if they ever are published to comment upon as they please in my last 4 years I shall give my likes & dislikes of friends & acquaintances as free as I do of myself—

15th October 1824

Read in Elton's Poems some passages in The Brothers are very good & appear to be the utterance of feeling the small poems are middling 'Rob Roy' & 'A Father's Reverie' are two of the best—there is a pleasant sound lingers on the ear whilst reading these lines:
—the bare trees with crashing boughs aloft
Rock & re-echo & at whiles are hush'd:
I commune with my spirit & am still

14th October 1824

Wrote a letter to Lord Radstock — Read some passages in the Poems of Tannahill* some of his Songs are beautiful particularly 'Loudon's bonny woods & braes' 'We'll meet beside the dusky glen' & 'Jessey'. His poems are poor & appear as if they were written by another. The epithet 'virgin voice' is odd & this line sounds namby pambily '& therefore love I thee' the Scotch poets excel in song-writing because they take their images from common life where nature exists without affectation

* Robert Tannahill, the Paisley weaver (1774-1810), published his volume of poems and songs in 1807. His songs have a popularity second only to that of some of Burns'.

13th October 1824

Feel rather worse lookd over the Magazine for amusement, for Magazines are the best things in Literature to pass away a melancholy hour their variety & the freshness of their subjects whether good or bad never fail of amusement to reccomend them Blackwood's has had a hard hit on Taylor there are no more Editor Scotts at present to check them The letter on Macadamizing is good the review on Walladmor* is 30 pages long I wish De Quincey had better subjects for his genius tho there are some parts of the novel that seems alive with action.
* A novel attributed to Sir Walter Scott, but actually by G. W. Haering.

12th October 1824

Began to learn a poor lame boy the common rules of arithmetic & find him very apt & willing to learn. Began an enquiry into the life of Bloomfield with the intention of writing one & a criticism on his genius & Writings. A fellow of the name of Weston pretended to know a great deal about him but I must enquire into its authenticity Capel Lofft* did not improve on the account given by his brother George by altering it — Editors often commit this fault.

*The Suffolk squire by whose exertions The Farmer's Boy was published in 1800.

11th October 1824

I have been dipping into The Miseries of Human Life. Here & there the petty troubles are whimsical enough & the thing a novel one which is sufficient to ensure success now & I understand it ran through a many editions & that the Authors made £ 1,500 by it clear profit so much for fashion Collins's poems would not pay for the printing & the price Milton got for his Paradise Lost is well known so fashion's taste is still the same her outside only alters—out upon her foolery.

10th October 1824

A wet day have finished the life of Savage in Johnson's Lives of the Poets it is a very interesting piece of biography but the criticisms are dictated by friendship that too often forgets judgment ought to be one of the company to leave this & turn to the life of Gray what a contrast it almost makes the mind disbelieve criticism & to fancy itself led astray by even the wisest of men I never take up Johnson's Lives but I regret his beginning at the wrong end first & leaving out those beautiful minstrels of Elizabeth had he forgot that there had been such poets as Spenser Drayton Suckling &c &c but it was the booksellers' judgment that employd his pen & we know by experience that most of their judgments lye in their pockets so the Poets of Elizabeth are still in cobwebs & mystery read in the afternoon Erskine's Evidence of Revealed Religion & find in it some of the best reasoning in favour of its object I have ever read I think a doubting Christian may be set aright at a first perusal & a reasoning Deist lose doubts sufficient to be half a Christian in some of the originals & a whole one ere he get to the end.

9th October 1824

Observed today that the Swallows are all gone. When they went I know not. Saw them at the beginning of the week, a white one was seen this season by Mr Clark in the fields while out shooting. Patty has been to Stamford & brought me a letter from Ned Drury who came from Lincoln to the Mayor's Feast on Thursday. It revives old reccolections. Poor fellow he is an odd one but still my reccolections are inclined in his favour. What a long way to come to the Mayor's feast, I would not go one Mile after it to hear the din of knives & forks & to see a throng of blank faces about me chattering & stuffing 'that boast no more expression than a muffin'.

8th October 1824

Very ill today & very unhappy my 3 Childern are all unwell had a dismal dream of being in hell. This is the third time I have had such a dream. As I am more & more convinced that I cannot recover, I will make a memorandum of my temporary concerns, for next to the Spiritual, they ought to come & be attended to for the sake of those left behind. I will insert them in the Appendix. Neglect is the rust of life that eateth it away & layeth the best of minds fallow & maketh them desert. Done nothing.

7th October 1824

Got a parcel from London Elton's Brothers & Allen's Grammar gifts of the authors & Erskine's Internal Evidences of Religion the gift of Lord Radstock one of my best friends a very sensible book. This passage stuck me I first opened 'To walk without God in the world is to walk in sin & sin is the way of danger’. Men have been told this by their own consciences & they have partially or occasionally believed it, but still they walked on; too true. Recievd 3 letters from Van Dyk, Mrs Emmerson & Hessey. Done nothing.

6th October 1824

Recieved the London Magazine by my friend Henderson who brought it from town with him. A very dull no. The worst of magazines is waste-paper repetition for humbug is editor of them all in the June no. De Quincey had a paper on 'False Distinctions' which contended quite right enough that women had an inferior genius to men. In July 'Surrey' put up a little clever petition against it which read very well but proved nothing. In the 'Lion's Head' a little Unknown stuck a letter to the Editor on the same side. In August another popt a plea for female genius between the two opinions of middling stuff. In September 'Surrey' popt in another push for his opinion & in October the middling middle one is pushing a go-between again. When will it end. The article on Byron carries ignorance on the face of it. Recievd a letter from Cary.

5th October 1824

One can scarcely trust fame or credit in these days of misrepresentation and deception. This morning a PlayBill was thrown into my house with this pompous Blunder on the face of it
On Thursday Evening Oct. 7 1824 'Will be published the
popular new comedy (never acted here) calld
Pride shall have a fall or the Twentieth Huzzar
written by the Rev. G. Groby and now performing
in the Theatre Royal Covent Garden with
increased attraction & applause
(advt. in the Times)
In the Times Telescope they rechristened me Robert Clare: there went the left wing of my fame.

4th October 1824

I have again reflected over my new will & I believe the expression of 'and their respective legal representatives' is wrong so I shall alter it as soon as it is returned — I had several memorandum which I intended to have inserted in the will but I was told it would cost too much in proving if it was long so I will insert them in the Appendix that my desires may be known & as I am anxious hope attended too tho it often happens otherwise there’s little trust in the world to leave faith behind us upon promises.

3rd October 1824

Began to read again 'The Garden of Florence' by Reynolds it is a beautiful simple tale with few conseits it begins prettily, 'In the fair city of Florence there did dwell...' & ends sweetly 'The lovely nightingale & watching star, At evening ever their companions are' there is a many beautys in it.
'The Romance of Youth' is too romantic that is the youth it describes is not a general character yet there are several beautys in it of true poesy the redcap is a beautiful comparison ' Itself a feather'd flower' the comparing the white stem of the Birch to a serpent is bad taste something like the serpents wreathing round the artificial trees in Vauxhall Gardens verse 32 about the king­fisher turns on a consiet & verse 66 about the fairys bodice is a worse consiet still—'May the rose of months the violet of the year' is very pretty the volume is full of beautys of the best sort the verse about the 2 children is another addition to the many from Chantreys monument
Let C. Mossop take my new Will home with him for lawyer Taylor to alter — Read in the Testament the Epistle of St. John I love that simple-hearted expression on little children it breathes of brotherly affection & love.

2nd October 1824

Read the poems of Conder over a second time like some of them very much there is a great many & unpretentious beautys among them the Imitations of the Psalms are good the Ode to the Nightingale is good but the expression Sir Nightingale is bad & spoils it The principal poem is like many such attempts poor the best poems on religion are those found in the Scriptures which are inimitable & therefor all imitations cannot but be inferior — the first sonnet on autumn is a good one & the Song 'Twas not when early flowers was springing' is beautiful I am much pleased with many more which I shall read anon

1st October 1824

Had a new will made as the old one was not right proving nothing that I wishd & everything contrary this I don't like I leave C. Mossop E, T. Artis & J. A. Hessey executors & all monies arising from book profits &c. in their trust with that in the Funds & whatever may be put out to interest the money in the Funds to be drawn out & shared equally among my children when the youngest is 21 I don't understand the expression in it of my 'Son & daughters &? their respective Representatives & shall have it alterd—it was signed by W. Bradford & Taylor

30th September 1824

Looked over 'The Human Heart' the title has little connection with the contents it displays the art of book making in half-filld pages & fine paper 'The Murderer's Death-bed' is very poor — the worst thing in the Newgate Calendar is as interesting 'Thou shalt do no Evil, etc' is a new version of Colonel Kirk's Cruelty better told in history than prose-poetry 'Amy Welton' is an imitation of the Scotch novelists & of course inferior 'The Lucrece of France' is good

29th September 1824

[The 'new' Langley Bush]

Took a walk in the fields saw an old wood stile taken away from a favourite spot which it had occupied all my life the posts were overgrown with Ivy & it seemd so akin to nature & the spot where it stood as tho it had taken it on lease for an undisturbd existance it hurt me to see it was gone for my affections claims a friendship with such things but nothing is lasting in this world last year Langley Bush was destroyd an old whitethorn that had stood for more than a century full of fame the gipsies shepherds & Herdmen all had their tales of its history & it will be long ere its memory is forgotten*

28th September 1824

Wrote another chapter of my Life read a little in Grays Letters great favourites of mine they're the best letters I have seen & I consider Burns very inferior to all the collections I have met with tho they have gaind great praise they appear to me when I read them as the letters of a man who was looking further than his correspondent & straining after somthing fine till he forgets both his boast of independence is so often dwelt upon till it becomes tiresome & seems more like the despair of a dissapointed man than the content of a happy one

27th September 1824

Read in Milton his account of his blindness is very pathetic & I am always affected to tears when I read it. The opening & end of Paradise Lost I consider sublime & just as the beginning & finish of an Epic poem shoud be. I never could read Paradise regaind through tho I have heard it praisd highly 'Comus' & 'L'Allegro' & 'II Penseroso' are those which I take up oftenest what beautiful description at the shut of evening is this:

"what time the laboured ox In his loose traces from the furrow came
And the swinkt hedger at his supper sat"

26th September 1824

Took a Walk in the fields heard the harvest cricket & shrew-mouse uttering their little chickering songs among the crackling stubbles. The latter makes a little ear-piercing noise not unlike a feeble imitation of the skylark & I verily believe this is the noise said to be made by the little swift-footed bird calld the cricket lark.
Came home & read a chapter or two in the New Testament. I am convinced of its sacred design & that its writers were inspird by an almighty power to benefit the world by their writings that was growing deeper & deeper into unfruitful ignorance, like bogs & mosses in neglected countrys, for want of culture — but I am far from being convincd that the desird end is or will be attaind at present while cant & hypocrisy are blasphemously allowd to make a mask of religion, & to pass as current characters I will not say that this is universal, God forbid.
Sarah Houghton-Walker's new book examines Clare's worldview concentrating on Christian Faith, comparing that (amongst many other insights) with simple Church attendance and, it seems, the prevailing hypocrisy in the early 19th century. It is an important book looking, in Ronnie Blythe's words (in a letter to me), "at the most neglected of areas of Clare studies". It is expensive, but a worthwhile investment.

25th September 1824

Read some of the Odes of Collins think them superior to Grays there is little pomp about them & much luscious sweetness. I cannot describe the pleasure I feel in reading them, neither can I possess discrimination enough in Criticism to distinguish the different merits of either. Both are great favourites of mine yet their perusal gives me different pleasures. I find in the same Vol Odes by a poet of the name of Ogilvie, full of pomp & fury signifying nothing they appear to me bold intruders to claim company with Gray & Collins.

24th September 1824

Tryd to walk out & coud not have read nothing this week my mind almost overweights me with its upbraidings & miseries my childern very ill night & morning with a fever makes me disconsolate & yet how happy must be the death of a child it bears its suffering with an innocent patience that maketh man ashamd & with it the future is nothing but returning to sleep with the thoughts no doubt of waking to be with its playthings again

23rd September 1824

A wet day did nothing but nurse my illness coud not have walkd out had it been fine very disturbd in conscience about the troubles of being forced to endure life & dye by inches & the anguish of leaving my children & the dark porch of eternity whence none returns to tell the tale of his reception

22nd September 1824

Very ill & did nothing but ponder over a future existence & often brought up the lines to my memory said to be utterd by an unfortunate nobleman when on the brink of it ready to take the plunge:

In doubt I lived in doubt I dye
Nor shrink the dark abyss to try But undismayed I meet - eternity

The first line is natural enough but the rest is a rash courage in such a situation.

21st September 1824

The Statute & a very wet day for it the lasses do not lift up their gowns to show taper ankles & white stockings but on the contrary drop them to hide dirty ones. Wrote a poem on the 'Statute' last year lookd it over & think it a good one Taylor is of another opinion & thinks it not but it is true like the 'Lodge house' & others he dislikes & I shall one day publish them & others he has in his possession under the title of 'A Living Poet's Remains'.

20th September 1824

A very wet day: an occurrence has happend in the village tho not very remarkable yet very singular for I have not heard of a former one in my day 'tis a gipsies' wedding Israel Smith & Lettyce Smith. What odd names these people have they are more frequently from the Bible than the Testament for what reason I know not & more common from their own fancys than either the fiddle accompanyd them to Church & back the rest of it was nothing different to village weddings — Dancing & Drinking wrote a song for them being old friends

19th September 1824

I wish I had kept a Journal sooner not of facts only but opinions of books when one rises fresh from the reading & thoughts that may rise at the moment for such a collection woud be an entertaining medley of the past out of which tho there might be a many weeds one might cull a few flowers if not candidates for eternity yet too good to be totally lost in the blank unreckonings of days gone bye took a walk about-the fields a deep mist in the morning hid everything till noon returnd & read snatches in several poets & the 'Song of Solomon' thought the supposd allusions in that luscious poem to our Saviour very over-strained far-fetched and conjectural it appears to me an eastern love-poem & nothing further but an over-heated religious fancy is strong enough to fancy anything I fancy that the Bible is not illustrated by that supposition tho it is a very beautiful Poem it seems nothing like a prophetic one as it is represented to be

18th September 1824

Bought the John Bull Magazine out of curiosity to see if I was among the black sheep It grows in dullness that's one comfort to those that it nicknames 'Hunt bugs. I have seen a boy grope in a sink for the hopes of finding a lost halfpenny but I have been worse employed than that boy for I have dabbled in filth & found nothing abuse without wit is dullness double-distilld the John Bull News is keen and witty & in consequence entertaining have writ 5 letters T. Henderson Rev. Mr. Gary A Cunningham H. S. Van Dyk & Hessey

17th September 1824

Began Don Juan 2 verses of the Shipwreck very fine & the character of Haidee the best I have yet met it is very beautiful the hero seems a fit partner for Tom & Jerry fond of getting into scrapes & always finding means to get out again forever in the company of ladys who seem to watch at night for every oppertunity for everything but saying their prayers perhaps they are as good as their neighbours nay better they do without that fashionable veil hypocrisy.

16th September 1824

Had a visit from my friend Henderson of Milton who brought Don Juan in his Pocket. I was very ill & nursing my head in my hand but he reviv'd me & advised me to read Don Juan. We talked about books & flowers & butterflys till noon & then he descanted on Don Juan which he admird very much I think a good deal of his opinion & shall read it when I am able.

15th September 1824

Finished the reading of Chatterton admire his tragedy of 'AElla' and 'Battle of Hastings' noticd a good description of a Thunder-storm in the 'Ballad of Charitie' inserted it in Appendix & a beautiful one of a ladye. Chatterton seemd fond of taking his similes from nature his favourite flower seems to be the ' kynge-coppe' & his favourite bird the 'pied chelandrie' red-cap, the only trees he speaks of are the oak & elm.

14th September 1824

Continued the reading of Chatterton in search for extracts to insert in my natural history. Inserted them in the Appendix — I was struck with the many beautifull & remarkable passages which I found in them what a wonderful boy was this unfortunate Chatterton. I hate the name of Walpole for his behaviour to this Genius & his sneering & cold-blooded mention of him afterwards when his gossiping fubble had discovered them to be forgeries why did he not discover the genius of the author no because they surpassed his Leadenhall forgery of' Otranto

13th September 1824

Wrote 2 or 3 more pages of my Life — read some of the Sonnets of Shakespear which are great favourites of mine & lookd into the Poems of Chatterton to see what he says about flowers & have found that he speaks of the lady-smock:

"So have I seen the lady-smocks so white
Bloom in the morning and mowed down at night"

as well as my favourite line of

"The kingcups brasted with the morning dew"

12th September 1824

A wet day. Wrote a letter to Rippingille & to H. F. Cary & finished another page of my Life which I intend to bring down to the present time as I did not keep a Journal earlier. I have inserted the names of those from whom I have recievd letters & to whom I have written in cronological order as near as I can reccolect. I have read the first chapter of Genesis the beginning of which is very fine, but the sacred historian took a great deal upon credit for this world when he imagines that God created the sun moon & stars those mysterious hosts of heaven for no other purpose than its use 'the greater light to rule the day & the lesser light to rule the night; and the stars also 'to give light upon the earth. It is a harmless and universal propensity to magnify consequences that appertain to ourselves & woud be a foolish thing to try the test of the scriptures upon these groundless assertions — for it contains the best poetry & the best morality in the world.

11th September 1824

Written an essay today on 'The sexual system of plants' & began one on "The Fungus Tribe' & on 'Mildew, Blight Etc' intended for 'A Natural History of Helpstone' in a series of letters to Hessey who will publish it when finished. I did not think it woud cause me such trouble or I shoud not have begun it. Recievd a kind letter from C. A, Elton I & read the September no. of the London Mag: Only 2 good articles in it — 'Blakesmoor in H—shire’ by Elia, & 'Review of Goethe' by De Quincey these are excelent and sufficient to make a bad no. interesting.

Sun. 11 Sept. 1825
Went to meet Mr & Mrs Emmerson at the New Inn at Deeping & spent 3 days with them (Clare’s final entry in the Journal)

10th September 1824

My health woud permit me to do nothing more than take walks in the garden today what a sadly pleasing appearence gardens have at this season the tall gaudy holliock with its melancholy blooms stands bending to the wind and bidding the summer farewell while the low asters in their pied lustre of red white & blue bends beneath in pensive silence as tho they mused over the days gone by & were sorrowful the swallows are flocking together in the skies ready for departing & a crowd has dropt to rest on the wallnut tree where they twitter as if they were telling their young stories of their long journey to cheer & check fears

9th September 1824

Took a pleasant walk today in the fields but felt too weak to keep out long 'tis the first day of shooting with the sportsmen & the poor hares partridges & pheasants were flying in all directions panic struck they put me in mind of the inhabitants of a Village flying before an invading enemy the dogs run with their sleek dappled sides rustling in the crackling stubbs & their noses close to the ground as happy as their masters in the sport tho they only ‘mumble the game they dare not bite' as Pope says I was forced to return home fearing I might be shot under the hedges & wrote 2 letters One to Cunningham.

8th September 1824

The rainy morning has kept me at home & I have amused myself heartily sitting under Walton's Sycamore tree hearing him discourse of fishponds and fishing what a delightful book it is the best English pastoral that can be written the descriptions are nature unsullied by fashionable tastes of the times they are simply true & like the Pastoral Ballads of Bloom-field breath of the common air & the grass & the sky one may almost hear the water of the river Lea ripple along and the grass and flags grow & rustle in the pages that speak of it I have never read a happier Poem in my time

8th September 1825

Met old Dacon, the Jew of Cliff at Billings who has the odd notion to believe himself the saviour of the world & in spite of all this is a very sensible & remarkable man about 5 feet 10 inches high with a pleasing countenance his hair & beard is never cut or shaved

7th September 1825

Recievd a letter from Hessey telling me that Taylor has been very ill also one from Messrs Baynes & Son & one from Alaric A. Watts of Manchester recievd a letter from J. Power of the Strand requesting permission to publish 'Broomsgrove'* with music for which he gave 2 sovereigns
*There’s the daisey the woodbine
& crowflower so golden
There’s the wild rose the eglantine
& May buds unfolding
There’s flowers for my fairy
There’s bowers for my love
Wilt thou gang wi' me Mary
To the banks of brooms-grove

4th September 1825

Wrote a letter to Mrs Emmerson & one to Mrs Gilchrist & one also to Baynes & Son Publishers in Paternoster row respecting some contribution solicited for a new Poetical Almanack.

2nd September 1825

Recievd a letter from Mrs Emmerson

30th August 1825

The account of Lord Radstocks death was thus mentioned in Bells Weekly Messenger of August 29th — On the 17th Instant Admiral Lord Radstock was seized at his house in Portland Place with a sudden attack of apoplexy — The strength of his constitution struggled with that of the malady till the 20th when the hopes which had been entertained of his recovery vanished & his Lordship expired — Admiral Lord Radstock G.C.B. aged 72 was the second son of John third Earl of Walgrave by the Lady Elizabeth Leveson Gower sister of the Marquis of Stafford.

29th August 1825

Went to Milton turned out a very wet day took the 2 large catterpillars which I had found in Billings Potatoes & found they are the Deaths Head Moth

28th August 1825

Yesterday I found another of those Deaths Head Moth Catterpillars in Billings Potatoes.

27th August 1825

[A Reed Warbler feeding a Cuckoo]

James Billings shot a Cuckoo to-day on one of his Plumb trees — it was very like the sparrow hawk in color but it had a strait bill & very thin short yellow legs neither of which seemed able to turn assailants in its own defence for it had only its wing broke & lived a long while it peckd at the hand that was held to it but it could not peck so hard as a blackbird — the inside of its mouth was of a fine red which led us to think it was a cuckoo

26th August 1825

Recievd a letter from the Editor of a new Almanack of the Muses or Souvenir or Forget me not or some such thing intended to be published by Messrs. Baynes & Son of Paternoster Row requesting me to send a contribution.

23rd August 1825

Found a beautiful Deaths head Moth catterpillar in Billings potatoes it is about four & a half inches long of most beautiful rainbow colors

21st August 1825

Recievd a letter from Mr Emmerson which tells me that Lord Radstock dyed yesterday he was the best friend I have met with tho he possessed too much of that simple-heartedness to be a fashionable friend or hypocrite yet it often led him to take hypocrites for honest friends & to take an honest man for a hypocrite.

William Waldegrave, 1st Baron Radstock, GCB (9 July 1753 – 20 August 1825) was the Governor of Newfoundland and an Admiral in the Royal Navy. Waldegrave was the second son of John Waldegrave, 3rd Earl Waldegrave and Elizabeth (née Gower). Joining the navy at age 13 in 1766, Waldegrave rose rapidly through the ranks, receiving his own command, the Zephyr in 1775, and being promoted to Vice-Admiral in 1795. He was the third in command on the British side at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent in February of 1797, and was offered a baronetcy for the role he played in the battle. Waldegrave declined the offer (on the grounds that as a son of an earl, he already held a higher station), and was appointed the Governor of Newfoundland, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, on 16 May 1797.

(Source: Wikepedia)

20th August 1825

Wrote a letter to Henderson & sent one with it to get frankd for A. A. Watts Esq* Editor of the Literary Souvenir with a Ballad ' First Loves Reccolections * for insertion in that book
* See ‘Letters’ for Clare's correspondence with Watts, also Biographical Memoranda, in that volume, on Watts himself

14th August 1825

Returned from Milton brought home some flower seeds & roots—saw 2 very large catterpillars which a man found among the Potatoes in his garden one was about 3 inches long & the other 4 the smaller one was green with triangular marks of black, light blue, & yellow, the other was yellow with triangular marks of the same colors as the other save that were the other was yellow this was white

13th August 1825

Went to Milton wrote a Letter to Miss Kent — & corrected & sent the Proof back to Taylor — saw the transactions of the Horticultural Society

10th August 1825

A Newspaper lye of the first order—Mr Gale of Holt[?] in the parish of Bradford Wilts has at present a Pear of the jargonel kind in his possession which was taken by himself from the tree in 1776, 49 years ago & is now as sound as at the first moment it -was gathered. It is hung up by the stalk & no means whatever has been adopted to preserve it—' it must have been a wooden one

9th August 1825

Sowed my Anemonie & Bath Polyanthus seed—lent Mrs Fanny Knowlton Bloomfields Hazlewood Hill & Remains & Aytons Essays—Got a look at Giblead of Spaldings Alworth Abbey & I never saw such a heap of unrational absurdities & ridiculous attempts at wit & Satire strung together in my reading existance

4th August 1825

Recievd a letter from Mrs Gilchrist in which she says that Barron Field* has offered to edit Octave's miscellaneous papers

*Field projected a life of his friend Lamb, and also offered to do one of Words­worth. Wordsworth dissuaded him. And Field's editing of Gilchrist's papers did not materialize.

3rd August 1825

A person of the name of Clay came to see me the 'Editor of the Scientific Receptacle' he stopt with me all the rest [of the] day he talked much of poetry & Poets but the latter were such names that nobody knew but himself the correspondents of Dewey's Mathematical Companion &c &c— he told me an odd circumstance of the farmer in the fen growing nothing but 'Teazles' for the purpose of cording a nap on cloth they are stronger he says then the wild made so perhaps by cultivation