19th June 1825

[Carry Akroyd's cover for the Carcanet version of 'The Shepherds Calendar' - 2006]
Recievd a letter from Taylor in which he says that there is twice as much more as he wants for the Shepherds Calendar. A few months back one of his causes for delay was that there was not enough to begin on. Nothing has made a wide difference here by time & left a puzzling Paradox behind it — which tells that he is a very dillatory chap. Recievd a letter from Mrs Emmerson with a Parcel containing a present of a waistcoat & some fine Polyanthus Brompton Stock & Geranium Seed.
To Taylor
Addressed; John Taylor Esq, 15 Waterloo Place, Pall Mall,London.
[sent] June 19 -25

my dear taylor
I have been puzzling over the matter in your last letter & cannot tell in which opinion to agree exactly but I will say thus much & leave you to deside yourself. It appears to me that the insertion of the Descriptive poems woud only make a very vague book among the generality of readers & ryhmers & woud leave them with an unfavourable opinion of the book at the end & on the other hand the mere insertion of the Naratives or Tales woud'not correspond with the title—all I can say is that I think the best woud be to select the best parts of the descriptive pieces as Introductions to the Months & then let the story follow that was judged to be most suitable & in some cases were a Story was not to be had the whole of the Descriptive Poem if good might, be inserted only such for instance as 'Spring' for April which I consider one of my best Poems when it has undergone your pruning for it wants a good deal to avoid repetitions—I will leave the rest to your Judgment—

The two tales that I had inserted in my former plan of 'Fate of Genius' & 'The Vicar' I consider them as not applicable to- the present Title & if you think the same they might be cast out & leave room for others & were the descriptive pieces contain nothing worth extracting then the Story may fill up the month of itself but I woud always get a character of the. month were I coud—the insertion of the Cottage Evening' for January by itself & the 'Valentine day' for February without the descriptions are very good improvements as I think for there is nothing in the Description for Feby that is worth preserving but I think the one for March is better as there are images in it not noticd before by me or anyone else as I am acquainted with & one of these is the description of the Droves of Wild Geese that are very charactistic companions of this Month but I will leave these things to your reason the 'Sorrows of Love' will come in for March very well—'Cottage Stories' woud certainly have been a fair title & I think a better title than the Calender but it has been made use of by a Poetess here (at Oakham) name Anna Adcock who a little while back publishd a Volume of very middling poems under that Title which was printed in London by I forget whom—

There is another new poet started up here & I was favoured with a sight of his M.S.S. a little while back his longest poem is entitled 'Memory's Musings' it reads smooth enough but there is nothing striking or new in his images or expressions his name is Kenrick the son of Captain Kenrick of Alwalton Hall—

I hear he is about something of a good length in blank verse but I am sorry to say I have no expectations to indulge in—I think I have about nine neighbours Poets who have printed their trifles by subscription—the first of these was an oldish man named Messing who wrote "The Rural Walks" & another thing which I have forgotten then up started two in a bunch at Peterbro name Rose & Wilkinson the first was a schoolmaster he published a, version of "Ossian in Ryhme" & the others Poem was 'Saint John the first was like the ravings of a madman - full of sound & fury signifying nothing' & the other was dull-& tame in addressing the Lark which 'at heavens gate sings' & was Miltons at first he made a terrible blunder addressing it as a male at the beginning & as a female in the end Artis 'from this always called him the 'Hermaphra-dite' after this started a Parish Clerk-name Banton who had the impudence to style his poems 'Visits from the Muses' & Dedicated it to the 'University of Cambridge' because two or three boys (the sons of Clergymen round his own village) had Subscribed to it—another is Stratton the best in the bunch whose consiet stopt him from being something better than he is—his book was dedicated to Lord Russel it contains a curious medley of pretending love for ryhme & simplicity & a deal of laughable absurdity is the consequence of the couple

There are 3 or 4 more but I am getting to the end of the sheet with a digression that is no part of the story so I will end'—I shall be urged to continue the stories for children by your opinion but they woud have been done already if you had told me before—I have got only some early fragments beside, the Grasshopper, done yet they are 'Flower gathering' 'The Butterfiye's Dream. 'The Moth & the Faireys' & two or three more 'that have got no further then the titles'—I am very poorly & Patty is very ill the children are something better that is they are playing about agen & only drouk in the evening

I am Yours &c &c
john clare

1 comment:

  1. Drouk ... Clare's heritage writ large. A Scots term meaning "soaked through" "drenched thoroughly" "soaking wet". Is Clare pointing out that by the evening they had high temperatures? Judged by my own children/grandchildren, when they are not well, sometimes they are soaking wet with sweat at night.