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*
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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.
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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.
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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
---oOo---
*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