31st March 1825

Artis & Henderson came to see me & we went to see the Roman Station agen Oxey Wood which he says is plainly roman — he told me that he went three times & sent oftener for the M.S.S. which they did not send at last [Some lines scored out & indecipherable]

30th March 1825

Recievd a letter from Van Dyk which proves all my suspicions are well founded I suspected that he had not seen those M.S.S. which I considerd my best poems & he says in his letter that he has not [4 lines scored out and are unable to be read].

27th March 1825

This is Palm Sunday — I went to the woods to seek some branches of the sallow palm for the childern calld by them 'geese & goslings' & 'Cats & Kittens' — Susan Simpson & her brother came to see me — lent her the 2 Vols of Walladmor.

24th March 1825

Recievd a letter from Lord Radstock with a packet of Newspapers from Mrs Emmerson

23rd March 1825

Recievd a parcel from Holbeach with a Letter & the Scientific Receptacle from J. Savage — they have inserted my poems & have been lavish with branding every corner with 'J. Clares' — How absurd are the serious meant images or attempts at fine writing in these young writers one of them concludes a theme on a dead schoolmaster with a very pathetic & sublime wish as he fancys perhaps 'wishing that the tear he leaves on his grave may grow up a marble monument to his memory' — This is the first crop of tears I have ever heard of sown with an intention to grow.

21st March 1825

Had a double Polyanthus & single white Hepatica sent me from Stamford round which was rapped [in] a curious prospectus of an 'Everyday Book' by W. Hone if such a thing was well got up it woud make one of the most entertaining things ever published — & I think the prospectus bids fair to do something there is a fine quotation from Herrick for a Motto how delightful is the freshness of these old poets it-is meeting with green spots in deserts

20th March 1825

Still sharp frosty mornings — Recievd a letter from Mrs Emmerson with an Ode to Spring —Spring is a wonderful mother for ryhmes

19th March 1825

Had from Drakards a folio blank book price 9/- to insert the best of my poems in that Hessey says he will send down.

18th March 1825

The sharp frosty mornings still continue.

17th March 1825

Recievd a letter & present of Books from Lord Radstock containing Hannah Mores Spirit of Prayer — Bishop Wilsons Maxims, Burnets Life of God in the Soul of Man 'A New Manual of Prayers' & Watsons 'Answer to Paine' a quiet unaffected defence of the Bible & an example for all controversialists to go bye were railing has no substitute for argument I have not read Tom Paine but I have always understood him to be a low blackguard

16th March 1825

Took a walk to hunt pootys about Royce Close & the Tindhills — went to visit an old favourite spot in Oxey Wood that used to be smotherd with Ferns — got some sallow trees to set in Billings close & a stoven of Black alder to set in my garden

15th March 1825

I have been reading over Mrs Barbaulds Lessons for Childern to my eldest child who is continually teasing me to read them I find by this that they are particularly suited to the tastes of childern as she is never desirous of hearing anything read a second time but them

14th March 1825

My double Scarlet anemonie in full flower — A sharp frosty morning

13th March 1825

Recievd a letter from the Editor of Bloomfields Correspondence enclosing the return of my letter of Bloomfield & a scrap of his handwriting written in his summer house at Shefford an Inscription in it which I hear is now defaced what a sad thing it is to see the relics of such poets destroyed who woud not have made a pilgrimage to have seen the summer house & its inscription as left by the Bard—in the same letter was a pretty unaffected letter from Hannah Bloomfield his daughter she seems to inherit the gentle unassuming manners of feelings for which her father was loved & esteemed — lent Henderson 3 Nos. of the New London Mag: & Review"

12th March 1825

Recievd the first Proof of the 'Shepherds Calendar' from Hessey to correct & a letter from Lord Radstock in which he seems to be offended at a late opinion of mine of some Newspaper Poems that he sent me as specimens of the beautiful & he thanks his stars that his taste is not so refined as to make him above admiring them — the word refinement has lost its original use & is nothing more than a substitute for fashionable coquette which I thank my stars for keeping me too ignorant to learn

11th March 1825

Intend to call my Natural History of Helpstone 'Biographys of Birds & Flowers' with an appendix on Animals & Insects—The frogs have began to croke & spawn in the ponds & dykes.

10th March 1825

Heard an Anecdote yesterday of Dr Dodd* which is well known & considerd authentic among the common people it is said that Dr Dodd was taunted on his way to the place of execution by a lady who had envied his popularity & looking out of a window as he passd she exclaimed "Now Dr Dodd weres your God" when he bade her look in the last chapter of Micah & read the 8th 9th & 10th verses for an answer which she did & dyd soon afterwards of a broken heart

* William Dodd (1729-77), a forger who yet preached 'very eloquently and touchingly', says Horace Walpole. He wrote Thoughts in Prison while under sentence of death.

[Micah 7:8-10]

9th March 1825

I had a very odd dream last night & I take it as an ill omen for I dont expect that the book will meet a better fate I thought I had one of the proofs of the new poems from London & after looking at it awhile it shrank thro my hands like sand & crumbled into dust the birds were singing in Oxey Wood at 6 o clock this evening as loud & various as at May

8th March 1825

[Wild Service Tree]

Wrote to Hessey & to Jos Weston of 12 Providence Row Finsbury Square London enclosing my letters of Bloomfield for his use in a forthcoming vol of his Corespondence — went to Royce Wood to get some Service trees to set in Billings close

7th March 1825

Wrote to E. T. Artis—Mrs Gilchrist & Mrs Emmerson—enclosing one in Artis's Letter (to get it Franked) for Mrs W. Wright of Clapham requesting her to give me a bulb of the 'Tyger Lily' & a sucker of the 'White Province Rose'

To Joseph Weston
Helpstone
March 7. 1825

DEAR SIR
In answer to yours of the third I am sorry to say that I posses but little of the corespondence of my departed ' brother bard' what I do posses you are welcome too & as to my letters to him you may do with them just as you please & make of them what use you like I deeply regret that ill health prevented our corespondence & that death prevented us from being better acquainted I sincerely loved the man & admired his Genius & had a strong anxiety to make a Journey to spend a day with him on my second visit to London & 1 intended to have stopped at Biggleswade on my return, home for that purpose but my purse got too near the bottonl for a Stoppage on the road & as it was too great a distance to walk home this with other matters prevented me from seeing him as one of my family was very ill at the same time & hastened my return—
Whatever cause his friends may have to regret the death of the Poet—Fame is not one of then! for he dyed ripe for immor¬tality & had he written nothing else but 'Richard & Kate' that fine picture of Rural Life were sufficient to establish his name as the English Theocritus & the first of Rural Bards in this country & is Fashion (that feeble substitute for Fame) had nothing to do with his .exaltation its neglect will have nothing to affect his memory, it is built on a more solid foundation & time £one line heavily scored out]] will bring its own reward to the 'Farmers Boy,—I beg you will have the kindness to take care of the M.S. & return it when you have done with it as I wish to preserve a scrap of his handwriting—The Copy on the other side is a note which accompanied his present of' Mayday with the Muses' I gave the original to Allan Cunningham the Poet who has a high respect for Bloomfield's genius & whose request on that account (to posses a scrap of his writing) I was proud & happy to gratify©—floon after the Poet's death I wrote ' in a inellancholy feeling 3 Sonnets to his memory I was not aware that his "Remains' woud have had such insertions or I shoud have sent them to his da'ughter-—I shall fill this sheet with them for your perusal tho I expect they will come out in the volume now in the press that will be published this Spring: with my best wishes that your kindly labours for the memory of the departed Poet may meet with the success it deserves I remain
Yours very faithfully
JOHN CLARE

6th March 1825

Recievd a parcel from Hessey with the magazine & a leaf of the new poems also a present of Miss Rents Sylvan Sketches she seems to be a regular book maker Parish Officers are modern savages as the following will testify 'Crowland Abbey — certain surveyors have lately dug up several foundation stones of the Abbey & also a great quantity of stone coffins for the purpose of repairing the parish roads' — Stamford Mercury. Anna taken again for the worse yesterday had a terrible fever all night & remains in a doubtful state

5th March 1825

[One of Carry Akroyd's foxes]

Recievd a letter from Lord Radstock & Mr Emmerson also one from a Mr Weston the Editor of poor Bloomfields Letters & Remains requesting me to send him the letters I have of the poet & asking permission to publish those of mine poor Bloomfield I wish that death had left me a little longer the pleasure of his friendship — Went to see the fox cover on Etton field sown with furze some years ago which now present a novel appearance & thrive better than on their native heath tho the place is low ground

4th March 1825

Went to Ailsworth to fetch ling or common heath & furze bushes to set in my garden—went in Bates spinney to hunt the black maiden hair found none but saw some of the largest furze & common brakes I had ever seen my friend Billings measured a furze bush which was 11 foot & a high & a brake branch - 9 foot & a quarter - found a curious sort of Iris or flag growing in a pond in the wood & fancy it not a common one brought a bit home to set

3rd March 1825

This is Pattys Birthday [She was 26]

2nd March 1825

Found a Mavis Thrushes nest with 3 eggs these birds always build early they make a nest like a blackbirds but instinct has taught them a lesson against the cold which the other has no occasion for & that is they never line their nests without wool which keeps the nest warm at this early season they always begin to sing as soon as the male blossoms of the hazel or (trails) make their appearance & build their nests when female flowers put forth their little crimson threads at the end of the buds to recieve the impregning dust of the male dangling trails

1st March 1825

Saw today the largest piece of Ivy I ever saw in my life mailing a tree which it nearly surpassd in size in Oxey Wood it was thicker than my thigh & its cramping embraces seemd to diminish the tree to a dwarf — it has been asserted by some that ivy is very injurious to trees & by others that it does no injury at all — I cannot decide against it — the large pieces were coverd all over with root-like fibres as thick as hair, & they representd the limbs of animals more than the bark of a tree

27th February 1825

Recievd a letter in rhyme from a John Pooley — a very dull fooley — who ran me lOd further into debt as I had not money to pay the postage.