By Clare, John; Robinson, Eric; Powell, David

ISBN-10: 1847775780

ISBN-13: 9781847775788

ISBN-10: 1857542886

ISBN-13: 9781857542882

This quantity brings jointly, in definitive shape, all of John Clare's vital autobiographical writings. His Autobiographical Fragments, Journal, and Sketches are set along his recognized Journey out of Essex. Maps of Clare's geographical region, his will, and extracts from his asylum letters also are incorporated, providing the writer in all his guises—ploughboy, gardener, and militiaman; lover and husband; acquaintance of Hazlitt, Lamb, and Coleridge; and at last, inmate in an asylum.

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I shall recant nothing. The same week my mother went over to Deeping and fetched the MSS home again and as soon as I got them in my possesion I started off to Drurys To get the book printed for no expence on my part and a certain sum gaind by it in the bargain was a temptation I coud not let slip when I appeared with them he gave me a Guinea as an ansel or ernest to the bargain and I readily left them and proceeded as he wishd in sending others as I copied them out, with no other agreement then wordof-mouth at that time he praised some gentlemen into whose hands he intended to entrust the MSS uncommonly and I felt very anxious of knowing who the gentlman shoud be but he kept it as a secret a long time and at length told me twas John Taylor45 of London a cousin of his moreover he read me extracts from some of the above gentlemans letters to convince me of his abilities and I deemd it very lucky that such a man shoud fall in the way to correct and supperintend the publication and I have still the happiness to remember that when the thing came to be realized I met with no dissapointment but found the good character of the gentlemen given by Drury was not exaggerated in the least, but on the contrary, many things before unknown to me served to heighten my expectations rather then deminish them- Drury by some jealous advisers, or one how or other, wanted an agreement after a time had expired and wishing to please every body as far dS I was able, I with some reluctance signed one with out considering in the least what it might contain for tho it was read over to me I took no heed of it as I knew nothing about such things - but reccolecting afterwards of hearing somthing about not only the present publication then in hand but what ever publications I might be encouraged to publish was all bound and apprenticed to this agreement- this I coud not stand, so I determined to break all such bandages and acted accordingly, and now leaving this long digression of trifleing I shall resume the story of my occupations and labours 27 JOHN CLARE BY HiMSELF I continued to work at Pickworth till the winter and then went to Casterton were I stopt a little while again with Mr Wilders till the frost set in that he coud not employ me longer I then returnd home and had a good winters work of Scribbling etc for the forthcoming book after the Spring came on I was sent for again to work for Mr Wilders were I continued all summer till the latter end of the year when a drop of wages against our first agreement made me leave the place My amourous intrigues and connections with Patty, 46 the girl before mentioned, now began to disclose dangers which marriage alone coud remedy I was little fit or inclined for marrying but my thoughtless and ram headed proceedings, as I was never all my life any thing else but a fool, commiting rashly and repenting too late having injured her character as well as my own as for mine, I cared not a farthing about it twas bad enough I knew and made ten times worse by meddling lyars but the ruination of one whom I almost adored was a wickedness my heart, however callous it might be to its own deceptions, coud not act the wide mouth of the world was open against her, swallowing every thing that started to discredit her and sounding their ecchos in my ears to torment me and set me against her hurt and vex me it did, but I felt more affection for her then ever and I determind to support her I had that satisfaction on my consience that she was the only one I ever had injured and I had that oppertunity of easing my present trouble by making her amends I therefore made use of it and married her March 16 1820 and my only repentance was that I had not became acquainted with her sooner then I did.

The 'free will' of ranters, 48 'new light' of methodists, and 'Election Lottery' of Calvanism I always heard with disgust and considered their enthusiastic ravings little more intelligable or sensible then the belowings of Bedlam. In politics I never dabbled to understand them thoroughly with the old dish that was served to my forefathers I am content. but I believe the reading a small pamphlet on the Murder of the french King many years ago with other inhuman butcheries cured me very early from thinking favourably of radicalism the words 'revolution and reform' so much in fashion with sneering arch infidels thrills me with terror when ever I see them - there was a Robspiere, 49 or somthing like that name, a most indefatigable butcher in the cause of the french levellers, and if the account of him be true, hell has never reeked juster revenge on a villian since it was first opened for their torture - may the foes of my country ever find their hopes blasted by dissappointments and the silent prayers of the honest man to a power that governs with justice for their destruction meet always with success.

Once every week I had to go for a bag of flower to Maxey, a village distant about 2 Miles, as it was sold cheaper then at home and as my mistress was an economist she never lost sight of cheap pennyworths in the short days of winter its often been dark ere I got home and even by times dusk before I started I was of a very timid disposition the traditional Registers of the Village was uncommonly superstitious (Gossips and Granneys) and I had two or three haunted Spots to pass for it was impossible to go half a mile any were about the Lordship were there had nothing been said to be seen by these old women or some one else in their younger days.

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John Clare - By Himself by Clare, John; Robinson, Eric; Powell, David


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