"I Remain" - A Digital Archive of Letters, Manuscripts, and Ephemera
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[Letter with poem manuscripts] [to] [Hessey] / John Clare.

Title: [Letter with poem manuscripts] [to] [Hessey] / John Clare.
Personal Author: Clare, John, 1793-1864.
Date: [n.d.]
Extent: [2] leaves.
General Note: See also other poets' manuscripts in the collection: Rossetti and Whitman.
Abstract: Clare states that he is enclosing some of his work, but flippantly advises the recipient to think what he pleases of them, and Clare won't be disappointed. Clare declares, "I am this day clear of the world & care for nobody & be d--d if I dont [sic] continue & keep so for my satisfaction as well as others." He surmises Mr. Herbel to be an overseer of a parish who has found out, employing "craneology" [phrenology-- a popular "science" viewed with varying degrees of credulity] that "some poor Brats in his Workhouse to be near a kin to me." It is unclear whether Clare is referring to illegitimate issue from one of his extramarital affairs. He includes two poems: "To +++++" and "On Seeing a Marble Copy of the Venus..." A naturalist, poet, and farm laborer, Clare's 2000+ poems focus on the farm labor, village festivals, and Northamptonshire scenery he knew well. His first collection appeared in 1820, followed by The Village Minstrel (also 1820) and he enjoyed great success for a time, meeting Coleridge and Lamb in London. The financial and domestic responsibility of caring for a large family proved too strenuous and Clare's mental health degraded; he was committed to the Northamptonshire Lunatic Asylum where he remained until his death. A memorial in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey commemorates him.
Personal Subject: Clare, John, 1793-1864--Correspondence.
Subject: Pastoral poetry, English
Revolution and romanticism, 1789-1834.
Recipient: Hessey, James Augustus, 1785-1870.
 

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