Romantic poet John Clare was born into a poor peasant family in the small English village of Helpston, in Northamptonshire, on 13 July 1793.
Since he had great financial difficulties, he was forced to work as a farm labourer to support his family
He suffered from mental problems and delusions, so he was placed in an asylum where he spent the last twenty seven years of his life (see: Clare, il poeta che credeva di essere Shakespeare e Byron)
John was a “poetic environmentalist”, who celebrated the natural world in most of his work, as in this poem where he depicts the beauty of summer and love.
SUMMER 🐝 🐞
Come we to the summer, to the summer we will come,
For the woods are full of bluebells and the hedges full of bloom,
And the crow is on the oak a-building of her nest,
And love is burning diamonds in my true lover’s breast;
She sits beneath the whitethorn a-plaiting of her hair,
And I will to my true lover with a fond request repair;
I will look upon her face, I will in her beauty rest,
And lay my aching weariness upon her lovely breast.
The clock-a-clay is creeping on the open bloom of May,
The merry bee is trampling the pinky threads all day,
And the chaffinch it is brooding on its grey mossy nest
In the whitethorn bush where I will lean upon my lover’s breast;
I’ll lean upon her breast and I’ll whisper in her ear
That I cannot get a wink o’sleep for thinking of my dear;
I hunger at my meat and I daily fade away
Like the hedge rose that is broken in the heat of the day.
“Clock-a-clay” is a ladybird, a ladybug in the US. It derives from Northamptonshire folklore according to which it is possible to tell time by means of a ladybird, either by tapping on the ground and counting the number of taps it takes to make it fly away, or by simply counting the number of spots on it.
ESTATE 🐝 🐞
Veniamo verso l’estate, verso l’estate verremo,
perché i boschi sono pieni di campanule e le siepi in fiore,
e il corvo è sulla quercia a costruire il suo nido,
e l’amore fa bruciare diamanti nel seno della mia amata;
lei si siede sotto al biancospino a intrecciarsi i capelli,
e io andrò da lei con una richiesta d’affetto;
guarderò il suo volto, riposerò nella sua bellezza,
e poserò la mia dolente spossatezza sul suo bel seno.
La coccinella si trascina sui fiori di maggio.
l’ape felice calpesta fili rosei tutto il giorno,
e il fringuello cova nel grigio nido muschioso
nel cespuglio di biancospino dove mi poggerò sul seno della mia amata;
poggerò sul suo seno e le sussurrerò all’orecchio
che non riesco a prender sonno pensando a lei;
bramo il mio cibo e ogni giorno mi affievolisco
come la rosa della siepe che si piega nella calura del giorno.
Image: Pixabay – I_ren