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Remembrances Analysis



Author: poem of John Clare Type: poem Views: 10

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Summer pleasures they are gone like to visions every one

And the cloudy days of autumn and of winter cometh on

I tried to call them back but unbidden they are gone

Far away from heart and eye and for ever far away

Dear heart and can it be that such raptures meet decay

I thought them all eternal when by Langley Bush I lay

I thought them joys eternal when I used to shout and play

On its bank at 'clink and bandy' 'chock' and 'taw' and

    ducking stone

Where silence sitteth now on the wild heath as her own

Like a ruin of the past all alone





When I used to lie and sing by old eastwells boiling spring

When I used to tie the willow boughs together for a 'swing'

And fish with crooked pins and thread and never catch a

    thing

With heart just like a feather- now as heavy as a stone

When beneath old lea close oak I the bottom branches broke

To make our harvest cart like so many working folk

And then to cut a straw at the brook to have a soak

O I never dreamed of parting or that trouble had a sting

Or that pleasures like a flock of birds would ever take to

    wing

Leaving nothing but a little naked spring





When jumping time away on old cross berry way

And eating awes like sugar plumbs ere they had lost the may

And skipping like a leveret before the peep of day

On the rolly polly up and downs of pleasant swordy well

When in round oaks narrow lane as the south got black again

We sought the hollow ash that was shelter from the rain

With our pockets full of peas we had stolen from the grain

How delicious was the dinner time on such a showry day

O words are poor receipts for what time hath stole away

The ancient pulpit trees and the play





When for school oer 'little field' with its brook and wooden

    brig

Where I swaggered like a man though I was not half so big

While I held my little plough though twas but a willow twig

And drove my team along made of nothing but a name

'Gee hep' and 'hoit' and 'woi'- O I never call to mind

These pleasant names of places but I leave a sigh behind

While I see the little mouldywharps hang sweeing to the wind

On the only aged willow that in all the field remains

And nature hides her face where theyre sweeing in their

    chains

And in a silent murmuring complains





Here was commons for the hills where they seek for

    freedom still

Though every commons gone and though traps are set to kill

The little homeless miners- O it turns my bosom chill

When I think of old 'sneap green' puddocks nook and hilly

    snow

Where bramble bushes grew and the daisy gemmed in dew

And the hills of silken grass like to cushions to the view

When we threw the pissmire crumbs when we's nothing

    else to do

All leveled like a desert by the never weary plough

All vanished like the sun where that cloud is passing now

All settled here for ever on its brow





I never thought that joys would run away from boys

Or that boys would change their minds and forsake such

    summer joys

But alack I never dreamed that the world had other toys

To petrify first feelings like the fable into stone

Till I found the pleasure past and a winter come at last

Then the fields were sudden bare and the sky got overcast

And boyhoods pleasing haunts like a blossom in the blast

Was shrivelled to a withered weed and trampled down and

    done

Till vanished was the morning spring and set that summer

    sun

And winter fought her battle strife and won





By Langley bush I roam but the bush hath left its hill

On cowper green I stray tis a desert strange and chill

And spreading lea close oak ere decay had penned its will

To the axe of the spoiler and self interest fell a prey

And cross berry way and old round oaks narrow lane

With its hollow trees like pulpits I shall never see again

Inclosure like a Buonaparte let not a thing remain

It levelled every bush and tree and levelled every hill

And hung the moles for traitors - though the brook is

    running still

It runs a naked brook cold and chill





O had I known as then joy had left the paths of men

I had watched her night and day besure and never slept agen

And when she turned to go O I'd caught her mantle then

And wooed her like a lover by my lonely side to stay

Aye knelt and worshipped on as love in beautys bower

And clung upon her smiles as a bee upon her flower

And gave her heart my poesys all cropt in a sunny hour

As keepsakes and pledges to fade away

But love never heeded to treasure up the may

So it went the comon road with decay






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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

In Remembrances Clare reflects on his own childhood experience in ‘Summer pleasures they are gone’. Memory is a theme common to much of Clare’s poetry and here he suggests that memory is the only way he can now connect with the lost paradise of his youth. The summer pleasures of the opening line are described later in the poem as activities linked to innocent childhood pleasures such as ‘lie and sing’, or ‘tie the willow boughs together for a 'swing'’. In the first stanza however Clare makes it clear that these pleasures exist now only in his memory ‘like to visions everyone’. It is important to notice the way Clare uses specific locations from his Northamptonshire home in ‘clink and bandy’ ‘chock and taw and ducking stone’. This is what makes Clare an important poet of place as his poems do not simply celebrate nature in an abstract way. Instead they focus on specific times and places in the poets experience and this often gives the political poems a harder edge. The poet doesn’t say something undefined has been lost he is quite specific about the effect of change on his own life. ‘I thought them joys eternal’ gives a colloquial feel as the grammar is poor here but the idea of eternity is reinforced with repetition.
I thought them all eternal when by Langley Bush I lay
I thought them joys eternal when I used to shout and play
Then juxtaposed against the idea of change in ‘Where silence sitteth now on the wild heath as her own/Like a ruin of the past all alone’ Silence is suggested in the sibilance of ‘silence sitteth’ and when linked to the images of youth full activities elsewhere in the poem it provides a stark contrast to the idea of youthful ‘summer pleasures’ The silence is literally suggested to be the ‘ruin of the past all alone’ Throughout the poem clare juxtaposes the joy of the past with the sense of loss he now feels and this can be seen in ‘With heart just like a feather- now as heavy as a stone’
In the following lines Clare again uses a simile to suggest the fleeting nature of his joy in life.
O I never dreamed of parting or that trouble had a sting
Or that pleasures like a flock of birds would ever take to
wing
In the line ‘Leaving nothing but a little naked spring’ Clare evokes the vulnerability of nature in the word ‘naked’.
The poem then takes a very dark tone in the line ‘While I see the little mouldywharps hang sweeing to the wind’. Alone the image is dark enough but it has darker connotations as the slaughtered moles suggest the gibbets that Clare would have seen around the countryside on which human beings hung as a warning to others against protesting the changes taking place in the countryside. The line appears to refer to the aftermath of the Captain Swing riots that took place across the countryside in the 1830’s followed by the execution of many of the protesters. Silence is again used to evoke the absence of simple joys as the phrase silent murmurings is used to evoke the sound of a gently swinging corpse. The use of ‘chains’ also connects the image to a human execution as the moles of course would not be hung in chains.
And nature hides her face where they’re sweeing in their
chains
And in a silent murmuring complains
Of course the use of this lexis is strongly evocative of the idea of tyranny that is mentioned later when Clare says. ‘Inclosure like a Buonaparte let not a thing remain’ Napoleon Bonaparte was of course regarded by most British citizens as a European tyrant who needed to be defeated and linking the Acts of Enclosure to him was a strong criticism of its effects on normal country folk and nature itself. The personification of nature here also common in Clare’s work helps to dramatise the idea of loss associated with Enclosure.

| Posted on 2010-06-01 | by a guest




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