John Clare: The Critical Heritage

By Mark Storey | Go to book overview

30.

Robert Bloomfield on the pleasure afforded him by Clare’s poems

1820

Robert Bloomfield to Clare, 25 July 1820, Eg. 2245, fol. 186.

Robert Bloomfield (1766-1823) was the Suffolk poet, author of The Farmer’s Boy, 1800, whom Clare greatly admired, to the extent of planning a biography of him.

I am however very glad to have lived to see your poems: they have given me and my family an uncommon pleasure, and, they will have the same effect on all kindred minds and that’s enough; for, as for writing rhimes for Clods and sticks and expecting them to read them, I never found any fun in that in all my life, and I have past your age 26 years. I am delighted with your ‘Address to the Lark’, ‘Summer Morning’, and ‘Evening’ &c &c. In fact I had better not turn critic in my first letter, but say the truth, that nothing upon the great theatre of what is called the world (our English world) can give me half the pleasure I feel at seeing a man start up from the humble walks of life and show himself to be what I think you are, —What that is, ask a higher power, —for though learning is not to be contemn’d it did not give you this.

-107-

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