John Clare: The Critical Heritage

By Mark Storey | Go to book overview

philosophically (if I may so say) or with more Excitement, you would greatly improve these little poems; some parts of the November are extremely good—others are too prosaic—they have too much of the language of common every Day Description;—faithful I grant they are, but that is not all…. You wish to make it a complete Record of Country affairs. I would have you only make a Selection of the Circumstances that will best tell in Poetry.


77.

A ‘chorus of praise’ for Clare

1826

Frank Simpson to Clare, 7 December 1826, Eg. 2247, fol. 236.

Simpson was a nephew of Mrs Elizabeth Gilchrist (widow of Octavius), an artist and something of a literary man. ‘The Memory of Love’ was one of the tales finally included in The Shepherd’s Calendar.

I have been just reading to our Coterie one of the most beautiful poems [‘The Memory of Love’] …& before I go to bed must attempt to describe the affect it had on us all. From the beginning to the End all was breathless Silence, a Circumstance not usual in our Readings for the wanderings to our various & incongrous occupations generally interrupt the Story, …but for the movement of my Father who used the Snifters by Stealth, all around me were wondering Statues. When finishd each made their Remark one admired the moral & connexion of the Story another rejoiced at the punishment of the once reckless Hero of the Tale while he whom his Friend Clare is pleased to call his Freind [sic] also & who is accustomed to peep for Beauties in Detail & Minutiae (in the Cowslips Eye) pickd out the exquisite painting of ye

-198-

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