John Clare: The Critical Heritage

By Mark Storey | Go to book overview

doubt, of the general flatness of the landscape, but without its rich harvest to make the amends.


81.

Josiah Conder, unsigned review, Eclectic Review

June 1827, n.s. xxvii, 509-21

Of the reviews, Clare preferred this: he thanked Taylor, 10 December 1827, for the reviews, ‘which are as usual talking of what I know not and as usual liking that least which I think best but I like the Eclectic much the best in fact I always liked it there is a heartiness in the praise and that coming from a Poet pleases me much better’ (LJC, p. 207). Josiah Conder (1789-1855) was proprietor and editor of the Eclectic Review from 1814 to 1837, and a poet himself: The Star in the East, with other Poems, 1824, was carefully read by Clare. It is possible that Conder wrote earlier notices of Clare in the Eclectic (see Nos 23 and 60).

John Clare, we confess, is a favourite with us; we hope he is with our readers, and for a similar reason; he is so true to nature, that his verse may be said to reflect the very images and colouring of the scenes he describes, rather than to be the tapestry-work of the fancy. His poetry seems to have no other business than simply, as it murmurs on, to image to the mind’s eye the natural objects which the season and the place may present. There they are, softened by the reflection, but just as they breathe or bloom; and any poor wight, in cities pent, by means of this camera lucida, may see them as he sits with his book in his hand, by the side of his hanging garden of flower-pots, uttering his melancholy O rus, quando te aspiciam?1 We dare not vouch, however, that every one

1 ‘O country home, when shall I see you?’ Horace, Satires, II, vi, 60.

-202-

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