John Clare: The Critical Heritage

By Mark Storey | Go to book overview

THE PERIOD PRIOR TO PUBLICATION OF THE RURAL MUSE: INCIDENTAL COMMENTS

January 1828-January 1833

84.

Some comments on ‘Autumn’ and ‘Summer Images’

1828, 1829, 1830, 1831

These two poems showed the clear influence of Collins on Clare; both poems were very carefully worked over in rough drafts.

(a) Eliza Emmerson to Clare, 18 January 1828, Eg. 2247, foll. 393v-4. She thanks Clare for his ‘charming “Ode to Autumn’”; it is ‘by far the best, & choicest thing you have produced—it is well constructed—your Images, & Epithets, are admirably chosen, & beautifully supported thro’out the poem!’ Of the last 3 stanzas she exclaims, ‘If this is not poesy & pathos & simplicity and originality, I have no discrimination, or feeling, or taste in the composition of the pastoral Ode!’

(b) Allan Cunningham to Clare, 20 March 1828, Eg. 2247, fol. 422. Cunningham (1784-1842) published the slightly altered poem in his Anniversary, 1829, 75-9, as an ‘Ode to Autumn’. He told Clare that it was ‘one of the very happiest Poems you have written—full of nature and truth. ’

(c) Eliza Emmerson to Clare, 26 February 1829, Eg. 2248, fol. 121v: Why not…write, an Ode to Spring, as following up your successful

-211-

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