John Clare


When in 1860 Palgrave compiled his famous Treasury of Poetry he described Tennyson and Clare as the greatest living poets.  While the former died loved, exalted and rich, it was Clare’s misfortune to fit the public image of a Romantic poet: he was neglected, sick and he died penniless in an asylum. But he wrote poetry which speaks to us across the years of the beauty to be found in the English landscape. He fought every attempt to destroy the fields and woodland of his beloved Northamptonshire. Although his life can appear to be a terrible waste, he loved living it, and celebrated the hundreds of moments when he enjoyed the minutiae of the world around him. This is a sad biography, but his legacy is so wonderful that we are all in his debt.