Tuesday, September 18, 2012


The Religion of the Fields

John Clare (1793-1864), Autobiography, chapter 5, in J.W. and Anne Tibble, edd., The Prose of John Clare (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1951), p. 32:
thus I went on writing my thoughts down & correcting them at leisure spending my Sundays in the woods or heaths to be alone for that purpose & I got a bad name among the weekly church goers forsaking the churchgoing bell & seeking the religion of the fields tho I did it for no dislike to church for I felt uncomfortable very often but my heart burnt over the pleasures of solitude & the restless revels of ryhme that was eternally sapping my memorys like the summer sun over the tinkling brook till it one day shoud leave them dry & unconscious of the thrilling joys busy anxietys & restlessness which it had created & the praises & censures which I shall leave behind me
John Clare, letter to his son Charles (February 1848), in J.W. and Anne Tibble, edd., The Letters of John Clare (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1951), p. 298:
Birds bees trees flowers all talked to me incessantly louder than the busy hum of men & who so wise as nature out of doors on the green grass by woods & streams under the beautiful sunny sky daily communing with God & not a word spoken

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