Mary Neele

A poem by John Clare

My love is tall and handsome;
All hearts she might command;
She's matchless for her beauty,
The queen of all the land.
She has my heart in keeping,
For which there's no repeal,
For the fairest of all woman kind
Is my love, Mary Neele.

I felt my soul enchanted
To view this turtle dove,
That lately seems descended
From heavenly bowers of love;
And might I have the fortune
My wishes could reveal,
I'd turn my back on splendour
And fly to Mary Neele.

She is the flower of nations,
The diamond of my eye;
All others are but gloworms
That in her splendour die.
As shining stars all vanish
When suns their light reveal,
So beauties shrink to shadows
At the feet of Mary Neele.

I ask no better fortune
Than to embrace her charms;
Like Plato I would laugh at wealth
While she was in my arms;
And if I cannot gain her
From grief there's no appeal;
My joy, my pain, my life, my all
Are fixed with Mary Neele.

The stone of vain philosophers,
That wonder-working toy,
The golden fleece of Jason,
That Helen stole from Troy,
The beauty and the riches
That all these fames unseal,
Are nothing all, and less than that,
Compared to Mary Neele.

O if I cannot gain her
Right wretched must I be,
And caves and lonely mountains
Must be the life for me,
To pine in gloom and sorrow,
And hide the deaths I feel,
For light nor life I may not share
When lost to Mary Neele.

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