The Shepherd's Daughter

A poem by John Clare

How sweet is every lengthening day,
And every change of weather,
When Summer comes, on skies blue grey,
And brings her hosts together,
Her flocks of birds, her crowds of flowers,
Her sunny-shining water!
I dearly love the woodbine bowers,
That hide the Shepherd's Daughter--
In gown of green or brown or blue,
The Shepherd's Daughter, leal and true.

How bonny is her lily breast!
How sweet her rosy face!
She'd give my aching bosom rest,
Where love would find its place.
While earth is green, and skies are blue,
And sunshine gilds the water,
While Summer's sweet and Nature true,
I'll love the Shepherd's Daughter--
Her nut brown hair, her clear bright eye,
My daily thought, my only joy.

She's such a simple, sweet young thing,
Dressed in her country costume.
My wits had used to know the Spring,
Till I saw, and loved, and lost 'em.
How quietly the lily lies
Upon the deepest water!
How sweet to me the Summer skies!
And so's the Shepherd's Daughter--
With lily breast and rosy face
The sweetest maid in any place.

My singing bird, my bonny flower,
How dearly could I love thee!
To sit with thee one pleasant hour,
If thou would'st but approve me!
I swear by lilies white and yellow,
That flower on deepest water,
Would'st thou but make me happy fellow,
I'd wed the Shepherd's Daughter!
By all that's on the earth or water,
I more than love the Shepherd's Daughter.

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