To The Rural Muse.

A poem by John Clare

Simple enchantress! wreath'd in summer blooms
Of slender bent-stalks topt with feathery down,
Heath's creeping vetch, and glaring yellow brooms,
With ash-keys wavering on thy rushy crown;
Simple enchantress! how I've woo'd thy smiles,
How often sought thee far from flush'd renown;
Sought thee unseen where fountain-waters fell;
Touch'd thy wild reed unheard, in weary toils;
And though my heavy hand thy song defiles,
'Tis hard to leave thee, and to bid farewel.

Simple enchantress! ah, from all renown,
Far off, my soul hath warm'd in bliss to see
The varied figures on thy summer-gown,
That nature's finger works so 'witchingly;
The colour'd flower, the silken leaves that crown
Green nestling bower-bush and high towering tree;
Brooks of the sunny green and shady dell:
Ah, sweet full many a time they've been to me;
And though my weak song faulters, sung to thee,
I cannot, wild enchantress, bid farewel.

Still must I seek thee, though I wind the brook
When morning sunbeams o'er the waters glide,
And trace thy footsteps in the lonely nook
As evening moists the daisy by thy side;
Ah, though I woo thee on thy bed of thyme,--
If courting thee be deem'd ambition's pride,
It is so passing sweet with thee to dwell--
If love for thee in clowns be call'd a crime,
Forgive presumption, O thou queen of rhyme!
I've lov'd thee long, I cannot bid farewel.

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