The Skylark

Original Text: 
John Clare, The Rural Muse (London: Whittaker, 1835): the last of four volumes of poems Clare had published during his lifetime. PR 4453 C6R8 ROBA.
1The rolls and harrows lie at rest beside
2The battered road; and spreading far and wide
3Above the russet clods, the corn is seen
4Sprouting its spiry points of tender green,
5Where squats the hare, to terrors wide awake,
6Like some brown clod the harrows failed to break.
7Opening their golden caskets to the sun,
8The buttercups make schoolboys eager run,
9To see who shall be first to pluck the prize--
10Up from their hurry, see, the skylark flies,
11And o'er her half-formed nest, with happy wings
12Winnows the air, till in the cloud she sings,
13Then hangs a dust-spot in the sunny skies,
14And drops, and drops, till in her nest she lies,
15Which they unheeded passed--not dreaming then
16That birds which flew so high would drop agen
17To nests upon the ground, which anything
18May come at to destroy. Had they the wing
19Like such a bird, themselves would be too proud,
20And build on nothing but a passing cloud!
21As free from danger as the heavens are free
22From pain and toil, there would they build and be,
23And sail about the world to scenes unheard
24Of and unseen--Oh, were they but a bird!
25So think they, while they listen to its song,
26And smile and fancy and so pass along;
27While its low nest, moist with the dews of morn,
28Lies safely, with the leveret, in the corn.
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
O. H. T. Rudzik
RPO Edition: 
3RP 2.616.