CLARE, John.

The Rural Muse.


London: Whittaker & Co., 1835 Stock Code: 144015

A nice association copy

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First edition, first impression, of Clare's scarce final collection. From the library of Clare's friend, Spencer T. Hall, with his ink ownership inscription to the title page, and annotation to p. 83. A nice working class writer association for John Clare who was one of the few truly working class poets in the front rank of the romantics.

The annotation on p. 83 reads thus "This is about the only instance in which I have found dear John Clare not in harmony with nature - it is the mud lark that soars and sings, not the female. S.T.H.", a correction of the following verses from Clare's "The Skylark": "Up from their hurry, see, the skylark flies, / And o'er her half-formed nest, with happy wings / Winnows the air, till in the cloud she sings, / Then hangs a dust-spot in the sunny skies, / And drops, and drops, till in her nest she lies", with this last "she" highlighted with crosses.

Spencer Timothy Hall (1812-1885), was a writer and mesmerist, the son of a cobbler and a dairymaid. In his Biographical Sketches of Remarkable People, Hall noted "The Rural Muse and Clare's long insanity were, in my opinion, about the two best friends under a merciful Heaven by which John Clare was ever visited. If you doubt it, read his painfully interesting biography by Frederick Martin. Read Clare's poetry too; and... feel thankful for your own sake that such a poet ever lived... distinguished from all others of his name as 'the Northamptonshire Peasant'" (pp. 155-6).

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Octavo (165 x 100 mm). Recent red half calf, titles in gilt to red morocco spine label, marbled boards.


Engraved frontispiece, title with vignette, and 1 in-text illustration to p. 171.


The binding sharp, a couple of pages with pressed dog ears, else internally crisp; a near-fine copy.


Spencer Timothy Hall, "Biographical Sketches of Remarkable People", 1873, pp. 155-6.


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