John Clare

Mark Storey (ed.), The Letters of John Clare

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pg 428To FRANK SIMPSON1 Wednesday, 9 April 1828

Text: MS Northampton 30

Helpstone April 9 1828

My dear Frank

I have been obliged after a good deal of hammering to give up all trials as dissapointments about the Epitaph for they are cursed dissappointments to myself more so then they will be to you for I wished to accompany your monument   yet its all no use I can do nothing for the more I try the worse I am & the reason why it is so is I believe that I never knew Mr Friar & therefore I cannot feel the subject at all   so here I give it up with much reluctance for Patty went over to Wilsons2 on wednesday with a letter but more for a Vol which I much wanted & delayed writing to you by her in hopes that I might be able to do somthing by friday   so you see instead of getting better I get worse & such will be the attempts I doubt at Behnes's Princess Vittoria3 which I am most anxious to attempt as he has flattered me to desire it but thats all against my success & I have but little time now to try I expect as Mrs Halls Evergreen4 the Work in which it is to appear was to go to press on the 6th of April for so she told me her self & I imagine it will not be far from a first article so I have as good as gave it up entirely—I have also a commission to write feth stop thats too much a trade word for 〈?      〉 friendship 〈or what you will〉 the fact is I am to write a Poem for one of the anuals To my kind friend E[liza] L[ouisa] E[mmerson]5

it is to be called Wreath or Chaplet I dont know which & wether it will ever get any further than the title I cannot tell—yesterday Mr Ryde called on me & told me he was going to London in a few days & wished for my friend Mr pg 429 Emmersons address which I told him & he told me about his sons attempts to find out a Publisher for me but really this is a thing that only one word expresses better then the rest   do you reccolect Mr Burchell in that immortal Bard of Erin's Vicar of Wakefield when the ladies were promising the daughters of the Vicar so much & so many idealitys of successes in life & fortunes this said Mr Burchell stood rubbing his hands by the fire & uttering rather audibly to their patronage pomposity— 'fudge'—& tho I have never uttered it I have often thought of it when Mr Rydes sons stories meet my ear for how can it be expected that a man can further a poor Authors interests in reccommending a publisher when he has a commodity going the rounds of the market quite as unsuccessful as the one he would pretend to help for I have not yet tryed any thing of my own 〈as yet〉 for fear of a refusal any further than small things which have never misst the success they were seeking its plain that if Mr Colbourn is his friend why the d———l is it that Mr Colbourn does not publish this Classical or heathen Dictionary6   I can see thro this Farce of Folly & mock patronage this play at chuck ball & catch it between Mr R[yde] & Mr R[yde] the son & egad Ill be a ball no longer so here the Farce ends for I must tell you my dear Frank I dont like them at all & I never shall like them that is as friends & I do not wish to have indeed I shall give them no cause to be enemies 〈?      〉 7 their pomposity & fudge I dislike most damnably & never wish to cross it any more & neither will I so you must manage matters as well as you may for my likes & dislikes are past all cure   I feel vext at myself often but I cannot act the flatterer well at all & if one does not lay it on thickish its no use but I like such folks who are too honest to be flattered those John Bull sort of fellows they are the sort for me & shall you take me for a flatterer when I say that the people I prefer are somthing after your own way & that of your family to whom I beg to include my kindest remembrances & to none more sincerely then to yourself while I subscribe myself my dear Frank

yours most affectionatly John Clare

pg 430You must have the sincerity to believe my failing in the d——— d (poh that is not the epithet for an Epitaph they are always sacred) as a sincere failing that is of no other cause than inabil[i]ty to please my self or others   for that is the cause & none other

Yours &c &c J.C.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
1 see the draft of this letter, above.
Editor’s Note
2 Samuel Wilson, bookseller at Stamford, partner of John Drakard.
Editor’s Note
3 William Behnes (1794–1864), sculptor and draughtsman, brother of Henry, wanted Clare to write a poem for the engraving of his bust of Princess Victoria, to be published in the Juvenile-Forget-Me-Not (1829); Clare did so. The poem also appeared in the Champion, 2 March 1830.
Editor’s Note
4 The indefatigable Anna Maria Hall (1800–81) edited many journals, but not one called 'The Evergreen'; but see previous note.
Editor’s Note
5 'May Morning. Addressed to E.L.E. by the Northamptonshire Peasant' appeared in the Amulet (1834), p. 298.
Editor’s Note
6 This 'Dictionary' was not, apparently, published.
Editor’s Note
7 Two lines heavily deleted.
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