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selves. Parker Clare, was a farmer's shops were opened when he arrived labourer; but he was hapless enough there. On his return home, he passed to become a sufferer under rheumatic through the beautiful scenery of Burghpains, in so great a degree, as to be ley Park, when he composed his first disenabled. Lord Milton's liberality piece of poetry, which he called “ The supplied him with means to go to sea- Morning Walk.” This was soon folbathing, where he was relieved; but, lowed by the “Evening Walk," and in coming home from Scarborough, he other little pieces. determined upon walking a part of the It is said that Clare's first expression distance; but the exertion and expo- of fondness for poetry was shewn before sure to the weather again brought on he had learnt to read. He had been the pain, and he, in consequence, was looking one day at the pictures in a obliged to ask assistance of the parish, volume of poems, which lie thinks were from which he received an allowance of Pomfret's, when his father read him a five shillings 8-week.
piece in the book. The delight he exPoverty was therefore the early com- perienced at hearing this read, still is panion of our puet, and he saw it no vivid in his remembrance-doubt, in all its distressing shapes. “He felt enraptur'd though he knew not why;" His home was the receptacle of wne, but it is possible that he was pleased and his eyes were dimned by tears that with the barmony of the numbers only, misery excited. In his “ Address to and that he had no knowledge of what Plenty" after speaking of the uneven he heard but was delighted by the sound, distribution of riches amongst some, rather than the sense. The impression, he thus brings in his own griefs :- however, made on this occasion, was " While poor shatter'd poverty,
never effaced. To advantage is seen in me,
Tothe kindness of a Mr. John Turnill, With his rags, his wants, and pain,
must be attributed Clare's learning, Waking pity but in vain, Bowing, cringing at thy side,
writing and arithmetic. The greater Begs bis mite, and is denied.”
part of his poems were composed in the Dis and penury stared Clare in fields, or on the road-sides; and Clare, the face, and he must have suffered un- not trusting to his memory, wrote them der the forebodings, that these would down with a pencil on the spot, his hat ever be his attendants. There could serving him for a desk. If it happened be no glimmer of hope to buoy him up; that he had no opportunity, soon after, and therefore it is the more remarkable of transcribing these imperfect memothat he should have been enabled to ac- rials in a more legible and corrected quire any learning whatever. When form, he could seldom decypher them, John was a boy, his father used to be or recover his first thoughts. From employed in thrashing; and he himself this cause several of his poems are quite did work as a plough boy. By helping lost, and others only exist in fragments. his father each morning and evening, Of those which he had committed to he earned the money that paid for his writing, especially his earlier pieces,
lucation. Eight weeks labour gene- many were destroyed from another cirrally produced pay for a month's school- cumstance,
which shows how little he ing. His schoolmaster was kind to him, expected to please others, or to derive and rewarded his recitations with a profit from them: he had a small niche present of threepence or sixpence. in the wall of his room, in which he was With these sums, Clare bought a fe19 accustomed to deposit his manuscripts, books.
and from this little coffer of his trea. When he could read tolerably we!), sures was frequently taking a piece of he borrowed of one of his companions, paper to hold the kettle with, or to light Robinson Crusoe; and at the age of the fire. This is much to be regretted, thirteen he met with a copy of Thomp- as it may be fitly supposed that these son's Seasons; and it was this latter “shreads and patches” which were thus work that excited particularly Clare's prematurely destroyed, might have been love for poetry. As early as he had woven into a deathless tome; and that saved a shilling, he determined upon in many of these effusions might have purchasing this work for himself; and been hid the brightest expressions of for this end, he set out to Stamford, genius and poesy. at so soon an hour that none of the It is now fourteen years since Clare
composed his first poem: in all that time he has gone on secretly cultivating his taste and talent for poetry, without one word of encouragement, or the most distant prospect of reward. That pas. sion must have been originally very strong and pure, which could sustain itself, for so many years, through want, and toil, and hapless misery. The scenes amidst which he lived were the only subjects upon which he could indulge his talent; and it
says much, that in the observation of them, he never seems to have tired, but to have ever found a theme for his eulogies in the
rushing greens,” or “weed-beds, wild and rank." He has a sincere love for Nature, otherwise he must have long since sickened in looking upon objects which might be expected to wear through time a monotonous appearance.
A volume of Clare's poems were published early in 1820 ; and it was an accident that led to that circumstance. In December 1818, Mr. Edward Drury, Bookseller, of Stamford, met by chance with a Sonnet to “ the Setting Sun,' written on a piece of paper in which a letter had been wrapped up, and signed I. H.-Having ascertained the name and residence of the writer, he went to Helpstone, where he saw some other poems with which he was much pleased. At his request, Clare made a collection of the pieces he had written and added some others to them. They were then sent to London, for the opinion of the publishers, and those were selected which appeared in the volume above mentioned. No alterations were made but what were necessary to correct orthography and grammar, when such could be effected without changing the words. Clare revised them and made a few alterations, when they were printed and offered to the world.
That such a publication should go unnoticed was not to be expected; but it received in addition a full meed of applause. Reviewers and Critics have laid down their bitterness and taken up their pens only in the service of the
His errors, (so natural from his want of education,) were either spoken of in a strain of kind tuition and pointed out but for his improvement, or else they were overlooked entirely. This lenity on their part reflects great honour, and exhibits in its effects, a spirit of benevolence and sympathy,
Of those poems, many were among his earliest efforts. The Fate of Amy was begun when he was fourteen : Helpstone, The Gipsy's Evening Blaze, Reflection in Autumn, The Robin, Noon, The Universal Epitaphs, and some others, were written before he was seventeen. The Village Funeral was written in 1815; the Address to Plenty, in December, 1817; The Elegy on the Ruins of Peckworth, in 1818.
In a note on this poem Clare says, Elegy on the Ruins of Peckworth was written on Sunday morning after I had been helping to dig the hole for a lime kiln, where the many fragments of mortality and perished ruins, inspired me with thoughts of other times, and warmed me into song.” Most of the other poems are of a recent date, with almost all the Sonnets.
To be continued next week. Clare had been employed during a part of 1820, by Mr. Wilders, of BridgeCasterton, two miles north of Stamford; where the river Gwash, which crosses the road, gave him the subject for one of his Sonnets. His wages were nine shillings a week, and his food ; out of which he had to pay one shilling and sixpence a week for a bed, it being impossible that he could return every night to Helpstone, a distance of nine miles : but at the beginning of November, his employer proposed to allow him only seven shillings a week; on which, he quitted his service and returned home. His residence was again with his parents, and he worked for any one who would enploy him.
MARIA ELEONORA SCHONING.
The following beautiful and affecting narrative is from the able pen of Mr. Coleridge ; and we present it to our readers as producing much beauty, pathos, and tenderness.
“ Maria Eleonora Schoning, was the daughter of a Nuremberg wire-drawer. She received her unhappy existence at the price of her mother's life, and at the age of 17, she followed, as the sole mourner, the bier of her remaining parent. From her 13th year she had passed her life at her father's sick-bed, the gout having deprived him of the use of his limbs; and beheld the arch
of heaven only when she went to fetch food or medicines. The discharge of her filial duties occupied the whole of her time and all her thoughts. She was his only nurse, and for the last two years they lived without a servant. She prepared his scanty meals, she bathed his aching limbs, and though weak and delicate, from constant confinement and the poison of melancholy thoughts, she had acquired an unusual power in her arms, from the habit of lifting her old and suffering father out of and into his bed of pain. Thus passed away her early youth in sorrow : she grew up in tears, a stranger to the amusements of youth, and its more delightful schemes and imaginations. She was not, however, unhappy: she attributed, indeed, no merit to herself for her virtues, but for that reason were they the more her reward. The peace, which passeth all understanding, disclosed itself in all her looks and movements. It lay on her countenance, like a steady unshadowed moonlight: and her voice, which was naturally at once sweet and subtle, came from her like the flute-tones of a masterly performer, which still floating at some uncertain distance, seem to be created by the player, rather than to proceed from the instrument. If you had listened to it in one of those brief sabbaths of the soul, when the activity and discursiveness of the thoughts are suspended, and the mind quietly eddies round, instead of flowing onward (as at late evening in the spring I have seen a bat wheel in silent circles round and round a fruit-tree in full blossom, in the midst of which, as within a close tent of the purest white, an unseen nightingale was piping its sweetest notes,) in such a mood you might have half fancied, half felt, that her voice had a separate being of its own—that it was a living something, whose mode of existence was for the ear only: so deep was her resignation, so entirely had it become the unconscious habit of her nature, and in all she did or said, so perfectly were both her movements and her utterance without effort, and without the appearance of effort! Her dying father's last words, addressed to the clergyman who attended him, were his grateful testimony, that during his long and sore trial, his good Maria had behaved to him like an angel: that the most dis
agreeable offices and the least suited to her age and sex, had never drawn an unwilling look from her, and that whenever his eye had met her's, he had been sure to see it either the tear of pity, or the sudden smile, expressive of her affection and wish to cheer him. God (said he) will reward the good girl for all her long dutifulness to me! He departed during the inward prayer, whieh followed these his last words. His wish will be fulfilled in eternity; but for this world the prayer of the dying man was not heard !
“ Maria sat and wept by the grave, which now contained her father, her friend, the only bond by which she was linked to life. But while yet the last sound of his death-bell was murmuring away in the air, she was obliged to return with two revenue officers, who demanded entrance into the house, in order to take possession of the papers of the deceased, and from them to discover whether he had always given in his income, and paid the yearly income tax according to his oath, and in proportion to his property. After the few documents had been looked through and collated with the registers, the
“ This tax called the Losum or Ransom, in Nuremberg, was at first a voluntary contribution : every one gave according to his liking or circumstances. But in the beginning of the 15th century the heavy contributions levied for the service of the empire, forced the magistrates to determine the proportions and make the payment compulsory. At the time in which this event took place, 1787, every citizen_must yearly take what was called his Ransom Oath (Losungseid) that the sum paid by him had been in the strict determinate proportion to his property. On the death of any citizen, the Ransom Office, or commissioners for this income or porperty tax, possess the right to examine his books and papers, and to compare his yearly payment as found in their registers with the property he appears to have possessed during that time. If any disproportion appeared, if the year.. ly declaration of the deceased should have been inaccurate in the least de. gree, his whole effects are confiscated, and though he should have left wife and child, the state treasury becomes him heir."
officers found, or pretended to find, sufficient proofs that the deceased had not paid his tax proportionably, which imposed on them the duty to put all the effects under lock and seals. They therefore desired the maiden to retire to an empty room, till the Ransom Office had decided on the affair. Bred up in suffering, and habituated to immediate compliance, the affrighted and weeping maiden oveyed. She hastened to the empty garret, while the revenue officers placed the lock and seal upon the other doors, and finally took away the papers to the Ransom Office.
"Not before evening did the poor faint Maria, exhausted with weeping, rvuse herself with the intention of going to her bed; but she found the door of her chamber sealed up, and must pass the night on the floor of the garret. The officers had had the humanity to place at the door the small portion of fond that happened to be in the house. Thus passed several days, till the officers returned with an order that Maria Eleonora Schoning should leavethe house without delay, the commission court having confiscated the whole property to the city treasury. The father before he was bed-ridden had never possessed any considerable property; but yet, by his industry, had been able not only to keep himself free from debt, but to lay up a small sum for the evil day. Three
years of evil days, three whole years of sickness, had consumed the greatest part of this ; yet still enough remained not only to defend his daughter from immediate want, but likewise to maintain her till she could get into some service or employment, and have recovered her spirits sufficiently to bear up against the hardships of life. With this thought her dying father had comforted himself, and this hope too proved vain ?
A timid girl, whose past life bad been made up of sorrow and privation, she went indeed to solicit the commissioners in her own behalf; but these were, as is mostly the case on the Continent, advocates—the most hateful class, perhaps, of human society, hardened by the frequent sight of misery, and seldom superior in moral character to English pettifoggers, or Old Bailey attornies. She went to them, indeed, but not a word could she say for herself.Her tears and inarticulate sounds for these her judges had no ears or eyes.
Mute and confounded, like an unfledged dove fallen out from its mother's nest. Maria betook herself to her home, and found the house door too, now shut upon her. Her whole wealth consisted in the clothes she wore. She had no relations to whom she could apply, for those of her mother had disclaimed all acquaintance with her, and her father was a Nether Saxon by birth.
She had no acquaintance; for all the friends of old Schoning had forsaken him in the first year of his sickness. She had no playfellow, for who was likely to have been the companion of a nurse in the room of a sick man? Surely, since the creation, never was a human being more solitary and forsaken, than this innocent poor creature, that now roamed about, friend. less in a populous city, to the whole of whose inhabitants her filial tenderness, her patient domestic goodness, and all her soft yet difficult virtues, might well have been the model. • But homeless near a thousand homes she stood, And near a thousand tables pin'd and wanted
food! “ The night came, and Maria knew not where to find a shelter. She tottered to the church-yard of the St. James's church, in Nuremberg, where the body of her father rested. Upon the yet grassless grave she threw herself down : and could anguish have prevailed over youth, that night she had been in heaven. The day came, and like a guilty thing, this guiltless, this good being, stole away from the crowd that began to pass through the church-yard, and hastening through the streets to the city gate, she hid herself behind a garden hedge just beyond it, and there wept away the second day of her desolatioii. The evening closed in: the pang of hunger made itself felt amid the dull aching of self-wearied anguish, and drove the sufferer back again into the city. Yet what could she gain there? She had not courage to beg, and the very thought of stealing never occurred to her innocent mind. Scarce conscious whither she was going, or why she went, she found herself once more by her father's grave, as the last relict of evening faded away in the horizon. I have sat for some minutes with my pen resting : I can scarce summon the courage to tell what I scarce know, whether I ought to tell. Were I composing a tale of fiction, the reader might justly suspect the purity of my own heart, and most
certainly would have abundant right misery in misery! she imagined that she to resent such an incident, as an outrage heard her father's voice bidding her wantonly offered to his imagination.- leave his sight. His last blessings had As I think of the circumstance, it seems been conditional, for in his last hours he more and more like a distempered had told her, that the loss of her innodream ; but alas! what is guilt so de- cence would not let him rest quiet in testable, other than a dream of madness,
His last blessings now that worst madness, the madness of the sounded in her ears like curses, and she heart? I cannot but believe, that the fled from the church-yard as if a dæmon dark and restless passions must first had been chasing her; and hurrying have drawn the mind in upon them- along the streets, through which it is selves, and as with the confusion of im- probable her accursed violater had walkperfect sleep, have in some strange ed with quiet and orderly step † to his manner taken away the sense of reality, place of rest and security, she was seized in order to render it impossible for a by the watchmen of the night--a welhuman being to perpetrate what it is come prey, as they receive in Nuremtoo certain that human beings have per- berg half a gulden from the police chest, petrated. The church-yards in most of for every woman they find in the streets the German cities, and too often, I fear, after ten o'clock at night. It was midin those of our own country, are not night, and she was taken to the next more injurions to health than to mora- watch-house. lity. Their former venerable character is no more. The religion of the place † It must surely have been after has followed its superstitions, and their hearing of, or witnessing some similar darkness and loneliness tempt worse event or scene of wretchedness, that spirits to roam in them than those whose the most eloquent of our writers (i nightly wanderings appalled the believe had almost said of our poets) Jeremy ing hearts of our brave forefathers! It Taylor, wrote the following paragraph, was close by the new-made grave of her which at least, in Longinus's sense of father, that the meek and spotless the word, we may place among the daughter became the victim to brutal sublime passages in English literature. violence, which weeping and watching, “ He that is no foul, but can consider and cold and hunger had rendered her wisely, if he be in love with this world, utterly unable to resist. The monster we need not despair that a witty man left her in a trance of stupefaction, and might reconcile him with tortures, and into her right hand, which she had make him think charitably of the rack, clenched convulsively, he had forced a and be brought to admire the harmony half-dollar.
that is made by a herd of evening wolves, “ It was one of the darkest nights of when they miss their draught of blood Autumn:in the deep and dead silence, the in their midnight revels. The groans only sounds audible were the slow blunt of a man in a fit of the stone, are worse ticking of the church clock. and now than all these ; and the distractions of and then the sinking down of bones in a troubled conscience are worse than the nigh charnel house. Maria, when those groans: yet a careless merry sinshe had in some degree recovered her ner is worse than all that. But if we senses, sat upon the grave near which- could from one of the battlements of not her innocence had been sacrificed, heaven espy, how many men and wobut that which, from the frequent admo- men at this time lie fainting and dying nitions and almost the dying words of for want of bread; how many young her father, she had been accustomed to men are hewn down by the sword of consider as such. Guiltless, she felt
war; how many poor orphans are, now the pangs of guilt, and still continued
weeping over the graves of their father, to grasp the coin which the monster had by whose life they were enabled to eat; left in her hand, with an anguish as sore if we could but hear how many mariners as if it had been indeed the wages of and passengers are at this present voluntary prostitution. --Giddyand faint in a storm, and shriek out because their from want of food, her brain becoming keel dashes against a rock, or bulges feverish from sleeplessness, and this under tliem; how many people there unexampled concurrence of calamities, are that weep with want, and are mad, this complication and entanglement of with oppression, or are desperate by