John Clare: First Love

Pati Bannister - Hollyhocks - from

Pati Bannister – Hollyhocks – from

This is probably one of the best-known poems of John Clare, again from the collection Asylum Poems that he wrote while he was interned in a lunatic asylum.

Although Clare was no more a young man when he wrote it, this poem expresses very well the emotions of a young teenager experiencing love for the first time.

First Love

I ne’er was struck before that hour
♥ ♥ With love so sudden and so sweet.
Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower
♥ ♥ And stole my heart away complete.
My face turned pale as deadly pale,
♥ ♥ My legs refused to walk away,
And when she looked “what could I ail?”
♥ ♥ My life and all seemed turned to clay.

And then my blood rushed to my face
♥ ♥ And took my sight away.
The trees and bushes round the place
♥ ♥ Seemed midnight at noonday.
I could not see a single thing,
♥ ♥ Words from my eyes did start;
They spoke as chords do from the string
♥ ♥ And blood burnt round my heart.

Are flowers the winter’s choice?
♥ ♥ Is love’s bed always snow?
She seemed to hear my silent voice
♥ ♥ And love’s appeal to know.
I never saw so sweet a face
♥ ♥ As that I stood before:
My heart has left its dwelling-place
♥ ♥ And can return no more.

Patty Szymkowicz - L*o*v*e - from

Patty Szymkowicz – L*o*v*e – from

Source of the poem: Poems Chiefly from Manuscript by John Clare, copied from the Project Gutenberg ebook, see also the digitization of the original on Internet Archive.
Note: The image of the fabric with the little girl comes from the post L*o*v*e by Patty Szymkowicz, which ends with a quote of the four first lines of First Love. That is how I discovered both the poem and the poet John Clare!


4 thoughts on “John Clare: First Love

    • You are welcome.
      And thank you for the quote of the poem, which led me to discover John Clare and his collection Asylum Poems, a real treasure!


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