Compiled by John Goodridge
(c) copyright John Goodridge, December 1999.
This index may be freely copied and distributed,
providing this notice is included in any copies made.

Go To: First Line Index  


   I began compiling this index as a reference tool when I was co-writing the essay 'John Clare the Trespasser', and I have subsequently added information to it piecemeal as new publications appeared or the spirit moved me. It is important to stress that it is a draft document, work in progress. Because of the (staggering) amount of work involved, it is not yet complete, and has never been fully checked, cross-checked or indeed proof-read. It is therefore likely to contain errors. In particular, the (very limited) manuscript citations are based on the work of Margaret Grainger, David Powell and Barbara Rosenbaum, and should now be corrected to the OET edition, which has much more accurate and precise information. Reference to early, particularly newspaper, publication is also far from complete, as is private and art press production. All information drawn from this index should therefore be cross-checked with other sources, and I would greatly welcome (and acknowledge) corrections, however small. I am making it available on the Clare web page because even in this rough state it is a very useful tool, providing vital information on Clare which would not otherwise normally be available to scholars--certainly not (as this is) in one alphabetical sequence, and in an electronically-readable form.

The aim of the index is to offer as complete as possible a guide to Clare's poetry in all its published and manuscript forms. To 'complete' it (the scare quotes are necessary, as one can never quite complete such a job) one would need to track down more publications, add titles as well as first lines, and check it all through properly. In the meantime I shall be very grateful for corrections and suggestions from readers, which will be acknowledged in later versions. So far, thanks are due to Bob Heyes for supplying materials and advice with his usual generosity, to Simon K๖vesi for doing some useful statistical road-testing on the index and for getting it on the Clare Web Page, and to Tom Ryder for some careful corrections.

Upgrading the index / contacting me

This version of the index, dated 1 December 1999, offers a number of small corrections, sorts out the glitch in 'the O' entries, and indexes two very fine new editions of Clare: Simon K๖vesi, Love Poems ('K'), and Tim Chilcott, The Living Year 1841 ('C'). If you would like to receive a printed or a disc version (DOS or Mac), or if you have information on publications, corrections, additions, suggestions or comments, please contact me:

Dr John Goodridge, The Clare Forum, Department of English & Media Studies,

The Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Lane, Nottingham NG11 8NS

Phone: (0)115 9418418; fax: (0)115 9486632; email: john.goodridge@ntu.ac.uk

I can also supply copies of an 'opening words' index of Clare's autobiographical writings, and a fully up-to-date index for the John Clare Society Journal.

Statistical information

Many useful statistics can be drawn from an index of this sort, especially if you can use computer search facilities. Here are some basic statistics I have compiled, firstly on the subject of publication. Each has a very small margin of error. There are also an unchecked number (certainly in double figures) of 'ghost' entries, where the compiler has either failed to recognise, or has decided for one reason or another not to exclude, a 'false' first line of an extract taken from the middle of a longer poem.

The index has 3628 entries. It cites the first lines of 3,556 poems and fragments, which after allowing for 'ghosts' may be regarded as Clare's total known, extant output of verse. It also gives 72 cross-references, mainly to account for extracts which do not begin at the first line of a poem (main entries for these are filed under the first line of the poem not the extract), or for alphabetically significant first-line variants of spelling and wording. Of the poems and fragments cited, main publication has been as follows:

• The Tibbles (1935) published 890 poems

• The OET edition has so far published 2,754 poems and fragments, as follows:

EP: 720 (including one un-indexed in the footnotes); LP: 1154; MP I-II 433 (including 120 un-indexed fragments, which are indexed here for the first time); MP III-IV 447

• The Carcanet/MidNAG Clare programme has so far published 596 poems: CT: 12, MC: 362, NS: 214, RM: 8 [124 RM poems are also in MC]

• Among the popular selections, the best value is the Oxford Authors at 352 poems plus some useful prose (but you get slightly more poems, 361, in The Midsummer Cushion), followed by the Penguin at 196 poems

• Clare's first collection, Poems Descriptive, contained in its 4th edition 70 poems

• Among older selections, Xenophontos has 169 poems and extracts

• Among specialist editions, Brian Patten's Clare's Countryside (CC) is fairly representative, giving 51 poems and extracts, plus a few pieces of prose

• The best selection I have found in a general anthology is 26 poems in V (but anthology sources have not been thoroughly researched, which they need to be).

There is considerable overlap between these editions, and the figure for poems which have never been published has not yet been extracted (it has to be done manually).

Another interesting area is opening words Clare frequently uses. For example:

• 15 poems or fragments begin with the words 'How beautiful...'

• 53 begin with 'I love...' and 6 with 'I loved...' (from a total of 192 beginning 'I...').

• 975, almost a third, begin with a definite article, 'The...'

• 74 begin with the indefinite article 'A...'.

• 19 poems or fragments begin 'Ah...', 237 begin 'Oh...' or (Clare's preferred spelling) 'O...'

• 60 poems or fragments begin with 'And...' or an ampersand.

• 15 poems begin 'Mary...', a name mentioned altogether 49 times in first lines.

• 29 poems begin 'Here...' (or 'Heres...'), and 66 begin 'Now...'

• 55 begin with 'Sweet...' (or one of its derivatives).

• 78 poems begin with 'There...' or 'Theres...'.

Much more might be done on this, and a concordance of the first lines would be a useful thing, if anyone has the programming skills needed.



For each entry the the first line is given in full, with any significant major variants or other irregularities noted in square brackets (this is a finding guide not an edition, so the text will be cited in the commonest, not necessarily the 'best', form). This is followed by a comma, and then by italicised (in the printed version) citations of any manuscripts of the text, first at Peterborough using the letter-number system plus page or folio, e.g. 'A46 12' for Peterborough manuscript number A46, page or folio 12, then at Northampton using the standard numbers plus volumes and pages/folios, e.g. '4 50' for Northampton manuscript number 4, page or folio 50. Any other manuscripts are then listed, using standard short references and including bracketed 'ClJ' Index of English Literary Manuscripts sigla, e.g. Turnbull Library Misc MS 275 (ClJ 1). After the manuscript citations, in roman, are listed all publications of the text that I have traced, in (approximately) publication order. Each is indicated by a standard abbreviation (see above), a volume number where applicable in Roman numerals, and a page number. All citations, manuscript and printed text, are separated by semi-colons.


The scale of the index and Clare's habit of using certain opening words repeatedly, sometimes in variant forms, necessitates a few non-standard practices in alphabeticisation. Where there are variant spellings of a first word, all entries beginning for that word are filed under the predominant spelling (e.g. poems beginning 'Oh' are filed under the commoner 'O', 'though' under 'tho',). Where Clare has separated elements in a compound word a word into syllables (e.g. 'school boy') or has merged two words or otherwise used non-standard forms, entries are filed under the commonest usage. Contractions which Clare habitually runs together, such as 'I've' / 'Ive', ''I'll' / 'Ill', love's' / 'loves', are treated for filing purposes as a single 'merged' word. Where major variants, or minor ones that might cause confusion, exist, square bracketted cross-references are used, e.g.: [Again I'll take my idle pen: see Agen I'll take my idle pen].




BL Eg Egerton manuscripts, British Library

ClJ number This is the siglum used for Clare by the Index of English Literary Manuscripts, used here to identify manuscripts that are not in the two main collections at Peterborough and Northampton

number Manuscripts in the Northampton Collection at Northampton Central Library are indicated by a simple number, in the range 1-415, with each number followed by a dash and a page reference. If there is more than one citation, each is separated by a comma. In the case of MS 20, however, the Knight Transcripts, there are two separately paginated volumes, so the citations also include a vol. no., I or II. Thus 20-II-159 indicates a text on p. 159 of volume II of the Knight transcripts.

A-Hnumber Manuscripts in the Peterborough Collection at the Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery are here indicated by their letter (in the range A-H) their number, run together, with each number followed by a dash and a page reference. As with Northampton manuscripts, multiple citations are separated with a comma. Manuscripts C3-4 are copies of the Knight transcripts at Northampton (MS 20): both are cited.

Manuscript catalogues

Grainger Margaret Grainger, A Descriptive Catalogue of the John Clare Collection in Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery (Peterborough, 1973)

Powell [David Powell], Catalogue of the John Clare Collection in the Northampton Public Library (Northampton, 1964, with Supplement, 1971)

Rosenbaum Barbara Rosenbaum, 'John Clare 1793-1864', The Index of English Literary Manuscripts, Volume IV, 1800-1900, Part I, Arnold-Gissing (1982), pp. 423-58

Printed Books

AS Arthur Symons, Poems by John Clare (London: Henry Frowde, 1908); reprinted as The Works of John Clare, Introduction and Bibliography by John Goodridge (Ware, Herts: Wordsworth Classics, 1995)

AW John Clare's Autobiographical Writings, ed. Eric Robinson (Oxford, 1983, 1986)

B John Clare, Selected Poems, ed. Ian Hamilton (London: Bloomsbury Poetry Classics, 1996)

B & B The Penguin Book of Pastoral Poetry, ed. John Barrell and John Bull (Penguin, 1974)

BN Bird's Nest: Poems by John Clare, ed. Anne Tibble (Ashington: Mid-NAG, 1973)

BP John Clare, Bird Poems, introduced by Peter Levi (London: Folio Society, 1980)

C Tim Chilcott (ed), John Clare, The Living Year, 1841 (Nottingham: Trent Editions, 1999)

Ch J.L. Cherry, Life and Remains of John Clare (London and Northampton: Frederick Warne and J. Taylor and Son, 1873)

CC Clare's Countryside, Selected and Introduced by Brian Patten, ed. Eric Robinson (London: Heinemann/Quixote Press, 1981)

CK The Essential Clare, ed. Caroline Kizer (Ecco Press, 1993)

CSPP Clare: Selected Poems and Prose (New Oxford English Series, 1966, 1970, 1972), ed. Eric Robinson and Geoffrey Summerfield

CT John Clare, Cottage Tales, ed. Eric Robinson, David Powell and P.M.S. Dawson (Ashington and Manchester: Mid-NAG and Carcanet, 1993)

DW Dwellers in the Wood: Two Poems by John Clare with Drawings by Harold Goodwin (New York and London: The Macmillan Company and Collier Macmillan, 1967)

E John Clare, Selected Poems, ed. R.K.R. Thornton (Everyman's Poetry, 1997)

EF John Clare, Selected Poems, ed. Elaine Feinstein (1968)

EP The Early Poems of John Clare 1804-1822, ed. Eric Robinson, David Powell and Margaret Grainger (Oxford, 2 volumes, I-II, 1989)

FT George Deacon, John Clare and the Folk Tradition (1983)

FW E. Foster (ed), Cyclopaedia of Poetry (London: Funk and Wagnall, 1880), Second Series

GG Selected Poems of John Clare, ed. Geoffrey Grigson (1950)

GS John Clare, Selected Poetry, ed. Geoffrey Summerfield (Penguin, 1990)

JC John Clare (Kettering: J.L. Carr, 1964)

JCB John Clare's Birds, ed. Eric Robinson and Richard Fitter (1982)

JCSC John Clare, The Shepherd's Calendar (Phoenix, 1996, abridged from TSP)

JR James Reeves, Selected Poems of John Clare (London: Heinemann, 1954)

K Simon K๖vesi (ed), John Clare: Love Poems (Bangkok: M & C Services, 1999)

L The Letters of John Clare, ed. Mark Storey (1985)

LC Leonard Clark (ed), Selected Poems of John Clare (1964)

LP The Later Poems of John Clare 1837-1864, ed. Eric Robinson and David Powell (Oxford, 2 volumes, I-II, 1984)

LPJC The Later Poems of John Clare, ed. Eric Robinson and Geoffrey Summerfield (Manchester University Press, 1964)

LPL Leonard Clark (ed), John Clare (Longman's Poetry Library, 1969)

MaC Edmund Blunden (ed), Madrigals and Chronicles: Being newly found Poems written by John Clare (Beaumont Press, 1924)

MC John Clare, The Midsummer Cushion, ed. Kelsey Thornton and Anne Tibble (Ashington and Manchester: Mid-NAG and Carcanet, 1979, revised second edition, 1990)

MP John Clare, Poems of the Middle Period, ed. Eric Robinson, David Powell and P.M.S. Dawson, Volumes I-II (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996); Volumes III-IV (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998)

NG Poems by John Clare, ed. Norman Gale (Rugby: George E. Over, 1901)

NH The Natural History Prose Writings of John Clare, ed. Margaret Grainger (Oxford, 1983)

NS John Clare, Northborough Sonnets, ed. Eric Robinson, David Powell and P.M.S. Dawson (Ashington/Manchester: Mid-NAG/Carcanet, 1995)

OA The Oxford Authors: John Clare, ed. Eric Robinson and David Powell (Oxford, 1984)

OS Saunders, Dennis (compiler), Out of School: an Anthology of Poems (London: Evans Brothers, 1972),

PA John Clare, The Parish, ed. Eric Robinson (Viking, 1985)

PCFM John Clare, Poems: Chiefly from Manuscript, ed. Edmund Blunden and Alan Porter (London: Cobden-Sanderson, 1920)

PD John Clare, Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery (1820), reprint [from the fourth edition] (Freckenham, Bury St Edmunds: Lark Publications, 1986)

PJCM Poems of John Clare's Madness, ed. Geoffrey Grigson (RKP, 1949)

PM Peter Moyse, John Clare, the Poet and the Place (Helpston: the Crossberry Press, 1993)

PR Poetry of the Romantics, selected by Paul Driver (Penguin Popular Poetry, 1995, 1996)

RM John Clare, The Rural Muse (1835), second edition, ed. R. K. R. Thornton (Ashington and Manchester, 1982)

SC John Clare, The Shepherd's Calendar, ed. Eric Robinson, Geoffrey Summerfield and David Powell (1964, revised edition, 1973)

SCVS The Shepherd's Calendar, with Village Stories, and Other Poems (1827), reprinted with an Introduction by Jonathan Wordsworth (Oxford: Woodstock Books, 1991)

SPP Selected Poems and Prose of John Clare, ed. Eric Robinson and Geoffrey Summerfield (Oxford, 1967, 1978)

T The Poems of John Clare, ed. J. W. Tibble (2 volumes, Dent, 1935)

TSP John Clare, Selected Poems, ed. J.W. and Anne Tibble (Everyman, 1965)

V The New Oxford Book of Victorian Verse, ed. Christopher Ricks (1987)

VFHC John Clare, Verses for His Children (Market Drayton: Tern Press, 1993)

VM The Village Minstrel, and Other Poems (2 volumes, 1821)

W John Clare, Selected Poetry and Prose, ed. Merryn and Raymond Williams (London: Methuen, 1986)

WS John Clare, The Wood is Sweet: Poems for Younger Readers, ed. David Powell, Introducedby Edmund Blunden (London: The Bodley head, 1966)

WSWW John Clare, Woman, Sweet Witchingly Woman (Market Drayton: Tern Press, 1993)

X Life and Works of John Clare, ed. Costas Xenophontos (privately printed, 1966)


JCSJ The John Clare Society Journal (Helpston: John Clare Society, from 1982)

LM The London Magazine

UBS University of Buffalo Studies

YULG Yale University Library Gazette


This version dated 1 December 1999