By chance I came across a copy of of the Autumn 2009 issue of Countryside Voice, the magazine of the Campaign To Protect Rural England.
This contained an interesting article, Nature's Interpreter, on John Clare. with some extracts of his poetry. Clare's cottage in the village of Helpston in Cambridgeshire is now a museum.
Details of the cottage and Clare may be found at www.clarecottage.org. On the home page they feature an extract of a poem for the month; it is very appropriate for this time of year:
Sweet are the omens of approaching Spring
When gay the elder sprouts her winged leaves;
When rootling robins carol-welcomes sing,
And sparrows chelp glad tidings from the eaves,
What lovely prospects wait each wakening hour,
When each new day some novelty displays;
How sweet the sun-beam melts the crocus flower,
Whose borrow'd pride shines dizen'd in his rays:
Sweet, new-laid hedges flush their tender greens;
Sweet peep the arum-leaves their shelter screens;
Ah! sweet is all which I am denied to share:
Want's painful hindrance sticks me to her stall:-
But still Hope's smiles unpoint the thorns of Care,
Since Heaven's eternal Spring is free for all.