349. Robert Bloomfield to John
Clare, 25 July 1820*
Brother bard and fellow labourer,
Some weeks past Mr
Drury of Stamford sent me your Vollm.  and I have only been prevented
from answering by ill health, which began in January and seems to threaten a
longer continuance. I am however very glad to have lived to see your poems: they
have given me and my family an uncommon pleasure, and, they will have the same
effect on all kindred minds and that's enough; for, as for writing rhimes for
Clods and sticks and expecting them to read them, I never found any fun in that
in all my life, and I have past your age 26 years. I am delighted with your
'Address to the Lark', 'Summer Morning', and 'Evening'  &c &c. in fact I had
better not turn critic in my first letter, but say the truth, that nothing upon
the great theatre of what is called the world (our English world) can give me
half the pleasure I feel at seeing a man start up from the humble walks of life
and show himself to be what I think you are,—What that is, ask a higher
power,—for though learning is not to be contemn'd it did not give you this. I
must write to Mr. Drury, and Mr.
Clayton but not now, I am far from well—have just been walking amidst the most
luxuriant crops with my eldest
daughter and two sons,  but find myself tired.
Let nothing prevent you from writing, for though I cannot further
your interest I can feel an interest in it, and I assure you I do.
I am heartily tired, (not of my subject) and must beg you to
accept my congratulations and my wishes for your health, which I find after all
is one of the most essential blessings of life.
P.S. I have written this on 'My Old Oak Table'  and I
think you know what I mean.
Address: To Mr. John Clare, / Poet, / Helpston near Peterborough, / Northamptonshire
* BL MS Eg. 2245, f.
 Clare's Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and
Scenery (London, 1820). BACK
 'Address to the Lark, singing in Winter', 'Summer Morning',
'Summer Evening' are all to be found in Poems Descriptive of Rural
Life and Scenery. BACK
Bloomfield and Robert Henry Bloomfield. BACK
 Bloomfield alludes to his poem, 'To My Old
Oak Table' (published in Wild Flowers), describing the
table on which he wrote The Farmer's Boy. BACK