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John Clare (1793 – 1864) was a farm labourer in the village of Helpstone, Northamptonshire, who became arguably England’s greatest nature poet. He rose to fame when his ‘Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery’ was published in 1820. His language preserves many local dialect words in a mixture of classical forms and heart-felt love of country life and nature. The poems in this collection are from his early career, and are largely free of pointers to his later mental illness.