John Clare was born on July 13, 1793, in Northamptonshire, England. Regarded for his poems about nature, his books include Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery (Taylor and Hessey, 1820) and The Village Minstrel, and Other Poems (Taylor and Hessey, 1821). He worked as a farm laborer and gardner until his health declined. In 1837, he entered an asylum and remained institutionalized until his death on May 20, 1864.
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Darkness like midnight from the sobbing woods
Clamours with dismal tidings of the rain,
Roaring as rivers breaking loose in floods
To spread and foam and deluge all the plain.
The cotter listens at his door again,
Half doubting whether it be floods or wind,
And through the thickening darkness looks afraid,
Thinking of roads that travel has to find
Through night's black depths in danger's garb arrayed.
And the loud glabber round the flaze soon stops
When hushed to silence by the lifted hand
Of fearing dame who hears the noise in dread
And thinks a deluge comes to drown the land;
Nor dares she go to bed until the tempest drops.