First Love by John Clare Analysis

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“First Love” by John Clare The speaker of the poem “First Love” is John Clare. John Clare grew up in the Northamptonshire village of Helpston, England, where the rustic countryside was to provide him with inspiration for most of his poetry. As the only son of impoverished field laborers, Clare spent his childhood on the farm working to help support his family. Consequently, his formal education was limited to three months a year, first at a small school in his native village and later at a school in nearby Glinton. Clare's poetic talent was nourished by his parents' knowledge of folk ballads as well as by his own reading of the works of the eighteenth-century poet James Thomson, whose long poem, The Seasons, inspired Clare to write verse. At age fourteen, Clare's formal education ended when financial hardship obliged him to obtain permanent employment outside his family. In 1809, while working at the Blue Bell Inn in Helpston, Clare fell in love with Mary Joyce, the daughter of a wealthy farmer. Mary's father quickly broke off the relationship because of Clare's inferior social status. Clare rebounded from this disappointment, eventually meeting, marrying, and having children with Martha ("Patty") Turner. However, the memory of his first love never left him, and Mary Joyce became the subject of many of Clare's poems. The place setting of the poem is unknown, because there is no any words or symbols that show where the poem takes place. There is a phrase “The trees and bushes round the place” in the third line of the second stanza, but the word “place” does not refer to a specific place. From the phrase “Seemed midnight at noonday”, we can figure out that the time when the poem happens is around 12 AM to 1 PM. It can be seen from the word “noonday”, because the time interval which we called “noon” is around 12 AM to 1 PM. The rhythm is generally composed of

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