Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Clare John

Clare, John, the son of a farm labourer, was born at Helpstone, near Peterborough, in 1793. Whilst engaged in the humblest rural tasks he contrived to get a little education, but his erratic habits drove him before he was 18 to seek parish relief. In 1818 A Sonnet to the Setting Sun attracted the attention of a Stamford bookseller, and led to the publication in 1820 of his Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery, followed in the next year by his Village Minstrel and Other Poems. He was much patronised by local admirers, and seems to have been upset by his success, which was not, however, so great as to put him above the necessity of labour. The Shepherd's Calendar, which came out in 1827, fell flat, and The Rural Muse, appearing nine years later, proved a failure. Disappointment unhinged his mind, and for nearly five-and-twenty years he was more or less under restraint, dying in 1864 in the Northampton County Asylum, where he wrote his most touching lines beginning "I am! yet what I am who cares to know?" His works are almost forgotten, for though sweet, delicate, and pure, they lack vigour and originality.