John Clare Memorial

1869

Ketton stone

Helpston, Northamptonshire

Paid for by subscription, this memorial cross is "square below, with rope moulding at the angles and large quatrefoil panels on each face. The next story is also square, turned a quarter round, and supported at each angle by a buttress. The third story is a circular shaft, surmounted by a cone and carved finial" (Markham 61). The verse ("The bard his glory ne'er receives") is from Clare's "To John Milton." On the other two faces, not shown here, are incised, "O let one wish, go where I will, be mine, / To turn me back and wander home to die, / 'Mong nearest friends my latest breath resign, / And in the churchyard with my kindred lie" (from "A Wish"); and, ""The grave its mortal dust may keep, / Where tombs and ashes lie: / Death only shall Time's harvest reap, / For Genius cannot die" (the closing stanza of Clare's "Genius").

Other Views and Related Material

  • Tribute on the base
  • Quotation on the base
  • Clare's grave in St Botolph's churchyard ("A poet is born not made")
  • Photograph by Ann Pilling, 2009, with commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee.

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