Poverty

By John Clare

Rank Poverty! dost thou my joys assail,
And with thy threat’nings fright me from my rest?
I once had thoughts, that with a Bloomfield’s tale,
And leisure hours, I surely should be blest;
But now I find the sadly-alter’d scene,
From these few days I fondly thought my own,
Hoping to spend them private and alone,
But, lo! thy troop of spectres intervene:
Want shows his face, with Idleness between,
Next Shame’s approaching step, that hates the throng,
Comes sneaking on, with Sloth that fetters strong.
Are these the joys my leisure hours must glean?
Then I decline:–but know where’er we meet,
Ye ne’er shall drive me from the Muses’ seat.

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