John Clare poem set to fetch thousands at auction

The poem written and signed by John Clare
The poem written and signed by John Clare
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An unpublished verse written by the Peasant Poet John Clare is expected to fetch thousands of pounds at auction.

The unpublished and unrecorded 12-line poem, will go under the hammer at Bonhams in London on April 10, nearly 200 years after it was penned, and has been given an estimate of between £3,500 and £4,000.

The handwritten piece was dashed off by Helpston-born Clare in 1827 and is addressed : “To my friend,
F Simpson junior,of Stamford.”

The verse includes the lines : “Dear Frank against thy Work I place

“These dull & feeble verses

“& neath thy merits modest light

“his dullness half disperses.”

Simpson was a close friend of Clare and was mayor of Stamford between 1853 and 1854.

It is thought the John Clare Trust or Peterborough Museum, which owns the largest collection of Clare manuscripts, could bid for the poem.

John Clare was born at West Street, Helpston on July 13,1793 and died at Northampton General Lunatic Asylum on May 20,1864

He is regarded as one of Britain’s most important poets, and has a memorial at Poets Corner in Westminster Abbey.

The poem is among 263 poetical manuscripts and portraits of poets put up 
for sale by Oxfordshire collector Roy Davids and which are set to fetch between £600,000 and £800,000 at the auction.