Samuel Palmer, 'The Curfew'
Oxford was very beautiful today, in the sunshine, but absolutely full of people - no rest or quiet anywhere. So many people, all with places to go and happy purposes and people who love them; so many books in Blackwell's, all new and special and important; and then me, just kind of getting in the way. So here I am adding to the noise by posting this, by John Clare:
I am; yet what I am who cares, or knows?
My friends forsake me like a memory lost.
I am the self-consumer of my woes;
They rise and vanish, an oblivious host,
Shadows of life, whose very soul is lost.
And yet I am — I live — though I am toss'd
Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dream,
Where there is neither sense of life, nor joys,
But the huge shipwreck of my own esteem
And all that's dear. Even those I loved the best
Are strange — nay, they are stranger than the rest.
I long for scenes where man has never trod —
For scenes where woman never smiled or wept —
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Full of high thoughts, unborn. So let me lie, —
The grass below; above, the vaulted sky.