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Untitled (Written in Northhampton County Asylum) by John Clare


"Untitled" is a poem written by John Clare. This poem, sometimes refered to as "I am!", was written during Clare's stay in an asylum do to his battle with depression. However, Jane Carlyle described it as a place "to which any sane person would be delighted to be admitted." Actually, Tennyson spent time in the same asylum at the same time as Clare.

"Untitled" is a three stanza poem written with six lines in each for a total of twenty lines. The stanzas each contain the rhyme scheme ABABCC. At first glance, it would seem like Clare is actually rhyming the first stanza as ABABBB; however, it's one of Clare's rhyming trick's he loves to play as a trick upon the reader.


(Written in Northhampton County Asylum)

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.

Next: Autumn
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