"If I don't believe in solipsism, who will?" - Al Batt

Monday, February 14, 2011


When midnight comes a host of dogs and men
Go out and track the badger to his den,
And put a sack within the hole, and lie
Till the old grunting badger passes by.
He comes an hears - they let the strongest loose.
The old fox gears the noise and drops the goose.
The poacher shoots and hurries from the cry,
And the old hare half wounded buzzes by.
They get a forked stick to bear him down
And clap the dogs and take him to the town,
And bait him all the day with many dogs,
And laugh and shout and fright the scampering hogs.
He runs along and bites at all he meets:
They shout and hollo down the noisy streets.

He turns about to face the loud uproar
And drives the rebels to their very door.
The frequent stone is hurled where'er they go;
When badgers fight, then everyone's a foe.
The dogs are clapped and urged to join the fray'
The badger turns and drives them all away.
Though scarcely half as big, demure and small,
He fights with dogs for hours and beats them all.
The heavy mastiff, savage in the fray,
Lies down and licks his feet and turns away.
The bulldog knows his match and waxes cold,
The badger grins and never leaves his hold.
He drives the crowd and follows at their heels
And bites them through - the drunkard swears and reels

The frighted women take the boys away,
The blackguard laughs and hurries on the fray.
He tries to reach the woods, and awkward race,
But sticks and cudgels quickly stop the chase.
He turns again and drives the noisy crowd
And beats the many dogs in noises loud.
He drives away and beats them every one,
And then they loose them all and set them on.
He falls as dead and kicked by boys and men,
Then starts and grins and drives the crowd again;
Till kicked and torn and beaten out he lies
And leaves his hold and crackles, groans, and dies.

John Clare


Oldfool said...

I've always had a warm spot in my heart for badgers but not as a pet.
The BAD in BADgers is like the BAD in BADass.

Gunnar Berg said...

BADass. I think this is which John Caletti spoke of when called Erik Noren a badger. But I do not know, maybe he thinks Erik is a small brown furry animal.

Anonymous said...

There are many typos . . . it's hard to say because Clare was an uneducated peasant. But I think, for instance, it's "cackles" rather than "crackles." Eric, do you ever have an overwhelming urge to cackle at the crowd which is trying to gang up on you with forked sticks and such?


Gunnar Berg said...

I like "crackles". I tend to identify with the uneducated peasant. Chickens cackle. I think he wrote exactly what he wanted to say.

"Crackles - crepitations, or rales are the clicking, rattling, or crackling noises that may be made by one or both lungs of a human with a respiratory disease."

Yep, it was crackles.

typos - s/b "Erik". Minnesota ya know.

Silk Hope said...
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