Drinking with John Clare (Ch.1)

Assuaging your thirst with Clare as a drinking companion, with some new ideas on Clare’s ‘madness’.

For at least a thousand years, the Fens had been populated by an ague-stricken people, John Clare being among them from his childhood:
 “Exposure in the ill-drained fields round Helpstone brought on an attack of tertiary ague, from which the boy had scarcely rallied when he was again sent into the fields.”  (Cherry)
In “The Changing Fen” published in 1883, quoting a nineteenth century geographer, we read:
 “fenmen are a thirsty tribe and avail themselves of the excuse of a moist air and bad water to counteract the former, and correct the latter, by potations of as much strong beer as they can procure; while opium eating and brandy drinking … [is] a drain on the pocket of the fenman…”
So the crippling and weakening ague was usually treated with brandy (if you could afford it), but more typically beer and home produced opium.

Clare, being a poor man could only afford beer, and this little collection explores some of his drinking poems.

Drinking with John Clare (Arbour Chapbook No. 1) is available from me at £3.50 + £1.00 postage and packing (UK).  Not sure how much the postage would be to other parts of the world, but I'm sure I can let you know.

Kindle edition (PDF) is £1.50 - just send me a message.