After Reading In A Letter Proposals For Building A Cottage
Beside a runnel build my shed,
With stubbles cover'd o'er;
Let broad oaks o'er its chimney spread,
And grass-plats grace the door.
The door may open with a string,
So that it closes tight;
And locks would be a wanted thing,
To keep out thieves at night.
A little garden, not too fine,
Inclose with painted pales;
And woodbines, round the cot to twine,
Pin to the wall with nails.
Let hazels grow, and spindling sedge,
Bent bowering over-head;
Dig old man's beard from woodland hedge,
To twine a summer shade.
Beside the threshold sods provide,
And build a summer seat;
Plant sweet-briar bushes by its side,
And flowers that blossom sweet.
I love the sparrow's ways to watch
Upon the cotter's sheds,
So here and there pull out the thatch,
That they may hide their heads.
And as the sweeping swallows stop
Their flights along the green,
Leave holes within the chimney-top
To paste their nest between.
Stick shelves and cupboards round the hut,
In all the holes and nooks;
Nor in the corner fail to put
A cupboard for the books.
Along the floor some sand I'll sift,
To make it fit to live in;
And then I'll thank ye for the gift,
As something worth the giving.
John Clare (1793-1864)