‘faiths ’lumind scroll’: Clare and the Scriptures
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‘faiths ’lumind scroll’: Clare and the Scriptures book
In attempting to discern the nature of John Clare's faith, then, one must bear the conditions of its construction in mind. Clare's 'God' repeatedly is described as a 'power', supreme and immortal. The Shepherd's Calendar provides an example of the pervasion of images of a traditional and paternalistic mode of life, inseparably incorporating the Christian religion, in Clare's thought and work. A preoccupation with theological issues is certainly more explicitly evident in the asylum poetry than in that of the pre-asylum era, but its later prevalence emphasises that issues of theological knowledge were deeply entrenched in his mind. Throughout the 1820s, Clare searches for a Christian denomination with which he might share a common creed, and thus true communion. Ironically, Clare's desire for international humanity may well have been bolstered by the Church he criticises, by the 'solicitation of alms' through 'parish briefs'.