I suppose because we missed the beginning of the year – far away around the other side of the world in January and February, the year seems very short and hardly believable that we have passed the halfway mark of the year.

However, it is July… not Quintus as the Romans called it before changing its name to honour Julius Caesar. According to statistics, it should be the warmest month of the year, which surprised me as I thought that would be August… however when I think back to being at school, it always seemed roasting hot when we were sitting in stuffy classrooms and halls doing our end of year exams.

Here, John Clare celebrates this month:

July the month of summers prime
Again resumes her busy time
Scythes tinkle in each grassy dell
Where solitude was wont to dwell
And meadows they are mad with noise
Of laughing maids and shouting boys
Making up the withering hay
With merry hearts as light as play
The very insects on the ground
So nimbly bustle all around
Among the grass or dusty soil
They seem partakers in the toil
The very landscape reels with life
While mid the busy stir and strife
Of industry the shepherd still
Enjoys his summer dreams at will
Bent oer his hook or listless laid
Beneath the pastures willow shade
Whose foliage shines so cool and grey
Amid the sultry hues of day
As if the mornings misty veil
Yet lingered in their shadows pale
Or lolling in a musing mood
On mounds where saxon castles stood
Upon whose deeply buried walls
The ivyed oaks dark shadow falls
Oft picking up with wondering gaze
Some little thing of other days
Saved from the wreck of time-as beads
Or broken pots among the weeds
Of curious shapes-and many a stone
Of roman pavements thickly sown
Oft hoping as he searches round
That buried riches may be found

John Clare (1793 – 1864)

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