Clare's `The Shepherd's Calendar' has become the classic poem of English rural life and ceremony. It was accompanied, when first published, by other poems, pastorals and verse-tales, all of which appear in these two volumes, along with many others which were not selected for publication in1827. Clare's first editors also tidied up and standardized his vocabulary, grammar and spelling, but his original language has here been restored. By the later 1820s Clare had developed his own distinctive idiom and had adopted a more powerful voice. These volumes will make an importantcontribution to the ongoing assessment of Clare as a major English poet. This is the first of five volumes devoted to Clare's `middle period', between 1822 and 1837, arguably the years of his finest creativity. These Poems of the Middle Period, which will complete the nine volume series of Clare's work, reveal the poet at his best.