John Clare


Birthday July 13, 1793

Birth Sign Cancer

Birthplace England

DEATH DATE May 20, 1864 (70)

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Nineteenth-century poet best known for "I Am" and other metaphysical, nature-themed, and romantic poems. His poetry collections include Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery, The Rural Muse, and The Village Minstrel.

Before Fame

He held a number of odd jobs, including lime kiln worker and militia member, and he even spent time in a Gypsy camp.


He had little education and was known during his lifetime as "The Northamptonshire Peasant Poet."

Family Life

His father worked on a farm in rural England, and Clare grew up malnourished and poor.

Associated With

He was committed to a mental institution following a violent outburst during a performance of William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. While confined to the asylum, he also claimed to be William Shakespeare.