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The Yellowhammer’s Nest

“The Yellowhammer’s Nest” is a very famous poem written by John Clare. Here the poet probably is talking about the nest of birds. This is a long poem compared to his other poems.

Table of Contents


This poem consists of a total of thirty lines. The poem is getting started with a sense of a sea voyage whereby the two brigs a bird is flying away.

The cowboy scrambles the dost of frit to let the dewberry fall. The bird will come up and will repair its nest again and for that, it will waste dewberries.

“‘Tis scarcely deep enough a bee to drown,
So it sings harmless o’er its pebbly bed
—Ay here it is, stuck close beside the bank
Beneath the bunch of grass that spindles rank'”

This image is very scary and deep enough because the bees gathered there for tasting these fruits. They sing a song harmlessly by sitting at their bed which is beneath the grass and above the mud.

The Yellowhammer Bird
The Yellowhammer Bird

Thus the poem is basically telling the readers about the sweet melody of bees. It grows up with seeds and they also helped the farmers to grow seeds and harvest. Even after that, they let it grow like a bunch of hair tales of the horse.

Later the poet comes to an image where five are getting pen-scribbled in the field with their shells. This scenario makes the poet remember Poesy as it is messed up.

“They are the yellowhammer’s and she dwells
Most poet-like where brooks and flowery weeds
As sweet as Castaly to fancy seems
And that old molehill like as Parnass’ hill”

They are called the yellowhammers who are doing pieces of stuff and dwells. They are liked by most of the poets because they stay beside the bank of the stream and flowery weeds.

That seems like a romanticism, the poet also stays forward to it. The scene is as beautiful as Castaly and the old molehill get changed with their melody, transforms into Parnass’ hill. This is how the poem is going forward.

By sitting on the hill her partner will see the world and will dream of happy sun, flowers, and a beautiful world. This line is where romanticism is getting reflected.

“For snakes are known with chill and deadly coil
To watch such nests and seize the helpless young,
And like as though the plague became a guest,
Leaving a houseless home, a ruined nest—”

The snakes that were on the hill are chill and deadly coil. They seize and to watch the nests they remain calm. Their plague has arrived as a guest a leaves a house manless.

So Plague is a disease that takes people to death. Here, in the end, the poet is echoing a melancholy because of the disease. Later John Clare states that a mournful sense comes and takes away the pleasures from the minds. This is how the poem is ending here.


The poem mainly points out nature and its factors. The title “The Yellowhammer’s Nest” is symbolizing that probably the poem would consist of a nice story of a bird.

Analysis of the Poem
Analysis of the Poem

Yes, the poem gets started with that sense and birds are flying, and Dewberries are lying on the ground. Later the poet changes his motive and it becomes serious in that manner.

In the last portion of the poem, John Clare suddenly talks about the hill and thereafter writes about the deadly disease Plague that takes the hearts away. So, not only romanticism a melancholy is also there.


The primary theme that comes at the very beginning is romanticism and naturality. Clare describes nature, the bird, and its singing voice.

These all are part of romanticism. Thus, Clare goes forward and later in the last part, speaks about Plague, a deadly disease that takes away many lives. So, in the very last segment, the readers are getting introduced to another melancholy theme.

Literary Devices

Literary devices are the part of a poem on which a poem generally stands. Besides them, the rhyming pattern also plays a huge role. Here, John Clare uses a particular rhyming pattern “abacbc”. Some lines are not matching with these rhyme schemes.

Now there we can see many literary devices that help the readers to understand the exact meaning of the poem and sometimes make the content much rich.

Syncope is a literary device that is a writing style where a word usually being written with the use of the apostrophe.

“o’er”, ” ’tis”, “Parnass’ “, etc.

Then comes Alliteration, which refers to the repetition of a single sound in a particular line. For example,

” the wooden brig a bird flew up,”

Personification is another literary device that is being used in the poem to speak in something else through another speech,

“And mournful hath the little warblers sang”

After that symbolism also comes that is used to symbolize something.

“though the plague became a guest,”

This is written in a symbolic tone.

A poetic Simile is also a literary device used for comparison, like,

“And that old molehill like as Parnass’ hill”

So, these are all the relevant literary devices that worked well in poetry.