Clare’s The Shepherd’s Calendar (1827) works—creatively and innovatively—in the tradition of Edmund Spenser’s The Shepheardes Calendar (1579). Both poems deploy each of the twelve months of the year to focus on pastoral subjects and themes. Clare’s poem is a document of considerable formal dexterity; in the different months of The Shepherd’s Calendar he utilises, variously, iambic pentameter and octosyllabic couplets, Spenserian stanzas (in “November”), and ababcdcd stanza rhyme schemes in his celebratory stance towards a range of rural customs and intimate and engaging delineations of rural labour.
As well as Spenser, and a small number of now rather obscure poems—Tim Chilcott (34 –5) mentions works by James Grahame (The Rural Calendar, 1797) and James Hurdis (The
Citation: White, Adam. "The Shepherd’s Calendar". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 03 August 2018 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=38858, accessed 09 December 2023.]