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Short poem

William Barnes (1801-1886)

The Wife A-Lost

              1  Since I noo mwore do zee your feäce,
              2    Up steärs or down below,
              3I'll zit me in the lwonesome pleäce,
              4    Where flat-bough'd beech do grow;
              5Below the beeches' bough, my love,
              6    Where you did never come,
              7An' I don't look to meet ye now,
              8    As I do look at hwome.

              9  Since you noo mwore be at my zide,
            10    In walks in zummer het,
            11I'll goo alwone where mist do ride,
            12    Drough trees a-drippèn wet;
            13Below the raïn-wet bough, my love,
            14    Where you did never come,
            15An' I don't grieve to miss ye now,
            16    As I do grieve at hwome.

            17  Since now bezide my dinner-bwoard
            18    Your vaïce do never sound,
            19I'll eat the bit I can avword,
            20    A-vield upon the ground;
            21Below the darksome bough, my love,
            22    Where you did never dine,
            23An' I don't grieve to miss ye now,
            24    As I at hwome do pine.

            25  Since I do miss your vaïce an' feäce
            26    In pra{"y}er at eventide,
            27I'll pray wi' woone sad vaïce vor greäce
            28    To goo where you do bide;
            29Above the tree an' bough, my love,
            30    Where you be gone avore,
            31An' be a-wäitèn vor me now,
            32    To come vor evermwore.


1] Barnes interested Thomas Hardy so much that Hardy edited a selection of his poems in 1908. Snatches of Barnes are found in Hardy's novels, as for instance in the latter part of Far from the Madding Crowd.

19] avword: afford.

20] A-vield: in the field.

27] I'll pray with a sad voice for grace.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: William Barnes, Hwomely Rhymes. A second collection of poems of rural life in the Dorset dialect (1858).
First publication date: 1858
RPO poem editor: J. D. Robins
RP edition: 2RP.2.334; RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2001/11/21

Rhyme: ababcdcd

Other poems by William Barnes