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Short poem

William Barnes (1801-1886)

Woak Hill

              1  When sycamore leaves wer a-spreadèn
              2    Green-ruddy in hedges,
              3Bezide the red doust o' the ridges,
              4    A-dried at Woak Hill;

              5  I packed up my goods all a sheenèn
              6    Wi' long years o' handlèn,
              7On dousty red wheel ov a waggon,
              8    To ride at Woak Hill.

              9  The brown thatchen ruf o' the dwellèn,
            10    I then wer a-leävèn,
            11Had shelter'd the sleek head o' Meäry,
            12    My bride at Woak Hill.

            13  But now vor zome years, her light voot-vall
            14    'S a-lost vrom the vloorèn.
            15Too soon vor my ja{"y} an' my childern,
            16    She died at Woak Hill.

            17  But still I do think that, in soul,
            18    She do hover about us;
            19To ho vor her motherless childern,
            20    Her pride at Woak Hill.

            21  Zoo--lest she should tell me hereafter
            22    I stole off 'ithout her,
            23An' left her, uncall'd at house-riddèn,
            24    To bide at Woak Hill--

            25  I call'd her so fondly, wi' lippèns
            26    All soundless to others,
            27An' took her wi' aïr-reachèn hand,
            28    To my zide at Woak Hill.

            29  On the road I did look round, a-talkèn
            30    To light at my shoulder,
            31An' then led her in at the doorway,
            32    Miles wide vrom Woak Hill.

            33  An' that's why vo'k thought, vor a season,
            34    My mind wer a-wandrèn
            35Wi' sorrow, when I wer so sorely
            36    A-tried at Woak Hill.

            37  But no; that my Meäry mid never
            38    Behold herzelf slighted,
            39I wanted to think that I guided
            40    My guide vrom Woak Hill.


15] jay: joy.

19] ho: to feel misgiving care.

23] house-ridden: house changing, moving.

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, Poems of rural life in the Dorset dialect, Second collection, 2nd edn. (London: J. R. Smith, 1863). PR 4064 P5 1863 Robarts Library
First publication date: 1863
RPO poem editor: J. D. Robins
RP edition: 2RP.2.334; RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2001/11/21

Rhyme: unrhyming

Other poems by William Barnes