William Barnes

William Barnes Biography

William Barnes was born at Blackmoor Vale in Dorset, the son of a farmer. He took a Bachelor of Divinity degree on a part-time basis at St. John's College, Cambridge, and became a clergyman in 1848. The poems he wrote about his birthplace on themes such as love, natural landscape and regional life brought him a lot of public acclaim. But he also had many other interests, especially languages. Apart from the classical languages, he also learned Welsh, Hindustani, Persian, Hebrew and a handful of European languages. His great interest in different kinds of knowledge made him write on different subjects such as mathematics, astronomy and geography. His real talent, however, lay in exploiting his poetic gift in the writing of folklore, thus setting the stage for people like Thomas Hardy.

The Best Poem Of William Barnes

The Surprise

As there I left the road in May,
And took my way along a ground,
I found a glade with girls at play,
By leafy boughs close-hemmed around,
And there, with stores of harmless joys,
They plied their tongues, in merry noise:
Though little did they seem to fear
So queer a stranger might be near;
Teeh-hee! Look here! Hah! ha! Look there!
And oh! so playsome, oh! so fair.

And one would dance as one would spring,
Or bob or bow with leering smiles,
And one would swing, or sit and sing,
Or sew a stitch or two at whiles,
And one skipped on with downcast face,
All heedless, to my very place,
And there, in fright, with one foot out,
Made one dead step and turned about.
Heeh, hee, oh! oh! ooh! oo!—Look there!
And oh! so playsome, oh! so fair.

Away they scampered all, full speed,
By boughs that swung along their track,
As rabbits out of wood at feed,
At sight of men all scamper back.
And one pulled on behind her heel,
A thread of cotton, off her reel,
And oh! to follow that white clue,
I felt I fain could scamper too.
Teeh, hee, run here. Eeh! ee! Look there!
And oh! so playsome, oh! so fair.

William Barnes Comments

Alfred Gamblen 07 March 2019

Your. Reader has no idea of the ??Dorset dialect or she would know that “wi” means with and is pronounced.”we”. ‘Vok“ means “folk”. ‘zingen” means “singing”. “Gleaded is pronounced “ Glayded”. And on and on ‘so many mispronouncations I was very disappointed.

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