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William Barnes 1801 - 1886

English philologist, folklorist and poet. He is best known for his three series of Poems of Rural Life in the Dorsetshire Dialect (1844, 1847, 1862) which were translated into standard English in 1868. Among the best of these poems are The Wife A-lost and Linden Lea. His other work of note is Philological Grammar (1854). He was a considerable influence on Thomas Hardy, also from Dorset, who published a selection of his poetry in 1908.

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.

Available Poems
The Broken Heart
The Surprise
Tokens
Woak Hill
Zummer an' Winter

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