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Woak Hill
by William Barnes

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.


Woak Hill
by William Barnes

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

I packed up my goods, all a-sheenen
Wi' long years o' handlen,
On dousty red wheels ov a waggon,
To ride at Woak Hill.

The brown thatchen ruf o' the dwellen
I then wer a-leaven,
Had sheltered the sleek head o' Meary,
My bride at Woak Hill.

But now vor zome years, her light voot-vall
'S a-lost vrom the vlooren.
To soon vor my jay an' my childern
She died at Woak Hill.

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

Zoo -lest she should tell me hereafter
I stole off 'ithout her,
An' left her, uncalled at house-ridden,
To bide at Woak Hill -

I called her so fondly, wi' lippens
All soundless to others,
An' took her wi' air-reachen hand
To my zide at Woak Hill.

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

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

But no; that my Meary mid never
Behold herzelf slighted,
I wanted to think that I guided
My guide vrom Woak Hill.


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