Tuesday, March 27, 2007


William Barnes is one of my favourite poets of all time, perhaps my absolute favourite.

This, dear reader, is My Orcha’d In Linden Lea:

‘Ithin the woodlands, flow’ry gleaded,
By the woak tree’s mossy moot,
The sheenen grass-bleades, timber-sheaded,
Now do quiver under voot;
An’ birds do whissle over head,
An’ water’s bubblen in its bed,
An’ there vor me the apple tree
Do lean down low in Linden Lea.
When leaves that leately wer a-springen
Now do feade ‘ithin the copse,
An’ painted birds do hush their zingen
Up upon the timber’s tops;
An’ brown-leav’d fruit’s a-turnen red,
In cloudless zunsheen, over head,
Wi’ fruit vor me, the apple tree
Do lean down low in Linden Lea.

Let other vo’k meake money vaster
In the air o’ dark-room’d towns,
I don’t dread a peevish measter;
Though noo man do heed my frowns,
I be free to goo abrode,
Or teake agean my hwomeward road
To where, vor me, the apple tree
Do lean down low in Linden Lea.

It's so beautiful, so evocative. When reading it, I can feel the sun beating down on my face, the rustle of the green leaves in the canopy and the twittering birds overhead. I feel like I'm in heaven.

Though I've never spoken the Wessex/Dorset dialect, I did, at one time, speak with a Dorset accent. Hearing or reading such things as
My Orcha’d In Linden Lea reminds me, not specifically of another place, but of happy times, carefree and without responsibility. Again, heaven.

Click here, here and here for some interesting articles about William, Dorset voices and UK dialects and accents.

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