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Edited by Robert Nye
RRP: GBP£ 6.95
You Save: GBP£ 0.70
Price: GBP£ 6.25
Out of Print
ISBN: 978 0 856350 32 0
Categories: 19th Century, Anglican, British
Published: January 1988
216 x 135 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
We spent in woodland shades our day
In cheerful work or happy play,
And slept at night where rustling leaves
Threw moonlight shadows o'er our eaves.
I knew you young, and love you now,
O shining grass, and shady bough.
William Barnes (1801-1886), `the Dorset Poet', wrote best in Dorest dialect: `I cannot help it. It is my mother tongue, and it is to my mind the only true speech of the life that I draw.' His setting is a rural Dorset threatened by enclosure. Hopkins called him `a perfect artist. It is as if Dorset life and Dorset landscape had taken flesh and blood in this man.' He left a mark on Hardy, too, who spoke of the `closeness of phrase to vision' in his poems. Barnes was a self-taught linguist and scholar. His experiments with language and form are radical. As a parson, he loved the lives around him and caught perfectly the inflections, gestures and expressions of his people. Hardy knew him as an `aged clergyman, quaintly attired in caped cloak, knee-breeches, and buckled shoes, with a leather satchel slung over his shoulders, and a stout staff in his hand.' A little grey dog accompanied him on his rounds. This old man was one of the most copious and o
riginal writers of his age, plain-speaking in manner, avoiding the literature of the day, devoted to a natural, rural eloquence. This selection includes his best poems in dialect and standard English.
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