Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
Woak Hill
By William Barnes (1801–1886)
WHEN sycamore leaves wer a-spreadèn
      Green-ruddy in hedges,
Bezide the red doust 1 o’ the ridges,
      A-dried at Woak 2 Hill;
I pack’d up my goods, all a-sheenèn        5
      Wi’ long years o’ handlèn,
On dousty red wheels ov a waggon,
      To ride at Woak Hill.
The brown thatchen ruf o’ the dwellèn
      I then wer a-leävèn,        10
Had shelter’d the sleek head o’ Meäry,
      My bride at Woak Hill.
But now vor zome years, her light voot-vall
      ’S a-lost vrom the vloorèn.
To soon vor my jaÿ 3 an’ my children        15
      She died at Woak Hill.
But still I do think that, in soul,
      She do hover about us;
To ho vor 4 her motherless children,
      Her pride at Woak Hill.        20
Zoo—lest she should tell me hereafter
      I stole off ’ithout her,
An’ left her, uncall’d at house-riddèn, 5
      To bide at Woak Hill—
I call’d her so fondly, wi’ lippèns 6        25
      All soundless to others,
An’ took her wi’ aïr-reachèn hand
      To my zide at Woak Hill.
On the road I did look round, a-talkèn
      To light 7 at my shoulder,        30
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-wandrèn
Wi’ sorrow, when I wer so sorely        35
      A-tried at Woak Hill.
But no; that my Meäry mid 8 never
      Behold herzelf slighted,
I wanted to think that I guided
      My guide vrom Woak Hill.        40
Note 1. doust] dust. [back]
Note 2. Woak] oak. [back]
Note 3. jaÿ] joy. [back]
Note 4. To ho vor] in anxious care for. [back]
Note 5. house-riddèn] moving-house. [back]
Note 6. lippès] lip-movements. [back]
Note 7. To light] to vacancy. [back]
Note 8. mid] might. [back]

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