Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
The Head-stone
By William Barnes (1801–1886)
AS I wer readèn ov a stuone
In Grenley church-yard all aluone,
A little mâid runn’d up wi’ pride
To zee me there, an’ push’d a-zide
A bunch o’ bennits that did hide        5
  A vess 1 her faether, as she zed,
  Put up above her mother’s head,
    To tell how much ’e lov’d her.
The vess wer very good, but shart,
I stood an’ larn’d en off by heart:—        10
‘Mid God, dear Miary, gi’e me griace
To vind, lik’ thee, a better pliace,
Wher I oonce muore mid zee thy fiace;
  An’ bring thy childern up to know
  His word, that th mid come an’ show        15
    Thy soul how much I lov’d thee.’
‘Wher ’s faether, then,’ I zed, ‘my chile?’
‘Dead, too,’ she nswer’d wi’ a smile;
‘An’ I an’ brother Jim da bide
At Betty White’s, o’ t’other zide        20
O’ road.’ ‘Mid He, my chile,’ I cried,
  ‘That ’s faether to the faetherless,
  Become thy faether now, an’ bless,
    An’ keep, an’ leäd, an’ love thee.’
Though she’ve a-lost, I thought, so much,        25
Still He don’t let the thoughts ’t touch
Her litsome heart by day ar night;
An’ zoo, if we cood tiake it right,
Da show He’ll miake his burdens light
  To weaker souls, an’ that his smile        30
  Is sweet upon a harmless chile,
    When th be dead that lov’d it.
Note 1. vess.  verse. [back]

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