Tag Archives: dialect

William Barnes’ The Leane

Tim Laycock read this delightful poem about enclosure written in a Dorset dialect at the Bridport show last week.

“The children will soon have no place
for to play in and if they do grow
they will have a thin mushroom face
with their bodies so sumple as dough”


The Leane.

They do zay that a travellèn chap
Have a-put in the newspeäper now,
That the bit o’ green ground on the knap
Should be all a-took in vor the plough.
He do fancy ’tis easy to show
That we can be but stunpolls at best,
Vor to leäve a green spot where a flower can grow,
Or a voot-weary walker mid rest.
Tis hedge-grubbèn, Thomas, an’ ledge-grubbèn,
Never a-done
While a sov’rèn mwore’s to be won.

The road, he do zay, is so wide
As ’tis wanted vor travellers’ wheels,
As if all that did travel did ride
An’ did never get galls on their heels.
He would leäve sich a thin strip o’ groun’,
That, if a man’s veet in his shoes
Wer a-burnèn an’ zore, why he coulden zit down
But the wheels would run over his tooes.
Vor ’tis meäke money, Thomas, an’ teäke money,
What’s zwold an’ bought
Is all that is worthy o’ thought.

Years agoo the leäne-zides did bear grass,
Vor to pull wi’ the geeses’ red bills,
That did hiss at the vo’k that did pass,
Or the bwoys that pick’d up their white quills.
But shortly, if vower or vive
Ov our goslèns do creep vrom the agg,
They must mwope in the geärden, mwore dead than alive,
In a coop, or a-tied by the lag.
Vor to catch at land, Thomas, an’ snatch at land,
Now is the plan;
Meäke money wherever you can.

The childern wull soon have noo pleäce
Vor to plaÿ in, an’ if they do grow,
They wull have a thin musheroom feäce,
Wi’ their bodies so sumple as dough.
But a man is a-meäde ov a child,
An’ his limbs do grow worksome by plaÿ;
An’ if the young child’s little body’s a-spweil’d,
Why, the man’s wull the sooner decaÿ.
But wealth is wo’th now mwore than health is wo’th;
Let it all goo,
If’t ’ull bring but a sov’rèn or two.

Vor to breed the young fox or the heäre,
We can gi’e up whole eäcres o’ ground,
But the greens be a-grudg’d, vor to rear
Our young childern up healthy an’ sound,
Why, there woont be a-left the next age
A green spot where their veet can goo free;
An’ the goocoo wull soon be committed to cage
Vor a trespass in zomebody’s tree.
Vor ’tis lockèn up, Thomas, an’ blockèn up,
Stranger or brother,
Men mussen come nigh woone another.

Woone day I went in at a geäte,
Wi’ my child, where an echo did sound,
An’ the owner come up, an’ did reäte
Me as if I would car off his ground.
But his vield an’ the grass wer a-let,
An’ the damage that he could a-took
Wer at mwost that the while I did open the geäte
I did rub roun’ the eye on the hook.
But ’tis drevèn out, Thomas, an’ hevèn out.
Trample noo grounds,
Unless you be after the hounds.

Ah! the Squiër o’ Culver-dell Hall
Wer as diff’rent as light is vrom dark,
Wi’ zome vo’k that, as evenèn did vall,
Had a-broke drough long grass in his park;
Vor he went, wi’ a smile, vor to meet
Wi’ the trespassers while they did pass,
An’ he zaid, “I do fear you’ll catch cwold in your veet,
You’ve a-walk’d drough so much o’ my grass.”
His mild words, Thomas, cut em like swords, Thomas,
Newly a-whet,
An’ went vurder wi’ them than a dreat.