T. L. Burton and K. K. Ruthven (eds), The Complete Poems of William Barnes, Vol. 1: Poems in the Broad Form of the Dorset Dialect
Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus30 Uncle an' Ānt
- 1How happy uncle us'd to be
- 2O' zummer time, when ānt an' he
- 3O' Zunday evemens, yarm in yarm,
- 4Did wa'ke about ther tiny farm,
- Critical Apparatus5While birds did zing, an' gnots did zwarm,
- Critical Apparatus6Droo grass a'most above ther knees,
- 7An' roun' by hedges an' by trees
- 8 Wi' leafy boughs a-swâyèn.
- 9His hat wer brode, his cuoat wer brown,
- Critical Apparatus10Wi' two long flaps a-hangèn down,
- 11An' vrom his knee went down a blue
- Critical Apparatus12Knit stockèn to his buckled shoe.
- 13An' ānt did pull her gown-tâil droo
- Critical Apparatus14Her pocket-hole to kip en neat
- 15As she mid wa'ke, ar tiake a seat
- Critical Apparatus16 By leafy boughs a-swâyèn.
- 17An' vust tha'd goo to zee ther lots
- Critical Apparatus18O' pot-yarbs in the ghiarden plots;
- 19An' he, i'maybe, gwâin droo hatch,
- 20Wou'd zee ānt's vowls upon a patch
- 21O' zeeds, an' vow if he cou'd catch
- 22Em wi' his gun, tha shoudden vlee
- Critical Apparatus23Noo muore into ther roostèn tree
- 24 Wi' leafy boughs a-swâyèn.
- 25An' then vrom ghiarden tha did pass
- Critical Apparatus26Droo archet var to zee the grass,
- Critical Apparatus27An' if the blooth so thick an' white
- Critical Apparatus28Mid be at al a-touch'd wi' blight.
- pg 7329An' uncle, happy at the zight,
- Critical Apparatus30Did guess what cider ther mid be,
- 31In al the archet, tree wi' tree,
- Critical Apparatus32 Wi' tutties āl a-swâyèn.
- Editor’s Note33An' then tha stump'd along vrom there
- Critical Apparatus34A-vield, to zee the cows an' miare,
- Critical Apparatus35An' she, when uncle come in zight,
- Critical Apparatus36Look'd up, an' prick'd her yers upright,
- Critical Apparatus37An' whicker'd out wi' āl her might;
- 38An' he, a-chucklen, went to zee
- Critical Apparatus39The cows below the shiady tree
- 40 Wi' leafy boughs a-swâyèn.
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus41An' laste ov āl tha went to know
- Critical Apparatus42How vast the grass in meäd did grow;
- 43An then ānt zed 'twer time to goo
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus44In huome; a-holdèn up her shoe
- 45To show how wet 'e wer wi' dew.
- Critical Apparatus46An' zoo tha toddled huome to rest
- Critical Apparatus47Lik' culvers vlee-en to ther nest
- 48 In leafy boughs a-swâyèn.
Title ĀNT] ANT DCC
Printings. DCC, 4 June 1840, 2; 1844 97–9; 1847a 112–14.
Prosodic features. Forty-eight lines in iambic tetrameter, grouped in six eight-line stanzas. For the rhyme scheme, see 1n.
The couple in this poem are Barnes's uncle Charles Roberts and aunt Ann, whose brother was Barnes's father; Barnes lived with them after his mother died when he was 15. According to 39 3–4, 'a better couple nivver stood | In shoes'. Their enduring love for one another is celebrated here and alluded to in 'Married Peäir's Love Walk' (1859a 150–2; WBP i. 331–2); these are unusual poems in a genre preoccupied mainly with young love. The couple dance together at Fanny's birthday party (77 41–5), and shed tears on Jeän's wedding day (32 20–1). Before Roberts went bankrupt in 1813, for over thirty years he had worked land at Pentridge Farm (Chedzoy 2010: 22), which is bounded on one side by the River Stour. Memorialized in 'Pentridge by the River' (1859a 174–5; WBP i. 347–8) as the ruined site of Barnes's happy childhood, 'not a trace' of it could be found by the time he published 'Pentridge' (1868 113; WBP ii. 767). The fantasy of being wealthy enough to repossess his 'forefaethers' plot o' land' informs 'The Pleäce Our Own Ageän' (1859a 169–70; WBP i. 344–5).
5 zing,] ⁓‸ 1847a
6 Droo] Drough DCC (and so throughout)
10 flaps a-hangèn] lappets hangen DCC
10 down,] ⁓; 1847a
12 shoe.] ⁓; 1847a
14 pocket-hole] ⁓, 1847a
kip] keep 1847a
neat] ⁓, 1847a
16 By] Wher DCC
a-swâyèn] wer swâyèn DCC
18 plots;] ⁓, DCC
23 tree] ⁓, 1847a
26 var to] out to 1847a
27 blooth so thick an'] apple-blooth, so 1847a
27 white] ⁓, 1847a
blight.] ⁓; 1847a
30 be,] ⁓‸ 1847a
33. stump'd. Uncle 'stump'd off' in order to conceal his feelings at seeing Jeän taken to church on her wedding day (32 22). In 'England in Italy' (1845), subsequently retitled 'The Englishman in Italy', Robert Browning likewise reclaimed this vulgar word when he made his priests 'stomp' while carrying 'in pomp' a 'flaxen-wigged Image' (Browning 1970: 428).
34 miare,] ⁓; 1847a
35 zight,] ⁓‸ DCC
36 yers] ears 1847a
37 whicker'd] so in DCC 1847a; whicker d 1844
39 tree] ⁓, DCC 1847a
41 āl] āll, 1847a
41–2. grass … grow. In 95 32 a 'lan'lard' sits down 'to see how things da grow'. Crop watching was a communal activity: in 'The Thorns in the Geäte' people climb 'Ivy Hill, | To zee how strong the corn d[o] look' (1859a 155; WBP i. 334).
42 meäd] miead DCC
44 huome;] ⁓,— 1847a
shoe] ⁓, 1847a
46 rest] ⁓, 1847a
47 vlee-en] vleèn 1847a