William Barnes

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

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Editor’s Note31 Havèn oon's fortun a-tuold

  • Editor’s Note1In liane the gipsies, as we went
  • Critical Apparatus2A-milkèn, had a-pitch'd ther tent
  • Critical Apparatus3Between the gravel pit an' clump
  • 4O' trees, upon the little hump:
  • Critical Apparatus5An', while upon the grassy groun'
  • 6       Ther smokèn vire did crack an' bliaze,
  • 7       Ther shaggy-cuoated hoss did griaze
  • 8Among the bushes vurder down.

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Notes

Editor’s Note
Printings. DCC, 17 Dec. 1840, 2; 1844 99–101; 1847a 114–16.
Prosodic features. Forty-eight iambic tetrameters grouped in six eight-line stanzas rhyming uniquely aabbcddc.
Barnes first published this poem shortly before George Borrow's 'account of the gypsies of Spain', The Zincali (1841), but long before Borrow's ficto-biographical reports of his life as both a philologist (lavengro) and gentleman (rye), respectively in Lavengro (1851) and The Romany Rye (1857). Why educated diagnosticians of 'this strange disease of modern life' might find gypsy life and lore an attractive alternative is the subject of Matthew Arnold's poem 'The Scholar-Gipsy' (1853; Arnold 1979: 355–69, quoting 366).
Editor’s Note
1. gipsies. 'Merry gipsies' are mentioned in 64 8. Barnes's earliest description of a fortune-telling female gypsy appears in his poem 'Destiny' (1820a 6–7; WBP i. 26–7).
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2 tent] ⁓, 1847a
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3 pit] ⁓, DCC
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5 An',] ⁓‸ 1847a
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9 An' zoo, when we brote back our pâils, 1847a
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14 vust;] ⁓,— 1847a
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15 Though] ⁓, 1847a
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sure] ⁓, 1847a
Editor’s Note
15–16. didden trust … gipsies. Romanies were itinerant outsiders whose joint reputation for clairvoyance and thievery made them both fascinating and repellent to inhabitants of the rural communities they passed through.
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16 muore] more DCC
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17 Well] ⁓; 1847a
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18 Ō's] O's DCC
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19 An',] ⁓‸ 1847a
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20 han'] ⁓, DCC
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21 me—] I, DCC
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21 told] tould DCC
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a-know'd,] ⁓‸ DCC
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22 liane—] ⁓,— 1847a
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23 a-wāk'd] a-wā'k'd DCC 1847a
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agiën] aghian DCC
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24 thik] thick DCC; ðik 1847a
Editor’s Note
26. what the letter M stood var. The palm-reading gypsy woman also practises onomastic prognostication, which rests on the belief that every nomen ('name') conceals an omen. Barnes's interest in occult knowledge began in childhood, when he picked up lore from a local 'cunning man' and practised it on school friends, who dubbed him 'The Little Astrologer' (Dugdale 1953: 16). His interest in superstitions generated a poem on witches (124), two poems on fairies (51 and 62), and another two on ghosts (81 and 92).
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28 Meäd] Miead DCC
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30 Did watch us tiaken ov our stroll, DCC
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30 -poll,] -pole, DCC; ⁓! 1847a
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31 pâils] ⁓, 1847a
Editor’s Note
31. dousty-poll. According to a Welsh triad Barnes quotes, a miller is as 'given' to thieving as a parson is to hypocrisy and a minstrel to lying (1866a 536), which is why Chaucer's Miller 'hadde a thombe of gold' (CT i (A) 562–3). Children accordingly killed any pale tussock moth they caught, because its local name was 'miller or millard' (1844 Glossary). But occupational ill repute does not prevent a miller from being offered hospitality in 'Not Goo Hwome To Night' (1862a 98–9; WBP i. 447–9).
Editor’s Note
32. Tuold mother. Officious informants could make life difficult for clandestinely courting young women like the one in 21 75–8. On why such reports angered mothers, see 18 15n.
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34 var;] ⁓, DCC
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35 bekiase] becaze DCC
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37 beät] bieat DCC
Editor’s Note
38–9. about … foüght. For the rhyme, see WBPG 7.13.8c.
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39 Fiaren] Fairen, DCC
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foüght,] ⁓. DCC
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41 shart] ⁓, 1847a
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al] all 1847a
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42 a-vell] ⁓, 1847a
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44 mâidens] ⁓, 1847a
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wives.] ⁓; 1847a
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45 on] ⁓, 1847a
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46 gipsies'] gipsies DCC
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47 pâils] ⁓,— 1847a
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48 deäl] dieal DCC
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