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 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.
- Critical Apparatus9An' when we come back wi' our pâils
- 10The woman met us at the râils,
- 11An' zed she'd tell us, if we'd show
- 12Our han's, what we shoo'd like to know.
- 13Zoo Poll zed she'd a mind to try
- Critical Apparatus14 Her skill a bit, if I woo'd vust;
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus15 Though to be sure she didden trust
- Critical Apparatus16To gipsies any muore than I.
- pg 74Critical Apparatus17Well I agreed, an' off all dree
- Critical Apparatus18Ō's went behine an elem tree;
- Critical Apparatus19An', ā'ter she'd a-zeed 'ithin
- Critical Apparatus20My han' the wrinkles o' the skin,
- Critical Apparatus21She tuold me—an' she must a-know'd,
- Critical Apparatus22 That Dicky met me in the liane—
- Critical Apparatus23 That I'd a-wāk'd, an' shoo'd agiën,
- Critical Apparatus24Wi' zomebody along thik ruoad.
- 25An' then she tuold me to bewar
- Editor’s Note26O' what the letter M stood var.
- 27An' as I wā'k'd, o' Monday night,
- Critical Apparatus28Droo Meäd wi' Dicky auverright
- 29The Mill, the Miller, at the stile,
- Critical Apparatus30 Did stan' an' watch us tiake our stroll,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus31 An' then, a blabbèn dousty-poll,
- Editor’s Note32Tuold Mother ō't. Well wo'th his while!
- 33An' Poll too wer a-bid bewar
- Critical Apparatus34O' what the letter F stood var;
- Critical Apparatus35An' then, bekiase she took, at Fiair,
- 36A buzzom-pin o' Jimmy Hiare,
- Critical Apparatus37Young Franky beät en black an' blue.
- Editor’s Note38 'Tis F var Fiair; an' 'twer about
- Critical Apparatus39 A Fiaren Frank an' Jimmy foüght,
- 40Zoo I da think she tuold us true.
- Critical Apparatus41In shart she tuold us al about
- Critical Apparatus42What had a-vell or woo'd val out;
- 43An' whether we shoo'd spend our lives
- Critical Apparatus44As mâidens ar as wedded wives.
- Critical Apparatus45But when we went to bundle on
- Critical Apparatus46 The gipsies' dog wer at the râils
- Critical Apparatus47 A-lappèn milk vrom ouer pâils;
- Critical Apparatus48A pirty deäl o' Poll's wer gone.
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).
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).
2 tent] ⁓, 1847a
3 pit] ⁓, DCC
5 An',] ⁓‸ 1847a
9 An' zoo, when we brote back our pâils, 1847a
14 vust;] ⁓,— 1847a
15 Though] ⁓, 1847a
sure] ⁓, 1847a
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.
16 muore] more DCC
17 Well] ⁓; 1847a
18 Ō's] O's DCC
19 An',] ⁓‸ 1847a
20 han'] ⁓, DCC
21 me—] I, DCC
21 told] tould DCC
a-know'd,] ⁓‸ DCC
22 liane—] ⁓,— 1847a
23 a-wāk'd] a-wā'k'd DCC 1847a
agiën] aghian DCC
24 thik] thick DCC; ðik 1847a
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).
28 Meäd] Miead DCC
30 Did watch us tiaken ov our stroll, DCC
30 -poll,] -pole, DCC; ⁓! 1847a
31 pâils] ⁓, 1847a
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).
34 var;] ⁓, DCC
35 bekiase] becaze DCC
37 beät] bieat DCC
38–9. about … foüght. For the rhyme, see WBPG 7.13.8c.
39 Fiaren] Fairen, DCC
foüght,] ⁓. DCC
41 shart] ⁓, 1847a
al] all 1847a
42 a-vell] ⁓, 1847a
44 mâidens] ⁓, 1847a
wives.] ⁓; 1847a
45 on] ⁓, 1847a
46 gipsies'] gipsies DCC
47 pâils] ⁓,— 1847a
48 deäl] dieal DCC