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 Note68 Shodon fiair

________The vust Piart.________

  • Critical Apparatus1An' zoo's the dae wer warm an' bright,
  • 2An' nar a cloud wer up in zight,
  • Critical Apparatus3We wheedled faether var the miare
  • 4An' cart, to goo to Shodon fiair.
  • Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus5Zoo Poll an' Nan, from each her box,
  • 6Runn'd up to git ther newest frocks,
  • pg 1157An' put ther bonnets on, a-lined
  • 8Wi' blue, an' sashes tied behind;
  • 9An' turn'd avore the glass ther fiace
  • 10An' back, to zee ther things in pliace;
  • 11While Dick an' I did brush our hats
  • 12An' cuoats, an' cleän ourzuvs lik' cats.
  • 29We zeed the dāncers in a show
  • 30Dānce up an' down, an' to an' fro,
  • 31Upon a ruope, wi' chāky zoles,
  • 32So light as magpies up 'pon poles;
  • 33An' tumblers, wi' ther strēaks an' spots,
  • Critical Apparatus34That al but tied therzuvs in knots;
  • Editor’s Note35An' then a conjurer burn'd off
  • Critical Apparatus36Poll's hankershif so black's a snoff,
  • 37An' het en, wi' a single blow,
  • Critical Apparatus38Right back agen so white as snow;
  • Critical Apparatus39An' ā'ter that 'e fried a fat
  • Critical Apparatus40Girt kiake inzide o' my new hat,
  • 41An' eet, var al 'e done en brown,
  • 42'E didden even zwēal the crown.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
Printings. DCC, 29 Sept. 1842, 2; 1844 164–6; 1847a 185–7.
Prosodic features. Forty-two iambic tetrameters (hypermetric at lines 25–6) paired in twenty-one rhyming couplets and grouped in three irregular stanzas (12 + 16 + 14 lines). For other poems written exclusively in rhyming couplets, see 5n.
Generically, this is a country fair poem like George Alexander Stevens's 'Bartleme Fair' (1762; R. Lonsdale 1984: 507–8). The fair described in 68 and 69 (for others, see 19, 92, 110, and 130) was still sufficiently traditional to function as a market with a few sideshows and amusements. In his eighties, Barnes recalled having seen as a child 'strings of packhorses' en route to 'great fairs, such as Woodbury Hill, Shroton', laden with 'all kinds of wares for the life-gear and house-gear of Dorset homes, and of which housekeepers were wont to buy in a year's stock' (1883 118, 241). The commercial transformation of such fairs from markets into entertainments is recorded in the behaviour of the young people in 68, who visit Shroton not to purchase commodities but to see 'al the zights an' shows' (130 29), especially the tumblers (26), rope-dancers (30–1), and magicians (35). Bypassing aggressive vendors (21), they enjoy all the fun of the fair without being troubled by the pickpockets who frequented such gatherings. By contrast, 'Shaftesbury Feäir' (1862a 101–3; WBP i. 450–1) strikingly avoids representing what happens there; and 'The Fancy Feäir at Maïden Newton' (1862a 84–6; WBP i. 437–8) describes a charitable fair organized to raise money for a local school.
The place now called 'Shroton', as in 'Eclogue: John, Jealous at Shroton Feäir' (1862a 20; WBP i. 386), is spelled Shodon in 68 and 69 but Shoden in 92 32; on the loss of r in the pronunciation of both forms, see WBPG 8.11. Barnes believed that 'the name by which a place is called by its own inhabitants, or names-givers, is the right name' (1841e 249). He placed 68 and 69 in the 'Fall' section of 1844 because 'Shroton feäir' was held in September (1859a 25; WBP i. 251).
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1 dae] dæ DCC
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3 faether] fāther 1847a
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5–6 An' Poll an' Nan runn'd off up stairs, | To shift ther ðings, so wild as hiares; | An' pull'd out, each ō'm from her box, | Ther snow-white liace an' newest frocks, 1847a
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5 from each] each to DCC
Editor’s Note
5–12. On dressing to impress (prinking), see 4n.
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13 o'clock] ⁓, 1847a
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voun'] vound 1847a
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14 upon the very groun'] at Shodon siafe an' sound 1847a
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16 stannens,] stannèns‸ 1847a
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shows;] ⁓, 1847a
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20 door.] ⁓; 1847a
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21 There] Where 1847a
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21 There] Ther DCC
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22 hally] holly 1847a
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23 While] An' 1847a
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23 spēak,] ⁓‸ 1847a
Editor’s Note
24–5. squēak … drums … rumble. The phrasing is reminiscent of 25 13: 'The fifes did squeak; the drum did rumble'.
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26 tumble;] ⁓, DCC
Editor’s Note
26. merrymen … tumble. The 'tumblers' in 130 30 wear 'spangled cloa's'.
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27 oon] oone 1847a
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al] all 1847a (and so in 34, 41)
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28 wi'] ⁓, 1847a
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34 knots;] ⁓. 1847a
Editor’s Note
35. conjurer. 'Magician'. The 'cunnen blows' of conjurers are recorded in 130 31.
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36 hankershif] hankerchif 1847a
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38 snow;] ⁓. 1847a
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39 that] ⁓, 1847a
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40 inzide] inside DCC
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hat,] ⁓; 1847a
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