Friday, 17 May 2013

Fields by Waterfalls

Over the years I've posted a number of poems here by the Dorset dialect poet William Barnes (1801-1886) - 'The Castle Ruins', about a happy family outing at Whitsuntide; 'Evening in the Village'; and his best-known poem, 'Linden Lea'.  Today's poem, 'Vields by Watervalls', repeats 'Linden Lea's' flowery-gladed/timber-shaded rhyme, so I think we can assume that was a particular favourite...

I enjoy Barnes' rural idylls, for all their sentimentality, and I'm posting this today because yesterday afternoon, when the world was sparkling after a sudden gush of rain, I caught sight of a patch of buttercups and daisies in long wet grass (as Barnes puts it, 'daisy-whitened, gildcup-brightened'). It was one of those moments when you look at a familiar scene and feel like you've never really seen it before.  Consolation indeed for 'others' wrongs an' slightens'!

For those of you unfamiliar with the Dorset dialect (or Barnes' rendering of it, at least) it will help to know that v = f, z = s, and initial d (in the second line of verse 2) = th.

Vields by Watervalls

When our downcast looks be smileless,
Under others' wrongs an' slightens,
When our daily deeds be guileless,
An' do meet unkind requitens,
You can meake us zome amends
Vor wrongs o' foes, an' slights o' friends;-
O flow'ry-gleaded, timber-sheaded
Vields by flowen watervalls!

Here be softest airs a'blowen
Drough the boughs, wi'zingen drushes,
Up above the streams, a-flowen
Under willows, on by rushes.
Here below the bright-zunned sky
The dew-bespangled flow'rs do dry,
In woody-zided, stream-divided
Vields by flowen watervalls.

Waters, wi' their giddy rollens;
Breezes wi' their playsome wooens;
Here do heal, in soft consolens,
Hearts-a-wrung wi' man's wrong doens.
Day do come to us as gay
As to king ov widest sway,
In deaisy-whiten'd, gil'cup-brightened
Vields by flowen watervalls.

Zome feair buds mid outlive blightens,
Zome sweet hopes mid outlive sorrow,
A'ter days of wrongs an' slightens
There mid break a happy morrow.
We mid have noo ea'thly love;
But God's love-tokens vrom above
Here mid meet us, here mid greet us,
In the vields by watervalls.

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