The Fall

By William Barnes 1801–1886 William Barnes
The length o’ days ageän do shrink
   An’ flowers be thin in meäd, among
   The eegrass a-sheenèn bright, along
Brook upon brook, an’ brink by brink.

   Noo starlèns do rise in vlock on wing—
   Noo goocoo in nest-green leaves do sound—
   Noo swallows be now a-wheelèn round—
Dip after dip, an’ swing by swing.

   The wheat that did leätely rustle thick
   Is now up in mows that still be new,
   An’ yollow bevore the sky o’ blue—
Tip after tip, an’ rick by rick.

   While now I can walk a dusty mile
   I’ll teäke me a day, while days be clear,
   To vind a vew friends that still be dear,
Feäce after feäce, an’ smile by smile.


Source: Poets of the English Language (Viking Press, 1950)

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Poet William Barnes 1801–1886

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Nature, Fall

Biography

Multitalented poet and autodidact William Barnes was born in Rushay, Dorset, in southern England. He worked as a clerk and a schoolmaster before earning a bachelor of divinity from Cambridge and becoming an ordained minister in the Church of England. He was a strong supporter of the Dorset dialect. When he died in 1886, his Saturday Review obituary read, “There is no doubt that he is the best pastoral poet we possess, the most . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Fall

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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