Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
 
The Old House
By William Barnes (1801–1886)
 
THE GIRT wold house o’ mossy stuone,
Up there upon the knap aluone,
Had oonce a bliazèn kitchèn vier,
That cook’d var poor-vo’ke an’ a squier.
The very lste ov all the riace        5
That liv’d the squier o’ the pliace,
Died when my fther wer a buoy,
An’ all his kin be gone awoy
Var ever,—var ’e left noo son
To tiake the house o’ mossy stuone.        10
An’ zoo ’e got in other han’s,
An’ gramfer took en wi’ the lan’s:
An’ there when he, poor man, wer dead,
My fther liv’d an’ I wer bred.
An’ if I wer a squier, I        15
Should like to spend my life an’ die
In thik wold house o’ mossy stuone,
Up there upon the knap aluone.
 
Don’t tell o’ housen miade o’ brick,
Wi’ rockèn walls nine inches thick,        20
A-trigg’d together zide by zide
In streets, wi’ fronts a stroddle wide,
Wi’ yards a-sprinkled wi’ a mop,
Too little var a vrog to hop;
But let me live an’ die where I        25
Can zee the groun’, an’ trees, an’ sky.
The girt wold house o’ mossy stuone
Had wings var either shiade ar zun:
Oone where the zun did glitter droo,
When vust ’e struck the marnèn dew;        30
Oone fiaced the evemen sky, and oone
Push’d out a puorch to zweaty noon:
Zoo oone stood out to break the starm,
An’ miade another lew an’ warm.
There wer the copse wi’ timber high,        35
Wher birds did build an’ hiares did lie,
An’ beds o’ grygles 1 in the lew,
Did deck in Mây the groun’ wi’ blue.
An’ there wer hills an’ slopèn groun’s,
That tha did ride down wi’ the houn’s;        40
An’ droo the meäd did creep the brook
Wi’ bushy bank an’ rushy nook,
Wher perch did lie in shiady holes
Below the aller trees, an’ shoals
O’ gudgeon darted by, to hide        45
Therzelves in hollers by the zide.
An’ there wer windèn lianes so deep,
Wi’ mossy banks so high an’ steep;
An’ stuonèn steps, so smooth an’ wide,
To stiles an’ vootpthes at the zide;        50
An’ there, so big ’s a little groun’,
The giarden wer a-wall’d all roun’;
An’ up upon the wall wer bars
A-shiaped all out in wheels an’ stars,
Var vo’kes to w’k, an’ look out droo        55
Vrom trees o’ green to hills o’ blue.
An’ there wer w’ks o’ piavement, brode
Enough to miake a carriage-road,
Wher liadies farmerly did use
To w’k wi’ hoops an’ high-heel shoes,        60
When yander holler woak wer sound,
Avore the walls wer ivy-bound,
Avore the elems met above
The road between ’em, wher tha drove
Ther coach all up ar down the road        65
A-comèn huome ar gwâin abrode.
The zummer âir o’ theos green hill
’V a-heav’d in buzzoms now all still,
An’ all ther hopes an’ all ther tears
Be unknown things ov other years.        70
But if, in heaven, souls be free
To come back here; ar there can be
An ethly pliace to miake ’em come
To zee it vrom a better huome,—
Then what ’s a-tuold us mid be right,        75
That still, at dead o’ tongueless night,
Ther gauzy shiapes da come an’ trud
The vootwoys o’ ther flesh an’ blood;
An’ while the trees da stan’ that grow’d
Var the, ar walls ar steps tha know’d        80
Da bide in pliace, tha’ll always come
To look upon ther ethly huome.
Zoo I wou’d always let aluone
The girt wold house o’ mossy stuone:
I wou’den pull a wing ’n down,        85
To miake ther speechless shiades to frown;
Var when our souls, zome other dae,
Be bodiless an’ dumb lik’ the,
How good to think that we mid vind
Zome thought vrom tha we left behind,        90
An’ that zome love mid still unite
The hearts o’ blood wi’ souls o’ light!
Zoo, if ’twer mine, I’d let aluone
The girt wold house o’ mossy stuone.
 
Note 1. grygles.  bluebells. [back]
 
 
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