by William Barnes
The girt wold house o' mossy stwone,
Up there upon the knap alwone,
Had woonce a bleäzèn kitchèn-vier,
That cook'd vor poor-vo'k an' a squier.
The very last ov all the reäce
That liv'd the squier o' the pleäce,
Died off when father wer a-born,
An' now his kin be all vorlorn
Vor ever,--vor he left noo son
To teäke the house o' mossy stwone.
An' zoo he vell to other hands,
An' gramfer took en wi' the lands:
An' there when he, poor man, wer dead,
My father shelter'd my young head.
An' if I wer a squier, I
Should like to spend my life, an' die
In thik wold house o' mossy stwone,
Up there upon the knap alwone.
Don't talk ov housen all o' brick,
Wi' rockèn walls nine inches thick,
A-trigg'd together zide by zide
In streets, wi' fronts a straddle wide,
Wi' yards a-sprinkled wi' a mop,
Too little vor a vrog to hop;
But let me live an' die where I
Can zee the ground, an' trees, an' sky.
The girt wold house o' mossy stwone
Had wings vor either sheäde or zun:
Woone where the zun did glitter drough,
When vu'st he struck the mornèn dew;
Woone feäced the evenèn sky, an' woone
Push'd out a pworch to zweaty noon:
Zoo woone stood out to break the storm,
An' meäde another lew an' warm.
An' there the timber'd copse rose high,
Where birds did build an' heäres did lie,
An' beds o' grægles in the lew,
Did deck in Maÿ the ground wi' blue.
An' there wer hills an' slopèn grounds,
That they did ride about wi' hounds;
An' drough the meäd did creep the brook
Wi' bushy bank an' rushy nook,
Where perch did lie in sheädy holes
Below the alder trees, an' shoals
O' gudgeon darted by, to hide
Theirzelves in hollows by the zide.
An' there by leänes a-windèn deep,
Wer mossy banks a-risèn steep;
An' stwonèn steps, so smooth an' wide,
To stiles an' vootpaths at the zide.
An' there, so big's a little ground,
The geärden wer a-wall'd all round:
An' up upon the wall wer bars
A-sheäped all out in wheels an' stars,
Vor vo'k to walk, an' look out drough
Vrom trees o' green to hills o' blue.
An' there wer walks o' peävement, broad
Enough to meäke a carriage-road,
Where steätely leädies woonce did use
To walk wi' hoops an' high-heel shoes,
When yonder hollow woak wer sound,
Avore the walls wer ivy-bound,
Avore the elems met above
The road between em, where they drove
Their coach all up or down the road
A-comèn hwome or gwaïn abroad.
The zummer aïr o' theäse green hill
'V a-heav'd in bosoms now all still,
An' all their hopes an' all their tears
Be unknown things ov other years.
But if, in heaven, souls be free
To come back here; or there can be
An e'thly pleäce to meäke em come
To zee it vrom a better hwome,--
Then what's a-twold us mid be right,
That still, at dead o' tongueless night,
Their gauzy sheäpes do come an' glide
By vootways o' their youthvul pride.
An' while the trees do stan' that grow'd
Vor them, or walls or steps they know'd
Do bide in pleäce, they'll always come
To look upon their e'thly hwome.
Zoo I would always let alwone
The girt wold house o' mossy stwone:
I woulden pull a wing o'n down,
To meäke ther speechless sheädes to frown;
Vor when our souls, mid woonce become
Lik' their's, all bodiless an' dumb,
How good to think that we mid vind
Zome thought vrom them we left behind,
An' that zome love mid still unite
The hearts o' blood wi' souls o' light.
Zoo, if 'twer mine, I'd let alwone
The girt wold house o' mossy stwone.
Last updated January 14, 2019