The Happy Days When I Wer Young

by William Barnes

William Barnes

In happy days when I wer young,
An' had noo ho, an' laugh'd an' zung,
The maïd wer merry by her cow,
An' men wer merry wi' the plough;
But never talk'd, at hwome or out
O' doors, o' what's a-talk'd about
By many now,--that to despise
The laws o' God an' man is wise.
Wi' daïly health, an' daïly bread,
An' thatch above their shelter'd head,
They velt noo fear, an' had noo spite,
To keep their eyes awake at night;
But slept in peace wi' God on high
An' man below, an' fit to die.
O' grassy meäd an' woody nook,
An' waters o' the windèn brook,
That sprung below the vu'st dark sky
That raïn'd, to run till seas be dry;
An' hills a-stannèn on while all
The works o' man do rise an' vall;
An' trees the toddlèn child do vind
At vu'st, an' leäve at last behind;
I wish that you could now unvwold
The peace an' jäy o' times o' wold;
An' tell, when death do still my tongue,
O' happy days when I wer young.
Vrom where wer all this venom brought,
To kill our hope an' taïnt our thought?
Clear brook! thy water coulden bring
Such venom vrom thy rocky spring;
Nor could it come in zummer blights,
Or reävèn storms o' winter nights,
Or in the cloud an' viry stroke
O' thunder that do split the woak.
O valley dear! I wish that I
'D a-liv'd in former times, to die
Wi' all the happy souls that trod
Thy turf in peäce, an' died to God;
Or gone wi' them that laugh'd an' zung
In happy days when I wer young!





Last updated January 14, 2019