The Leädy's Tower

by William Barnes

William Barnes

An' then we went along the gleädes
O' zunny turf, in quiv'rèn sheädes,
A-windèn off, vrom hand to hand,
Along a path o' yollow zand,
An' clomb a stickle slope, an' vound
An open patch o' lofty ground,
Up where a steätely tow'r did spring,
So high as highest larks do zing.
"Oh! Meäster Collins," then I zaid,
A-lookèn up wi' back-flung head;
Vor who but he, so mild o' feäce,
Should teäke me there to zee the pleäce.
"What is it then theäse tower do meän,
A-built so feäir, an' kept so cleän?"
"Ah! me," he zaid, wi' thoughtvul feäce,
"'Twer grief that zet theäse tower in pleäce.
The squier's e'thly life's a-blest
Wi' gifts that mwost do teäke vor best;
The lofty-pinion'd rufs do rise
To screen his head vrom stormy skies;
His land's a-spreadèn roun' his hall,
An' hands do leäbor at his call;
The while the ho'se do fling, wi' pride,
His lofty head where he do guide;
But still his e'thly jaÿ's a-vled,
His woone true friend, his wife, is dead.
Zoo now her happy soul's a-gone,
An' he in grief's a-ling'rèn on,
Do do his heart zome good to show
His love to flesh an' blood below.
An' zoo he rear'd, wi' smitten soul,
Theäse Leädy's Tower upon the knowl.
An' there you'll zee the tow'r do spring
Twice ten veet up, as roun's a ring,
Wi' pillars under mwolded eäves,
Above their heads a-carv'd wi' leaves;
An' have to peäce, a-walkèn round
His voot, a hunderd veet o' ground.
An' there, above his upper wall,
A roundèd tow'r do spring so tall
'S a springèn arrow shot upright,
A hunderd giddy veet in height.
An' if you'd like to straïn your knees
A-climèn up above the trees,
To zee, wi' slowly wheelèn feäce,
The vur-sky'd land about the pleäce,
You'll have a flight o' steps to wear
Vor forty veet, up steäir by steäir,
That roun' the risèn tow'r do wind,
Like withwind roun' the saplèn's rind,
An' reach a landèn, wi' a seat,
To rest at last your weary veet,
'Ithin a breast be-screenèn wall,
To keep ye vrom a longsome vall.
An' roun' the windèn steäirs do spring
Aïght stwonèn pillars in a ring,
A-reachèn up their heavy strangth
Drough forty veet o' slender langth,
To end wi' carvèd heads below
The broad-vloor'd landèn's aïry bow.
Aïght zides, as you do zee, do bound
The lower buildèn on the ground,
An' there in woone, a two-leav'd door
Do zwing above the marble vloor:
An' aÿe, as luck do zoo betide
Our comèn, wi' can goo inside.
The door is oben now. An' zoo
The keeper kindly let us drough.
There as we softly trod the vloor
O' marble stwone, 'ithin the door,
The echoes ov our vootsteps vled
Out roun' the wall, and over head;
An' there a-païnted, zide by zide,
In memory o' the squier's bride,
In zeven païntèns, true to life,
Wer zeven zights o' wedded life."
Then Meäster Collins twold me all
The teäles a-païntèd roun' the wall;
An' vu'st the bride did stan' to plight
Her weddèn vow, below the light
A-shootèn down, so bright's a fleäme,
In drough a churches window freäme.
An' near the bride, on either hand,
You'd zee her comely bridemaïds stand,
Wi' eyelashes a-bent in streäks
O' brown above their bloomèn cheäks:
An' sheenèn feäir, in mellow light,
Wi' flowèn heäir, an' frocks o' white.
"An' here," good Meäster Collins cried,
"You'll zee a creädle at her zide,
An' there's her child, a-lyèn deep
'Ithin it, an' a-gone to sleep,
Wi' little eyelashes a-met
In fellow streäks, as black as jet;
The while her needle, over head,
Do nimbly leäd the snow-white thread,
To zew a robe her love do meäke
Wi' happy leäbor vor his seäke.
"An' here a-geän's another pleäce,
Where she do zit wi' smilèn feäce,
An' while her bwoy do leän, wi' pride,
Ageän her lap, below her zide,
Her vinger tip do leäd his look
To zome good words o' God's own book.
"An' next you'll zee her in her pleäce,
Avore her happy husband's feäce,
As he do zit, at evenèn-tide,
A-restèn by the vier-zide.
An' there the childern's heads do rise
Wi' laughèn lips, an' beamèn eyes,
Above the bwoard, where she do lay
Her sheenèn tacklèn, wi' the tea.
"An' here another zide do show
Her vinger in her scizzars' bow
Avore two daughters, that do stand,
Wi' leärnsome minds, to watch her hand
A-sheäpèn out, wi' skill an' ceäre,
A frock vor them to zew an' wear.
"Then next you'll zee her bend her head
Above her aïlèn husband's bed,
A-fannèn, wi' an inward praÿ'r,
His burnèn brow wi' beäten aïr;
The while the clock, by candle light,
Do show that 'tis the dead o' night.
"An' here ageän upon the wall,
Where we do zee her last ov all,
Her husband's head's a-hangèn low,
'Ithin his hands in deepest woe.
An' she, an angel ov his God,
Do cheer his soul below the rod,
A-liftèn up her han' to call
His eyes to writèn on the wall,
As white as is her spotless robe,
'Hast thou rememberèd my servant Job?'
"An' zoo the squier, in grief o' soul,
Built up the Tower upon the knowl."





Last updated January 14, 2019