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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

William Barnes 1801–86

The Castle Ruins


A HAPPY day at Whitsuntide,

As soon ’s the zun begun to vall,

We all stroll’d up the steep hill-zide

To Meldon, gret an’ small;

Out where the Castle wall stood high

A-mwoldrèn to the zunny sky.

An’ there wi’ Jenny took a stroll

Her youngest sister, Poll, so gaÿ,

Bezide John Hind, ah! merry soul,

An’ mid her wedlock fay;

An’ at our zides did plaÿ an’ run

My little maïd an’ smaller son.

Above the beäten mwold upsprung

The driven doust, a-spreadèn light,

An’ on the new-leav’d thorn, a-hung,

Wer wool a-quiv’rèn white;

An’ corn, a-sheenèn bright, did bow,

On slopèn Meldon’s zunny brow.

There, down the roofless wall did glow

The zun upon the grassy vloor,

An’ weakly-wandrèn winds did blow,

Unhinder’d by a door;

An’ smokeless now avore the zun

Did stan’ the ivy-girded tun.

My bwoy did watch the daws’ bright wings

A-flappèn vrom their ivy bow’rs;

My wife did watch my maïd’s light springs,

Out here an’ there vor flow’rs;

And John did zee noo tow’rs, the pleäce

Vor him had only Polly’s feäce.

An’ there, of all that pried about

The walls, I overlook’d em best,

An’ what o’ that? Why, I meäde out

Noo mwore than all the rest:

That there wer woonce the nest of zome

That wer a-gone avore we come.

When woonce above the tun the smoke

Did wreathy blue among the trees,

An’ down below, the livèn vo’k

Did tweil as brisk as bees:

Or zit wi’ weary knees, the while

The sky wer lightless to their tweil.