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Crossways Library opens its doors to welcome William Barnes Poetry

By Marion Tait

On 19th September 2017, a group of William Barnes Society members gave an evening of poetry, music, and song at Crossways Library for the Local History Group and guests.

The poems had been carefully chosen by Chairman, Brian Caddy who also gave a short introduction to William Barnes's life and achievements.

The poems/eclogues included

  • Young Rhymer Snubbed - Brian Caddy
  • The Shepherd o' the Farm - David Downton
  • The Carter, Childhood-sung - Rod Drew
  • The Wold Wagon, Harvest Hwome, Vust peart and second peart - Keith Hooper
  • Haymaken, The Girt Woak Tree that's in the Dell - Dave Burbidge
  • The Wold Wagon, Harvest Hwome vu'st, second peartnd - Keith Hooper
  • Lydlinch Bells, The Beam in Grenley Church - David Guy
  • The Church and Happy Zunday, Uncle and Aunt - Barbara Whillock
  • Bob the Fidler, Evening in the Village - Devina Symes
  • False Friends Like, Solace of the Fields - Marion Tait
  • Eclogue The Lottments, Emigration - David Downton and Brian Caddy
  • Eclogue A Bit o Sly Corten - Devina Symes and Brian Caddy
  • Praise O' Do'set All

The audience appreciated the readings and readily joined the Society readers, accompanied by Dave Burbidge on his accordion to sing Linden Lea. Words were written by William Barnes and put to music by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

The highlight of the evening was a reading by our Secretary Marion Tait of a recently discovered and unpublished poem in National English by William Barnes 'Solace of the Fields'.

It had been purchased at a sale in Dorchester in April by Julian Nangle a very well-respected book dealer. The four-verse poem was in Barnes's handwriting and framed between two sheets of glass with a footnote W.B. Mrs Hodding with kind compliments. It was not dated. Barnes's handwriting was still relatively neat and the poem was obviously written prior to rheumatism causing Barnes's handwriting to deteriorate quite dramatically. Rod Drew, Brian Caddy, and Julian Nangle were able to produce a transcript before the item itself was sold to the Cushing Memorial Library Archives, University of Texas.

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