Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ECLOGUE: THE 'LOTMENTS, by WILLIAM BARNES



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ECLOGUE: THE 'LOTMENTS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Zoo you be in your groun' then, I do zee
Last Line: If I could get a little patch o' ground.
Subject(s): Duty; Farm Life; Labor & Laborers; Property; Social Protest; Spring; Agriculture; Farmers; Work; Workers; Possessions


JOHN AND RICHARD

JOHN
Zoo you be in your groun' then, I do zee,
A-workèn and a-zingèn lik' a bee.
How do it answer? what d'ye think about it?
D'ye think 'tis better wi' it than without it?
A-reck'nèn rent, an' time, an' zeed to stock it,
D'ye think that you be any thing in pocket?

RICHARD
O, 'tis a goodish help to woone, I'm sure o't.
If I had not a-got it, my poor bwones
Would now ha' eäch'd a-crackèn stwones
Upon the road; I wish I had zome mwore o't.

JOHN
I wish the girt woones had a-got the greäce
To let out land lik this in ouer pleäce;
But I do fear there'll never be nwone vor us,
An I can't tell whatever we shall do:
We be a most a-starvèn, an' we'd goo
To 'merica, if we'd enough to car us.

RICHARD
Why 'twer the squire, good now! a worthy man,
That vu'st brought into ouer pleäce the plan;
He zaid he'd let a vew odd eäcres
O' land to us poor leäb'rèn men;
An', faïth, he had enough o' teäkers
Vor that, an' twice so much ageän.
Zoo I took zome here, near my hovel,
To exercise my speäde an' shovel;
An' what wi' dungèn, diggèn up, an' zeedèn,
A-thinnèn, cleänèn, howèn up an' weedèn,
I, an' the biggest o' the childern too,
Do always vind some useful jobs to do.

JOHN
Aye, wi' a bit o' ground, if woone got any,
Woone's bwoys can soon get out an' eärn a penny;
An' then, by workèn, they do learn the vaster
The way to do things when they have a meäster;
Vor woone must know a deäl about the land
Bevore woone's fit to lend a useful hand,
In geärden or a-vield upon a farm.

RICHARD
An' then the work do keep em out o' harm;
Vor vo'ks that don't do nothèn wull be vound
Soon doèn woorse than nothèn, I'll be bound.
But as vor me, d'ye zee, wi' theäse here bit
O' land, why I have ev'ry thing a'mwost:
Vor I can fatten vowels vor the spit,
Or zell a good fat goose or two to rwoast;
An' have my beäns or cabbage, greens or grass,
Or bit o' wheat, or, sich my happy feäte is,
That I can keep a little cow, or ass,
An' a vew pigs to eat the little teäties.

JOHN
An' when your pig's a-fatted pretty well
Wi' teäties, or wi' barley an' some bran,
Why you've a-got zome vlitches vor to zell,
Or hang in chimney-corner, if you can.

RICHARD
Aye, that's the thing; an' when the pig do die,
We got a lot ov offal vor to fry,
An' netlèns vor to bwoil; or put the blood in,
An' meäke a meal or two o' good black-pudden.

JOHN
I'd keep myzelf from parish, I'd be bound,
If I could get a little patch o' ground.





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