William Barnes, 1801-1886


Biographical note

Poet and philologist, son of a farmer, born at Rushay, Dorset. After being a solicitor’s clerk and a schoolmaster, he entered the Church, in which he served various cures. He first contributed to a newspaper, Poems in Dorset Dialect, separately published in 1844. Hwomely Rhymes followed in 1858, and a collected edition of his poems appeared in 1879. His philological works include Philological Grammar [1854], Se Gefylsta, an Anglo–Saxon Delectus [1849]. Tiw, or a View of Roots [1862], and a Glossary of Dorset Dialect [1863]. B.’s poems are characterised by a singular sweetness and tenderness of feeling, deep insight into humble country life and character, and an exquisite feeling for local scenery.

[From A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature by John W. Cousin, 1910]

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