William Barnes was born in 1801 in small Dorset cottage near the village of Bagber a mile or two north of Sturminster Newton in North Dorset. Perhaps the most individual of Dorset's authors had wrote a large number of poems in the then prevalent dialect of the local people. These poems, both in Dorset Dialect and conventional English give considerable insight into the life and times of working people in Dorset in the middle of the 19th century. His affection for his childhood in Dorset is clear, and strong emotions are conveyed through his nostalgic, and sometimes sentimental language. Barnes ran a school in Dorchester, for over a quarter of a century, before becoming Rector of Winterborne Came, on the south of Dorchester for the last twenty four years of his life. In 1886 at the age of 86 he died peacefully in this sleep in the thatched rectory off the Dorchester to Broadmayne road.

Barnes sums up the beauty of the county in his 'In Praise of Dorset' which is reproduced here, but it is strange that he does not mention the coastal arteas as his wife Julia loved to take voyages in paddle steamers.

In Praise of Dorset

We Do'set, though we mid be hwomely,
Be'nt asheamed to own our pleace;
An' we've zome women not uncomely;
Nor asheamed to show their feace;
We've a mead or two wo'th mowen,
We've a ox or two wo'th showen,
In the village,
At the tillage.
Come along an' you shall vind
That Do'set men don't sheame their kind.
Friend an' wife,
Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers,
Happy, happy, be their life!
Vor Do'set dear,
Then gi'e woone cheer;
D'ye hear? woone cheer!

If you in Do'set be a roamen,
An' ha' business on a farm,
Then woont ye zee your eale a foamen!
Or your cider down to warm?
Woont yo have brown bread a-put ye,
An' some vinney cheese a-cut ye?
Butter> - Rolls o't!
Cream? - why bowls o't!
Woont ye have, in short, your vill,
A-gi'ed wi' a right good will? Friend an' wife,
Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers,
Happy, happy, be their life!
Vor Do'set dear,
Then gi'e woone cheer;
D'ye hear? woone cheer!

An woon't yo have vor ev'ry shillen,
Shillen's wo'th at any shop.
Though Do'set chaps be up to zellen
An' can meake a tidy swop?
Use 'em well, they'll use you better;
In good turns they woont be debtor,
An' so comely,
An' so hwomely,
Be the maidens, if your son
Took woone o'm, then you'd cry 'Well done!'
Friend an' wife,
Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers,
Happy, happy, be their life!
Vor Do'set dear,
Then gi'e woone cheer;
D'ye hear? woone cheer!

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