Poems of Rural Life in the Dorset Dialect/The Girt Woak Tree that's in the Dell

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THE GIRT WOAK TREE THAT’S IN THE DELL.

The girt woak tree that’s in the dell!
There’s noo tree I do love so well;
Vor times an’ times when I wer young,
I there’ve a-climb’d, an’ there’ve a-zwung,
An’ pick’d the eäcorns green, a-shed
In wrestlèn storms vrom his broad head.
An’ down below’s the cloty brook
Where I did vish with line an’ hook.
An’ beät, in plaÿsome dips and zwims,
The foamy stream, wi’ white-skinn’d lim’s.
An’ there my mother nimbly shot
Her knittèn-needles, as she zot
At evenèn down below the wide
Woak’s head, wi’ father at her zide.
An’ I’ve a-plaÿed wi’ many a bwoy,
That’s now a man an’ gone awoy;
 Zoo I do like noo tree so well
 ’S the girt woak tree that’s in the dell.

An’ there, in leäter years, I roved
Wi’ thik poor maïd I fondly lov’d,—
The maïd too feäir to die so soon,—
When evenèn twilight, or the moon,
Cast light enough ’ithin the pleäce
To show the smiles upon her feäce,
Wi’ eyes so clear ’s the glassy pool.
An’ lips an’ cheäks so soft as wool.
There han’ in han’, wi’ bosoms warm,
Wi’ love that burn’d but thought noo harm,
Below the wide-bough’d tree we past
The happy hours that went too vast;
An’ though she’ll never be my wife.
She’s still my leäden star o’ life.
She’s gone: an’ she ’ve a-left to me
Her mem’ry in the girt woak tree;
 Zoo I do love noo tree so well
 ’S the girt woak tree that’s in the dell.

An’ oh! mid never ax nor hook
Be brought to spweil his steätely look;
Nor ever roun’ his ribby zides
Mid cattle rub ther heäiry hides;
Nor pigs rout up his turf, but keep
His lwonesome sheäde vor harmless sheep;
An’ let en grow, an’ let en spread,
An’ let en live when I be dead.
But oh! if men should come an’ vell
The girt woak tree that’s in the dell,
An’ build his planks ’ithin the zide
O’ zome girt ship to plough the tide,
Then, life or death! I’d goo to sea,
A saïlèn wi’ the girt woak tree:
An’ I upon his planks would stand.
An’ die a-fightèn vor the land,—
The land so dear,—the land so free,—
The land that bore the girt woak tree;
 Vor I do love noo tree so well
 ’S the girt woak tree that’s in the dell.