The Nature Bible


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The Blackbird



The Blackbird



'Ov all the birds upon the wing

Between the zunny showers o' spring,-

Vor all the lark, a-swingen high,

Mid zing below a cloudless sky,

An' sparrows, clust'ren roun' the bough,

Mid chatter to the men at plough, -

The blackbird, whisslen in among

The boughs, do zing the gayest zong.


Vor we do hear the blackbird zing

His sweetest ditties in the spring,

When nippen win's noo mwore do blow

Vrom northern skies, wi' sleet or snow,

But dreve light doust along between

The leane-zide hedges, thick an' green;

An' zoo the blackbird in among

The boughs do zing the gayest zong.


'Tis blithe, wi' newly-opened eyes,

To zee the mornen's ruddy skies;

Or, out a-haulen frith or lops

Vrom new-pleshed hedge or new-velled copse,

To rest at noon in primrwose beds

Below the white-barked woak-trees' heads;

But there's noo time, the whole day long,

Lik' evenen wi' the blackbird's zong.


Vor when my work is all a-done

Avore the zetten o' the zun,

Then blushen Jeane do walk along

The hedge to meet me in the drong,

An' stay till all is dim an' dark

Bezides the ashen tree's white bark;

An' all bezides the blackbird's shrill

An' runnen evenen-whissle's still.


An' there in bwoyhood I did rove

Wi' pryen eyes along the drove

To vind the nest the blackbird meade

O' grass-stalks in the high bough's sheade;

Or climb aloft, wi' clingen knees,

Vor crows' aggs up in swayen trees,

While frightened blackbirds down below

Did chatter o' their little foe.

An' zoo there's noo pleace lik' the drong,

Where I do hear the blackbird's zong.'


by William Barnes (1801-1886)

Composed in Dorset Dialect.