Barnes, William (1800-1886)

Barnes, William (1800-86), England's best purely pastoral poet, was born at Rusliay, near Sturminster-Newton, in the Vale of Blackmoor, of an old Dorset stock. Spite of early difficulties, he acquired remarkable learning, and after some time in a solicitor's office, taught a school at Dorchester with success. After obtaining a university degree and receiving ordination, he became curate of Whitcombe in 1847, and rector of Winterborne Came in 1862. Meantime he had become widely known by his fine idyllic poetry in the Dorset dialect, ' the bold and broad Doric of England.' His first volume appeared in 1844; the second, llwomely Rhymes, in 1859; the third ill 1862 ; the three were collected in 1879 as Poems of Rural Life in the Dorset Dialect. He wrote several philological works, being specially jealous to preserve the purity of English. See Life (1887) by his daughter, Mrs Lucy Baxter ('Leader Scott,' 1837-1902), who wrote much on Italian themes.

References
1. Chamber's Biographical Dictionary, Philadelphia, 1926, page 69.

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