William Barnes, The Dorsetshire Poet (1800-1886)

Poet and clergyman, he was born at Rushay Farm, Bagber, Dorset, on 22nd February 1801. His first volume-Orra: a Lapland Tale-was published in l822. He became master of a school at Mere in Wiltshire in l823, returning to Dorchester in l835. He was ordained in 1847, and became curate at Whitcombe in l847, and rector of Winterbourne Came, near Dorchester, in 1862, where he died. He began to write his Dorset poems in 1833, publishing Poems of Rural Life in the Dorset Dialect (l844), Hwomely Rhymes (1857), and a third volume in 1863. A combined edition was published in 1879, under the first title. He was a lyric writer of a high order. In his verses, which are homely and tender, and full of the joy of life, he never leaves the pleasant fields of his native Dorsetshire. They are entirely free from foreign influence, save where he takes the Persian and Italian as models in metre and rhyme. He also published more than two hundred engravings, having considerable natural artistic talents.

Thomas Hardy, (1840-1928)

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  • Under The Greenwood Tree (1872)
  • A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873)
  • Far from the Madding Crowd (1874)
  • The Return of the Native (1878)
  • The Trumpet Major (1880)
  • The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886)
  • The Woodlanders (1887)
  • Wessex Tales (1888)
  • A Group of Noble Dames (1891)
  • Tess of the D'Urbervi11es (1891)
  • Life's Little Ironies (1894)
  • Jude the Obscure (1896)
  • The WellBeloved (l897)
  • Wessex Poems (1898)
  • Poems of the Past and the Present (1901)
  English novelist, was born near Dorchester. In 1856 he was articled to an architect in that town, but in 1862 moved to London and worked under Sir A. Blomfield. In 1865 he began to try his hand at fiction. On the publication of his first masterpiece, Far from the Madding Crowd, in 1874, he finally abandoned architecture, and settled in Dorsetshire. A long series of novels, full of local colour and local character, has made Wessex as familiar a literary country as Arcadia. Many of his stories have been put into dramatic form as theatre or cinema, and in 1904 he published a long dramatized history of the Anglo - French struggle of the Napoleonic era, entitled The Dynasts. He published no poetry until the age of 58, several years after the death of William Barnes.

Poems & references/links
Wessex Novel places
Hardy Society UK
Dorset Dialect Page
Hardy Society (UK)
Thomas Hardy Society,
PO Box 1438,
Dorset DT1 1YH,
tel. 01305251501

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