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The Rowley Poems by Thomas Chatterton

“Most people know the legend of Thomas Chatterton -- brilliant poet who failed to make a living, starved himself to send expensive presents to his family, and died by his own hand at seventeen -- much better than his poems. Like all legends, it is partial and exaggerated, but was a powerful influence on the Romantic movement and long after. The painting "The Death of Chatterton" by Henry Wallis epitomises this reputation. His fame rests, apart from this almost unbearably romantic life story, on his "Rowley Poems". These he wrote in a sham Middle English dialect, and passed off as the work of Thomas Rowley, a priest of Bristol in the fifteenth century, and some of his friends. The imposture was quickly detected (though some continued to believe in him for many years), but they were published in a collected edition after his death and were popular and much admired by the Romantic poets, especially Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats, who dedicated "Endymion" to the memory of Thomas Chatterton.”


Caxton‘s Chaucer at the British Library

“On this site you will find William Caxton’s two editions of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, probably printed in 1476 and 1483. The originals are both in the British Library.”
Another interface at De Montfort University edited by Barbara Bordalejo, Canterbury Tales Project.
Other links to Chaucer.


"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-climbed, an' there've a-zwung,
An' picked the eacorns green, a-shed
In wrestlen storms vrom his broad head.
An' down below's the cloty brook
Where I did vish with line an' hook,
An' beat, in playsome dips and zwims,
The foamy stream, wi' white-skinned lim's.
An' there my mother nimbly shot
Her knitten-needles, as she zot
At evenen down below the wide
Woak's head, wi' father at her zide.
An' I've a-played 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 leater years, I roved
Wi' thik poor maid I fondly loved, -
The maid too feair to die so soon, -
When evenen twilight, or the moon,
Cast light enough 'ithin the pleace
To show the smiles upon her feace,
Wi' eyes so clear's the glassy pool,
An' lips an' cheaks so soft as wool.
There han' in han', wi' bosoms warm,
Wi' love that burned but thought noo harm,
Below the wide-boughed tree we passed
The happy hours that went too vast;
An' though she'll never be my wife,
She's still my leaden 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 steately look;
Nor ever roun' his ribby zides
Mid cattle rub ther heairy hides;
Nor pigs rout up his turf, but keep
His lwonesome sheade 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 sailen wi' the girt woak tree:
An' I upon his planks would stand,
An' die a-fighten 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.
William Barnes [1801-1886]