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The Girt Woak Tree

 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 eacorns green, a-shed
In wrestlen storms from 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-skinn'd 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 lov'd,- 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-bough's tree we past 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 token 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.

Poem by William Barnes
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