Bridport Harbour by William Barnes
William Barnes the Dorset poet was born 200 years ago on the 22nd February 1801. He wrote over 800 poems, some in Dorset dialect. His poems were admired by Alfred, Lord Tennyson and he is thought to have influenced Thomas Hardy. His best known poem is Linden Lea set to music by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Thomas Hardy gave the Eulogy at Barnes funeral.
Did you know that one of the poems he wrote is about Bridport Harbour? He wrote this poem in 1870 to raise funds for the ‘Bridport School of Art’ at the Literary and Scientific Institute which is now run by the charity Bridport Area Development Trust who also operate West Bay Discovery Centre. He delivered a number of lectures at the Bridport Literary and Scientific Institute which featured articles about the English Language, Dorset and his poems.
With the link to the Harbour and the LSI on the anniversary of his birth it is an appropriate time to share his poem with you.
Some of the Bridport Harbour he describes is unfamiliar to us now, but highlights the importance and high reputation of the shipbuilders of Bridport Harbour and also the perils of life on the ocean wave.
If you would like to learn more about William Barnes we recommend the following sites: