AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF HIS POEM '[TO] THE WIND' SIGNED ('W Barnes'), 14 lines in two stanzas, 1 page, octavo, laid down, slight brown mark on left-hand margin, with a photograph printed later by Words Etcetera Bookshop, not dated
'Life of the world, that roamest on unseen,
Though sweetly felt, o'er land and over sea...
Come welcome flood of life whene're I look
O'er sunny wood and stream where thou dost play
Through greenbough'd trees, and o'er the meadow brook
That sparkles brightly on a summer's day
And waft me sofly [sic] out from grove and nook
Thy sounds that sweetly swell and die away.'
Written in Barnes's characteristically crabbed hand, this manuscript has three readings different from the printed version: in lines 3, 4 and 9, the first reading 'Upquickening the things...' for 'And wak'st to quickness things...' The poem is published in The Poems. No other poetical manuscripts by Barnes have been sold at auction.
Gerard Manley Hopkins considered Barnes to be 'a perfect artist and a most spontaneous inspiration.' Hardy, Tennyson, Patmore, Allingham, Gosse, Palgrave and Larkin were also great admirers of his work. Larkin wrote of Barnes's poems that 'they are completely original, and now and again they are moving.' Most of Barnes's manuscripts are at the Dorset County Museum.
REFERENCE: The Poems of William Barnes, 2 volumes, edited by Bernard Jones, 1962.