Tuesday, October 13, 2009

William Barnes (1801-1886)

William Barnes, British writer, poet, cleric and philologist is best remembered for his poems in Dorset dialect. In Pakistan, of course, his best-known work is 'A Mother's Dream' in Urdu adaptation by Iqbal.

The Mother’s Dream

I’d a dream to-night
As I fell asleep,
Oh! the touching sight
Makes me still to weep;
Of my little lad,
Gone to leave me sad,
Aye, the child I had,
But was not to keep.
As in heaven high,
I my child did seek,
There, in train, came by
Children fair and meek.
Each in lily white,
With a lamp alight;
Each was clear to sight,
But they did not speak.
Then, a little sad,
Came my child in turn,
But the lamp he had,
Oh! it did not burn;
He, to clear my doubt,
Said, half-burned about,
“Your tears put it out;
Mother, never mourn.”

Picture of Barnes' grave in Dorset, UK, is from Poets' Graves


  1. This is again another gem adapted by Iqbal.Now we are eagerly waiting for RUMI part 2 and the remaining parts of Rashid Minhas biography.

  2. Akhtar, thanks. I'm having second thoughts about continuing the Rumi story at the moment, but the rest of the biography of Rashid Minhas will resume soon, I hope.

    There are two more poets to appear in this series about the sources of Iqbal's poems for children, and then I shall demonstrate how Iqbal transformed these simple poems into building-blocks of a very complex idea. I hope you will like that :)