William Dewey: Ah, nativities of Thomas Hardy be'ent what they were.
Michael Mail: Th'art right, Old William. The young folks don't sing the Thomas Hardy carols round the parish as they once did.
Thomas Leaf: He-he! We'd rather bide at home and play on them there X-boxes.
Michael: And did you hear about that high-and-mighty Mrs Bathsheba Troy up at Weatherbury?
Thomas Penny: Aye. Married a Belgian.
William: A Belgian?
Thomas: Ar. En says 'es Gabriel Oak from Norcombe. But 'e be Gabriel Eikenboom from Antwerp.
Parson Maybold: Thank you, villagers. Now let us join in the Wessex Litany.
All: O Great Architect
Let us not die of consumption
Nor crash into the Night Mail.
Let us not be a-drownded
Or have our house fall upon us
Or unexpectedly be burnt to death in a fire in a castle.
Let us not be hanged for murdering our spouses in a boarding house
Or shot by a jealous fiancee
Or carried off by the Press Gang
Or bit by an adder
Or die in the workhouse
Or arrested by the Customs Men
Or shot for deserting the King's Hussars
Or pine away for love
Or be shot by Boney's armies
Or drop dead of unexpected happiness.
But instead let us quietly toil in the fields,
Drink cider and muse on the ironies of life
Until we're as old as Granfer Cantle
And as daft as old Mr Derriman
And die naturally,
Of old age,