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George Heath


The Moorland Poet

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Title Page:

The words ‘Selected and Arranged by The Rev. James Badnall, B.A.’ have been replaced by ‘With an Introduction, by The Rev. James Badnall, B.A.’

(It appears that Francis Redfern was responsible for the selection and arrangement of the poems, as he takes the trouble to point out in his own Preface to the Second Edition: “Perhaps I ought to add in conclusion that I copied for the press nearly the whole of the poems for the first edition, and that they were printed as I arranged them; and that I have performed a similar duty for this edition.”)


List of Illustrations:

Following the Contents page of the First Edition was a list of H.W. Foster’s illustrations, this is omitted in the Second Edition.


Preface To The Second Edition:

Francis Redfern adds his own Preface to the Second Edition, written on March 1st, 1880.


Memoir of George Heath:

The following passage is added to Redfern’s Memoir:

          “It should be stated that although the subject of this memoir was on terms of friendship with the Rev. James Badnall, that he had attended the Wesleyan Sunday School, at Endon, and like his father and mother was a member of the Wesleyan Society there. His Sunday Diary attests his Wesleyan principles and his love for its ministers, but at the same time it evinces a catholicity of spirit which made him in sympathy with what was good in other religious bodies.”

This is inserted after the second extract from the unpublished dedication, before the paragraph which begins: “As before observed, the complaint of George Heath assumed a more decided and alarming form towards the latter end of  1868.”


There are also minor updates in the passage which refers to Heath’s friends.


A Country-Woman’s Tale:

Francis Redfern’s note at the end of the poem in the First Edition referring to additional material intended for ‘A Country-Woman’s Tale’ is omitted in the Second Edition. In his Preface to the Second Edition he explains that this material was actually  intended for ‘The Invalid Poet’, which was not included in the First Edition.


The Pauper Child:

The following three verses are omitted in the Second Edition:

            Outcasts of a dark misfortune,
                 Offsprings of disgrace and shame,
            Purchase of the fiend deception,
                 Wasted life and blighted fame;

            Mites engendered in the pest-holes
                 Of pollution, filth, and crime,
            Waifs washed up amid the surges
                 Of the cities’ mud and slime;

            Pictures of a masked oppression,
                 Base unkindness, want and wrong;
            All so thin and pale and hungry,
                 All so old and yet so young!


The Poet’s Grave:

H. W. Foster’s drawing of ‘The Poet’s Grave’ is printed alongside the poem of that title in the Second Edition. In the First Edition it is printed towards the end of the book, linked to Heath’s final poem, ‘Tired Out’.


Man O’ Mow:

The Second Edition includes a new illustration by H. W. Foster of Mow Cop ‘castle’.


Icarus; Or, The Singer’s Tale:

The Second Edition contains an extra 16 pages of material thought by Redfern to be intended for this poem.


Young Ambition:

The line, “And lifts his form erect and free,” is omitted from the second stanza in the Second Edition. However, since this throws the rhyme scheme out, as well as the structure of the poem, I think this is a printer’s error.



As above, the line, “To the stern wind’s mumbling flow”, is omitted in the Second Edition.


The Missing Poem - Farewell To The Sunday School:

In his preface to the 1880 edition of Heath’s poems, Francis Redfern states that the second edition contains ‘an addition of nearly eighty pages of hitherto unpublished poetry’. He does not comment on the fact that one of the poems in the first edition, ‘Farewell To The Sunday School’ is omitted. I can only presume that this was done for copyright reasons and that this poem is the one referred to in the following passage from Redfern’s Memoir:

“The first money, however, he received direct from a Publisher, was from Messrs. Walker and Son, York, for the use of a ‘School Dialogue’ in verse, but very superior to the general run of such kind of compositions. There were 1500 copies printed, and his fee was very small, but he received that which was equally dear to him—usually the Poet’s only meed— ‘the tribute of a smile.’”

In the First Edition, ‘Farewell To The Sunday School’ is printed after ‘Bissextile: A Lady’s Valentine’.



In the Second Edition, the third sonnet in the sequence carries the following inscription:


With feelings of sincere regard, to those who are dear to me at Mow
Cop; in remembrance of a very happy visit there—a few sunny days
spent amongst them


Tired Out:

In the First Edition, H. W. Foster’s drawing of the poet’s grave was printed next to ‘Tired Out’, Heath’s final poem.



The final poem in the First Edition is the Fragment beginning: “And when the first green leaves came budding out”. In the Second Edition this is placed with the other Fragments among the newly published section.


The Newly Published Portion of the Poems of George Heath:

The final 56 pages of the Second Edition contain the previously unpublished poems of George Heath, consisting of two long compostions, ‘The Invalid Poet’ and ‘Found Dead’ and a number of fragments either intended for other poems, or fit to stand alone. The final Fragment from the First Edition (as noted above) is printed here in context.


A General Note:

In preparing the Second Edition for this website I came across several minor variations among the poems included in the First Edition. Mostly these affected punctuation and spelling. The Second Edition also seemed more prone to typographical errors. I have not listed these ‘changes’ on this page, and in many cases I have not altered the original 1870 versions. Without being able to consult Heath’s manuscript originals it is impossible to decide which ‘version’ is correct, and the changes rarely affect the sense. However, where I have spotted the differences I have changed that version of the text file which is available for download.



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