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George Heath


The Moorland Poet

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—Memorials of George Heath, The Moorland Poet—






            Sinks the sun beyond the mountains,
                 As the bell’s last echo dies,
            Slowly melts the lambent glory
                 From the hazy western skies.

            Upward from the east in silence,
                 Comes the great calm empress, Night,
            With her dusky tresses trailing,
                 From her forehead gem-bedight;

            Softly creeping through the valleys,
                 Closing up the drooping flowers,
            Flooding all the nooks with shadows,
                 Blotting out the distant towers;

            Healing parched and languid nature,
                 With her wealth of balmy dews,
            As a word of gentle kindness
                 Failing strength and hope renews:

            Steeping in the balm of Lethe
                 Mortal senses, sorrows, woes,
            Lulling, as a gentle mother
                 Lulls her darling, to repose.

            From the silent meads and valleys
                 Misty exhalations rise,
            Like the incense of an offering,
                 Up into the milky skies;

            Nature cheered and renovated,
                 Vocal woods and streams exclaim.
            In a thousand whispering voices—
                 “Maker, ‘hallowed be Thy name!’”

            All those orbs of wondrous beauty,
                 Spangling o’er the firmament,
            Constellations slowly rising
                 From the shadowy orient;

            Mystic signs for ever moving,
                 O’er one vast unmeasured track,
            Gems that stud the wonder-girdle
                 Of the circling zodiac.

            Moons and satellites empyrean,
                 Wheeling round each central blaze,
            In the hazy ebon concave,
                 Far beyond our finite gaze;

            Teeming worlds on worlds of chaos,
                 Sweeping on with silent grace,
            Round the myriad suns and systems,
                 Through the vasty realms of space;

            All are chanting in their motions,
                 In their bright, unflickering flame,
            In their wondrous revolutions,
                 “Blessed and ‘hallowed be Thy name,”’

            Weary frames, worn out with battling
                 In the restless, feverish strife,
            Pressing o’er the toiling, moiling,
                 Panting, wrestling, race of life.

            Hearts bowed down and almost broken,
                 Shrinking ’neath their fleshly load,
            Tempted, tried, afflicted travellers,
                 Almost fainting on the road,

            Taste again the sweets of comfort,
                 Bask in Love’s all-healing looks,
            Read again each precious promise
                 In the well-worn Book of books.

            Lay their failings on the altar,
                 And for grace and pardon sue,
            Feel the hallowed influence stealing
                 Softly o’er them, like the dew;

            Till each soul, renewed and strengthened,
                 Quits in thought this mortal frame,
            Murmuring, as it soars unfettered,
                 “Father, ‘hallowed be Thy name!’”

            Oh! thou great all-glorious Being,
                 Omnipresent everywhere,
            Thou who read’st each secret motive
                 Hear’st the softest whispered prayer;

            Thou, whose mighty hand has written
                 Nature’s grand stupendous tome,
            Thou, who scatterest worlds like sand-grains,
                 O’er yon blue ethereal dome;

            Thou, who mad’st and fashioned all things,
                 Gave them motion, light, and breath,
            Fixed’st laws, by which creation
                 Works her own strange birth and death;

            Thou, before whose face adoring,
                 Angels veil themselves and fall,
            Thou, whom seraphs chant for ever,
                 Holy! Holy! Lord of all;

            Thou, whose power exalts the humble,
                 Teachest babes to lisp Thy fame,
            Oh! Thou great all-ruling Spirit,
                 Blessed and “hallowed be Thy name!”






            Beautiful Spring! Beautiful Spring!
            Coming again on the wandering wing,
            Sunshine and beauty and pleasure to bring,
            Gladly we welcome thee, beautiful Spring!

            Virgin of purity, rapture is thine,
            Bright is thy brow, as the lore of the mine,
            Fair is thy cheek, as the flush of the rose,
            Sweet is thy smile, as an infant’s repose.

            Robed with a mantle of gorgeous array,
            Girded with tendrils of amaranths gay,
            Jewelled with flowerets of every hue,
            Frescoed with sunbeams and spangled with dew;

            Hollow-cheeked sorrow and sadness and gloom
            Vanish away to their wintry tomb;
            Grief bows her fennel-crowned head to thy sway,
            Time like a phantom glides swiftly away.

            Genial laughter and frolicsome mirth!
            Herald thy coming again upon earth,
            Welcome thee back to thy throne in our bowers,
            Queen of the empire of beauty and flowers.

            Everything lofty and noble, or grand,
            Wakes into life at the wave of thy wand;
            Earth dons her mantle of radiant sheen,
            Azure and purple and scarlet and green.

            Hedgerows and forests burst out into bloom,
            Flowers load the air with delicious perfume;
            Winds hail thy coming with boisterous cheers,
            Clouds in their gladness gush out into tears.

            Birds sing thy praises with jubilant voice,
            Trees clap their broad waving hands and rejoice,
            Lambkins and fledglings the chorus prolong,
            Streamlets gush out into rapturous song.

            Mortals enamoured bow down at thy shrine,
            Painters pourtray thee a goddess divine,
            Poets, the landmarks of every clime,
            Praise and extol thee in epic sublime.

            Everything radiant, rapturous, bright,
            Hails thy approach with a shout of delight,
            Welcomes thee back with a jubilant ring,
            Radiant, sunny-eyed, beautiful Spring!




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