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George Heath


The Moorland Poet

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“The Volume entitled, “Heart Strains,” which included “The Discarded,” was ready for the press by the 19th of June, and the first instalment of 50 copies came to his hands from Mr. Hallowes, of Leek, in September following. His direct profits from the sale of this small volume did not amount to much, but if it did not yield great pecuniary profit, it was an advance in the right direction, and increased the number and deepened the sympathy of his friends. These poems were very favourably reviewed by the press at the time of their issue. They were also honoured with Public Readings, both at Stafford and Leek. And falling into the hands of Walter Montgomery, Esq., who felt much interest in them, that gentleman also gave Readings from them, which was properly regarded by the poor invalid as a great honour.”

Francis Redfern's Memoir.


Heart Strains was George Heath’s second book of poems. It was published locally in 1866 and contains 42 pages, 7 by 4¾ inches in size. I have no information as to the binding, and I do not know how many copies were printed. As well as the initial print run of 50 copies, Francis Redfern also mentions that a Mr. Hall sold another 50 copies of the book

Heart Strains contains an Introduction by George Heath and 9 poems:

‘The Discarded’
‘Waiting For Death’
‘The Peasant Poet’s Despair’
‘Lines on the “Cattle Plague”’
‘To My Mother’
‘Good Night’
‘Minnie, Edith and Lizzie’

Apart from ‘Lines on the “Cattle Plague”’ all the poems are included in the ‘Heart Strains’ section of the Memorial editions, where ‘Song’ has been retitled, ‘The Poet’s Grave’.

I had presumed that all the copies of Heart Strains had been lost over the years. None of the local libraries, nor the British Library possess a copy. I was therefore very surprised, and extremely grateful, when I received a photocopy of the book from Mr. Kenneth McLean in Canada. The original copy belongs to a member of that branch of the Heath family which moved to Monmouth in Wales.

Since all the poems in Heart Strains (bar one) were already on the site, there seemed no reason to present the book in the same format as the Memorial editions. However, because of its importance in the story of George Heath and the fact that it is such a rare item, I felt that I should make some attempt to preserve it on the site. Therefore I've made a facsimile copy (of Kenneth McLean's photocopy of the original) and placed it here.




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