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George Heath


The Moorland Poet

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—Memorials of George Heath, The Moorland Poet—





          When the tempests rage and roar,
          When the torrents beat and pour,
          When the dearest dreams are crossed,
          When my soul is plagued and tossed,
                                        Son of God, remember me.

          When my day is full of light,
          When the stars of hope are bright,
          When my cup brims clear and high,
          Smooth my path, and clear my sky,
                                        Son of God, remember me.

          If my giddy feet would stray,
          Chasing shadows that betray;
          Should my heart and will perverse
          Covet dross that brings a curse,
                                        Son of God, remember me.

          In temptation’s struggle-hour,
          When the flesh hath double power,
          When the better nature sinks,
          When resolve grows weak and shrinks,
                                        Son of God, remember me.

          Wheresoe’er my pathway leads,
          Whatsoe’er my nature needs,
          Whensoe’er my courage fails,
          Howsoe’er the fiend assails,
                                        Son of God, remember me.

          When my day around me sets,
          When the midnight glooms and frets,
          When the sighing river foams,
          When the death-cold shadow comes,
                                        Son of God, remember me.

          Through the hour of densest night,
          Through the whelm of Nature’s blight,
          Through the gloom and agony,
          Thou Who sufferedst on the tree,
                                        Son of God, remember me.

          Glad in sorrow’s sweet surcease,
          Wrapt in balms of changeless peace,
          Borne on wings of ecstasy,
          O’er the calm eternally,
                                        Bring me, Son of God, to Thee!






          Weary one, rest from thy burden of care,
               All thy afflictions and sorrows are o’er,
          Rest evermore in that paradise, where
               Earth’s heavy-laden ones weep nevermore;
          Rough was thy pilgrimage, frail was thy form,
               Nipped by disease like a flower in the blast,
          Hot was the conflict, and fierce was the storm,
               All the more sweet was thy triumph at last.






            Dear Harriet, and thou art no more,
                 No longer thy spirit is chained;
            Life’s tempests and struggles are o’er,
                 The haven of rest is attained;
            Away from the troubles of life;
                 Away from its sorrows and woes;
            Away from its pitiless strife,
                 Thy spirit has found its repose.






          Farewell, beloved one, escaped from our keeping,
               Gone home to thy crown and thy treasure at last,
          Afflictions and sorrows, temptations and weeping,
               Are fled with thy feverish dream of the past.






          A young man rose with a silvery tongue;
          His eyes were bright, and his heart was strong,
          And he vowed in the ears of the men of the world
          He knew, and would sing them a marvellous song;
          Whereat some laughed good humouredly:
          The lips of many with scorn were curled;
          “Go on, and be brave,” said a few; but more
          Were deaf to his voice as the stones could be.
          But the youth of the cup of ambition sipped,
          And his brow grew bold, though he trembled sore;
          His looks went up a long patch in the sky,
          Then sought the earth for a loving eye;
          He touched a rude harp with meaning high.
          And his voice rose clearly and broke among
          The eddying people’s, and rolled along.
          For the cheers or the jeers he heeded naught;
          His soul the scope of a burning thought;
          The fire of his lofty theme had caught;
          And he sang with never a stop or stay,
          For his labouring breath and his pulses’ play,
          Till Fate stole up and the ballad ripped:
          Then the singer faltered and stammered long,
          And, last broke down in the midst of his song,
          To the pity and pain of a few in the throng,
          And the proud content of the scornful lipped.
          O woe! for the wings that so soon were clipped,
          The wings that dreamed of the sun!
          A grave deep down by the chapel wall,
          But two feet wide and a fathom long—
          A tiny dot of the earth holds all
          That the earth could claim, from which he sprung,
          Of the singer who deemed the great world too small
          To hold the revealings that rose to his tongue—
          Of the burden and bent of his soul and his song.



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