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George Heath


The Moorland Poet

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—Memorials of George Heath, The Moorland Poet - 1870 Edition—





            Mother dear! sometimes you’ll come,
            When the fields are all in bloom;
            When the blossomed chestnuts wave,
            Come and sit beside my grave.
            For, alas! I soon must lie,
            Where the willows wave and sigh;
            Slumber ’neath the mouldy stone,
            All unheeded, all unknown.

            Come and strew my grave with flowers,
            Culled from Nature’s wildest bowers;
            Those I love, the modest ones,
            Hiding ’mongst the moss and stones.
                                                              For alas! etc.

            Come when waves of sorrow roll,
            Fiercely o’er your shrinking soul;
            And, if sainted spirits may,
            I will soothe you while you pray.
                                                              For alas! etc.

            Come when age has flecked your hair,
            Seamed your brow with lines of care;
            Sit and muse upon the time,
            When we’ll meet in yonder clime.
                                                              For alas! etc.

            You will not forget, I know,
            Where my “mortal” sleeps below;
            Though the proud may pause and sneer,
            You will hold it sacred, dear!
                                                              For alas! etc.






            Sunny-haired and bright-eyed maidens,
            Brimming o’er with fun and frolic,
            Gushing out with joyous laughter,
            Singing, dancing ’mongst the flowers,
            Ever radiant, ever happy.
            All unconscious of the darkness,
            Looming in the distant future,—
            Ye are like a streamlet gushing
            From the summit of a mountain,
            Skipping over rocks and pebbles,
            Dancing round in mazy eddies,
            Laughing out in merry cascades,
            Toying with the moss and flow’rets,
            Frisking, sparkling in the sunshine,
            Ever dancing, ever singing,
            Ever gushing out with gladness,
            Filling all around with music;
            All unconscious of the valley,
            Where its waters, darker, deeper,
            Roll with low and mournful cadence
            Through the sedges and the shadows,
            Onward to the boundless Ocean.


[Note: ‘Minnie, Edith, and Lizzie’ was published in The Staffordshire Sentinel on 9th February, 1867.]





          Say, can it be, that those bright phantasies:—
          The forms of beings, loved in days gone by,
          (Our noble ones long passed into the sky;)
          Those radiant visions, fair-eyed Fancy sees
          When thought steals back in dreamy reveries:
               Who, when the soul would linger and despond,
               Breathe evermore that glorious thought, “beyond!”
          Who, soft as moonlight falls on troubled seas,
          Steal o’er the burden of our nightly dreams.
               And soothe and nerve us when we need it most,
          And point from earthly cares to Calvary’s streams,
               Say are they spirits of our loved and lost,
          Lent for a time our angel-guards to be?
          For oh! to deem them such, is sweet to me.






          Slow creeps the light athwart the concave still,
          Steals a low whisper on the breathless calm,
          Bringing the scent of opening flowers, a balm;
          Breaks o’er the earth a grand, a rapturous thrill,
          The chant of waters and the song-bird’s trill;
               The clouds fold up their curtains snowy white;
               The sleepy stars fade noiselessly from sight.
          Bright Phoebus mounts above the crimson hill;
          The sheeted mists like baffled hosts retire,
               Wan Zephyr comes to wanton with the flowers,
          The stream meanders on, a string of fire,
               And light and music fill earth’s sylvan bowers;
          Bright dewdrops shine and tremble everywhere:
          O Sceptic, look and blush, for God is there!




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