Patrick Regan has kindly shared the material from his George Heath site with readers of the Victorian Web, who may wish to consult the original.
Let me ship my oars a little —
Drifting idly down the stream,
From the twilight towards the sunlight —
While I live again that dream.
On the cragged sun-tinted summit
Of a mountain pile I stand,
Hugely grand, and wildly lovely
Visions rise on every hand.
Calms of sky are blue about me,
Windy currents on me beat;
Broken fissures dark with thicket,
Cliffs and gaps are at my feet —
To the Northward sweeps the mountain,
Turret-spurred and larch-embrowed —
Heaving, swelling, crouching, curving,
To the awful headland "cloud"
Which o'erlooks a widening plain-land,
Flanked with rugged outs and ins,
Whence the damps arise that, floating,
Mist the foreheads of the Mins.
To the South a dusky turret
From the highest apex climbs,
Like a fragment of some giant
Bulwark of the feudal times;
Thence the mountain breaks and straggles
Roughly to the vale afar,
In a score of ragged plateaus,
Girt with gleaming shale and spar.
And among the knolls and hollows,
Villas, blocks, and chimneys rise;
All a-stir with toiling livers,
All a-pant with enterprise.
Eastward, where adoring Eos
Wakens Goea's Memnon lyre,
Rise the many-shaped and broken
Torrent-hills of Staffordshire;
Crowding upward like the billows
On a tempest tortured sea;
'Mongst whose scalloped crests and curvings
Throbs a monster Industry.
To the West, a vast campagna,
Where a bay might once have been,
Suns its wide, recumbent substance,
Liveried o'er with gold and green;
Forest-braided, with a prolix
Growth of huge umbrageous trees,
Shrinking 'neath a tickling wind-sprite,
Like the laughter of the seas.
Sudden gleams of rural mansions,
Sloping roofs, and glinting walls,
Pinnacled, patrician halls,
Where the beeches crowd the thickest
On the sward; and here and there
Taper spire, and browning belfry
Climbing, clasp the upper air;
Far-seen stacks of grimy chimneys,
Rolls of smoke, and jets of steam
Crowd upon my sweeping vision,
Stud the current of my dream.
And afar, where mid the ether
Glows a white translucid mist,
Where the scene is distance-softened,
Summer-shot, and silver-kissed,
Glamour-wrapt, as wraiths of wonder
Hover round old fairy tales,
In a wild serrated sky-line,
Rise the frontier rocks of Wales;
And around them, vaguely blended,
Vapoury hues are grouped and piled;
And above them, cloud-wreath curtains,
Protean-gleamed, are looped and coiled.
Radiant is the vasty vision,
Sunset-lit, or dawn, or noon;
Thrilling! 'neath the sleepless vigil
Of a white September moon.
Other forms and other features
Rise before me, pause, retire;
Stately forms endued with manhood,
Noble son and generous sire;
Budding children, blooming matrons,
Mother-faces calm with care;
Forms with coils of woman-glory
Circling foreheads passing fair!
And the thrill of music haunts me
Like the thoughts of master-minds,
And a tender voice a-singing
Sweet and low as autumn winds.
Ah! but not the gorgeous landscape
'Neath the still cerulean sky;
Not the shapes of grace and beauty,
Though a sweetness and a joy;
Not the music, not the singing,
Revelations though they be,
Strike the deepest chords within me,
On the harp of memory:
But the strings that throb the sweetest,
And the bonds that closest twine,
Are the hands that came to clasp me,
Are the eyes that glowed in mine;
Are the lips that bade me welcome;
Feet that came at sorrow's call;
Are the hearts that rose to love me,
Though a stranger to them all!
Oh! 'tis sweet to feel the twinings
Of a fond solicitude,
Stand amid the charmèd circle
Of a noble brotherhood!
And I tell you, ye who loved me,
Tell you now, and once for all —
Though the winds of sorrow wither,
Fortune deal her bitterest gall,
Though deserted, scorned, forgotten,
Evermore the memory
Of your kindness — never-fading —
Will come back to gladden me.
Heaven bless you! God, I thank Thee
That, although of much bereft,
Much — so much — of beauty, blessing,
Joy, and tenderness is left!
Last modified 4 September 2002