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,
Many-gabled, many-windowed,
      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!


Victorian Web George Heath Contents


Last modified 4 September 2002