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.
Come back to my bosom, Mary,
Come back to your home at last;
Forget all the doubt and anguish,
And the troubled and wasted past.
My heart has been longing, longing,
For many a weary day;
Come back to my arms, my Mary,
And dwell in my sight alway.
How like a terrible vision
The past with its pain has been;
How many the groans unnoted,
And the tears that have flowed unseen.
I wrestled for wealth and honour,
To fill up the desolate void:
I won them; but, oh! my spirit
Refused to be satisfied.
Ah! those that around me fluttered,
And envied my fortune so,
Should have weighed it 'gainst the sorrow
That ever lay gnawing below.
The years have lain heavily on me,
And shadowed and seamed my brow;
And the hot tears follow the wrinkles
That traverse my wan cheek now.
I'm weaker and feebler, Mary,
I'm lonely and growing old;
And my home is so cheerless, Mary,
And the world is so strange and cold.
And Mary, I've loved you always,
Through all those terrible years;
But Heaven alone is witness,
And the pillow that drank my tears.
The clamorous cry for affection
Grew in me and would not be stilled,
With the sense that the one great purpose
Of being was unfulfilled.
I own it with sorrow, Mary,
I doubted you many a day,
Till he who wrought trouble between us
Sin-stricken and dying lay;
And then I discovered my error,
And wearily crept from his side,
Heart-broken: but let us forgive him —
He suffered before he died.
I was angry and hasty, Mary,
And 'twas pride that in judgment sat;
But forgive me, my own dear Mary,
I've suffered — I've suffered for that.
I know that I ought to have spoken
In days that are long since past:
I was proud; but forgive me, Mary,
And return to your home at last.
They tell me, that though the silver
Is tangled amongst your hair,
And your face is sadder and paler,
The old look of peace is still there;
That you cheerfully do your duty,
Contented to be just such.
Ah, Mary! you still have that blessing
That I lacked in the past so much.
And yet, how you must have suffered,
For I know that you loved me true;
I weep when I think of it, Mary,
And the wrong that I did to you.
But say you forgive me, Mary,
And come to your home again;
And I'll strive to repay you, darling,
For the sorrow I caused you then.
Last modified 4 September 2002