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.

The sun has gone down, and the rose-light fades,
      And the cool night down from the mountain slips,
And swathes the chill earth in a garment of shades,
      And tenderly kisses the pale, parched lips.

The moon-lustre falls on a lone, deep lane,
      Bush-screened, bramble-grown, beech-shadowed, and —
                Hist!
Step silently back in the shadow again,
      I hear a low sound — 'tis the lovers' tryst!

Entwined like the shapes on an antique cup,
      Wrapt up in each other they come and go;
Her features are white, for she gazes up;
      And his are as dark, for he bendeth low.

'Mid the light and the shade of that rustic dell
      They lingering saunter to and fro;
They think not that life hath its shades as well,
      It seemeth all sunny — love paints it so.

He breathes honeyed words that are pure and fair,
      She answers with looks that are sweet as they;
He buildeth bright fabrics in realms of air,
      She decks them with tendrils and flowers of May.

He praises her form and her eyes' soft play,
      The glow of her lips, and her cheeks and brow;
And much that, though once young and foolish as they,
      You'd pucker your features and sneer at now.

They pause in the moonlight, with fair heads bowed,
      And vow to be faithful and loving and true;
The moon hides its face in a small white cloud —
      And if he did kiss her, what is't to you?

A feeling of mischief comes o'er the maid;
      Averting her face with a vexed pretence
She utters one word of a doubtful shade,
      He, lover-like, instantly takes offence;

And hot words are dealt with the force of prayer,
      Fierce tropes are like sods at each other cast;
They stand for a moment irresolute there,
      And sullenly part without kissing at last.

The maiden trips this way, and he strides that
      For the breadth of a field and a half almost;
Then suddenly turns, and compressing his hat,
      Darts back as if followed by vengeful ghost;

And panting, and heated, and anxious, he
      Arrives at the wicket where late she bent —
On the door-step where she has paused to see
      If he really meant it, and wouldn't repent.

"I couldn't go, Nelly, and leave you thus!"
      He bends and looks deep in the sad, blue eyes,
Then draws to his bosom the sly young puss —
      "Forgive me," says he, and the maiden cries.

The penitent head seeks its old soft place,
      While he kisses the long damp lashes dry —
The moon winks down with a sly old face,
      And the breeze on tip-toe steals tittering by.


Victorian Web George Heath Contents


Last modified 4 September 2002