George Heath page 2
Love and Loss
George Heath's poems are full of references to love, and particularly to lost love. The stories vary in different poems. It is not always the same as the abandonment that he suffered himself: lost love is more likely to be caused by death. For instance in his famous poem Rudyard, his love succumbs to a fatal illness. But the general theme is the same, with varying degrees of blame or sorrow.
"True to the Last", 1865
The poet imagines himself on his death-bed, asking his sister to pass on a message of forgiveness to the love who deserted him, and looking forward to meeting her in the next life.
© Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service, 2010
Prop me up with my pillows sweet sister and then
Just open the casement and close this room door
And let me look out on the landscape again
And breathe the pure air of the summer once more
Then twine your arm round me to comfort and stay
And wipe the big tears from those deep mournful eyes
And listen awhile I have something to say
E'er I pass from this world to my home in the skies
'Twas summer sweet sister bright summer as now;
And earth wore a mantle of radient sheen;
A wreath of pure roses encircled her brow
Of the queen of my bossom, you know who I mean.
At twilight we met 'neath the sicamore's shade;
And there 'twas she whispered those words, "ever thine",
Her beautiful head on my bossom was lade
And her small lily hand was clasped fondly in mine
God! how intensely and madly I loved.
How wildly I worshiped that beautiful one
You know inconstant and faithless she proved
How basely she left me when summer was gone
But sister you'll see her when I am no more.
(When freed from its burden my spirit hath passed -
Away to yon sunny, but far distant shore)
Then tell her from me, I was true to the last
When those who once flattered her flatter no more
And deception its blight o'er her being hath cast
Then tell her ('twill lighten her burden to know)
That one loving heart was her own to the last.
You'll see her perchance when affliction hath chased
The bloom from her cheek and the light from her eye.
When sorrows dark signet hath silently traced
Deep lines on her forehead once noble and high.
Then tell her sweet sister that all was forgiven.
And all was forgot but the bliss of the past.
And tell her I wished her to meet me in Heaven
Where those who have loved are united at last.
Staffordshire Record Office: 6857/1/6