[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.]
They have planted a cross on a church-crowned hill,
That telleth his well-earned praises,
While it showeth the spot, where, peacefully still,
He slumbers beneath the daisies.
And at eve, when the shadows of night are nigh,
The birds gather there for vespers,
And the wandering breezes, lingering, sigh,
And murmur in mournful whispers.
Like a flower, which is blooming at early morn
When brightly the sun is gleaming,
But e'er noon lieth dead in the pitiless storm,
So perished the poet — dreaming.
In his mind, with a swiftly increasing glow,
Was burning that light supernal,
Which guideth the footsteps of man below
To regions of light eternal.
But the marvellous thought, with its meaning deep,
No longer with him doth linger —
At the foot of the cross, in a wakeless sleep,
Low lieth the Moorland singer.
For, bearing a message of peace and love -
Of love beyond human telling —
A messenger sent by the Master above,
Once entered his humble dwelling;
And he lifted for him that mysterious veil
Which hideth death's silent river —
And he passed from our sight, and his untold tale
Remaineth untold for ever.
Elisha Walton was born in 1843 in the Potteries' town of Burslem. His work includes Ballads and Miscellaneous Verses (1898) and The Romance of the Hills — Tales of Staffordshire Moorlands. He died in 1914 and is buried in Torquay. — Patrick Regan
Last modified 3 September 2002