LYRICS

—ON—

FREEDOM, LOVE AND DEATH


By

GEORGE FREDERICK CAMERON



 

L’Envoi.



To the Poets of the Past and Future.

 


 

THE PAST.


With reverent hands your books we close,
     O poets of the imperfect Past!
The East grows ruddy as the rose
     And tells us that the Night at last
Goes from our planet, banished with her woes:

5


Goes banished forth with all her wrong:
     While all her pontiffs, priests, and kings,
Who trampled on the weak, being strong,
     Are laid aside—forgotten things,—
And we must open up new books of song.

10


We give you justice. In the days
     When Freedom knew not her own name,
Ye dared to know and sing her praise
     In words that fanned to fuller flame
 Our own less rude, imperishable lays. [Page 293]

15

 


 

THE FUTURE.


O poet of the future! I,
     Of the dead Present, bid thee hail!
Come forth and speak,—our speech shall die:
     Come forth and sing,—our song shall fail:
Our speech, our song fall barren,—we go by!

5


Our heart is weak. In vain it swells
     And beats to bursting at the wrong:
There never sets a sun but tells
     Of weak ones trampled down by strong,
Of Truth and Justice both immured in cells.

10


We would aspire, but round us lies
     A maze of high desires and aims;
Would seek a prize, but, ah! our eyes
     Fail as we face the fallen fames
Of the great world’s Olympian games. [Page 294]

15


Seeing the victors vanquished, we
     Grow heartsick at the sight, and choose
To hold in fee what things there be
     Rather than in the hazard use,—
Than stake the all we have—to lose!

20


We all are feeble. Still we tread
     An ever-upward sloping way;
Deep chasms and dark are round us spread
     And bale-fires beckon us astray:
But thou shalt stand upon the mountain head.

25


But thou wilt look with gladdened eyes
     And see the mist of error flee,
And see the happy suns arise
     Of happier days that are to be,—
On greener, gladder earth, and clearer skies.

30


We, of the Morning, but behold
     The dawn afar: thine eye shall see
The full and perfect day unfold,—
     The full and perfect day to be,
When Justice shall return as lovely as of old. [Page 295]

35


Thou, with unloosened tongue, shalt speak
     In words of subtle, silver sound,—
In words not futile now, nor weak,
     To all the nations listening round
Until they seek the light,—nor vainly seek!

40


We only ask it as our share,
     That, when your day-star rises clear,—
A perfect splendor in the air,—
     A glory ever, far and near,—
Ye write such words—as these of those who were!

45


Kingston, September, 1885.
[Page 296]