LYRICS

—ON—

FREEDOM, LOVE AND DEATH


By

GEORGE FREDERICK CAMERON



 

His Last Lyrics.



My spring is over, all my summer past:
     The autumn closes,—winter now appears:
And I, a helpless leaf before its blast,
     Am whirled along amid the eternal years
To realize my hopes—or end my fears.

5


September, 1885.  [Page 281]

 


 

BEYOND THE UTMOST DOUBTS AND DEEPS.


Beyond the utmost doubts and deeps
     Where Chaos with her sister sleeps,
Beyond the crimson and the blue
     Which eye of man hath seen not through,
Beyond the spaces sounded not,

5

     There is, I feel, one nameless spot
Divine as Northern night in June
     With balmy breeze and mellow moon,
Divine as youth’s dear dream of love,
     Divine as any star above,

10

As lovely as the day’s first beam,
     As holy as the poet’s dream,
As virgin as the garden trod
     By him who walked and talked with God. [Page 282]

And once it seemed to me I found

15

     Me in that consecrated ground,—
Yea, there I moved a visitor,
     And there it was I looked on Her.
I loved yet dreaded her. She knew
     Me calmly, kindly through and through.

20

She knew my virtues—I had few;
     She knew as well my vices, too.
She read me as an open book
     And praised or punished with a look,
And sought and reached me wheresoe’er

25

     My spirit took me foul or fair,—
Aye, found me, as the river will,
     Or spring it from the vale or hill,
The blue, the broad, the boundless sea
     Where all its aspirations be.

30


For this I dreaded her; but then
     I never spake of dread to men:
But if they questioned me of her
     I called her still my comforter—
A something more than maid or wife,

35

     A love that only died with life:— [Page 283]
And life knows not of death: away
     Beyond the morn of earth and day,
Beyond its ground, beyond its gyves,
     Life all eternal still survives.

40

The snow may cover all the land:
     The rose may wither in your hand:
The lily shiver when shall fall
     About and o’er it Winter’s pall:
But mark me,—whosoe’er may care,—

45

     The life that still is life is there!

September, 1885.  [Page 284]

 


 

TO GOD, THE AUDITOR OF ALL ACCOUNTS.


To God the Auditor of all accounts
     We shall give up account of all our ill;
And though in men’s minds to a mountain it amounts
     Who knows but with His imitateless skill
                    As recompense

5

     Adding and footing up sin’s bill
He will find pounds of Good where man writes pence.
     And when I see Him I hope and pray
                    Lifting the hands
                    That framed all lands

10

     He will say—Benedicite!

September, 1885.  [Page 285]

 


 

WHAT MATTERS IT?


I.


What reck we of the creeds of men?—
     We see them—we shall see again.
What reck we of the tempest’s shock?
What reck we where our anchor lock?
     On golden marl or mould—

5

On salt-sea flower or river rock—
     What matter—so it hold?


II.


What matters it the spot we fill
     On Earth’s green sod when all is said?—
When feet and hands and heart are still

10

     And all our pulses quieted?
When hate or love can kill nor thrill,—
     When we are done with life and dead? [Page 286]


III.


So we by haunted night nor day
     By any sin that we have sinned,

15

What matter where we dream away
     The ages?—In the isles of Ind,
In Tybee, Cuba, or Cathay,
     Or in some world of winter wind?


IV.


It may be I would wish to sleep

20

     Beneath the wan, white stars of June,
And hear the southern breezes creep
     Between me and the mellow moon;
But so I do not wake to weep
     At any night or any noon, [Page 287]

25

V.


And so the generous gods allow
     Repose and peace from evil dreams,
It matters little where or how
     My couch be spread:—by moving streams,
Or on some eminent mountain’s brow

30

     Kist by the morn’s or sunset’s beams.


VI.


For we shall rest; the brain that planned,
     That thought or wrought or well or ill,
At gaze like Joshua’s moon shall stand,
     Not working any work or will,

35

While eye and lip and heart and hand
     Shall all be still—shall all be still! [Page 288]

 


 

HIS LAST POEM—MY FATE.*


Away and beyond that point of pines,
     Away in a spot where the glad grapes be,
Purple and pendant on verdant vines,
     That Fate of mine is awaiting me.

And if no more the wind blows true

5

     To waft me afar to that island sweet,
Beyond that greater and the other blue
     I feel that I and my fate shall meet.

For the hope that is can never fade,
     And the hope that is can never fall,

10

That Fate was law since the world was made,
     That it shall be law till the end of all.

And Time may be long or it may be brief
     Ere I stand on that dim and unknown shore,
And grief or joy be mine, but grief

15

     Can dwell not there—where we meet once more. [Page 289]


* Found in his pocket after his death.—C.J.C. [back]