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The Dying Californian

The Dying Californian

Lay up nearer, brother, nearer, for my limbs are growing cold,
And thy presence seemeth dearer when thy arms around me fold
I am dying, brother, dying, soon you'll miss me in your berth,
And my form will soon be lying 'neath the ocean's briny surf.

Hearken to me, brother, hearken, I have something I would say,
Ere this vail my vision darken, and I go from hence away;
I am going, surely going, but my hopes in God are strong,
I am willing, brother, knowing that He doeth nothing wrong.

Tell my father when you greet him, that in death I pray'd for him,
Pray'd that I might one day meet him, in a world that's free from sin;
Tell my mother, God assist her, now that she is growing old,
Tell, her son would glad have kiss'd her, when his lips grew pale and cold.

Hearken to me—catch each whisper, 'tis my wife I speak of now.
Tell, oh, tell her, how I miss'd her, when the fever burnt my brow:
Hearken to me, closely listen, don't forget a single word,
That in death my eyes did glisten when the tears her memory stirr'd.

Tell her then to kiss my children, like the kiss I last impress'd,
Hold them fast as last I held them, fold'd closely to my breast;
Give them early to their Maker, putting all their trust in God,
And He will never forsake her—He has said so in His word.

O my childern, Heaven bless them! they were all my life to me;
Would I could once more caress them, ere I sink beneath the sea;
'Twas for them I cross'd the ocean—what my hopes were I'll not tell,
But they have gain'd an orphan's portion—yet He doeth all things well.

Tell my sisters I remember every kindly parting word,
And my heart has been kept tender by the thoughts their memory stirr'd;
Tell them I never reach'd the haven where I sought the precious dust,
But I've gain'd a port call'd heaven, where the gold doth never rust.

Urge them to secure an entrance, for they will find their brother there,
Faith in Jesus and repentance will secure for them a share;
Hark! I hear my Saviour calling--'tis I know his voice so well,
When I'm gone, oh, don't be weeping, brother, hear my last farewell!