The Dying Californian

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Melody -
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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 will miss me in your berth,
And my form will soon be lying
Beneath the ocean's briny surf.

2. Hearken to me, brother, hearken,
I have something I would say,
Ere this veil 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.

3. Tell my father when you greet him
That in death I prayed for him,
Prayed that I might one day meet him,
In a world that's free from;
Tell my mother, God assist her
Now that she is growing old,
Tell her son would glad have kissed her
When his lips grew pale and cold.

4. Hearken to me--catch each whisper,
'Tis my wife I'd speak of new,
Tell, oh tell her how I missed her,
When the fever burned my brow;
Hearken to me, closely listen,
Don't forget a single word,
That in death my eyes did glisten
With the tears her memory stirred.

5. Tell her to kiss my children,
Like the kiss I last
Hold them as last I held them,
Folded closely to my breast;
Give them early to their Maker,
Putting all their trust in God,
And He never will forsake her
He has said so in His word.

6. O my children, 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 crossed the ocean
What my hopes were IT, not tell,
But they have gained an orphan's portion
Yet He doeth all things well.

7. Tell my sisters I remember
Every kindly parting word,
And my heart has been kept tender
By the thoughts their memory
Tell them I never reached the haven
Where I sought the precious dust,
But I've gained a port called Heaven,
Where the gold doth never rest.

8. 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 Savior calling
'Tis I know his voice so well,
When I'm gone, O don't be weeping
Brother, hear my last Farewell!


From American Songs and Ballads, Series 1, Volume 1.

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