The Dying Californian

Lay up nearer, brother, nearer,
For my limbs are growing cold,
And thy presence seemeth nearer
When thine arms around me fold.
I am dying, brother, dying,
Soon you’ll miss me in your berth;
For my form will soon be lying,
Beneath the ocean’s briny surf.

Tell my father when you see him
That in death I prayed for him
Prayed that I might only meet him
In a world that’s free from sin.
Tell my mother, God assist her
Now that she is growing old,
That her child would glad have kissed her
When his lips grew pale and cold.

Listen, brother, catch each whisper
‘Tis my wife I speak of now,
Tell, oh tell her how I missed her
When the fever burned my brow.
Tell her she must kiss my children
Like the kiss I last impressed,
Hold them as when last I held them
Held them closely to my breast.

It was for them I crossed the ocean,
What my hopes were I’ll not tell;
But they gained an orphan’s portion,
Yet He doeth all things well;
Tell them I have reached the haven
Where I sought the precious dust,
And I gained a port called Heaven
Where the gold will never rust.