Verse > Anthologies > William Wilfred Campbell, ed. > The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse
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William Wilfred Campbell, comp.  The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse.  1913.
 
What Matters It?
By George Frederick Cameron (1854–1885)
 
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
In salt-sea flower or riven 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?
 
III
So we be 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,        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
  Kiss’d 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!
 
 
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