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.
 
The Future
By George Frederick Cameron (1854–1885)
 
O POET of the future! I,
  Of the dead Present, bid thee hail!
Come forth and speak,—our speech shall die:
  Come forth and sing,—our song shall fail:
Our speech, our song fall barren,—we go by!        5
 
Our heart is weak. In vain it swells
  And beats to bursting at the wrong:
There never sets a sun but tells
  Of weak ones trampled down by strong,
Of Truth and Justice both immured in cells.        10
 
We would aspire, but round us lies
  A maze of high desires and aims;
Would seek a prize, but, ah! our eyes
  Fail as we face the fallen fames
Of the great world’s Olympian games.        15
 
Seeing the victors vanquished, we
  Grow heartsick at the sight, and choose
To hold in fee what things there be
  Rather than in the hazard use,—
Than stake the all we have—to lose!        20
 
We all are feeble. Still we tread
  An ever-upward sloping way;
Deep chasms and dark are round us spread
  And bale-fires beckon us astray:
But thou shalt stand upon the mountain head.        25
 
But thou wilt look with gladdened eyes
  And see the mist of error flee,
And see the happy suns arise
  Of happier days that are to be,—
On greener, gladder earth, and clearer skies.        30
 
We, of the Morning, but behold
  The dawn afar: thine eye shalt see
The full and perfect day unfold,—
  The full and perfect day to be,
When Justice shall return as lovely as of old.        35
 
Thou, with unloosened tongue, shalt speak
  In words of subtle, silver sound,—
In words not futile now, nor weak,
  To all the nations listening round
Until they seek the light,—nor vainly seek!        40
 
We only ask it as our share,
  That, when your day-star rises clear,—
A perfect splendour in the air,—
  A glory ever, far and near,—
Ye write such words—as these of those who were!        45
 
 
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