Farewell to Niagara by Lydia Huntley Sigourney

sigourney farewell
The Horse-shoe Falls (From the Canadian Side) by W. H. Bartlett, 1842. Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

My spirit grieves to say, Farewell to thee,
Oh beautiful and glorious!
                                  Thou dost robe
Thyself in mantle of the coloured mist,
Most lightly tinged, and exquisite as thought,
Decking thy forehead with a crown of gems
Woven by Gods right hand.
                                  Hadst thou but wrapped
Thy brow in clouds, and swept the blinding mist
In showers upon us, it had been less hard
To part from thee.    But there thou art, sublime
In noon-day splendour, gathering all thy rays
Unto their climax, green, and fleecy white,
And changeful tinture, for which words of man
Have neither sign nor sound, until to breathe
Farewell in agony.    For we have roamed
Beside thee, at our will, and drawn thy voice
Into our secret soul, and felt how good
Thus to be here, until we half implored,
While long in wildering ecstasy we gazed,
To build us tabernacles, and behold
Always thy majesty.
                                  Fain would we dwell
Here at thy feet, and be thy worshipper,
And from the weariness and dust of earth
Steal evermore away.   Yea, were it not
That many a care doth bind us here below,
And in each care, a duty, like a flower,
Thorn-hedged, perchance, yet fed with dews of heaven,
And in each duty, an enclosed joy,
Which like a honey-searching bee doth sing, —
And were it not, that ever in our path
Spring up our planted seeds of love and grief,
Which we must watch, and bring their perfect fruit
Into our Masters garner, it were sweet
To linger here, and be thy worshipper,
Until deaths footstep broke this dream of life.

Source:  Sigourney, Lydia H. Scenes In My Native Land. London: W. Tweedie, 1844. p. 236-237.


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