Flower of Niagara by Hannah F. Gould

“Before the writer is a delicate white Anemone, plucked from under the water-sheet at Niagara Falls. It was found quietly growing in a crevice of the limestone bed that, on one hand, flanks the perilous passage beneath the cataract.”

Hannah Flagg Gould

Flower of Niagara, — spirit-like flower!
‡‡High is the language thou speak’st to the soul ;
Grand is thy birthplace of splendor and power, —
‡‡Only “Omnipotence” traced on the whole.

Floods in the cataract curtained thy bed,
‡‡Awful, — stupendous, — high over thee hung ;
Damp from their sweep thy soft infancy fed,
‡‡Thunders eternal thy lullaby sung.

Rushing, and raging, with fierceness and foam,
‡‡Proud as the angels who fell from their bliss,
Plunged the bold waters, o’ershooting thy home,
‡‡Howling and wild, to their wrathful abyss.

Sure but a step was between him and death,
‡‡Who ventured forth to thy wondrous retreat :
Only one foot-slip, — one careless-drawn breath, —
‡‡Then but once more had his life-pulse to beat !

Yet, little tenderling, still didst thou bide
‡‡Lone in thy crevice, all fair and serene ;
Ever surveying its stormy outside,
‡‡Mild and unawed by the turbulent scene.

There wast thou safe as a pearl in its shell
‡‡‘Mid a whole ocean of tumult and sound; —
Calm as an anchoret bowed in his cell,
‡‡Whilst war and hurricane ravage the ground.

What was thy confidence, — who was thy stay,
‡‡When the loud waters swift o’er thee were driven,
Headlong to fall, throwing up the mad spray
‡‡Aimed like weak insults of rebels to Heaven ?

Still not a shock jarred thy root or thy stem, —
‡‡No heavy drop struck a petal of thine ;
Thou wast secure as a beautiful gem
‡‡Placed in the niche from a finger divine.

Say, sweet Anemone ! say, didst thou know
‡‡What the whole storm of the cataract spanned, —
O’er it, how God bent his glorious bow,
‡‡Guiding the flood by a sign of his hand ?

Then didst thou hear, in the distance remote,
‡‡How in its lines the strong element ran,
Tamed and assuaged, — on its bosom afloat
‡‡Bearing the treasures and life-boat of man?

Firm in thy measureless fortress of stone,
‡‡Leaning wast thou on the Deity’s will,
Meek as a spirit that kneels at his throne,
‡‡Waiting his holy design to fulfil.

Thence art thou come on thy mission to me,
‡‡Mild little angel in floral disguise !
Speaking with import profound as the sea, —
‡‡Bright as the stars, and sublime as the skies !

Who could thy home and thy structure behold,
‡‡His love and care ever present to doubt,
Whose viewless hand wrought thy delicate mould,
‡‡Nursed thee, and rolled the dread water-sheets out?

Think, weary soul whom earth’s trials assail,
‡‡When for thy faith comes the dubious hour, —
Lest o’er its strength the loud terrors prevail, —
‡‡Think of the tender Niagara Flower.

He who evoked the soft bud in the rock
‡‡Will not leave thee in the conflict alone !
He loseth never a lamb of his flock, —
‡‡Droppeth no jewel he marks as his own !

Source:  Hannah Flagg Gould.  New Poems by Miss Hannah F. Gould.  Boston, F. J. Reynolds & Co., 1850

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