Untitled by Fredrika Bremer

Copy of a portrait by Johan Gustaf Sandberg

Niagara is the betrothal of earth’s life
With the heavenly life.
That has Niagara told me to-day.
And now can I leave Niagara. She has
Told me her word of primeval being.

Source: Fredrika Bremer. Translated by Mary Howitt. The Homes of the New World: Impressions of America, vol. 1. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1853

Bremer wrote the following in her diary, before the poem above.

September 9th [1850].

In the morning of time, before man was yet created, Nature was alone with her Creator. The warmth of His love, the light of His eye awoke her to the consciousness of life; her heart throbbed with love for Him of whose life of love she had partaken, and she longed to present Him with an offering, to pour out her feeling, her life, for Him who gave it. She was young and warm, with the fullness of primeval life; but she felt, nevertheless, her weakness in comparison with His power. What could she give to Him from whom she received every thing? Her heart swelled with love and pain, with infinite longing, with the fullness of infinite life, swelled and swelled till it overflowed in—Niagara. And the spirit of thanksgiving arose as the smoke of an eternal sacrifice from the depth of the water toward heaven. The Lord of heaven saw it, and His spirit embraced the spirit of Nature with rainbows of light, with kisses of brilliant fire in an eternal betrothal.

Thus was it in the morning of the earth’s life. Thus we behold it to this day. Still, we behold to-day the spirit of nature ascend from Niagara toward heaven with the offering of its life, as an unspoken yearning and song of praise; and still, to-day it is embraced by the light and the flames of heaven, as by divine love.

About Fredrika Bremer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *