DEAR braided locks ! which tell
‡‡‡‡‡Of the distant, the departed,
As the songs of ocean murmur in the shell ;
‡‡‡‡‡And which whisper—”All is well !”
‡‡‡‡‡When we might be lonely hearted
And with voiceless music mystically swell.
‡‡‡‡‡Locks fair, and dark, and gray,
‡‡‡‡‡Erst to kindred ringlets mated ;
Severed from the crowns of loved ones now away.
‡‡‡‡‡Some in spirit-gardens stray,
‡‡‡‡‡Warmed by suns all uncreated,
And some still linger with us in the clay.
‡‡‡‡‡To other times ye pass,
‡‡‡‡‡Bright aids to recollection,
Mirroring the storied past as in a glass,
‡‡‡‡‡And shall we cry, alas !
‡‡‡‡‡In our spirit’s deep dejection,
For those cut down and withered as the grass ?
‡‡‡‡‡No : they shall reappear
‡‡‡‡‡In a land of light unending,
Where no eye shall e er be dimmed by a tear—
‡‡‡‡‡In that higher, purer sphere
‡‡‡‡‡Where celestial glories blending,
Shall form a crown for those who triumph here.
Source: M.F. Bigney. The Forest Pilgrims, and Other Poems. New Orleans: James A. Gresham, 1867
Bigney was the editor of The New Orleans Daily
From the Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Louisiana, vol 2:
“J.W. Overall and M.F. Bigney were liberal and enlightened patrons of literature in New Orleans. Both were poets, and Mr. Bigney published, in 1867, a volume called The Forest Pilgrims, and Other Poems, among which the “Wreck of the Nautilus” has often been quoted.
Read the article Hairy Memories: Hair albums used braided hair to create memories by James Rada, Jr.
See The Bradt Family Hair Album in the Brock University Archives. The Bradt family were United Empire Loyalists who settled in Niagara-on-the-Lake and the St. Catharines area. This poem by Bigney was not written in the Bradt album, although the poem Resignation to the Approaching Period of Decline and Decay by James Melloy was.