FROM orient realms, in depths of space afar,
Young sunbeams travel in their golden car ;
Lightly they glance along old Ocean’s breast,
Enkindling sea-gems on each wavelet’s crest ;
O’er flow’ry plains and verdant fields they pass,
Where dewy pearls adorn each blade of grass—
Where fragrance rises from the tears of Night
When smiled on by these messengers of light,
These angel visitants of earth, whose ray
Receives its lustre from the God of Day.
Away, away they speed—and many a grove
Sends forth its tuneful melodies to rove
Amid the brightness of their path, and sing
A mournful anthem on exultant wing.
Still on they pass—the cottage and the hall,
The snow-crown’d mount, the ivied castle wall,
The rich man’s mansion and the poor man’s home
Are lighted by their presence as they roam.
Beside Niagara, entranced, I stood,
Awed by the thunder of its falling flood,
Stilled by the voice of its eternal roar,
Passions were lull’d and fancy taught to soar.
‘Twas early morn, and as the Sunbeams came
In golden grandeur from a world of flame,
They reveled in their brightness, mid the trees,
Whose fresh leaves fluttered in the whisp’ring breeze,
Then rested, old Niagara, on thee—
Sov’reign of streams and type of majesty !
Thy smiling courtiers, rising from thy feet,
Rise up on wings of amber-mist to greet
Sol’s bright ambassadors—they meet—they bring
A rainbow-wreath to crown the Cascade King !
‘Twas brightly beautiful ! its changeful hues
Were brilliant as the love-dreams of the muse ;
While blending glories glittered in each gem
Set in that fair supernal diadem.
On pass thy Sunbeams and the vapors bright
In mystic dance of loveliness and light ;
Wildly they wander through the fields of air,
Or stoop to kiss sweet Flora’s children fair ;
New charms expand in the bright, beauteous race,
And fragrance welcomes still the fond embrace ;
With ever-varying tint each petal glows,
The smiling lily hails the blushing rose—
Still on they go, through garden, field and grove,
la ceaseless rounds of harmony and love !
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 Nautilas” has often been quoted.