A Nymph of the Waves performed by Cathrina Bartho. Click for more information on this video from the Library of Congress
Nymph of Niagara! Sprite of the mist!
With a wild magic my brow thou hast kissed;
I am thy slave, and my mistress art thou,
For thy wild kiss of magic is still on my brow.
I feel it as first when I knelt before thee,
With thy emerald robe flowing brightly and free,
Fringed with the spray-pearls and floating in mist,
Thus ‘t was my brow with wild magic you kissed.
Thine am I still, and I‘ll never forget
The moment the spell on my spirit was set;
Thy chain but a foam-wreath, yet stronger by far
Than the manacle, steel-wrought, for captive of war.
For the steel it will rust, and the war will be o‘er,
And the manacled captives be free as before;
While the foam-wreath will bind me forever to thee;
I love the enslavement and would not be free!
Nymph of Niagara! play with the breeze,
Sport with the fawns ‘mid the old forest trees;
Blush into rainbows at kiss of the sun,
From the gleam of his dawn till his bright course be run.
I‘ll not be jealous, for pure is thy sporting,
Heaven-born is all that around thee is courting;
Still will I love thee, sweet Sprite of the mist,
At first when my brow with wild magic you kissed!
Source: Myron T. Pritchard, comp. Poetry of Niagara. Boston: Lothrop Publishing, 1901.
Written on a tour of North America between 1846 – 1848.
First published in Samuel Lover. Barney the Baron. London: John Dicks, 1860.
Also in the anthology Niagara Mornings by Andrew C. Porteus, 2016.
More about Samuel Lover