Great spirit of the waters! I have come
From forth mine own indomitable home,
Far o'er the billows of the eternal sea,
To breathe my heart's deep homage unto thee,
And gaze on glories that might wake to prayer
All but the hopeless victim of despair.
Flood of the forest, fearfully sublime,
Restless, resistless as the tide of time,
There is no type of thee --- thou art alone,
In sleepless glory, rushing on and on.
Flood of the desert! thou hast been to me
A dream; and thou art still a mystery.
Would I had seen thee, years and years agone,
While thou wert yet unworshiped and unknown,
And thy fierce torrent, as it rushed along,
Through the wild desert poured its booming song,
Unheard by all save him of lordly mood ---
The bronzed and free-born native of the wood.
How would my heart have quivered to its core,
To know its God, not all revealed before!
In other times when I was wont to roam
Around the mist-robed mountain peaks of home
My fancy wandered to this Western clime,
Where all the haunts of nature are sublime;
And thou wert on my dream so dread a thing,
I trembled at my own imagining.
Flood of the forest! I have been with thee,
And still thou art a mystery to me.
Years will roll on as they have rolled, and thou
Wilt speak in thunder as thou speakest now;
And when the name that I inscribe to-day
Upon thine altar shall have passed away
From all remembrance, and the lay I sing
Shall long have been all but a forgotten thing ---
Thou wilt be sung, and other hands than mine
Shall wreathe a worthier chaplet for thy shrine.