Poems (Botta)/Lines to Frederika Bremer



“Hereafter, when I no more belong to earth, I should love to return to it as a spirit, and impart to men the deepest of that which I have suffered and enjoyed, lived and loved. And no one need fear me; should I come in the midnight hour to a striving and unquiet spirit, it would be only to make it more quiet, its night-lamp burn more brightly, and myself its friend and sister.”—Miss Bremer’s Letter.

Hereafter!—nay, thou hast thy wish e’en here; To many a striving spirit dost thou come, Sweet lady, from thy far-off northern home, Like a blest presence from another sphere, And love and faith, the night-lamps of the soul, Have burned with brighter flame at thy control.

A friend and sister art thou now to those Who weep o’erburdened with life’s weary load, And faint and toil-worn tread the desert road; To them thou beckonest from thy high repose: Thou’st gained that steep where endless day appears, That faith whose followers are baptized with tears.

There came no voices from thy distant shore; We heard no echo of thy country’s lyres, We saw no gleaming of her household fires; A cloud had hung thy land and language o’er, Until thy pictured thoughts broke on our eyes Like an Aurora of thy native skies.

Thy name is loved through all our fair wide land: Where the log-cabins of our western woods Are scattered through the dim old solitudes, Where, glowing with young life, our cities stand, There go thy white-winged messengers, as went Of old the angels to the patriarch’s tent.

My harp is tuneless and unknown to fame; A few weak chords, alas! chance-strung and frail, O’er which sweeps fitfully the passing gale. Would it indeed were worthier of its theme, That it might bear across the distant sea The homage of unnumbered hearts to thee.