Voice of Niagara by Caroline Eleanor Wilkinson

voice niagara

voice niagara
General View of Niagara Falls, ca. 1900. Photo courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Thou art the queen of all rivers, rejoicing in song,
‡‡As you toss the white spray, driving mist to the shore;
And your voice echoes jubilant, resonant, strong —
‡‡O such music neer greeted a mortal before.

And sublime your melodious, thundering boom, —
‡‡A far reaching refrain, so triumphant and long,
Tis the meeting of waters that dash to their doom,
‡‡And the sweet intermezzo that creeps in your song.

But the centuries come and the centuries go,
‡‡And the white man now treads where the Indian raced;
Loud your waters still sing, and as restlessly flow,
‡‡As when near the great cataract, wigwams were placed.

You are tragic in splendour, primordially grand,
‡‡And your mystical waves glow with opaline sheen,
With perpetual song, swelling out oer the land,
‡‡You enchant us forever, magnificent Queen.

Source: Caroline Eleanor Wilkinson. Poems That Appeal. Niagara Falls, Ont. : F.H. Leslie, Limited,. Printers, 1928.

voice niagara

The Unforgotten by Caroline Eleanor Wilkinson

unforgotten
Unveiling and dedication of the Soldier’s Monument in Queen Victoria Park, May 22, 1927. Photo courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Unforgotten, unforgotten are the stalwart and the brave,
Men who died for home and country, grand old Union Jack to save.
Though the war-drums beat is over, and the turmoil seems a dream,
Still the faces of our loved ones, ever in our memry gleam.

Trained not in their youth to warfare, yet they fought right valiantly,
Staunch at Vimy and in Flanders, routed enemies would flee;
Through the din of battles dauntless, for they knew their cause was right,
Though barrage was shrieking round them, on they struggled day and night.

Midst the gas and big guns roaring, quaking earth and bursting shell,
So heroic was their conduct, tongue can never fully tell;
Ringing through the coming ages, both in history and song,
Will be deeds of worth and valor in that fray so fierce and long.

In the air they were as fearless as the eagle in its flight,
Scouting in the zone of danger, flying through the clouds of night,
Proving to the Mother Country, Canada had offspring strong
Who were ready for their duty over there to right the wrong.

Now they rest in foreign regions, far away from native land,
Still in spirit they are with us, a revered and noble band;
Unforgotten will their names be, treasured in our hearts theyd dwell,
Sacrificial price of victry, as they in the combat fell.

Greater than our expectations was the prowess of our men,
Naught have we to give in tribute save a Cenotaph to them,
So we place it on Niagaras wonderful and far-famed shore,
In the park where singing waters swell in deep, triumphal roar.

There the flowers thrive and blossom, showered with the rivers spray,
Near the falling, rushing torrent, swiftly flowing there alway;
Where the silver birch and maple in the Spring are to be seen,
(Symbol of the resurrection) with new buds of living green.

“Written for the unveiling of the Cenotaph in memory of our beloved dead, and read on that occasion.”

Source: Caroline Eleanor Wilkinson. Poems That Appeal. Niagara Falls, Ont. : F.H. Leslie, Limited, Printers, 1928

Niagara Falls by Caroline Eleanor Wilkinson

niagara wilkinson

niagara wilkinson
Niagara Falls. Photo courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Stupendous in their majesty, the maddened waters leap,
‡‡Then raging like a demon who disdains the thought of sleep,
In wild abandon oer the brink they toss and foam and curl —
‡‡In the great abyss they surge and sink, then down the river whirl.

A silver cloud of spray, ethereal as bridal veil,
‡‡Rolls gaily toward the shore, in misty, shimmring masses pale,
When in the suns clear light, revealed, are bright prismatic rays,
‡‡That scintillate in rainbow hues, enchanting all who gaze.

But when the laggard sun, has not the surging waters kissed,
‡‡Then moody old Niagara sulks, in pall of dull grey mist,
While meeting waters dash and fight, then boiling pass along,
‡‡With a deep toned voice resounding in an everlasting song.

O the tumult and the grandeur of the water as it rolls —
‡‡We marvel as we look, with exaltation in our souls;
A seething, rushing torrent flows, whose troubled heaving breast,
‡‡Through ages has not known repose, tranquility or rest.

Source: Caroline Eleanor Wilkinson. Poems That Appeal. Niagara Falls, Ont. : F.H. Leslie, Limited, Printers, 1928.

Uncle Alvin at Niagara by Almon Trask Allis

Alvin   

alvin
Artist’s Sketch of Three Sisters and Goat Islands Just Above Niagara Falls. Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

“The last excursion of the year,” I read the other day,
Affordin’ opportunity to see grand old Niagara ;
And for a dollar and a half, to go up there and back,
And see the sights, and ride above two hundred miles of track,
Seemed like we’d get our money’s worth, if we could get away,
And leave the farm and kitchen cares behind us for a day.
We’d been a-wantin’, all these years, to go and see the falls,
But, somehow, when the chances came there’ d be so many calls
For both our time and money, that the chances slipped away,
While year climbed on the top of year, ’til we are growin’ gray ;
And still the cares we have to meet are such a clingin’ kind,
It’s often mighty difficult to slip them off behind,
And dump them in a heap somewhere, or lay them on a shelf,
While we get out from under, and can slip off by ourself.
But nature seemed to favor us ; the season was so fine
We got our summer’s work along a bit ahead of time ;
And nothin’ seemed a-crowdin’, like, and coaxin’ to be done,
As is the case too frequently, to keep us on the run ;
And Nancy hadn’t been away, exceptin’ to the fair,
To loosen up the constant strain of daily wear and tear
Of wrestlin’ with problems which perplex a woman’s brain,
And keep her fingers busy, and her muscles on the strain,
For such a long time back that I’m almost ashamed to tell,
And if I really wanted to, I couldn’t very well ;
And I, myself, had worked so long, as farmers have to do,
To keep the work from snarlin’, like, and keep it payin’, too,
That I was glad to see a chance to lay aside the strain
Which makes the years to tell on me as well as Nancy Jane ;
And when I read the notice, why, it seemed to strike us so,
That both of us together said, “I guess we’d better go.”
And so the thing was settled, and we’d picked our grapes and plums
To be ahead of frost or thieves, provided either comes ;
For frosts may be expected almost any pleasant night,
And thieves, if not expected, are so plenty that they might ;
And Nancy had our luncheon baked, and I had bought some cheese,
And she had found a paste-board box, as handy as you please
To put our picnic dinner in ; so when the mornin’ came,    Continue reading “Uncle Alvin at Niagara by Almon Trask Allis”

Untitled by Le Sievr de la Franchise

franchise

franchise
Portrait of Samuel de Champlain

Mvses, si vous chantez, vrayment ie vous conseille
Que vous louëz Champlain, pour estre courageux:
Sans crainte des hasards, il a veu tant de lieux,
Que ses relations nous contentment l’oreille.
Il a veu le Perou, Mexique et la Merueille
Du Vulcan infernal qui vomit tant de feux,
Et les saults Mocosans, qui offensent les yeux
De ceux qui osent voir leur cheute nonpareille.
Il nous promet encor de passer plus auant,
Reduire les Gentils, et trouuer le Leuant.
Par le Nort, ou le Su, pour aller à la Chine.
C’est charitablement tour pour l’amour de Dieu.
Fy des lasches poltrons qui ne bougent d’vn lieu!
Leur vie, sans mentir, me paroist trop mesquine.

Source: Dow, Charles Mason. Anthology and Bibliography of Niagara Falls ,  Albany: State of New York, 1921

Originally published: Champlain, Samuel de.  Des sauvages ou Voyage de Samuel Champlain De Brouage, fait en la France Nouvelle l’an mil six cens trois, 1604

From Dow: “It is an interesting fact that the first book printed in Europe which contains a reference to Niagara Falls, should also contain this sonnet in which allusion is made to the Falls. The sonnet follows the dedication. The old spelling of the original is followed in the quotation. Research has not revealed any information regarding the author.”  vol, 2, p693