Here, near the temple of Almighty God, The soul, wrapp'd in humility, bows down In awe and reverence. 'Tis meet that man, The creature, beholding the bold displays Of power stupendous, wisdom infinite, Should look, through nature's grandest witness, up To nature's God. And deeming here all time A Sabbath, yet on this day appointed Holy to Him who rear'd these rocky walls, Buttress'd below by tide-wash'd massive piles, Entablatured with beetling battlements And corniced with a waving wilderness Of verdure, - who outspread yon azure roof, Now softly mellow'd with ethereal tint, Or darken'd by the thunder's messenger, Gilded anon by lightning's gleams, or now Radiant with starry hosts, whose mirror'd beams Carpet the billowy floor with silvery light, - Who raised yon altar, and now upon its brow Of emerald, in characters of light, Inscribed, e'en with his own right hand, "To God!" Where ministering birds, with notes attuned To an eternal anthem, hymn his praise, And bear on dewy wings a pearly cloud Of incense up toward the Almighty's throne, Fit worshippers in nature's holiest fane, - Who guards the portals of this sacred place With ever-heaving sea of snowy foam, Whose tempest voice to man presumptuous calls, "Thus, and no farther, shalt thou go," and points To ceaseless whirling tides, the awful Maelstrom of Niagara, dread emblem of Th' eternal doom of man, vain man, who seeks To pass the limit of assign'd command, And moral law, - E'en on this Sabbath day, Here, near God's own great temple, would we bow In humble praise and prayer; and while the lip Rests silent, would the soul its homage give, And favor seek; petitioning that in The devious path of life so may we move, That when these rocks shall melt with fervid heat, When the rich garniture of teeming earth Shall vanish, leaving no trace of brightness Or of beauty to tell that it once was, This restless tide no longer flow, and its Deep cadence cease, when the blue dome that spans The earth shall pale away, and radiant spheres No longer shed abroad their hallow'd light, Then may the hope that rests upon His word Who ne'er was false to man, who hangs his bow Upon the cloud, and spreads it night and day Upon his altar's incense, token to man Alike of His redeeming power and will, - Then may the hope that on His word relies, Nurtured by love and rectitude, grow strong In trust and prescience of a home "not made With hands, eternal in the heavens!"
August 1, 1847
From Johnson, F.H. Guide to Niagara Falls and Its Scenery. Philadelphia: George W. Childs, 1864.
Originally from the register of the Point View Garden.
Dr. Baxley was from Baltimore.