Where now is Nimrod’s mighty tower? Where the
Majestic walls, the warlike battlements,
The splendid palaces, the hanging gardens
Where the proud Nebuchadnezzar, who, with
Golden sceptre, swayed the world, and made
The nations tremble ? Where the proud Ninevah, —
The strong Thebes, with its hundred gates ?
The golden Tyre, the splendid Athens, the
Majestic Rome, with all their works of art —
Their monuments of fame, once the pride
And glory of the world ?
Where the mighty Pharaoh’s, the terrible
Alexanders, the invincible Cesars,
The warlike Hannibal ? Tyrants in turn.
Where now the gifted poets, the splendid
Orators, the profound philosophers
Of Greece and Rome, whose mighty genius
Hurled royal tyrants headlong from their thrones, —
Made senates weep or laugh at will, and ruled
The nations ? They are swept away by time ;
Their beauty, like the morning flower, is withered
Their pride and glory gone like leaves of autumn; —
Their grandest works are fast decaying,
Mouldering to ruin, soon to be forgotten.
But still my store house is unexhausted,
My fountain full and overflowing — my
Solid munitions of rocks stand secure. —
My voice as mighty as when the beauteous
Colors of the rainbow first sported in
The sunbeams : —
As when the intelligences of olden worlds
First gazed with admiration upon my
Expanded waters ; or, animated at
The music of my voice joined in the chorus,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy.
###But, boast not, proud Niagara ! Though
Thou mayest withstand the ravages of time, —
While countless millions, swept away with all
Their mighty works, are lost in following years. —
Yet there is a voice to speak, long and loud ;
‘Tis Michael’s trump, whose mighty blast shall rend
Thy rocks, and bow thy lofty mountains in the dust,
Before whose awful presence thy waters
Blush in retiring modesty ; and in
Respectful silence thou shalt stand in listening
Wonder, and admire, while thunders roll
Majestic round the sky, the lightenings play, —
The mountains sink — the valleys rise — till Earth,
Restored to its original, receives
Its final rest, and groans and sighs no more.
### Till then, weep on, and let thy voice ascend
In solemn music to the skies, — ’tis like
A funeral dirge, — ’tis fit to weep o’er the miseries
Of a fallen world in anguish deep.
Source: Pratt, Parley Parker. The Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Embracing His Life, Ministry and Travels With Extracts, In Prose and Verse, from His Miscellaneous Writings. Chicago: Law, King & Law, 1888.
Click here to view the article On the Poetics of Self-Knowledge: Poetry in Parley Pratt’s Autobiography by Joseph M. Spencer from the Journal of Mormon History vol. 37 Issue 1 Winter 2011