Niagara by Benjamin Copeland

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Niagara Falls, From International Bridge, c1905. Courtesy of Library of Congress

Majestic symbol of eternal power !
‡‡Dread oracle of eons all unknown !
Before thy presence Pomp and Passion cower, —
‡‡All men are equal at thy awful throne.

Abashed, the eager babble of the mart, —
‡‡To silence shamed, the vulgar greed for gain ;
No more ambition goads the weary heart,
‡‡And Toil forgets its unrequited pain.

Stern type of Truth’s inexorable law !
‡‡No room remains for envy or for pride ;
Here prince and pauper stand in common awe,
‡‡Swayed by the spell of thy resistless tide.

A rushing, seething Sinai, — thou dost pour
‡‡On sluggish consciences the solemn sense
Of justice infinite : — thy thunder’s roar
‡‡Declares to Wrong relentless recompense.

Against our arrogance thy strength doth plead ;
‡‡Deep unto deep Imperiously calls ;
Impartial annalist ! the nations read
‡‡Their transient glory on thy ageless walls.

Yet dost thou deign to dower the moment’s need, —
‡‡Our dreams exceeding by thy bounteous sway ;
With power unrivaled thy proud flood shall speed
‡‡The New World’s progress toward Time’s perfect day.

O mighty monitor ! O seer sublime !
‡‡The soul’s surpassing grandeur thou dost show ; —
The fountains of thy immemorial prime
‡‡Through man’s immortal being freely flow.


Source:  Benjamin Copeland.  Niagara, and Other Poems. Buffalo: The Matthews-Northrup Works, 1904

Dr. Benjamin Copeland (1854-1940) was a Methodist minister in Buffalo, New York. He founded three Methodist churches in that city and was the author of four volumes of poetry.

Read about Copeland here

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