Thoughts at Niagara by J. S. W.


Horseshoe Falls From a Stereograph by Charles Bierstadt, 1893. Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

How sad, my God, to linger here,
‡‡‘Mid all these works of thine.
Alone, bereft of all I’ve loved,
‡‡And joys that once were mine!
Loud anthems cheer those crested waves,
‡‡And kiss the floods below;
Where hidden thunder smites the rocks,
‡‡And bursts in ceaseless praise,
Of HIM who fix’d the rainbow there,
‡‡To mark its brightest days!
Oh! where ‘mid all this radiant joy,
‡‡Can sorrow hope to live,
Deserted by those rays of Peace,
‡‡Which Thou alone can’st give? 

*                          *                   *                   *

Cold, cold, and blank, that once bright home,
‡‡Where now, in lonely hours,
Love hovers round the vacant chair,
‡‡And haunts the silent bowers;
And Hopes once cherish’d there, have chang’d,
‡‡To Tears in sorrow shed,
Reflecting back the scenes I lov’d,
‡‡Ere that sweet spirit fled!
Kindred scenes, my GOD are these,
‡‡Which now around me lie,
Ever whisp’ring ― “cease poor soul,
‡‡WE too have yet to die!”

September 21, 1871

Source: Ridgway, Robert (ed.) The Canadian Magazine vol. 1 – July to December 1871. Toronto: Irving, Flint & Co., 1871. p. 295

Niagara In Spring by William Carey Richards

richards niagara
Undated Postcard Showing Niagara Falls in Springtime. Courtesy Niagara Falls Public Library.

Oh, could I gaze forever on they face,
Unwearied still, thou matchless waterfall,
Whose twining spells of majesty and grace
My ardent sense bewilder and enthrall!

In all my moods thy charms puissant sway
Enforce my will their master-spell to own;
My heart leaps at thy voice — or grave or gay —
And every chord is vibrant to thy tone.

So many years I have come back to stand,
With reverent awe, before thy glorious shrine —
So close and long thy lineaments Ive scanned —
It seemed thou shouldst grow something less divine.

I know thy face, its shifting glooms and smiles,
As cloud or sun upon thy bosom lies;
Thy wrathful guise, thy witching rainbow wiles
Can wake no more for me the sweet surprise.

I know thy voice — its terror and its glee
Have in my ear so oft their changes rung;
Nor forest winds nor anthems of the sea
Speak to my soul with more familiar tongue.

My feet have scaled thy storm-scarred battlements,
And pressed the moss most emerald with thy tears;
And still profaned thy lucent caverns, whence
The neophyte comes pale with ghostly fears. Continue reading “Niagara In Spring by William Carey Richards”

Niagara by Joseph Hart Clinch

Describe Niagara!     Ah, who shall dare
Attempt the indescribable, and train
Thoughts fragile wing to skim the heavy air,
Wet with the cataracts incessant rain?
The “glowing muse of fire invoked in vain
By Shakespeare, who shall hope from Heaven to win?
And burning words alone become the strain,
Which to the mind would bring the awful din
Where seas in thunder fall, and eddying oceans spin.

Long had the savage on thy glorious shroud,
Fringed with vast foam-wreaths, gazd with stoic eye
And deemed that on thy rising rainbow cloud
The wings of the Great Spirit hovered nigh;
And, as he marked the solemn woods reply
In echoes to thy rolling thunder tone,
He heard His voice upon the breeze go by,
And his heart bowed — for to the heart alone
God speaking through His works, makes what he utters known.

But ages passed away — and to the West
Came Europes sons to seek for fame or gold;
And one, perchance, more daring than the rest,
Lured by the chase or by strange stories told
By Indian guide of oceans downward rolled,
Felt on his throbbing ear thy far-off roar,
Then sped the mighty wonder to behold,
Thy voice around him and thy cloud before,
Till breathless — trembling — rapt — he trod thy foaming shore.
Continue reading “Niagara by Joseph Hart Clinch”

Niagara Falls by Kathryn Munro

Kathryn Munro
Kathryn Munro
On thundering feet you take the dread abyss,
      Shaking the stolid earth around, below,
      Where puny mortals gaze but may not know
The cosmic surge of elemental bliss,
The soaring passion of the lethal kiss
      That hides within your swift arterial flow.
      Most prodigal of waters, to bestow
So rich inheritance on man as this.
Niagara, the mighty, rainbow-spanned,
      Majestic, terrible your potency!
What aeons since He cupped you in His hand
      Who gave His space its wheeling argosy,
And bade you ride this rampart of our land
      Companionless, alone, eternally!

Source: V.B. Rhodenizer, (ed.) Canadian Poetry Magazine vol. 22, no. 3, Spring 1959.

About Kathryn Munro (married name Kathryn Munro Tupper)

Niagara by Charles Pelham Mulvany

(From the French of Louis Honoré Frechette)

Majestic moves the mighty stream and slow,
    Till from that false calm’s semblance, suddenly,
    Wild and with echoes shaking earth and sky,
The huge tide plunges in the abyss below,
— It is the cataract! from whose thunderous ire
    The wild birds flee in terror far away —
    From that dread gulf when with her scarf of fire
The rainbow sits above the torrent’s sway!
Earth quakes, for sudden that vast arching dome
    Of green is changed to hills of snow-white foam,
    That seethe and boil and bound in tameless pride.
Yet this Thy work, O God, Thy law fulfils,
And while it shakes the everlasting hills,
    It spares the straw that floats upon its tide.

Rose-Belford’s Canadian Monthly and National Review, July 1881, vol. 7, no. 1. Toronto: Rose-Belford Publishing Co., 1881. p. 26