Niagara by Sarah Pratt

Portage Around the Falls of Niagara at Table Rock, by George Catlin, 1847/1848
Portage Around the Falls of Niagara at Table Rock, by George Catlin, 1847/1848

Niagara, I love to hear thy voice,
And while I look on thy array of waters
Careering onward with resistless force,
And showing forth all the might and power of Him
Who ruleth over all — ’tis then my soul
Is filled with awe, and I can realize
That God is here, that he is present now.
Oh! let a song of praise ascend to Him
Who gives us all things richly to enjoy,
And while we gaze upon this glorious scene,
Let us remember thou dost shadow forth
The glory of Omnipotence.
Awe-struck we gaze on these o’erhanging rocks,
And mark thy waters as they onward flow,
And hear, Niagara! thy unceasing roar.
We watch the clouds of spray as they ascend,
And view the bright inimitable green,
Too dazzling to the eye, and then we feel
That scenes like these, stupendous and sublime,
Must lose their greatness when compared with Him
Whose presence fills the immensity; then while ’tis ours
To gaze upon His works, may we be led
To worship and adore; to live for Him,
That when earth’s scenes shall fail before our eyes,
We may behold more glorious worlds above,
And through the sacrifice of Him who gave
His life for fallen man, dwell ever more
Where love, and joy, and peace forever reign.

New York, August 12, 1847.

Source: Table Rock Album and Sketches of the Falls and Scenery Adjacent. Buffalo: Steam Press of Thomas and Lathrops, copyright by Jewett, Thomas & Co.,1856c.1848

Niagara Falls by John Robert Colombo

(a found poem from the unpublished writings of Bishop John Strachan)

Bishop John Strachan

My brother, after some hesitation,
ventured down the precipice;
and, having reached the bed
of the river below,
we were well rewarded.
It was now
that my expectations were realized:
the height of the rock —
the thundering of the Fall —
the spray forming in rain-bows —
the vast volume of water
rolling over the impending precipice,
produced a sensation overpoweringly
sublime.

Source: Colombo, John Robert; and Strachan, John. John Toronto: New Poems by Dr. Strachan Found by John Robert Colombo. [Ottawa] : Oberon Press, 1969.

From the dust jacket: The poems are taken verbatim from Strachan’s uncollected writings. They are poems by virtue of the special character of their eloquence. They are new in that they speak with fresh urgency and directness to a new age.

Niagara by Willis Gaylord Clark

Here speaks the voice of God  let man be dumb,
Nor with his vain aspirings hither come.
That voice impels the hollow-sounding floods,
And like a presence fills the distant woods.
These groaning rocks the Almighty’s finger piled;
For ages here his painted bow has smiled,
Mocking the changes and the chance of time —
Eternal, beautiful, serene, sublime!

Source: Table Rock Album and Sketches of the Falls and Scenery Adjacent. Buffalo: Steam Press of Thomas and Lathrops, copyright by Jewett, Thomas & Co.,1856c.1848

Also published in: Myron T. Pritchard, comp.  Poetry of Niagara. Boston: Lothrop Publishing Co., 1901.

Niagara by Father James B. Dollard

Niagara by Frederic Edwin Church
Incessantly thy waters thus have rolled
    Through the dim aeons of unmeasured Time,
    While God was fashioning His work sublime,
Or ere His sulphurous forges could grow cold!
When Egypt loved Osiris and retold
    His charmed birth from out Nilotic slime,
    When Chaldea read the stars, and Homer's rhyme
Was yet undreamt -- Niagara thundered bold.

So night and day throughout coverging years
    Hoarse voices rose above the hissing spray
        Scaring the lonely Indian on the shore!
These bellowing chasms harbored nameless fears --
    Demons and dragons in contorted play
        Lashing the frightened waters evermore!

Source: Rev. James B. Dollard. Poems. Toronto: The Catholic Church Extension Society of Canada, 1910.

About Father Dollard

Loretto Convent, Niagara Falls by Father James B. Dollard

Loretto Convent, c1910

I look below;  Niagara’s torrent white
    Is eager hurrying to the dread abyss;
    I hear its thunder as the waters hiss
Over the awful brink, to plunge from sight
In seething spray!   Confusion at its height
    Is pictured there; but even on convent walls
    The radiant glow of even gently falls
And all is harmony and holy quiet!

Like some blest soul on Heaven that ever dreams,
    Bending its chastened look beyond the skies,
        Regardless of the tumults of the world;
So, crowned with peace this cloistered abbey seems,
    And on its peerless heights serene doth rise,
        While deep below the raging floods are hurled!

Source: Rev. James B. Dollard. Poems. Toronto: The Catholic Church Extension Society of Canada, 1910.