On the Same* by George Menzies

menzies roll 

menzies roll
Niagara Falls, 1818 by Louisa Davis Minot

Roll on, mysterious river, in thy might,
Awakening dreams of terrible delight,
Or thrilling fear, and turning into naught
All that hath e’er been sketched in human thought
Of beauty and of grandeur — God hath thrown
A glorious girdle round thee — God alone
Can curb thy restless torrent — He who gave
His voice of thunder to thy rushing wave,
And built on foam the bright prismatic bow
That sheds its glory on the gulf below —
Yea, He whose path is in the secret deep,
Shall lull thy troubled spirit into sleep,
Still as a wearied babe that’s on the breast
Of yearning love is cradled into rest.

Chippewa, Nov. 9, 1834.

*Untitled in Table Rock Album.  The poem is published immediately after the poem Lines Written in the Album of The Table Rock, Niagara Falls in The Posthumous Works of the Late George Menzies.

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

Also published in George Menzies. The Posthumous Works of the Late George Menzies: Being a Collection of Poems, Sonnets, &c., &c., Written at Various Times When the Author was Connected With the Provincial Press. Woodstock: Printed by John Douglass, 1850

Biography of George Menzies

Verses Written in the Album Kept at the Table Rock, Niagara Falls, During a Thunder Storm (1834 version) by George Menzies

menzies 1834
Niagara, Niagara, careering in its might,
The fierce and free Niagara shall be my theme to-night.
A glorious theme, a glorious hour, Niagara, are mine —
Heaven’s fire is on thy flashing wave, its thunder blends with thine
The clouds are bursting fearfully, the rocks beneath me quiver,
But thou, unscathed, art hurrying on forever and forever.
Years touch thee not, Niagara, — thou art a changeless thing,
And still the same deep roundelay thy solemn waters sing.
There is a chainless spirit here whose throne no eye may reach,
Awakening thoughts in human hearts too deep for human speech.
This is the shrine at which the soul is tutored to forget
Its earthly joys, its earthly hopes, its sorrow and regret;
For who that ever lingered here one little hour or twain,
Can think as he hath thought, or be what he hath been again?
Where’er the wanderer’s foot may roam, whate’er his lot may be,
‘T is deeply written on his heart that he hath been with thee.

Chippewa, August, 1834.

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

Published in slightly different form in George Menzies. The Posthumous Works of the Late George Menzies: Being a Collection of Poems, Sonnets, &c., &c., Written at Various Times When the Author was Connected With the Provincial Press. Woodstock: Printed by John Douglass, 1850

View the 1850 version

Biography of George Menzies

Verses Written in the Album Kept at the Table Rock, Niagara Falls, During a Thunder Storm (1850 version) by George Menzies

menzies niagara

menzies niagara
American Falls from Queen Victoria Park (c.1890). Image courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Niagara, Niagara,
‡‡Careering in its might—
The fierce and free Niagara
‡‡Shall be my theme to-night.

A glorious theme, a glorious hour,
‡‡Niagara, are mine —
Heaven’s fire is on thy flashing wave,
‡‡Its thunder blends with thine.

The clouds are bursting fearfully,
‡‡The rocks beneath me quiver;
But thou, unscathed, art hurrying on
‡‡Forever and forever.

Years touch thee not, Niagara, —
‡‡Thou art a changeless thing;
And still the same deep roundelay
‡‡Thy solemn waters sing.

For years and years upon my heart,
‡‡A sleepless passion dwelt,
To be where Nature’s present God,
‡‡Is most intensely felt.

This is the shrine at which the soul
‡‡Is tutored to forget
The weakness and the earthliness
‡‡That cling around it yet.

Who that ever lingered here
‡‡A little hour or twain,
Can think as he hath thought, or be
‡‡What he hath been again?

Where’er the pilgrim’s feet may roam,
‡‡Whate’er his lot may be,
‘Twill still be written on his heart,
‡‡That he hath been with thee.

Source: George Menzies. The Posthumous Works of the Late George Menzies: Being a Collection of Poems, Sonnets, &c., &c., Written at Various Times When the Author was Connected With the Provincial Press. Woodstock: Printed by John Douglass, 1850

Also published in slightly different form in 1834 in Table Rock Album. View the 1834 version

Biography of George Menzies

The Falls of Niagara by E.L.T. Harris-Bickford

harris-bickfordharris-bickford

‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Imagination ever kind,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Nursling of the poet’s mind,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Imps her wings, and soars afar
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡To where Niagara’s waters are.
And there, whilst throned on towering steep, *
Beholds its tumbling torrent sweep!

Tremendous, stupendous, romantic, gigantic,
Gymnastic, fantastic, elastic, and plastic,
It splashes, and crashes, and lashing down-dashes,
It rumbles and roars, and plunging it pours,
It rolls and uprises, it swells and surprises,
‡‡It hissingly seethes, and it writhingly wreathes
‡‡‡‡A watery chaplet of feathery foam,
‡‡It flutters, it sputters, it cleaves and it weaves
‡‡‡‡A mystical mantle as on it doth roam:
Ay, onward for ever, and silent-voiced never,
But headlong it rushes, it gurgles, it gushes,
Through years and thro’ ages it riots and rages,
‘Tis as old as the sun, yet its race is not run,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It shimmers, it glimmers,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It baffles all swimmers,
It quivers, it shivers, the grandest of rivers,
Like ship-bearing oceans’ majestical motions,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‘Tis ever resounding,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Rebounding,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Confounding,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‘Tis ever astounding
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡The senses of man!
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It ever up-leapeth,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡O’er-heapeth,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡On-keepeth,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡And swelling o’er-sweepeth
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡The rocks sparry span!
Vibrating, gyrating, elating nor ‘bating,
It rideth, collideth, and slideth, and glideth,
And hurleth and whirleth, and purleth, and curleth,
And waileth, and traileth, then raileth, and quaileth,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It frowneth,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It drowneth,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It boundeth,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It soundeth,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Till tree, crag and rock
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Re-echo the shock,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Till valley and hill
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Give answering shrill,
O’er-powering, o’ertowering, spray-showering and scouring,
It trips, and it slips, and it grips, and it rips,
It muffles, and shuffles, and ruffles, and scuffles,
Portrays, and delays, and dismays whilst it sways,
And spangles, and tangles, and angles, and wrangles,
It beats, and it cheats, and it fleets, and retreats,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Contesting, molesting,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Resistless, not resting,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Bold breasting, divesting,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It bellows along,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Confusing, illusing,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Gaunt, fetterless, strong;
On-speeding, unheeding, receding, then leading,
Directing, ejecting, connecting, reflecting,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Vivacious, capacious,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Umbrageous, outrageous;
Diversing, immersing, dispersing, coercing,
It flashes, and clashes, and plashes, and gnashes,
It clings, and it rings, and it flings, and it springs,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Now purring, then erring,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Here stirring, there whirring;
And wheeling, and reeling, concealing, and healing,
Advancing, enhancing, proud prancing, romancing,
Conniving, and striving, rude riving, and diving,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It follows, and hollows,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡And swallows, and wallows,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Exhaling, prevailing,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Exerting and spurting,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Down-dropping,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡O’er-topping,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Tormenting, indenting,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Diffracting, contracting,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Diverging, and purging,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡And evermore urging;
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Now alt’ring, then falt’ring,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡And veering, and nearing,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡And clearing, and rearing,
Uniting, delighting, exciting, and fighting,
It teareth, and dareth, and weareth, and flareth,
It racks, and it cracks, and it smacks, and it tacks;
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It rustles and bustles
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Tempestuous tustles,
And gambols, and rambles, and ambles, and scrambles
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It lurches and fumbles,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It searches and stumbles,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It slouches and crouches,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It jingles and tingles,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It rifles and trifles,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It ripples and tipples,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It sunders
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡and ranges,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It blunders
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡and changes;
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It squashes and quavers,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It washes and wavers,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡And whitening it wanders,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡And brightening it squanders,
Submerging and surging, then scourging, and purging,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It hits though it splits,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It hops though it drops,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It jumps when it thumps,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It clings when it swings;
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It twirls and it twines
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡And rainbow-hued shines!
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It laves and it turns
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡And raving it spurns;
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Whilst yawning it yerks,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡And fawning it jerks;
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It dins and it mars,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It spins and it jars;
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡And winding it shaketh,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡And grinding it quaketh;
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It slopes and it gropes,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It swims and it skims;
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Here swaying it swerves,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡There playing it curves!
Terrifically-rising, spray-tipt, and capsizing,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Immuring and luring,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡  Embow’ring, devouring,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Outskirting and flirting
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡And maddening, and gladdening,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Extending, strength-spending,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Expelling, o’erwelling,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Now smashing, then clashing,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Ne’er tiring, inspiring,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Appalling, loud calling,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡And snapping, and clapping,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Now flaunting,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡then difting,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Now haunting,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡then shifting,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Uplifting and rifting,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡And crowding and shrouding,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡And chafing and scathing,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡And creeping and weeping,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It steadies and eddies
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Wherever its bed is;
Upstarting, down-darting, now closing, then parting,
It scatters, and shatters, and spatters, and patters;
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Loud-screaming and scolding,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Its surface unfolding;
Swift-sinking, wave-linking, unthinking in drinking,
Embracing, effacing, grimacing, fleet racing,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡It bubbleth and troubleth,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡And bursting it doubleth,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Where ending?   Where wending?
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Deep downward descending,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Rough-rending, contending,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡With boulders below!
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Now rampant, now couchant,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Now swift, and then slow
With roar and with rattle, it bravely doth battle,
Majestically falling, fermenting and sprawling,
Magnificent-seeming, swift streaming, bright gleaming,
Whilst grand in its beauty, its motto is “duty,”
‡‡‡‡It cries with the thunderous voice of the Lord,
‡‡‡‡Propelled in vast volumes beneath the green sward;
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Its rhythmical rhyme
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Hudibrastic, sublime,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Still swells out and wells out,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Unconquered by Time!
As onward still sparkling, it drowns itself darkling,
It frolics in freedom, it speaketh great gleedom,
It fuming doth fret, and fierce foaming doth flow,
Till tost down gulph’s gaping oblivion below!
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡And at all times ’tis heard
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡When Earth’s musical bird
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Is hushed into balmy and song-refting sleep,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡When golden-eyed Phoebus
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡To gloaming doth leave us,
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡Till raven-winged Erebus coyly doth creep;
Ah ! then what sensations, what curious vibrations
‡‡‡Man’s heart must discover when beating alone;
With nought but the thunder of torrents down under
‡‡‡Hurled swift from the height of their Nature-wrought throne!

* Table Rock

Source: E. L. T. Harris-Bickford. Gold — The God, and Other Poems. Camborne: The Author, [1893]

About E.L.T. Harris-Bickford

Upon Being Asked to Describe Niagara by David Paul Brown

brown

brown
Believed to be David Paul Brown by John Robinson from the collections of  The Walters Art Museum

Describe it !  Who can ere describe
‡‡The lightning’s flash — the thunder’s roll.
Say what is Life, or what is Death,
‡‡Or paint the portrait of the Soul?

Describe the rainbow in the spray,
‡‡The rapids in their wild career —
Raging like ravenous beasts of prey,
‡‡While all creation shrinks with fear?

Go sketch and paint the humblest flower
‡‡That lends its fragrance to the grove;
Go trace the feeblest star that gleams
‡‡From the cerulean vaults above.

Exhaust thyself, vain-glorious man,
‡‡On scenes and subjects fit for thee,
Nor dare presumptuously to scan
‡‡The wondrous works of Eternity.

The works of an almighty hand
‡‡None can depict — though all adore !
Terrific — bold and beautiful.
‡‡They breathe the sov’reignty of power.

O God ! it seems to me most strange
‡‡That any man so mad should be
To doubt, to disbelieve Thy power
‡‡When thus, Creation speaks to Thee.

Source: Charles Mason Dow. Anthology and Bibliography of Niagara Falls. Albany: State of New York, 1921

Originally published in Springs, Water-falls, Sea-bathing Resorts, and Mountain Scenery of the United States and Canada. New York: J. Disturnell, 1855