See Niagara’s torrent pour over the height, ‡‡How rapid the stream! how majestic the flood
Rolls on, and descends in the strength of his might, ‡‡As a monstrous great frog leaps into the mud!
Then, see, o’er the waters, in beauty divine, ‡‡The rainbow arising, to gild the profound ― The Iris, in which all the colours combine, ‡‡Like the yellow and red in a calico “gownd!”
How splendid that rainbow! how grand is the glare ‡‡Of the sun through the mist, as it fervently glows,
When the spray with its moisture besprinkles the air ‡‡As an old washerwoman besprinkles her clothes!
Then, see, at the depth of the awful abyss, ‡‡The whirlpool careering with limitless power,
Where the waters revolve perpetually round. ‡‡As a cooper revolves round a barrel of flour!
The roar of the waters! sublime is the sound ‡‡Which forever is heard from the cataract’s steep!
How grand! how majestic! how vast! how profound! ‡‡Like the snore of a pig when he’s buried in sleep!
The strong mountain oak and the tall towering pine, ‡‡When plunged o’er the steep with a crack and a roar,
Are dashed into atoms ― to fragments as fine ‡‡As a pipe when ‘t is thrown on a hard marble floor!
And O! should some mortal ― how dreadful the doom!― ‡‡Descend to the spot where the whirlpool carouses,
Alas! he would find there a rocky tomb, ‡‡Or, at least, he’d be likely to fracture his “trowsers!”
O ye, who come from distant climes,
To visit me and read my rhymes,
Ere you condemn my noise and vapor,
Read what I have to say on paper.
Through LAKE SUPERIOR, it true is,
I descend from old ST. LOUIS.
I’m a wise child, you see, and rather
Proud to know and own my father. MICHIGAN nurses me in her lap; HURON feeds me with SAGINAW pap; ST. CLAIR then undertakes to teach,
And tries to modulate my speech.
Through ERIE next I guide my stream,
And learn the power and use of steam.
I’m christened next, but losing my humble-
Ness, I get an awkward tumble.
And though musicians all agree,
I pitch my loud outcry on E,
Sure two such tumbles well may vex,
And make me froth up Double X. Although the rapids rather flurry me,
And into the wheeling whirlpools hurry me,
The Devil’s Hole does most me scare, I oh! And makes me glad to reach ONTARIO.
Traveled so far ‘t is thought of vital
Importance I should change my title;
And though it should be his abhorrence,
They make my sponsor old St. Lawrence.
The course I steer is rather critical,
For, not much liking rows political,
‘Twixt both my favors I divide —
Yankee and British, on each side.
And wandering ‘mongst the “Thousand Isles,”
With equable and constant motion,
I gladly run to meet the ocean.
Once my deep cavern was a mystery,
But now ‘t is known like Tom Thumb’s history,
By ladies, gents, natives and strangers,
Led on by Barnett through my dangers,
And come to try my “cold without;”
While those who like it best can get
A good supply of “heavy wet.”
I fear no money-broker’s pranks —
They’re welcome to run on my banks, I pay no money nor “mint drop,”
Yet dare them all to make me stop.
I’m proof against malignant shafts;
Am ready still to honor drafts; Have a large capital afloat, More current than a U.S. note;
And I can liquidate all debt,
Though much is dew from me; and yet,
About myself I often vapor —
But ne’er before have issued paper. You may think this a brag or a
Boast of Truly Yours, NIAGARA.
Falls Hall Cave, half past 11, July 25th, 1837.
Source: Table Rock Album and Sketches of the Falls and Scenery Adjacent. Buffalo: Steam Press of Thomas and Lathrops, 1856c.1848
“Though in thy veil of mist thou hid’st from me, ‡‡Thy glistening footsteps have I hither tracked : Here on this rock I sit and wait for thee — ‡‡Thee love, thou Spirit of the Cataract.
O list again my tale of constancy !
“I’ve dreamed of thee since boyhood. I have thought ‡‡Of thee at midnight, when beneath the stars
The whole earth slept, and thou hast been inwrought ‡‡Into my daytime reveries on the cloudy cars
Which sailed the sky with happy breezes fraught.
“And I have heard thy voice come calling me ‡‡When underneath the rustling beech I lay,
And watched the wave that to the terraced knee ‡‡Of the green hill leaped, hound-like, then away
Along the sands went gambolling toward thee.
“And I have thought that all things sought for thee ; ‡‡For thee the Sun climbed up the eastern shore,
Fresh bathed from the Atlantic’s purity, ‡‡And weaved thee rainbow garlands, and threw o’er
Thy form, of sheen and gold a gorgeous drapery.
“I have not sought the circles of the gay, ‡‡Where wanton beauty half unveiled is whirled
In the mad dance, by passionate youths that pay ‡‡Their amorous glances ; nor to breasts impearled
Nor all their wealth of charms are eyes forbid to stray.
“Nor could halls of learning, — nor the stage ‡‡Rich with enchantment, where the poet’s soul
Hath shed its affluence, — nor the voice of sage ‡‡Dewy with scripture, weaken thy control,
Nor me from my devotion disengage.
“Nor love, nor wine, nor song, nor power, nor gold ‡‡Nor the sweet glimpses of domestic bliss
That wooed me oft ! No, thy caresses cold ‡‡And pure embraces, and the frequent kiss
That falls like rain, dearer than all I hold !
“Thou hast all power, all passion in thyself ‡‡Thou Spirit of the Cataract, and I gaze
Where leap the waters from their rocky shelf ‡‡Down the abyss to thee with no amaze,
For thy charms lure sea-sprite and mountain-elf.
“The spirits of the mountain peaks, that keep ‡‡The hidden treasures of the mighty west,
Steal down the moonlit rivulets to peep ‡‡Upon the beauty of thy snowy breast
Unveiled amid the tossings of thy sleep.
“The spirits that collect the dews, and fill ‡‡The broad lakes, fill them for my love alone,
Their purity but equals thine : distil ‡‡The stars on thee their light, and o’er thy throne
Scatter the radiance of their holy bill.
“No more delay, my destiny divine, ‡‡But give the token of my speedy bliss :
I know my life shall be drawn into thine ‡‡Even as my whole heart already is :
And yet I wait the anticipated sign.
“Three happy yet three weary months have seen ‡‡Me waiting in my strange novitiate,
O love, thou knowest how constant I have been ‡‡Watching and waiting at the diamond gate
That flashes me and my pure love between.
“She comes ! She comes ! I see the radiant star ‡‡Upon her brow — the glory of her face !
She comes ! She comes ! she lifts the silver bar !
O love, in thine my arms I interlace,
And we forever more united are !”
Source: Professor James Abraham Martling. Poems of Home and Country. Boston: James H. Earle, Publisher, 1885
Six hundred twenty thousand tuns, each minute, is the measure,
That fills thy giant bowl for us with wonder, awe, and pleasure ;
Niagara the great, the free, old Erie’s swift discharger,
The billowy breast that banished thee, but sends thee to a larger.
Ontario bids a welcome to thy foaming, gushing waters,
That freshly fill her yawning caves, and nourish all her daughters.
Sunshine and rain contend for thee, thou plaything of all weathers,
Thy falling flood of glass and pearls breaks into fairest feathers ;
But where the deeper billows roll o’er the centre of thy crescent,
Thy vest is of liquid emerald, with native snows florescent.
Thy stream below is a floating field of winter’s purest whiteness,
Till it melts away into green and grey, rejoicing in its brightness.
Clouds of thy own creation rise, in wild array, around thee,
And in her zone of magic hues, the radiant bow hath bound thee.
Farewell, flow on — in bygone worlds thy veteran locks were hoary,
And forests wild, untrod by man, have sung thine ancient glory.
A meaner muse of modern days, now ventures to admire thee,
Her music thou may’st well despise — thy own shall never tire thee.
Source: Joseph John Gurney. A Journey in North America, Described in Familiar Letters to Amelia Opie. Norwich: Printed for Private Circulation, 1841. p. 320
Included in the anthology: Charles Mason Dow. Anthology and Bibliography of Niagara Falls. Albany: State of New York, 1921
Now it sits a pile of unstable rust
Amongst the falls
And their murderous rush
Two men on a routine trip
A few hours later Red Hill screaming
Dont lose your grip
A split second decision
Could have ended their lives
Lucky to make it home to their wives
One man risked it all
He figured as long as he tried
There was no fault
The unstable scow
Hung by a tree
Attached by a weak buckle
Inching the rope to answer the mens pleas
With each breath taking stride
Praying not to end it all
With a wavy ride
One man hooked and back on shore
Clipped to the rope
He goes back for one more
To this day
The scow sits, where waves strive
Two men, forever grateful
To be able to enjoy their lives
Source: Tulk, Amanda. Can You Hear It? : Poetry by Amanda Tulk. Niagara Falls, Ont. : Grey Borders Books, 2013