The Battle of Lundy’s Lane by Lieut.-Col. J. R. Wilkinson

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The plaque marking the location of the Battle of Lundy’s Lane

Fought July 26, 1814, American forces 5,000; British and Canadian, 2800

The summer sun down the sky fell low,
And soft, cooling winds more gently did blow,
And the stream swept by with resistless flow
On that July eve of the long ago, —
A lovely landscape as ever was seen,
And nature’s serenity crowned the scene.
A gold light shimmered o’er hill and stream,
And the shadows lengthened softly between.
Thus o’er this beautiful Canadian land
Fell the hush of nature, soothing and bland.

But hark ! on the startled ear there comes
The blaring of trumpets and roll of drums,
And war’s dread panoply bursts on the scene,
With its rumbling roar and thunder between,
As the bannered foe draws proudly nigh,
And the outposts before them quickly fly.
But Drummond draws up on the famous plain,
On the undulations of Lundy’s Lane.
On a rise in the centre his guns he placed,
Deployed his infantry, and sternly faced
The menacing foe in battle-array,
As the shades crept out on the dying day.
Sixteen hundred dauntless, determined souls
The heroic Drummond proudly controls.

In contiguous lines the foe now comes,
To the blare of trumpet and beat of drums,
With supporting columns to reinforce
And cheer the lines on their onward course.
Drummond’s guns open with deafening roar,
Shaking the trembling river and shore ;
And hundreds go down in the deadly storm :
Torn are their ranks, but again they re-form,
Move forward once more with a rush and cry,
Confident that Drummond will turn and fly,
But he stands fast, and his battery flashes,
And his firm infantry volleys and crashes
On the brave advancing lines of the foe
Rushing up from the fire-swept slope below.
Brown’s infantry charged to the battery’s side,
But to capture the guns in vain they tried.
They were met with the steel by Drummond’s men
And hurled confused down the slope again.
They tried it again — rushed forward once more,
But broke like a wave on a rock-bound shore !

Brown’s supports were brought up, and his cannon roared,
All along the lines the infantry poured
A withering, ceaseless and consuming fire :
And the rage of battle grew wilder, higher.
The enemy charged and charged again
Till their life-blood crimsoned the shot-torn plain,
And the awful din and the carnage there
Filled wives’ and mothers’ hearts with despair.

At length the long twilight closed around
The smoking cannon and the death-strewn ground,
And the pitying night drew o’er the scene
Of horror a mournful and sable screen.
Still amid the darkness they fighting fell,
And the surging ranks bore a fire of hell !
Muzzle to muzzle the hot guns stormed,
Rending the ranks that again reformed,
And rushed to the charge again and again
Through the infantry’s fire and batteries’ flame.
The guns were won and retaken again
In the revel of death, at Lundy’s Lane.

Here Riall came up with twelve hundred more,
To the help of Drummond, bleeding and sore :
Twelve hundred Canadians and regulars to stand
To the death for this proud Canadian land.
The brave foe brought up reinforcements, too,
Determined Drummond’s lines to pierce through ;
And they close in a mad, mad rush again,
And the roar of the hot guns shake the plain.
Lurid red flashes illumine the night,
Revealing a moment the dreadful sight
Of the lines struggling there in the gloom,
Where hundreds go down to a gory doom.

But Drummond the foemen foiled everywhere,
And disheartened, on the verge of dispair,
At the midnight hour they fled from the field, —
Broken and beaten, they were forced to yield.
Throwing their baggage in the stream, in fright
They fled away in a desperate plight.

The moon had risen o’er the pitiful scene,
With her lovely face, all mild and serene,
Lighting up the horror of carnage there,
Revealing the ghastly and upward stare
Of pale, dead faces peering out of the gloom,
Just touched by the silvery midnight moon.
Lay them away on the hard-fought field
Where the musketry volleyed and cannon pealed !
War’s tumult shall rouse them again no more,
The heroic dead by the river’s shore.
Slumber on, brave hearts ! ye do battle no more
Near Niagara’s awesome, eternal roar !

Oh, dear land of the Maple Leaf so fair,
Breathe even to-day a fervent prayer
For those intrepid souls, who, fighting, fell
For home and country they loved so well.
Canadians ! tell it — repeat it again —
How our fathers stood there at Lundy’s Lane,
With the regulars fearlessly side by side —
Stood there as heroes, conquered and died.
To rescue this land from the invader’s tread
That field was piled with immortal dead.

Source: Lieut.-Col. J. R. Wilkinson. Canadian Battlefields and Other Poems. 2nd ed. Toronto, William Briggs, 1901

Untitled by Anonymous

hail
Horseshoe Falls, Niagara by Sir James E. Alexander. Hand tinted by Erna Jahnke. Courtesy Niagara Falls Public Library

All hail, Niagara! by thine awful noise,
Great fear is caused in minds of little boys;
And as thou rollest with thy mighty rumble,
All must acknowledge that thou mak’st a tumble.
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever;”
And in that way thou certainly art clever.

 

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 the anthology  Porteus, Andrew C.  Niagara Mornings.  Niagara Falls, Ont.  Grey Borders Press, 2016 (Click for Table of Contents)

Untitled by Boz

boz

boz
Table Rock House (left) in the 1860s. Photo courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Niagara – here Nature holds its sway,
While man, with both delight and awe, doth
Gaze and wonder at its magnificence.

 

 

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  (Click for Table of Contents)

Also published in the anthology  Porteus, Andrew C.  Niagara Mornings.  Niagara Falls, Ont.  Grey Borders Press, 2016 (Click for Table of Contents)

Apostrophe to Niagara by Frank B. Palmer

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Niagara Falls, possibly by photographer Silas A. Holmes, c1855. Metropolitan Museum of Art

This is Jehovah’s fullest organ strain!
‡‡I hear the liquid music rolling, breaking.
From the gigantic pipes the great refrain
‡‡Bursts on my ravished ear, high thoughts awaking!

The low sub-bass, uprising from the deep,
‡‡Swells the great paean as it rolls supernal —
Anon, I hear, at one majestic sweep
‡‡The diapason of the keys eternal!

Standing beneath Niagara’s angry flood —
‡‡The thundering cataract above me bounding —
I hear the echo: “Man, there is a God!”
‡‡From the great arches of the gorge resounding.

Behold, O man, nor shrink aghast in fear!
‡‡Survey the vortex boiling deep before thee!
The Hand that ope’d the liquid gateway here
‡‡Hath set the beauteous bow of promise o’er thee!

Here, in the hollow of that Mighty Hand,
‡‡Which holds the basin of the tidal ocean,
Let not the jarring of the spray-washed strand
‡‡Disturb the orisons of pure devotion.

Roll on Niagara! great River King!
‡‡Beneath thy sceptre all earth’s rulers, mortal,
Bow reverently; and bards shall ever sing
‡‡The matchless grandeur of thy peerless portal!

I hear, Niagara, in this grand strain
‡‡His voice, who speaks in flood, in flame, and thunder —
Forever, mayst thou, singing, roll and reign —
‡‡Earth’s grand, sublime, supreme, supernal wonder.

Source: Severance, Frank H. Old Trails on the Niagara Frontier.  Buffalo:  The Matthews-Northrup Co.,  1899

Written in 1855

Click here to read Severance’s discussion on Palmer’s Apostrophe to Niagara  (To go directly to the page choose the html version and after it comes up add  #Page_317 to the end of the url)

 

 

Niagara Falls, NY by C.D. Onofrio

NFNY

NFNY
Aerial view showing Niagara Falls, NY on the left, with refineries lining the Niagara River. Photo by Andrew Porteus, 2004

All the restaurants are named Betty’s
The water is turquoise blue, deep and cool

Niagara Falls, NY

Driving towards the falls on the scenic Parkway
The scene on the left is deep turquoise blue
Unlike water anywhere else in the world
A river as wide as a lake, forests of trees
The scene to the right is chemical factories
And rusted warehouses, and inlets or outlets of water
That sit sick in the stomach of history
Billboards saying mesothelioma
Clinging from Buffalo
To the boarded up windows
That line Niagara St.
And welcome you into
What used to be
A wonder of the world

Source: The author, June 2018