Describe Niagara! Ah, who shall dare
Attempt the indescribable, and train
Thought‘s fragile wing to skim the heavy air,
Wet with the cataract‘s 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, gaz‘d 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 Europe‘s 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”