Niagara Falls by Parley P. Pratt

pratt
Portrait of Parley P. Pratt from The Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt

Where now is Nimrod’s mighty tower? Where the
Majestic walls, the warlike battlements,
The splendid palaces, the hanging gardens
Of Babylon?
Where the proud Nebuchadnezzar, who, with
Golden sceptre, swayed the world, and made
The nations tremble ? Where the proud Ninevah, —
The strong Thebes, with its hundred gates ?
The golden Tyre, the splendid Athens, the
Majestic Rome, with all their works of art —
Their monuments of fame, once the pride
And glory of the world ?
Where the mighty Pharaoh’s, the terrible
Alexanders, the invincible Cesars,
The warlike Hannibal ? Tyrants in turn.
Where now the gifted poets, the splendid
Orators, the profound philosophers
Of Greece and Rome, whose mighty genius
Hurled royal tyrants headlong from their thrones, —
Made senates weep or laugh at will, and ruled
The nations ? They are swept away by time ;
Their beauty, like the morning flower, is withered
Their pride and glory gone like leaves of autumn; —
Their grandest works are fast decaying,
Mouldering to ruin, soon to be forgotten.
But still my store house is unexhausted,
My fountain full and overflowing — my
Solid munitions of rocks stand secure. —
My voice as mighty as when the beauteous
Colors of the rainbow first sported in
The sunbeams : —
As when the intelligences of olden worlds
First gazed with admiration upon my
Expanded waters ; or, animated at
The music of my voice joined in the chorus,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy.
###But, boast not, proud Niagara ! Though
Thou mayest withstand the ravages of time, —
While countless millions, swept away with all
Their mighty works, are lost in following years. —
Yet there is a voice to speak, long and loud ;
‘Tis Michael’s trump, whose mighty blast shall rend
Thy rocks, and bow thy lofty mountains in the dust,
Before whose awful presence thy waters
Blush in retiring modesty ; and in
Respectful silence thou shalt stand in listening
Wonder, and admire, while thunders roll
Majestic round the sky, the lightenings play, —
The mountains sink — the valleys rise — till Earth,
Restored to its original, receives
Its final rest, and groans and sighs no more.
### Till then, weep on, and let thy voice ascend
In solemn music to the skies, — ’tis like
A funeral dirge, — ’tis fit to weep o’er the miseries
Of a fallen world in anguish deep.

Source: Pratt, Parley Parker. The Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Embracing His Life, Ministry and Travels With Extracts, In Prose and Verse, from His Miscellaneous Writings. Chicago: Law, King & Law, 1888.

Read about Parley P. Pratt on Wikipedia

Click here to view the article On the Poetics of Self-Knowledge: Poetry in Parley Pratt’s Autobiography by  Joseph M. Spencer from the Journal of Mormon History vol. 37 Issue 1 Winter 2011

Niagara Falls: a Poem in Three Cantos / by James K. Liston.

Liston
Title page in his Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls ! stupendous, beautiful,
Enduring monument of Power Divine !
Thy white-foam pillars ever moving stand,
And ever standing move harmoniously
To the rough music of the dashing spray,
And roaring tumult of the boiling base.
How long has tuned this mystic minstrelsy ?
When did thy swift but solemn march begin ?
When wast thou first heaved o’er those heights sublime
That fringe, with green, Ontario’s mantle blue ?
How long hast thou been grinding down that steep
That frames the wonder of a wondrous world,
And holds thy silvery vestments to the sun ?

Niagara Falls ! stupendous, beautiful,
Enduring monument of Power Divine !
Thy white-foam pillars ever moving stand,
And ever standing move harmoniously
To the rough music of the dashing spray,
And roaring tumult of the boiling base.
How long has tuned this mystic minstrelsy ?
When did thy swift but solemn march begin ?
When wast thou first heaved o’er those heights sublime
That fringe, with green, Ontario’s mantle blue ?
How long hast thou been grinding down that steep
That frames the wonder of a wondrous world,
And holds thy silvery vestments to the sun ?

To see the full text of this long poem, visit the Hathi Trust scanned copy at https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=aeu.ark:/13960/t0jt0gq1q;view=1up;seq=14

Source: Liston, James Knox. Niagara Falls a poem in three cantos. Toronto: The Author, 1843. Scanned copy from the Hathi Trust

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

Lines Written in the Album of The Table Rock, Niagara Falls by George Menzies

menzies great 

menzies great
The Cascade American Side, Niagara, July 1835, by D.T.E. Colour tint by Jane Merryweather. Image courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Great spirit of the waters!  I have come
From forth mine own indomitable home,
Far o’er the billows of the eternal sea,
To breathe my heart’s deep homage unto thee,
And gaze on glories that might wake to prayer
All but the hopeless victim of despair.
Flood of the forest, fearfully sublime,
Restless, resistless as the tide of time,
There is no type of thee — thou art alone,
In sleepless glory, rushing on and on.
Flood of the desert! thou hast been to me
A dream; and thou art still a mystery.
Would I had seen thee, years and years agone,
While thou wert yet unworshiped and unknown,
And thy fierce torrent, as it rushed along,
Through the wild desert poured its booming song,
Unheard by all save him of lordly mood —
The bronzed and free-born native of the wood.
How would my heart have quivered to its core,
To know its God, not all revealed before!
In other times when I was wont to roam
Around the mist-robed mountain peaks of home
My fancy wandered to this Western clime,
Where all the haunts of nature are sublime;
And thou wert on my dream so dread a thing,
I trembled at my own imagining.
Flood of the forest! I have been with thee,
And still thou art a mystery to me.
Years will roll on as they have rolled, and thou
Wilt speak in thunder as thou speakest now;
And when the name that I inscribe to-day
Upon thine altar shall have passed away
From all remembrance, and the lay I sing
Shall long have been all but a forgotten thing —
Thou wilt be sung, and other hands than mine
Shall wreathe a worthier chaplet for thy shrine.

August 1835.

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