At Niagara Falls by Anson G. Chester

In the Maytime, at Niagara,
As a Sabbath morning broke,
Full of glory, peace and beauty,
From his dreams the sleeper woke.

All was quiet, save the thunder
That forever there prevails —
That, throughout the gathering ages,
Never pauses, never fails.

But the thunder of the torrent
Of a sudden died away,
Just as if a spell of silence
On the rampant waters lay.

For a robin, at the casement,
Trilled its carols sweet and strong,
And he heard the roar no longer —
It was vanquished by the song!

On thine ear the roar and tumult
Of the noisy world must fall,
But a little song of love and trust
Will overcome it all.

Source: Kevin McCabe, ed. The Poetry of Old Niagara. St. Catharines, Ont. : Blarney Stone Books, 1999.

 Originally published in Poets and Poetry of Buffalo. 1904.

Niagara by John Campbell, Duke of Argyll

A ceaseless, awful, falling sea, whose sound
Shakes earth and air, and whose resistless stroke
Shoots high the volleying foam like cannon smoke!
How dread and beautiful the floods, when crowned
By moonbeams on their rushing ridge, they bound
Into the darkness and the veiling spray;
Or jewel-hued and rainbow-dyed, when day
Lights the pale torture of the gulf profound!

So poured the avenging streams upon the world
When swung the ark upon the deluge wave,
And oer each precipice in grandeur hurled,
The endless torrents gave mankind a grave.
Gods voice is mighty, on the water loud,
Here, as of old, in thunder, glory, cloud!

Source: Kevin McCabe, ed. The Poetry of Old Niagara. St. Catharines, Ont. : Blarney Stone Books, 1999.

Originally published: Argyll, Memories of Canada and Scotland, Montreal, 1884.

To Niagara by J. S. Buckingham

(written at the first sight of its falls, August 13, 1837)

Hail! Sovereign of the world of floods! whose majesty and might
First dazzles, then enraptures, then o’erawes the aching sight:
The pomp of kings and emperors, in every clime and zone,
Grows dim beneath the splendour of thy glorious watery throne.

No fleets can stop thy progress, no armies bid thee stay,
But onward, — onward, — onward, — thy march still holds its way;
The rising mists that veil thee as thy heralds go before,
And the music that proclaims thee is the thund’ring cataract’s roar.

Thy diadem’s an emerald, of the clearest, purest hue,
Set round with waves of snow-white foam, and spray of feathery dew;
While tresses of the brightest pearls float o’er thine ample sheet,
And the rainbow lays its gorgeous gems in tribute at thy feet.

Thy reign is from the ancient days, thy sceptre from on high;
Thy birth was when the distant stars first lit the glowing sky;
The sun, the moon, and all the orbs that shine upon thee now,
Beheld the wreath of glory which first bound thine infant brow.

And from that hour to this, in which I gaze upon thy stream,
From age to age, in Winter’s frost or Summer’s sultry beam,
By day, by night, without a pause, thy waves, with loud acclaim,
In ceaseless sounds have still proclaim’d the Great Eternal’s name.

For whether, on thy forest banks, the Indian of the wood,
Or, since his day, the red man’s foe on his fatherland has stood;
Whoe’er has seen thine incense rise, or heard thy torrents roar,
Must have knelt before the God of all, to worship and adore.

Accept, then, O Supremely Great! O Infinite! O God!
From this primeval altar, the green and virgin sod,
The humble homage that my soul in gratitude would pay
To Thee whose shield has guarded me through all my wandering way.

For if the ocean be as nought in the hollow of thine hand,
And the stars of the bright firmament in thy balance grains of sand;
If Niagara’s rolling flood seems great to us who humbly bow,
O Great Creator of the Whole, how passing great art Thou!

But though thy power is far more vast than finite mind can scan,
Thy mercy is still greater shown to weak, dependent man:
For him thou cloth’st the fertile globe with herbs, and fruit, and seed;
For him the seas, the lakes, the streams, supply his hourly need.

Around, on high, or far, or near, the universal whole
Proclaims thy glory, as the orbs in their fixed courses roll;
And from creation’s grateful voice the hymn ascends above,
While heaven re-echoes back to earth the chorus – “God is love.”

Source: The Falls of Niagara. Toronto: James Campbell, 1859.

Niagara by Wallace Bruce

Proud swaying pendant of a crystal chain,
    On fair Columbia's rich and bounteous breast,
With beaded lakes that necklace-like retain
    Heaven's stainless blue with golden sunlight blest!
What other land can boast a gem so bright!
    With colors born of sun and driven spray - 
A brooch of glory, amulet of might,
    Where all the irised beauties softly stray.
Ay, more - God's living voice, Niagara, thou!
    Proclaiming wide the anthem of the free;
The starry sky the crown upon thy brow,
    Thy ceaseless chant a song of Liberty.
But this thy birthright, this thy sweetest dower,
    Yon arching rainbow - Love still spanning Power.

Source: Myron T. Pritchard. Poetry of Niagara. Boston: Lothrop Publishing Co., 1901

A Sabbath at Niagara by Dr. Baxley

Here, near the temple of Almighty God,
The soul, wrapp'd in humility, bows down
In awe and reverence. 'Tis meet that man,
The creature, beholding the bold displays
Of power stupendous, wisdom infinite,
Should look, through nature's grandest witness, up
To nature's God.   And deeming here all time
A Sabbath, yet on this day appointed
Holy to Him who rear'd these rocky walls,
Buttress'd below by tide-wash'd massive piles,
Entablatured with beetling battlements
And corniced with a waving wilderness
Of verdure, - who outspread yon azure roof,
Now softly mellow'd with ethereal tint,
Or darken'd by the thunder's messenger,
Gilded anon by lightning's gleams, or now
Radiant with starry hosts, whose mirror'd beams
Carpet the billowy floor with silvery light, - 
Who raised yon altar, and now upon its brow
Of emerald, in characters of light,
Inscribed, e'en with his own right hand, "To God!"
Where ministering birds, with notes attuned
To an eternal anthem, hymn his praise,
And bear on dewy wings a pearly cloud
Of incense up toward the Almighty's throne,
Fit worshippers in nature's holiest fane, - 
Who guards the portals of this sacred place
With ever-heaving sea of snowy foam,
Whose tempest voice to man presumptuous calls,
"Thus, and no farther, shalt thou go," and points
To ceaseless whirling tides, the awful
Maelstrom of Niagara, dread emblem of 
Th' eternal doom of man, vain man, who seeks
To pass the limit of assign'd command,
And moral law, - 
                        E'en on this Sabbath day,
Here, near God's own great temple, would we bow
In humble praise and prayer; and while the lip
Rests silent, would the soul its homage give,
And favor seek; petitioning that in
The devious path of life so may we move,
That when these rocks shall melt with fervid heat,
When the rich garniture of teeming earth
Shall vanish, leaving no trace of brightness
Or of beauty to tell that it once was,
This restless tide no longer flow, and its
Deep cadence cease, when the blue dome that spans
The earth shall pale away, and radiant spheres
No longer shed abroad their hallow'd light,
Then may the hope that rests upon His word
Who ne'er was false to man, who hangs his bow
Upon the cloud, and spreads it night and day
Upon his altar's incense, token to man
Alike of His redeeming power and will, - 
Then may the hope that on His word relies,
Nurtured by love and rectitude, grow strong
In trust and prescience of a home "not made
With hands, eternal in the heavens!"

August 1, 1847

From Johnson, F.H. Guide to Niagara Falls and Its Scenery. Philadelphia: George W. Childs, 1864.

Originally from the register of the Point View Garden.

Dr. Baxley was from Baltimore.