Salutation by Evelyn M. Watson

watson salutation
I. To Niagara

watson salutation
Niagara Falls (From near Clifton House), 1837, by W.H. Bartlett engraving by J. Cousen. Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

‡‡‡“My heart is fixed; therefore I sing.” ― Bible

Niagara, my singing heart is fixed;
I love the rich contentment of your wood,
Your wind-scourged cliffs and that calm sisterhood
Of islands.    As man-birds crest the wind betwixt
The Falls and the farther skies, on azure highways,
So poets look from heights yet more sublime,
Inviting Nature-lovers from life’s byways
To experience beyond all touch of time,
Aware of rhythm in a heart that’s living
Become attuned to fuller consciousness
Exalting joys that consecrate and bless. . .
Niagara, we join your song Thanksgiving.

‡‡‡‡‡‡‡II   To the Public

Oh love the character of rocks, each tree
Along this course, each grot in solitude
With phantom—eerie ponds—the wind’s mood—
This thundering torrent in its majesty
With Nature’s attitude so grave and stern.
One feels the unity of truth and good
With beauty on life’s course—without return
Both condemnation and Beatitude.
Join now these staves of melody, the chording
Organ-tones with birds in blending choir—
And note heart-aching charms of misty fire:
May Memory receive each jewel for hoarding.

Source: Evelyn M. Watson. Poems of the Niagara Frontier. New York: Dean & Company, 1929.

Click to see more poems from Watson’s Poems of the Niagara Frontier

watson salutation

Apostrophe to Niagara by Horace Dresser

Below Table Rock
Below Table Rock, Drawn from nature for the Proprietor Hermann J. Meyer. Photo courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

I HEAR flood voices in thy cavern halls,
    Deep unto deep there uttereth grave speech;
    The sounds of torrent minstrelsy here reach
To heaven from the profound within thy walls;
Upon my deafened ear in terror falls,
    Thy roar, as of some dread volcano’s breach,
    Or ocean storm-waves hurled upon the beach!

Earth trembleth at thy passing mighty flood!
    From the unfathomed chambers of the deep,
    These voices of thy many waters keep,
In thunder-tones and grand majestic mood,
One everlasting anthem praising God!
    Thy fearful pathway leads thee o’er a steep,
    Which thou thyself alone dost dare to leap!

I feel to worship now — here from this seat,
    High o’er the beetling cliffs above the brink
    Of thy abyss, I wonder, gaze, and think : —
How restless is thy surge beneath my feet!
For ever rolling rushing on to meet
    Old Ocean’s boundless depths, for aye to sink
    Deep in oblivion, whence we mortals shrink!

Heaven archeth o’er thy gates, great deluge-born!
    With bow that sprang from world-submerging waves:
    Below its circling reach thy maddened flood here raves;
And chronicles on walls of adamant deep worn,
The years that have been since thy birth-day morn!
    For ever lost the bark that rashly braves
    The war of adverse waters — no arm saves!

Proud kings and purpled potentates of earth,
    With trophies borne in march from battle-plain,
    Where sleep the glorious dead in havoc slain,
Sound clarion loud and seek the distant hearth,
Through arch-triumphal reared at place of birth;
    How mean are they beside my monarch train,
    Thy going forth to join the Stormy Main!

Source: Swickhamer, Conrad, ed. United States Democratic Review. New Series, vol. 17, no. 6, December 1858. p. 475-476.

Niagara by Joseph Hart Clinch

Describe Niagara!     Ah, who shall dare
Attempt the indescribable, and train
Thoughts fragile wing to skim the heavy air,
Wet with the cataracts 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, gazd 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 Europes 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”

Niagara Below the Cataract by Clara Jessup Moore

Clara Jessup Moore
Clara Jessup Moore

Within a temples towering walls I stand  ̶
    A temple vast; the heaven is its dome.
No corniced crag was hewn by human hand
    Nor by it wrought the tracery of foam;
The inlaid floor of emerald and pearl
    Heaves at the hidden organs thunderous peal,
While round and up the clouds of incense curl,
    Shrouding the chancel where the billows kneel.
Ah! bow your heads. It is a fitting place
    For solemn thought, for deep and earnest prayer;
For here the finger of our God I trace,
    Beneath, above, around me, everywhere;
He hollowed out this grand and mighty nave,
And robed his altar with the ocean wave!

Source: Moore, Clara Jessup. Miscellaneous Poems; Stories for Children; The Warden’s Tale; and Three Eras in a Life.  2nd ed.  Porter & Coates, 1875

Note: Moore used a variety of pseudonyms. This poem has also been published under the name Mrs. C. J. Moreton

Eternal – Beautiful – Serene – Sublime by C. W. Rowland

Niagara Falls by Andrew Porteus

Eternal — prototype of God!
When first the morning stars did sing,
And the all-glorious sun was placed on high;
How didst thou rear thy awful crest
At His own bidding, and thy thunders spoke
Of the creation born — and ever onward
Through successive ages still is thy impetuous course,
Bespeaking praise to Him, thy great Creator:
Lo, the poor Indian doth bend before thee —
And in thy presence feels that God is nigh!
And the Great Spirit near him to protect:
All recognize in thee — power, greatness — vastness!

Beautiful, most beautiful, whether
In thy murmuring music
Or thy reverberating, echoing thunders,
And thy feathery spray, and rainbows,
Bespeaking hope and faith;
And as thou dashest o’er the ledge,
Behold the gorgeous emerald green,
Woven through with silvery thread —
And then thy milky flood below,
And eddies and o’erhanging rocks,
Call forth the exclamation, “beautiful.”

Serene — thou art and in thy presence
We do feel sweet peace to steal
O’er us, and that the soul all lost
To earth and all around, doth wing
Its thoughts to other scenes,
And we do dwell afar ‘mong those
Long lost and dwellers in a better land.
The mind is lulled to a repose
And we feel
Ready to lean on God and trust in Him.

Sublime — surpassing far all else
Of thy own nature — thou art monarch
Over all and doth feel thy power —
Who shall stop thy way,
Or say unto thy floods, flow not?
Thou wouldst dash aside the net
Woven by vain man to hold thee,
And rend them as the brittle reed.
I have paid my tribute to thee,
And now I will repose — thou hast been
To me a lesson deep and ineffaccable —
And I leave this spot, I trust, a better man.

Philadelphia, August 2, 1847.

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 in the anthology Niagara Mornings by Andrew C. Porteus, 2016.