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

Verses Written in the Album Kept at the Table Rock, Niagara Falls, During a Thunder Storm (1850 version) by George Menzies

menzies niagara

menzies niagara
American Falls from Queen Victoria Park (c.1890). Image courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

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.

For years and years upon my heart,
‡‡A sleepless passion dwelt,
To be where Nature’s present God,
‡‡Is most intensely felt.

This is the shrine at which the soul
‡‡Is tutored to forget
The weakness and the earthliness
‡‡That cling around it yet.

Who that ever lingered here
‡‡A little hour or twain,
Can think as he hath thought, or be
‡‡What he hath been again?

Where’er the pilgrim’s feet may roam,
‡‡Whate’er his lot may be,
‘Twill still be written on his heart,
‡‡That he hath been with thee.

Source: 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

Also published in slightly different form in 1834 in Table Rock Album. View the 1834 version

Biography of George Menzies

Niagara To Its Visitors by H. Lindsay

lindsay

lindsay
Devil’s Hole Rapids, as seen along Great Gorge Route, 1910. Image courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

O ye, who come from distant climes,
To visit me and read my rhymes,
Ere you condemn my noise and vapor,
Read what I have to say on paper.
Through LAKE SUPERIOR, it true is,
I descend from old ST. LOUIS.
I’m a wise child, you see, and rather
Proud to know and own my father.
MICHIGAN nurses me in her lap;
HURON feeds me with SAGINAW pap;
ST. CLAIR then undertakes to teach,
And tries to modulate my speech.
Through ERIE next I guide my stream,
And learn the power and use of steam.
I’m christened next, but losing my humble-
Ness, I get an awkward tumble.
And though musicians all agree,
I pitch my loud outcry on E,
Sure two such tumbles well may vex,
And make me froth up Double X.
Although the rapids rather flurry me,
And into the wheeling whirlpools hurry me,
The Devil’s Hole does most me scare, I oh!
And makes me glad to reach
 ONTARIO.
Traveled so far ‘t is thought of vital
Importance I should change my title;
And though it should be his abhorrence,
They make my sponsor old St. Lawrence.
The course I steer is rather critical,
For, not much liking rows political,
‘Twixt both my favors I divide —
Yankee and British, on each side.
And wandering ‘mongst the “Thousand Isles,”
With equable and constant motion,
I gladly run to meet the ocean.
Once my deep cavern was a mystery,
But now ‘t is known like Tom Thumb’s history,
By ladies, gents, natives and strangers,
Led on by Barnett through my dangers,
And come to try my “cold without;”
While those who like it best can get
A good supply of “heavy wet.”
I fear no money-broker’s pranks —
They’re welcome to run on my banks,
I pay no money nor “mint drop,”
Yet dare them all to make me stop.
I’m proof against malignant shafts;
Am ready still to honor drafts;
Have a large capital afloat,
More current than a U.S. note;
And I can liquidate all debt,
Though much is dew from me; and yet,
About myself I often vapor —
But ne’er before have issued paper.
You may think this a brag or a
Boast of        Truly Yours,         
NIAGARA.

Falls Hall Cave, half past 11, July 25th, 1837.

Source: Table Rock Album and Sketches of the Falls and Scenery Adjacent. Buffalo: Steam Press of Thomas and Lathrops, 1856c.1848

See other poems in the Table Rock Album

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)