Niagara by Charles Pelham Mulvany

(From the French of Louis-Honoré Fréchette) 

Louis-Honoré Fréchette

Majestic moves the mighty stream and slow,
Till from that false calm’s semblance, suddenly,
Wild and with echoes shaking earth and sky,
The huge tide plunges in the abyss below,
— It is the cataract! from whose thunderous ire
The wild birds flee in terror far away —
From that dread gulf when with her scarf of fire
The rainbow sits above the torrent’s sway!
Earth quakes, for sudden that vast arching dome
Of green is changed to hills of snow-white foam,
That seethe and boil and bound in tameless pride.
Yet this Thy work, O God, Thy law fulfils,
And while it shakes the everlasting hills,
It spares the straw that floats upon its tide.

Source: This poem by Mulvany was published in Rose-Belford’s Canadian Monthly and National Review, July 1881, vol. 7, no. 1. Toronto: Rose-Belford Publishing Co., 1881. p. 26

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

See the original French language version of Fréchette’s poem here.

Read a biography of Charles Pelham Mulvany


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