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.

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