Niagara by Anonymous

porter goat 2

porter goat 2
Sketch of Goat Island and American Rapids, A.D. 1800, by C. Breckinridge Porter

Great Fall, all hail:
Canst thou unveil
The secrets of thy birth;
Unfold the page
Of each dark age,
And tell the tales of earth?

When I was born
The stars of morn
Together sang — ’twas day:’
The sun unrolled
His garb of gold
And took his upward way.

He mounted high
The eastern sky
And then looked down on earth;
And she was there,
Young, fresh, and fair,
And I, and all, had birth.

The word of power
Was spoke that hour:
Dark chaos felt the shock;
Forth sprung the light,
Burst day from night,
Up leaped the living rock.

Back fell the sea
The land was free,
And mountain, hill, and plain
Stood forth to view,
In emerald hue,—
Then sang the stars amain.

And I —oh thou:
Who taught me how
To hymn thy wondrous love
Deign to be near
And calm my fear,
O Holy one above.

I caught the word
Creation heard,
And by thy power arose;
His goodness gave
The swelling wave
That ever onward flows.

By his command
The rainbow spanned
My forehead and his will
Evoked the cloud
My feet to shroud,
And taught my voice to trill.

And who is he
That questions me ?
From whom hast thou thy form,
Thy life, thy soul ?
My waters roll
Through day, night, sunshine, storm.

In grateful praise
To him, I raise
A never ceasing song
To that dread one,
To whom stars, sun,
Earth, ocean, all belong.

Thou too adore
Him ever more
Who gave thou all thou hast;
Let time gone by
In darkness die
Deep buried in the past.

And be thy mind
To him inclined
Who made earth, ‘heaven and thee—
Thy every thought
To worship wrought,—
This lesson learn of me.

Source:  Peter Augustus Porter.  Goat Island, 1900


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *