We sat beneath the wooden bridge
‡‡As in a sheltering tent,
And watched the water’s emerald ridge
‡‡And marvelous white descent
The schoolboys, ruddy-cheeked and fair,
‡‡Stood round in lightsome mood,
Nor saw the awful presence there, —
‡‡The spirit of the flood.
And yet on one of them, thought I,
‡‡Some deeper influence stole
To touch the slumbering chords that lie
‡‡Even in childish soul.
And when, in later years, his ways
‡‡Beside these steeps shall be,
The wonder-joy his foot that stays
‡‡Shall seem half memory.
Oh, may some heavenly influence
‡‡Still to my soul be nigh
To blend the child’s unconscious sense
‡‡With manhood’s seeing eye!
Listen to Under the Bridge at Niagara read by Oliver Porteus
Written in 1857
Source: Samuel Longfellow. Hymns and Verses. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1894
Samuel Longfellow was the younger brother of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He was a clergyman, a poet, and a hymn writer. After his brother died, Samuel published a 2 volume biography of him.