The Genius of Niagara by John Chase Lord


John Chase Lord

Proud demon of the waters — thou
‡‡Around whose stern and stormy brow
Circles the rainbow’s varied gem —
‡‡The Vapor Spirit’s diadem —
While rushing headlong at they feet,
The everlasting thunders meet.

Throned on the mists, around thy form
‡‡Is dashing an eternal storm,
Whose ceaseless, changeless earthquake shock
‡‡The tempests of old Ocean mock.
And the dark Sea-King yields to thee,
The meed of might and majesty.

Depth, Sound, Immensity have lent
‡‡Their terrors to thy element;
Thy congregated waters yell
‡‡Down caverns fathomless as Hell,
While in Heaven’s glorious hues are set
About thy gorgeous coronet.

Titanic winter strives in vain
‡‡To bind thee in his icy chain,
Which rent by thy resistless wave
‡‡Finds in thy fearful depths — a grave;
Or the torn fragments glistening lie
In the glare of thy kingly eye.

A silvery web among thy trees
‡‡Unruffled by the passing breeze
The vanquished Ice-King for thee weaves,
‡‡And gives them gems for winter leaves,
And rears thee columns, bright and vast,
Their radiance through thy halls to cast.

The giant Time hath never yet
‡‡His footsteps in thy waters set:
Grimly passing thy fall, he tries
‡‡To notch his by-gone centuries
Along the dark and devious track
Of they rock-crashing Cataract.

Emblem of Power —  the mighty Sun
‡‡Hath found and left thee roaring on,
Thou wert with Chaos, e’re his light
‡‡Shone out upon the starless night,
Sole relic of that awful day
When all in wild confusion lay.

And when Air, Earth, and Sea and Sky
‡‡Formless again together lie,
When judgement fires are kindling o’er
‡‡Old Nature’s wreck — Niagara’s roar,
First echo in the ear of Time,
Shall sing his requiem sublime.

Source: John Chase Lord. Occasional Poems. Buffalo: Breed and Lent, 1869

Also published in Dow, Charles Mason.  Anthology and Bibliography of Niagara Falls. Albany: State of New York, 1921


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