Niagara by John Ernest McCann and Francis S. Saltus

Portrait of John Ernest McCann by Napoleon Sarony, New York, 1894.
Courtesy of Portsmouth Public Library

 the first dawn, thro vague and unknown ways ,
Between the icy north and where I fall,
From lands beyond the pole, from where brooks call, 
And sing responsive to the cold birds lays,
I glide, I leap, I bound, thro nights and days ;
I rush, I rave, I roar, and I appal—
Ay ! to the very heights of heaven’s wall—
The hosts that reverential glances raise.

And puny men who walk the earth ne’er dream
Of the great force beneath my glassy face ;
And, so, from my brown bed up to the sod, 
I seem in all my majesty supreme
Defying time and earth, and fate and space,
To be the tumult of the tears of God !

Source: McClure’s Magazine, October 1894, p. 436 
Publisher’s note: “This poem was written by John Ernest McCann and the late Francis S. Saltus, in 1888, and is reprinted by special permission.”

Francis Saltus Saltus, from the frontispiece of The Witch of En-dor
Courtesy of WikiMedia

In his Anthology and Bibliography of Niagara Falls, Charles Mason Dow wrote: “A short poem, written in 1888 and reprinted by special request. Has real literary merit.”

Read about Francis Saltus Saltus 

Read McCann on Saltus: A Genius Died on the American Literary Blog

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