Niagara by Dr. Albert Durrant Watson

American Falls From Goat Island, Niagara, 1908
Courtesy of the Library of Congress

A THOUSAND streams all gather into one
‡‡‡‡And in thy thunders sink :
Four mighty seas to thy dread margin run,
‡‡‡‡And dare thine awful brink .

The shock of cavalry in battle-sweep,
‡‡‡‡The might of war’s impact,
Are whispers, to the thunder o’er the steep
‡‡‡‡Of thy great cataract .

While yet there was no ear to hear thy moan
‡‡‡‡And all the earth was young,
Out on the lonely air thy monotone
‡‡‡‡Its deep vibrations flung .

The sun was painting rainbows on the mist
‡‡‡‡That veiled thy watery crown,
When fierce Cambyses staggered all the East
‡‡‡‡And trampled Egypt down.

Still boomed thy flood in ceaseless cannonade,
‡‡‡‡And seethed in yeasty foam,
When Goth and Vandal in destruction laid
‡‡‡‡The towers of ancient Rome .

Thy torrent breaks the adamantine rock
‡‡‡‡And hurls it from the height ;
The firm-knit earth cannot withstand the shock
‡‡‡‡Of thy propulsive might.

How wild the storm that ever downward sweeps
‡‡‡‡The whirlwind of thy foam,
How still the sky that all thy waters weeps
‡‡‡‡In raindrops from its dome.

Sublime and silent is that mighty force
‡‡‡‡That dwells within those forms
Whose wings of mist soar upward in their course
‡‡‡‡And veil thy breast in storms.

Howe’er resistlessly thy fury sweeps,
‡‡‡‡How vast soe’er thy powers,
In gravitation all thy glory sleeps,
‡‡‡‡Thy substance in the showers.

Source: Dr. D. A. Watson. The Wing of the Wild-Bird and Other Poems. Toronto: William Briggs, 1908

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