Before Explorers and Pioneers by Betty Beam

Niagara Falls, 1874
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

Before explorers and pioneers came,
Indians gave Niagara its name.
For, sound and sight displayed
Left each viewer dismayed—
Now power and beauty parent world fame.

Source: Laroque, Corey. Here’s What the Poets are Saying. Niagara Falls, Ont.: Niagara Falls Review, November 21, 2009

This limerick was entered into the So You Think You Can Rhyme (2009) Limerick Contest to find Niagara Falls’ Poet Laureate

Go to the Limericks page

Canticles of Niagara by Charles G. Deuther

Canticles of Niagara forms the first section of the book Canticles of Niagara and Other Poems by Charles G. Deuther. He wrote:

Charles G. Deuther
Image from Canticles of Niagara and Oher Poems

“The Canticles of Niagara embrace a description of the climate and condition of the country in Canada (1600), there being no civilization and consequently no life, except such as the Indian gave. Necessarily incomplete in description, yet enough suffices to give the reader an idea of the variation of the seasons.”

The table of contents for Canticles of Niagara 

A Canadian Winter in 1600
A Canadian Spring in 1600
A Canadian Summer in 1600
A Canadian Autumn in 1600
Niagara River Below the Niagara Falls
The Famous River of Niagara and the Falls
Greater Buffalo
Lake Erie


The full text of the book scanned by Hathi Trust Digital Library can be seen below

Source: Charles G. Deuther. Canticles of Niagara and Other Poems.  Buffalo: Charles G. Deuther, 1909.

Niagara by Ada Elizabeth Fuller

Niagara Rapids Seen From Goat Island, 1843
by George Russell Dartnell. Colour tint by Erna Jahnke
Image courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Dashing and boiling,
With furious pace,
Rush the wild waters
In their mad race.

Crowned with a glory
Of maple and oak,
Thy rocks tell the story
Of Nature’s yoke.

Flushed with the splendour
Of Autumn’s bright glow,
Silent, yet tender,
Sweet Gentians blow.

Oh mighty river,
With boiling and foam,
Dash on forever,
Knowing no home.

Bear my wild longing
Far out to sea,
Away from life’s thronging
To liberty.

Dashing and boiling,
With furious pace,
Seethe the wild waters
As on they race.

Source:  Ada Elizabeth Fuller.  Sunshine and Shadow: Poems by Ada Elizabeth Fuller.  Niagara Falls, Ont. Ada Elizabeth Fuller, 1919

The Gorge of Niagara by Ada Elizabeth Fuller

Gorge of the Niagara River
from Niagara Falls: America’s Scenic Wonders
Image courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Within the mighty Gorge I stand alone,
‡‡But little more than those small grains of sand
Which lie unnumbered, where the wave-worn shore
‡‡Stretched out to grasp them in its open hand.
But high above the river’s mighty voice,
‡‡A crystal throat brings in its note of charm—
The steady drip of water on a ledge
‡‡Of rocks, upheaved as by some mighty arm.

O’erhead the trees, with pray’rful murmurings,
‡‡Breathe soft to all the winds that flutter by—
The breezes that but came a moment hence
‡‡And went their airy journey with a sigh.
The river winds its fretful way along,
‡‡But deep within its plaintings, great and small,
I hear the mighty Maker’s mighty voice
‡‡In thousand thund’rous accents rise and fall.

Source:  Ada Elizabeth Fuller.  Sunshine and Shadow: Poems by Ada Elizabeth Fuller.  Niagara Falls, Ont. Ada Elizabeth Fuller, 1919

Sonnet to the River Niagara by B.F. Butler

Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge
drawn from nature by Aug. Köllner, c1848
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

River of emerald, world-attractive stream !
‡‡Brightest of links in that eternal chain
‡‡Which binds the West to the far distant main ;
Did ever poet, in his wildest dream,
See, hear or fancy aught more soft, more fair,
‡‡More grand or terrible, than found in thee ?
‡‡First, gently moving, full, majestic, free,
Girdling broad islands with maternal care—
‡‡Then sweeping onward with increasing tide—
Next, madly plunging, in rough, headlong race—
‡‡And lo, the cataracts ! On either side,
“A hell of waters” which no pen can trace !
‡‡Thence, raging, whirling, till, “with sweet delay,”
‡‡On old Ontario’s breast, thou dy’st away.

Niagara Falls, August, 1841

Source: Southern Literary Messenger, vol 8, no. 3, March 1842

N.B. This is probably not the work of General B.F. “The Beast” Butler,  (1818-1893), who did write poetry. It is probably the work of “B.F. Butler, the poet of the old Democratic Review, [who] was born in Kinderhook, N.Y., in 1795 and died in France in 1858. He was attorney-general of the United States from 1831 to 1844, and acted as secretary of war for several months at a subsequent period of Gen. Jackson’s administration. He left the Democratic Party on passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill in 1854, and supported Fremont in 1856. The present Gen. may have been “spoony” but he did not write poems for the Democratic Review. The Butler who did was a scholar and a poet, and a competent critic says of his contributions: ‘Some of his sonnets — the most artistic and difficult of all poetic work — are very polished and beautiful. ‘ ”  — Charles A. Pillsbury, Historic Magazine and Notes and Queries: A Monthly of History, Folk-lore, Mathematics, Literature, Art, Arcane Societies, Etc. (1882). United States: (n.p.).