Niagara in 1882 by John Macdonald

Queen’s Royal Hotel, Niagara-on-the-Lake, where Macdonald wrote this poem
undated postcard.
Image courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Suggested by a day of great quiet and beauty.

PEACEFUL is old Ontario,
‡‡Calm does Niagara flow,
Where hostile ships were sailing
‡‡Seventy years ago.

Peaceful the banks of the river
‡‡To-day compared with then,
Now clothed with the coming harvest,
‡‡Then bristling with armed men.

Silent is old Mississagua,
‡‡Niagara’s work is done,
No sound comes from its cannon
‡‡But the peaceful sunset gun.

And silent, too, are the heroes
‡‡Who sleep on either shore,
Who nobly fought for country
‡‡Here in the days of yore.

Here men still read the stories
‡‡Which the mural tablets tell.
Of brave ones who, for England,
‡‡By old Niagara fell.

But the strife is long forgotten,
‡‡And the battles long are o’er;
God grant that these great nations
‡‡May go to war no more.

God grant that these great nations
‡‡In peace may live alway,
As calm and as unruffled
‡‡As river and lake this day.

Macdonald wrote this poem at the Queen’s Royal Hotel, Niagara-on-the-Lake, June 24th, 1882

Source:  The Canadian Methodist Magazine, vol XVI, June to January, 1883

Many thanks to Arden Phair for referring this poem to the NFPP

Composer and conductor Harris Loewen set this poem to music in 2019,  as Peaceful Niagara, published by Cypress Choral Music. Listen to the composition on Soundcloud. Many thanks to Prof. Loewen for permission to post this here.