Untitled by Anonymous as Reported by X.Y.

Niagara Falls From Goat Island, 1857
Print by Currier & Ives. Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Niagara Falls are a wonderful scene,
Regularly calculated to make the mind serene ;
With their mighty dash and tremendous spray,
They roll and they roll, repeatedly every day !”


These Falls have never been congealed completely,
In this, weak men are agreed, neatly!

Source: X. Y. “Poetry of Young America.” The Massachusetts Teacher and Journal of Home and School Education 10, no. 2 (1857): 89–90. http://www.jstor.org/stable/45023974.

The identity of X.Y. is unknown.

The Trollopiad [excerpt] by F.W. Shelton


Niagara Fälle–Les Chûtes du Niagara–Niagara Falls by Karl Bodmer
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

d, at last, Niagara to scan,
He walks erect and feels himself a man ;
Surveys the cataract with acritics eye,”
Resolvd to pass noimperfections by.
Niagra , wonder of the Deity.
Where God’s own spirit reigns in majesty. 
With sullen roar the foaming billows sweep, 
A world of waters thunders oer the steep : 
The unmingled colours laugh upon the spray, 
And one eternal rainbow gilds the day. 
Oh ! glorious God ! Oh ! scene surpassing all ! 
“True, true,” quoth he ,tis something of a fall.”

Source: F.W. Shelton. The Trollopiad; or, Travelling gentlemen in America: a satire. New York: C. Shephard, 1837 [Shelton originally published with the author pseudonym Nil Admirari, Esq.]

Ode to Niagara by Lansing V. Hall

Canada Southern Railway Train and Cars, American & Horseshoe Falls in Background
executed by the American Oleograph Co. Image Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

MAJESTIC river, full of awe and wonder,
Roll onward in thy might, and roar like thunder ;
Bring from the upper lakes where the waters nap,
Thy burthens to this brink, and let ‘ em drap.
Roll onward in thy wrath, and foam and spatter ;
My bark is on dry land—that’s what’s the matter.
To pay for all this splurge, there’s a Lincoln cent,
I’ve dropped it in thy surge—so let it went !
If more thou still demand, there’s a Canada copper,
Large as a full-blown moon-put that in your hopper !
Methinks I feel a bug, and hear him hum ;
‘Tis only the “Maid of the Mist,” for passengers come.
I’ve climbed the weary stairs, the steps I’ve counted,
But wish now by the cars and ropes I’d mounted.
My coat is wet with spray, but my throat is dry ;
This scene is grand, they say, but it’s all in their eye.
I’ve heard of thee, Niagara, and now I’ve found thee ;
But sorry thou dost keep such robbers round thee.
The Yankees stole my purse, John Bull my hat,
And my last disputed stamp I paid to Pat.
So now I’ve nothing left, as I’m a sinner,
To recompense “mine host” for his dollar dinner.
But hold ! I have it now—there goes the bell !
I’ll sell my ode, I vow ! Old stream, farewell !
Should e’er we meet again, with case inverted,
I, tumbling toward the main, thou, dry and deserted,
I’ll wet thy husky throat till thou feelest staggery,
And I’ll sprinkle well thy coat. Farewell, Niagara !
Should e’er we meet again this side the ocean,
I’ll sing in loftier strain my deep devotion ;
I’ll praise thy gorgeous bow till my voice shall quiver.
But the steam is up—we go. Good-by, old river !
Good-by ! the echoes die with the cataract thunder,
While away like the wind we fly to a western wonder,
Where objects meet the sight too marvelous to tell,
Where cities grow up in a night. Fogies, farewell !
For the golden land I’m bound, where the trees reach heaven,
With trunks four miles around—diameter seven ;
Where grapes like pumpkins grow in every dell,
Where corn needs plow nor hoe. Reader, farewell !
And when I’ve reached the shore by the “Great Pacific,”
I’ll carve on the depot door this hieroglyphic ;
A sleeping car, marked “through,” ‘neath a huge balloon,
Myself among the crew, labeled, “the moon.”

Source: L.V. Hall. Voices of Nature. New York: John A. Gray & Green, Printers, 1868.

In his  Anthology and Bibliography of Niagara Falls, Charles Mason Dow writes “The author of this poem was blind. The “Ode” is evidently intended to be humorous, but the humor consists largely in slang and bad grammar.

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

Untitled by Capting Ralph Stackpole

The title page of the Table Rock Album


‘Tis did—my braggin’ days is o’er,
I’ll brag of old SALT* now no more.
The look of pride which once I wore
Is gone, alas! my heart are tore ;
The proud, firm footstep, mine of yore
Are gone now, too, gone ; my eyes is sore,
And little scaldin’ tears does pour,
When I does think that old SALT’S roar,
Was made “considerable” lower,
Even at this very door.

*Salt River

Signed Capting Ralph Stackpole of Salt River.

Source: Table Rock Album and Sketches of the Falls and Scenery Adjacent. Buffalo: Steam Press of Thomas and Lathrops, copyright by Jewett, Thomas & Co.,1856c.1848