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ADDRESS TO THE NIAGARA RIVER.
God of all truth! in other lands, I've seen
Lying philosophers, blaspheming men,
Questioners of thy mysteries, that draw
Their fellows deep into impiety;
And therefore doth my spirit seek thy face
In earth's majestic solitude. Even here
My heart doth open all itself to Thee :
In this immensity of loneliness,
I feel thy hand upon me. To my ear
The eternal thunder of the cataract brings
Thy voice, and I am humbled as I hear.
Dread torrent! that with wonder and with fear,
Dost overwhelm the soul of him that looks
Upon thee, and dost bear it from itself:
Whence hast thou thy beginning? Who supplies,
Age after age, thy unexhausted springs?
What power hath order'd, that, when all thy weight
Descends into the deep, the swollen waves
Rise not, and roll to overwhelm the earth?
The Lord hath open'd his omnipotent hand,
Covered thy face with clouds, and given his voice
To thy down-rushing waters; he hath girt
Thy terrible forehead with his radiant bow.
I see thy never-resting waters run,
And I bethink me how the tide of time
Sweeps to Eternity. So pass, of man—
Pass like a noon-day dream-the blooming days,
And he awakes to sorrow.
Hear, dread Niagara! my latest voice!—
Yet a few years, and the cold earth shall close
Over the brow of him who sings thee now
Thus failingly. Would that this my humble verse
Might be, like thee, immortal! I, meanwhile,
Cheerfully passing to the appointed rest,
Might raise my radiant forehead in the clouds
To listen to the echoes of my FAME.
HYMN ON NIAGARA.-BY THOMAS GRINFIELD, M. a.
"Where NIAGARA stuns with thundering sound."
Goldsmith's 'Deserted Village.'
AN anthem, like the sound of many waters !'
The prophet heard it, as in wondrous vision
He lay intranced upon the cliffs of PATMOS ;
And wouldst thou hear its emblem, go and listen,
In deep and dread delight, to NIAGARA!
That everlasting anthem which hath peal'd,
Nor paus'd a moment, from the birth of ages!
And, fitting emblem of celestial chorus,
The loud eternity of rushing music
Disturbs not, but subdues and fills, the spirit
With feelings of unutterable stillness,*
And infinite tranquillity, excluding
The world with all its dissonance of passions.
There, too, a cloud of ever-offer'd incense
From nature's altar,-in the vapoury column
On which bright rainbows beam the smiles of mercy,-
Hath risen well-nigh six thousand years to heaven,
In unison with that astounding chorus
Of multitudinous and white-robed waters,
So glorious in the fury of their rapture
Around their awful and mysterious centre!
And oft, stupendous Cataract, as winter
Comes listening to thy choral hallelujahs,
And gazing on thy pomp of rising incense;
With mimic semblance of some mighty temple
He loves to grace thee, and thy shaggy borders
Fantastically silvers o'er with frost-work;
Pranking with icy pinnacles and pillars
The walls of thy magnificent Cathedral :†
But ne'er Cathedral own'd a crypt so dreadful
As thine, o'er-arch'd with such a thundering deluge.
Charles Dickens records this impression.
Mrs. Jameson describes its weighty magnificence.
And still the thunder of the eternal anthem,
And still the column of ascending incense,
Shall draw remotest pilgrims to thy worship,
Shall hold them breathless in thy sovereign presence,
And lost to all that they before had look'd on;
Yea, conjur'd up by strong imagination,
Shall sound in ears that never heard the music,
Shall gleam in eyes that ne'er beheld the vision;
Till the great globe, with all that it inherits,
Shall vanish,-like that cloud of ceaseless incense,-
In thunder,-like that falling world of waters.
Oh pearless paragon of earthly wonders!
Embodying, in their most intense expression,
Beauty, sublimity, might, music, motion,
To fix and fill at once eye, ear, thought, feeling;
And kindling, into unknown exaltation,
Dread and delight, astonishment and rapture!
Sure God said, let there be a NIAGARA!
And, lo, a NIAGARA heard His bidding;
And glimmer'd forth a sparkle of His glory,
And whisper'd here the thunder of Omnipotence !
Clifton, April, 1839.
BY THE REV. JOHN C. LORD, D.D.
PROUD demon of the waters-thou
Around whose stern and stormy brow
Circles the rainbow's varied gem
The Vapour-Spirit's diadem
While rushing headlong at thy feet,
The everlasting thunders meet.
Thronged on the mists, around thy form
Is dashing an eternal storm,
Whose ceaseless, changeless earthquake-shock
The tempests of Old Ocean mock,
And the dark Sea King yields to thee,
The meed of might and majesty.
Depth, sound, immensity, have lent
Their terrors to thy element;
Thy congregated waters yell
Down caverns fathomless as hell,
While Heaven's glorious hues are set
About thy gorgeous coronet.
Titanic Winter strives in vain
To bind thee in his icy chain,
Which rent by thy resistless wave
Finds in thy fearful depths—a grave;
Or the torn fragments glistening lie
In the glare of thy kingly eye.
A silvery web among thy trees,
Unruffled by the passing breeze,
The vanquished Ice-King for thee weaves,
And gives them gems for winter leaves,
And rears thee columns, bright and vast,
Their radiance through thy halls to cast.
The Giant Time hath never yet
His footsteps in thy waters set;
Grimly passing this Fall, he tries
To watch his by-gone centuries
Along the dark and devious track
Of this rock-crashing-cataract.
Emblem of power-the mighty sun
Hath found and left thee roaring on,
Thou wert with Chaos, ere his light
Shone out upon the starless night,
Sole relic of that awful day
When all in wild confusion lay.
And when our earth, and sea, and sky
Formless again together lie-
When judgment-fires are kindling o'er,
Old Nature's wreck-Niagara's roar
First echo in the ear of Time,
Shall sing his requiem sublime.
The last leap of thy waves shall be
The sign of his death-agony.
My spirit grieves to say, Farewell to thee,
Oh beautiful and glorious!
Thyself in mantle of the coloured mist,
Most lightly tinged, and exquisite as thought,
Decking thy forehead with a crown of gems
Woven by God's right hand.
Hadst thou but wrapped
Thy brow in clouds, and swept the blinding mist
In showers upon us, it had been less hard
To part from thee. But there thou art, sublime
In noon-day splendour, gathering all thy rays
Unto their climax, green, and fleecy white,
And changeful tincture, for which words of man
Have neither sign nor sound, until to breathe
Farewell is agony. For we have roamed
Beside thee, at our will, and drawn thy voice
Into our secret soul, and felt how good
Thus to be here, until we half implored,
While long in wildering ecstasy we gazed,
To build us tabernacles, and behold
Always thy majesty.