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astounding roar of waters, which, owing to the echoes or reverberations, is apparently a hundred times greater here than anywhere else, will enable him to appreciate the following beautiful and graphic lines of Brainard,—especially as there is always, in the afternoon, when the sun shines, a very bright rainbow visible directly within the cave, and behind the sheet of water.
"The thoughts are strange that crowd into my brain,
As if God poured thee from his hollow hand,
And hung his bow upon thy awful front,
And spoke in that loud voice, which seemed to him
Who dwelt in Patmos for his Saviour's sake,
'The sound of many waters;' and had bade
And notch His centuries in the eternal rocks.
Deep calleth unto deep. And what are we,
From war's vain trumpet, by thy thundering side?
In his short life, to thy unceasing roar?
And yet, bold babbler, what are thou to Him
That breaks, and whispers of its Maker's might."
How little and insignificant do the efforts of man appear, when measured by this exhibition of Omnipotence! The earthquake, the volcano, the wide-spread conflagration, the shock of contending armies, are sublime and terrific spectacles, though short in their continuance and limited in their effects; but here, ever since the Flood, probably, the deafening and incessant roar of the mightiest cataract on the globe has called upon the children of men to fall down and adore their Maker.
(From his Travels in the Eastern and Western States, in 1837.) .
ON the morning of Wednesday, the 22d of July, we embarked in the steamer Cincinnati, for Chippewa and the Niagara Falls. Leaving the harbour of Buffalo at eleven o'clock, we soon entered the Niagara Strait, by which the waters of Lake Erie are discharged into Ontario. At two o'clock we reached Chippewa, on the Canada side, where we landed, as it is dangerous for vessels to go nearer the Falls than this, a distance of about two miles, lest they should be drawn, by the powerful current setting downwards, into the rapids, and thus carried over the cataract, which happens to small boats, sometimes with people in them, almost every year.
From Chippewa we took a carriage, to convey us to the Clifton Hotel, a distance of about three miles; and in our way there, over the high grounds that overlook the Strait, we had a fine view of the turbulent rapids, spreading over a space of more than a mile in length, and nearly a mile in breadth, covered with breakers, such as are only seen on a rocky sea-shore, in the most violent gales, and the foaming water hurrying along at the rate of eight or ten miles an hour. Soon after this we came to a point from whence the whole force of the impetuous torrent could be seen just curling over the edge of the Horse-Shoe Fall, and thence descending in one vast volume into the deep abyss below. From this point of view, the Fall seemed grander to our eyes than at our first visit to it; and our second impressions were certainly more powerful than the first. Every step that we made only increased the grandeur and beauty of the scene. From the brow of the hill over which we were passing, and near to which the Pavilion Hotel formerly stood, (the burnt fragment of the building still remaining, to tell travellers of
its recent destruction by fire,) the whole view of the Valley of Niagara was at once enchanting and sublime. The earth looked clothed in fresher verdure than we had seen it in before; the recent rains having brightened all the grass and foliage of the surrounding country. The undulations of hill and dale appeared more graceful. There were many more and prettier villa - residences and gardens than we had remarked in our former visit. The water seemed in greater volumes, and the rush of the rapids, the foam of the cataract, the rising clouds of mist from its feet, and the roar of its thunder, seemed to us all on a grander scale than ever. We lingered to enjoy this unequalled landscape; full of the most sublime and awful grandeur near, and as full of the softest and loveliest beauty, which every combination of hill and valley, forest and lawn, rock and verdure, cataract, lake, and river, that the most enchanting scenes of the picturesque could demand-a landscape that leaves all others on this continent that we had yet beheld, far in the shade, and that cannot be surpassed, I think, in grandeur or in beauty, throughout the world.
We reached the Clifton Hotel at three o'clock, and devoted the whole of the remaining day till dark night, to perambulating and re-enjoying, with new and increased delight, the endless charms of the Falls. In our former visit here, we had examined every remarkable spot, and every favourable point of view, and the result of the whole of my investigations and impressions were embodied in the description of Niagara, drawn up at that time ;* but our feelings were, we thought, more powerfully affected now, than on that occasion, though we then considered them to be as deeply impressed as possible; and if we before wondered at persons coming here, staying for a short period, and then going away disappointed, it now seemed plain to us that the reason of this was to be found in the shortness of their stay; and that a second visit, or a third if necessary, might have brought out a feeling of admiration and delight, which a first visit was insufficient to * See "America," First Series, vol. ii. p. 498.
kindle into life. We passed the greater part of the evening on Table Rock, which overhangs the deep basin into which the Horse-Shoe Fall descends on the Canada side, when you may stand within a few feet of the very edge of the cataract, see its ceaseless torrent bending in one continuous stream of the richest emerald green, streaked with flakes of the purest snow, and descending in a resistless mass to the boiling abyss, whose depth is hidden by the clouds of mist rising upwards, as the everlasting incense of the waters, ascending before an altar or a throne. For myself, I can truly say that I felt sensations of the deepest awe, mingled with an exquisite glow of the most intense pleasure, and a charm, amounting almost to infatuation, which fixed me immovably to the spot. Neither the showers of the rising spray, nor the deafening roar of "the many waters," seemed to have any other effect than to make it the more difficult to tear one's self away; and the longer I remained, the more strongly I felt disposed to continue to gaze on in silence, as if entering on an eternity of pleasure. Then, too, the feeling that this mighty Cataract had been rushing and roaring for thousands of years without intermission; and that it would flow on in the same continuous and unabated impetuosity for thousands of years yet to come, exalts the whole subject into one of inexpressible sublimity, True, it is as a tear-drop, compared to the vastness of the ocean; and the ocean itself is insignificant compared with the whole mass of the globe; the globe as a speck, compared with the great luminary of the sun; the sun a mere point, compared with the planetary system of which it is the centre; and the whole system an almost unappreciable atom, when compared with the boundless universe, diffused through that illimitable space, which, like the infinite Creator of all, knows neither beginning nor end!
How humble, then, are we, who stand thus overwhelmed and overawed by such an inconsiderable fragment of the great whole as this, before which we seem but as dust in the balance? Yet, at the same time, "how fearfully and wonder
fully are we made," when, amidst all this grandeur, of which the human intellect and the immortal spirit form so important a part, we seem blind to the dignity with which we are invested as the living, feeling, thinking, reflecting, reasoning, and hoping inhabitants and possessors of such a world as our domain! Instead of trying to fill it with the moral blessings of mutual love, mutual instruction, and mutual peace-we honour war, the very breath of whose nostrils is hatred and revenge; we pay homage to ignorance, if it be robed in wealth; and we elevate to the highest pinnacles of earthly glory, those whose lives have been remote from the "paths of peace," whose distinction lies in the number of battles they have fought, and the number of the slaughtered dead they have left upon the battle-field! With these and a thousand other kindred thoughts and feelings passing through my mind and heart, I sat and gazed upon Niagara for hours; and yet they passed away so rapidly, that I was almost unconscious of their speed. We read again the lines written on the spot two years ago, and found no occasion to abate any expression of the intense admiration which such a scene cannot fail to inspire.
HYMN TO NIAGARA.
(Written at the first sight of its magnificent Falls, August, 1838.)
HAIL! Sovereign of the World of Floods, whose majesty and might,
No flesh can stop thy progress, no armies bid thee stay;
Thy diadem is an emerald green, of the clearest, purest hue,