Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > America
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX.  1876–79.
 
Middle States: Niagara, the River
Niagara
Christopher Pearse Cranch (1813–1892)
 
(Excerpt)

I STOOD within a vision’s spell;
  I saw, I heard. The liquid thunder
Went pouring to its foaming hell,
        And it fell,
        Ever, ever fell        5
Into the invisible abyss that opened under.
 
I stood upon a speck of ground;
  Before me fell a stormy ocean.
I was like a captive bound;
        And around        10
        A universe of sound
Troubled the heavens with ever-quivering motion.
 
Down, down forever—down, down forever,
  Something falling, falling, falling,
Up, up forever—up, up forever,        15
        Resting never,
        Boiling up forever,
Steam-clouds shot up with thunder-bursts appalling,
 
A tone that since the birth of man
  Was never for a moment broken,        20
A word that since the world began,
        And waters ran,
        Hath spoken still to man,—
Of God and of Eternity hath spoken.
*        *        *        *        *
And in that vision, as it passed,        25
  Was gathered terror, beauty, power;
And still, when all has fled, too fast,
        And I at last
        Dream of the dreamy past,
My heart is full when lingering on that hour.        30
 
 
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