James Lynne Alexander
WONDERS OF THE WEST
A DAY AT THE
FALLS OF NIAGARA
Who has not had a wish t'inspect
Niagara's famed cataract ?
And all the wonders to explore
From Erie to Ontario's shore ?
The battles, lately fought between ;
Give lively interest to the scene ;
And lead the curious stranger round,
To scrutinize each battle ground.
But sentiments more noble far,
Than thoughts of that unnatural war,
The scenery around inspires,
And every feeling bosom fires.
The Boat had stemm'd Ontario's tide,
And anchor'd on the southern side ;
A noble river with its waves,
Two rival nations' confines laves ;
That Giant stream, which through the lakes
Of Canada, its circuit makes,
And issuing from Ontario
About two hundred miles below,
(After so long a pilgrimage,
Less holy name were sacrilege)
Assumes St. Lawrence, name of awe
But here 'tis called Niagara.
Upon this river's eastern side,
A Fortress stands in warlike pride ;
Ontario's surges lash its base,
And gradually its walls deface ;
And, from its topmost tower display'd,
A flag, with stripes and stars portray'd ;
Upon the west an ancient mound,
The Union Jack and - British ground :
Nor distant far another stands,
Which the whole river's mouth commands.
Between the two lay Newark village,
Which yet they let its neighbours pillage ;
Nor only so, but burn it down ;
And from its ashes now has grown,
Another, but more lovely far,
Since the conclusion of the war
Which they have nam'd Niagara.
Some foreign passengers of note,
Had come that morning in the boat,
And early saunter'd o'er the green,
Enraptur'd with the charming scene,
And still the wond'ring party walk'd
And still, with growing wonder talk'd
And prais'd the beauty of the day ;
But one there was, who thoughtfully,
Unmindful of the varying chat,
Upon a verdant hillock sat ;
And while with sighs his bosom heav'd,
He thus his wayward fortune greiv'd :
ALovely village though thou be,
Thy delights are none to me ;
Peaceful though the neighb'ring lake,
I cannot that peace partake.
Ceaseless storm disturbs my breast ;
Day or night I find no rest ;
Then adieu, tranquillity,
Thou wert not design'd for me.
Such a scene might joy impart
To the gay, and cheerful heart ;
I prefer the desert drear
To the smiling landscape here.
There I might pour out my grief ;
There I might expect relief ;
There I might indulge my sighs,
And with a dull nature sympathize.
Two summers have already pass'd,
Since my Ellen breath'd her last :
Still her image fills my mind ;
Oh! shall I ne'er contentment find !
Dreams of her disturb my rest ;
Still her mem'ry warms my breast ;
I will quit this life of sorrow,
And join my Ellen's shade to-morrow.@
Then, starting from his grassy seat,
He rose th' advancing group to meet ;
He briefly spoke, the carriage stood ;
They enter'd ; and, in sullen mood,
ADrive to the Falls,@ was all he spoke ;
And none within the silence broke.
Some gaz'd upon the fertile fields ;
The various fruits the orchard yields ;
Plum, cherry, apple, pear, & peach ;
And some the pendent branches reach ;
While some regard the distant shore,
A British colony no more,
And blush for battles fought and won,
Between the mother and her sons.
But most admire that noble stream,
That glides the rival realms between ;
Whose barks, in friendly triumph, ride
Upon that river's peaceful tide ;
Where commerce, arts, with nature vie,
To raise the nations' comforts high.
But now a chain of hills appears ;
A monument its summit bears ;
"Whose tomb is that?" the stranger cried,
"Brock=s monument," Wogee
Here the river bursts its course,
Through a pass, like a race horse,
Then its circling eddies sweep,
Boiling like a caldron deep,
Round and round a spacious bay,
'Till it gently glides away.
The road is narrow here, and steep,
And over-hangs a valley deep ;
And, on that side, no kind of fence,
To be the traveller's defence.
Observing this, the ladies cried,
That "up the steep they would not ride,"
"St. Julian will you alight,
And help us to ascend the height."
So spoke St. Julian's lively sister ;
(In liveliness he once surpass'd her,)
St. Julian smiling, bow'd assent,
And up the hill the party went.
She had not seen him smile before,
Since he had left his native shore,
And that was thirteen weeks or more.
And now, encourag'd by that smile,
She tries his sorrow to beguile ;
But uses every art in vain,
To soothe his bosom's rooted pain.
Now, with unwonted labour spent,
Behold them on the monument ;
Where, to the traveller below,
Each seems no larger than a crow.
The summit gain'd, the ladies scream,
And shrink from the appalling scene ;
While some in terror shut their eyes,
And some look upward to the skies.
To hide their distance from the ground,
Nor dare to cast their eyes around.
St. Julian darts an eagle glance
Round the unlimited expanse ;
He ne'er before had such a sight,
Though oft had climb'd to greater height ;
For here the boundless forests rise,
Until, at last, they meet the skies.
A spacious lake on either side,
And, on the smooth, transparent tide,
The lofty vessel is descried,
But to the sight diminish'd thus,
No larger than the nautilus.
A noble river flows between,
Which for a while cannot be seen
As through a yawning chasm it brawls
From the renown'd Niag'ra Falls.
And travellers say, who have explor'd
The wonders which these scenes afford,
That midway, is a wond'rous pool,
Which all devours, (yet is not full,)
That is transported down the tide,
And thus the awful place describe.
The river hollows, with a sweep,
A Pond unfathomably deep ;
A basin semicircular ;
Its sides are perpendicular,
And high above the gloomy pond,
Which seems the mouth of Acheron.
Although he heard both fall and flood,
Resound beneath him where he stood,
St. Julian paus'd on nought, beside
The stately forests, wild and wide,
That seem'd to scorn the inroads, made
By human arts, upon their shade ;
Those narrow tracts, no wider spread
Than a moth's progress in a web.
A scene so new and so sublime,
Amus'd St. Julian for a time ;
And, while he stood in contemplation,
His grief was lost in admiration.
But thoughts of her he came to flee,
Returning on him suddenly,
He started from his revery,
As if, attack'd by sudden pain,
Despair had seized upon his brain ;
And, from that tower's giddy height
He leap'd - the bulwarks stopp'd his flight ;
And his now frantic sister's arm,
Preserv'd St. Julian from harm.
As when by fowler's net ensnar'd,
The unsuspecting bird is scar'd ;
With sudden flit she's on the wing,
But drops, detain'd by cruel string.
The rest had long before descended,
Which the rash purpose had befriended ;
He knew not, in his musing mood,
That by his side his sister stood.
She grasp'd his hand, and led him down
The winding staircase, to the ground,
With breathless haste ; then weak and wan,
She hung upon St. Julian.
When she recover'd strength to speak,
"Meant you to scar[e] me, brother ? seek,
Less serious jests, or you may do
A deed you shall forever rue."
"Fear not Marie," St. Julian said,
"A giddiness had seiz'd my head ;
And whirl'd me round, I knew not whither,
Nor left me till you brought me thither!"
This satisfied the maiden's mind,
Who ne'er suspected his design.
Returning to the coach, they see
The horses fasten'd to a tree ;
No driver there, companions none ;
"Where have our friends and driver gone ?"
They both exclaim'd and look'd around,
""We surely tread enchanted ground!"
Now here, above the roaring flood,
But a short distance from the road,
Some trees o'er-hang the deep Abyss,
And tend to hide the precipice,
Which, like the road to vice, descends
Gently at first, in ruin ends.
Ascending from this dang'rous steep
They spy Wogee, with caution creep ;
Rising, he beckons towards the coach,
As if he wish'd them to approach ;
But still his head was turn'd aside,
As if he gaz'd upon the tide ;
"He sees their bodies floating there,"
Exclaim'd Marie, in wild despair,
"St. Julian, I pray, remain,
Lest giddiness affect your brain."
There is a time when others' sorrow
So much compassion seems to borrow,
And so diminish all our own,
As scarce to leave us ought to moan.
And now St. Julian half repented
Of his attempt, while he lamented
The mournful exit of his friends,
And half design'd to make amends.
But heedless of his sister's caution,
He hastens forward with emotion ;
Until above the bank appears
Each well known face, and now his fears
For others fled, his own affairs
Become more desperate than theirs ;
And with those friends his grief return'd
For whose misfortune he had mourn'd.
Now all were in the carriage seated,
And each adventure twice repeated,
When all agreed to ask Wogee,
(A native of the woods was he)
Why that was call'd the deadman's shore,
Which had led them to explore.
He mus'd awhile and nothing spoke,
At length his silence thus he broke : --
"Ere these mountains re-echo'd the wood-chopper's noise ;
Ere the sons of your nation had ventur'd so far ;
Ere we tasted that bowl, which as many destroys
Of our nation in peace, as your weapons in war.
There liv'd on this mountain a warrior brave,
And a maid whom he lov'd as his life;
And she swore that unmarried she'd go to her grave,
Or else be that warrior's wife -
She was stately and tall as a pine on the hill ;
Like the stars of the north were her eyes ;
Her voice was as soft as the murmuring rill ;
Her face like the moon in the skies.
None was more brave than her lover in battle,
And none more humane when the battle was o'er ;
Like the thunder in war and his foes he would rattle ;
In peace the calm stream that unites with the shore.
But a powerful chief at a distance resided,
Who sued for the maid, and her parents compli'd ;
The day was appointed ; the guests were invited -
And the chieftain approaching to make her his bride.
The sound of the music and dance had begun,
And revelry rang o'er the green ;
But apart from the concourse of guests there was one,
Who enjoy'd not the festival scene.
Detected he folded his arms o'er his breast,
As he lean'd on the trunk of an oak ;
His face was obscur'd by the plumes of his crest,
And his body conceal'd by a cloak.
He spoke not, but mournfully gaz'd on the bride,
As she gracefully mov'd in the throng ;
But unseen she retir'd when the stranger she saw ;
None knew when or where she had gone.
The stranger first miss'd her, & forward he rush'd,
Presaging her sorrowful fate ;
The noise of the revel was instantly hush'd ;
But alas! He had miss'd her too late.
When search had been made, but in vain, for the bride,
The steps of the stranger they trac'd ;
By the foot of that rock that hangs over the tide,
They found him advancing in haste -
Their feelings of agony who can portray,
When the maiden they sought for was seen ;
A pale, mangl'd corse, on the pebbles she lay !
The bride who had danc'd on the green !
As a statue the stranger was motionless, mute ;
--Gaz'd on her in stupid amaze ;
Then clasping the corse in his arms as he stood,
He plung'd with it into the waves !
'Tis said that beneath the green waters they dwell,
In a world of endless bliss ;
And nightly sail forth, with music of shells,
To allure more souls from this.
And many companions they now have got,
To share in their delights ;
Who eagerly leap'd from the top of the rock,
At the battle of Queenston heights.
'Tis scarce twelve moons since three were drown'd
And one rode over the bank ;
At the foot of the rock his body was found ;
A man of worth and rank."
Wogee was old, and, we have said,
Among the natives had been bred ;
And, since the stories of our youth,
Oft interest us more than the truth,
We may excuse his long narration
Of a tradition of his nation ;
And his brief notice of events
That had more pleas'd his audience ;
Although it must have drawn a tear
To every eye, the tale to hear,
How down the bank impell'd by fear
Of Indian yell and tomahawk,
Our foemen bounded from the rock ;
And to escape their savage foe,
Rush'd to a certain death below ;
For who went safely down the steep,
Was sure to perish in the deep.
Let Britons and Americans,
And all who boast themselves the sons
Of Britain, fam'd for chivalry,
Banish the cruel policy,
That led to war the Indian tribes,
Arm'd, and rewarded them besides,
To use the horrid scalping knife,
Against each wretched foeman's life.
Their native hate to enemies,
Thus strengthen'd by their avarice,
The vanquish'd foe might sue in vain,
To 'scape the ling'ring death of pain.
Ne'er let such massacre be made,
As by that treach'rous ambuscade,
When fell poor Braddock and his men,
Victims to useless discipline.
What is a British soldier ? One,
Who from a foe disdains to run ;
Who, fearless 'mid the battle's roar,
Is gentle when the battle's o'er ;
Who ne'er insults a vanquish'd foe,
However high, however low ;
Whose motto, over all the world,
Where'er the British flag's unfurl'd,
"Humane & Valiant" stands confess'd,
Brightly emblazon'd on his crest.
Shall such a being have his post,
Amid a wild a lawless host,
Whose fell resentment nought can balk,
While foe remains and tomahawk ?
And shall some future Brock be doom'd
With such compeers to be entomb'd ?
Wogee his tale abruptly dropp'd,
Just as they pass'd a lonely cot ;
'Twas neither elegant, nor mean,
But in a style to suit the scene.
Two gloomy poplars in the front,
As well for use as ornament,
Seem'd to mourn o'er the vacant seat,
Which was erected at their feet.
Around no footstep cou'd be seen ;
The rank grass grew upon the green ;
Some household relics - windows broken,
It's now deserted state betoken ;
While the unfinish'd job espi'd,
Show'd it was lately occupied.
"Why stop you here ?" the strangers cry,
Wogee drove on, while with a sigh,
He made the following reply : --
"Retir'd within that lonely cot,
There liv'd a happy pair,
Who chose this calm sequester'd spot
To raise a family fair.
Blest with each other they enjoy'd
Health, competence and peace ;
And as their family multipli'd,
Their happiness increas'd.
Their daughter, like a half-blown rose,
Had nearly reach'd her prime :
Too charming to be long expos'd
To the rude band of time.
Her birth day came ; her friends were call'd
To spend the festive day ;
She went t'invite a friend, whose home
Beyond the river lay.
"We'll soon return," her mother said,
As she her spouse embrac'd ;
Then with her child away she sped ;
The husband fondly gaz'd
On his departing wife and child,
Till they escaped his ken ;
It was decreed that he ne'er should see
His wife and child again.
On their return at eve, they had
Attain'd the middle stream,
When music slow and sad is heard,
And wond'rous sights are seen.
The ferry boat was overset,
As by a sudden gale ;
The boatman only came on shore,
To tell the mournful tale.
At eve no wife or child return'd,
Nor yet when eve was past ;
Next morn the woeful tidings brought -
His wife and child were lost !
No sigh escap'd ; no word he spoke ;
Nor yet a tear he shed ;
As when the lightning rends an oak,
He stood as cold as dead.
When he reviv'd, the world how chang'd ;
And oh ! How chang'd his lot !
His children round him he array'd,
And slowly left the cot.@
Wogee now paus'd, but did not fail,
As he advanc'd, to tell the tale
Of him, who in the dead of night,
His carriage drove over Queenston height,
Where high it tow'rs above the tide,
Contiguous to the highway side.
To lose a husband, a parent, wife,
Or some dear friend, the balm of life,
When death assumes his gentlest form,
Is grief enough ; but to be torn
From those we love, without a tear
To soothe their last sad moments here ;
Without a kind, a last adieu,
To those we lov'd so long, so true,
Requires a more than human power,
To help us in the trying hour -
Love would our pillow be in death ;
Love would receive the parting breath ;
Love would impress a mournful kiss
On the pale lips and even this
some consolation would bestow
On the poor mourner left below.
Nichol, the sympathetic tear shall flow
From all who knew thee, and from all who know
That, snatch'd in the prime of life, from all that binds
The heart to earth, and gives to human minds
A wish to lengthen our existence here,
From fortune, friends, and family most dear,
Ambition's prize, nay, merit's claim in sight,
Which thou hadst amply earn'd, both day & night
With unremitting toil and anxious care,
Serving thy country, both in peace and war,
When thou hadst reach'd the summit and prepar'd,
To cease thy toil, and reap thy just reward,
Thou wast, that moment, from the summit hurl'd,
To be rewarded in another world.
Thy widow'd mourner weeps - nor weeps alone ;
A country's grief re-echoes to her moan ;
Weeps for her statesman and her hero dead,
Nor hopes to find an equal in his stead.
"And what ! No monument ! Inscription, stone !"
'Twere needless ; for his virtues shall be known,
In afterages, when his honour'd name,
Shall teach the young to emulate his fame :
And when the future traveller espies
That lofty column pointing to the skies,
"There," shall his gallant leader say, "lies gallant Brock,
And here brave Nichol tumbl'd from the rock."
New had they come to Lundy's Lane,
Where many, friends and foes, were slain ;
In the late war the bloodiest fight
There happen'd, and in dead of night,
When friend was oft mistook for foe,
And sunk beneath his comrade's blow.
'Tis said our foes the vict'ry claim ;
If so, why did they not remain
Until the morn, when they might see
Who had the 'vantage, they or we.
At length, they hear thy thund'ring sound
Niagara, which shakes the ground
O'er which they speed, with rapid flight,
Till quickly bursts upon the sight
A scene, which might applause command,
From one who came from fairy land.
How shall my lowly muse essay,
The various beauties to portray,
That meet the eye at every glance ?
Before me, an immense expanse
Of water issuing from woods,
In which the gloomy pine tree broods -
O'er various trees, of smaller size,
That courtier like around him rise.
At first majestica'ly slow,
From these woody islets flow,
Thy waves, Niagara, which make
A spacious, calm, pellucid lake,
Until upon a near approach,
We see them foam and toss and rush,
O'er thy declining, rocky bed,
With emulative fury sped,
Like the ocean in a roar,
On some inhospitable shore,
(Where the shipwreck'd sailor knock'd,
On a rudely pointed rock,
Famish'd feeds the greedy gull,
And his skeleton and skull
Shrouded in a bed of sand,
Form a piece of fertile land,)
Till, in one collected heap,
Adown the precipice they leap.
But this not being fully view'd,
Some other objects are pursu'd ;
The verdant islets in the flood,
Some clad with grass, and some with wood ;
The tree lodg'd on a mass of rocks ;
The hov'ring eagle, noisy flocks
Of widgeons, swimming down the stream,
And flying off with sudden scream,
As to the rapids they draw near,
Caution'd by instinctive fear.
But now our trav'llers had alighted
Before the inn all much delighted,
Where necessary food and rest,
Amid a crowd of other guests,
Prepare the weary to endure
The toils of a laborious tour.
A lofty edifice of wood,
Upon a rising ground that stood,
Full well adorn'd in rear and front,
With many a goodly ornament,
(The dangling sign-board, neatly painted,
A shepherdess is represented,
Upon one side, and on the other
The serpent Python and Apollo,
With Cupid and a bunch of arrows).
Receiv'd our guests, who straight proceed -
The multifarious names to read,
Pencill'd on the whited walls
The galleries, and spacious halls ;
An easy way to gain renown,
By publishing our name and town,
And that on such a month and day
Of such a year, we came that way,
Accompani'd by some dear friends,
And there the wond'rous story ends;
But some are not content with this,
Who, lest the future trav'ller miss,
Some portion of th' excessive pleasure
Which they have felt, in rhyme or measure,
Perpetuate, upon the walls,
The various beauties of the Falls !
But leaving these, they soon ascend
The lofty cupola, and then
Are well rewarded for their toil,
Since they have left their native soil.
Perhaps upon this earthly ball,
(Could we investigate it all,)
Another sight could not be found
To equal what is seen around.
A rare assemblage here is seen,
Of objects novel, grand, serene ;
Wild woods, rough rocks, soft streams & limpid lakes,
High hills, deep dales, fair fields, & thorny brakes ;
The gloomy gulf and precipice profound ;
Torrents, that, with a thund'ring sound,
Foaming forward to the Fall,
There unite and mingle all,
With a thousand objects more,
Too numerous to count them o'er.
"The proper study of mankind is man,"
So sang the bard of Twickenham.
Of all the objects of creation,
There's none deserves our admiration,
More than the human form divine,
But chief -- the form of womankind.
Thro' whatsoever climes we roam,
In peace, in war, abroad, at home ;
In polish'd city, where the mind,
By education most refin'd,
Gives to the fair superior grace,
Improves each feature of the face ;
Or traverse the unpolish'd wild,
Where man exists rude nature's child ;
No form so beautiful appears,
As that which lovely woman wears.
The sweetest music we can bear,
Is less delightful to the ear
Than woman's voice, nor can impart
Such sweet emotions to the heart.
The gayest object we can see,
Cannot assuage our misery,
Or teach us sorrow to beguile,
So soon as charming woman's smile.
And no mean samples of the sex,
Are seen at these fam'd cataracts.
He, who from Europe's polish'd courts,
To this attractive spot resorts,
Is forc'd to own his native fair,
Whom he has deem'd beyond compare,
Are rivall'd, or perhaps, excell'd
In this remote Canadian wild,
By the fair daughters of the west ;
Although, in their behalf confess'd ;
Less of the lily and the rose,
In their more pale complexion glows ;
Distinguish'd more for gracefulness
Of form, and easy playfulness
Of manner, than the brilliant tints,
Which are conspicuous ornaments
Of those that dwell in colder clime ;
But 'twere a needless waste of time,
To reckon up their num'rous graces,
Or analyze their pretty faces.
Let it suffice, in brief, to tell,
That gayer troops of beaux and belles,
Had never at the Falls been seen,
Than at this season had conven'd.
Amid this constellation bright,
Of beauties, dazzling to the sight,
Mam'selle De Lisle conspicuous shone ;
Her pensive air bespoke a nun,
And pale complexion ; but whene'er
She spoke, 'twas ecstasy to hear ;
So well her mellow voice express'd
Her inward peace and gentleness.
Her features mild, yet dignifi'd,
An elevated mind impli'd,
And, sans her stately form, call'd forth
Respect for her superior worth.
Marie De Beauvais too, was fair,
As was the fairest lady there.
Her graceful elegance of shape,
So flexile and so delicate,
Would please the most fastidious eye ;
Her innocent vivacity,
The sweetest antidote to grief,
And melancholy's sure relief,
Her waking moments ne'er forsook ;
She never wore a mournful look,
But when St. Julian look'd sad,
And then she look'd almost as bad.
Madame De Lisle, an ancient dame,
Who with her son and daughter came,
Cheerful and talkative at times,
Could well describe, in prose or rhyme,
The various novelties she saw,
In travelling to Niagara ;
On her the pleasing duty lay,
To lead the pleasures of the day.
What gives to man external grace ?
A manly form, a manly face,
Where candour, bravery and truth,
Are painted with the glow of youth.
What gives true dignity of mind ?
Sentiments noble and refin'd,
Henri De Lisle all these possess'd,
As well St. Julian could attest.
Two waiting women, and a man,
Pierre, Annette, and Marianne,
The wife of Pierre, who understood
As much as any house-wife could,
Made up the train. --- And now refresh'd,
By drinks and viands of the best,
They leave their servants to array
Apartments, while they bend their way,
Along the narrow, boarded track,
That leadeth to the cataract.
We'll leave them, for the present, there,
Viewing what's wonderful or rare,
And haply, at the Inn may view
Something as rare, and wond'rous too.
And now along the level road,
Groaning 'neath th'incumbent load,
See approach the lofty chaise,
Drawn by four most gallant greys ;
Hark ! the Driver winds his horn,
Which the drowsy waiters warns,
Who round the coach obsequious stand,
Intent to lend the ready hand ;
Let down the steps ; the door unhasp ;
Or the ponderous coffer grasp
Here might be seen an African,
Carrying a trunk and lady's fan ;
Umbrella with a broken handle ;
A parasol, and uncouth bundle ;
And there dispute a brace of hostlers,
About unharnessing the horses,
The smiling host walks to and fro,
His rooms untenanted to show.
Who is that lady, now alighted,
On whom the wond'ring eye delighted,
Would like to gaze and still admire,
And never of its gazing tire ?
Whate'er the fancy has portray'd,
Or artist to the eye display'd,
Of beauty, symmetry, and grace,
In form, in colour, or in face,
By this fair model is outdone
Or mingles all in her alone.
As light as flits the moonlight beam,
Upon the bosom of a stream,
Her graceful footsteps meet the ground ;
And, as she moves, she sheds around
Part of her own peculiar grace,
Reflected in each happy face ;
A look of sweet benevolence,
Beaming from her countenance,
Express'd her purity of thought,
And to the rapt admirer brought,
Visions of celestial bliss,
Too high for such a world as this.
Was it her beauty exquisite,
That in every bosom lit,
The glow of love so delicate,
That even Angels must partake ?
The purest mind, the kindest heart,
Had writ, on nature=s fairest chart,
Feelings and thoughts the most refin'd,
That can adorn the human mind ;
No wonder he, who read it o'er,
Should grow enamour'd more and more.
Pardon, fair Lady, the attempt
Presumptuous, to represent
A form so perfect, so divine,
Which far exceeds the human mind
To apprehend, the human heart
Must estimate thee as thou art.
That noble youth is sure her brother ;
The one a copy of the other !
Who leads her from the carriage door,
Along the spacious corridor.
The outlines here more strongly mark'd ;
The shades and colouring more dark ;
The step more firm, the eye more keen,
Serve to discriminate between.
"Ellen St. Fleur" ! exclaim'd Annette,
With voice scarcely articulate,
And breathless sunk upon the floor,
When she espied them at the door.
Soon as Annette her voice regain'd,
She thus at length the cause explain'd
Of her affright to Marianne,
Whose cares the recompense demand.
"Love and friendship felt in youth,
Still are the truest ;
Affection takes the deepest root,
Where the soil's purest,
Between St. Julian and De Lisle,
Soon a mutual friendship sprung ;
Both could warmest friendship feel,
Both were kind and both were young.
On the borders of the Seine,
Near St. Denis' ancient fame,
Stood De Lisle's paternal dwelling,
Where St. Julian made his stay
Far beyond the promis'd day,
And he needed no compelling.
But the time at last drew nigh,
When he purposed to remove ;
Rapidly the moments fly,
When we live with them we love.
Alas ! it was a luckless thought,
Which, De Lisle, occurred to thee,
And which upon St. Julian brought,
All his future misery,
On a visit to repair to the Chevalier St. Fleur.
Many a happy day was wasted ;
Many a varied pleasure tasted ;
Still Julian's visit lasted ;
For the lovely Eleanor,
Was a guerdon for his stay,
Where he could pass his life away.
At length his father's mandate came,
Which disallow'd their hapless flame.
"Say, Ellen, must St. Julian part
From thee and happiness forever,
Who cannot live but where thou art ?
No ! I shall never leave thee, never !
Wills not my sire that I should wed
Her whom Heaven has destin=d for me ?
Then why do we linger here my love ?
Let our nuptial torch be lighted,
And let us far from this region rove,
Ere the bloom of our love be blighted,
For here I swear by all above,
Where'er I roam, where'er I live,
To thee my hand, my life I give,
And thee alone I=ll love."
"St. Julian, thy image is enshrin'd,
Forever, in thy Ellen=s bosom ;
Let this be all of thee that=s mine,
And give the rest to her thy sire has chosen.
Another's love will chase away
The mem'ry of thy Eleanor ;
Ellen's love shall ne'er decay,
But shall daily strengthen more.
Then linger no longer here, my love,
But fly to the friends that love thee,
And mayst thou that happiness prove,
Which Heaven and love can give thee
But let it not grieve thee,
That we meet no more ;
That life be o'er,
Adieu, I must leave thee."
"When I forget my Ellen's love,
Another may have charms for me ;
Then I may inconstant prove ;
But that can never, never be.
Hence St. Julian would hie,
If his flight could give thee pleasure ;
Though to leave thee were to die,
My health, my life, my only treasure.
Say, wilt thou be happy when I am gone ?
If not, let us wander together,
To meet weal or wo, whenever it come,
No matter where, or whither."
"Though by all my friends abjur'd ;
Expos'd to the world's obloquy,
All for thee shall be endur'd,
For thou art all the world to me.
E'en my pride must be o'ercome,
By what=s greater far, my love ;
Ere I yield to wed with one,
By whose friends I=m not approv'd.
Then friends, fortune, pride, be forever forgot,
Nor hinder our happiness longer,
Contented with thee, whatever our lot,
I'll go with thee all the world over.
But away ; your sire obey ;
To avoid suspicion,
You must feign submission ;
Then come again this way."
When from his dear Ellen torn,
On the wings of hope upborne,
To his father swift he hied,
And with his behest complied.
But the Chevalier her brother,
(For her sire was dead, and mother)
Who well knew his sister's love,
Nor her passion disapprov'd,
Till the fatal mandate came,
Which forbade St. John's flame,
Saw his sister's busy care ;
Whose fears durst not the cause declare
"Then," said St. Fleur, "since you deny
Your brother's mind to satisfy,
Your brother and your guardian I,
You ne'er shall wed St. Julian.
Respect it as a sire's command.
Oh ! if he were alive to see
His house's honour stain'd by thee --
But that shall never, never be,
Long as I retain the power,
To protract the fatal hour --
No, Ellen, it must never be ;
Tho' dear thy happiness to me,
As is my own, while life remain,
Untainted be our ancient name :
And, lest by love's almighty power,
Convey'd from hence -- there is a tower --"
She lifeless dropp'd upon the ground,
At the last word's portentous sound.
St. Fleur for help now called aloud,
And the alarm'd domestics crowd
Round their mistress, and convey her
Still unrecover'd to her chamber.
St. Fleur oft round the room had pac'd,
With steps now slow, and now in haste ;
Now in a mood of contemplation,
Now with a look of perturbation,
He stops, at last, as if a thought,
Some comfort to his mind had brought --
The crowd retires -- such was his mind,
But two domestics stay behind.
Now since St. Julian's return,
Two suns their tardy course had run.
When more and more impatient grown,
From his confinement to be flown,
Like captive linnet, from his grate,
He parts to join his lonely mate.
Now mounted on his swiftest steed,
He spurs him to his utmost speed ;
But far the courser lags behind
The fleetness of his master's mind,
Which, like the rapid bird of Jove,
Already gains his absent love.
But see ! a messenger he's met ;
His steed o'erspread with foam and sweat ;
Obedient to the spur and thong,
He drags his weary limbs along,
With ears drawn back, and dangling tongue.
As when at last th' exhausted hound,
After many a weary round,
Scarce to his master=s feet can bear
The mangled carcase of the hare.
Some tidings sad that note contains,
St. Julian drops the loosen'd reins ;
Springs from his horse, with sudden bound,
And lifeless falls upon the ground.
The lofty ship with crowded sail,
Borne gaily on by prosp'rous gale,
Thus strikes upon the hidden rock,
And falls to pieces in the shock.
Report the following story spread,
Which, on the road, St. Julian read.
"Oft, after her St. Julian's departure,
Poor Ellen visited the summer house,
Where many happy hours they spent together.
Round it she planted the most beauteous flowers,
The wild vine, Ivy, and the Honeysuckle,
Together intertwin'd in amity,
Forming a close canopy of leaves,
Excluded the rude sun's intrusive rays ---
Her rows of flower pots, in this cool retreat,
She still replenish'd with the choicest flowers,
The garden, forest, or the mountain yielded.
She walk'd one smiling morning, with her brother,
Along her fav'rite path, more smiling she,
Than was the morn; more cheerful than the lark,
That mounting sprightly caroll'd o'er her head,
As if to pay her morning salutation,
Or caught by sympathy, her heartfelt joy.
Delighted with the beauty of the morning,
The artless maid still prattled to her brother,
With that enchanting grace and loveliness,
Which beauty, join'd with innocence can give;
Till they arrived at a neighbouring forest,
Where, in a thicket, a sweetwilliam grew.
"Stay, I shall fetch the flower," her brother said,
But she, o'erjoy'd ran laughing from his side,
"Nay, my St. Julian loves this pretty flower,
I=ll pull it for his sake, with my own
She plucked the flower from among the brambles
And lo ! an adder hung upon her finger !
She, sudden scream'd, and with instinctive thrill,
Shook off the reptile, to her brother ran,
And smiling, plac'd the flower in her bosom.
"Why weep you brother ? I felt not the wound,"
Her agonizing brother led her home,
And still she tried to comfort his wild grief ;
And when the fatal symptoms she perceiv'd ;
"Keep this," said she, "for my St. Julian.
Tell him I pull'd the flower for his sake,
And that I died by pulling it."
Such the false rumour spread abroad by fame,
And such the news that to St. Julian came. --
Slow moves the fun'ral pomp, no sound afloat
To mar the sweet tranquillity of eve,
Save that the Abbey bell, with solemn note,
Assists the weeping followers to grieve ;
For oft her bounty did their wants relieve,
Whom now they mourn snatch'd by untimely death,
But what, St. Fleur, thy sorrow can relieve,
Of her thou lov'dst so dearly, now bereft ?
Can there for thee on earth be any comfort left ?
But who, with grief indecorous & loud,
Outraging all the modesty of wo,
Advances like a maniac thro' the crowd ?
Can stranger bosoms such affliction know,
While a fond brother patiently can go,
Behind a sister=s corse ? Yes, there is one,
Who, in her loss, feels a severer blow ;
Thy love, thy joy, thy hope, St. Julian
Are left thee in despair, and with thy Ellen gone.
"Is she forever shrouded from my face ?
In vain to see her features shall I crave ?
Oh ! had I but receiv'd one fond embrace,
Ere they consign'd her to the loathsome grave.
Then in one grave together shall we rest,
And in the tomb at least, I=ll seek my bride
He spoke, and aimed a poniard at his breast,
Thy arm, De Lisle, the weapon turn'd aside,
And with thy frantic friend from the assembly hied.
In vain his mourning father and his friend
Labour, the power of reason to restore ;
To the direction of the holy men
Of Denis' abbey, they consign him o'er,
Who many a prayer for his recov'ry pour,
At last, his body wasted by disease,
Its wonted strength his mind acquir'd once more ;
But peace, alas ! return'd by slow degrees,
And even now his mind is seldom quite at ease.
Often has St. Julian sworn,
He has heard his Ellen mourn,
And address him by his name,
Witnessing her constant flame,
Singing in a mournful strain,
He has heard her to complain,
That their mutual love was cross'd,
That her St. Julian was lost,
From apartments near the tower,
Where he spent the sickly hour;
And were I not full well assur'd
That in the tomb she lies immur'd,
I would believe I saw her here
As also the young Chevalier ;
For ne'er were sisters more alike ;
I ne'er before had such a fright."
The Table Rock
It chanc'd the day was calm and bright,
Which much enhanc'd the wond'rous sight,
When from the Table Rock they saw
The Falls of great Niagara.
The table rock was dry ; the spray
Blown by the wind another way,
Induc'd them to prolong their stay,
On that commanding point of view,
Where their researches they pursue.
It was a most majestic sight,
To see descend from such a height,
(Forming a semicirc'lar wall,
With his waters as they fall,)
That giant stream, that king of floods,
That drains the North American woods.
With all the waters of the lakes,
Over the precipice he breaks ;
Superior, Erie, and Huron,
And the sea like Michigan,
With a hundred others, pour,
Their collected tributes o'er,
And, in foaming fury, meet
Far below th' observer's feet.
The waters hasten o'er the brink,
With graceful curve, and downward sink,
Uninterrupted to th' abyss,
Where they commingle foam, and toss,
Spouting, in the dread affray,
Hills of foam, and clouds of spray --
When two strong embattl'd hosts,
Of various tongues, from various coasts,
Rush to the fierce and deadly charge ;
A thousand guns, at once enlarge
Their fiery thunderbolts of war ;
The battle shout is heard afar,
But louder, far, Niagara,
When meet, in wild tumultuous shock,
Thy waves, beneath the table rock ;
Till chaf'd and tir'd with needless ire,
From the stern conflict, they retire
With sullen murmer, as they go
Down their winding course below.
St. John in amazement, says,
"Flows it to the Antipodes?"
Ere to the brink he came so nigh,
That he the bottom might descry ;
Seeing the river thunder down
Into a basin so profound.
"Small pleasure in the sight I feel."
Observ'd the pensive Miss De Lisle ;
"It is a scene of such commotion ;
'Tis too much like a troubl'd ocean,
Or noisy bustle of the world.
I'd rather see a stream, that purl'd,
With gentle murmer o'er the ground,
Where all is green and still around."
"Oh how delighted I would be,"
Exclaim'd the light hearted Marie,
"To make such visit every day ;
And watch the dancing foam and spray,
That sport about so merrily."
"I would not change our native Seine,
It's flow'ry banks and meadows green,
For such a blust'ring scene as this,
Tho' deck'd with wood and precipice."
Observes Madam, too prejudic'd,
In favour of her own dear home,
Else where ought excellence to own.
"St. Julian, had we this in France,
How it would make our trade advance !
Instead of our own puny rills,
Scarce long enough to turn our mills."
Thus spoke his friend ; they leave the place,
And onward move to the staircase.
It was a tall Canadian Pine,
Sunk in a perpendicular line ;
The foot on firm foundation stood,
Halfway above the boiling flood ;
Well bound with braces, at the top,
Of iron, to the solid rock ;
Round it a spiral staircase wound,
Like a cork-screw, to the ground ;
Whence th' advent'rous foot may gain,
Tho' at the risk of bruise and sprain,
Or, it might hap, of broken bones,
O'er the slipp'ry, shelving stones,
The border of the boist'rous stream ;
Where, in every eddy swim
Wild fowl, paddles, oars and deals,
Canoes and myriads and eels,
Masts, and rudders, keels and spars,
And jackets of some shipwreck'd tars,
Logs and pine trees lodg'd in holes,
Worn by friction small as poles,
Involv'd amid the watr'ry war,
Meet in this common reservoir.
But chief that place the eye attracts,
Where thunders down the cataract.
O'er the watery abyss,
Hangs the fearful precipice,
Under which the traveller goes.
('Twere well he wore his bathing clothes ;
For upon the slipp'ry path,
He gets a copious shower bath)
'Twould seem, to the astonish'd eye,
As if the floodgates of the sky
Were open, and a deluge pour,
Such as destroy'd the world before,
Did not Heaven's aerial bow,
The safety of our planet show.
What liquid mountains thunder down ;
How high the rock ; and how profound
The deep wherein they disappear !
The sound how deaf'ning to the ear !
And from behind the watr'y wall,
The winds rush forth, with sudden squall,
As from Aeolian cave they hied,
When they upturn'd the Tuscan tide.
How insignificant is man,
When in a scene like this he stands !
Here he may gain an awful sense
Of the Divine Omnipotence.
Go, search this world of wonders o'er ;
And every secret nook explore ;
No spot such objects can combine ;
So beautiful and so sublime.
Soar on the pinions of the wind,
Far as the east, or western Ind ;
And on the Andes' summit high,
Or on the Himaylean height,
Envelop'd in the gloomy shroud
Of a black, low'ring thunder cloud,
When in a hurricane it bursts,
And the whirlwinds descend in gusts,
Levelling forests as they sweep
And anchor=d navies o'er the deep ;
Hear the wat'ry torrents pour ;
Hear the dreadful thunder roar ;
See the lightening, as it rolls,
Flash at once the both the poles ;
See the earth beneath you shake,
And affrighted mortals quake.
Then may he judge, that never saw,
Thy uproar, dread Niagara.
But see the ferry boat awaits,
To waft us over to the States.
Still unsettl'd is the tide,
Over which we safely ride ;
Above, the horse shoe fall is seen,
And the gulf the banks between ;
And Iris, messenger of Heaven,
Forms a bridge across the chasm,
With an end on either side ;
O'er it sprites in airy pride,
Lightly tripping to and fro,
On their secret errands go.
Fancy sees them as they march
O'er and o'er the heavenly arch ;
Sometimes singing as they go,
In concert with the waves below.
We land, contiguous to a fall,
Which we American may call.
Like a coy disdainful bride,
Her mater upon the other side
Of that green island she forsakes,
And this idle circuit makes.
At her feet, a fairy green ;
And the whiteness of her stream
Rivals the translucent froth,
Whence fair Venus had her birth,
Patroness of love and mirth.
Now the ladder we ascend;
To Porter's bridge our course we bend ;
Thence to Goat Island and renew
Our search at every point of view.
When curiosity at last,
Is sated by the rich repast,
We hasten to recross the tide,
And land on the Canadian side.
What see you now, St. Julian ?
That gazing toward the beach you stand ?
Demands his friend, who now espi'd
A party that had just arriv'd,
And gain'd the beach another way ;
"See you that goodly company?"
He answer'd, "and that lady fair,
How like to Eleanor St. Fleur!"
"I cannot think so," says De Lisle,
Who seem'd no interest to feel,
"She is some fair American."
They paus'd not but approach'd the Inn,
Where busied with their own affairs,
St. Julian leaves them, and repairs
Unnotic'd to the river side,
Where it projects above the tide.
"Oh ! Soon my dear Ellen , we meet,
No longer the fates shall us part ;
The passage of spirits is fleet ;
Mine will soar to the Heav'n where thou art.
Oh ! grieve not my friends, when I=m dead,
Nor foolishly censure the deed ;
For peace from my own bosom has fled,
And I to felicity speed.
Oh Ellen, thy spirit is near ;
It watches my pillow by night ;
Thy whispers by day I can hear
Thy lover to join thee invite.
Farewell to this world and its woes ;
For pleasures to me it has none ;
To night shall my spirit repose
With her that before me has gone."
Thus spoke he, as to the abyss he drew near,
To bury his sighs in the waves ;
When a voice like an angel's arrested his ear ;
"Beware ! for thy Ellen still lives !"
Soon as he heard, he turn'd around,
Amaz'd at the uncommon sound,
'Twas his Ellen he saw but how could he believe,
That she, whom he tho't he saw laid in the grave,
Could be at Niagara Falls ?
Confounded he stood, but spoke not a word,
Nor mov'd from the spot, till his Ellen he heard
By name her St. Julian call.
What joyful feelings are supress'd,
St. Julian, within thy breast ;
And which no utterance can get,
When thy long lost love is met !
He stood awhile, as if entranc'd,
Until his Eleanor advanced ;
And from behind a thicket near,
Her brother the young Chevalier.
And ere his lips could word express,
They hail'd her with a holy kiss.
At length, "did you approve," quoth he,
"The fraud which caus'd our misery ?
Alas ! how many a tear I've shed,
In grief for her I reckon'd dead."
"And I," replied the blushing maid,
My cruel brother oft have prayed,
His artful practice to discover,
And pity two despairing lovers."
"Forgive me, my St. Julian,
And you, dear sister, for the pain
Unwillingly I gave you both ;
That you should wed I then was loath ;
If to your love your sire consents,
As soon as we return to France,
She shall be yours with all my heart !"
"Then, Ellen, we shall never part ;
For oft my father had repented
Of his refusal, and lamented
Thy death, as of an only child.
But how, St. Fleur, did you beguile
The public ear ?" "I'll tell you how ;
Two servants only I allow'd
To witness her recovery.
From a deep swoon in which she lay,
After she heard the doleful news,
That my consent I would refuse,
To your escape. I then convey'd
Her to the convent, where she staid,
Together with Ma'mselle De Lisle,
While you, St. Julian, were ill.
On your recov'ry, we set out
Upon this most auspicious rout B
To-morrow let us hasten hence,
Again to our dear native France,
Where we shall talk of all we saw,
At thy dread falls, Niagara."
Source: James Lynne Alexander. Wonders of the West, or, A Day at the
Falls of Niagara in 1825, a Poem by A Canadian. 1825.