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Those plaudits hath Gratitude register'd heret
Over which oft shall Memory breathe a fond sigh,
As pure as the dew-drop from Beauty's moist eye.
Even when towards bright Albion I glide on the gale,
Though Terror should rise in his ghastliest form;
The remembrance will sooth 'mid the roar of the storm.
But will you?-say? -—will you, when far over sea,
The friends of my youth to revisit I fly,
And sometimes remember my name with a sigh?
Farewell! generous patrons!—I'm no actor here,
Reality swells while I bid you adieu!
Of Shakspeare still worthy, and worthy of you.
The Niagara river runs from the south to the north. The village of Chippewa, at which we lodged, in upper Canada, is two miles and a half south of the falls, where the river still continues on a level with its banks, and flows with hardly a perceptible increase of rapidity. Our first object in the morning, was to look out for the dark stationary cloud which towered from the river the evening before, seeming to connect the earth and the heavens: but the scene was entirely changed. A dazzling white vapour rose in rapid volumes, forming bright clouds, which, wafted off by a strong north-west wind, taking the colour of those above, floating away, were soon undistinguished
from them. The sun had risen, and, until it became quite high when the vapour was raised without taking those compact forms, our eyes were constantly attracted by this brilliant exhi. bition, but, by eight o'clock, a white spray was all that appeared rising above the falls. Had the fanciful poets of old, who attributed to Etna the production of all the thunder-bolts, been acquainted with our quarter of the world, they would doubtless have allowed Niagara the honour of being the original establishment for the manufacture of all the clouds of Heaven. Leaving our inn, as soon as breakfast was over, still upon the same fine road, in half a mile we perceived the water suddenly change from its placid regular current to extreme tumult, and the bed of the river decline very rapidly. We kept on for two miles, soon finding ourselves sixty or seventy feet above the river, owing to its descent, for the road appears to rise very little, We were now on a line with the great object of our journey, but high above the river and at some distance, though even here the scene was truly magnificent! In the beauty of the falls, and their easiness of access, I was most agreeably disappointed. They are bordered, on the Canada side, by a fine public road, and cultivated country, and are seen to advantage even from your carriage. I expected a vast uniform torrent, whose overwhelming thunder would confuse the senses, and leave no other impressions than those of astonishment and terror. The grandeur of the object is doubtless superior to any thing of the kind in the known world, yet, in my view, its variety and beauty are striking characteristics. After admiring the scene from many points upon the upper bank, we descend-, ed to a level with the rapid, through a steep, but not difficult path, and, on the margin of the river, pursued its course to what is called the table rock, a sort of shelf, a few yards in front of the great fall, and directly on a level with the spot from whence the river takes its dreadful leap. From the bank above, the situations which present beautiful, detached, and varied views, are numerous, but, from this place, the whole is comprised at a glance, and can be very geographically and mechanically delineated; but, the effect it has on the beholder is not
to be described. Imagine yourself standing on a flat, smooth
. rock, of ten feet diameter, and two feet thick, projecting from the edge of a precipice which over-hangs its base twenty or thirty feet, and a hundred and fifty-five feet, from the bottom of the chasm into which the river falls. You look from your right hand up the rapids, which from where they begin, two miles off, to the table rock, descend fifty-s
-seven feet, and are considered one of the finest objects of the whole scene. The river comes roaring forward with all the agitation of a tempestuous ocean, recoiling in waves and whirlpools, as if determined to resist the impulse which is forcing it down the gulf, when, within a few yards, and apparently at the moment of sweeping you away, it plunges headlong into what appears a bottomless pit; for the vapour is so thick at the foot of the precipice, that the torrent is completely lost to the view. The commencement of the rapids is so distant, and so high above your head, as entirely to exclude all view of the still water or the country beyond. Thus, as you look up the river, which is two miles wide above the falls, you gaze upon a boundless and angry sea, whose troubled surface forms a rough and ever moving outline, upon the distant horizon.
This part of the stream is called the great horse-shoe fall, though, in shape, it bears more resemblance to an Indian bow, the centre curve of which, retreating up the river, is hid by the column of vapour which rises in that spot; except, when a strong gust of wind, occasionally pressing it down, displays, for a moment, the whole immense wall of water. This branch of the river falls much less broken than the eastern one, being, like all the large lakes, exactly of the colour of ocean water, appears in
every direction of the most brilliant green or whiter than snow This fall is one hundred and fifty-one feet high, and from twelve to fifteen hundred feèt long, from the table rock to the island, whose perpendicular wall forms the opposite barrier to this division of the river. The face of the island makes an angle with the fall and approaches more nearly to a parallel with the western bank, extending perhaps a thousand feet: when the second division of the river appears bending still more towards you, so as to bring the last range of falls nearly parallel with the course of the river, and almost facing you. These falls are more beautiful, though not so terrific as the great one. The first beyond the island is a stream of seventy or eighty feet wide; the second, from which this is separated by a ragged pile of rocks, is five or six hundred, and both of the same height as the great fall, but appear much higher, as they do not, like that, pour over in a vast arch, but are precipitated so perpendicularly and broken, as to appear an entire sheet of foam, from the top to the bottom. Seen from the table rock, the tumbling green waves of the rapids which persuade you that an ocean is approaching, the brilliant colour of the water, the frightful gulf and headlong torrent at your feet, the white column rising from its centre and often reaching to the clouds, the black wall of rock' frowning from the opposite island, and the long curtain of foam descending from the other shore, interrupted only by one dark shaft, form altogether one of the most beautiful, as well as awful scenes in nature. The effect of all these objects is much heightened by being seen from a dizzy and fearful pinnacle, upon which you seem suspended over a fathomless abyss of vapour, whence ascends the deafening uproar of the greatest cataract in the world; and by reflecting, that this powerful torrent has been rushing down, and this grand scene of stormy magnificence been in the same dreadful tumult, for ages, and will continue 'so for ages to come.
THREE quarters of a mile north of the table rock, we descended with a guide, by means of a perpendicular ladder of forty-five feet, upon which we stepped from the edge of the preci. pice, and thence down the broken rocks at its foot to the margin of the river. This was not accomplished without much fatigue, and some danger, owing to the fallen masses, among which we were obliged to explore our way, and to those impending from above. We traced the stream quite up to the cataract, passed into the cavern, formed by the overhanging wall, upon which the table rock now appeared suspended, one hun. ered and fifty-five feet above our heads, and so diminished, as to seem hardiy. suificiently large to afford footing for a bird: From this place we could see far under the sheet of wa:er. The scene, if one could contemplate it with the least degree of case, would certainly be sublime beyond all power to conceive, or describe. But the inconveniencies you suffer from the dreadful whirlwind caused by this contention of winds and waters, the extreme difficulty of breathing, the pains you are obliged to take to avoid being blown off your unsure and slippery footing, and to shield your eyes from the pelting shower which from its violente in every direction, assails and almost blinds you, takes from you the power of noticing any part of the grandeur with which you are surrounded, except that which arises from the distracting noise and tumult in which you are involved. The sense of suffocation was so insupportable, owing to the exhausted state of the air in the cavern, produced by the rushing of the water by it, that we were frequently obliged to retreat, though still more exposed without, to the deluging rain which fell incessantly from the spray. But curiosity would soon induce us to return to it again, believing that we had now collected sufficient co ge to bear the operation of this great natural air pump; we were however quickly undeceived and driven back. It would require brazen lungs indeed to support such a situation many minutes. Our guide informed us that it was always painful to go under the table rock, and even a few steps under the sheet of water as we were, but that it was not always equally so. A violent north-west wind blowing this day directly against the fall, and into the cavern, rendered the situation much more disagreeable than common. He told us that in calm weather one might, with expedition and hardiness, go a few rods under the sheet of water, which I can very well believe, for he proceeded this day two or three yards, but I could not follow him even one.