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THE CORAL INSECT.
Toil on! toil on! ye ephemeral train,
Ye bind the deep with your secret zone,
ON A CATARACT. *
* What a musical flow in these lines, yet without rhyme!
THE FALLS OF NIAGARA.
"Cloud-girdled thunder! embodied storm!
Whether enrobed in vapours dark and dun,
Through the prismatic broidery of the sun.
Since the bold plunge of thy primeval wave!
Thou hast not paused nor failed. Yon boiling grave
Standing on the Table Rock, a magnificent amphitheatre of cataracts burst upon my view with appalling suddenness and majesty. However, in a moment the scene was concealed from my eyes by a dense cloud of spray, which involved me so completely that I did not dare to extricate myself. A mingled and thundering rushing filled my ears. I could see nothing except when the wind made a chasm in the spray, and then tremendous cataracts seemed to encompass me on every side; while below, a raging and foaming gulf of undiscoverable extent, lashed the rocks with its hissing waves; and swallowed, under a horrible obscurity, the smoking floods that were precipitated into its bosom.
Proceeding down the river nearly half a mile, I came to a chasm in which was a spiral staircase, about eighty feet in perpendicular height: at the bottom a narrow slippery path leads to the bottom of the Great Fall. The impending cliffs, hung with a profusion of trees and brushwood, over-arch this road, and seem to vibrate with the thunders of the cataract. In some places they rise abruptly to the height of one hundred feet, and display upon their surfaces fossil shells, and the organic remains of a former world; thus sublimely leading the mind to contemplate the convulsions which nature has undergone since the creation. As the traveller advances, he is frightfully stunned by the appalling noise, clouds of spray sometimes envelope him, and suddenly check his faltering steps ; rattlesnakes start from the cavities of the rocks, and the scream of eagles, soaring among the whirlwinds of eddying vapour which obscure the gulf of the cataract, at intervals announce that the raging waters have hurled some bewildered animal over the precipice.
A little way below the Great Fall, the river is, comparatively speaking, so tranquil, that a ferry-boat plies between the Canada and American shores, for the convenience of travellers. When I first crossed, the heaving flood tossed about the skiff with a violence that seemed very alarming; but as soon as we gained the middle of the river, my attention was altogether engaged by the surpassing grandeur of the scene before me. I was now within the area of a semi-circle of cataracts, more than three thousand feet in extent, and floated on the surface of a gulf, raging, fathomless, and interminable. Majestic cliffs, splendid rainbows, lofty trees, and columns of spray were the gorgeous decorations of this theatre of wonders; while a dazzling sun shed refulgent glories upon every part of the scene. Surrounded with clouds of vapour, and stunned into a state of confusion and terror by the hideous noise, I looked upwards to the height of one hundred and fifty feet, and saw vast Hoods, dense, awful, and stupendous, vehemently bursting over the precipice, and rolling down as if the windows of heaven were opened to pour another deluge upon the earth. Loud sounds, resembling discharges of artillery, or volcanic explosions, were now distinguishable amidst the watery tumult, and added terrors to the abyss from which they issued. The sun, looking majestically through the ascending spray, was encircled by a radiant halo; whilst fragments of rainbows floated on every side, and momentarily vanished, only to give place to a succession of others more brilliant. Looking backwards, I saw the Niagara river again become calm and tranquil, rolling magnificently between the towering cliffs that rose on each side, and receiving showers of orient dew-drops from the trees that gracefully overarched its transparent bosom. A gentle breeze ruffled the waters, and beautiful birds fluttered around, as if to welcome its egress from those clouds, thunders, and rainbows, which were the heralds of its precipitation into the abyss of the cataract.-Howison.
United States Review,
THE CATARACT OF LODORE.*
How does the water come down?
From its fountains
In the mountains,
And thence at departing,
On which it is bent,
Of its deep descent.
As if a war waging,
Rising and leaping,
* These wonderful lines strikingly display the great copiousness and expressiveness of our language.
And darting and parting,
And thundering and floundering,
And clattering and battering and shattering,