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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Americas: Vol. XXX. 1876–79.

British America: Ottawa, the River, Canada

The Falls of the Chaudière, Ottawa

By Charles Sangster (1822–1893)


I HAVE laid my cheek to Nature’s, placed my puny hand in hers,

Felt a kindred spirit warming all the life-blood of my face,

Moved amid the very foremost of her truest worshippers,

Studying each curve of beauty, marking every minute grace;

Loved not less the mountain cedar than the flowers at its feet,

Looking skyward from the valley, open-lipped as if in prayer,

Felt a pleasure in the brooklet singing of its wild retreat,

But I knelt before the splendor of the thunderous Chaudière.

All my manhood waked within me, every nerve had tenfold force,

And my soul stood up rejoicing, looking on with cheerful eyes,

Watching the resistless waters speeding on their downward course,

Titan strength and queenly beauty diademed with rainbow dyes.

Eye and ear, with spirit quickened, mingled with the lovely strife,

Saw the living Genius shrined within her sanctuary fair,

Heard her voice of sweetness singing, peered into her hidden life,

And discerned the tuneful secret of the jubilant Chaudière.


Still I heard the mellow sweetness of her voice at intervals,

Mingling with the fall of waters, rising with the snowy spray,

Ringing through the sportive current like the joy of waterfalls,

Sending up their hearty vespers at the calmy close of day.

Loath to leave the scene of beauty, lover-like I stayed, and stayed,

Folding to my eager bosom memories beyond compare;

Deeper, stronger, more enduring than my dreams of wood and glade,

Were the eloquent appeals of the magnificent Chaudière.

E’en the solid bridge is trembling, whence I look my last farewell,

Dizzy with the roar and trampling of the mighty herd of waves,

Speeding past the rocky Island, steadfast as a sentinel,

Towards the loveliest bay that ever mirrored the Algonquin Braves.

Soul of Beauty! Genius! Spirit! Priestess of the lovely strife!

In my heart thy words are shrined, as in a sanctuary fair;

Echoes of thy voice of sweetness, rousing all my better life,

Ever haunt my wildest visions of the jubilant Chaudière.