Scene at Niagara


Scene at Niagara


Niagara Falls, nature, the sublime.


A description of Niagara Falls, followed by a conversation between and mother and son about the sublimity of nature and God.


Sedgwick, Catharine Maria.


Youth's Instructer, and Sabbath School and Bible Class Assistant. June 1829, vol. 1, issue 3, p. 89.




D. Gussman


In American Antiquarian Society (AAS) Historical Periodicals Collection: Series 2, EBSCOhost (accessed April 13, 2018).







[p. 89]

THE vehement dashing of the rapids; the sublime falls; the various hues of the waters; the snowy whiteness and the deep and bright green; and the billowy spray that veils in deep obscurity the depths below; the verdant islands that interpose between the two falls half veiled in a misty mantle, and placed there, it would seem, that the eye and the spirit may repose on it; the little island on the bank of the American fall, that looks, amidst the commotion of the waters, like the sylvan vessel of a woodland nymph gaily sailing onward—or as if the wishes of the Persian girl were realized, and the “little isle had wings,” a thing of life and motion that the spirit of the waters had inspired.

The profound caverns, with their over arched rocks; the quiet habitations along the margin of the river—peaceful amid the uproar—as if a voice of the Creator had been heard, saying, “It is I, be not afraid,” – the green hill, with its graceful projections, that skirts and overlooks Table Rock; the deep and bright verdure of the foliage—every spear of grass that penetrates the crevices of the rock, gemmed by the humid atmosphere; the sparkling in the sunbeams; the rainbow that rests on the mighty torrent—a symbol of the smile of God upon his wondrous work.

“What is it, mother?” asked Edward, as he stood with his friend on Table Rock where they had remained gazing on the magnificent scene for fifteen minutes without uttering a syllable; “what is it, mother, that makes us all so silent?”

“It is the spirit of God moving on the face of the waters—it is this new revelation to our senses of his power and majesty, which ushers us, as it were, into his visible presence, and exalts our affections above language. This temple does not need a preacher.”—Sedgwick.




Sedgwick, Catharine Maria. , “Scene at Niagara,” Sedgwick Stories: The Periodical Writings of Catharine Maria Sedgwick, accessed September 28, 2022,

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