Hannah S. Battersby. From the book: Home Lyrics, Toronto :
Hunter, Rose & Co.
(In the public domain. Available on Project Gutenberg .)
Naini Tal Catastrophe of 18th September
... And though the sky hung like a sable pall
Over the fair oasis, nestling calm
Beneath the trusted shelter of the hills,
And o'er the broad lake-outlet of the floods,
What cause had they to fear? 'Twas often thus,
And the long wished-for rains would bring forth joy
So reasoned they who, peaceful, viewed unmoved
Th' outpouring of that sullen ocean cloud,
When suddenly, they who had calmly felt
So safe one little span of time before,
Discovered in dismay the swollen floods
Meant danger--that the safety of their homes.
Was menaced, walls were tottering, waters rose, ...
For scarcely had they timely refuge found,
Than a huge limb of the great mountain fell,
Sweeping the fair hill-side of house and land,
And burying dozens of their fellow men
In one uncompromising, living tomb! ...
Strong men in the proud glory of life's prime,
Women in joyful trustfulness of love
With little children in full bloom of life;
All in the twinkling of an eye cut down,
In that rude harvest of the tyrant Death! ...
Now the late lovely valley, Naini Tal
Stands as a witness of the frailty
Of human strength 'gainst the o'erwhelming might ...