Wilde About Niagara

George Bailey   

I have just finished re-reading Dwight Whalen’s excellent little book entitled,”Lover’s Guide to Niagara” published in 1990.
 
There’s a section in his book where he writes about American playwright, Oscar Wilde’s visit to Niagara Falls in February 1892.  He had been quoted on an earlier visit as saying, “Niagara Falls must be the second major disappointment of married life”.
 
But he redeemed himself in the eyes of most Niagarans when on this visit he said he was under the “spell of Niagara”. That’s when he said, “It was not until I stood underneath the falls at Table Rock that I realized the majestic splendour and strength of the physical force of nature here. The sight was far beyond what I have ever seen in Europe. It seems a sort of embodiment of pantheism. I thought of what Leonardo da Vinci said once, that the two most wonderful things in the world are a woman’s smile and the motion of mighty waters”.
 
 Good boy Oscar.
 
P.S. Pantheism means, “A doctrine that equates God with the forces and laws of the universe”. I didn’t know either what it meant until I looked it up.