By the waters of a river, where the rocks like giants stand,
There a stranger, young and favored, built a home with his own hand.
Hewed the logs and reared the roof-tree, where for years alone he dwelt,
Wanderer from the sunny Southland, and from pangs his heart had felt.
Legend says high-born and wealthy, seeking there in Nature's wilds
To forget a maiden fickle, basking in a rival's smiles.
Where the music of the wild birds, echoed from the cliffs around,
Blended with the voice of waters, flowing past with silvery sound;
Where in Springtime wild flowers blooming shed their incense day and night,
And the rugged cliff-sides wearing robes of dogwood, snowy white;
Where in Summer old trees spreading overhead a leafy roof
Flung their shadows, deep and cooling, 'gainst the burning sunbeams proof;
Where in Winter wild winds raving whistled 'round his lonely home,
And the swollen torrent rushing struck the rocks with sullen tone--
He a sunnier clime forsaking for the "dark and bloody ground,"
Where the forest stretched unbroken--there the wanderer rest had found.
All of human-kind deserting, where no din of toil and strife
Ever came to break the stillness--there he spent a hermit's life.
All his frugal wants supplying from the storehouse Nature gave,
Nevermore his footsteps bending toward where Hope had found its grave.
Striving to forget the false one, dwelling 'neath her sunny skies,
Who had left the arrow rankling in his heart with honied lies.
Long ago she was forgotten, and at last surcease had come--
For his heart was stilled forever, and his lips were sealed and dumb.
Long he lay beside the river, flowing sweetly there to-day,
Where was found a bleaching skeleton, and a rude hut in decay.
There where briars in tangled network sway above a little mound,
Rest the bones of Southern stranger, in the "dark and bloody ground!"