Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

Introductory to Southern States


By William Henry Cuyler Hosmer (1814–1877)

Lay of a Wanderer

WHERE Pablo to the broad St. John

His dark and briny tribute pays,

The wild deer leads her dappled fawn,

Of graceful limb and timid gaze;

Rich sunshine falls on wave and land,

The gull is screaming overhead,

And on a beach of whitened sand

Lie wreathy shells with lips of red.

The jessamine hangs golden flowers

On ancient oaks in moss arrayed,

And proudly the palmetto towers,

While mock-birds warble in the shade;

Mounds, built by mortal hand, are near,

Green from the summit to the base,

Where, buried with the bow and spear,

Rest tribes, forgetful of the chase.

Cassada, nigh the ocean shore,

Is now a ruin, wild and lone,

And on her battlements no more

Is banner waved or trumpet blown;

Those doughty cavaliers are gone

Who hurled defiance there to France,

While the bright waters of St. John

Reflected flash of sword and lance.

But when the light of dying day

Falls on the crumbling wrecks of time,

And the wan features of decay

Wear softened beauty, like the clime,

My fancy summons from the shroud

The knights of old Castile again,

And charging thousands shout aloud,—

“St. Jago strikes to-day for Spain!”

When mystic voices, on the breeze

That fans the rolling deep, sweep by,

The spirits of the Yemassees,

Who ruled the land of yore, seem nigh;

For mournful marks, around where stood

Their palm-roofed lodges, yet are seen,

And in the shadows of the wood

Their tall, funereal mounds are green.