Down by the river — the dark surging river,
Where the waters fretfully foam,
Where the flexile willows bend and quiver,
And the long marsh grasses sigh and shiver
And the watersnakes make their home.
There, bearing a load of shame and sorrow,
A scoffed and tainted name,
Bowed by a grief that may not borrow
A ray of peace from the hopes of to morrow
The hapless Imogene came.
Here was a face the sweetest and fairest,
Deep eyes of the softest blue,
A winsome mien and a grace the rarest;
To see her but once was to love her the dearest,
And warm was her heart and true.
And once was the life of this beautiful maiden
As pure as the angel’s are,
The wings of her morning came joyously laden,
And sweet were her thoughts as the breezes of Aiden,
Unvexed by a shadow of care.
And thus as she stood in her virginal bower
The ruthless spoiler came;
He wove round her being this treacherous power,
And then, like a crushed and faded flower,
He left her alone in her shame.
And now to her breast may come again never
The peace which innocence knows;
One moment she kneels by the deep surging river,
One moment she plunges, then darkly forever
The cold waters over her close.
– B.F. AWYE
The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Jul 25, 1882