Said a traveller by the way
Pausing, "What hast thou to say,
Flower by the dusty road,
That would ease a mortal's load?"
Traveller, hearken unto me!
I will tell thee how to see
Beauties in the earth and sky
Hidden from the careless eye.
I will tell thee how to hear
Nature's music wild and clear, —
Songs of midday and of dark
Such as many never mark,
Lyrics of creation sung
Ever since the world was young.
And thereafter thou shalt know
Neither weariness nor woe.
Thou shalt see the dawn unfold
Artistries of rose and gold,
And the sunbeams on the sea
Dancing with the wind for glee.
The red lilies of the moors
Shall be torches on the floors,
Where the field-lark lifts his cry
To rejoice the passer-by,
In a wide world rimmed with blue
Lovely as when time was new.
And thereafter thou shalt fare
Light of foot and free from care.
I will teach thee how to find
Lost enchantments of the mind
All about thee, never guessed
By indifferent unrest.
Thy distracted thought shall learn
Patience from the roadside fern,
And a sweet philosophy
From the flowering locust tree,—
While thy heart shall not disdain
The consolation of the rain.
Not an acre but shall give
Of its strength to help thee live.
With the many-wintered sun
Shall thy hardy course be run.
And the bright new moon shall be
A lamp to thy felicity.
When green-mantled spring shall come
Past thy door with flute and drum,
And when over wood and swamp
Autumn trails her scarlet pomp,
No misgiving shalt thou know,
Passing glad to rise and go.
So thy days shall be unrolled
Like a wondrous cloth of gold.
When gray twilight with her star
Makes a heaven that is not far,
Touched with shadows and with dreams,
Thou shalt hear the woodland streams
Singing through the starry night
Holy anthems of delight.
So the ecstasy of earth
Shall refresh thee as at birth,
And thou shalt arise each morn
Radiant with a soul reborn.
And this wisdom of a day
None shall ever take away.
What the secret, what the clew
The wayfarer must pursue?
Only one thing he must have
Who would share these transports brave.
Love within his heart must dwell
Like a bubbling roadside well,
For a spring to quicken thought,
Else my counsel comes to naught.
For without that quickening trust
We are less than roadside dust.
This, O traveller, is my creed,—
All the wisdom of the weed!
Then the traveller set his pack
Once more on his dusty back,
And trudged on for many a mile
Fronting fortune with a smile.