The Two Travelers

’ T WAS evening, and before my eyes
There lay a landscape gray and dim:
Fields faintly seen and twilight skies
And clouds that hid the horizon’s brim.
I saw — or was it that I dreamed ? —
A waking dream? — I cannot say;
For every shape as real seemed
As those that meet my eye to-day.
Through leafless shrubs the cold wind hissed;
The air was thick with falling snow;
And onward, through the frozen mist,
I saw a weary traveler go.
Driven o’er that landscape bare and bleak,
Before the whirling gusts of air,
The snow-flakes smote his withered cheek,
And gathered on his silver hair.
Yet on he fared through blinding snows,
And murmuring to himself he said:
“ The night is near, the darkness grows,
And higher rise the drifts I tread.
“ Deep, deep each autumn flower they hide;
Each tuft of green they whelm from sight;
And they who journeyed by my side
Are lost in the surrounding night.
“ I loved them; oh, no words can tell
The love that to my friends I bore;
We parted with the sad farewell
Of those who part to meet no more.

Entered according to Act of Congress, ln the year 1875, by H. O. HOUGHTON & Co., in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

“ And I, who face this bitter wind,
And o’er these snowy hillocks creep,
Must end my journey soon and find
A frosty couch, a frozen sleep.”
As thus he spoke, a thrill of pain
Shot to my heart; I closed my eyes,
And when I opened them again
I started with a glad surprise.
’T was evening still, and in the west
A flush of glowing crimson lay.
I saw the morrow there and blest
That promise of a glorious day.
The waters, in their glassy sleep,
Shone with the hues that tinged the sky,
And rugged cliff and barren steep
Gleamed with a brightness from on high.
And one was there whose journey lay
Into the slowly gathering night;
With steady step he held his way
O’er shadowy vale and gleaming height.
I marked his firm though weary tread,
The lifted eye and brow serene,
And saw no shade of doubt or dread
Pass o’er that traveler’s placid mien.
And others came, their journey o’er,
And bade good night with words of cheer:
“ To-morrow we shall meet once more;
’Tis but the night that parts us here.”
“ And I,” he said, “shall sleep erelong —
These fading gleams will soon be gone —
Shall sleep, to rise, refreshed and strong,
In the bright day that yet will dawn.”
I heard; I watched him as he went,
A lessening form, until the light
Of evening from the firmament
Had passed, and he was lost to sight.
William Cullen Bryant.