Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE TWO TRAVELLERS, by WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT



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THE TWO TRAVELLERS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Twas evening, and before my eyes
Last Line: Had passed, and he was lost to sight.
Subject(s): Travel; Farewell; Journeys; Trips; Parting


TWAS 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 which meet my eyes 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 traveller go.

Driven o'er the 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;
They left me with the sad farewell
Of those who part to meet no more.

"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;
But when I opened them again,
I started with a glad surprise.

'Twas 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 the 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 traveller'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 ere long;
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.





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