Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TWO TRAVELERS, by ALICE CARY

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TWO TRAVELERS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Two travelers, meeting by the way
Last Line: And made a comfortable end.
Subject(s): Travel; Journeys; Trips

TWO travelers, meeting by the way,
Arose, and at the peep of day
Brake bread, paid reckoning, and they say

Set out together, and so trode
Till where upon the forking road
A gray and good old man abode.

There each began his heart to strip,
And all that light companionship
That cometh of the eye and lip

Had sudden end, for each began
To ask the gray and good old man
Whither the roads before them ran.

One, as they saw, was shining bright,
With such a great and gracious light,
It seemed that heaven must be in sight.

"This," said the old man, "doth begin
Full sweetly, but its end is in
The dark and desert-place of sin.

"And this, that seemeth all to lie
In gloomy shadow, -- by-and-by,
Maketh the gateway of the sky.

"Bide ye a little; fast and pray,
And 'twixt the good and evil way,
Choose ye, my brethren, this day."

And as the day was at the close
The two wayfaring men arose,
And each the road that pleased him chose.

One took the pathway that began
So brightly, and so smoothly ran
Through flowery fields, -- deluded man!

Ere long he saw, alas! alas!
All darkly, and as through a glass,
Flames, and not flowers, along the grass.

Then shadows round about him fell,
And in his soul he knew full well
His feet were taking hold on hell.

He tried all vainly to retrace
His pathway; horrors blocked the place,
And demons mocked him to his face.

Broken in spirit, crushed in pride,
One morning by the highway-side
He fell, and all unfriended, died.

The other, after fast and prayer,
Pursued the road that seemed less fair,
And peace went with him, unaware.

And when the old man saw where lay
The traveler's choice, he said, "I pray,
Take this to help you on the way;"

And gave to him a lovely book,
Wherein for guidance he must look,
He told him, if the path should crook.

And so, through labyrinths of shade,
When terror pressed, or doubt dismayed,
He walked in armor all arrayed.

So, over pitfalls traveled he,
And passed the gates of harlotry,
Safe with his heavenly company.

And when the road did low descend,
He found a good inn, and a friend,
And made a comfortable end.

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