The Vagrant of Time

by Charles G.D. Roberts


 

ON THE ROAD


 

EVER just over the top of the next brown rise
I expect some wonderful thing to flatter my eyes.
"What's yonder?" I ask of the first wayfarer I meet.
"Nothing!" he answers, and looks at my travel-worn feet.

"Only more hills and more hills, like the many you've passed,

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With rough country between, and a poor enough inn at the last."
But already I am a-move, for I see he is blind,
And I hate that old grumble I've listened to time out of mind.

I've tramped it too long not to know there is truth in it still,
That lure of the turn of the road, of the crest of the hill.

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So I breast me the rise with full hope, well assured I shall see
Some new prospect of joy, some brave venture a-tiptoe for me.

For I have come far, and confronted the calm and the strife.
I have fared wide, and bit deep in the apple of life.
It is sweet at the rind, but oh, sweeter still at the core;

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And whatever be gained, yet the reach of the morrow is more.

At the crest of the hill I shall hail the new summits to climb.
The demand of my vision shall beggar the largess of time.
For I know that the higher I press, the wider I view,
The more's to be ventured and visioned, in worlds that are new.

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So when my feet, failing, shall stumble in ultimate dark,
And faint eyes no more the high lift of the pathway shall mark,
There under the dew I'll lie down with my dreams, for I know
What bright hill-tops the morning will show me, all red in the glow.