The Footpath Way

The winding road lies white and bare,
Heavy in dust that takes the glare;
The thirsty hedgerows and parched grass
Dream of a time when no road was.

Beyond, the fields are full in view,
Heavy in herbage and in dew;
The great-eyed kine browse thankfully;
Come, take the footpath way with me!

This stile, where country lovers tryst,
Where many a man and maid have kissed,
Invites us sweetly, and the wood
Beckons us to her solitude.

Leave men and lumbering wains behind,
And dusty roads, all blank and blind;
Come tread on velvet and on silk,
Damasked with daisies, white as milk.

Those dryads of the wood, that some
Call the wild hyacinths, now are come,
And hold their revels in a night
Of emerald flecked with candle-light.

The fountains of the meadows play,
This is the wild bee's holiday;
When summer-snows have sweetly dressed
The pasture like a wedding-guest,

By fields of beans that shall eclipse
The honey on the rose's lips,
With woodruff and the new hay's breath,
And wild thyme sweetest in her death,

Skirting the rich man's lawn and hall,
The footpath way is free to all;
For us his pinks and roses blow:
Fling him thanksgiving ere we go!

By orchards yet in rosy veils,
By hidden nests of nightingales,
Through lonesome valleys where all day
The rabbit people scurry and play,

The footpath sets her tender lure.
This is the country for the poor;
The high-road seeks the crowded sea;
Come, take the footpath way with me!
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