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Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-

Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need

Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criti-

Strong and content I travel the open road.


Joys of the Road







Browne's Bookstore


The Merrymount Press, Boston


THE Compiler begs to offer grateful
acknowledgment to those who have
permitted him to make use of the copy-
righted material in the following pages :
to Messrs. Hough ton Mifflin Company
for the extracts from Thoreau and Mr.
John Burroughs; to Messrs. Charles
Scribner's Sons for Robert Louis Ste-
venson's 'Walking Tours" and
"The Vagabond"; to Mr. Bliss Car-
man for ' ' The Joys of the Road ' ' ; and
to Messrs. Longmans, Green & Co. for
the extract from William Morris's
poem, "The Message of the March
Wind." Mr. Arthur Symons's "On
the Roads" is taken, by permission,
from ' 4 The Poems of Arthur Symons, ' '
published by Mr. William Heinemann,
London , and John Lane Co . , New York .




The Joys of the Road. Bliss Carman 9



The Vagabond. Robert Louis Stevenson 36



Afoot. C. Fox Smith 54


On the Roads. Arthur Symons 76



Night and the Inn. William Morris IO2



e joys of theroad are chiefly these :
A crimson touch on the hard- wood trees;

A vagranfs morning wide and blue,
In early fall, when the wind walks, too;

A shadowy highway cool and brown,
Alluring up and enticing down

From rippled water to dappled swamp,
From purple glory to scarlet pomp;

The outward eye, the quiet will,
And the striding heart from hill to hill;

The tempter apple over the fence;
The cobweb bloom on the yellow quince;

The palish asters along the wood,
A lyric touch of the solitude ;



An open hand, an easy shoe,
Andahopeto make the day go through^

Another to sleep -with, and a third
To wake me up at the voice of a bird;

The resonant far-listening morn,
And the hoarse whisper of the corn;

The crickets mourning their comrades

In the night's retreat from the gathering


( Or is it their slogan , plaintive and shrill,
As they beat on their corselets, valiant

A hunger Jit for the kings of the sea,
And a loaf of bread for Dickon and me ;

A thirst like that of the Thirsty Sword,
And a jug of cider on the board;

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An idle noon, a bubbling spring,
The sea in the pine-tops murmuring;

A scrap of gossip at the ferry ;

A comrade neither glum nor merry,

Asking nothing, revealing naught,
But minting his words from a fund of

A keeper of silence eloquent,
Needy, yet royally "well content,

Of the mettled breed, yet abhorring strife,
And full of the mellow juice of life,

A taster of wine, with an eye for a maid,
Never too bold, and never afraid,

Never heart-whole, never heart-sick,
( These are the things I worship in Dick]

Nojidget and no reformer, just
A calm observer of ought and must,


A lover of books, but a reader of man,
No cynic and no charlatan ,

Who never defers and never demands,
But, smiling, takes the -world in his

Seeing it good as when God first saw
And gave it the weight of His will for law.

And the joy that is never won,
But follows and follows the journeying

By marsh and tide, by meadow and

A will-o? -the- wind, a light-o'* -dream,

Delusion afar, delight anear,
From morrow to morrow, from year to

A jack-o } -lantern, afairyjlre,
A dare, a bliss, and a desire!


The racy smell of the forest loam,
When the stealthy, sad-heart leaves go

(O leaves, leaves, I am one with you,
Of the mould and the sun and the wind
and the dew!}

The broad gold wake of the afternoon;
The silent fleck of the cold new moon;

The sound of the hollow sea^s release
From stormy tumult to starry peace;

With only another league to wend;
And two brown arms at the journey 's

These are the joys of the open road
For him who travels without a load.



ONE of the pleasantest things in the
world is going a journey; but I like to
go by myself. I can enjoy society in a room;
but out of doors, nature is company enough
for me. I am then never less alone than
when alone.

The fields his study, nature <was his book.

I cannot see the wit of walking and talking
at the same time. When I am in the coun-
try, I wish to vegetate like the country. I am
not for criticising hedgerows and black cat-
tle. I go out of town in order to forget the,
town and all that is in it. There are those
who for this purpose go to watering-places,
and carry the metropolis with them. I like
more elbow-room, and fewer encumbrances.
I like solitude, when I give myself up to it,
for the sake of solitude; nor do I ask for

a friend in my retreat.
Whom I may whisper solitude is sweet.


The soul of a journey is liberty, perfect
liberty, to think, feel, do just as one pleases.
We go a journey chiefly to be free of all im-
pediments and of all inconveniences ; to leave
ourselves behind, much more to get rid of
others. It is because I want a little breathing-
space to muse on indifferent matters, where

May plume her feathers and let grow her wings 9

That in the various bustle of resort

Were all too ruffled, and sometimes impaired,

that I absent myself from the town for a
while, without feeling at a loss the moment
I am left by myself. Instead of a friend in
a post-chaise or in a Tilbury, to exchange
good things with, and vary the same stale
topics over again, for once let me have a truce
with impertinence. Give me the clear blue
sky over my head, and the green turf beneath
my feet, a winding road before me, and a
three hours' march to dinner and then to
thinking! It is hard if I cannot start some
game bn these lone heaths. I laugh, I run,
I leap, I sing for joy. From the point of yon-



der rolling cloud I plunge into my past being,
and revel there, as the sun-burnt Indian
plunges headlong into the wave that wafts
him to his native shore. Then long-forgotten
things, like "sunken wrack and sumless treas-
uries," burst upon my eager sight, and I begin
to feel, think, and be myself again. Instead
of an awkward silence, broken by attempts
at wit or dull common-places, mine is that
undisturbed silence of the heart which alone
is perfect eloquence. No one likes puns, al-
literations, antitheses, argument, and analy-
sis better than I do; but I sometimes had
rather be without them. "Leave, oh, leave
me to my repose! " I have just now other
business in hand, which would seem idle to
you, but is with me "very stuff of the con-
science." Is not this wild rose sweet with-
out a comment ? Does not this daisy leap to
my heart set in its coat of emerald? Yet if
I were to explain to you the circumstance
that has so endeared it to me, you would
only smile. Had I not better then \keep it
to myself, and let it serve me to brood over,
from here to yonder craggy point, and from

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thence onward to the far-distant horizon ?
I should be but bad company all that way,
and therefore prefer being alone. I have
heard it said that you may, when the moody
fit comes on, walk or ride on by yourself,
and indulge your reveries. But this looks
like a breach of manners, a neglect of others,
and you are thinking all the time that you
ought to rejoin your party. "Out upon-such
half-faced fellowship," say I. I like to be
either entirely to myself, or entirely at the
disposal of others; to talk or be silent, to
walk or sit still, to be sociable or solitary.
. I was pleased with an observation of Mr.
Cobbett's, that "he thought it a bad French
custom to drink our wine with our meals,
and that an Englishman ought to do only
one thing at a time." So I cannot talk and
think, or indulge in melancholy musing and
lively conversation by fits and starts. "Let
me have a companion of my way," says
Sterne, "were it but to remark how the
shadows lengthen as the sun declines." It
is beautifully said; but, in my opinion, this
continual comparing of notes interferes with



the involuntary impression of things upon
the mind, and hurts the sentiment. If you
only hint what you feel in a kind of dumb
show, it is insipid; if you have to explain
it, it is making a toil of a pleasure. You
cannot read the book of nature without be-
ing perpetually put to the trouble of trans-
lating it for the benefit of others. I am for
the synthetical method on a journey, in pre-
ference to the analytical. I am content to
lay in a stock of ideas then, and to examine
and anatomise them afterwards. I want to
see my vague notions float like the down
of the thistle before the breeze, and not to
have them entangled in the briars and thorns
of controversy. For once, I like to have it
all my own way; and this is impossible
unless you are alone, or in- such company as
I do not covet. I have no objection to argue
a point with any one for twenty miles of
measured road, but not for pleasure5If you
remark the scent of a bean-field crossing the
road, perhaps your fellow-traveller has no
smell. If you point to a distant object, per-
haps he is short-sighted, and has to take out


his glass to look at it. There is a feeling
I in the air, a tone in the colour of a cloud,
which hits your fancy, but the effect of
which you are unable to account for. There
is then no sympathy, but an uneasy craving
after it, and a dissatisfaction which pursues
you on the way, and in the end probably pro-
duces ill-humour. Now I never quarrel with
myself, and take all my own conclusions
for granted till I find it necessary to defend
them against objections. It is not merely
that you may not be of accord on the objects
and circumstances that present themselves
before you these may recall a number of
objects, and lead to associations too delicate
and refined to be possibly communicated
to others. Yet these I love to cherish, and
sometimes still fondly clutch them, when I
can escape from the throng to do so. To
give way to our feelings before company
seems extravagance or affectation ; and, on
the other hand, to have to unravel this mys-
tery of our being at every turn, and to make
others take an equal interest in it (otherwise
the end is not answered), is a task to which


few are competent. We must "give it an un-
derstanding, but no tongue." My old friend
Coleridge, however, could do both. He could
go on in the most delightful explanatory
way over hill and dale, a summer's day, and
convert a landscape into a didactic poem or
a Pindaric ode. " He talked far above sing-
ing." If I could so clothe my ideas in sound-
ing and flowing words, I might perhaps wish
to have some one with me to admire the
swelling theme; or I could be more content,
were it possible for me still to hear his echo-
ing voice in the woods of All-Foxden.*They
had u that fine madness in them which our
first poets had"; and if they could have been
caught by some rare instrument, would have
breathed such strains as the following:

Here be woods as green
As any, air likewise as fresh and sweet
As when smooth Zephyr us plays on the fleet
face of the curled stream, 'with flow rs as many
As the young spring gives, and as choice as any ;
Here be all new delights, cool streams and wells,

* Near Nether-Stowey, Somersetshire, where the author of
this Essay visited Coleridge in 1798. He was there again
in 1803.


Arbours overgrown with woodbine, carves and dells j
Choose where thou wilt, while I sit by and sing,
Or gather rushes to make many a ring
For thy long fingers ; tell thee tales oj ' lo<ve,
How the pale Phoebe, hunting in a grove,
First saw the boy Endymion,from whose eyes
She took eternal fire that never dies ;
How she conveyed him softly in a sleep ,
His temples bound with poppy, to the steep
Head of old Latmos, where she stoops each night,
Gilding the mountain with her brother's light,
To kiss her sweetest.*

Had I words and images at command like
these, I would attempt to wake the thoughts
that lie slumbering on golden ridges in the
evening clouds: but at the sight of nature
my fancy, poor as it is, droops and closes up
its leaves, like flowers at sunset. I can make
nothing out on the spot : I must have time to
collect myself.

In general, a good thing spoils out-of-
door prospects: it should be reserved for
Table-talk. Lamb is for this reason, I take
it, the worst company in the world out of
doors; because he is the best within. I grant

* Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess, i. 3 (Dyce's Beaumont and
Fletcher, ii. 38, 39).


there is one subject on which it is pleasant
to talk on a journey, and that is, what one
shall have for supper when we get to our
inn at night. The open air improves this
sort of conversation or friendly altercation,
by setting a keener edge on appetite. Every
mile of the road heightens the flavour of
the viands we expect at the end of it. How
fine it is to enter some old town, walled and
turreted, just at the approach of nightfall,
or to come to some straggling village, with
the lights streaming through the surround-
ing gloom; and then, after inquiring for the
best entertainment that the place affords,
to "take one's ease at one's inn"! These
eventful moments in our lives' history are
too precious, too full of solid, heartfelt hap-
piness to be frittered and dribbled away in
imperfect sympathy. I wc/uld have them all
to myself, and drain them to the last drop:
they will do to talk of or to write about
afterwards. What a delicate speculation it
is, after drinking whole goblets of tea

The cups that cheer, but not inebriate


and letting the fumes ascend into the brain,
to sit considering what we shall have for
supper eggs and a rasher, a rabbit smoth-
ered in onions, or an excellent veal cutlet!
Sancho in such a situation once fixed upon
cow-heel; and his choice, though he could
not help it, is not to be disparaged. Then, in
the intervals of pictured scenery and Shan-
dean contemplation, to catch the prepara-
tion and the stir in the kitchen [getting
ready for the gentleman in the parlour],
Procul, procul este profani! These hours
are sacred to silence and to musing, to be
treasured up in the memory, and to feed the
source of smiling thoughts hereafter. I would
not waste them in idle talk; or if I must
have the integrity of fancy broken in upon,
I would rather it were by a stranger than a
friend. A stranger takes his hue and char-
acter from the time and place; he is a part
of the furniture and costume of an inn. If
he is a Quaker, or from the West Riding
of Yorkshire, so much the better. I do not
even try to sympathise with him, and he
breaks no squares. [How I love to see the


camps of the gypsies, and to sigh my soul
into that sort of life. If I express this feel-
ing to another, he may qualify and spoil it
with some objection.] I associate nothing
with my travelling companion but present
objects and passing events. In his ignorance
of me and my affairs, I in a manner forget
myself. But a friend reminds one of other
things, rips up old grievances, and destroys
the abstraction of the scene. He comes in
ungraciously between us and our imaginary
character. Something is dropped in the course
of conversation that gives a hint of your pro-
fession and pursuits; or from having some
one with you that knows the less sublime
portions of your history, it seems that other
people do. You are no longer a citizen of
the world; but your "unhoused free con-
dition is put into circumscription and con-
fine." The incognito of an inn is one of its
striking privileges "lord of one's self, un-
cumber'd with a name." Oh! it is great to
shake off the trammels of the world and of
public opinion to lose our importunate,
tormenting, everlasting personal identity in


the elements of nature, and become the
creature of the moment, clear of all ties to
hold to the universe only by a dish of sweet-
breads, and to owe nothing but the score
of the evening and no longer seeking for
applause and meeting with contempt, to be
known by no other title than the Gentleman
in the parlour! One may take one's choice
of all characters in this romantic state of
uncertainty as to one's real pretensions, and
become indefinitely respectable and nega-
tively right worshipful. We baffle prejudice
and disappoint conjecture; and from being
so to others, begin to be objects of curiosity
and wonder even to ourselves. We are no
more those hackneyed common-places that
we appear in the world; an inn restores us
to the level of nature, and quits scores with
society ! I have certainly spent some envi-
able hours at inns sometimes when I have
been left entirely to myself, and have tried
to solve some metaphysical problem, as once
at Witham Common, where I found out
the proof that likeness is not a case of the
association of ideas at other times, when


there have been pictures in the room, as-at
St. Neot's (I think it was), where I first met
with Gribelin's engravings of the Cartoons,
into which I entered at once, and at a little
inn on the borders of Wales, where there
happened to be hanging some of WestalPs
drawings, which I compared triumphantly
(for a theory that I had, not for the admired
artist) with the figure of a girl who had fer-
ried me over the Severn, standing up in the
boat between me and the twilight at other
times I might mention luxuriating in books,
with a peculiar interest in this way, as I
remember sitting up half the night to read
Paul and Virginia, which I picked up at an
inn at Bridgewater, after being drenched in
the rain all day; and at the same place I
got through two volumes of Madame d'Ar-
blay's Camilla. It was on the loth of April
1798 that I sat down to a volume of the
New Eloise, at the inn at Llangollen, over
a bottle of sherry and a cold chicken. The
letter I chose was that in which St. Preux
describes his feelings as he first caught a
glimpse from the heights of the Jura of the



Pays de Vaud, which I had brought with
me as a bon bouche to crown the evening
with. It was my birthday, and I had for the
first time come from a place in the neigh-
bourhood to visit this delightful spot. The
road to Llangollen turns off between Chirk
and Wrexham ; and on passing a certain
point you come all at once upon the valley,
which opens like an amphitheatre, broad,
barren hills rising in majestic state on either
side, with "green upland swells that echo
to the bleat of flocks" below, and the river
Dee babbling over its stony bed in the midst
of them. The valley at this time "glittered
green with sunny showers," and a budding
ash-tree dipped its tender branches in the
chiding stream. How proud, how glad I was
to walk along the high road that overlooks the
delicious prospect, repeating the lines which
I have just quoted from Mr. Coleridge's po-
ems ! But besides the prospect which opened
beneath my feet, another also opened to my
inward sight, a heavenly vision, on which
were written, in letters large as Hope could
make them, these four words, LIBERTY,



GENIUS, LOVE, VIRTUE; which have since
faded into the light of common day, or mock

my idle gaze.

The beautiful is vanished, and returns not.

Still I would return some time or other to
this enchanted spot; but I would return to it
alone. What other self could I find to share
that influx of thoughts, of regret, and delight,
the fragments of which I could hardly con-
jure up to myself, so much have they been
broken and defaced! I could stand on some
tall rock, and overlook the precipice of years
that separates me from what I then was. I
was at that time going shortly to visit the
poet whom I have above named. Where is
he now? Not only I myself have changed;
the world, which was then new to me, has
become old and incorrigible. Yet will I turn
to thee in thought, O sylvan Dee, in joy,
in youth and gladness as thou then wert;
and thou shalt always be to me the river of
Paradise, where I will drink of the waters
of life freely !

There is hardly anything that shows, the

[*' 1


short-sightedness or capriciousness of the
imagination more than travelling does. With
change of place we change our ideas; nay,
our opinions and feelings. We can by an
effort indeed transport ourselves to old and
long-forgotten scenes, and then the picture of
the mind revives again ; but we forget those
that we have just left. It seems that we can
think but of one place at a time. The can-
vas of the fancy is but of a certain extent,
and if we paint one set of objects upon it,
they immediately efface every other. We can-
not enlarge our conceptions, we only shift
our point of view. The landscape bares its
bosom to the enraptured eye, we take our fill
of it, and seem as if we could form no other
image of beauty or grandeur. We pass on,
and think no more of it: the horizon that
shuts it from our sight also blots it from our
memory like a dream. In travelling through
a wild barren country I can form no idea of
a woody and cultivated one. It appears to
me that all the world must be barren, like
what I see of it. In the country we forget
the town, and in town we despise the coun-


try. " Beyond Hyde Park," says Sir Fopling
Flutter, "all is a desert." All that part of the
map that we do not see before us is a blank.
The world in our conceit of it is not much
bigger than a nutshell. It is not one prospect
expanded into another, county joined to
county, kingdom to kingdom, lands to seas,
making an image voluminous and vast;
the mind can form no larger idea of space
than the eye can take in at a single glance.
The rest is a name written in a map, a cal-
culation of arithmetic. For instance, what is
the true signification of that immense mass
of territory and population known by the
name of China to us? An inch of pasteboard
on a wooden globe, of no more account than
a China orange ! Things near us are seen of
the size of life : things at a distance are dimin-
ished to the size of the understanding. We
measure the universe by ourselves, and even
comprehend the texture of our own being
only piecemeal. In this way, however, we
remember an infinity of things and places.
The mind is like a mechanical instrument
that plays a great variety of tunes, but it must



play them in succession. One idea recalls
another, but it at the same time excludes all
others. In trying to renew old recollections,
we cannot as it were unfold the whole web
of our existence; we must pick out the single
threads. So in coming to a place where we
have formerly lived, and with which we have
intimate associations, every one must have
found that the feeling grows more vivid the
nearer we approach the spot, from the mere
anticipation of the actual impression: we
remember circumstances, feelings, persons,
faces, names, that we had not thought of for
years ; but for the time all the rest of the
world is forgotten ! To return to the que$-
tion I have quitted above.

I have no objection to go to see ruins,
aqueducts, pictures, in company with a
friend or a party, but rather the contrary, for
the former reason reversed. They are intel-
ligible matters, and will bear talking about.
The sentiment here is not tacit, but com-
municable and overt. Salisbury Plain- is bar-
ren of criticism, but Stonehenge will bear a
discussion antiquarian, picturesque, and phi-

[ 3- ]


losophical. In setting out on a party of plea-
sure, the first consideration always is where
we shall go to: in taking a solitary ramble,
the question is what we shall meet with by
the way. "The mind is its own place"; nor
are we anxious to arrive at the end of our
journey. I can myself do the honours indif-

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