Old meandering country road, to thy track I turn today,
Where the carven beeches spread, and the runnel slips away,
To glint across the shallows and gleam around the stones,
And to croon among the cresses in caressing undertones
That answer to the thrushes hid within the maple shade.
Towards the town the wagons creep, along the dusty grade,
Where the old covered bridge, with catalpa blossoms snowed,
Like an old-fashioned brooch, clasps the old country road.
I see the brood of butterflies that border every pool
Beneath the spreading elms, where the shadows are so cool;
And the rivulets of sheep, flowing slowly past the farms;
The ballad-singing shepherds bearing lambs in their arms;
And the tawny tiger-lilies, their bells all spider-spun,
Each with bumble-bee for clapper, ringing matins to the sun,
As I rode from the harvest-field upon the swaying load,
Brushed by the locust boughs on that old country road.
There is the little village, so old-fashioned and so snug,
With the highway's arm around it in the fatherliest hug,
Where each cottage wears at evening a smoky purple dress,
With a selvedge of the sunset to set off its loveliness.
Above the door the roses bloom and hide the lintel high,
And along the fence the pansies make a pasture for the eye,
While the open dressers preach all the hospitable code
Of the friendly ethics common on that old country road.
O if that weaver's lassie, rinsing linen white as snow,
Could whiten out my soul again as it was long ago;
O, perhaps, if I could press again that meadow with my face,
I could cool my weary heart with the turf of that old place;
And at the end of life, in that ancient burial-plot,
How sweet would be my slumber--all uncrowded and forgot;
And I think sometimes my spirit, from its heavenly abode,
Would come down and walk, at twilight, up that old country road.