Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

The Traveller


Reply to Rudyard Kipling’s ‘He travels the fastest who travels alone.’

Who travels alone with his eye on the heights,
Though he laughs in the day time oft weeps on the nights;

For courage goes down at the set of the sun,
When the toil of the journey is all borne by one.

He speeds but to grief though full gaily he ride
Who travels alone without love at his side.

Who travels alone without lover of friend
But hurries from nothing, to naught at the end.

Though great be his winnings and high be his goal,
He is bankrupt in wisdom and beggared in soul.

Life’s one gift of value to him is denied
Who travels alone without love at his side.

It is easy enough in this world to make haste
If one live for that purpose – but think of the waste;

For life is a poem to leisurely read,
And the joy of the journey lies not in its speed.

Oh! vain his achievement and petty his pride
Who travels alone without love at his side.

Submitted: Monday, May 26, 2003

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