Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Cold in the earth—and the deep snow piled above thee,
Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave!
Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee,
Severed at last by Time’s all-severing wave?
Now, when alone, do my thoughts no longer hover
Over the mountains, on that northern shore,
Resting their wings where heath and fern-leaves cover
That noble heart for ever, ever more?
Cold in the earth, and fifteen wild Decembers
From those brown hills have melted into spring:
Faithful indeed is the spirit that remembers
After such years of change and suffering!
Sweet Love of youth, forgive if I forget thee,
While the world’s tide is bearing me along:
Sterner desires and other hopes beset me,
Hopes which obscure, but cannot do thee wrong!
No later light has lightened up my heaven;
No second morn has ever shone for me:
All my life’s bliss from thy dear life was given,
All my life’s bliss is in the grave with thee.
But when the days of golden dreams had perished,
And even Despair was powerless to destroy,
Then did I learn how existence could be cherished,
Strengthened, and fed without the aid of joy;
Then did I check the tears of useless passion,
Weaned my young soul from yearning after thine;
Sternly denied its burning wish to hasten
Down to that tomb already more than mine.
And even yet I dare not let it languish,
Dare not indulge in Memory’s rapturous pain;
Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish,
How could I seek the empty world again
I took my heart in my hand. O my love, O my love. I said: let me fall or stand, let me live or die. But this once hear me speak-O my love, O my love. Yet a woman’s words are weak; You should speak, not I. You took my heart in your hand. With a friendly smile, with a critical eye you scanned, Then set it down, And said, It is still unripe, Better wait a while; Wait while the skylarks pipe, till the corn grows brown. As you set it down it broke-Broke, but I did not wince; I smiled at the speech you spoke, At you the judgement I heard: But I have not often smiled. Since then, not questioned since, Nor cared for the cornflowers wild, Nor sung with the singing bird. I take my heart in my hand. O my God, O my God, By broken heart in thy hand: Thou hast seen, judge thou. My hope was written on the sand. O my God, O my God. Now let Thy judgement stand-Yea, judge me now, the contemmed of a man, This marred one heedless day, This heart take thou to scan. Both within and without; Refine with fire its gold. Purge Thou its dross away-Yea hold it in Thy hold. Whence none can pluck it out. I take my heart in my hand-I shall not die but live-Before Thy face I stand; I, for Thou callest such: All I have I bring, All that I am I give, Smile Thou and I shall sing. But shall not question much.