And wouldst thou seek the low abode Where PEACE delights to dwell? Pause Traveller on thy way of life! With many a snare and peril rife Is that long labyrinth of road: Dark is the vale of years before Pause Traveller on thy way! Nor dare the dangerous path explore Till old EXPERIENCE comes to lend his leading ray. Not he who comes with lanthorn light Shall guide thy groping pace aright With faltering feet and slow; No! let him rear the torch on high And every maze shall meet thine eye, And every snare and every foe; Then with steady step and strong, Traveller, shalt thou march along. Tho' POWER invite thee to her hall, Regard not thou her tempting call Her splendors meteor glare; Tho' courteous Flattery there await And Wealth adorn the dome of State, There stalks the midnight spectre CARE; PEACE, Traveller! does not sojourn there. If FAME allure thee, climb not thou To that steep mountain's craggy brow Where stands her stately pile; For far from thence does PEACE abide, And thou shall find FAME'S favouring smile Cold as the feeble Sun on Heclas snow-clad side, And Traveller! as thou hopest to find That low and loved abode, Retire thee from the thronging road And shun the mob of human kind. Ah I hear how old EXPERIENCE schools, "Fly fly the crowd of Knaves and Fools "And thou shalt fly from woe; "The one thy heedless heart will greet "With Judas smile, and thou wilt meet "In every Fool a Foe!" So safely mayest thou pass from these, And reach secure the home of PEACE, And FRIENDSHIP find thee there. No happier state can mortal know, No happier lot can Earth bestow If LOVE thy lot shall share. Yet still CONTENT with him may dwell Whom HYMEN will not bless, And VIRTUE sojourn in the cell Of HERMIT HAPPINESS.
Robert Southey