THERE stands a hostel by a travelled way;
Life is the road and Death the worthy host;
Each guest he greets, nor ever lacks to say,
"How have ye fared?" They answer him, the most,
"This lodging place is other than we sought;
We had intended farther, but the gloom
Came on apace, and found us ere we thought:
Yet will we lodge. Thou hast abundant room."
Within sit haggard men that speak no word,
No fire gleams their cheerful welcome shed;
No voice of fellowship or strife is heard
But silence of a multitude of dead.
"Naught can I offer ye," quoth Death, "but rest!"
And to his chamber leads each tired guest.