The Traveller's Tale
Oil on Canvas, 1896-1939
“One Autumn night, in Sudbury town,Across the meadows bare and brown,The windows of the wayside innGleamed red with fire-light through the leavesOf woodbine, hanging from the eavesTheir crimson curtains rent and thin.
As ancient is this hostelryAs any in the land may be,Built in the old Colonial day,When men lived in a grander way,With ampler hospitality;A kind of old Hobgoblin Hall,Now somewhat fallen to decay,With weather-stains upon the wall,And stairways worn, and crazy doors,And creaking and uneven floors,And chimneys huge, and tiled and tall . . .
But from the parlor of the innA pleasant murmur smote the ear,Like water rushing through a weir;Oft interrupted by the dinOf laughter and of loud applause,And, in each intervening pause,The music of a violin.The fire-light, shedding over allThe splendor of its ruddy glow,Filled the whole parlor large and low;It gleamed on wainscot and on wall . . .
Around the fireside at their easeThere sat a group of friends, entrancedWith the delicious melodies;Who from the far-off noisy townHad to the wayside inn come down,To rest beneath its old oak-trees.The fire-light on their faces glanced,Their shadows on the wainscot danced,And, though of different lands and speech,Each had his tale to tell, and eachWas anxious to be pleased and please . . .”
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, selections from "Prelude: The Wayside Inn"