The Traveling Man by James Whitcomb Riley
Could I pour out the nectar the gods only can,
I would fill up my glass to the brim
And drink the success of the Traveling Man,
And the house represented by him;
And could I but tincture the glorious draught
With his smiles, as I drank to him then,
And the jokes he has told and the laughs he has laughed,
I would fill up the goblet again–
And drink to the sweetheart who gave him good-by
With a tenderness thrilling him this
Very hour, as he thinks of the tear in her eye
That salted the sweet of her kiss;
To her truest of hearts and her fairest of hands
I would drink, with all serious prayers,
Since the heart she must trust is a Traveling Man’s,
And as warm as the ulster he wears.
I would drink to the wife, with the babe on her knee,
Who awaits his returning in vain–
Who breaks his brave letters so tremulously
And reads them again and again!
And I’d drink to the feeble old mother who sits
At the warm fireside of her son
And murmurs and weeps o’er the stocking she knits,
As she thinks of the wandering one.
I would drink a long life and a health to the friends
Who have met him with smiles and with cheer–
To the generous hand that the landlord extends
To the wayfarer journeying here:
And I pledge, when he turns from this earthly abode
And pays the last fare that he can,
Mine Host of the Inn at the End of the Road
Will welcome the Traveling Man!