Go therefore ye, and take the subtler way
The bend sinister where the paths collide
Do not engage ye with the vaunting banks
But haste ye on towards the rising day.
Then, in a little while, too soon, too soon,
Before the town’s drab outskirts come in view
Curve to the rightwards through the woodland way
The road less trodden, underneath the boughs.
Curve softly there, and bend ye ever south,
Though every winding would ye take astray
Stop not for goblin’s curse or witches’ ring.
Up to the hill, the highest in this place
(Though naught is seen beneath a lowering sky)
Prickle ye out the downward sloping track
Nor backwards glance, but leave such things arrear,
And spend ye merrily the careful path
That winds without the rocky tumbled crags
Bethink ye not to turn to left or right
Until the mighty highways come in sight.
Gambol ye sunwise then (not widdershins)
Around the mighty circle. Count the ways
And take ye then the road ye number three,
Then turn ye leftwards, very suddenly.
A mile, a mile, and yet a mile again,
And still more miles, till weary heart grows lean;
Then looms a river. Cross ye not the bridge,
But take the underway, nor think to pay,
The ferryman (for that were coin in vain)
And roundabout the twisting streets go on
And sharply east – and ye have reached your home!