Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
The Way through the Woods
By Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936)
THEY shut the road through the woods
  Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
  And now you would never know
There was once a path through the woods        5
  Before they planted the trees:
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
  And the thin anemones.
  Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods        10
  And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.
Yet, if you enter the woods
  Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ring’d pools        15
  Where the otter whistles his mate
(They fear not men in the woods
  Because they see so few),
You will hear the beat of a horse’s feet
  And the swish of a skirt in the dew,        20
  Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
  As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods …
But there is no road through the woods.        25

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