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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Oceanica: Vol. XXXI. 1876–79.


Travels at Home

By George Herbert (1593–1633)

OFT have I wished a traveller to be:

Mine eyes did even itch the sights to see,

That I had heard and read of. Oft I have

Been greedy of occasion, as the grave,

That never says enough; yet still was crost,

When opportunities had promised most.

At last I said, what mean’st thou, wandering elf,

To straggle thus? Go travel first thyself.

Thy little world can show thee wonders great:

The greater may have more, but not more neat

And curious pieces. Search, and thou shalt find

Enough to talk of. If thou wilt, thy mind

Europe supplies, and Asia thy will,

And Afric thine affections. And if still

Thou list to travel further, put thy senses

For both the Indies. Make no more pretences

Of new discoveries, whilst yet thine own,

And nearest, little world is still unknown.

Away then with thy quadrants, compasses,

Globes, tables, cards, and maps, and minute glasses:

Lay by thy journals and thy diaries,

Close up thine annals and thine histories.

Study thyself, and read what thou hast writ

In thine own book, thy conscience. Is it fit

To labor after other knowledge so,

And thine own nearest, dearest self not know?

Travels abroad both dear and dangerous are,

Whilst oft the soul pays for the body’s fare:

Travels at home are cheap, and safe. Salvation

Comes mounted on the wings of meditation.

He that doth live at home, and learns to know

God and himself, needeth no further go.