The Bridge Builder

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Kakegawa on the Tokaido, ukiyo-e prints by Hiroshige

The Bridge Builder is a poem written by Will Allen Dromgoole. "The Bridge Builder" has been frequently reprinted, including on a plaque on the Bellows Falls, Vermont Vilas Bridge in New Hampshire. It continues to be quoted frequently, usually in a religious context or in writings stressing a moral lesson.

"The Bridge Builder" is also used by many Fraternities to promote the idea of building links for the future and passing the torch along for the next generation.

It was possibly first published in 1900 in the now rare book A Builder.[1]

The poem appears below in its entirety;

The Bridge Builder[edit]

The final stanza of the poem "The Bridge Builder" by Will Allen Dromgoole as engraved on the Vilas Bridge.

An old man going a lone highway,
Came at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast, and deep and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.

The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.

"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim, near,
"You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again will pass this way;
You've crossed the chasm, deep and wide-
Why build you this bridge at the evening tide?"

The builder lifted his old gray head:
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followeth after me today,
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.

This chasm, that has been naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him."


  1. ^ Dromgoole, Will Allen (1931). "The Bridge Builder". Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 

External links[edit]