In “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, the first stanza reads as follows:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
For some reason I recollected the third line as “And being one traveler”, in which case the meaning would be that because he was one traveler, and therefore could not travel both paths, the narrator then stood, looked, etc.
However, if the word is actual “be” that does not seem to be a valid grammatical structure to express that meaning (unless the grammar style has changed in the last hundred years).
An alternative meaning that fits with the word “be” would be to read that phrase as part of the previous phrase, i.e. “I could not travel both and (still) be one traveler. (Kind of like the phrase “you can’t have your cake and eat it too”.)
But if that is the meaning, how are we to read the next part? “Long I stood” seems awkward as the beginning of a new idea (“Long I stood and looked down one as far as I could”).
So what is the best way to interpret the phrase “be one traveler” in this context?