The Vagabond

By Robert Louis Stevenson

Meaning of some Important Phrase / words:

  • Lave: Stream
  • Jolly: Greatly pleasing; enjoyable
  • Heaven:  Sky (here)
  • Byway: A side road
  • Nigh: Nearly; almost
  • Bush: A thick growth of shrubs
  • Dip: To plunge briefly into a liquid, as in order to wet, coat, or saturate
  • Blow: Death (here)
  • o’er: a poetic contraction of overHere means ‘on’
  • Wealth: riches
  • Seek: To try to locate or discover / search for
  • Linger:  to delay or prolong departure
  • Silencing: The condition or quality of being or keeping still and silent.
  • Biting: cutting
  • Meal: Food
  • Frosty: Icy
  • Fireside:  The area immediately surrounding a fireplace or hearth
  • Haven: any place of shelter and safety
  • Yield: To give forth/ surrender

Substance of the Poem:

Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem “The Vagabond” celebrates the glorious freedom and independence of a tramp’s life. All the four stanzas of “The Vagabond” repeatedly emphasize the uncontrolled joys of an independent life in the outdoors free from all its troubles.

All that the vagabond is interested in, is a life of unlimited travel. He wants to completely avoid all human associations – “nor a friend to know me.” All that he wants to do is travel and travel from one place to another without any restraint whatsoever, not concerned about the weather or material wealth or possessions or anything else around him.

He would like to spend his entire life in the outdoors even in the cold autumn and winter months with the sky as his roof.

Most importantly, he wishes for a completely carefree life and is not bothered or frightened about death at all.

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