Introduction

Robert Louis Stevenson, the poet, penned ‘The Vagabond’ to express his affection for or interest in his desired manner of life. The poet, on the other hand, led a different path, and his enthusiasm is evident in his bold and daring tone. Stevenson’s arguments about what constitutes a good life, move and engage a huge audience. At the same time, some people find it difficult to comprehend the speaker’s wish for a simple existence.

About The Poet

Robert Louis Stevenson, sometimes known as Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson, was a Scottish author, essayist, poet, and travel writer who lived from November 13, 1850, to December 3, 1894. Treasure Island, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Kidnapped, and A Child’s Garden of Verses are among his best-known works. 

Theme Of The Poem

The speaker pleads with someone, most likely God, to let him live a life he cherishes. He wants to be free and stroll on a solid path with the sky as his company. He is uninterested in the things that most men and women find exciting, such as riches and love. He simply wants to travel all over the world and is unbothered about customs, climate, or any other barrier to his activities.

Stanza 1

Give to me the life I love,
  Let the lave go by me,
Give the jolly heaven above
  And the byway night me.
Bed in the bush with stars to see,
  Bread I dip in the river --
There's the life for a man like me,
  There's the life for ever.

The vagabond (a wanderer) wishes to live a life of uncontrolled travel, and all he wants to do is roam from one destination to another. So, he is asking for the life he wants and he wants the rest of the world go by, implying that he is unconcerned about materialistic things, money, assets, or anything else. He yearns for the vast outdoors, with the sky as his ceiling and a path to follow. He desires a bed in the woods from which he can gaze at the sky. The poet prefers to live a simple life and is content to dip his bread in the river rather than drink tea or coffee. This is his desired life.

Stanza 2

Let the blow fall soon or late,
  Let what will be o'er me;
Give the face of earth around
  And the road before me.
Wealth I seek not, hope nor love,
  Nor a friend to know me;
All I seek, the heaven above
  And the road below me.

The poet is expressing that he is prepared for death, which will happen sooner or later, and that if it does not, he has the roads ahead of him to go around the entire globe, as well as the sky above him. He has no desire for money, ambition, romance, or companionship. The only things he want are the paradise above him and the path beneath him.

Stanza 3

Or let autumn fall on me
  Where afield I linger,
Silencing the bird on tree,
  Biting the blue finger;
White as meal the frosty field --
  Warm the fireside haven --
Not to autumn will I yield,
  Not to winter even!

This stanza depicts the difficulties of living outside in the fall. The poet discusses the severe conditions one experiences when living in the open during fall. The land seems barren in the autumn after the leaves have fallen off the trees. The birds have stopped singing and are no longer visible in the trees. In winter, the cold is so extreme that blood literally freezes and the finger turns blue. Snow has blanketed the pastures. The only place where the vagabond may find warmth and relief is by the fire. Even these difficult conditions, according to the poet, will not hinder a vagabond from living outdoors, because all he desires is freedom above all else.

Stanza 4

Let the blow fall soon or late,
  Let what will be o'er me;
Give the face of earth around,
  And the road before me.
Wealth I ask not, hope, nor love,
  Nor a friend to know me.
All I ask, the heaven above
  And the road below me.

The poet is expressing that he is prepared for death, which will happen sooner or later, and that if it does not, he has the roads ahead of him to go around the entire globe, as well as the sky above him. He has no desire for money, ambition, romance, or companionship. The only things he want are the paradise above him and the path beneath him.