Introduction

In this poem, the poet talks about time. He imagines Time as an old gipsy man who does not stay for anyone. This refers to the fact that time is always passing and that it waits for none.

About the Poet

Ralph Hodgson was an English poet who was very popular in his lifetime. He was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 1954.

Theme

The main theme of this poem is time and how it does not wait for anyone.

Line 1 – 8

Time, you old gipsy man,
Will you not stay,
Put up your caravan
Just for one day?
All things I’ll give you,
Will you be my guest?
Bells for your jennet
Of silver the best.

The poet addresses Time as an old gipsy man. Gipsies never stay in one place- they are always moving from one place to another. Similarly, time waits for no one and keeps moving on. The poet asks Time if he will not stay and put up his caravan just for one day. Gipsies travel in caravans, and stop them temporarily at certain places to stay for a few days. The poet says he will give everything to Time if he becomes his guest and stays with him. He offers Time bells of the best silver for his horse in a bid to get him to stay.

Line 9 – 16

Goldsmiths shall beat you
A great golden ring,
Peacocks shall bow to you,
Little boys sing.
Oh, and sweet girls will
Festoon you with may.
Time, you old gipsy;
Why hasten away?

The poet also offers a great golden ring beaten by goldsmiths to Time in his offer to make him stay. He says peacocks shall bow to him, little boys will sing for him and sweet girls will decorate him with flowers, if he chooses to be the poet’s guest. Time can have all these pleasures and yet it refuses to stay. So, the poet once again asks Time, the old gipsy, why he hurries away.