The Vagabond BY R L Stevenson.Explore the essence of freedom and detachment in Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem, “The Vagabond.” This literary work beautifully encapsulates the speaker’s yearning for a life unbounded by materialistic desires and societal constraints. The poem takes us on a journey through the seasons, symbolizing different stages of life, and highlights the speaker’s unwavering spirit to live freely despite adverse conditions. Join us as we delve into this captivating narrative that celebrates the indomitable human will to embrace a life of wanderlust and simplicity.

"The Vagabond by Robert Louis Stevenson"

The Vagabond BY R L Stevenson


  1. Answer these questions:
  2. What does the speaker want from life? What are the three things he feels he can live without?

Ans: The speaker wants to live a free live with no boundaries and limitations. He wants to travel and walk but never stop, even if the situations are dire and unpleasant.

He feels he can live without hope and love, friends and wealth.

  • Pick out the lines from the poem which suggest that the speaker is not concerned about the weather.

Ans: The lines from the poem which suggest that the speaker is not concerned about the weather are:

“Not to autumn will I yield,

Not to winter even”

” Let the blow fall soon or late,

Let what will be o’er me”

Describe the fields during the cold weather.

Ans: The speaker has described the fields as being completely white, during the cold weather. He says that the field is covered with snow and looks like a white meal.

  • How does the onset of the autumn season silence the bird on the tree?

Ans: When autumn arrives, birds migrate to a different location with more suitable weather. The trees get silent, that signifies that the birds have left.

  • Is the speaker worried about death? Explain.

Ans: Being a vagabond, the poet isn’t afraid of the death. He wants to travel with no restrictions. He doesn’t fear the adverse weather conditions too.

Pick out expressions from the poem that suggest that the speaker is not concerned about worldly needs.

Ans: “Wealth I ask not, hope nor love;

Nor a friend to know me”

  • Answer the questions with reference to context:
  • Or let autumn fall on me

Where afield I linger,

Silencing the bird on tree,

Biting the blue finger.

  1. Why are the words ‘autumn’ and ‘fall’ used together?

Ans: The poet has used these words to describe the autumn season and put more emphasis on it. In this season, the trees shed their leaves before they enter the winter season.

  • What does the word ‘biting’ signify?

Ans: The word ‘biting’ signifies suffering. This signifies the pain that one endures in extreme cold when fingers go numb and often hurt. 

c. Explain ‘blue finger’. How does this image describe the severity of the winter season?

Ans: The image of ‘blue finger’ signifies extreme cold and chilling conditions. The poet wants to put emphasis on how uncomfortable and unpleasant the weather was while he was walking. Blue finger is the situation that happens to someone’s fingers when they are exposed to extreme cold that the blood supply is reduced in the fingers.

  • White as meal the frosty field—

Warm the fireside haven—

Not to autumn will I yield,

Not to winter even!

a. Why is the field white in colour?

b. Describe the ‘frosty field’.

c. Explain the last two lines.

Ans: a. The field that the poet has talked about in the poem, is white in colour because it’s winter season and it is covered with snow.

b. The poet has compared the frosty field to a meal that is white in colour.

c. In the last two lines, Stevenson says that he would not stop and continue his journey, irrespective of the season and any adverse condition. He would walk in every season and in every condition. 


Think and answer:

  1. How would you describe the speaker as a person? Do you think it is possible to live a life free from material wants and desires? Explain in your own words.

Ans: The speaker, as the title of the poem suggests, is a vagabond. He wants to lie a life on his own terms. While it is extremely difficult and requires proper determination, it is possible to leave behind material desires and live a life without those.

  • Seasons have a symbolic significance in literature. Metaphorically autumn and winter stand for old age and death respectively. Why has the speaker made this analogy?

Ans: Seasons hold a significant importance in literature. the speaker has used this analogy of winter and autumn because during autumn the leaves fall off the trees and in winters, they seem lifeless, just like what happens in human life.

Do you feel that weather, hope and friends can hamper a person’s freedom? Give reasons for your answer.

Ans: Weather hope, and friends can definitely hamper a person’s freedom. Adverse weather conditions can stop a person from making a certain plan for his own safety. Hope makes a person assume that he might live a better life with more luxury which in turn can hamper his actual urge of just doing what he wants. Friends and family come with a load of emotions and responsibilities, which in turn hampers someone’s freedom.


  • Identify the alliterative phrases and personification in these sentences:
  • The thunder grumbled and raindrops reported for duty.

Thunder- Personification.

 Raindrops reported – Alliteration.

  • Fred had friendly fun with family.

Friendly fun – Personification.

Fred had friendly fun – Alliteration.

  • My alarm clock yelled at me in the morning.

Clock – Personification.

Me in the morning – Alliteration.  

  • The full moon led me through the dark forest.

Moon led me – Personification.

Through the – Alliteration.

  • Go gather green leaves in the garden.

Go gather green – Alliteration.

Learn about language:

  1. Read these sentences and identify the stative verbs. Write the attribute in each case.
  2. This juice does not taste right. – Taste/Pertains to the five senses.
  3. Shweta always tastes food from my tiffin. – Tastes/Pertains to the five senses.
  4. What do you think about this issue? – Think/Relates to thoughts.
  5. They often see a film on Fridays. – See/Pertains to the five senses.
  6. His hard work was appreciated by one and all. – Appreciated/Connects to feelings.
  7. She hates hypocrites.Hates/Connects to feelings.
  8. Underline the determiners in these sentences and state their kind:
  9. Many years ago, when our grandfathers were little children—there was a doctor. – Many/Quantifiers, Our/Possessives, A/Articles.
  10. His name was John Dolittle and his sister was called Sarah. –  His/Possessives.
  11. His sister used to grumble about all the animals that he kept in the house and say that they made the house untidy. –  That/Demonstratives, His/Possessives, The/Articles, All/Distributives.
  12. They talk with their ears, with their feet, with their tails. – Their/Possessives.
  13. Do you see now the way he’s twitching up one side of his nose? – The/Articles, His/Possessives.
  14. But that man over the hill never even looked at my eyes. – That/Demonstratives, The/Articles, My/Possessives.
  15. Complete these sentences using suitable determiners:
  16. I didn’t use the fertilizer last spring.  
  17. Few students wanted to go for the trip.
  18. They say that knowledge is a dangerous thing.
  19. My sister doesn’t drink much coffee.
  20. I am having a little trouble passing my driving test.
  21. Every student will write two essays.

The Vagabond BY R L Stevenson.”The Vagabond by Robert Louis Stevenson” offers a profound reflection on the essence of freedom and the human spirit’s resilience. Through the vivid imagery of changing seasons and the speaker’s disregard for material needs, Stevenson invites readers to contemplate a life driven by wanderlust and simplicity. The poem remains a timeless reminder of the beauty of living freely, unshackled by societal expectations and materialistic desires.

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