In the month of November 1850, Robert Louis Stevenson was one of the recorded birth in Edinburgh, Scotland. He grew up to become a very notable poet and essayist with loads of literary contributions.
Stevenson is the poet that crafted this life and nature related poem titled “The Vagabond”.
It is classed under nature because its events are nature oriented. In terms of the lonely living in the bush, by the river, constant singing birds, frosty fields, etc.
The poem narrates the life of someone in hopelessness; such person is called vagabond. The reward is none than heaven and death.
The poem is themed with (1) suffering; the vagabond suffered the burn of the sun and the chill of frosty field coupled with lack of healthy living by depending on forest rivers to digest his bread (2) nature; the poem exposed the beauty and companionship of nature even to a castaway or a soul left in the lurch. The rivers quenched the vagabond’s thirst while the birds delighted his solitude. (3) fortune; the poet or rather voice of the poem indirectly listed the things that worth fortune to humans which are wealth, health, love, friendship, etc. (4) heaven; it held ambiguity between actual eternal dwellings and the blue sky above the vagabond. (5) death; in the poem, it is the only reward for being a vagabond_ nothing more.
The poem “The Vagabond” by Robert Louis Stevenson is a rhyme verse of 4 stanzas with 8 lines each. In the poem “life I love” seen in line 1 is an alliteration while “Bed in the bush with stars to see” as found in line 5 is an imagery portraying homelessness. There is an oxymoron in line 9 “soon or later” and a hyperbole in line 6 “Bread I dip in the river”.
The poem opened with “Give to me the life I love/ Let the lave go by me”. There is an element of irony in such opening which contrary to universally known great expectations every living being aim at. “…the life I love” in the poem implied the life of a vagabond (homelessness) which is a very horrible life.
In stanza 2, the vagabond seemed to delight himself in the darkness of the night synonymous to the darkness he will encounter in death. Wealth, hope, love, friendship; were never part of his wishes or crazes.
In stanza 3, he accepted the inevitable torture of the autumn which denied him songs from birds by keeping them silent on trees. Neither the autumn nor the winter could force him to change his personality. The stanza 4 is a refrain of stanza 2.
Enunwa Chukwudinma S.