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THE VAGABOND, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"The Vagabond" is a poem by John Drinkwater, an English poet and playwright who lived from 1882 to 1937. The poem was published in 1913 and explores the life of a wandering, solitary figure.


The poem was written during the early 20th century, a time of great social and political upheaval in England. The rise of industrialization and urbanization led to a sense of alienation and dislocation among many people, and the figure of the vagabond came to symbolize a kind of freedom and independence in the face of this upheaval.


"The Vagabond" is a narrative poem that tells the story of a wandering figure who travels through the countryside in search of meaning and purpose. The speaker describes the vagabond's solitary existence, living off the land and seeking out the simple pleasures of life. 

The spiritual significance of the vagabond's life in "The Vagabond" arises from his ability to find beauty and meaning in the natural world. The speaker describes the vagabond's appreciation for the simple pleasures of life, such as the beauty of the bluebells and the barley in the fields. The vagabond's wandering, improvisational lifestyle is also seen as a kind of spiritual quest, as he seeks to find meaning and purpose in his travels. The poem suggests that the vagabond's way of life is a kind of spiritual rebellion against the materialistic and conformist values of modern society, and that his ability to find joy and fulfillment in the natural world represents a deeper, more authentic form of spirituality.


The poem is written in free verse, with no consistent rhyme scheme or meter. The lack of formal structure reflects the vagabond's wandering, improvisational lifestyle. The poem is also notable for its use of vivid imagery and descriptive language, which help to convey the speaker's sense of wonder and admiration for the vagabond's way of life.

Poetic Elements:

Drinkwater makes use of a variety of poetic devices in "The Vagabond," including imagery, metaphor, and repetition. The poem is filled with vivid descriptions of the natural world, from the "bluebells, dim bells" to the "pearly barley" in the fields. The repetition of the phrase "the vagabond" throughout the poem helps to underscore the central theme of the poem, which is the freedom and independence of the wandering figure.


"The Vagabond" is a powerful and evocative poem that explores the life of a wandering, solitary figure. Drinkwater's use of language and imagery is particularly effective in conveying the speaker's sense of wonder and admiration for the vagabond's way of life. Overall, "The Vagabond" is a powerful meditation on the meaning of freedom and the importance of finding beauty and purpose in the natural world.


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