Give to me the life I love,Let the lave go by me,Give the jolly heaven aboveAnd the byway nigh 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.
Give to me the life I love,
Let the lave go by me,
Give the jolly heaven above
And the byway nigh 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.
A vagabond is defined as a person who wanders from place to place without a home, and this type of lifestyle is the true desire of the narrator's heart. In the first stanza of "The Vagabond," the narrator asks for an unconfined life spent out on the less-traveled road. He says that this type of life is one that he loves, one where he can let the typical concerns of life wash right by him.
The use of "byway" has a connotation of a path that is not frequented, so the narrator wants to keep somewhat off the beaten path with a byway nearby. He will happily sleep with the stars over his head and the bush under his head, sustained by mere bread that can be dipped in a river when it grows a bit too stale. This scrappy, meager life is "the life for a man like [him]," and he wishes to enjoy this type of life for all his days.