This poem is structured as a dialogue between the speaker and a guide, with each taking every other line. In the first stanza the speaker asks if their journey up the hill will take the whole day, and they are told that it will. The speaker then asks, in the second stanza, where they can rest, once they reach the top of the hill, by which time it will be night. The guide tells them that there is an inn that they will be able to rest at and that they "cannot miss" it even though it will be dark.
In the third stanza the speaker asks how they will gain admittance to the inn, and the guide tells them that the "wayfarers" who have gone before will open the door for them. In the fourth stanza the guide also tells the speaker that they will find "comfort" at the inn so that they will be able to rest after their long journey up the hill.
The hill in the poem represents the speaker's life on earth. Life is an upward journey in that it is difficult and tiring. The inn at the top of the hill is a metaphor for heaven, which the speaker will enter once they have lived their life, or climbed the hill. The guide at the end of the poem says that this inn, representing heaven, is open to "all who come." The implication here is that all who seek God, and all who are willing to struggle and persevere in their lives, will find God waiting for them in heaven at the end of their lives.