The narrator is walking along a deserted stretch of seacoast, observing the "rough, long grasses" that "keep white with frost on the wintry day. The narrator comes to the signpost with arrows giving directions to different destinations and asks himself where he wants to go.
An internal conversation begins. When the narrator was twenty, he would not have had any hesitation or doubt about his journey, says one voice; another answers that "At twenty you wished you had never been born."
Older now, the narrator has come to understand that the destination is the same for everyone, from "a poor man of any sort, down to a king." A person may go "here or anywhere" to experience any type of weather, any time of the year, any sort of desired activity or emotion. In the end, all people die and receive "a mouthful of earth to remedy all regrets and wishes." A person may wonder "where shall he journey?", but it makes no difference.
The poem follows a definite rhyme pattern for each pair of lines; rhythm is not strictly formatted but most lines include four stressed syllables.