A learned man came to me once.
He said, “I know the way, — come.”
And I was overjoyed at this.
Together we hastened.
Soon, too soon, were we
Where my eyes were useless,
And I knew not the ways of my feet.
I clung to the hand of my friend;
But at last he cried, “I am lost.”

Analysis, meaning and summary of Stephen Crane's poem A learned man came to me once


  1. Peter C. Langella says:

    Crane says to beware of conformity and following anyone who professes understanding of a particular “truth” that is actually beyond man’s limits. Religious beliefs would be an example. Perhaps his allusion is “I am the way, the truth, and the light.”

  2. Cassidy says:

    I think the poem is about how you have to lead you’re own life. you can’t depend on others to do it for you. Also, just because he’s a learned man doesn’t mean anything. You need to let go and choose the path for you’re own destiny.

  3. John says:

    All humans wish for greater understanding of the “Big Questions”–questions such as ‘Who am I’, ‘How did I get here’, and, perhaps most importantly, ‘What am I to do?’ In “A learned man”, Crane speaks about this need to question and understand. The learned man professes to have answers, but soon finds himself in the same position as the speaker. In the same way we may have no shortage of those who try to answer these big questions and at the same time have a shortage of good answers. True understanding eludes us.

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