On roaming paths I put a break,

A nation's dream, I fill its shape;

A rascal's drudging work I take,

And all my kind, good neighbors make.

What am I?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Please. Dont tell me the answer is Hong Kong people. $\endgroup$ Sep 11, 2019 at 23:16

1 Answer 1


I'm pretty sure you are


On roaming paths I put a break,


A nation's dream, I fill its shape;

I didn't understand this line at all, but in comments tmpearce makes the very plausible suggestion that the line refers to "the American Dream", in its incarnation as a suburban house and garden surrounded by a white picket fence.

A rascal's drudging work I take,

My original interpretation: A fence is a receiver (and seller) of stolen goods. The rascal is a thief. (Not sure I'd exactly call theft "drudging", though maybe it is.) Darrel Hoffman's much better interpretation, in comments: This is a reference to Mark Twain's story of Tom Sawyer tricking his friends into painting a fence for him.

And all my kind, good neighbors make.

"Good fences make good neighbours."

The title -- "Not to protest, but -" -- refers, I think, to

picket fences.

Credit where due:

tmpearce figured out the "American Dream" bit (for which I didn't have any good ideas); Darrel Hoffman figured out the Tom Sawyer bit (for which my alternative interpretation is, I think, kinda OK though clearly inferior).

  • $\begingroup$ For line 2, I suspect it has to do with rot13(Gur "Nzrevpna Qernz" naq "juvgr cvpxrg sraprf" - uggcf://jjj.fzvgufbavnaznt.pbz/uvfgbel/uvfgbel-juvgr-cvpxrg-srapr-180971635/) but I don't quite understand the precise wording of the clue, perhaps it is more nuanced than I'm appreciating $\endgroup$
    – tmpearce
    Sep 12, 2019 at 2:05
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, that's quite possible. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Sep 12, 2019 at 2:08
  • $\begingroup$ rot13(Qhevat gur gjragvrgu praghel, gur Nzrevpna Qernz jnf fgebatyl gvrq gb ynaq bjarefuvc naq ubzr bjarefuvc. Fb V nz snveyl pregnva guvf vf pbeerpg.) $\endgroup$
    – Cloudy7
    Sep 12, 2019 at 2:23
  • $\begingroup$ Not sure whether or not to upvote this answer...really can't make up my mind at all... going back and forth in my head...both sides have value. Definitely on the -----. $\endgroup$
    – Brandon_J
    Sep 12, 2019 at 13:05
  • $\begingroup$ I unmarked this as the answer -- it's not exactly right, though very close -- however, unless you get this exactly right the second and third line will not make any sense. $\endgroup$
    – james h
    Sep 12, 2019 at 13:26

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