2Robert Frost was born in San Francisco in 1874 Robert Frost was born in San Francisco in He moved to New England at the age of eleven and became interested in reading and writing poetry during his high school years in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He was enrolled at Dartmouth College in 1892, and later at Harvard, but never earned a formal degree. Frost drifted through a string of occupations after leaving school, working as a teacher, cobbler, and editor of the Lawrence Sentinel. His first professional poem, "My Butterfly," was published on November 8, 1894, in the New York newspaper The Independent.In 1895, Frost married Elinor Miriam White, who became a major inspiration in his poetry until her death in The couple moved to England in 1912,
3after their New Hampshire farm failed, and it was abroad that Frost met and was influenced by such contemporary British poets as Edward Thomas, Rupert Brooke, and Robert Graves. While in England, Frost also established a friendship with the poet Ezra Pound, who helped to promote and publish his work. By the time Frost returned to the United States in 1915, he had published two full-length collections, A Boy's Will and North of Boston, and his reputation was established. By the nineteen-twenties, he was the most celebrated poet in America, and with each new book—including New Hampshire (1923), A Further Range (1936), Steeple Bush (1947), and In the Clearing (1962)—his fame and honors (including four Pulitzer Prizes) increased.
4Though his work is principally associated with the life and landscape of New England, and though he was a poet of traditional verse forms and metrics who remained steadfastly aloof from the poetic movements and fashions of his time, Frost is anything but a merely regional or minor poet. The author of searching and often dark meditations on universal themes, he is a quintessentially modern poet in his adherence to language as it is actually spoken, in the psychological complexity of his portraits, and in the degree to which his work is infused with layers of ambiguity and irony. Robert Frost lived and taught for many years in Massachusetts and Vermont, and died on January 29, 1963, in Boston.This bio was last updated on Apr 4, 2002.
5Bibliography Brower, Reuben A., The Poetry of Robert Frost (1963) Brunshaw, Stanley, Robert Frost Himself (1986)Clymer, W. B. S., Robert Frost: A Bibliography (1972)Egmond, Peter Van, The Critical Reception of Robert Frost: An Annotated Bibliography of Secondary Comment (1974)Frost, Robert, The Poetry of Robert Frost: The Collected Poems, Complete and Unabridged, ed. by Edward Connery Lathem (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1969)-----, Selected Letters, ed. by Lawrance Thompson (1964)-----, Selected Prose, ed. by Lathem and Hyde Cox (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1966)-----, Collected Poems, Prose, & Plays: Complete Poems 1949, In the Clearing, Uncollected Poems, Plays, Lectures, Essays, Stories, and Letters (The Library of America, 1995)
6Gerber, Philip L., Robert Frost (1966) -----, ed., Critical Essays on Robert Frost (1982)Hall, D., Robert Frost: Contours of Belief (1980)Katz, S.L., Elinor Frost (1988)Lathem, E.C., ed., Robert Frost's Poetry and Prose (1984)Lentricchia, Frank, and Lentricchia, Melissa Christian, Robert Frost: A Bibliography, (1976)Marcus, Mordecai, The Poems of Robert Frost: An Explication (Boston: G.K. Hall & Co., 1991)Poirier, Richard, Robert Frost (1977)Potter, James L., Robert Frost Handbook (1980)Pritchard, William H., Frost: A Literary Life Reconsidered (1984)Thompson, Lawrance, Robert Frost, 3 vols. ( )Thompson, L., and Winnick, R.H., Robert Frost: A Biography, ed. by E.C. Lathem (1981)Walsh, John Evangelist, Into My Own: The English Years of Robert Frost, (1988)
7Poems By Robert Frost ACQUAINTED WITH THE NIGHT BIRCHES MENDING WALL OUT OUTTHE ROAD NOT TAKENSTOPPING BY WOODS ON A SNOWY EVENINGTHE RUNAWAYTWO LOOK AT TWO
8ACQUAINTED WITH THE NIGHT I have been one acquainted with the night. I have walked out in rain -- and back in rain. I have outwalked the furthest city light.I have looked down the saddest city lane. I have passed by the watchman on his beat And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet When far away an interrupted cry Came over houses from another street,But not to call me back or say good-bye; And further still at an unearthly height, O luminary clock against the skyProclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right. I have been one acquainted with the night.back
9BIRCHESWhen I see birches bend to left and right Across the lines of straighter darker trees, I like to think some boy's been swinging them. But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay. Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning After a rain. They click upon themselves As the breeze rises, and turn many-coloured As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel. Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen. They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load, And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed So low for long, they never right themselves: You may see their trunks arching in the woodsYears afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground,Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
10Before them over their heads to dry in the sun Before them over their heads to dry in the sun. But I was going to say when Truth broke in With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm, I should prefer to have some boy bend them As he went out and in to fetch the cows-- Some boy too far from town to learn baseball, Whose only play was what he found himself, Summer or winter, and could play alone. One by one he subdued his father's trees By riding them down over and over again Until he took the stiffness out of them, And not one but hung limp, not one was left For him to conquer. He learned all there was To learn about not launching out too soon And so not carrying the tree away Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise To the top branches, climbing carefully With the same pains you use to fill a cup Up to the brim, and even above the brim. Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish, Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
11So was I once myself a swinger of birches So was I once myself a swinger of birches. And so I dream of going back to be. It's when I'm weary of considerations, And life is too much like a pathless wood Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs Broken across it, and one eye is weeping From a twig's having lashed across it open. I'd like to get away from earth awhile And then come back to it and begin over. May no fate willfully misunderstand me And half grant what I wish and snatch me away Not to return. Earth's the right place for love: I don't know where it's likely to go better. I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more, But dipped its top and set me down again. That would be good both going and coming back. One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.back
12MENDING WALLSomething there is that doesn't love a wall, That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it, And spills the upper boulders in the sun, And makes gaps even two can pass abreast. The work of hunters is another thing: I have come after them and made repair Where they have left not one stone on a stone, But they would have the rabbit out of hiding, To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean, No one has seen them made or heard them made, But at spring mending-time we find them there. I let my neighbor know beyond the hill; And on a day we meet to walk the line And set the wall between us once again. We keep the wall between us as we go. To each the boulders that have fallen to each. And some are loaves and some so nearly balls We have to use a spell to make them balance:
13'Stay where you are until our backs are turned 'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!' We wear our fingers rough with handling them. Oh, just another kind of out-door game, One on a side. It comes to little more: There where it is we do not need the wall: He is all pine and I am apple orchard. My apple trees will never get across And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him. He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'. Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder If I could put a notion in his head: 'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it Where there are cows? But here there are no cows. Before I built a wall I'd ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offense. Something there is that doesn't love a wall, That wants it down.' I could say '.Elves' to him, But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather He said it for himself. I see him there
14Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed. He moves in darkness as it seems to me Not of woods only and the shade of trees. He will not go behind his father's saying, And he likes having thought of it so well He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."back
15OUT OUTThe buzz-saw snarled and rattled in the yard And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood, Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it. And from there those that lifted eyes could count Five mountain ranges one behind the other Under the sunset far into Vermont. And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled, As it ran light, or had to bear a load. And nothing happened: day was all but done. Call it a day, I wish they might have said To please the boy by giving him the half hour That a boy counts so much when saved from work. His sister stood beside them in her apron To tell them 'Supper'. At the word, the saw, As if to prove saws knew what supper meant, Leaped out at the boy's hand, or seemed to leap-- He must have given the hand. However it was, Neither refused the meeting. But the hand!The boy's first outcry was a rueful laugh.
16As he swung toward them holding up the hand Half in appeal, but half as if to keep The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all-- Since he was old enough to know, big boy Doing a man's work, though a child at heart-- He saw all spoiled. 'Don't let him cut my hand off The doctor, when he comes. Don't let him, sister!' So. But the hand was gone already. The doctor put him in the dark of ether. He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath. And then -- the watcher at his pulse took fright. No one believed. They listened at his heart. Little -- less -- nothing! -- and that ended it. No more to build on there. And they, since they Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.back
17THE ROAD NOT TAKENTwo roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference.back
18STOPPING BY WOODS ON A SNOWY EVENING Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow.My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year.He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound's the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake.The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.back
19THE RUNAWAYOnce when the snow of the year was beginning to fall, We stopped by a mountain pasture to say 'Whose colt?' A little Morgan had one forefoot on the wall, The other curled at his breast. He dipped his head And snorted at us. And then he had to bolt. We heard the miniature thunder where he fled, And we saw him, or thought we saw him, dim and grey, Like a shadow against the curtain of falling flakes. 'I think the little fellow's afraid of the snow. He isn't winter-broken. It isn't play With the little fellow at all. He's running away. I doubt if even his mother could tell him, "Sakes, It's only weather". He'd think she didn't know ! Where is his mother? He can't be out alone.' And now he comes again with a clatter of stone And mounts the wall again with whited eyes And all his tail that isn't hair up straight. He shudders his coat as if to throw off flies. 'Whoever it is that leaves him out so late, When other creatures have gone to stall and bin, Ought to be told to come and take him in.'back
20TWO LOOK AT TWOLove and forgetting might have carried them A little further up the mountain side With night so near, but not much further up. They must have halted soon in any case With thoughts of a path back, how rough it was With rock and washout, and unsafe in darkness; When they were halted by a tumbled wall With barbed-wire binding. They stood facing this, Spending what onward impulse they still had In One last look the way they must not go, On up the failing path, where, if a stone Or earthslide moved at night, it moved itself; No footstep moved it. 'This is all,' they sighed, Good-night to woods.' But not so; there was more. A doe from round a spruce stood looking at them Across the wall, as near the wall as they. She saw them in their field, they her in hers. The difficulty of seeing what stood still,
21Like some up-ended boulder split in two, Was in her clouded eyes; they saw no fear there. She seemed to think that two thus they were safe. Then, as if they were something that, though strange, She could not trouble her mind with too long, She sighed and passed unscared along the wall. 'This, then, is all. What more is there to ask?' But no, not yet. A snort to bid them wait. A buck from round the spruce stood looking at them Across the wall as near the wall as they. This was an antlered buck of lusty nostril, Not the same doe come back into her place. He viewed them quizzically with jerks of head, As if to ask, 'Why don't you make some motion? Or give some sign of life? Because you can't. I doubt if you're as living as you look." Thus till he had them almost feeling dared To stretch a proffering hand -- and a spell-breaking.Then he too passed unscared along the wall.
22Two had seen two, whichever side you spoke from. 'This must be all Two had seen two, whichever side you spoke from. 'This must be all.' It was all. Still they stood, A great wave from it going over them, As if the earth in one unlooked-for favour Had made them certain earth returned their love.back