Updated: Jul 21
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening appeared in one of Robert Frost's poetry collections titled, New Hampshire (1923). The poem was discussed in a letter to Louis Untermeyer, in which Frost said that this poem is "my best bid for remembrance.". He also said that he wrote this poem in a few minutes without any strain. The poem has 4 stanzas, written in iambic tetrameter. The rhyme scheme of the poem is AABA BBCB CCDC DDDD.
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.
POEM SUMMARY: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening Poem Summary
In the first stanza, the Narrator i.e. the lonely wanderer on a horse has stopped by the woods in the evening when it was snowing. He is wondering why the landowner wouldn't know that he is standing by his woods and admiring it because his house isn't here. It's somewhere else in a village.
In the second stanza, the Narrator is wondering about the thoughts of his horse. He personifies it as 'he'. He says that his horse must be perplexing why the Narrator has stopped here, a place with no farmhouse. They are between woods and the frozen lake (there is no use in standing here) on the dark night of the year (i.e. it’s winter and is dark).
In the third stanza, the Narrator explains the action of his horse and the calmness of the place. He says that his horse shakes his bells which are tied together, in order to question him, whether anything has gone wrong or not. The narrator then describes the place’s quietness by saying that the only sound that was heard was his horse’s bells, a sweep of the wind, and the fall of the velvety flakes.
In the final stanza, the Narrator explains his inability to adore the beauty and charm that the place has captured with it, because of the duties that are waiting for him. He gets reminded that in order to fulfill his duties he has to go miles and miles away from the spot before sleep. This is a metaphor, the poet here is actually trying to express that anyone in his or her life has to keep on moving as there is a pile of duties waiting to be fulfilled before sleep i.e. death.
~ Literpretation Team for Education