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39. Miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost

Updated: Jun 8, 2020

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Robert Lee Frost (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963) was an American poet. His work was initially published in England before it was published in America. Known for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech, Frost frequently wrote about settings from rural life in New England in the early twentieth century, using them to examine complex social and philosophical themes.

Frost was honored frequently during his lifetime and is the only poet to receive four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. He became one of America's rare "public literary figures, almost an artistic institution."He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960 for his poetic works. On July 22, 1961, Frost was named poet laureate of Vermont.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” Its a poem written in 1922 by Robert Frost, and published in 1923 in his New Hampshire volume .Imagery,personification, and repetition are prominent in the work.

In a letter to Louis Untermeyer, Frost called it "my best bid for remembrance".


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

This poem is about taking time to appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature. The speaker is overwhelmed by the sight of the snow on the fields, and he stops to enjoy it. He must move on, however,...

The speaker is driving some kind of horse-drawn vehicle—perhaps a carriage or maybe even a sleigh—through the woods. He believes that he knows to whom this forested land belongs, but that man lives in the village. The speaker knows, therefore, that the owner will not even know that the speaker has stopped to watch the snow fall here.

The opening stanza identifies the setting as woods in the winter. The speaker is aware of the owner of the woods, knowing that he will not mind if he spends a moment to watch the snow fall. The...

Perhaps the driver delivers some kind of goods, as he claims that his horse probably thinks it is strange for them to stop out in the middle of nowhere rather than at a house, especially because it is so dark and cold; it is, in fact, the darkest night of the year, and from this the reader can ascertain that it is the night of the winter solstice in late December. The horse shakes its harness, jingling its bells, as if to ask if the driver has made some kind of mistake in stopping. Aside from the ringing of the bells, the wind softly blowing the downy flakes of snow is the only other sound—and, clearly, this would be a very, very quiet sound. It is nearly silent in these woods.

In the end, the speaker seems to express a strong desire to stay in the dark, tranquil, and silent forest, but he evidently feels compelled to keep moving because he has some kind of promise that he needs to keep. We do not know if he has more stops he must make, perhaps, or if he is expected to reach a certain place tonight. Whatever it is, this promise means that he must continue to travel a great deal further before he is able to stop and to truly rest. The fact that the speaker repeats this final idea—that he has a long way to go before he can sleep—seems to indicate a good deal of regret that this is the case.


Its can be interpreted by altering or replacing one or two words in the last stanza of the poem.

The woods / ( Life ) are /( is ) lovely, dark and deep,   

But I have promises to keep,   

And miles to go before I sleep / ( die ),   

And miles to go before I sleep / ( die ) .

Just Altering the poem as given below ;

The Life is lovely, dark and deep,   

But I have promises to keep,   

And miles to go before I die    

And miles to go before I die

Just leaving it to your own imagination and interpretation.........!!!!


Its a Frost’s most famous and most perfect lyric poem is conveying “the insistent whisper of death at the heart of life,” the poem portrays a speaker who stops his sleigh in the midst of a snowy woods only to be called from the inviting gloom by the recollection of practical duties.

Frost himself said of this poem that it is the kind he’d like to print on one page followed with “forty pages of footnotes.” 


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