Talk:Robert Frost

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Latest comment: 6 years ago by DanielTom in topic a line of "Lesson for Today"
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Do we need to mark line breaks with back slashes? It makes for ugly layout and confusing reading. We don't need to save space either, this isn't paper. - 01:10, 11 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Fixed. -- Gaurav 15:22, 14 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Is the title "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" or just "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"? I've seen it several places without the "the", but as poetry is not a strong point of mine, I am not sure what the actual title is. Knowledge Seeker 19:29, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)

"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" is correct, and the heading has now been corrected. ~ Kalki 21:30, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The link to 'Fire and Ice' is broken. 02:09, 31 March 2008 (UTC)Reply

Hey, is it just me or do wiki admins have a thing against me adding his famous poem called 'Wheres my hat' ?


—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .
There is no famous poem "Wheres my hat" and the lines that were being added "Where's my hat? Oh, I don't need it!" were of no special significance by themselves. I just added quotes from the poem which contains them, "Home Burial" including them within a larger passage. ~ EO 09:21, 11 May 2008 (UTC)Reply


  • A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain.
  • A definite purpose, like blinders on a horse, inevitably narrows its possessor's point of view.
  • A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman's birthday... but never remembers her age.
  • A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.
  • A mother takes twenty years to make a man of her boy, and another woman makes a fool of him in twenty minutes.
  • A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom.
  • All poetry is a reproduction of the tones of actual speech.
  • Always fall in with what you're asked to accept. Take what is given, and make it over your way. My aim in life has always been to hold my own with whatever's going. Not against: with.
  • An idea is a feat of association.
  • As it is more blessed to give than receive, so it must be more blessed to receive than to give back.
  • By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day.
  • Do not follow where the path may lead... Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
  • Education is...hanging around until you've caught on.
    • January 30, 1963
  • Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.
    • Oxford Essential Quotations attributes this to Robert Frost, in an article in Reader's Digest, April 1960.
  • Half the world is composed of those who have something to say but can't; the other half is of those who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.
    • Variant: Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.
  • Humor is the most engaging cowardice.
  • I alone of English writers have consciously set myself to make music out of what I may call the sound of sense.
  • I am a writer of books in retrospect. I talk in order to understand; I teach in order to learn.
  • I never dared to be radical when young for fear it would make me conservative when old.
  • If you don't know how great this country is, I know someone who does; Russia.
  • Isn't it funny that anything the Supreme Court says is right?
  • My sorrow, when she's here with me, thinks these dark days of autumn rain are beautiful as days can be; she loves the bare, the withered tree; she walks the sodden pasture lane.
  • Poetry is the first thing lost in translation.
    • Variant: Poetry is what gets lost in translation.
  • Sometimes I have my doubts of words altogether, and I ask myself what is the place of them. They are worse than nothing unless they do something; unless they amount to deeds, as in ultimatums or battle-cries. They must be flat and final like the show-down in poker, from which there is no appeal. My definition of poetry (if I were forced to give one) would be this: words that become deeds.
  • [Style is] that which indicates how the writer takes himself and what he is saying. It is the mind skating circles around itself as it moves forward.
  • The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.
  • The chief reason for going to school is to get the impression fixed for life that there is a book side for everything.
  • The ear does it. The ear is the only true writer and the only true reader.
  • The only lasting beauty is the beauty of the heart.
  • The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.
  • The world is full of willing people, some willing to work, the rest willing to let them.
  • There are tones of voices that mean more than words.
  • There are two types of realists: the one who offers a good deal of dirt with his potato to show that it is a real one, and the one who is satisfied with the potato brushed clean. I'm inclined to be the second kind. To me, the thing that art does for life is to clean it, to strip it to form.
  • There's absolutely no reason for being rushed along with the rush. Everybody should be free to go very slow...What you want, what you're hanging around in the world waiting for, is for something to occur to you.
    • March 21, 1954
  • We dance in a circle and suppose, while the secret sits in the middle and knows.
  • What is this talked-of mystery of birth but being mounted bareback on the earth?
  • You can be a rank insider as well as a rank outsider.

"Comment" section


What is the "Comment" section? Are they just unsourced quotes, or does it refer to a specific work? ~ Ningauble 14:01, 17 May 2010 (UTC)Reply

After searching for some of them, I believe they are miscellaneous attributions that have sometimes been described as comments of his. I managed to source one reliable attribution and moved the rest to the "unsourced" talk page section above. ~ Ningauble (talk) 15:07, 9 March 2012 (UTC)Reply

Source for "Don't ever take a fence down..."?


Google searches for the quote "Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up" attributes it either to Robert Frost or G.K. Chesterton, but those attributing to Frost do not point to a source. Can anyone confirm Frost originated this quote, perhaps before or around when Chesterton was supposed to have said it, by finding its source?

Source for "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life"


I've often see this attributed to Frost, but from where does it come? I can't find any definitive source that traces it to him.

a line of "Lesson for Today"


I have long been rather unsatisfied with the most common and pervasive rendering of one of the lines in the final stanzas of Frost’s 1942 poem "The Lesson for Today" which I recently used for the 26 March QOTD:

I may have wept that any should have died
Or missed their chance, or not have been their best,
Or been their riches, fame, or love denied;
On me as much as any is the jest.
I take my incompleteness with the rest.
God bless himself can no one else be blessed.

I hold your doctrine of Memento Mori.
And were an epitaph to be my story
I’d have a short one ready for my own.
I would have written of me on my stone:
I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.
~ Robert Frost ~

Over many years, I had recurrently suspected that the line, which I perceive as somewhat difficult to find sensible, in various rather strained ways:

’’Or been their riches, fame, or love denied’’

may actually have been a typo in an early copy which had been retained in subsequent renderings without question or comment, and that this perhaps should have read in such a way which makes more directly and accessibly obvious sense:

’’Or seen their riches, fame, or love denied’’

Unable to find any confirmation of my own assessments, encountering repeated renderings of it ONLY as "been" rather than "seen", I too let it pass without comment, but today, still irritated by the line, I happened to renew my search for another rendering, by searching for one alternative which I thought more coherent, hoping for some prominent occurrence somewhere. Even so, with the internet being so ready a resource to most of us, I thus far have only found one incident of it having been rendered in this way, and that was in a relatively obscure essay "The Poetry of Robert Frost — An Unstated Search for Proof" (1967) by Joseph Michael Petite.

So obscure an occurrence is certainly not persuasive evidence for the correctness of my own assessments, and that "been" has remained so uncontested a rendering can certainly be taken as evidence against "seen" or any other alternative to existing publications of the line, but I thought it proper to provide some of my own appraisals here, as perhaps eventually a prompt to further research of the original manuscripts of Frost, by someone who might have access to such, and perhaps able to definitively provide direct proofs or disproofs from the originals. ~ Kalki·· 00:35, 28 March 2018 (UTC)Reply

The repetition of the word "been" is more poetical and makes the verses easier to memorize, but poetic considerations aside, isn't "Or been denied their ..." superior to "Or seen denied their ..."? Maybe I'm misinterpreting this verse. ~ DanielTom (talk) 09:08, 28 March 2018 (UTC)Reply