Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost
Stanza IV (Lines 13-16) Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
- Our speaker finally admits to liking the woods. We knew it all along. He's entranced by the darkness and deepness of the woods, and he thinks they are lovely.
- Dark and deep woods are awesome in our book, but they also make us feel slightly anxious. There's something mysterious about the maze-like nature of woods and forests.
- The point, though, is that our speaker digs these woods.
But I have promises to keep,
- Our speaker begins this line with the word "but." The word "but" makes us think that the speaker is contemplating staying in these woods rather than returning to the village to fulfill the promises he's made.
- These promises may be things like, "I'll be home for dinner, mom," or they may be things like, "Let's get married," or "I will take care of you."
- Regardless of whether these are big promises or little promises, our speaker flirts momentarily with the idea of breaking them, before deciding against it.
And miles to go before I sleep,
- Rats. Our speaker really is in the middle of nowhere, because he's still got a few miles to go before he can rest his head on his pillow. He better roll out soon.
- But we feel like we are well acquainted with that feeling of being so far away from where you need to be that it almost seems easier to just give up and hang out.
And miles to go before I sleep.
- OK, so our speaker must really be far from home, because he feels the need to repeat the fact that he's got miles to go.
- However, when he says the line a second time, we hear the word "sleep" more clearly than when we heard it in the line before. Maybe that's because "sleep" has the honor of wrapping up the entire poem.
- In any case, this line makes us think of how awesome it will be for our speaker to finally rest his head on his pillow after such a long trek.