) is the fourth volume of poetry by Robert Frost
, which won him his first Pulitzer Prize
. Subtitled “A Poem with Notes and Grace Notes”, it was divided into three parts. Part one was the title poem below, part two (“Notes”) consisted of the poems “A Star in a Stoneboat” and “I Will Sing You One-O”, and part three (“Grace Notes”) contained the remainder of the volume’s poems. The title poem is a lengthy, rambling tribute to his adopted home, at times seeming to revel in provincialism and occassionally creepy (such as when he recounts kicking a farmer from his land because he wanted it). In the original volume, it was studded with footnotes referencing other poems in the book, which most volumes do not reproduce. (Since I had to type in this whole thing by hand, fatigue prevented be from including them.)
Dedication: To VERMONT
A Star in a Stoneboat
Place for a Third
I. The Witch of Coös
II. The Pauper Witch of Grafton
An Empty Threat
A Fountain, A Bottle, A Donkey’s Ears, and Some Books
I Will Sing You One-O
Fire and Ice
In a Disused Graveyard
Dust of Snow
Nothing Gold Can Stay
The Aim Was Song
Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening
For Once, Then Something
Good-by and Keep Cold
Two Look at Two
Not to Keep
A Brook in the City
The Kitchen Chimney
Looking for a Sunset Bird in Winter
A Boundless Moment
Evening in a Sugar Orchard
The Valley’s Singing Day
A Hillside Thaw
On a Tree Fallen Across the Road
Our Singing Strength
The Lockless Door
The Need of Being Versed in Country Things
I met a lady from the South who said
(You won’t believe she said it, but she said it):
“None of my family ever worked, or had
A thing to sell.” I don’t suppose the work
Much matters. You may work for all of me.
I’ve seen the time I’ve had to work myself.
The having anything to sell is what
Is the disgrace in man or state or nation.
I met a traveler from Arkansas
Who boasted of his state as beautiful
s and apple
And apples in commerical quanitites?”
I asked him, on my guard. “Oh, yes,” he answered,
Off his. The time was evening in the Pullman
“I see the porter
’s made your bed,” I told him.
I met a Californian who would
- a state so blessed,
He said, in climate, none had ever died there
A natural death, and Vigilance Committees
Had had to organize to stock the graveyard
And vindicate the state’s humanity.
“Just the way Stefansson
runs on,” I murmured,
“About the British Arctic
. That’s what comes
Of being in the market with a climate.”
I met a poet
from another state,
full of fluid inspiration,
Who in the name of fluid inspiration,
But in the best style of bad salesmanship,
Angrily tried to make me write a protest
I think) against the Volstead Act
He didn’t even offer me a drink
Until I asked for one to steady him
This is called having an idea to sell.
It never could have happened in New Hampshire.
The only person really soiled with trade
I ever stumbled on in old New Hampshire
Was someone who had just come back ashamed
From selling things in California.
He’d built a noble masard roof
On turrets, like Constantinople
In woods some ten miles from a railroad station,
As if to put forever out of mind
The hope of being, as we say, received.
I found him standing at the close of fay
Inside the threshold of his open barn,
Like a lone actor on a gloomy stage -
And recognized him, through the iron gray
In which his face was muffled to the eyes,
As an old boyhood friend, and once indeed
with me on the road to Brighton
His farm was “grounds,” and not a farm at all;
His house among the local sheds and shanties
Rose like a factor
’s at a trading station.
And he was rich, and I was still a rascal.
I couldn’t keep from asking impolitely,
Where had he been and what had he been doing?
How did he get so? (Rich was understood.)
In dealing in “old rags” in San Francisco
Oh, it was terrible as well could be.
We both of us turned over in our graves.
Just specimins is all New Hampshire has,
One each of everything
as in a showcase,
Which naturally she doesn’t care to sell.
She had one President
. (Pronounce him Purse,
And make the most of it for better or worse.
He’s your one chance to score against the state.)
She had one Daniel Webster
. He was all
The Daniel Webster ever was or shall be.
She had the Dartmouth
needed to produce him.
I call her old. She has one family
Whose claim is good to being settled here
Before the era of colonization
And before that of exploration
remarked them as he coasted by,
Dangling their legs and fishing off a wharf
At the Isles of Shoals
, and satisfied himself
They weren’t Red Indian
s but veritable
s of the white race, dawn people
Like those who furnished Adam
’s sons with wives;
However uninnocent they may have been
In being there so early in our history
They’d been there then a hundred years or more.
Pity he didn’t ask what they were up to
At that date with a wharf already built,
And take their name. They’ve since told me their name -
Today an honored one in Nottingham
As for what they were up to more than fishing -
Suppose they weren’t behaving Puritan
The hour had not yet struck for being good,
Mankind had not yet gone on the Sabbatical
It became an explorer of the deep
Not to explore too deep in others’ business.
Did you but know of him, New Hampshire has
One real reformer who would change the world
So it would be accepted by two classes,
Artists the minute they set up as artists,
Before, that is, they are themselves accepted,
And boys the minute they get out of college.
I can’t help thinking those are tests go by.
And she has one I don’t know what to call him,
Who comes from Philadelphia
With a great flock of chicken
s of rare breeds
He wants to give the educational
Advantages of growing almost wild
Under the watchful eye of hawk
because they’re spoken of by Chaucer
because they’re spoken of by Herrick
She has a touch of gold
. New Hampshire gold -
You may have heard of it. I had a farm
Offered me not long since up Berlin
With a mine on it that was worked for gold;
But not gold in commercial quanities,
Just enough gold to make the engagement ring
And marriage rings of those who owned the farm.
What gold more innocent
could one have asked for?
One of my children ranging after rocks
Lately brought home from Andover
A specimen of beryl
with a trace
. I know with radium
The trace would have to be the merest trace
To be below the threshold of commercial
But trust New Hampshire not to have enough
Of radium or anything to sell.
A specimen of everything, I said.
She has one witch
- old style. She lives in Colebrook
(The only other witch I ever met
Was lately at a cut-glass dinner in Boston
There were four candles and four people present.
The witch was young, and beautiful (new style),
And open-minded. She was free to question
Her gift for reading letters locked in boxes.
Why was it so much greater when the boxes
Were metal than it was when they were wooden?
It made the world seem so mysterious.
The S’ciety for Psychical Research
Was cognizant. Her husband was worth millions.
I think he owned some shares in Harvard
New Hampshire used
to have at Salem
A company we called the White Corpuscle
Whose duty was at any hour of night
To rush in sheets and fool’s caps where they smelled
A thing the least bit doubtfully perscented
And give someone the Skipper Ireson’s Ride
One each of everything as in a showcase.
More than enough land for a specimen
You’ll say she has, but there there enters in
Something else to protect her from herself.
There quality makes up for quantity.
Not even New Hampshire farms are much for sale.
The farm I made my home on in the mountains
I had to take by force rather than buy.
I caught the owner outdoors by himself
Raking up after winter, and I said,
“I’m going to put you off this farm: I want it.”
“Where are you going to put me? In the road?”
“I’m going to put you on the farm next to it.”
“Why won’t the farm next to it do for you?”
“I like this better.” It was really better.
Apples? New Hampshire has them, but unsprayed,
With no suspicion in stem end or blossom end
And so not good for anything but cider
Her unpruned grape
s are flung like lariat
Far up the birches
out of reach of man.
A state producing precious metals, stones,
And - writing; none of these except perhaps
The precious literature
Or quality to worry the producer
About disposing of it. Do you know,
Considering the market, there are more
Poems produced than any other thing?
No wonder poets sometimes have to seem
So much more businesslike than businessmen.
Their wares are so much harder to get rid of.
She’s one of the two best states in the Union.
’s the other. And the two have been
s in the sap yoke
from of old
In many Marches. And they lie like wedges,
Thick end to thin end and thin end to thick end,
And are a figure of the way the strong
Of mind and strong of arm should fit together,
One think where one is thin and vice versa.
New Hampshire raises the Connecticut
In a trout hatchery
But soon divides the river with Vermont
Both are delightful states for their absurdly
Small towns - Lost Nation
, Muddy Boo
, Still Corners
(so called not because
The place is silent all day long, nor yet
Because it boasts a whisky still
It set out once to be a city and still
Is only corners, crossroads in a wood).
And I remember one whose name appeared
Between the pictures on a movie screen
night once in Franconia
When everything had gone Republican
s were in sore need of comfort:
goes Democratic, Wilson
2. And everybody to the saddest
Laughed the loud laugh the big laugh at the little.
(five million) laughs at Manchester
Manchester (sixty or seventy thousand) laughs
(four thousand), Littleton
Laughs at Franconia (seven hundred), and
Franconia laughs, I fear - did laugh that night -
At Easton. What has Easton left to laugh at,
And like the actress exclaim “Oh, my God” at?
There’s Bungey; and for Bungey there are towns,
Whole townships named but without population.
Anything I can say about New Hampshire
Will serve almost as well about Vermont,
Excepting that they differ in their mountains.
The Vermont mountains stretch extended straight;
New Hampshire mountains curl up in a coil.
I had been coming to New Hampshire mountains.
And here I am and what am I to say?
Here first my theme becomes embarrasing.
said, “The God who made New Hampshire
Taunted the lofty land with little men.”
"I go no more to summer in New Hampshire.
I’ve given up my summer place in Dublin
But when I asked to know what ailed New Hampshire,
She said she couldn’t stand the people in it,
The little men (it’s Massachusetts speaking).
And when I asked to know what ailed the people.
She said, “Go read your own books and find out.”
I may as well confess myself the author
Of several books against the world in general.
To take them as against a special state
Or even nation’s to restrict my meaning.
I’m what is called a sensibilitist,
Or otherwise an environmentalist
I refuse to adapt myself a mite
To any change from hot to cold, from wet
To dry, from poor to rich, or back again.
I make a virtue of my suffering
From nearly everything that goes on round me.
In other words, I know wherever I am,
I shall not lack for pain to keep me awake.
taught me how to say my prayers:
“Why, this is Hell, nor am I out of it
I complain of,
No less than England
, and Italy
Because I wrote my novels in New Hampshire
Is no proof that I aimed them at New Hampshire.
When I left Massachusetts years ago
Between two days, the reason why I sought
New Hampshire, not Connecticut
, New York
, or Vermont
Where I was living then, New Hampshire offered
The nearest boundary to escape across.
I hadn’t an illusion in my handbag
About the people being better there
Than those I left behind. I thought they weren’t.
I thought they couldn’t be. And yet they were.
I’d sure had no friends in Massachusetts
As Hall of Windham
, Gay of Atkinson
Bartlett of Raymond
(now of Colorado
Harris of Derry
, and Lynch of Bethlehem
The glorious bard
s of Massachusetts seem
To want to make New Hampshire people over.
They taunt the lofty land with little men.
I don’t know what to say about the people.
For art’s sake one could almost wish them worse
Rather than better. How are we to write
The Russian novel
As long as life goes so unterribly?
There is the pinch from which our only outcry
to date is heard to come.
We get what little misery we can
Out of not having cause for misery.
It makes the guild of novel writers sick
To be expected to be Dostoievskis
On nothing worse than too much luck and comfort.
This is not sorrow, though; it’s just the vapors,
And recognized as such in Russia itself
Under the new regime, and so forbidden.
If well it is with Russian, then feel free
To say so or be stood against the wall
And shot. It’s Pollyanna
now or death
This, then, is the new freedom
we hear tell of;
And very sensible. No state can build
A literature that shall at once be sound
And sad on a foundation of well-being.
To show the level of intelligence
Among us: it was just a Warren
Whose horse had pulled him short up in the road
By me, a stranger. This is what he said,
From nothing but embarassment and want
Of anything more sociable to say:
“You hear those hound dog
s sing on Moosilauke
Well, they remind me of the hue and cry
We’ve heard against the Mid-Victorian
And never rightly understood till Bryan
Retired from politics and joined the chorus
The matter with the Mid-Victorians
Seems to have been a man named John L. Darwin
“Go ‘long,” I said to him, he to his horse.
I knew a man who failing as a farmer
Burned down his farmhorse for the fire insurance,
And spent the proceeds on a telescope
To satisfy a lifelong curiosity
About our place among the infinites.
And how was that for otherworldliness?
If I must choose which I would elevate -
The people or the already lofty mountains,
I’d elevate the already lofty mountains.
The only fault I find with old New Hampshire
Is that her mountains aren’t quite high enough.
I was not always so; I’ve come to be so.
How, to my sorrow, how have I attained
A height from which to look down critical
On mountains? What has given me assurance
To say what height becomes New Hampshire mountains,
Or any mountains? Can it be some strength
I feel, as of an earthquake in my back,
To heave them higher to the morning star
Can it be foreign travel in the Alps
Or having seen and credited a moment
The solid molding of vast peaks of cloud
Behind the pitiful reality
, and Liberty
Or some such sense as says how high shall jet
The fountain in proportion to the basin?
No, none of these has raised me to my throne
Of intellectual dissatisfaction,
But the sad accident of having seen
Our actual mountains given in a map
Of early times as twice the height they are -
Ten thousand feet instead of only five -
Which shows how sad an accident may be.
Five thousand is no longer high enough.
Whereas I never had a good idea
About improving people in the world,
Here I am overfertile in suggestion,
And cannot rest from planning day or night
How high I’d thrust the peaks in summer snow
To tap the upper sky and draw a flow
Of frosty night air on the vale below
Down from the stars to freeze the dew as starry.
The more sensibilitist I am
The more I seem to want my mountains wild;
The way the wiry gang-boss liked the logjam.
After he’d picked the lock and got it started,
He dodged a log that lifted like an arm
Against the sky to break his back for him,
Then came in dancing, skipping with his life
Across the roar and chaos, and the words
We saw him say along the zigzag journey
Were doubtless as the words we heard him say
On coming nearer: “Wasn’t she an i
Son-of-a-bitch? You bet she was an i
For all her mountains fall a little short,
Her people not quite short enough for Art,
She’s still New Hampshire, a most restful state.
Lately in converse with a New York alec
About the new school of the pseudo-phallic
I found myself in a close corner where
I had to make an almost funny choice.
“Choose you which you will be - a prude, or puke,
Mewling and puking in the public arms.”
“Me for the hills where I don’t have to choose.”
“But if you had to choose, which would you be?”
I wouldn’t be a prude afraid of nature.
I know a man who took a double ax
And went alone against a grove of trees;
But his heart failing him, he dropped the ax
And ran for shelter quoting Matthew Arnold
“‘Nature is cruel, man is sick of blood’
There’s been enough shed without shedding mine.
Remember Birnam Wood
! The wood’s in flux!”
He had a special terror of the flux
That showed itself in dendrophobia
The only decent tree had been to mill
And educated into boards, he said.
He knew too well for any earthly use
The line where man leaves off and nature starts,
And never overstepped it save in dreams.
He stood on the safe side of the line talking -
Which is sheer Matthew Arnoldism,
The cult of one who owned himself “a foiled
,” and “took dejectedly
His seat upon the intellectual throne
Agreed in frowning on these improvised
Altars the woods are full of nowadays,
Again as in the days when Ahaz
By worship under the green trees in the open.
Scarcely a mile but that I come on one,
A black-cheeked stone and stick of rain-washed charcoal
Even to say the groves were God’s first temples
Comes too near to Ahaz’ sin for safety.
Nothin not built with hands of course is sacred.
But here is not a question of what’s sacred;
Rather of what to face or run away from.
I’d hate to be a runaway from nature.
And neither would I choose to be a puke
Who cares not what he does in company,
And when he can’t do anything, falls back
On words, and tries his worst to make words speak
Louder than actions, and sometimes achieves it.
It seems a narrow choice the age insists on.
How about being a good Greek
, for instance?
That course, they tell me, isn’t offered this year.
“Come, but this isn’t choosing - puke or prude?”
Well, if I have to choose one or the other,
I choose to be a plain New Hampshire farmer
With an income in cash of, say, a thousand
(From, say, a publisher in New York City).
It’s restful to arrive at a decision,
And restful just to think about New Hampshire.
At present I am living in Vermont.
A minor poem by T.S. Eliot
, part one of a sequence of five poems called “Landscapes
Children's voices in the orchard
Between the blossom
- and the fruit
Between the green tip and the root.
Black wing, brown wing, hover over;
Twenty years and the spring is over;
To-day grieves, to-morrow grieves,
Cover me over, light-in-leaves;
Golden head, black wing,
Swing up into the apple