In this opening stanza, the setting is clarified as a winter evening in a rural environment. The speaker desires to watch snow fall quietly in some woods. While these woods belong to someone, that person is not present and so will not protest if the speaker trespasses.
The speaker emphasizes that he has no practical reason to stop, that he is stopping for the beauty of the scene only. However, in line 8, an element of darkness appears, which can indicate that all is not well. Because the speaker also emphasizes the cold with "frozen lake," readers begin to understand that the poem may not be a simple light-hearted celebration of nature.
Although this stanza begins with an auditory image, the shaking of the harness bells, the greater emphasis of the stanza is on silence. Although the speaker can hear the "easy wind," such a sound is gentle, nearly as silent as the falling of the snow. The slight alliteration in line 11, "sound's the sweep," mimics the sound of of this wind.
In this stanza, the speaker emphasizes his attraction to the unknown and perhaps the dangerous. He is tempted to go farther into the woods which are "lovely" but are also "dark and deep." He can't, however, lose himself in these woods because he has obligations to fulfill. Here, his life in a social community conflicts somewhat with his desire for communion with...
(The entire section is 343 words.)
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