i need explanation of these lines The Frost performs its secret ministry,Unhelped by any wind. The owlet's cryCame loud, -and hark, again! loud as before.The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,Have left me to that solitude, which suitsAbstruser musings: save that at my sideMy cradled infant slumbers peacefully.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The speaker in "Frost at Midnight" is awake in the night while everyone else in the house ("the inmates of my cottage") are sleeping. As the speaker enjoys the quiet and calm of this time, s/he observes the frost appearing outside and hears an owl hooting in the distance. All is peaceful - even the baby is quietly asleep in it's cradle.

We don't know why the speaker is awake - it's not windy or stormy outside. Apparently s/he is simply too involved in his/her thoughts to be able to sleep. "Abstruse" can be defined as meaning "not easy to understand." The speaker appears to be grateful to have time without the bustle of family activities in which s/he can think about the topics that don't get attention during busier times of the day.


Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial