What does the speaker mean by "promises"?

In "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," by "promises," the speaker means the commitments and responsibilities he has. They conflict with his desire to enjoy a profoundly beautiful moment in the woods. The speaker longs to stay in the woods and watch the snow fall, but he knows he must return to his obligations.

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At the end of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening ," the speaker says that he has "promises" to keep. In this context, promises are his responsibilities and duties. They are what compel him to move onward in his journey while his heart yearns to stay and keep...

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At the end of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," the speaker says that he has "promises" to keep. In this context, promises are his responsibilities and duties. They are what compel him to move onward in his journey while his heart yearns to stay and keep on watching the snow silently fall against a black sky.

The poem is about the conflict between enjoying the ephemeral pleasure and beauty of an especially lovely natural moment and the pressure of the responsibilities which drive one relentlessly forward because of the prior commitments one has made.

Although the poem is short, the speaker's observations suggest that it is unusual for him to stop as he has on this particular evening, the shortest day of the year, to put pleasure ahead of duty. His horse, for example, is confused and shakes his harness bells, as if to remark on how unusual this situation is. According to the speaker, the horse must think there is "some mistake."

The speaker, however, is so moved by the silent scene around him that he is willing to let his duties wait so that for a rare moment he can dwell in the present, not driven by what must be done to fulfill future obligations.

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