Analysis of Robert Frost's Attitude to Nature: Inheritor of Wordsworth and Emerson

 Robert Frost (1874-1963), a Continuation of the Romantic Attitude to Nature or a Departure from it?
It is a matter of critical debates if Frost is a great nature poet or not has been. Alvarez only defines his as a pastoral poet but the critics like Marion Montgomery admires him a great nature poet of his own class. Basically, Robert Frost is the quintessential New England poet. His poems are spare. He has close affinity with nature and his poems are meditative -- qualities he shares with the Romantic poet Wordsworth. Often, ordinary natural objects suggest something greater in his poems. He plays around with metre in order to capture the easy rhythm of the speaking voice. His poems flow very smoothly, like a good conversation.

Frost is local or regional in his treatment of nature like that of Wordsworth. It is the region that lies to the north of Boston, which forms the background to his poetry. It is hills and dales , rivers and forests , trees , flowers and plants , animals , birds and insects , season and seasonal changes , of this particular region , which have been described in one poem after another , and his descriptions are characterized by accuracy and minuteness . As Isidor Schneider says, “the descriptive power of Frost is to me the most wonderful things in his poetry. A Snowfall, a spring thaw, a bending tree, a valley mist, a brook, these are brought not to, but into, the experience of the reader".

The minuteness of observation and fidelity of description upon various objects of nature are most striking point in his poetry; Thus in The Birches we get a concrete and faithful description of the ' habit ' of birches and how they react to a storm:
“When I see birches bend to left and right
    Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
 I like to think some boy's deen swinging them.
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay
Asice - storms do ".

Frost's love of nature is more comprehensive many sided and all - inclusive than that of Wordsworth loves to point only the spring - time beauty to nature , or what Coleridge called , ' Nature in the grove ', but Frost has an equally keen eye for the sensuous and the beautiful in nature , as well as for the harsher and the unpleasant . A Boundless Moment gives us one of those fresh glimpses of beauty which have made Frost's nature poetry so popular:
  Oh, that is the paradise - in - bloom, I said,
And truly it was fair enough for flowers.
But as an intruder treacherous forces are for ever breaking through the pleasant surface of the Landscape. The weather is bracing, his spirit are high: but he must tread lightly for fear of hidden dangers, and there is always the chances that he may stumble upon a bullet - pierced helmet or horror. In Two Tramps in Mud Time he interrupts his genial chat upon the April weather to advise:
“Be glad of water, but don't forget
The burking frost in the earth beneath
That will steal forth after the sun is set
And show on the water its crystal teeth ".
To Frost love of nature beauty and harrow at the remoteness and indifference of the physical world, are not opposite but different aspects of the same view.

Frost does not idealize or romanticize the nature alike Wordsworth. Rather his is the revelation of truth. His poems are of his daily subject, of common experience. His realism is also seen in the fact that he does not picture the natural world as better than man’s. “Nature lives mechanically; awareness of life is the distinctive privilege of man. Man, no doubt causes much misery through war and bloodshed, but then he is also capable of much heroism. Nature's world is disordered; it is human labour alone which can turn it into a well organized and beautiful garden ".

Frost's nature has no ' holy plan ' no soul or personality. It is unfeeling, impersonal, and at best animal creation. Nature is indifferent, but more often than not he finds something sinister and hostile lurking beneath the apparent calm and beauty of nature. This something sinister is constantly breaking out at the most unexpected moments, and in a most terrifying way.

Lawrence Thompson says that Frost's “lyrics begin in delight and end in wisdom ". All of his poems begin with soft nature scenes but culminate into rich philosophic ends. There are a number of sources from which Frost inherits the technique of using the ordinary to suggest something other than itself: the Bible, the classics, the poetry of Wordsworth, and New England writers such as Thoreau or Emerson. He admires Emerson's use of simplicity to suggest profound meanings. The classical pastoral tradition and the Romantic tradition of poetry about nature are in his hands refashioned by the use of New England vocabulary and turn of phrases Frost is the original nature poet for its beauty its slow, dignified exploration of reality. A poem, according to Frost, is an affirmative entity for it springs from belief, be it belief in God, in the poet's own self, in art, in the nation or in the vision of nature.

Ardhendu De  

Ref: 1. Study Materiel IGNOU 
         2. WIKIPEDIA

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