Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Robert Frost

American Poet

"Courage is the human virtue that counts most - courage to act on limited knowledge and insufficient evidence. That's all any of us have, so we must have the courage to go ahead and act on a hunch. It's the best we can do."

"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence."

"I never dared to be radical when young, for fear it would make me conservative when old."

"Happiness makes up in height what it lacks in length."

"I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: two roads diverged in the wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."

"The best way out is always through."

"The brain is a wonderful organ; if starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get to the office."

"A Liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel."

"A definite purpose, like blinders on a horse, inevitably narrows its possessor's point of view."

"Caution is security. "Boldest" is freedom - the breaking thing. Freedom lies in being bold."

"Belief is better than anything else, and it is best when rapt - above paying its respects to anybody's doubt whatsoever."

"A poet begins in delight and ends in wisdom."

"All thought is a feat of association; having what's in front of you bring up something in your mind that you almost didn't know you knew."

"Good fences make good neighbors."

"Anything more than the truth would be too much."

"Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it."

"I'm against a homogenized society, because I want the cream to rise. "

"I go to school to youth to learn the future."

"My greatest complaint of education is that it is so loaded with material you never move in the spirit again."

"Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired."

"The chief reason for going to school is to get the impression fixed for life that there is a book side for everything."

"The reason worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work."

"It should be of the pleasure of a poem itself to tell how it can. The figure a poem makes. It begins in delight and ends in wisdom. The figure is the same as for love."

"Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favor."

"No wonder poets sometimes have to seem so much more businesslike than business men. Their wares are so much harder to get rid of."

"Why abandon a belief merely because it ceases to be true? Cling to it long enough and it will turn true again, for so it goes. Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favor."

"We all sit around in a ring and suppose, while the secret sits in the center and knows."

"Don't be agnostic - be something."

"Americans are like a rich parent who wishes he knew how to give his child the hardships that made him rich."

"Ultimately, this is what you go before God for: You’ve had bad luck and good luck and all you really want in the end is mercy."

"Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up."

"A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point of doubtful sanity."

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life. It goes on."

"I am not a teacher, but an awakener."

"You’re searching... for things that don’t exist; I mean beginnings. Ends and beginnings – there are no such things. There are only middles."

"Freedom lies in being bold."

"Moments of freedom can't be given to you - you have to take them."

"An idea is a feat of association, and the height of it is a good metaphor."

"The world is filled with willing people; some willing to work, the rest willing to let them."

"Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat."

"To be social is to be forgiving."

"What we do get in life and miss so often in literature is the sentence sounds that underlie the words. Words in themselves do not convey meaning."

"The only certain freedom's in departure."

"The Road Not Taken - Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."

"The rain to the wind said, You push and I'll pelt.' They so smote the garden bed That the flowers actually knelt, And lay lodged--though not dead. I know how the flowers felt."

"Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I've tasted of desire, I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice."

"Nature's first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf's a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay."

"They cannot scare me with their empty spaces Between stars—on stars where no human race is. I have it in me so much nearer home To scare myself with my own desert places."

"These woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep."

"There's nothing I'm afraid of like scared people."