Exercício: Robert Frost´s English

Henry Cunha 3 17 182
When I started learning English many years ago, a teacher introduced me to the marvelous poetry of Robert Frost as a source for expressions and for the rhythms and cadence of English -- as well as for the profound messages Frost succeeds in conveying with relatively simple words and phrases. Try this one out:

Acquainted with the night
Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-by;
And further still at an unearthly height
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.


1. There are ten syllables in each line. Can you say each line in ten syllabic beats?
Ex: I-have-been-one-ac-quain-ted-with-the-night
In line 2, you have to compress "walked" into one syllable: same for "looked," "passed," "dropped" in the lines that follow.

2. There are several beautiful readings of this poem in YouTube for you to listen to the way it is spoken. For instance, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Qzo7fKGgWU&NR=1

3. And, above all, the message is powerful, don´t you think?

4. Any problems with meaning that you want to discuss?

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3 respostas
Mackvader 12
Hi Henry , What's up ?

It is very powerful indeed , thank you for sharing it .

What does unearthly height mean ?

Regards,
Jerry Dorien 4 46
Hi Mackvader,

And further still at an unearthly height (e mais ainda distante em um nível sobrenatural)

see you.
Henry Cunha 3 17 182
Hi Marcelo

Following Jerry´s beautiful translation, the reference is to the "luminary clock" (o relógio iluminado) that the poet sees as he raises his head to look up at the sky.

Did you notice the incredible rhyming sequences at the end of the lines?

Within each stanza, he rhymes the 1st and 3rd lines (light/night, lane/explain, etc).

But then, look at what he does with line 2 of the first stanza: it ends in "rain," which matches line 1 of the next stanza: "lane". And line 2 of Stanza 2 ends in "beat," which matches Stanza 3, Line 1: "feat," and so on.

It´s an amazing feat of poetic construction. Glad you liked too.