English IB HL

“Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost Response

“Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost

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.

In “Nothing Gold Can Stay”, Robert Frost alludes to the biblical Garden of Eden and the Fortunate Fall to express his idea that no great person or thing lasts forever. The first two lines of the poem, “Nature’s first green is gold / Her hardest hue to hold” shows how in nature, new leaves cannot keep their “hue” – the lovely green color that is “gold” meaning precious, for very long. The lines which follow, “Her early leaf’s a flower / But only so an hour” say that flowers last “only so an hour” and here, the hyperbole is used to further stress how nature shows us that nothing beautiful lasts. Frost then connects this to the idea of the destruction of the “perfect” Garden of Eden (“So Eden sank to grief”) created by God when Adam, tempted by Eve, ate the “forbidden fruit” which became the source of the “original sin”.

The poem is carefully structured in a way that connects it to Frost’s main idea. The poem follows an iambic trimeter for all lines of the poem except the final line, which is iambic pentameter. By changing the pentameter in the last line, the idea that things change and nothing stays or lasts forever is reiterated. The rhyme scheme is AA, BB, CC, DD with the last word of the first line “gold” rhyming with the last line of the second line “hold”, and so on. The final line is “nothing gold can stay” as opposed to “nothing can stay gold” (which would be more correct) so that the rhyme scheme is maintained throughout the poem.

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