A stranger came to the door at eve,
And he spoke the bridegroom fair.
He bore a green-white stick in his hand,
And, for all burden, care.
He asked with the eyes more than the lips
For a shelter for the night,
And he turned and looked at the road afar
Without a window light.

The bridegroom came forth into the porch
With, ‘Let us look at the sky,
And question what of the night to be,
Stranger, you and I.’
The woodbine leaves littered the yard,
The woodbine berries were blue,
Autumn, yes, winter was in the wind;
‘Stranger, I wish I knew.’

Within, the bride in the dusk alone
Bent over the open fire,
Her face rose-red with the glowing coal
And the thought of the heart’s desire.

The bridegroom looked at the weary road,
Yet saw but her within,
And wished her heart in a case of gold
And pinned with a silver pin.

The bridegroom thought it little to give
A dole of bread, a purse,
A heartfelt prayer for the poor of God,
Or for the rich a curse;

But whether or not a man was asked
To mar the love of two
By harboring woe in the bridal house,
The bridegroom wished he knew.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Robert Frost's poem Love and a Question

22 Comments

  1. Lekuru Hellen Ekule says:

    This is a very interesting poem and it is contemporary. The bribegroom has to choose between expressing love to the bride or giving attention to the stranger. he chooses the former, which is the best option.

  2. Donain Camarena says:

    I really love this poem. I teach Literature in Panama and I have found this as a great source to my students. Thanks Frost for this marvelous gift

  3. Rachel says:

    this is such a beautiful poem

  4. leeloo johnston says:

    this poem is a perfect form of pure art.

  5. Jessica says:

    So does the man allow the stranger to stay the night or not?

  6. ea says:

    This is a metaphorical poem about the bridegroom’s own anxiety about his bride’s expectations of their first night together. He wants nothing to mar their love – yet he himself is the stranger with the green stick. Get it? He is inexperienced and she is a young rose, not some fixture of jewelry that will remain unchanged by the event that lays before them on that dark, windowless road of life.

  7. Liz says:

    The fact that the poem ends on a questionable note, meaning that the reader still has to answer the question for themselves, reflects to how people have many problems in their lives and how it is up to them to figure out the best answers.

  8. wildechild76 says:

    Among many others things depicted in “Love and a Question”, the poem illustrates someone who is torn between his love for his wife and his love for poetry- Seeing the world through the poet’s eyes so to speak. Can one who is so passionate about the poetic exploration of truth “harbor” that love (or care) in the bridle house without marring both loves? Will both loves suffer for his “inability to choose”? You’ll find the same concept in Keat’s poem “Bright Star”- Robert Frost was an avid disciple of Keats and found much inspiration and solice in his poetry.

  9. robin says:

    The conflict that the bridegroom faces in Frost’s Love and a Question is between his pity for the stranger and fear of his wife’s desire for the stranger. Although he would like to be hospitable, he would risk his wife cheating on him, as she was rose-red upon looking at the stranger. If the bride’s heart were encased in gold and pinned with a silver pin, the bridegroom would welcome the stranger. The question would be whether the stranger was asked to destroy their love by inciting desire in the bride.

  10. a hhhhhh crikey says:

    man this poem blew me away i was so happy to hear such an inteeligant man speach his mind it was absolutely astonishing to this performance of lierature.

  11. Nereyda Hinojosa says:

    Shall I let a stranger in my house while my bride awaits impatiently? That is the understanding of this poem when first read ; but ofcourse, it’s from Robert Frost. Read it again and analyze it. It says much more.

  12. Darek Ryan says:

    This poem presents a classic case of how poetry is interpereted differently based on the perception of the reader. While all see the same subject, very different meanings come from it. Frost was such a complex and intricate poet, that I believe to better understand the poem’s meaning, one would have to learn more about Frost himself.

  13. Stephen says:

    In LOve and a Question he blatantly uses words twice within a very short period. For example woodbine leaves. A woodbine is a green plant that produces blue inedible berries. He even makes a comment that the berries were blue, maybe there was something in that house that one of them could just not have. Somethine was just out of reach. A true analysis of the poem is hard to come by because Frost leaves the reader with a question, just like the title.

  14. Tisha says:

    I love this poem. It says alot!!! i love all the details he puts into just a simple poem. i think that durng this time that he wrote this poem he was thinking about depressing times. it show when this man has no where to go and no one will not be kind enough to open there house to him when he is in needing. But the only house with a lamp on considering to let stay the night. This poem might be confusing but it depends on the way you look at it. just simplify it!! and youl get it it just takes a little amount of time.
    Good luck!!

  15. Gomz says:

    this is a unique poem in that there is much symbolizm and there is internal conflict. the bridegroom is not just fighting with the thought of having to take in the stranger when he wants to be with his new wife, but he also has to think about the fact that all the other people in the town have turned him down. he looks at him with sorrowful eyes and doesn’t even need to speak to show how desperate he is. at the end, the bridegroom has not made the tough decision, as is obvious by the line,”the bridegroom wished he knew.” this poem was written with a lot of emphasis on love and internal conflict

  16. Whitney says:

    this is about an old couple (bridegroom and bride doesn’t necessarily mean newly weds) the stranger is death at the bridegroom’s “door”. it says it came at eve which symbolizes old age (morning symbolizes birth, noon symbolizes middle age, etc…). the bridegroom wonders what would happen when he dies with the “stranger” near- and it says “autumn, yes, winter was in the wind” symbolizing death and once again old age. he sees his wife inside, safe, warm, healthy, and wonders again what it would be like to leave her and thinks about his life as the “weary road” but only sees her because she was his life and then he wishes her to remain safe and wishes her heart in a “case of gold”. he then goes on to think that he cannot give her enough if he would die… and he curses the rich (meaning the healthy and happy) because he is no longer rich with life. the “woe” in the bridal house is death and separation.

  17. Terry Berg says:

    It is not a story except in the sense of being an allegory. The young man faces an overwhelming internal conflict between the simple life he has established and the opportunity or life-changing experience that has symbolically presented itself as a stranger seeking “shelter” in the bridegroom’s life. The new wife and the fire represent warmth and safety. He tries to go out on the porch to see if this different life might be accepted by someone else,but his talents or gifts render it tailor-made for him alone. He is both afraid of it and drawn to it. He wishes he could pack his treasured safe life into a “gold case” and take it with him so that he might have both. There is no pat answer to this eternal question because it is different for every man and woman. We all have monumental choices to make that affect our whole lives. One might infer from reading “The Road Not Taken,” Frost’s signature later poem, that he chose to cast his lot with the stranger.

  18. Lisbet says:

    first of all i take back what i commented b/c because i was wrong. It is a narrative poem(obviously) and it IS NOT ABOUT TWO PEOPLE WHO DON’T LOVE EACH OTHER. The starnger goes to the door and asks the bridegroom for shelter because all of the other houses in the town turned their lights off on him meaning they wouldn’t help him. So the bridegroom told him to step outside with him and as they did he was having an internal conflict of whether to help this homeless stranger or turn his lights off on him like the others did so that he could be with his new wife. That’s why he says, ” with in the bride in the dusk alone bent over the open fire her face rose red with the glowing coal and the thought of the hearts desire” so the bridegroom is watching from the porch his new wife and he has a great desire to be with her so he (as mentioned before) struggles and does not know what to do. At the end of the poem when it says, ” the bridegroom wished he knew” is when you realize that there is no denouement to this poem or no resolution.

  19. Kate says:

    I like this poem a lot. I do no tknow what it means, exactly but I think that the people who are married are not exactly in love. Maybe that is what Robert Frost meant but, if not, we will never know.

  20. Lisbet says:

    The title automatically says something about the story. Obviously, the first word, “love” is understood for its meaning but then it says AND a question..so there might be doubts in the relationship which is what this narrative poem is about, 2 people who really don’t know a lot about each other and they regret getting married.

  21. gumballgoddes says:

    it is not a stor and it ia aout how two poeple are forced tobe together when really they love eachother not

  22. Marikos says:

    i think this is more of a story than a poem

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