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But I Have Promises to Keep, and Miles to Go Before I Sleep

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The line, “But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep” has been heralded as an inspiration for many a scholar. It represents the pinnacle of virtues for any man intent on living an evocative life. The poem ‘Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening’ is a merriment of the subtle splendor of nature, which offers a respite for the weary soul. Conversely, the poem also reminds us of the significance of reality and that one has definite responsibilities to achieve. The aforementioned line is a metaphor of sorts, applicable to every walk of life and strives to convey precisely this message.

In the poem, the line states that the author is has quite some distance to cover before he reaches his destination. However, if for a moment, we view the sentence in a solitary light we see that the ‘sleep’ in the phrase can signify death, and the ‘miles to go’ indicates the journey of life. Herein lies the metaphorical side of the line. Once we take this side into count, the poem itself takes on a completely new sheath. The poem then conveys a much larger picture, stating that every one of us has important duties to fulfil and while fulfilling it, we must not let distractions and worldly pleasures hinder us from accomplishing these onuses. The line prompts the user to view the poem through an altered, broader lens and allows to poem to take on a much more personal tone.

The line serves to nudge the reader swiftly yet gently out of the trance-like state that the image of the snowy woods produces. The line is so effective in its role since it passively dismisses the snowy woods without tarnishing any of its beauty. In the given context, the word ‘but’ signifies that there is a conflict in the author’s mind between his desire to stay and indulge in the loveliness of the snowy woods and his obligation to keep moving onward

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