Nothing Gold Can Stay

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.

Summary of Nothing Gold Can Stay

  • Popularity of “Nothing Gold Can Stay”: The poem was written by Robert Frost, one of the greatest American poet. ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’ is a famous short narrative poem about nature and its transience. The poem was published in Robert Frost’s collection New Hampshire in 1923. The poem also illustrates that change is indispensable and all change involves degeneration.
  • “Nothing Gold Can Stay” As a Representative of Mortality: This simple poem unfolds the idea of change and decay. The poet presents the cycle of nature with a philosophical twist to express his ideas about the changing nature of beautiful objects. He argues that just as the flowers live for one hour, the most beautiful and happy moments of life also fade away. Therefore, these happy moments should be recognized and appreciated before they lose their charm and glory.
  • Major Themes in “Nothing Gold Can Stay”: Transition, transience, and nature are the major themes of this poem. The writer concentrates upon the loss of beautiful and good things that eventually disappears. He has used ‘seasons and nature’ to create a tangible picture in the reader’s mind. The readers can imagine how gold bud transforms into green leaves, implying how hours of pleasures slip away in the hands of the ever-changing cycle of time. Therefore, one should value the beauty around them before it disappears with time.

Analysis of Literary Devices in “Nothing Gold Can Stay”

Literary devices are tools that enable the writers to present their ideas, emotions, and feelings, using persuasive language to bring clarity and richness in their texts. Robert Frost has also used some literary devices in this poem. The analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem has been given below.

  1. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /n/ in “So dawn goes down to day”.
  2. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition sounds in the same line such as the sound of /d/ in “So dawn goes down to day”.
  3. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. For example, “Nature’s first green is gold”; “Then leaf subsides to leaf” and “So dawn goes down to day.”
  4. Personification: Personification is to give human qualities to inanimate objects. Frost has personified nature throughout the poem. Nature is referred to as “her” which shows that nature is a person who can change according to the seasons.
  5. Allusion: Allusion is a belief and an indirect reference of a person, place, thing or idea of a historical, cultural, political or literary significance. For example, So Eden sank to grief.” This is an allusion to the Garden of Eden to indicate that the earth too is beautiful though for a transient period.
  6. Paradox: Frost has used this device in the first line where it is stated as, “Nature’s first green is gold.” The second example is in line three where it is stated as, “Her early leaf’s a flower.” Frost has used these paradoxes in the poem to illuminate the ideas how good things can come to an end.
  7. Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between different objects or persons. The poet has used nature as a metaphor to represent the thought that nothing good and alluring can last forever.
  8. Symbolism: Symbolism is a use of symbols signifying ideas and qualities, by giving them symbolic meanings different from their literal meanings such as “gold” symbolizes happiness and all good things in life and “green” symbolizes nature.

Analysis of Poetic Devices in “Nothing Gold Can Stay”

Poetic Devices refer to those techniques a poet uses to bring uniqueness in his text. The analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem is given below.

  1. Couplet: There are two constructive lines of verse in a couplet, usually in the same meter and joined by rhyme. There are four couplets.
  2. Rhyme Scheme: The rhyme scheme followed by the entire poem is AABB.
  3. End Rhyme: End rhyme is used to make the stanza melodious. For example, “day/stay” and “leaf/grief.”
  4. Iambic Trimeter: It is a type of meter having three iambs per line. The poem follows iambic trimester such as, “Her hardest hue to 

Quotes to be Used

The lines stated below can be used in religious speeches to explain the transience of everything. These can also be used as a piece of advice that every beautiful thing in this universe is short lived. When the sun sets, one day is over, and we enter another day.

“So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.”