Acquainted with the Night

Acquainted With The Night

Acquainted with the Night

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Acquainted with the Night is a poem by Robert Frost. It first appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review and was published in 1928 in his collection West-Running Brook.

Interpretation and Form

The poem is most often read as the poet/narrator's admission of having experienced depression and a vivid description of what that experience feels like. In this particular reading of the poem, "the night" is the depression itself, and the narrator describes how he views the world around him in this state of mind. He feels completely isolated from everything around him despite the fact that he is in a city. And as he aimlessly roams the city streets, he speaks of walking back and forth in the rain and of having "outwalked the furthest city light" to remain in darkness. He doesn't want to see anything, because everything he sees saddens him: "the city lane," "the watchman on his beat." Even time itself, as represented by "the luminary clock against the sky" loses its meaning for the narrator who says that time is "neither wrong nor right."

The poem is written in strict iambic pentameter, with 14 lines like a sonnet, and with a terza rima rhyme scheme, which follows the complex pattern, aba bcb cdc dad aa. Terza rima (which translates into English as "third rhyme") was invented by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri for his epic poem The Divine Comedy. Because Italian is a language in which many words have vowel endings,...
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