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The Times Table
by Robert Frost

Robert Frost's books include A Boy's Will in 1913, North of Boston in 1914, Mountain Interval in 1916, New Hampshire in 1923 (for which Frost was awarded his first Pulitzer Prize), West-Running Brook in 1928, A Further Range in 1936 (giving Frost a third Pulitzer), A Witness Tree in 1942 (becoming the first person to receive the Prize four times), A Masque of Reason in 1945, Steeple Bush in 1947, A Masque of Mercy in 1947, and In the Clearing in 1962.

Additionally, his publishers released numerous anthologies and collections, including Selected Poems (New York: Henry Holt, 1923), Selected Poems (New York: Henry Holt, 1928), Collected Poems (New York: Henry Holt, 1930, which results in second Pulitzer in 1931), Selected Poems (New York: Henry Holt, 1934), Selected Poems (London: Jonathan Cape, 1936), Collected Poems (New York: Henry Holt, 1939), The Poems (New York: Modern Library, 1946), Complete Poems (New York: Henry Holt, 1949), Aforesaid (New York: Henry Holt, 1954), Selected Poems (London: Penguin Books, 1955), and Selected Poems (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1963).

Robert Frost's earliest work is now in the public domain, but all of his latter work remains under copyright protection and cannot be reproduced with permission.


1928 West-Running Brook
The Times Table
by Robert Frost

More than halfway up the pass
Was a spring with a broken drinking glass,
And whether the farmer drank or not
His mare was sure to observe the spot
By cramping the wheel on a water-bar,
turning her forehead with a star,
And straining her ribs for a monster sigh;
To which the farmer would make reply,
'A sigh for every so many breath,
And for every so many sigh a death.
That's what I always tell my wife
Is the multiplication table of life.'
The saying may be ever so true;
But it's just the kind of a thing that you
Nor I, nor nobody else may say,
Unless our purpose is doing harm,
And then I know of no better way
To close a road, abandon a farm,
Reduce the births of the human race,
And bring back nature in people's place.


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