Nothing Gold Can Stay

By: Robert Frost

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. (poets)

Robert Frost

Poet Robert Frost was born May 26, 1874 in San Francisco, California (poets). During high school, Frost became very interested in reading and writing poetry (poets). He later on went to attend Dartmouth College in 1892 (poets). Although he did not finish college or earn a formal degree, he moved to England in 1912 with his wife (poets). There he was inspired by many English poets and published two collections of his work before his return to the United States (poets).

Literal Meaning

In the poem Nothing Gold Can Stay, the author says that “Nature’s first green was gold, Her hardest hue to hold.” The writer is saying that before nature is green it is gold, and that it is difficult to maintain the color. The next two lines state, “Her early leaf’s a flower; But only so an hour.” Here the writer is refereeing to the earth as a she and that the first leaf is a flower but not for long. The last three lines of the poem read, “So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay.” Here the author is saying that Eden became a sad place, the dawn turned into day and that nothing stays gold forever.


The poem itself does not literally tell a narrative story. It kind of gives a descriptive ‘was and now’ idea to the readers. The mood described in the poem is a mood of sorrow. It’s the type of mood someone would have if they lost something that was once very important to them. The author presenting this mood can be trusted reader or listener. It is as if the author making a connection by speaking directly to the reader or listener and telling them about a very personal and emotional event that they have experienced. The main idea of the poem is ‘gold’. Often the color gold is a color associated with happiness, or wealth, or brightness. The tone of the author reflects that their attitude towards gold is positive, but they know that it will not be around very long.


The form of the poem is very simple. There are eight very short lines, with no more than six words in each line. It is an example of a free form. The author might have choose this form to write in because happiness is related to freedom so, therefore the poem was allowed to flow freely. The poem mainly develops by free association. All that is said in the poem is associated with something changing from good/happiness to bad/darkness. The attitude somehow changes within each line, but changes from the first line to the last line also. This leads into the meaning of the title. The title basically means that nothing good, or happy, or bright can last long. It will end eventually, rather quickly.


Stay Gold-Stevie Wonder at Colorado by Anya-Likes-Ghosts


The word choice of the poem is very simple. It is not necessarily colloquial, nor is it formal. It’s just casual. Words like gold, first, dawn, and flower stand out to me as very positive words that represent a positive attitude. On the other hand words like nothing, hardest, grief, subsides, down, and sank come off as very negative words that represent a very sorrowful attitude. One major allusion that is present in this poem is the biblical allusion to the Garden of Eden. The line in the poem presents the idea that the Garden of Eden was once a beautiful place, and is now a place that is dark and full of sorrow. The author makes good use of personification in the poem. In the first two lines, the writer personifies nature by referring to it as “her”. Also, in the sixth line the author personifies the Garden of Eden by giving the place human emotions, such as grief.

Musical Devcices

The rhyme scheme of this poem is very simple. It is the average aabbccdd rhyme scheme. There is not much of a set rhythm or rhythmic effect. There is the presence of repetition of the word her in lines two and three. The writer also repeats the word gold in lines one and eight.

The Outsiders- Ponyboy reciting 'Nothing Gold Can Stay'

Works Cited

“Nothing Gold Can Stay.” poets. Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2015.

“Robert Frost.” poets. Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web.7 Mar. 2015.

Suitegrl4ever1223. “The Outsiders- Ponyboy reciting 'Nothing Gold Can Stay'.” Online video clip.YouTube. YouTube, 30 Apr. 2007. Web. 7 Mar. 2015.

“Stay Ready (What a Life).” genius. Genius Media Group Inc., n.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2015.

Anya-Likes-Ghosts. “Stay Gold- Stevie Wonder at Colorado.” Online audio clip. soundcloud. Sound Cloud, n.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2015.