The Speed Master


The Master Speed by Robert Frost is a popular sonnet usually preferred to be recited at weddings. It is said that Robert Frost wrote it when his daughter was about to get married. He wrote it in such a way that she would take her life in a savoury moment, not to rush through it, but to take it slowly and one day at a time. One can enjoy life to the fullest if it’s only done at master speed.

To me, “Master Speed” symbolises life and mortality. The whole poem is about how quickly it goes, how quickly it can go and be over when we are given it not so that to race through it, but to “stand still” and enjoy it. The pace will continue, but Frost emphasises the importance of clinging to life and living it. The poem encapsulates “the married couple’s ability to withstand the flux of wind and water.” Frost isn’t the first to use the language of pace or quickness to illustrate how love can transform a couple’s life into a vitality that far exceeds what either partner might achieve on their own. Frost, on the other hand, uses the archaic sense of ‘speed,’ which is ‘prosperity or success in an undertaking,’ as well as its Latin origin, spes, which means ‘hope,’ to suggest the possibility of rest within motion, permanence within transition, and the eternal within the perishable.

“Two such as you with a master speed
Cannot be parted nor be swept away
From one another once you are agreed
That life is only life forevermore
Together wing to wing and oar to oar.”

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