The Gift Outright

“The Gift Outright” is a recitation that Robert Frost himself recited in 1961 at the College of William and Mary. Besides the other poems of Robert Frost, this poem is not so famous.

Though the poem has many notations to learn. The poem was first published in the Virginia Quarterly Review in the year 1942. One of Frost’s critics says that perhaps this poem is written before 1936. For several times “The Gift Outright” is being recited in inaugural.

The Gift Outright Summary

The poem tells the readers about the history of America and that is why some people accept that poem as a poem of Americanism. But if readers read it in detail then will find it not only speak on their country.

The Gift Outright Explanation

In the first line of the poem says, before they become a part of the land it was the land that was of theirs. So, there is no hesitation in saying that the land is of the countrymen of America who are living there.

“She was ours more than a hundred years
Before we were her people…”

In this line, the poet is addressing his country by the term ‘her’. Maybe the country is the mother that is he uses ‘she’ or ‘her’. The country was of them before a thousand years even when they were not born.

Then Frost becomes a part of the country. Now the poet is using names of places like ‘Massachusetts’ and ‘Virginia’. The poet used to live the New Hampshire but here he does not take the name of his birthplace.

The Gift Outright poem lyrics
The Gift Outright poem lyrics

There are all made when they get free from the burden of England. And a hundred years back these all were belonging to the colonizers.

“But we were England’s, still colonial,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by

Here, the poet is saying that before his birth the country was colonized by England, and still it stays colonial from some perspectives. They were possessing what that never belongs to them.

It seems that the country people must possess but it did not happen. But now the do not want to let any other possess in their country. So, from these lines, it is proved that Robert Frost has enough love for his country. Further, he states,

“Something we were withholding made us weak”

By this line, the poet is trying to say that before him the countrymen were withholding the old-fashioned concept and that made them weak and the outsiders captured their motherland.

After that, they all found that it was their country, their blood and they are feeding on the country. The poet is now uttering about their freedom. They were holding their faith for the country and contributed their blood for freedom.

“And forthwith found salvation in surrender.”

It was he, who knows well the history of the unbound world and that is why he prevails when people get to know the truth they come up and makes the mother free from other’s eyes.

Then the country gets justice and becomes independent. The identity seems like the countrymen give themselves outright. Then the poet utters a very important line,

“The deed of gift was many deeds of war”

The deed that they get was the deeds of many people who have given their lives to make the mother free. And then the country again becomes filled with wealth and becomes similar that it was before.

“But still unstoried, artless…
Such as she was and, such as she would become.”

Maybe the struggles, bloodshed of countrymen make the country free that the poet is highlighting here. And the story of getting freedom is not being written by emotion.

That is why they remain s unstoried and artless. This is what that she stays at the beginning and will stay the same maybe in the future.

The Gift Outright Analysis

“The Gift Outright” is a country’s poem that deals with the country freedom and struggle of countrymen. From every section, Robert Frost’s love for his country is coming out and nationalism also takes place more broadly.

Albert Einstein is of the opinion

“Nationalism is an infantile thing. It is the measles of mankind.”

This is true to the poem and the poet is also suffering from measles of nationalism. But another thing that comes out that Frost addresses his country as unstoried and artless.

The Recitation
The Recitation

Maybe the historians never portray the crudities that happen at that time and artless because it lists many of masters that had given life.

The tone of the Poem

So, it can be said that Robert Frost is a nationalist and he has a love for the people. Even now in America, this poem is very famous.

Theme

This poem talks about the freedom of America so that nationalism is the primary theme based on that it is being stranded up. The whole poem consists of historical elements and human sentiments that are being critically acclaimed.

Except for these, struggles have become another essential theme. If a reader goes through the poem then also find the significance of identity.

In the beginning, people could not know that it was their motherland and when they get to know they daunted England. In this poem identification of a country is an important theme.

Literary Devices

This poem is written in iambic tetrameter and iambic diameter and rhyme scheme is ‘aba abc bcb. In this poem, not so many literary devices are used. Few are used perfectly.

The allusion is a perfect poetic device. It means the use of historical reference in the lines of the poem. Robert Frost uses several times like

“colonial history”

Then comes imagery. Poets use this device to explain his vision by an image like,

“But we were England’s”

By this line, readers can get an image of colonized America.

Alliteration is another device that means the repetition of the same words at the beginning of two lines one after another.

“Possessing what we still were unpossessed by
Possessed by what we…”

Then comes assonance that means the repetition of vowel sounds in a single sentence much like,

“We were”, “forthwith found”.

Questions and Answers

The Gift Outright Meaning

What does the gift outright mean?

Gift Outright means a gift that can be gain directly.

What type of poem is The Gift Outright?

This is a nationalistic poem.

Why did Robert Frost write The Gift Outright?

Robert Frost writes this poem to expose his faith and love for his motherland.

When was the gift outright published?

The poem was first published in 1942.

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