Poetry

Robert Frost, “A Case for Jefferson”

Robert Frost

by Robert Frost
from Steeple Bush (1947)

Harrison loves my country too,
But wants it all made over new.
He’s Freudian Viennese by night.
By day he’s Marxian Muscovite.
It isn’t because he’s Russian Jew.
He’s Puritan Yankee through and through.
He dotes on Saturday pork and beans.
But his mind is hardly out of his teens:
With him the love of country means
Blowing it all to smithereens
And having it all made over new.

* * *

Source: Collected Poems; submitted by Andrew Hamilton

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2 Comments

  1. James Clayton
    16 February, 2019 at 6:04 am — Reply

    Mending Wall
    By Robert Frost

    Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
    That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
    And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
    And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
    The work of hunters is another thing:
    I have come after them and made repair
    Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
    But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
    To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
    No one has seen them made or heard them made,
    But at spring mending-time we find them there.
    I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
    And on a day we meet to walk the line
    And set the wall between us once again.
    We keep the wall between us as we go.
    To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
    And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
    We have to use a spell to make them balance:
    “Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
    We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
    Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
    One on a side. It comes to little more:
    There where it is we do not need the wall:
    He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
    My apple trees will never get across
    And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
    He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
    Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
    If I could put a notion in his head:
    “Why do they make good neighbours? Isn’t it
    Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
    Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
    What I was walling in or walling out,
    And to whom I was like to give offence.
    Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
    That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,
    But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
    He said it for himself. I see him there
    Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
    In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
    He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
    Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
    He will not go behind his father’s saying,
    And he likes having thought of it so well
    He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”

  2. Andrew Hamilton
    16 February, 2019 at 7:47 pm — Reply

    “Mending Wall” has always been one of my favorite Frost poems.

    But, when you think about it, it is in a sense “anti-wall.”

    The neighbor, who “moves in darkness as it seems to me, / Not of woods only and the shade of trees”, is a hidebound conservative who clings stubbornly to tradition even when it has lost its meaning.

    The narrator believes “Something [in nature] there is that doesn’t love a wall”—a sort of natural entropy that tears walls down, necessitating constant maintenance.

    On the other hand, he is not an extremist. He only thinks there should be a purpose:

    There where it is we do not need the wall:
    He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
    My apple trees will never get across
    And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.

    But—if they had cows it would be different.

    The justly famous “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is about death, and the temptation to cease struggle, a theme more forcefully touched upon by Alfred Tennyson in “The Lotos-Eaters.” https://nationalvanguard.org/2018/07/the-lotos-eaters-and-the-whites-of-today/

    When the narrator’s little horse “gives his harness bells a shake / To ask if there is some mistake”, the rider is roused from his reverie, acknowledging “But I have promises to keep, / And miles to go before I sleep, / And miles to go before I sleep.”

    “A Case for Jefferson” is a straightforward description of culture distortion, where the Leftist Harrison gets his dominant, animating, destructive ideas from Jews. If Harrison was Jewish it would “explain” his desire to destroy, since that’s what Jews do (“It isn’t because he’s Russian Jew”).

    “Jefferson” lapses into conservatism when it maintains that Harrison “loves my country too.” How is blowing society to smithereens to achieve repugnant Jewish objectives “love of country”? Only in the sense of conservative hokum always attributing “good” (if misguided) intentions to criminal Jews and Leftists, who NEVER return the favor, and aren’t well-intentioned at all.

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