Mountain Interval - Robert Frost
Mountain Interval
Robert Frost
1916, New York
First appearance of The Road Not Taken.
First edition, first printing, first state(errors on pages 88, 93) of this classic. Trace of darkening to pastedowns, minor top edge spotting, minor rubbing at tips, early ink gift inscription on ffep, else a Very Good bright copy. Dust jacket a bit rubbed with tiny losses at head and toe of spine not affecting the lettering with ~2.5 inch split along bottom joint. Notwithstanding, an uncommonly nice example of the jacket.
"...most people don't realize the great American poet was being ironic when he famously wrote that taking the road less traveled "made all the difference."
The confusion comes up...[wherein] a traveler describes choosing between two paths through the woods. In the first three stanzas the traveler describes how the paths as basically the same. They "equally lay" and were "just as fair" as each other and were even "worn ... really about the same."
But in the last stanza the traveler comments sarcastically on how he will someday look back and claim "with a sigh" that choosing the "one less traveled ... made all the difference." People wrongfully interpret this as evidence of the payoff for freethinking and not following the crowd, when it actually comments about people finding meaning in arbitrary decisions. Here's the stanza in question:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference.
That so many people misinterpret this line has become famous in itself." (Sterbenz)

Mountain Interval - Robert Frost