Windy Nights Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson Summary, Notes and Line by Line Explanation in English for Students


The poem “Windy Nights” was written by Robert Louis Stevenson. This poem was first published in a children’s poetry collection named “A Child’s Garden of Verses” in 1885. The language and tone of the poem is simple. Thus, it makes the readers of all age groups enjoy this poem. The poem “Windy Nights” describes the condition for a man to take a ride.

About the Poet:

Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish poet, novelist, essayist and travel writer. He loved the writings of William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Scott, John Bunyan. Some of his best known works are Treasure Island, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Kidnapped and A Child’s Garden of Verses


The poem “Windy Nights” by Robert Louis Stevenson is a simple two stanza poem. Each stanza consists of six lines, known as sestets.

Speaker of the poem:

The poet  Robert Louis Stevenson has written the poem “Windy Nights” from the perspective of a child. The poem talks about the long night scene in which a man prefers to ride.


The poet Robert Louis Stevenson has used both iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter alternatively.

Poem Analysis:

Stanza 1:

Lines 1-6:

Whenever the moon and stars are set,

    Whenever the wind is high,

All night long in the dark and wet,

    A man goes riding by.

Late in the night when the fires are out,

Why does he gallop and gallop about?

The speaker of the poem in the first stanza describes what the poem is about. He says that a man goes riding when the moon and stars are set in the sky. The man prefers to ride when the wind is high. The man starts riding all night which seems dark. The speaker asks a question to the readers in the last line of the stanza. He asks why the man is galloping?

Stanza 2:

Lines 7-12:

Whenever the trees are crying aloud,

    And ships are tossed at sea,

By, on the highway, low and loud,

    By at the gallop goes he.

By at the gallop he goes, and then

By he comes back at the gallop again.

In the second stanza the speaker talks about the man’s preference during riding. The man prefers to ride when the trees start to make loud noises. The man chose to ride when the ships were tossed at the sea. In the midst of these noises he decides to ride a horse at high speed. In the last lines of the second stanza the word “gallop” and “by” are repeatedly used to emphasise the image of a man riding. After he achieved his destination, he came back again.