Winter-Time Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson Summary, Notes and Line by Line Explanation in English for Students


The poem “Winter Time” was written by Robert Louis Stevenson. The poem describes the winter season. The poem “Winter Time” was written from the perspective of a child. It is a simple poem with various images to depict the cold season. The poet Robert Louis Stevenson has written this poem using simple language. Thus readers of all age groups can enjoy this poem.

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 “Winter Time” written by Robert Louis Stevenson is a five stanza narrative poem. Each stanza consists of four lines.


The poet Robert Louis Stevenson has used iambic pentameter to compose this poem “Winter Time”

Speaker of the Poem:

The poem “Winter Time” was written from the perspective of a child. Thus, the speaker of the poem is a child who describes the winter season from his imagination. 

The following lines indicate that a child is the speaker of the poem.

When to go out, my nurse doth wrap

Me in my comforter and cap:

Poem Analysis:

Stanza 1:

Lines 1-4:

Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,

A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;

Blinks but an hour or two; and then,

A blood-red orange, sets again.

In the first stanza the speaker describes the Sun’s nature during winter time. He says during the winter time like a sleepy person Sun wakes only late. Though the sun starts to rise it provides light for one or two hours and turns to the red orange colour. After two hours it goes back to sleep again.

Stanza 2:

Lines 5-8:

Before the stars have left the skies,

At morning in the dark I rise;

And shivering in my nakedness,

By the cold candle, bathe and dress.

In the second stanza, the speaker says that the night during winter time is very long. So, when the speaker woke up from his bed he could see the stars in the sky. When he took a bath he couldn’t control his shivering.

Stanza 3:

Lines 9-12:

Close by the jolly fire I sit

To warm my frozen bones a bit;

Or with a reindeer-sled, explore

The colder countries round the door.

Due to shiver, the speaker sits close to the fire to warm his frozen bones. 

Stanza 4:

Lines 13-16:

When to go out, my nurse doth wrap

Me in my comforter and cap:

The cold wind burns my face, and blows

Its frosty pepper up my nose.

The speaker says he is not allowed to go outside without his comforter and a cap. Here a nurse is helping the speaker to wrap his body with a cap and comforter.The speaker is comparing the blowing of winter to pepper. He says when he goes out the cold wind starts to burn his face like a pepper.

Stanza 5:

Lines 17-20:

Black are my steps on silver sod;

Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;

And tree and house, and hill and lake,

Are frosted like a wedding-cake.

In the last stanza of the poem, the speaker describes the situation of stepping out from the house. He says his footprints on the snow look like black. He couldn’t face the thick blows of the wind. All the things he sees look frosted with snow. In the last lines he compares the snow covered tree, house, hill and lake to a frosted wedding cake.