|Mapa completo do Inferno, Stradanus (1523 - 1605)|
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
“Fire and Ice” is one of Robert Frost's most popular poems, published in December 1920 in Harper's Magazine
According to one of Frost's biographers, "Fire and Ice" was inspired by a passage in Canto 32 of Dante's Inferno, in which the worst offenders of hell, the traitors, are submerged, while in a fiery hell, up to their necks in ice: "a lake so bound with ice, / It did not look like water, but like a glass ... right clear / I saw, where sinners are preserved in ice."
In an anecdote he recounted in 1960 in a "Science and the Arts" presentation, prominent astronomer Harlow Shapley claims to have inspired "Fire and Ice".
Shapley describes an encounter he had with Robert Frost a year before the poem was published in which Frost, noting that Shapley was the astronomer of his day, asks him how the world will end. Shapley responded that either the sun will explode and incinerate the Earth, or the Earth will somehow escape this fate only to end up slowly freezing in deep space.
Shapley was surprised at seeing "Fire and Ice" in print a year later, and referred to it as an example of how science can influence the creation of art, or clarify its meaning.