Choose two of Hopkins’ poems

Topic: EnvironmentNatural Disasters
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Last updated: November 14, 2020

Choose two of Hopkins’ poems, which seem to you to represent different moods and look at the way he looks at his relationship with God when he is feeling deeply depressed and when he is feeling full of praiseGerard Manley Hopkins was a 19th Century Roman Catholic Priest who wrote poems, and mainly sonnets. His poems surrounded nature or his own misery and usually relating to how he was feeling about God. ‘Pied Beauty’ and ’42’are two poems that represent different moods but both come back to his religion.42This poem is somewhat gloomy and depressed.

No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.Comforter, where, where is your comforting?Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?My cries heave, herds- long: huddle in a main, a chiefWoe, world-sorrow; on an age-old anvil wince and sing -Then lull, then leave off, Fury had shrieked ‘No ling -ering! Let me be fell: force I must be briefHopkins has never felt worst and feels he has been given more than grief. He feels bad but yet he knows that more bad things will happen and ‘more pans will…wilder wring’. He is reaching out for god (Comforter) to comfort him and feels he is not there and should be, he also asks for Mary (mother of us), asking for her support and relief.

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All the sadness he is experiencing feels worse, as he knows more is to come and no one is there to comfort him and he feels that they should be. He is beaten continuously, and feels that anger is shrieking to let it in and let it be fatal.O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fallFrightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheapMay who ne’er hung there. Nor does long our smallDurance deal with that steep or deep. Here I creep,Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind: allLife death does end and each day dies with sleep.

He feels his mind has ‘mountains’ and cliffs that are sheer and no-man-fathomed that can be fallen down from. He feels he is falling off these cliffs and mountains in his head and he doesn’t know where to end and those who have never ‘hung there’ or felt like he does would not understand. He cannot bare the steep and deepness but feels his only comfort under the whirlwind of emotions and depressed way in which he is feeling is that death will eventually end his life and that each awful day he experiences, feeling like this will die with sleep. In other words, he is trying to get through each day with the comfort that it will soon be over and eventually life too will be over.In this poem, he feels that God (and Mary, mother of all) has deserted him when he needs them. Although, he does not ponder on his feelings of desertion or any particular feelings towards God other than questioning why God is not there. He simply accepts that he is feeling like that, he may be feeling awful but he does not blame God, he simply asks for his support.

I presume that when he says he wants to die, he wants his life to be over and to be reunited with God.Imagery such as ‘under a comfort serves in a whirlwind’ gives the poem a very dramatic and sombre feel. Words such as: frightful, sheer, woe, heave, grief makes the mood dull and depressed. The phrase ‘Fury had shrieked ‘No ling – ering! Let me be fell: force I must be brief’ is a metaphor for anger wanting to be let in to destroy and ‘fell’ is effective as it really emphasises how Hopkins does not want to feel like this but he is being invaded by depressiveness. Hopkins sounds lonely, yet accepting that he will feel worse, suggesting that it is not the first time he has felt depressed and though he may feel bad, he is ‘used to it’.There is a rhyming pattern, it is regular and the sounds of the words on the ends of the lines are similar. In the first verse, the sound on the end of the first line rhymes (-ief) with the sounds on the end of the fourth, fifth and then eighth line, leaving two pairs of the same sound rhyming in between (-ing).

The second verse has a rhyming pattern of alternate rhyming couplets of -all and -eep.Pied BeautyIn contrast to its predecessor, Pied Beauty praises the goodness in things natural and praises god for it, in manner of hymn ‘all things bright and beautiful’. As the name suggests, it is all things beautiful and mixed up (in a pie, so to speak).Glory be to God for dappled things —For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;Landscape plotted and pieced — fold, fallow, and plough;And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.Hopkins is giving praise to God for things of mixed colour (dappled), things that are made up of two colours like the sky and a brinded cow. Praise also for the trout in the water, which has pink flecks among the grey scales ‘all in stipple upon trout that swim’. Line 4 is a poetic way of describing ordinary conkers or horse chestnuts, he is praising the colours on the chestnut that is not solid but is like ‘fresh firecoal’.

‘Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;’ describes the ‘patchwork’ fields of different shades of green, brown and yellow, whether being ploughed, folded or fallowed and he praises all the landscapes where one can see all different things going on (ploughing, folding or fallowing).All things counter, original, spare, strange;Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:Praise him.Still he is praising things that are of mixed colours, this time of things that are different or unexpected. It begins to come back to god when it is telling one to praise God, who made all the things like this which are at all mixed up or different but still wonderful.This is obviously Hopkins when in a good mood. He is looking out on a ‘typical’ English landscape in the countryside and praising all the mixed-up but yet wonderful and interesting things that there are and then he returns to God, explaining that he makes all these wonderful things that have been praised so he in turn must too be praised.

In short, the whole poem could be summarised by mixing the first and last line together: ‘Glory be to God for dappled things —— Praise him’ because that is Hopkins’ ‘message’.The imagery in Pied Beauty is very image provoking. Conkers, trout’s scales and hills are put very beautifully and poetically, along with the whole mood of the poem that things that seem so ordinary to us, put in such an elegant way should be noticed and praised instead of taking all the wonderful dappled things for granted. The second verse is affective in its ‘lists’ of words.

The first line lists words. The two words beginning with f in line two is effective also. The third line effectively uses words of opposite meanings but with the same first letter (excepting dim and adazzle but the d in adazzle is prominent).The rhyming patterns in the first verse is rhyming couplets every three lines (in that line one rhymes with line four, two with five and three with six).

However, as the rhymes are so far apart I do not consider it to be effective. In the second verse, line one and four rhyme, line three and five but line two rhymes only with line two and five in the previous verse.Hopkins seems to have two styles. When he is in a good mood he seems to see things a lot better and puts it all down to the glory of God but similarly when things are bad for him he puts it down to God and blames him. Both styles are very atmospheric; Pied Beauty seems sunnier whereas 42 is dark and sombre.

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