Pied Beauty

Topics: Gerard Manley Hopkins, Stonyhurst College, Curtal sonnet Pages: 2 (403 words) Published: October 7, 2012
Hopkins' sonnets typically shift from a personal, often sensual experience rooted in the physical world to moral, philosophical and theological reflections. Discuss this movement in relation to Pied Beauty. Pied Beauty has one simple meaning: to convey the Jesuit motto "Ad maiorem Dei gloriam." Throughout the poem, Gerard Manley Hopkins makes shifts from theological reflections to descriptions of physical experiences. The poem, like a psalm, gives us a confident description of nature as the work of God. The motto that all Jesuits- including Hopkins - follow is "Ad maiorem Dei gloriam" which means "In the greater glory of God." As a Jesuit priest and religious fanatic, Gerard Manley Hopkins felt obliged to reinforce the idea of the glory of God in most of the poems he wrote at the time. The poem starts: "Glory be to God for dappled things - "

Here, he praises God and gives thanks. Why is he giving thanks? "For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow:
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; "
Hopkins points out things that the majority of us take for granted on a daily basis. He finds beauty and eccentricity in all thst he sees: the irregular shapes and contrasting colours in the sky, which he compares to a brinded (brown and white) cow. In addition, he sees a quirky appeal in the rose-spotted belly of a trout, a fish common in the streams and lakes of England. Hopkins then leads us toward the climax of the vision by taking us through a striking sequence: a natural element, the sky; living things; the humanly worked landscape; equipment; humans themselves; and contrasting pairs of general properties. The concluding contrasts embrace all creatures (swift, slow), and the full range of human experience (from adazzle to dim). He states that some of these daily phenomenons acquire their beauty when coming into contact with man and things made by man. "Who knows how?"

This rhetorical question shifts us back to philosophical...
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