The Sea and the Skylark (Gerard Manley Hokins)
Describe the verse form and the use of sound patterns.
The poem “The Sea and the Skylark” by Gerard Manley Hopkins is written in the verse form of an Italian sonnet, consisting of 14 lines and being devided into two parts. The first part can be classified as two quatrains in the rhyme scheme abba abba, thus the em-bracing rhyme. Hopkins uses this rhyme pattern to describe the coherence and regularity of the nature, exemplifying it by the sea and the skylark. To underline this harmonious effect of sea and lark he makes great use of various sound patterns, starting off in line 1, where we can find two identical rhymes “ear – ear” and “two – too – to”, symbolizing uniformity and endlessness. Furthermore Hopkins works with many alliterations, eg. in line 3 “flood – fall” and “low – lull”, in l.4 “wear and wind”, l.7 “wild winch whirl”, l.8 “spill nor spend” and others. In addition occur internal rhymes, eg the exact one in line 5 “hand – land - ascend”, the partial one in line 2 “right – tide” or the already mentioned identical ones in the first line. Also the continuous use of masculine end rhymes implies a certain regularity to the reader and so does the dominating rhythm of an iambic pentametre, even though here we find some variations. Hopkins inserts those consciously on certain parts of the poem, beginning in line 2 and, more obviously in line 3. These deviations of the metre serve to illustrate how within this endless conformity of the sea still occurs some alternation. The next two lines then imply again regularity, enforced by rhythm and soundpatterns, showing what harmonious unity sea and bird nevertheless build. The vivid and agile sound of the lark’s singing now interrupts this regularity, as is indicated by the irregular rhythm in line 6 and the enjambment from line 6 to 7 and 7 to 8. But still there is harmony expressed with the help of inmediately consecutive alliterations in these three...
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