Pied Beauty

Topics: Gerard Manley Hopkins, Sprung rhythm, Poetry Pages: 5 (2025 words) Published: March 13, 2013
‘Pied Beauty’ Essay

The poem, a hymn and partial sonnet, ‘Pied Beauty’ is initially about praising God due to the beauty of the world as the word ‘pied’ suggests different shades of color which can then lead to a variety. The title itself, Pied Beauty, indicates the variety of beauty. The poem indicates that the beauty in the world is all due to the one ‘whose beauty is past change,’ God, giving us a reason as to why we should ‘praise him.’ The constant and remaining theme in this poem was praising God. The poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, delivered his overall message by distinguishing between the variety existing in contrast, especially in the second stanza and ‘whose beauty is past change,’ making it constant, in the first stanza. This poem weighs heavily on religion as it talks about God fathering ‘forth’ beauty that is constant such as natural objects. Hopkins’ point of view on this poem characterizes him to be a very religious man who sees God as the Ultimate. In a world that is ephemeral, Hopkins’ sees God as beyond all of that, giving the readers a sense of stability, as his ‘beauty is past change.’ The last line ‘praise him,’ slowed the rhythm down from the use of sibilance which created a good balance. Furthermore, in the second stanza of the poem, Hopkins touched on the importance of contrast, as without it, we would not know what is good or bad. Hopkins’ tone for the poem is proud and positive, escalating with the rhythm in the second stanza due to the use of alliteration and sibilance.

The overall message Hopkins has conveyed throughout the poem was to ‘praise’ God and delivers it in such as way that creates images and a sense of rhythm throughout the poem. In the first stanza, the line lengths are mostly the same with the shortest line, in the first stanza being the first line as it creates simplicity. Firstly, the first line, ‘glory be to God for dappled things,’ already show the importance of God and how he deserves praise because he is responsible for all variety in the world. Throughout the first stanza, Hopkins identifies beauty that is constant which is nature such as ‘skies of coupled-color as a brinded cow.’ ‘Skies of coupled-color’ suggests cloudy blue skies as on a brinded cow, which again touch on variety. Trouts are then described in the next line to have ‘rose moles’ which could convey their pink scales glistening under water, communicating beauty in different places. Hopkins’ then describe chest nuts in ‘fresh fire coal chest nut falls’ creating a lot of energy and radiating excitement in the tone of the poem. The chest nuts falling from the tree were also used to describe beauty and alongside it, ‘finches wings’ were described due to the elegant variety of colors in it. The listing starts in the next few lines where in the 5th line describes ‘landscape plotted and pieced’ to show beauty and the words ‘fold, fallow and plough,’ creating simple excitement and having the words come out quicker. Overall, the first stanza consists many language techniques that show the beauty in small, unlikely aspects of nature an in the last line, machinery and man made objects.

In the following stanza, more listing is introduced to increase the pace, showing the excitement of the narrator about nature, it’s beauty and overall, praising God for it. The length of the lines, in general, are shorter than the last, possibly due to the increased rhythm in the poem. The first line in the second stanza already move toward the contrast on aspects in the world stating, ‘All things counter, original, spare, strange.’ The listing goes on moving toward a climax with ‘whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?).’ the rhetorical question slows the ‘Swift, slow, sweet, sour, adazzle, dim,’ are an example of listing which again creates an explosion of sound and sprung rhythm. Furthermore, the use of opposing words emphasize the importance of contrast in the world. The next line refers to God as fathering forth ‘whose...
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