Gerard Manley Hopkins [1844-1899]
Hopkins was a priest who wrote Nature Poetry.
He celebrated beauty in the natural world. He loved the freshness of spring. •
In many of his poems, like ‘Spring’, he linked beauty in nature to prayer. •
He thought that beauty in nature was a reminder of God’s love and greatness. •
He thought that beauty in nature was a reminder of the innocence and purity of childhood. •
He wrote this poem more than a hundred years ago.
Hopkins wrote in a beautiful style that was sometimes difficult. He liked to express his feelings and views in new ways. He left out words such as ‘like’ in line three and changed the normal word order like in line eight. •
He often used striking and dramatic comparisons like in line three. •
Hopkins put a lot of sound effects into his poetry.
He wrote many of his poems in the sonnet form.
He enjoyed the unique shape, colours, beauty and inner energy of nature
‘Spring’ is a sonnet. A sonnet is a rhyming fourteen-line poem. The poem is divided into two clearly different parts. The first part, of eight lines, is known as the octave. The second part, of six lines, is known as the sestet. ‘Nothing is so beautiful as spring’ is the first line of the poem. This line clearly summarises the meaning of the first eight lines or octave of the poem ‘Spring’. A lot of this part of the poem, the octave, is easier to understand than the sestet. In the octave, Hopkins mentions many of the details of spring that impress him. He gives a series of images one after the other that are typical of the season of spring. In the second line he pictures fresh weeds growing through a wheel in a yard. In the third line he praises the speckled colours on a thrushes’ egg. In the fourth and fifth lines he shows his delight at the wonderful sound of the thrushes song in the woods and compares its effect to lightning. In the sixth line he portrays the shiny leaves and blossoms of the...
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