Tuesday, August 01, 2006

God's Grandeur

The first of Hopkin's poems that I would llike to post is God's Grandeur. It is one of his most well-known poems and really should be read aloud to appreciate it fully (as should all his poems). I first became a Hopkins admirer in college. I took a Victorian Literature class from a great prof that became head of the department. Although it has been 15 years, I still remember some of things he told us about Hopkins in that course.

  • Hopkins was a Catholic priest, but not a very good one. His sermons bored people to death. He was transferred often.
  • Scholars have determined that he was one of only 2 writers with an unusually wide and varied vocabulary. (The other writer is Shakespeare.) He would virtually use any word, where most writers have a limited voacbulary that they pull from.
  • At a monastary one time, he was seen by 2 of his peers lying with his cheek on the ground, admiring some wet stones that he saw sparkling in the light.
  • Although a Victorian writer, his writings share many characteristics with early modern poets.

God's Grandeur

THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;5
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;10
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs-
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Gerard Manley Hopkins


Blogger Paula said...

Wow that is fantastic. I really enjoyed that poem this morning.
It is interesting that you said he was transferred often for giving boring sermons. If he would have read that poem to his congregation I am sure it would have inspired the mass. Maybe he was a shy person that beautifully wrote his feeling as and thoughts but did not speak them.

I can't wait to read more of his works.
Thanks Jenni!

7:50 AM  
Blogger Jenni said...

Yeah, I find it surprising that he was so boring. It's hard to believe.

9:05 AM  

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