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Gerard Manley Hopkins

Born 28 July 1844(1844-07-28)
Died 8 June 1889 (aged 44)
Dublin
Resting place Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin
Occupation Poet, Jesuit priest, Professor of Classics
Education Balliol College, Oxford

Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. (28 July 1844 – 8 June 1889) was an English poet, Roman Catholic convert, and Jesuit priest, whose posthumous 20th-century fame established him among the leading Victorian poets. His experimental explorations in prosody (especially sprung rhythm) and his use of imagery established him as a daring innovator in a period of largely traditional verse.

Contents

Life

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Early life and family

Gerard Manley Hopkins was born was the first of nine children to Manley and Catherine (Smith) Hopkins. His father founded a marine insurance firm and, at one time, was the British consul general in Hawaii. He was also, for a time, the church warden at St John-at-Hampstead and a published writer whose works included A Philosopher's Stone and Other Poems (1843), Pietas Metrica (1849), and Spicelegium Poeticum, A Gathering of Verses by Manley Hopkins (1892). He reviewed poetry for the London Times and wrote one novel. Catherine (Smith) Hopkins was the daughter of a London physician, particularly fond of music and of reading, especially German philosophy, literature and the novels of Dickens. Both parents were deeply religious High Church Anglicans. Catherine's sister, Maria Smith Giberne, taught her nephew Gerard to sketch. The interest was supported by his uncle, Edward Smith, his great-uncle, the professional artist Richard James Lane and many other family members. Hopkins would continue to sketch throughout his life, inspired, as an adult, by the work of John Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelites. [1]

His siblings were greatly inspired by language, religion and the creative arts. Milicent (1849-1946) joined an Anglican sisterhood in 1878. Kate (1856-1933) would go on to help Hopkins publish the first edition of his poetry. Hopkins' youngest sister Grace (1857-1945) set many of his poems to music. Lionel (1854-1952) became a world-famous expert on archaic and colloquial Chinese. Arthur (1847-1930) and Everard (1860-1928) were both highly successful artists. Cyril (1846-1932) would join his father's insurance firm. [1]

Manley Hopkins moved his family to Hampstead in 1852, near to where John Keats had lived thirty years before and close to the wide green spaces of Hampstead Heath. At ten years old Gerard Manley Hopkins was sent to board at Highgate School (1854 -1863) and, while studying Keats' poetry, composed "The Escorial" (1860), his earliest poem extant. Here he practised early attempts at asceticism. He once argued that most people drank more liquids than they really needed and bet that he could go without drinking for a week. He persisted until his tongue was black and he collapsed at drill. On another occasion, he abstained from salt for a week. [1] [2]

Oxford and the priesthood

At Balliol College, Oxford (1863-67) he studied classics. Hopkins was an unusually sensitive student and poet, as witnessed by his class-notes and early poetic pieces. It was at Oxford that he forged a friendship with Robert Bridges (eventual Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom) which would be of importance in his development as a poet, and his posthumous acclaim. Hopkins was deeply impressed with the work of Christina Rossetti and she became one of his greatest contemporary influences, meeting her in 1864. During this time he studied with the the prestigious writer and critic Walter Pater. [1] Hopkins began his time in Oxford as a keen socialite and prolific poet, but he seemed to have alarmed himself with the changes in his behaviour that resulted, and he became more studious and began recording his "sins" in his diary. As an undergraduate he engaged in friendships that may be viewed as romantic, though they tended to be idealised and spiritualised. In particular, he found it hard to accept his sexual attraction to other men - including a deep infatuation for Digby Mackworth Dolben. There is nothing to suggest, however, any physical consummation and indeed he seems to have remained celibate throughout his life. He exercised a strict self-control in regard to his homosexual desire, especially after he became a follower of Henry Parry Liddon and of Edward Pusey, the last member of the original Oxford Movement. It was during this time of intense scrupulosity that Hopkins seems to have especially begun confronting his strong homoerotic impulses (See section below on Erotic influences)[3] and began to consider choosing the cloister.

Alfred William Garrett, William Alexander Comyn Macfarlane and Gerard Manley Hopkins (left to right) by Thomas C. Bayfield 1866 Shown in the National Portrait Gallery

On 18 January 1866 Hopkins composed his most ascetic poem, The Habit of Perfection. On 23 January he included poetry in the list of things to be given up for Lent. In July he decided to become a Catholic, and he traveled to Birmingham in September to consult the leader of the Oxford converts, John Henry Newman. Newman received him into the Church in October. On 5 May 1868 Hopkins firmly "resolved to be a religious." Less than a week later, he made a bonfire of his poems and gave up poetry almost entirely for seven years. The decision to convert estranged him from both his family and a number of his acquaintances. After his graduation in 1867 Hopkins was provided a teaching post at The Oratory School by Newman, but the following year he decided to enter the priesthood, pausing only to visit Switzerland, which officially forbade Jesuits to enter. [4] [1] Writing would remain something of a concern for him as he felt that his interest in poetry prevented him from wholly devoting himself to his religion. However, after reading Duns Scotus in 1872, he saw that the two did not necessarily conflict.[5] He continued to write a detailed prose journal between 1868 and 1875 Unable to suppress his desire to describe the natural world, he also wrote music, sketched, and for church occasions he wrote some "verses," as he called them. He would later write sermons and other religious pieces.

Hopkins began his novitiate in the Society of Jesus at Manresa House, Roehampton, in September 1868 and moved to St. Mary's Hall, Stonyhurst, for his philosophical studies in 1870. In 1874 he returned to Manresa House to teach classics. While he was studying in the Jesuit house of theological studies, St Beuno's, near St Asaph in North Wales, he was asked by his religious superior to write a poem to commemorate the foundering of a German ship in a storm. So in 1875 he was moved to take up poetry once more and write a lengthy poem, The Wreck of the Deutschland. This work was inspired by the Deutschland incident, a naval disaster in which 157 people died including five Franciscan nuns who had been leaving Germany due to harsh anti-Catholic laws (see Kulturkampf). The work displays both the religious concerns and some of the unusual meter and rhythms of his subsequent poetry not present in his few remaining early works. It not only depicts the dramatic events and heroic deeds but also tells of the poet's reconciling the terrible events with God's higher purpose. The poem was accepted but not printed by a Jesuit publication, and this rejection fuelled his ambivalence about his poetry. Most of his poetry remained unpublished until after his death.

Blue plaque commemorating Hopkins in Roehampton, London

Hopkins chose the austere and restrictive life of a Jesuit and was at times gloomy. The brilliant student who had left Oxford with a first class honours degree failed his final theology exam. This failure almost certainly meant that, though ordained in 1877, Hopkins would not progress in the order. In 1877 he wrote God’s Grandeur, an array of sonnets including The Starlight Night and finished The Windhover only a few months before his ordination. Though rigorous, isolated and sometimes unpleasant, his life during Jesuit training had at least some stability; the uncertain and varied work after ordination was even harder on his sensibilities. In October of 1877, not long after he completed “The Sea and the Skylark” and only a month after he had been ordained as a priest, Hopkins took up his duties as subminister and teacher at Mount St. Mary’s College, Chesterfield. In July 1878 he became curate at the Jesuit church in Mount Street, London. In December he became curate at St. Aloysius’s Church, Oxford, then moving to Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow. [1] Whilst ministering in Oxford he became a founding member of Oxford University Newman Society, a society established in 1878 for the Catholic members of Oxford University. He taught Greek and Latin at Mount St Mary's College, Sheffield, and Stonyhurst College, Lancashire.

In 1884 he became professor of Greek literature at University College Dublin. His English roots and his disagreement with the Irish politics of the time, as well as his own small stature (5'2"), unprepossessing nature and personal oddities meant that he was not a particularly effective teacher. This as well as his isolation in Ireland deepened his gloom and his poems of the time, such as I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark, reflected this. They came to be known as the "terrible sonnets," not because of their quality but because according to Hopkins's friend Canon Dixon, they reached the "terrible crystal," meaning that they crystallized the melancholy dejection which plagued the later part of his life.

Final years

After suffering ill health for several years and bouts of diarrhea, Hopkins died of typhoid fever in 1889 and was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin. He is thought to have suffered throughout his life from what today might be diagnosed as either bipolar disorder or chronic unipolar depression, and battled a deep sense of melancholic anguish. However, on his death bed his last words were "I am so happy, I am so happy." [2]

Poetry

Sprung rhythm

Much of Hopkins's historical importance has to do with the changes he brought to the form of poetry; which ran contrary to conventional ideas of metre. Prior to Hopkins, most Middle English and Modern English poetry was based on a rhythmic structure inherited from the Norman side of English literary heritage. This structure is based on repeating groups of two or three syllables, with the stressed syllable falling in the same place on each repetition. Hopkins called this structure "running rhythm", and though he wrote some of his early verse in running rhythm he became fascinated with the older rhythmic structure of the Anglo-Saxon tradition, of which Beowulf is the most famous example. Hopkins called his own rhythmic structure sprung rhythm. Sprung rhythm is structured around feet with a variable number of syllables, generally between one and four syllables per foot, with the stress always falling on the first syllable in a foot. In reality, it more closely resembles the "rolling stresses" of Robinson Jeffers, another poet who rejected conventional meter. Hopkins saw sprung rhythm as a way to escape the constraints of running rhythm, which he said inevitably pushed poetry written in it to become "same and tame." In this way, Hopkins can be seen as anticipating much of free verse. His work has no great affinity with either of the contemporary Pre-Raphaelite and neo-romanticism schools, although he does share their descriptive love of nature and he is often seen as a precursor to modernist poetry or as a bridge between the two poetic eras.

Last Poems

Several problems conspired to depress Hopkins's spirits and restrict his poetic inspiration during the last five years of his life. His work load was extremely heavy. He disliked living in Dublin, away from England and friends. His general health deteriorated as his eyesight began to fail. He felt confined and dejected. As a devout Jesuit, he found himself in an artistic dilemma. To subdue any egotism which would violate the humility required by his religious position, he decided never to publish his poems. But Hopkins realized that any true poet requires an audience for criticism and encouragement. This conflict between his religious obligations and his poetic talent caused him to feel that he had failed them both.

Use of language

The language of Hopkins’s poems is often striking. His imagery can be simple, as in Heaven-Haven, where the comparison is between a nun entering a convent and a ship entering a harbour out of a storm. It can be splendidly metaphysical and intricate, as it is in As Kingfishers Catch Fire, where he leaps from one image to another to show how each thing expresses its own uniqueness, and how divinity reflects itself through all of them.

He uses many archaic and dialect words, but also coins new words. One example of this is twindles, which seems from its context in Inversnaid to mean a combination of twines and dwindles. He often creates compound adjectives, sometimes with a hyphen (such as dapple-dawn-drawn falcon) but often without, as in rolling level underneath him steady air. This concentrates his images, communicating the instress of the poet’s perceptions of an inscape to his reader.

Added richness comes from Hopkins’s extensive use of alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia and rhyme, both at the end of lines and internally as in:

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;

Hopkins was influenced by the Welsh language that he acquired while studying theology at St Beuno's College near St Asaph. The poetic forms of Welsh literature and particularly cynghanedd with its emphasis on repeating sounds accorded with his own style and became a prominent feature of his work. This reliance on similar sounding words with close or differing senses mean that his poems are best understood if read aloud. An important element in his work is Hopkins's own concept of "inscape" which was derived, in part, from the medieval theologian Duns Scotus. The exact detail of "inscape" is uncertain and probably known to Hopkins alone but it has to do with the individual essence and uniqueness of every physical thing. This is communicated from an object by its "instress" and ensures the transmission of the item's importance in the wider creation. His poems would then try to present this "inscape" so that a poem like The Windhover aims to depict not the bird in general but instead one instance and its relation to the breeze. This is just one interpretation of Hopkins's most famous poem and one which felt was his best. [6] [2] The first stanza describes:

I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!

During his lifetime, Hopkins published few poems. It was only through the efforts of Robert Bridges that his works were seen. Despite Hopkins burning all his poems on entering the Jesuit novitiate, he had already sent some to Bridges who, with a few other friends, was one of the few people to see many of them for some years. After Hopkins's death they were distributed to a wider audience, mostly fellow poets, and in 1918 Bridges, by then poet laureate, published a collected edition; an expanded edition, prepared by Charles Williams, appeared in 1930, and a greatly expanded edition by W. H. Gardiner appeared in 1948 (eventually reaching a fourth edition, 1967, with N. H. Mackenzie).

Notable collections of Hopkins's manuscripts and publications are in Campion Hall, Oxford; the Bodleian Library, Oxford; and the Foley Library at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.

Erotic influences

Some contemporary critics believe that Hopkins's suppressed erotic impulses played an important role in the tone, quality and even content of his works. These impulses seem to have taken on a degree of specificity after he met Robert Bridges's distant cousin, friend, and fellow Etonian Digby Mackworth Dolben, "a Christian Uranian"[7]. The Hopkins biographer Robert Bernard Martin asserts that when Hopkins first met Dolben, on Dolben's 17th birthday, in Oxford in February 1865, it "was, quite simply, the most momentous emotional event of [his] undergraduate years, probably of his entire life". [8]

Hopkins was completely taken with Dolben, who was nearly four years his junior, and his private journal for confessions the following year proves how absorbed he was in imperfectly suppressed erotic thoughts of him[9]

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Hopkins kept up a correspondence with Dolben, wrote about him in his diary and composed two poems about him, "Where art thou friend" and "The Beginning of the End." Robert Bridges, who edited the first edition of Dolben's poems as well as Hopkins's, cautioned that the second poem "must never be printed," though Bridges himself included it in the first edition (1918).[10] Another indication of the nature of his feelings for Dolben is that Hopkins's High Anglican confessor seems to have forbidden him to have any contact with Dolben except by letter. Their relationship was abruptly ended by Dolben's drowning in June 1867, an event which greatly affected Hopkins, although his feeling for Dolben seems to have cooled a good deal by that time. "Ironically, fate may have bestowed more through Dolben’s death than it could ever have bestowed through longer life ... [for] many of Hopkins’s best poems — impregnated with an elegiac longing for Dolben, his lost belovèd and his muse — were the result."[11]

Some of his poems, such as The Bugler's First Communion and Epithalamion, arguably embody homoerotic themes, and he has been associated recently with the Uranian poets, whose writings derived, in many ways, from the prose works of Walter Pater, Hopkins's academic coach for his Greats exams, and later his lifelong friend.[12][13][14][15][16]

Some critics have argued that homoerotic readings are either highly tendentious, or, that they can be classified under the broader category of "homosociality," over the gender, sexual-specific "homosexual" term. Hopkins’s journal writings, they argue, offer a clear admiration for feminized beauty. In his book Hopkins Reconstructed (2000) Justus George Lawler critiques Robert Martin’s controversial biography Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Very Private Life (1991) by suggesting that Martin "cannot see the heterosexual beam... for the homosexual biographical mote in his own eye... it amounts to a slanted eisegesis". The poems that elicit homoerotic readings can be read, not merely exercises in sublimation but as powerful renditions of religious conviction, a conviction that caused strain in his family and even led him to burn some of his poems (he felt they were unnecessarily self-centered). Julia Saville’s book A Queer Chivalry views the religious imagery in the poems as Hopkins’s way of expressing the tension with homosexual identity and desire. The male figure of Christ allows him to safely express such feelings, which mitigates the political implications.

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f Poetry Foundation Biography accessed 2010-03-18
  2. ^ a b c Eleanor Ruggles (1944) Gerard Manley Hopkins: a life. Norton.
  3. ^ P. Kitchen, Gerard Manley Hopkins, London, 1978
  4. ^ P. Kitchen, Gerard Manley Hopkins, London, 1978
  5. ^ Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Brief Biography Glenn Everett, Ph. D.
  6. ^ - The Windhover
  7. ^ Timothy d'Arch Smith. Love in Earnest, p. 188)
  8. ^ Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Very Private Life, p. 80; see also Norman White, Hopkins: A Literary Biography, p. 110)
  9. ^ Robert Bernard Martin, "Digby Augustus Stewart Dolben," DNB)
  10. ^ Joseph Cady English Literature: Nineteenth Century [1]
  11. ^ Kaylor, Michael M. Secreted Desires: The Major Uranians: Hopkins, Pater and Wilde. Brno, CZ: Masaryk University Press, 2006. Pg. 401
  12. ^ For The Bugler's First Communion,see Kaylor, Secreted Desires. Pgs. 182-93; Kaylor.
  13. ^ For Epithalamion see Kaylor Secreted Desires, pgs. 161-205
  14. ^ Michael M. "'Beautiful Dripping Fragments': A Whitmanesque Reading of Hopkins's "Epithalamion.'"
  15. ^ Victorian Poetry 40.2 (2002), pgs. 157-87
  16. ^ for the influence of Pater, see Kaylor Secreted Desires

Selected poems

Audio

  • Richard Austin reads Hopkins' poetry in Back to Beauty's Giver.[1]

Bibliography

  • Abbot, Claude Coller (Ed.), 1955. The Correspondence of Gerard Manley Hopkins and Richard Watson Dixon (London: Oxford University Press.)
  • Abbot, Claude Coller (Ed.), 1955. The Letters of Gerard Manley Hopkins to Robert Bridges (London: Oxford University Press.)
  • Fiddes, Paul S., 2009. 'G.M. Hopkins', in Rebecca Lemon, Emma Mason, Jonathan Roberts, and Christopher Rowland, eds, The Blackwell companion to the Bible in English literature (Blackwell companions to religion, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell), pp. 563-76
  • MacKenzie, Norman H. (Ed.), 1989. The Early Poetic Manuscripts and Note-books of Gerard Manley Hopkins in Facsimile. (New York and London: Garland Publishing.)
  • MacKenzie, Norman H. (Ed.), 1991 The Later Poetic Manuscripts of Gerard Manley Hopkins in Facsimile (New York: Garland Publishing.)
  • Martin, Robert Bernard, 1992. Gerard Manley Hopkins - A Very Private Life (London: Flamingo/HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Sagar, Keith, 2005. "Hopkins and the Religion of the Diamond Body", in Literature and the Crime Against Nature, (London: Chaucer Press.)
  • White, Norman, 1992. Hopkins - A literary Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

See also

References

  1. ^ Audio book, CD, ISBN 0-9548188-0-6, 2003. 27 poems, including The Wreck Of The Deutschland, God's Grandeur, The Windhover, Pied Beauty and Binsley Poplars, and the 'Terrible Sonnets'.

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The best ideal is the true
And other truth is none.
All glory be ascribed to
The holy Three in One.

Gerard Manley Hopkins (July 28, 1844June 8, 1889) was a Jesuit priest and English poet whose posthumous, 20th-century fame established him among the finest Victorian poets. His experimental explorations in prosody (especially in regard to sprung rhythm) and his vibrant use of imagery established him as both an original and daring innovator in a period of largely traditional verse.

Contents

Sourced

Letters etc

  • It is a happy thing that there is no royal road to poetry. The world should know by this time that one cannot reach Parnassus except by flying thither.
    • Diary (April 1864)
  • For I think it is the case with genius that it is not when quiescent so very much above mediocrity as the difference between the two might lead us to think, but that it has the power and privilege of rising from that level to a height utterly far from mediocrity: in other words that its greatness is that it can be so great.
    • Letter to A.W.M. Baillie (September 10, 1864)
  • Do you know, a horrible thing has happened to me. I have begun to doubt Tennyson.
    • Letter to A.W.M. Baillie (September 10, 1864)
  • I think that the trivialness of life is, and personally to each one, ought to be seen to be, done away with by the Incarnation.
    • Letter to E.H. Coleridge (January 22, 1866)
  • I am surprised you should say fancy and aesthetic tastes have led me to my present state of mind: these would be better satisfied in the Church of England, for bad taste is always meeting one in the accessories of Catholicism.
    • Letter to his father, Manley Hopkins (October 16, 1866)
  • I thought how sadly beauty of inscape was unknown and buried away from simple people and yet how near at hand it was if they had eyes to see it and it could be called out everywhere again.
    • Journal (July 19, 1872)
  • All the world is full of inscape and chance left free to act falls into an order as well as purpose.
    • Journal (February 24, 1873)
  • No doubt my poetry errs on the side of oddness. I hope in time to have a more balanced and Miltonic style. But as air, melody, is what strikes me most of all in music, and design in painting, so design, pattern, or what I am in the habit of calling inscape is what I above all aim at in poetry. Now it is the virtue of design, pattern, or inscape to be distinctive, and it is the vice of distinctiveness to become queer. This vice I cannot have escaped.
  • The poetical language of an age should be the current language heightened, to any degree heightened and unlike itself, but not...an obsolete one.
    • Letter to Robert Bridges (August 14, 1879)
  • Take breath and read it [my poems] with the ears, as I always wish to be read, and my verse becomes all right.
    • Letter to Robert Bridges (October 25, 1879 )
  • Our Lord Jesus Christ, my brethren, is our hero, a hero all the world wants.
    • Sermon (November 23, 1879)
  • For myself I make no secret, I look forward with eager desire to seeing the matchless beauty of Christ’s body in the heavenly light.
    • Sermon (November 23, 1879)
  • Religion, you know, enters very deep; in reality it is the deepest impression I have in speaking to people, that they are or that they are not of my religion.
    • Letter to A.W.M. Baillie (May 22, 1880)
  • I hold with the old-fashioned criticism that Browning is not really a poet, that he has all the gifts but the one needful and the pearls without the string; rather one should say raw nuggets and rough diamonds.
    • Letter to Richard Watson Dixon (October 17, 1881)
  • I always knew in my heart Walt Whitman’s mind to be more like my own than any other man’s living. As he is a very great scoundrel this is not a pleasant confession.
    • Letter to Robert Bridges (October 18, 1882)
  • By the by, if the English race had done nothing else, yet if they left the world the notion of a gentleman, they would have done a great service to mankind.
    • Letter to Robert Bridges (February 3, 1883)
  • You do not mean by mystery what a Catholic does. You mean an interesting uncertainty: the uncertainty ceasing, interest ceases also.... But a Catholic by mystery means an incomprehensible certainty: without certainty, without formulation there is no interest;... the clearer the formulation the greater the interest.
    • Letter to Robert Bridges (October 24, 1883)
  • It kills me to be time’s eunuch and never to beget.
    • Letter to Robert Bridges (September 1, 1885)
  • That is the great end of empires before God, to be Catholic and draw nations into their Catholicism. But our empire is less and less Christian as it grows.
  • A great work by an Englishman is like a great battle won by England. It is an unfading bay tree.
    • Letter to Robert Bridges (October 13, 1886)
  • It seems then that it is not the excellence of any two things (or more) in themselves, but those two things as viewed by the light of each other, that makes beauty.
    • On the Origin of Beauty: A Platonic Dialogue
  • Beauty ... is a relation, and the apprehension of it a comparison.
    • On the Origin of Beauty: A Platonic Dialogue

Wessex Poems and Other Verses (1918)

  • I have desired to go
    Where springs not fail,
    To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail
    And a few lilies blow.
    And I have asked to be
    Where no storms come,
    Where the green swell is in the havens dumb,
    And out of the swing of the sea.
  • Elected Silence, sing to me
    And beat upon my whorlèd ear,
    Pipe me to pastures still and be
    The music that I care to hear.
  • Thou mastering me
    God! giver of breath and bread;
    World’s strand, sway of the sea;
    Lord of living and dead;
    Thou hast bound bones and veins in me, fastened me flesh,
    And after it almost unmade, what with dread,
    Thy doing: and dost thou touch me afresh?
    Over again I feel thy finger and find thee.
  • Hope had grown grey hairs,
    Hope had mourning on,
    Trenched with tears, carved with cares,
    Hope was twelve hours gone.
    • The Wreck of the Deutschland, lines 115-118
  • Abel is Cain's brother and breasts they have sucked the same.
    • The Wreck of the Deutschland, line 160
  • 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.
  • Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    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.
    • God's Grandeur, lines 5-8
  • There lives the dearest freshness deep down things.
    • God's Grandeur, line 10
  • Look at the stars! look, look up at the skies!
    O look at all the fire-folk sitting in the air!
  • Nothing is so beautiful as Spring—
    When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush
    ;
    Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
    Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
    The ear, it strikes like lightning to hear him sing.
  • I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
    dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
    Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
    High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
    In his ecstasy!
  • Glory be to God for dappled things—
    For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
    For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim.
  • All things counter, original, spare, strange;
    Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
    With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
    He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
    Praise him.
    • Pied Beauty, lines 7-11
  • Summer ends now; now, barbarous in beauty, the stooks arise
    Around; up above, what wind-walks! what lovely behaviour
    Of silk-sack clouds! has wilder, wilful-wavier
    Meal-drift moulded ever and melted across skies?
  • I walk, I lift up, I lift up heart, eyes,
    Down all that glory in the heavens to glean our Saviour.
  • Hurrahing in Harvest, lines 5-6
  • Lovely the woods, waters, meadows, combes, vales,
    All the air things wear that build this world of Wales.
  • Ask of her, the mighty mother:
    Her reply puts this other
    Question: What is Spring?—
    Growth in everything.
  • My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,
    Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,
    All felled, felled, are all felled;
    Of a fresh and following folded rank
    Not spared, not one
    That dandled a sandalled
    Shadow that swam or sank
    On meadow and river and wind-wandering weed-winding bank.
  • O if we but knew what we do
    When we delve or hew—
    Hack and rack the growing green!
    Since country is so tender
    To touch, her being so slender,
    That, like this sleek and seeing ball
    But a prick will make no eye at all,
    Where we, even where we mean
    To mend her we end her,
    When we hew or delve:
    After-comers cannot guess the beauty been.
    • Binsey Poplars, stanza 2
  • When, when, Peace, will you, Peace? I’ll not play hypocrite
    To own my heart: I yield you do come sometimes; but
    That piecemeal peace is poor peace. What pure peace allows
    Alarms of wars, the daunting wars, the death of it?
  • Felix Randal the farrier, O he is dead then? my duty all ended,
    Who have watched his mould of man, big-boned and hardy-handsome
    Pining, pining, till time when reason rambled in it and some
    Fatal four disorders, fleshed there, all contended?
  • Poor Felix Randal;
    How far from then forethought of, all thy more boisterous years,
    When thou at the random grim forge, powerful amidst peers,
    Didst fettle for the great grey drayhorse his bright and battering sandal!
    • Felix Randal, lines 11-14
  • Margaret, are you grieving
    Over Goldengrove unleaving?
  • Ah! as the heart grows older
    It will come to such sights colder
    By and by, not spare a sigh
    Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
    And yet you will weep and know why.
    • Spring and Fall, lines 5-9
  • Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
    What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
    It ís the blight man was born for,
    It is Margaret you mourn for.
    • Spring and Fall, lines 12-15
  • What would the world be, once bereft
    Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
    O let them be left, wildness and wet;
    Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.
  • How to keep—is there any any, is there none such, nowhere known some, bow or brooch or braid or brace, lace, latch or catch or key to keep
    Back beauty, keep it, beauty, beauty, beauty, ... from vanishing away?
  • Give beauty back, beauty, beauty, beauty, back to God, beauty's self and beauty's giver.
    • The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo: The Golden Echo, line 19
  • Wild air, world-mothering air,
    Nestling me everywhere,
    That each eyelash or hair
    Girdles; goes home betwixt
    The fleeciest, frailest-fixed
    Snowflake; that’s fairly mixed
    With, riddles, and is rife
    In every least thing’s life.
  • I say that we are wound
    With mercy round and round
    As if with air.
    • The Blessed Virgin compared to the Air we Breathe, lines 34-36
  • World-mothering air, air wild,
    Wound with thee, in thee isled,
    Fold home, fast fold thy child.
    • The Blessed Virgin compared to the Air we Breathe, lines 124-126
  • Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
    Not untwist—slack they may be—these last strands of man
    In me or, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
    Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.
  • That night, that year
    Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God.
    • Carrion Comfort, lines 13-14
  • No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,
    More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.
  • O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
    Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
    May who ne'er hung there.
    • No Worst, There Is None, lines 9-11
  • Here! creep,
    Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind: all
    Life death does end and each day dies with sleep.
    • No Worst, There Is None, lines 13-15
  • I am gall, I am heartburn. God's most deep decree
    Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me;
    Bones built in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the curse.
    Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see
    The lost are like this, and their scourge to be
    As I am mine, their sweating selves; but worse.
    • I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark, Not Day, lines 9-14
  • My own heart let me have more have pity on; let
    Me live to my sad self hereafter kind,
    Charitable; not live this tormented mind
    With this tormented mind tormenting yet.
  • Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend
    With thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just.
    Why do sinners’ ways prosper? and why must
    Disappointment all I endeavour end?
  • Mine, O thou lord of life, send my roots rain.
    • Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend, line 14
  • The widow of an insight lost she lives, with aim
    Now known and hand at work now never wrong.
    Sweet fire the sire of muse, my soul needs this;
    I want the one rapture of an inspiration.
  • The best ideal is the true
    And other truth is none.
    All glory be ascribed to
    The holy Three in One.

The Principle or Foundation

An address based on The Spiritual Exercises, written by St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Spanish founder of the Society of Jesus.

  • He is so great that all things give him glory if you mean they should. So then, my brethren, live.
  • Any day, any minute we bless God for our being or for anything, for food, for sunlight, we do and are what we were meant for, made for—things that give and mean to give God glory.
  • It is not only prayer that gives God glory but work. Smiting on an anvil, sawing a beam, whitewashing a wall, driving horses, sweeping, scouring, everything gives God some glory if being in his grace you do it as your duty.

Comments on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola

  • When I compare myself, my being-myself, with anything else whatever, all things alike, all in the same degree, rebuff me with blank unlikeness.
  • I find myself both as man and as myself something more determined and distinctive, at pitch, more distinctive and higher pitched than anything else I see.
  • Searching nature I taste self but at one tankard, that of my own being.
  • I consider my selfbeing ... that taste of myself, of I and me above and in all things, which is more distinctive than the taste of ale or alum, more distinctive than the smell of walnutleaf or camphor, and is incommunicable by any means to another man.
  • For human nature, being more highly pitched, selved, and distinctive than anything in the world, can have been developed, evolved, condensed, from the vastness of the world not anyhow or by the working of common powers but only by one of finer or higher pitch and determination than itself.

Unsourced

  • The ambition of the Irish is to say a thing as everybody says it, only louder.

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