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Gerard Manly Hopkins’ "Pied Beauty" Gerard Manly Hopkins’ "Pied Beauty"

Pied Beauty

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;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows him?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

As a Jesuit Priest, Hopkins sought in his poetry to show the connection between God and Man. In Pied Beauty he gives thanks for all the things he sees in the world around him. Filled with alliteration ("couple-colour", "fold, fallow", "fresh-firecoal") the poem creates a fluidity that mirrors the calm flow of the simple beauty in the world.

Hopkins used complicated diction and composition because he felt that enlightening poetry came from difficulty, just as spiritual trials led to a heightened awareness. He felt if the reader had to work at finding the meaning in the poem, then they would gain more from it.

K. Y. Hamilton, BA, MA - Copyright 2001, 2006

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