Monday, 8 June 2009

Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ, 1844 – 8 June 1889

Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. (28 July 1844 – 8 June 1889), was an English poetRoman Catholic convert, and Jesuit priest, whose 20th-century fame established him posthumously 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.   (From Wikipaedia) 

There is a good bibliography in Hopkins Quarterly

‘The Windhover’

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!
Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!
No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

Another poem Kingfisher   was posted a few days back. You can see the bird hovering in the icon -   click here for an  explanation of the icon © Fr. Wm Hart McNichols
Gerard Manley Hopkins ........ is now considered one of the greatest poets in the English language. This does not mean he is easy to read. His images flair up before you with a Baroque ferocity…two words which you think cannot come together. The language is lush, mysterious and beautiful with a rough ancient Celtic musicality; meaning you must actually move your mouth to read Hopkins as if you were singing or trying to speak in Spanish or French. The theology woven tightly all through…above, beneath, alongside, is perfectly “horizontal and vertical”, all at once.

He died 120 years ago today, aged 54 - my age! 

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