Gerard Manley Hopkins' Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins' Pied Beauty

Analysis of Gerard Manley Hopkin's Pied Beauty


Line1: Glory be to God for dappled things –

Hopkins' Pied Beauty is a tribute to the beauty of nature as the work of the creator God. As a Jesuit priest, Hopkins often introduced the theme of God's magnificence in his poetry. Line 1 clearly rings with fervour for God for creating "dappled things". Dappled means patches of differing colours. Hence it can be inferred that Hopkins is grateful for the variety in hues. For Hopkins was obssessed with the concept of "inscape" a term which means the individual essence of an object. It celebrates the uniqueness in the subject. If we read the entire poem and apply the principle of Gestalt, the dapples of colour could refer to the many facets of nature, be it visual beauty, diligence and unconventionality. It may be noted that God is associated with the heavens. In fact line 1 summarises the message of the poem.

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;

Lines 2 to 4 may be grouped into a celebration of visual beauty. Hopkins stimulates the sense of sight to appreciate it. Hestates that the skies are of "couple-colour as a brinded cow." The usage of this simile is rather surprising as the poets of the Victorian era would not have perceived a cow as a romantic aesthetic object. Here Hopkins applies "instress" which is the person's perception of an object. It is a feeling when the mind and soul is stimulated by nature to give imagery to the perceived object. Why is the sky compared to a cow? At sunset, the sky is orange similar to a cow's fur. A cow also exudes a mood of domesticity and calmness as it chews on the grass. Hence the sky is calm and comforting. From the wide skies we are brought to examine the minute scales of the trout. The red spots on the "trout that swim" are "rose-moles." They are seen as decorative as a rose...

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