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List and develop the ideas of beauty in the poem "Pied Beauty."

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machellemaudling | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 29, 2009 at 4:16 AM via web

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List and develop the ideas of beauty in the poem "Pied Beauty."

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted April 29, 2009 at 11:33 AM (Answer #1)

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The two stanzas of "Pied Beauty" focus on beauty in two different forms:  the concrete and the abstract.  In the first stanza, Hopkins is literally praising God for "dappled things" and for anything exhibiting beauty in two colors.  Of course, Hopkins puts specific emphasis in beauty of the natural world with his mention of cows, trout, roasted chestnuts, finches' wings, landscapes, and even the trades of men.  As Hopkins enters his second stanza, however, the items of beauty become more abstract in nature, focusing on traits such as being different, unique, weird, and indecisive.  Hopkins even enters the world of opposite abstractions with the mention of fast and slow, sweet and sour, bright and dim.  One can see the connection with the first stanza, in that these traits and opposites are also two-toned in their own way (although we may not have thought of them as elements of "beauty").  Of course, Hopkins gets to his main point in the last couple of lines when he says, "He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: / Praise him."  Ironically, although the beauty and wonder of nature were created by God and are glorious in themselves, God himself has a beauty that is greater than change (that is "past change").  All this for the glory and praise of this beautiful God.

Noelle Thompson

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