Write the summary and analysis of the poem "Spring" by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Hopkin's poem focuses on the radiance of the spring season, calling on specific examples of how beautiful and fresh the world is, such as weeds, eggs in birds' nests, bird song, lambs, blue skies, and lush greenery.  The world feels clean and bright to the speaker, and his appreciation for its loveliness makes him compare it the Garden of Eden.  Reflecting on the sorry end of the Garden of Eden, the speaker uses the last lines of the poem to ask God to protect the innocence of spring and youth.


  • Stanza 1:  This stanza's strong focus on the natural world is colored through Hopkin's powerful use of detail and imagery. The opening lines of the poem create a strong image of weeds in wheel, which in itself does not sound appealing, but Hopkins also incorporates alliteration, "weeds in wheels" and "long and lovely and lush," that deepens the reader's appreciation for the visual.  The imagery of the wheel is rich with potential for interpretation, making the reader also think of the cyclical nature of the seasons.  Hopkins focuses on bright colors, like the "descending blue, that blue is all in a rush" and also uses simile "like lightning" to reinforce the power of spring.
  • Stanza 2:  The speaker poses a question about "all this juice and all this joy" which takes the poem from a surface-level appreciation of the niceties of Spring to a much deeper level.  Hopkins point-blank addresses the theme of the poem: how to find balance and meaning in this over-abundance of natural beauty and goodness.  In lines ten and eleven, he compares the scene to the Garden of Eden, a Biblical allusion that seems to reinforce the idea that the speaker fears the beauty and natural goodness of this spring cannot last. 
  • Stanza 3: The final stanza continues with its Biblical and Christian focus, calling on Christ to protect the innocence of youth and spring. Hopkins' last stanza reads dramatically different than the eloquent, flowing lines of the first stanza; the third stanza is broken into choppy phrases separated by commas.  The disjointed, broken qualities of the last stanza reflects Hopkins' fear of dysfunction and decay, that the beauty of spring cannot last, just as the innocence of youth falls victim to sin.  Hopkins' final line, "Most, o maid's child," references again to Jesus (who fits the descriptor 'maid's child' because of Mary's virginal status) who can "win" over the previously mentioned children, thus protecting them from sin.  The third stanza feels vague to the reader because Hopkins wrote it extremely vague and loose-ended; leaving the subtleties of each line open for interpretation and reflection.

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