Stanza 1, lines 1–2; stanza 2, line 11
“Pied Beauty” opens and closes with variants of the two mottoes of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), of which Hopkins was a member. As cited by Peter Milward in A Commentary on the Sonnets of G. M. Hopkins, the two mottoes are: “Ad majorem Dei gloriam (To the greater glory of God) and Laus Deo semper (Praise be to God always).” Milward points out that it is customary for pupils in Jesuit schools to write an abbreviated form of the former motto, A. M. D. G., at the beginning of each written exercise, and the latter motto, L. D. S., at the end. Thus Hopkins appears to be treating his poem as an exercise in the Jesuit tradition.
Line 1 begins a hymn of praise to God for creating “dappled things” that embody the “Pied Beauty” of the title. These are things of mottled or variegated hue that display variety and pairs of opposites (such as light and dark). The whole of stanza 1, the sestet of the curtal sonnet, consists of a number of such things. Line 2 gives two examples of dappled things. In a simile, the poet likens “skies of couple-colour” to a “brinded” or striped cow, since both are of two contrasting colors.
Stanza 1, lines 3–4
The poet turns his attention to the river, where trout swim, their skins showing rose-colored markings “all in stipple,” meaning spots such as an...
(The entire section is 689 words.)
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