Gerard Manley Hopkins

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Please analyse the rhythm and meter of the poem "Spring" by Hopkins.

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The first stanza of "Spring" by Gerard Manley Hopkins has an abba rhyme scheme, meaning that the stanza's eight lines can be divided into two groups of four lines each, and in each group of four lines the first and fourth lines rhyme with one another and the second and third lines rhyme with one another. Thus the first line ends with the word "Spring" and the fourth line ends with the word "wring," and the second and third lines end with the words "lush" and "thrush" respectively. This regular rhyme scheme lends a musicality to the poem which reflects the happy, almost reverential tone of the speaker.

In the second stanza, the rhyme scheme changes to ababab. This rhyme scheme is still regular and continues to contribute to the musicality of the poem. The fact that the rhyme scheme is different in each stanza helps to emphasize that each stanza has a different focus. The first stanza is focused on the beauty of spring, and the second stanza focuses on the analogy between the season of spring and the innocence of childhood.

In terms of the meter of the poem, there is no regular, consistent meter. The opening line, for example, is a mixture of iambic and dactylic meter. The first four syllables ("Nothing is so") and the last two syllables ("as Spring") are written in iambic meter, whereby every second syllable is emphasized. I have indicated these emphases in bold. The three syllables of the word "beautiful," in the middle of the line, are dactylic, whereby the first syllable is emphasized and the next two are not. This inconsistent meter is repeated throughout the poem and perhaps echoes the unpredictability, spontaneity, and freedom associated with the season of spring.

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