Gerard Manley Hopkins

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Please discuss the meaning of "Spring" by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

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Gerard Manley Hopkins was a Catholic priest.  Unfortunately for the poetic world, Hopkins wrote for only twelve years because he died from an epidemic or typhoid.  Hopkins love of life and joy in nature makes his poetry memorable and he is regarded as one of England’s best poets of the latter part of the nineteenth century. 

The poet’s love of God and the natural world pervades his poetry.  However, he still is uncertain about some aspects of the world and his beloved religion.   He has questions like the rest of us about life, nature, and death.

Spring is awesome.  What a statement about a season!  Nothing can compare with Spring.  The speaker even loves the weeds that come up.   

  • Employing a simile, he compares the bird eggs to the heavens which seem to bring them closer together.
  • The poet seems to think Spring brings a feeling of heaven on earth. Maybe instead we can notice that, by leaving out the "like" he reduces the sense of distance, bringing the eggs and the newborn birds that much closer to being little low heavens.
  • The thrush’s song echoes throughout the woods.   The poet uses enjambment to continue the thought in the next line.
  • The song rinses and wrings the listener’s ear which takes on a religious and refreshing air. It strikes like lightning. Since this is the first bird sound of spring, the poet listens and receives a striking feeling.
  • As he observes Spring taking over nature, he watches the pear tree bud and bloom; the spring lambs are born,

What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth's sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. – Have, get, before it cloy,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy...

The poet asks God to bring the innocent into the Christian fold and save his soul. The poem converts to a prayer like poem asking Jesus to save the innocent from sin. Using the word choice elicits many questions about God’s giving man free will; thus, he must allow man to make his own way and choose his own path.

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