“God’s Grandeur” (1877) is packed to the seams with literary and poetic devices, but there are two kinds of techniques into which I’ll delve in particular. The first of these has to do with inventions in form. As you may know, Gerard Manley Hopkins was known for his experiments with poetic meter. Though “God’s Grandeur,” is a Shakespearian sonnet—a 14-line poem in iambic pentameter—Hopkins often deviates from the beat, as we see in the following example:
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod? (lines 1–4)
In an iamb, the syllable sounds occur in a characteristic heartbeat pattern, with a short syllable followed by a longer syllable, such as in the phrase “the WORLD” (Capitalization added for emphasis). A line in which this beat or metrical foot repeats five times is said to follow an iambic pentameter. If we look at the...
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