Gerard Manley Hopkins

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Write a note on Gerard Manley Hopkins as a religious poet.

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Gerard Manley Hopkins was brought up in a very religious home. In particular, his relationship with his father was key to his religious focus within in his poetry. One of the major beliefs that his father transmitted to his son was the belief that nature was a book written by God which leads its readers to a thoughtful contemplation of him. Hopkins therefore wrote poems which not only encapsulate the Romantic approach to nature but also hark back to an older tradition of explicitly religious nature poetry.

Much of Hopkins' poetry can be described as following the model of a "Hymn to Creation", which we see in Psalms such as Psalm 148. Poems that clearly fit into this mould are "God's Grandeur", "Pied Beauty", "Easter" and "Hurrahing in Harvest." In all of these poems, man and nature are linked by love in one joyous hymn of creation, although often nature is depicted as being the more faithful worshiper. Consider these lines from "Easter":

Gather gladness from the skies;

Take a lesson from the ground;

Flowers do ope their heavenward eyes

And a Spring-time joy have found;

Earth throws Winter's robes away,

Decks herself for Easter Day.

Nature's example, then, is meant to be an impetus to spur mankind on to faithful worship of our creator God.

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