Gerard Manley Hopkins

Start Free Trial

Why is the description of weeds unusual in Hopkins' "Spring"?

Quick answer:

The speaker's description of weeds in "Spring" is unusual because he celebrates them for their lushness and beauty. Usually, weeds are seen as undesirable intruders people wish to be rid of.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Hopkins's speaker describes weeds as "in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush" in this poem. This is unusual because it celebrates the beauty and abundance of weeds, when, more typically, weeds are seen as undesirable and invasive plants that people wish to be rid of it. Here, however, their energy—they seem to grow or roll in "wheels"—is appreciated, while the alliteration of the l sounds in long, lovely, and lush emphasize growth and beauty.

Hopkins's vision of spring is all-inclusive. He understands anything that is fecund or growing as part of the beauty of God's creation and therefore as desirable. The weeds are simply on a list of new things that emerge in spring, along with the thrush's eggs and the singing of the thrush, the "glassy" or light-reflecting leaves of the "peartree," and the energetic blue of the sky itself, which the leaves of the trees seem to brush. Even the lambs are included in this vision of nature reproducing itself with abandon as winter ends.

Hopkins sees all of this as an echo of the original Garden of Eden or paradise. In early spring, all the new life carries with it the freshness of the earth in its first creation. Hopkins's speaker advises us to experience spring in all its newness before it begins to age and "sour with sin."

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial