Though “Hurrahing in Harvest” is just as rich in diction and ideas as “God’s Grandeur” and “The Windhover,” it may seem more accessible to beginning readers of Hopkins because the poet’s vision and actions are simpler. In the first quatrain, he observes with wonder the beauties of the harvest season, the piling of the grain for threshing, and the wind and clouds of the sky. On both levels, he sees harvest, for he finds in the clouds images of winnowing grain. In the second quatrain, he recounts his experience of walking through such a landscape. As he walks, his heart and his eyes glean, or gather, the remains of the harvest, and what they glean is Christ, “our saviour.” Gathering up visions of Christ in the landscape, he sees Christ as a lover speaking to him through the landscape: “What lips yet gave you a/ Rapturous love’s greeting of realer, of rounder replies?” Rapturous love, however, points beyond a comparison of Christ with a lover, for “rapture” shares the root meaning of “raptor,” a bird of prey like the windhover, that seizes its prey and carries it into the sky. For a Christian, the Rapture is that moment when the soul is caught up into Heaven for the final judgment. Christ as rapturous lover is, therefore, an apt image of Christ the savior and the judge, who in the variety of ways observed in “The Windhover” offers to bring the faithful soul out of sin and into the bosom of God.
In the sestet, the poet...
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