Gerard Manley Hopkins

Soundings Index

That Nature is a Herclitean Fire

 Cloud-puff ball, torn tufts, tossed pillows flaunt forth, then
 	chevy on the air-
 built thoroughfare: heaven-roysterers, in gay-gangs they
 	throng; they glitter in marches.
 Down roughcast, down dazzling whitewash, wherever an elm
 Shivelights and shadowtackle in long lashes lace, lance, and
 Delightfully the bright wind boisterous ropes, wrestles, beats
 	earth bare
 Of yestertempest's creases; in pool and rut peel parches
 Squandering ooze to squeezed dough, crust, dust; stanches,
 Squadroned masks and manmarks tredmire toil there
 Footfettered in it. Million-fueled, nature's bonfire burns on.
 But quench her bonniest, dearest to her, her clearest-selved
 Man, how fast his firedint, his mark on mind, is gone!
 Both are in an unfathomable, all is in an enormous dark
 Drowned. O pity and indignation! Manshape, that shone
 Sheer off dissereval, a star, death blots black out; nor mark
 	Is any of him at all so stark
 But vastness blurs and time beats level. Enough! the
 A heart's-clarion! Away grief's gasping, joyless days,
 		Across my foundering deck shone
 A beacon, an eternal beam. Flesh fade, and mortal trash
 Fall to the residuary worm; world's wildfire, leave but ash;
 	In a flash, at a trumpet crash,
 I am all at once what Christ is, since he was what I am, and
 This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, patch, matchwood, immortal
 		Is immortal diamond.

The Windhover

 To Christ our Lord

 I caught this morning morning's minion, king-
  dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in
	his riding
  Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
 High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
 In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
   As a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl
   	and gliding
   Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
 Stirred for a bird, -- the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!

 Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
  Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
 Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

  No wonder of it: sheer plod makes plough down silion
 Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
  Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.

Felix Randal

 Felix Randal the farrier, O he is dead then? my duty all ended
 Who have watched his mould of man, big-boned and hardy-handsome
 Pining, pining, till time when reason rambled in it and some
 Fatal four disorders, fleshed there, all contended?

 Sickness broke him. Impatient he cursed at first, but mended
 Being anointed and all; though a heavenlier heart began some
 Months earlier, since I had our sweet reprieve and ransom
 Tendered to him. Ah well, God rest him all road ever he offended!

 This seeing the sick endears them to us, us too it endears.
 My tongue had taught thee comfort, touch had quenched they tears,
 Thy tears that touched my heart, child, Felix, poor Felix Randal;

 How far from then forethought of, all they more boisterous years,
 When thou at the random grim forge, powerful amidst peers,
 Didst fettle for the great grey drayhorse his bright and battering sandal!

No Worst, there is None

 No worst, there none. Pitched past pitch of grief,
 More pangs will schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.
 Comforter, where, where is your comforting?
 Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?
 My cries heave, herds-long; huddle in a main, a chief
 Woe, world-sorrow; on an age-old anvil wince and sing--
 Then lull, then leave off. Fury had shrieked "No ling-
 ering! Let me be fell: force I must be brief."

 O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
 Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
 May who ne'er hung there. Nor does long our small
 Durance deal with that steep or deep. Here! creep,
 Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind: all
 Life death does end and each day dies with sleep.

I wake and feel the Fell of Dark

 I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day.
 What hours, O what black hours we have spent
 This night! what sights you, heart, saw; ways you went!
 And more must in yet longer light's delay.
 	With witness I speak this. But where I say
 Hours I mean years, mean life. And my lament
 Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent
 To dearest him that lives alas away.

  I am gall, I am heartburn. God's most deep decree
 Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me;
 Bones built in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the curse.
 	Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see
 The lost are like this, and their scourge to be
 As I am mine, their sweating selves, but worse.

Thou art indeed just, Lord

 Justus quidem tu es, Domine, si disputem tecum: verumtamen justa loquar
 ad te: Quare via impriorum prosperatur? &c.

 Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend
 With thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just.
 Why do sinners' ways prosper? and why must
 Disappointment all I endeavour end:
 	Wert thou my enemy, O thou my friend,
 How wouldst thou worse, I wonder, than thou dost
 Defeat, thwart me? Oh, the sots and thralls of lust
 Do in spare hours more thrive than I that spend,
 Sir, life upon thy cause. See, banks and brakes
 Now, leaved how thick! laced they are again
 With fretty chervil, look, and fresh wind shakes
 Them; birds build-- but not I build; no, but strain,
 Time's eunuch, and not breed one work that wakes.
 Mine, O thou lord of life, send my roots rain.

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