'Pied Beauty'

Gerard Manley Hopkins was born in 1844, the eldest of nine children. Though he had won a poetry contest at school, he was devoutly religious and burned his early work, feeling that writing poetry was too worldly. Later, though, he united his religious beliefs and his poetic talents. He became a priest. Dying of typhoid fever in 1889, his final words were, 'I am happy, so happy!’ ‘Pied Beauty’ is a good starting point for an exploration of his poetry.

'Pied Beauty'

Glory be to God for dappled things –

For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;

And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;

Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)

With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;

He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.