Union Jack

     English Wordplay ~ Listen and Enjoy

Hopkins loved Our Lady. I therefore dedicate these pages to her namesake, my beloved daughter, Mary. Hopkins aged 15 Hopkins as a Jesuit Priest


His Life through his Poetry

Previous Track: Nothing is so Beautiful as Spring, The Windhover

TRACK 5: His Joyous Poetry 3

Read by Claire Marchionne
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while you read
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
     And Óll trÓdes, 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.

The May Magnificat

MAY is Mary's month, and I
Muse at that and wonder why:
     Her feasts follow reason,
     Dated due to season--

Candlemas, Lady Day;
But the Lady Month, May,
     Why fasten that upon her,
     With a feasting in her honour?

Is it only its being brighter
Than the most are must delight her?
     Is it opportunest
     And flowers finds soonest?

Ask of her, the mighty mother:
Her reply puts this other
     Question: What is Spring?--
     Growth in every thing--

Flesh and fleece, fur and feather,
Grass and green world all together;
     Star-eyed strawberry-breasted
     Throstle above her nested

Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin
Forms and warms the life within;
     And bird and blossom swell
     In sod or sheath or shell.

All things rising, all things sizing
Mary sees, sympathising
     With that world of good,
     Nature's motherhood.

Their magnifying of each its kind
With delight calls to mind
     How she did in her stored
     Magnify the Lord.

Well but there was more than this:
Spring's universal bliss
     Much, had much to say
     To offering Mary May.

When drop-of-blood-and-foam-dapple
Bloom lights the orchard-apple
     And thicket and thorp are merry
     With silver-surfŔd cherry

And azuring-over greybell makes
Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes
     And magic cuckoocall
     Caps, clears, and clinches all--

This ecstacy all through mothering earth
Tells Mary her mirth till Christ's birth
     To remember and exultation
     In God who was her salvation.

The next track: Binsey Poplars

Introduction to this Hopkins Feature

Gerard Manley Hopkins Workshop

Home Page

We recommend the Oxford Edition and in particular Sean Street's account of The Wreck of the Deutschland, which he was inspired to write from hearing my production of Paul Scofield's reading for BBC Radio 3.  We also highly recommend Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Study of Poetic Idiosyncrasy in Relation to Poetic Tradition by Professor Helen Gardner: