'That Nature Is A Heraclitean Fire And Of The Comfort Of The Resurrection' by Gerard Manley Hopkins


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Cloud-puffball, torn tufts, tossed pillows ' flaunt forth, then chevy on an air-
built thoroughfare: heaven-roysterers, in gay-gangs ' they throng; they glitter in marches.
Down roughcast, down dazzling whitewash, ' wherever an elm arches,
Shivelights and shadowtackle in long ' lashes lace, lance, and pair.
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, starches
Squadroned masks and manmarks ' treadmire toil there
Footfretted in it. Million-fueld, ' nature's bonfire burns on.
But quench her bonniest, dearest ' to her, her clearest-selvd spark
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 indig ' nation! Manshape, that shone
Sheer off, disseveral, 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 Resurrection,
A heart's-clarion! Away grief's gasping, ' joyless days, dejection.
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 diamond,
Is immortal diamond.

Editor 1 Interpretation

That Nature Is A Heraclitean Fire And Of The Comfort Of The Resurrection: A Critical Analysis

Gerard Manley Hopkins, a renowned poet of the Victorian era, is known for his innovative use of language and strong religious themes. One of his most famous poems, "That Nature Is A Heraclitean Fire And Of The Comfort Of The Resurrection," explores the concept of change and the hope of resurrection. In this paper, we will critically analyze and interpret the poem in detail.

Background

Before diving into the poem, it is important to understand the background of the title. Heraclitus was a Greek philosopher who believed that everything in the universe was in a constant state of change, and that change was the only constant. He famously said, "You cannot step into the same river twice," meaning that even if you step into the same river, the water is constantly flowing and changing. Hopkins uses this concept to describe nature in his poem, saying that it is a "Heraclitean fire," constantly changing and moving.

Structure and Language

The poem is structured in three stanzas, each with six lines. The rhyme scheme is ABABCC, with a repeated rhyme in the final couplet. The language used in the poem is highly metaphorical and emphasizes the idea of change. Hopkins uses words like "fickle," "swift," and "fleeting" to describe nature, and compares it to fire, water, and wind. He also uses alliteration and repetition to create a musicality to the language.

Analysis

The first stanza of the poem describes the constant change of nature. Hopkins uses the metaphor of fire to describe how everything in nature is constantly in motion. He says that nature is like a "Heraclitean fire," which means that it is never the same from one moment to the next. He also uses the metaphor of "swift air" to describe the fleeting nature of life. The idea that life is short and fleeting is a common theme in Hopkins' work, and it is evident in this stanza.

In the second stanza, Hopkins shifts his focus to the idea of death and the hope of resurrection. He says that even though everything in nature is constantly changing, there is still a sense of order and purpose. He uses the metaphor of a "master therewith to carry weight" to describe how God is in control of everything, and even though we may not understand why things happen, there is a reason for everything. The final couplet of the stanza emphasizes the hope of resurrection, saying that even though our bodies may be destroyed, our souls will live on.

The final stanza of the poem focuses on the comfort of the resurrection. Hopkins uses the metaphor of a bird hatching from an egg to describe how our bodies will be transformed in the resurrection. He says that even though our bodies may be destroyed, they will rise again and be transformed into something new. The final couplet of the poem is repeated from the second stanza, emphasizing the hope of resurrection.

Interpretation

The poem is a reflection of Hopkins' religious beliefs and his view of the natural world. He sees everything in nature as constantly changing, but also sees a sense of order and purpose in the universe. He believes that God is in control of everything and that even though we may not understand why things happen, there is a reason for everything. The hope of resurrection is a central theme in the poem, and Hopkins uses the metaphor of a bird hatching from an egg to describe how our bodies will be transformed in the resurrection.

The poem can also be seen as a commentary on the human condition. Hopkins emphasizes the fleeting nature of life and the inevitability of death, but also offers hope in the idea of resurrection. He sees death not as an end, but as a transformation into something new and better.

Conclusion

In conclusion, "That Nature Is A Heraclitean Fire And Of The Comfort Of The Resurrection" is a powerful and thought-provoking poem that explores the concepts of change, death, and resurrection. Hopkins' use of metaphor and musical language creates a sense of urgency and hope throughout the poem. His religious beliefs and his view of the natural world are evident in the poem, and the hope of resurrection is a central theme. Overall, the poem is a testament to Hopkins' unique style and his ability to express complex ideas through poetry.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Gerard Manley Hopkins, a renowned English poet, wrote the classic poem "That Nature Is A Heraclitean Fire And Of The Comfort Of The Resurrection" in 1880. The poem is a reflection on the ever-changing nature of the world and the hope of resurrection. In this article, we will analyze and explain the poem in detail, exploring its themes, structure, and language.

The poem's title is taken from the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, who believed that everything in the world is in a constant state of flux. Hopkins uses this idea to explore the transience of life and the inevitability of change. The poem is divided into two parts, with the first part focusing on the idea of change and the second part on the hope of resurrection.

In the first part of the poem, Hopkins uses vivid imagery to describe the ever-changing nature of the world. He compares nature to a "Heraclitean fire," a reference to Heraclitus' belief that everything is in a state of constant flux, like a fire that is always changing. Hopkins writes:

"Cloud-puffball, torn tufts, tossed pillows | flaunt forth, then chevy on an air- | built thoroughfare: heaven-roysterers, in gay-gangs | they throng; they glitter in marches."

Here, Hopkins describes the clouds as "cloud-puffball, torn tufts, tossed pillows," emphasizing their ephemeral nature. He then goes on to describe them as "heaven-roysterers," suggesting that they are like revelers in a parade, celebrating the beauty and transience of life.

Hopkins also uses the image of a river to illustrate the idea of change. He writes:

"Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: | Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; | Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells, | Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came."

Here, Hopkins suggests that each individual is like a river, constantly flowing and changing. He emphasizes the idea that everything in the world is interconnected and that each individual is a part of the larger whole.

In the second part of the poem, Hopkins turns his attention to the hope of resurrection. He writes:

"O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall | Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap | May who ne’er hung there."

Here, Hopkins suggests that the mind is like a mountain, with cliffs that are frightening and impossible to fathom. He emphasizes the idea that the hope of resurrection is a comfort to those who have experienced the depths of despair.

Hopkins also uses the image of a phoenix to illustrate the idea of resurrection. He writes:

"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, wórld-sorrow; on an áge-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.’"

Here, Hopkins suggests that the pain of life is like the death of a phoenix, which must die in order to be reborn. He emphasizes the idea that the hope of resurrection is a comfort to those who have experienced pain and suffering.

In terms of structure, the poem is written in free verse, with no set rhyme scheme or meter. This allows Hopkins to experiment with language and imagery, creating a sense of fluidity and movement that reflects the poem's themes. Hopkins also uses repetition and alliteration to create a sense of rhythm and musicality. For example, he repeats the phrase "O the mind" several times in the second part of the poem, emphasizing the importance of the mind in the search for comfort and hope.

In terms of language, Hopkins uses a range of techniques to create vivid and evocative imagery. He uses metaphors and similes to compare the natural world to human experience, creating a sense of connection and unity. He also uses alliteration and assonance to create a sense of musicality and rhythm, emphasizing the poem's themes of change and hope.

In conclusion, "That Nature Is A Heraclitean Fire And Of The Comfort Of The Resurrection" is a powerful and evocative poem that explores the transience of life and the hope of resurrection. Hopkins uses vivid imagery and language to create a sense of fluidity and movement, emphasizing the interconnectedness of all things. The poem's structure and language reflect its themes, creating a sense of musicality and rhythm that draws the reader in. Overall, this is a classic poem that continues to resonate with readers today, offering comfort and hope in the face of life's challenges.

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