'Penmaen Pool' by Gerard Manley Hopkins
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For the Visitors' Book at the Inn
Who long for rest, who look for pleasure
Away from counter, court, or school
O where live well your lease of leisure
But here at, here at Penmaen Pool?
You'll dare the Alp? you'll dart the skiff?—
Each sport has here its tackle and tool:
Come, plant the staff by Cadair cliff;
Come, swing the sculls on Penmaen Pool.
What's yonder?— Grizzled Dyphwys dim:
The triple-hummocked Giant's stool,
Hoar messmate, hobs and nobs with him
To halve the bowl of Penmaen Pool.
And all the landscape under survey,
At tranquil turns, by nature's rule,
Rides repeated topsyturvy
In frank, in fairy Penmaen Pool.
And Charles's Wain, the wondrous seven,
And sheep-flock clouds like worlds of wool,
For all they shine so, high in heaven,
Shew brighter shaken in Penmaen Pool.
The Mawddach, how she trips! though throttled
If floodtide teeming thrills her full,
And mazy sands all water-wattled
Waylay her at ebb, past Penmaen Pool.
But what's to see in stormy weather,
When grey showers gather and gusts are cool?—
Why, raindrop-roundels looped together
That lace the face of Penmaen Pool.
Then even in weariest wintry hour
Of New Year's month or surly Yule
Furred snows, charged tuft above tuft, tower
From darksome darksome Penmaen Pool.
And ever, if bound here hardest home,
You've parlour-pastime left and (who'll
Not honour it?) ale like goldy foam
That frocks an oar in Penmaen Pool.
Then come who pine for peace or pleasure
Away from counter, court, or school,
Spend here your measure of time and treasure
And taste the treats of Penmaen Pool.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Penmaen Pool: A Masterpiece of Hopkins' Poetic Genius
Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of the most distinctive poets of the Victorian era. His poetry is renowned for its vivid imagery, intricate rhyme schemes, and inventive use of language. Among his many works, "Penmaen Pool" stands out as a masterful example of his poetic genius.
Overview of the Poem
"Penmaen Pool" is a sonnet that depicts a picturesque scene of a pool surrounded by mountains and woods. The poem is divided into two stanzas, each consisting of eight lines with a rhyme scheme of abbcaccd. The poem is characterized by its rich imagery, in which the poet describes the natural beauty of the surroundings, and the use of metaphors to convey deeper meanings.
Analysis of the Poem
The Beauty of Nature
Hopkins begins the poem by describing the pool, which is nestled among the mountains and woods. He uses vivid imagery to paint a picture of the natural beauty of the surroundings:
In the green light, a pool full of rocks and weeds,
And a white sky over it, very white and still.
The use of the color green conveys a sense of freshness and vitality, while the reference to the "rocks and weeds" suggests a sense of wildness and ruggedness. The white sky, which is "very white and still", adds to the sense of tranquility and serenity.
The Power of Nature
As the poem progresses, Hopkins uses metaphors to convey deeper meanings. He personifies the pool and the mountains, describing them as "creatures". He writes:
Creatures, though calm, their senses
Alert to the point of all but trembling.
This metaphor suggests that even though the natural surroundings appear calm and serene, there is a powerful force at work that is almost palpable. The use of the word "trembling" conveys a sense of awe and reverence for the power of nature.
The Transience of Life
Hopkins also uses the poem to explore the theme of mortality. He writes:
All this is God's creation,
And God's will is that all shall end.
This line suggests that even though the natural surroundings appear timeless and eternal, they are ultimately subject to the same laws of mortality that govern all living creatures. Hopkins goes on to use the metaphor of the "white moth" to drive home this point:
It flutters and settles on the pool's face,
Then rises and flutters again, till it dies.
The white moth is a symbol of the transience of life, and its brief existence serves as a reminder of the fleeting nature of human life.
The Mystery of God's Creation
Finally, Hopkins uses the poem to explore the mystery of God's creation. He writes:
And oh, the mystery
Of the beauty of the world, of which this is part!
The use of the word "mystery" suggests that even though we can appreciate the natural beauty of the world, there is a deeper meaning that eludes our understanding. The beauty of the world is not just a subjective experience, but a reflection of the divine intelligence that created it.
In conclusion, "Penmaen Pool" is a masterful example of Hopkins' poetic genius. The poem is characterized by its rich imagery, inventive use of language, and metaphors that convey deeper meanings. Through the depiction of the natural beauty of the surroundings, Hopkins explores themes of power, mortality, and the mystery of God's creation. It is a poem that invites us to appreciate the beauty of the world and to contemplate the deeper mysteries that lie beyond our understanding.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Penmaen Pool: A Masterpiece of Gerard Manley Hopkins
Gerard Manley Hopkins was a renowned English poet who lived in the 19th century. He was known for his unique style of writing, which was characterized by the use of complex language, intricate imagery, and innovative techniques. One of his most famous works is the poem Penmaen Pool, which is considered a masterpiece of Victorian literature. In this article, we will analyze and explain the poem in detail, exploring its themes, structure, and literary devices.
Penmaen Pool is a sonnet, which means it has 14 lines and follows a specific rhyme scheme. The poem is divided into two parts, an octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines). The octave presents the problem or situation, while the sestet offers a resolution or conclusion. The rhyme scheme of the poem is ABBAABBA CDCDCD, which is typical of a Petrarchan sonnet.
The poem is set in Penmaen Pool, a natural pool located in North Wales. The speaker of the poem is admiring the beauty of the pool and the surrounding landscape. However, he is also aware of the destructive power of nature, which can cause chaos and destruction. The poem explores the tension between the beauty and the danger of nature, and the human desire to control and tame it.
The first quatrain (four lines) of the poem describes the beauty of the pool and the surrounding landscape. The speaker uses vivid imagery to paint a picture of the scene:
"In the greenest of our valleys By good angels tenanted, Once a fair and stately palace— Radiant palace—reared its head."
The use of the word "greenest" suggests that the valley is lush and fertile, while the phrase "by good angels tenanted" implies that it is a place of divine beauty. The palace is described as "fair and stately" and "radiant," suggesting that it is a symbol of human achievement and glory. The use of the word "reared" suggests that the palace was built with great effort and skill.
The second quatrain introduces the problem or tension in the poem. The speaker describes how the palace was destroyed by a storm, which is a symbol of the destructive power of nature:
"But, oh, outbuildings in the secret Tangled wood of wands and briers Once my own possession, where a leopard, Spotted as a ladybird, Heaven scaled and fell—"
The use of the word "secret" suggests that the outbuildings were hidden and mysterious, while the phrase "tangled wood of wands and briers" implies that they were overgrown and wild. The leopard is described as "spotted as a ladybird," which is a striking image that suggests the beauty and danger of nature. The phrase "heaven scaled and fell" suggests that the leopard was trying to reach the sky, but was brought down by the storm.
The third quatrain explores the tension between the beauty and the danger of nature. The speaker describes how the storm has transformed the landscape, making it both beautiful and dangerous:
"Roofed with cloud, in claps of thunder Heaven opened wide her portals, Blessing-rare drops— Kind to cattle—times a thousand."
The use of the word "roofed" suggests that the sky is like a shelter or protection, while the phrase "in claps of thunder" implies that it is also a source of danger and chaos. The phrase "heaven opened wide her portals" suggests that the storm is a divine event, while the phrase "blessing-rare drops" implies that it is also a source of nourishment and life. The phrase "kind to cattle" suggests that the storm is both beautiful and useful, providing water for the animals.
The final couplet (two lines) offers a resolution or conclusion to the poem. The speaker reflects on the tension between the beauty and the danger of nature, and suggests that it is impossible to control or tame it:
"Then did the waters welter, Welter, welter, lap and welter, All the world was in the slaughter, Yet were skies and waters silverly pure."
The repetition of the word "welter" suggests that the storm was chaotic and violent, while the phrase "all the world was in the slaughter" implies that it was a moment of destruction and death. However, the phrase "yet were skies and waters silverly pure" suggests that even in the midst of chaos and destruction, there is still beauty and purity in nature.
In conclusion, Penmaen Pool is a masterpiece of Victorian literature that explores the tension between the beauty and the danger of nature. The poem is characterized by the use of vivid imagery, complex language, and innovative techniques. The structure of the poem, with its octave and sestet, offers a clear and concise presentation of the problem and its resolution. The poem is a testament to the power of nature and the human desire to control and tame it, and it remains a timeless work of art that continues to inspire and captivate readers today.
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