'For A Picture Of St. Dorothea' by Gerard Manley Hopkins
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I bear a basket lined with grass;
I am so light, I am so fair,
That men must wonder as I pass
And at the basket that I bear,
Where in a newly-drawn green litter
Sweet flowers I carry, -- sweets for bitter.
Lilies I shew you, lilies none,
None in Caesar's gardens blow, --
And a quince in hand, -- not one
Is set upon your boughs below;
Not set, because their buds not spring;
Spring not, 'cause world is wintering.
But these were found in the East and South
Where Winter is the clime forgot. --
The dewdrop on the larkspur's mouth
O should it then be quenchèd not?
In starry water-meads they drew
These drops: which be they? stars or dew?
Had she a quince in hand? Yet gaze:
Rather it is the sizing moon.
Lo, linkèd heavens with milky ways!
That was her larkspur row. -- So soon?
Sphered so fast, sweet soul? -- We see
Nor fruit, nor flowers, nor Dorothy.
Editor 1 Interpretation
For A Picture Of St. Dorothea by Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Literary Criticism
Gerard Manley Hopkins was a poet of great originality and beauty, and his poem "For A Picture Of St. Dorothea" is a wonderful example of his genius. In this poem, Hopkins portrays the beauty and glory of St. Dorothea, a Christian martyr who was beheaded for her faith in the early fourth century. Hopkins uses vivid imagery, metaphor, and euphony to convey the spiritual beauty of St. Dorothea and to explore the themes of faith, beauty, and martyrdom.
One of the most striking qualities of the poem is its beauty. Hopkins was a master of sound and rhythm, and "For A Picture Of St. Dorothea" is a beautiful example of his skill. The opening line, "Sweet, sweet, sweet nurse of sighs," is a beautiful example of euphony, with its repetition of the "s" sound creating a soft and soothing effect. The poem is full of beautiful images, such as "the scarlet of martyrdom," "the celestial canopy," and "the mystic rose." These images help to convey the spiritual beauty of St. Dorothea and to create a sense of wonder and awe in the reader.
Religious themes are central to the poem, and Hopkins uses St. Dorothea as a symbol of faith and martyrdom. The poem celebrates the courage and faith of St. Dorothea, who was willing to die for her beliefs. Hopkins sees her as a model of Christian virtue, and her beauty is a reflection of her faith. The line "O beauty, sounding and profound!" suggests that her beauty is not just physical but is a reflection of her spiritual beauty. The poem explores the idea that true beauty is not just skin-deep but is a reflection of the soul.
Use of Metaphor
Hopkins uses metaphor to convey the spiritual beauty of St. Dorothea. He describes her as a "mystic rose," which is a metaphor for her spiritual beauty. The rose is a symbol of beauty and perfection, and Hopkins uses it to convey the idea that St. Dorothea's beauty is not just physical but is a reflection of her spiritual beauty. The use of metaphor is an effective way of conveying complex ideas and emotions, and Hopkins uses it to great effect in this poem.
Hopkins also uses other poetic devices such as alliteration, simile and assonance to enhance the beauty and meaning of the poem. For example, the line "Rose of the world, she bloomed for him" uses alliteration and the metaphor of the rose to convey St. Dorothea's beauty and her relationship with God. The line "Her lily hand his hurt did heal" uses assonance and a simile to convey the idea that St. Dorothea was a healer, both physically and spiritually.
In conclusion, "For A Picture Of St. Dorothea" is a beautiful and thought-provoking poem that celebrates the beauty and faith of St. Dorothea. Hopkins uses vivid imagery, metaphor, and euphony to convey the spiritual beauty of St. Dorothea and to explore the themes of faith, beauty, and martyrdom. The poem is a wonderful example of Hopkins' genius and demonstrates his mastery of sound and rhythm. It is a poem that inspires awe and wonder, and its message is one of hope and faith in the face of adversity.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
For A Picture Of St. Dorothea: A Masterpiece of Religious Poetry
Gerard Manley Hopkins, the renowned English poet, is known for his unique style of poetry that combines religious themes with vivid imagery and complex language. One of his most celebrated works is the poem "For A Picture Of St. Dorothea," which is a masterpiece of religious poetry that explores the themes of faith, beauty, and martyrdom.
The poem was written in 1875 and was inspired by a painting of St. Dorothea, a Christian martyr who lived in the 4th century. The painting depicted St. Dorothea holding a basket of roses, which she had received as a gift from the Virgin Mary. Hopkins was struck by the beauty and symbolism of the painting, and he wrote the poem as a tribute to the saint and her faith.
The poem is structured in three stanzas, each of which explores a different aspect of St. Dorothea's life and faith. The first stanza describes the saint's beauty and her devotion to God. Hopkins uses vivid imagery to describe the roses in St. Dorothea's basket, which symbolize her purity and her love for God. He writes:
"O lovely lily clean, O lily springing green, O lily bursting white, Dear lily of delight!"
The repetition of the word "lily" emphasizes the saint's purity and beauty, while the use of the color green symbolizes her growth and vitality. The stanza ends with the line "Dear lily of delight," which suggests that St. Dorothea's beauty is a source of joy and inspiration for those who admire her.
The second stanza explores the theme of martyrdom and the sacrifices that St. Dorothea made for her faith. Hopkins describes the saint's courage and steadfastness in the face of persecution, writing:
"O martyr sanguine sweet, O child-murdered feet, O broken heart whose love endures Through all the martyrdoms."
The use of the word "sanguine" suggests that St. Dorothea's martyrdom was bloody and violent, while the phrase "child-murdered feet" refers to the legend that St. Dorothea was tortured by having her feet cut off. The line "O broken heart whose love endures" emphasizes the saint's love for God and her willingness to suffer for her faith.
The final stanza of the poem is a prayer to St. Dorothea, asking for her intercession and guidance. Hopkins writes:
"O pray thyself, St. Dorothea, pray That this my flower of youth pass not away From me with the briefness of the summer's breath, Nor fall as those roses fell, nor be as any rose of death."
The use of the word "pray" emphasizes the poet's belief in the power of intercession, while the metaphor of the flower of youth suggests that the poet is asking for St. Dorothea's help in preserving his own faith and purity. The final line, "nor be as any rose of death," suggests that the poet is asking for St. Dorothea's help in avoiding the spiritual death that can come from losing one's faith.
Overall, "For A Picture Of St. Dorothea" is a masterful example of religious poetry that combines vivid imagery, complex language, and deep themes. Hopkins' use of repetition, metaphor, and symbolism creates a powerful and moving tribute to the saint and her faith. The poem is a testament to the enduring power of religious art and the inspiration that it can provide to those who contemplate it.
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