'Peace' by Gerard Manley Hopkins
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When will you ever, Peace, wild wooddove, shy wings shut,
Your round me roaming end, and under be my boughs?
When, when, Peace, will you, Peace? I'll not play hypocrite
To own my heart: I yield you do come sometimes; but
That piecemeal peace is poor peace. What pure peace allows
Alarms of wars, the daunting wars, the death of it?
O surely, reaving Peace, my Lord should leave in lieu
Some good! And so he does leave Patience exquisite,
That plumes to Peace thereafter. And when Peace here does house
He comes with work to do, he does not come to coo,
He comes to brood and sit.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Peace by Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Masterpiece of Spiritual Poetry
Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of the most celebrated poets of the Victorian era, renowned for his unique style, innovative use of language, and intense religious vision. His poems are characterized by their intense emotional depth, vivid imagery, and musicality, which combine to create a powerful and transformative reading experience. Among his most famous works is the poem "Peace," which explores the theme of inner peace and spiritual liberation. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the various literary elements and themes present in Hopkins' poem and examine its significance and relevance to contemporary readers.
Gerard Manley Hopkins was born in 1844 in England and was ordained as a Jesuit priest in 1877. He was a gifted poet, scholar, and artist, and his works were not widely recognized during his lifetime. It was only after his death in 1889 that his poems gained widespread acclaim, and he is now regarded as one of the most important poets of the Victorian era.
Hopkins' poetry is characterized by its innovative use of language and meter, which he called "sprung rhythm." This technique involved the use of irregular stresses and syllables, giving his poems a unique musicality and emphasizing the emotional intensity of his themes. His poetry is also notable for its deep spiritual and religious themes, which reflect his own personal beliefs and experiences.
"Peace" is a sonnet composed of fourteen lines, written in Hopkins' distinctive sprung rhythm. The poem is divided into two parts, the octave (the first eight lines) and the sestet (the final six lines). The rhyme scheme of the poem is ABBA ABBA CDCDCD, which is typical of the Petrarchan sonnet form.
Form and Meter
Hopkins' use of sprung rhythm in "Peace" is particularly effective in conveying the themes of the poem. The irregular stresses and syllables give the poem a sense of urgency and emotional intensity, which is appropriate for a poem that deals with spiritual liberation and inner peace. The use of enjambment (the continuation of a sentence or clause across a line break) also adds to the musicality of the poem and emphasizes the connections between the different ideas and images presented.
The imagery in "Peace" is particularly striking and vivid, and Hopkins uses a variety of sensory details to create a powerful and evocative scene. The opening lines of the poem describe the "windhover" (a type of bird of prey) as it "rebuffed the big wind" and "rode" on the air. This image conveys a sense of freedom and power, as the bird is able to defy the forces of nature and soar above them.
Hopkins also uses a number of other natural images to convey the idea of peace and liberation. The "blue sky" and "green and golden" landscape are described as "flame-like," suggesting a sense of energy and vibrancy. The image of the "ploughman" who "turns his furrow" also conveys a sense of purpose and productivity, as he works to cultivate the land and bring forth new life.
The central theme of "Peace" is spiritual liberation and inner peace. The poem presents a vision of a world in which the natural world is in harmony with the divine, and human beings are able to experience a sense of peace and freedom. This vision is conveyed through a variety of images and metaphors, including the soaring bird, the vibrant landscape, and the productive ploughman.
Another important theme of the poem is the role of the individual in achieving inner peace. Hopkins suggests that peace is not something that can be imposed from without, but must be achieved through personal transformation and spiritual growth. The poem suggests that this transformation is possible through a deep connection with the natural world and a recognition of the divine presence within it.
Tone and Mood
The tone of "Peace" is one of awe and wonder, as Hopkins describes the beauty and power of the natural world. There is also a sense of joy and exaltation, as the poem celebrates the possibility of spiritual liberation and inner peace. The mood of the poem is uplifting and inspiring, as Hopkins presents a vision of a world in which human beings can achieve a sense of harmony and freedom.
"Peace" is a powerful and transformative poem that speaks to the deepest longings of the human heart. Hopkins' use of imagery, meter, and language creates a vivid and evocative scene that conveys the possibility of spiritual liberation and inner peace. The poem suggests that this transformation is possible through a deep connection with the natural world and a recognition of the divine presence within it.
One of the most striking aspects of the poem is its emphasis on the role of the individual in achieving inner peace. Hopkins suggests that peace is not something that can be imposed from without, but must be achieved through personal transformation and spiritual growth. This message is particularly relevant in today's society, where many people feel alienated from themselves and from the natural world around them.
Another important theme of the poem is the relationship between the natural world and the divine. Hopkins suggests that the natural world is not simply an object of scientific study, but is infused with divine energy and purpose. This message is particularly relevant in today's society, where many people are disconnected from the natural world and do not recognize its intrinsic value and importance.
Overall, "Peace" is a masterpiece of spiritual poetry that speaks to the deepest longings of the human heart. Hopkins' use of imagery, meter, and language creates a powerful and transformative reading experience, and the themes of the poem are as relevant today as they were when it was first written. "Peace" is a testament to the enduring power of poetry to inspire, uplift, and transform the human spirit.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Peace by Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Masterpiece of Spiritual Reflection
Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of the most celebrated poets of the Victorian era, known for his innovative use of language and his deep spiritual insights. His poem "Peace" is a masterpiece of spiritual reflection, exploring the nature of peace and its relationship to the divine. In this article, we will analyze and explain this classic poem in detail, exploring its themes, imagery, and language.
The poem begins with a simple statement: "When will you ever, Peace, wild wooddove, shy wings shut?" The speaker is addressing Peace as if it were a person, a wild wooddove with shy wings. This personification of Peace is a common technique in Hopkins' poetry, as he often gives abstract concepts human qualities in order to explore their nature more deeply. The use of the word "wild" suggests that Peace is elusive and difficult to capture, while the "shy wings" suggest a sense of vulnerability and fragility.
The second line of the poem continues this personification, asking when Peace will "your round me roam." The use of the word "round" suggests a sense of completeness or wholeness, as if Peace were a protective circle surrounding the speaker. This idea of Peace as a protective force is a common theme in Hopkins' poetry, as he often explores the idea of God as a loving and protective presence in the world.
The third line of the poem introduces a new image: "The live-long night." This phrase suggests a sense of endlessness or eternity, as if the speaker is longing for Peace to be a constant presence in their life. The use of the word "live-long" also suggests a sense of vitality or life-giving energy, as if Peace were a source of renewal and rejuvenation.
The fourth line of the poem introduces a new image: "And not the hangman's." This line is a stark contrast to the previous lines, as it introduces the idea of violence and death. The use of the word "hangman's" suggests a sense of brutality and injustice, as if the speaker is longing for Peace to protect them from the violence and oppression of the world. This idea of Peace as a protective force is a common theme in Hopkins' poetry, as he often explores the idea of God as a loving and protective presence in the world.
The fifth line of the poem returns to the image of the wild wooddove, asking when Peace will "scatter wheeling in great broken rings." This image suggests a sense of movement and freedom, as if Peace were a bird soaring through the sky. The use of the word "broken" suggests a sense of fragmentation or disunity, as if the world is in a state of chaos and disorder. This idea of the world as a broken and fragmented place is a common theme in Hopkins' poetry, as he often explores the idea of sin and redemption.
The sixth line of the poem introduces a new image: "Upon our laden air." This phrase suggests a sense of heaviness or burden, as if the world is weighed down by the sins and sorrows of humanity. The use of the word "laden" suggests a sense of oppression or burden, as if the world is in need of release and liberation.
The seventh line of the poem returns to the image of the wild wooddove, asking when Peace will "wild with the dew to the dawnstar." This image suggests a sense of freshness and renewal, as if Peace were a bird awakening to a new day. The use of the word "wild" suggests a sense of freedom and spontaneity, as if Peace were a force of nature rather than a human invention.
The eighth and final line of the poem returns to the image of the hangman's noose, asking when Peace will "hang breathless by beams of the sun." This image suggests a sense of release and liberation, as if Peace were a prisoner set free. The use of the word "breathless" suggests a sense of relief or release, as if the world is finally able to breathe freely after being suffocated by violence and oppression.
Overall, "Peace" is a powerful and evocative poem that explores the nature of peace and its relationship to the divine. Through its use of vivid imagery and powerful language, the poem invites the reader to reflect on their own relationship with peace and to consider the ways in which they can work towards creating a more peaceful world. As Hopkins himself wrote, "Peace is not a matter of ignoring difficulties, but of facing them with courage and hope."
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