'(The Soldier)' by Gerard Manley Hopkins
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Yes. Why do we áll, seeing of a soldier, bless him? bless
Our redcoats, our tars? Both these being, the greater part,
But frail clay, nay but foul clay. Here it is: the heart,
Since, proud, it calls the calling manly, gives a guess
That, hopes that, makesbelieve, the men must be no less;
It fancies, feigns, deems, dears the artist after his art;
And fain will find as sterling all as all is smart,
And scarlet wear the spirit of wár thére express.
Mark Christ our King. He knows war, served this soldiering through;
He of all can handle a rope best. There he bides in bliss
Now, and séeing somewhére some mán do all that man can do,
For love he leans forth, needs his neck must fall on, kiss,
And cry 'O Christ-done deed! So God-made-flesh does too:
Were I come o'er again' cries Christ 'it should be this'.
Editor 1 Interpretation
"The Soldier" by Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation
Gerard Manley Hopkins is known for his brilliant and intricate poetry, and "The Soldier" is no exception. This poem, written in 1915, during the First World War, speaks to the heroism and bravery of soldiers. It is a sonnet, and like most of Hopkins' works, it is heavily laden with religious themes and imagery. The poem has a somber tone as it reflects on the sacrifice of soldiers in war. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the themes, style, and poetic devices used by Hopkins to create this masterpiece.
"The Soldier" is a poem that is preoccupied with death, honor, and sacrifice. The primary theme is the idea of dying for one's country. The poem is a tribute to the soldiers who gave their lives for their country in the Great War. The poem suggests that dying for your country is the most noble and honorable thing a person can do. The speaker suggests that death in war is not a bad thing, but rather a way for a soldier to achieve eternal glory. The poem's message is that those who die in battle are never really gone, but live on in the memories of those left behind.
Structure and Style
Hopkins' use of the sonnet form in "The Soldier" is notable. The sonnet is a strict form that has been used by many poets to express love and romantic themes. Hopkins, however, uses this form to express a more somber and serious theme. The poem has fourteen lines, divided into two quatrains and two tercets. The rhyme scheme is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. The poem has a regular meter, with iambic pentameter throughout, which gives it a steady rhythm. This structure helps to convey the poem's message of order, sacrifice, and dignity.
Hopkins' use of imagery is also notable. The poem is replete with religious imagery and themes, which is characteristic of Hopkins' works. For example, the line "If I should die, think only this of me" is reminiscent of the last rites in the Catholic Church. The speaker is asking those left behind to pray for his soul. The use of words like "cross," "shrine," and "altar" are also indicative of the poem's religious themes. The poem's imagery is powerful and emotive, which helps to convey its message.
Hopkins uses several poetic devices to convey his message in "The Soldier." The most notable of these is alliteration. The poem is full of alliterative phrases and lines, such as "Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day," and "A body of England's, breathing English air." These alliterations help to create a musical quality to the poem, which makes it more memorable and attention-grabbing.
Hopkins also uses metaphor to great effect in "The Soldier." The most prominent metaphor is the idea of a soldier dying for his country and becoming a part of the land. This metaphor is expressed in the line, "That there's some corner of a foreign field that is forever England." This metaphor suggests that the soldier's sacrifice is not in vain, as he becomes a part of the land he fought for. The metaphor also suggests that the soldier's spirit lives on in the land, even after his body has died.
The theme of sacrifice is central to "The Soldier." The poem suggests that dying for one's country is the most noble and honorable thing a person can do. The speaker suggests that death in war is not a bad thing, but rather a way for a soldier to achieve eternal glory. The poem's message is that those who die in battle are never really gone, but live on in the memories of those left behind. This interpretation suggests that Hopkins was a fervent patriot who believed in the importance of sacrifice for the greater good.
Another interpretation of "The Soldier" is that it is a critique of war. The poem suggests that the sacrifice of soldiers is a tragic and unnecessary loss of life. The speaker acknowledges that war is a terrible thing, but suggests that the sacrifice of soldiers is a necessary evil. This interpretation suggests that Hopkins was ambivalent about war, acknowledging its necessity but also recognizing its terrible cost.
In conclusion, "The Soldier" is a masterpiece of poetic craft and religious imagery. Hopkins' use of the sonnet form, alliteration, and metaphor help to create a powerful and emotive poem that speaks to the heroism and sacrifice of soldiers. The poem's central theme of sacrifice is a poignant reminder of the cost of war and the importance of remembering those who gave their lives for their country. Whether you interpret "The Soldier" as a celebration of war or a critique of it, there is no denying the power and beauty of Hopkins' poem.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Soldier by Gerard Manley Hopkins is a classic poem that has stood the test of time. It is a powerful and moving piece of literature that captures the essence of patriotism and sacrifice. In this analysis, we will delve deep into the poem and explore its themes, structure, and language.
The poem was written in 1914, at the beginning of World War I. It was a time of great uncertainty and fear, and the poem reflects the mood of the time. The Soldier is a sonnet, which is a fourteen-line poem with a specific rhyme scheme. Hopkins uses the Petrarchan sonnet form, which consists of an octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines). The rhyme scheme of the octave is ABBAABBA, and the sestet is CDECDE.
The poem begins with the famous line, "If I should die, think only this of me." This line sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The speaker is addressing his loved ones, telling them not to mourn his death but to remember him as a soldier who died for his country. He goes on to say that his death will not be in vain, as he will become a part of the English landscape, "a richer dust concealed."
The theme of patriotism is evident throughout the poem. The speaker is proud to be a soldier and willing to die for his country. He believes that England is worth fighting for and that his sacrifice will make a difference. He says, "In that rich earth a richer dust concealed; A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware." This line shows that the speaker believes that he is a product of England and that his sacrifice is a testament to the greatness of his country.
The poem also explores the theme of sacrifice. The speaker is willing to give up his life for his country, and he believes that his death will be a noble one. He says, "And think, this heart, all evil shed away, A pulse in the eternal mind, no less." This line shows that the speaker believes that his death will be a part of something greater than himself. He sees himself as a part of the eternal mind, and his sacrifice as a part of a greater plan.
The language used in the poem is powerful and emotive. Hopkins uses alliteration, repetition, and imagery to create a vivid picture of the speaker's sacrifice. For example, in the line, "If I should die, think only this of me," Hopkins uses repetition to emphasize the importance of the speaker's sacrifice. The repetition of the word "think" creates a sense of urgency and importance.
Hopkins also uses imagery to create a picture of the speaker's sacrifice. In the line, "A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware," Hopkins uses imagery to show that the speaker is a product of England. He is a part of the English landscape, and his sacrifice will become a part of that landscape.
The structure of the poem is also significant. The use of the Petrarchan sonnet form creates a sense of order and symmetry. The octave sets up the theme of the poem, and the sestet provides a resolution. The rhyme scheme also creates a sense of unity and coherence.
In conclusion, The Soldier by Gerard Manley Hopkins is a powerful and moving poem that captures the essence of patriotism and sacrifice. The poem explores the themes of patriotism and sacrifice, and the language and structure of the poem create a vivid picture of the speaker's sacrifice. The poem is a testament to the bravery and sacrifice of soldiers throughout history, and it continues to inspire and move readers today.
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