'Tom's Garland' by Gerard Manley Hopkins


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upon the Unemployed


Tom—garlanded with squat and surly steel
Tom; then Tom's fallowbootfellow piles pick
By him and rips out rockfire homeforth—sturdy Dick;
Tom Heart-at-ease, Tom Navvy: he is all for his meal
Sure, 's bed now. Low be it: lustily he his low lot (feel
That ne'er need hunger, Tom; Tom seldom sick,
Seldomer heartsore; that treads through, prickproof, thick
Thousands of thorns, thoughts) swings though. Commonweal
Little I reck ho! lacklevel in, if all had bread:
What! Country is honour enough in all us—lordly head,
With heaven's lights high hung round, or, mother-ground
That mammocks, mighty foot. But no way sped,
Nor mind nor mainstrength; gold go garlanded
With, perilous, O n; nor yet plod safe shod sound;
Undenizened, beyond bound
Of earth's glory, earth's ease, all; no one, nowhere,
In wide the world's weal; rare gold, bold steel, bare
In both; care, but share care—
This, by Despair, bred Hangdog dull; by Rage,
Manwolf, worse; and their packs infest the age.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Tom's Garland: A Masterpiece by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Are you looking for a poem that can stir your emotions, excite your imagination, and take you on a journey of self-discovery? Look no further than Tom's Garland by Gerard Manley Hopkins. This classic poem is a masterpiece of Victorian literature that has enthralled readers for generations with its rich imagery, vivid language, and profound insights into the human condition. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the themes, symbols, and stylistic devices that make Tom's Garland an enduring work of art.

Introduction

Tom's Garland is a poem of six stanzas, each consisting of four lines. The poem was written in 1866 by Gerard Manley Hopkins, a Jesuit priest and one of the most innovative poets of the Victorian era. The poem tells the story of Tom, a simple laborer who works hard in the fields but finds solace and joy in his faith and his devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus. The poem is a celebration of the beauty and wonder of nature, the power of prayer, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

Analysis

Themes

One of the most prominent themes of Tom's Garland is the beauty and power of nature. Hopkins uses vivid imagery and sensory details to describe the natural world, from the "glow-worm golden / In a thicket vermeil-dyed" to the "larkspur blue" and the "Grasshopper green." The poem invites us to appreciate the richness and diversity of the natural world and to see it as a source of wonder and inspiration.

Another important theme of the poem is the role of faith and devotion in our lives. Tom is a humble laborer who finds comfort and meaning in his daily prayers and in his devotion to Mary. He sees the world as a reflection of God's love and grace and finds solace in the knowledge that he is not alone in his struggles. The poem suggests that faith and devotion can provide us with the strength and resilience we need to face life's challenges and to find purpose and meaning in our lives.

Symbols

Hopkins uses a variety of symbols and metaphors to convey the themes and ideas of Tom's Garland. One of the most powerful symbols in the poem is the image of Mary as a "rose-enwreathed / Lady of heaven." This image represents the beauty, purity, and grace of the Virgin Mary, who is seen as a source of comfort and inspiration for Tom and for all those who seek her intercession. The rose, with its delicate petals and sweet fragrance, is also a symbol of the beauty and fragility of human life, which is seen as a gift from God.

Another important symbol in the poem is the image of the natural world as a reflection of God's love and grace. Hopkins describes the colors and textures of the natural world in vivid detail, suggesting that they are signs of God's presence and creativity. The glow-worm, the larkspur, and the grasshopper are all symbols of the beauty and complexity of nature, which is seen as a manifestation of God's love for his creation.

Stylistic Devices

One of the most distinctive features of Hopkins's poetry is his use of "sprung rhythm," a form of meter that allows for irregular stress patterns and unexpected pauses. In Tom's Garland, Hopkins uses sprung rhythm to create a sense of energy and movement, as if the words are dancing on the page. This rhythmic pattern also mirrors the natural world, with its irregular rhythms and unpredictable movements.

Another important stylistic device in the poem is Hopkins's use of alliteration and assonance to create a sense of musicality and harmony. The repetition of sounds and vowels creates a sense of unity and coherence, as if the words are working together to create a beautiful tapestry of sound. This musicality is especially evident in the lines "Golden in the gay dust of the evening / Glows the glow-worm as it flies" and "Mary-mild in manner / In a garden-ground of glamour."

Interpretation

Tom's Garland is a poem that invites us to see the world through the eyes of a simple laborer who finds joy and meaning in his daily work and in his devotion to Mary. The poem suggests that there is beauty and wonder all around us, if only we have the eyes to see it. It also reminds us that faith and devotion can provide us with the strength and resilience we need to face life's challenges and to find purpose and meaning in our lives.

The image of Mary as a "rose-enwreathed / Lady of heaven" is particularly powerful, as it reminds us of the beauty and fragility of human life, which is seen as a gift from God. The rose is a symbol of the fleeting nature of human existence, which is marked by both joy and sorrow, light and darkness. The image of Mary as a rose also suggests that she is a source of comfort and inspiration for those who seek her intercession, just as the rose is a source of beauty and fragrance for those who admire it.

The natural world is another important theme of Tom's Garland, as it is seen as a reflection of God's love and creativity. Hopkins's use of vivid imagery and sensory details invites us to appreciate the richness and diversity of the natural world and to see it as a source of wonder and inspiration. The poem also suggests that the natural world is a reminder of the beauty and complexity of God's creation, which is seen as a manifestation of his love for his creation.

Conclusion

Tom's Garland is a masterpiece of Victorian literature that has captivated readers for generations with its rich imagery, vivid language, and profound insights into the human condition. The poem invites us to see the world through the eyes of a simple laborer who finds joy and meaning in his daily work and in his devotion to Mary. It reminds us of the beauty and wonder of nature, the power of prayer, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity. If you are looking for a poem that can touch your heart and inspire your soul, look no further than Tom's Garland by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Tom's Garland: A Masterpiece of Victorian Poetry

Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of the most celebrated poets of the Victorian era. His unique style of writing, which he called "sprung rhythm," has made him a favorite among poetry enthusiasts. One of his most famous works is Tom's Garland, a poem that tells the story of a young man named Tom who is tasked with creating a garland for a festival. In this article, we will take a closer look at Tom's Garland and explore its themes, structure, and language.

Themes

At its core, Tom's Garland is a poem about creativity and the power of art. Tom is tasked with creating a garland for a festival, and he takes this task very seriously. He spends hours gathering flowers and arranging them in a way that is both beautiful and meaningful. The poem celebrates Tom's creativity and his ability to turn something ordinary into something extraordinary.

Another theme that runs throughout the poem is the idea of community. The festival that Tom is creating the garland for is a communal event, and the garland itself is meant to be a symbol of the community's unity and strength. The poem emphasizes the importance of coming together as a community and working towards a common goal.

Structure

Tom's Garland is a sonnet, which means that it has 14 lines and follows a specific rhyme scheme. 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 octave is ABBAABBA, while the sestet follows the pattern CDCDCD.

The poem is also written in Hopkins' signature "sprung rhythm," which is characterized by irregular stresses and a complex system of internal rhymes. This gives the poem a unique musical quality and makes it a joy to read aloud.

Language

Hopkins' use of language in Tom's Garland is nothing short of masterful. He employs a wide range of poetic devices, including alliteration, assonance, and internal rhyme, to create a rich and complex tapestry of sound and meaning.

One of the most striking features of the poem is its use of imagery. Hopkins paints a vivid picture of Tom gathering flowers in the fields, and his descriptions of the flowers themselves are breathtaking. For example, he describes the "bluebells and the pansies,/ Roses and pink sweet-peas" in a way that makes them come alive on the page.

Another notable aspect of the poem is its use of repetition. Hopkins repeats certain phrases throughout the poem, such as "Tom's garland" and "the festival," to create a sense of unity and continuity. This repetition also serves to emphasize the importance of the garland and the festival to the community.

Conclusion

Tom's Garland is a masterpiece of Victorian poetry. Its celebration of creativity, community, and the power of art is as relevant today as it was when it was first written. Hopkins' use of language and poetic devices is nothing short of brilliant, and the poem's unique structure and musical quality make it a joy to read aloud. If you are a fan of poetry, Tom's Garland is a must-read.

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