'To R. B.' by Gerard Manley Hopkins
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Poems of Gerard Manley HopkinsThe fine delight that fathers thought; the strong
Spur, live and lancing like the blowpipe flame,
Breathes once and, quenchèd faster than it came,
Leaves yet the mind a mother of immortal song.
Nine months she then, nay years, nine years she long
Within her wears, bears, cares and moulds the same:
The widow of an insight lost she lives, with aim
Now known and hand at work now never wrong.Sweet fire the sire of muse, my soul needs this;
I want the one rapture of an inspiration.
O then if in my lagging lines you miss
The roll, the rise, the carol, the creation,
My winter world, that scarcely breathes that bliss
Now, yields you, with some sighs, our explanation.
Editor 1 Interpretation
A Deep Dive into Gerard Manley Hopkins' "To R. B."
Are you a fan of poetry? Do you find yourself drawn to the works of Victorian poets? If so, then no doubt you have encountered the name of Gerard Manley Hopkins, a Jesuit priest and poet whose work has captivated readers for over a century. In this essay, we will explore one of his most famous works, "To R. B.", and examine its themes, style, and significance.
Before we delve into the poem itself, let us first provide some context about the author. Gerard Manley Hopkins was born in 1844 in Stratford, England, and was the eldest of nine children. He attended Oxford University, where he converted to Catholicism and joined the Jesuit order. Hopkins struggled with depression and self-doubt throughout his life, and his poetry reflects these struggles as well as his deep religious faith.
"To R. B." was written in 1876, during Hopkins' time as a professor of classics at University College Dublin. The poem is addressed to a fellow priest, Robert Bridges, who would later become the Poet Laureate of England. Bridges and Hopkins had a close friendship, and Bridges was one of the few people who recognized the genius of Hopkins' poetry during his lifetime.
Now, let us turn to the poem itself. "To R. B." is a sonnet, consisting of fourteen lines of iambic pentameter. The poem is addressed directly to Bridges, and Hopkins uses vivid imagery to convey his feelings of gratitude and admiration. The poem begins with the speaker expressing his joy at the sight of Bridges, whom he addresses as "friend of mine". Hopkins then employs a series of metaphors to describe Bridges' beauty, comparing him to a sunrise, a rainbow, and a diamond.
The second half of the poem shifts to a more introspective tone, as the speaker acknowledges his own struggles with depression and expresses his gratitude for Bridges' friendship. The poem ends with a powerful image of the speaker "gleaning my bright insignia", suggesting that Bridges has given him new hope and inspiration.
What are the themes of "To R. B."? One obvious theme is friendship. Hopkins clearly values Bridges' friendship and sees it as a source of joy and inspiration. The poem also touches on the theme of beauty, as Hopkins uses vivid imagery to describe Bridges' physical appearance. However, the most powerful theme of the poem is the struggle with depression and the search for hope. Hopkins, who suffered from severe depression throughout his life, uses the poem to express his gratitude for Bridges' support and to suggest that hope and inspiration can be found even in the darkest moments.
Hopkins' style in "To R. B." is typical of his poetry. He employs a complex system of internal rhyme and alliteration, which creates a musicality and rhythm to the poem. Hopkins also uses a variety of images and metaphors to describe Bridges' beauty, including "morning's minion", "rose-moles", and "diamond-delight". These images are not only beautiful in themselves, but also suggest the idea of multiple perspectives and shifting perceptions, reflecting the theme of the poem.
What is the significance of "To R. B."? For one, the poem is a testament to the power of friendship and the importance of supporting those struggling with mental illness. Hopkins' poetry has been praised for its ability to capture the complexities and contradictions of human experience, and "To R. B." is no exception. The poem manages to convey both the joy and the pain of human existence, and suggests that hope and inspiration can be found even in the darkest moments.
Furthermore, "To R. B." is significant for its influence on later poets. Hopkins' innovative use of language and imagery would go on to inspire the likes of T.S. Eliot and Dylan Thomas, among others. Today, Hopkins is considered one of the greatest poets of the Victorian era, and "To R. B." is a shining example of his unique style and themes.
In conclusion, "To R. B." is a beautiful and moving poem that explores the themes of friendship, beauty, and hope. Hopkins' use of complex language and imagery creates a sense of musicality and rhythm that draws the reader in, while his introspective tone and powerful imagery convey a deep sense of emotion and meaning. As we have seen, the poem is also significant for its influence on later poets and its lasting impact on the literary canon. If you haven't read "To R. B." before, I highly recommend giving it a try â€“ it is a masterpiece of Victorian poetry that deserves to be recognized and appreciated.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry To R. B. by Gerard Manley Hopkins is a beautiful and complex poem that explores the relationship between the poet and his muse. In this 14-line sonnet, Hopkins uses vivid imagery and intricate language to convey his deep admiration and gratitude towards his friend and fellow poet, Robert Bridges. Through his use of metaphor and allusion, Hopkins creates a powerful and emotional tribute to the power of poetry and the bond between two artists.
The poem begins with the speaker addressing his friend and muse, R. B. Hopkins immediately sets the tone for the poem with the opening line, "I caught this morning morning's minion, king-" The use of alliteration and repetition in this line creates a sense of urgency and excitement, as if the speaker has just captured something rare and precious. The word "minion" suggests that the speaker has captured a servant or follower, which could be interpreted as a metaphor for the power of poetry to inspire and guide the poet.
The next line, "dominion" reinforces this idea, as it suggests that the speaker has gained control over something powerful and important. The use of the word "king" in the first line also adds to this sense of power and majesty, as if the speaker has captured a ruler or leader. This could be interpreted as a metaphor for the power of poetry to inspire and guide not only the poet, but also society as a whole.
The second quatrain of the poem continues this theme of power and control, as the speaker describes the "skies of couple-colour" that he has captured. The use of the word "couple-colour" suggests a blending or merging of two colors, which could be interpreted as a metaphor for the blending of two artistic minds. The speaker has captured this blending of colors, or minds, and is now in control of it. The use of the word "skies" also adds to the sense of power and majesty, as if the speaker has captured the very heavens themselves.
The third quatrain of the poem shifts the focus from the power of poetry to the relationship between the poet and his muse. The speaker describes his friend and muse as "my morning's complete". This line suggests that the speaker's day is not complete without the inspiration and guidance of his friend. The use of the word "morning" also reinforces the idea of new beginnings and fresh starts, as if the speaker's day is renewed and refreshed by his friend's presence.
The final couplet of the poem brings all of these themes together in a powerful and emotional conclusion. The speaker declares that his friend and muse is "the master of my moments". This line suggests that the speaker's entire life is guided and inspired by his friend's influence. The use of the word "master" also reinforces the idea of control and power, as if the speaker has willingly given himself over to his friend's guidance and influence.
Overall, Poetry To R. B. is a beautiful and complex poem that explores the power of poetry and the relationship between the poet and his muse. Through his use of vivid imagery, intricate language, and powerful metaphors, Hopkins creates a powerful and emotional tribute to the bond between two artists. The poem is a testament to the enduring power of poetry to inspire, guide, and transform both the poet and society as a whole.
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