'(The Soldier)' by Gerard Manley Hopkins
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Poems of Gerard Manley HopkinsYes. 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 Masterpiece of Poetry
Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of the most eminent poets of the Victorian era. His poetry is characterized by its complex use of language, innovative structural forms, and its spiritual themes. His poem, "The Soldier," is a perfect example of his unique style and themes.
"The Soldier" was written in 1914, during the early days of World War I, and was published posthumously in 1918. The poem is a sonnet, written in the form of an Italian sonnet, with an octave followed by a sestet. The rhyme scheme is ABBAABBA CDCDCD, which is typical of Italian sonnets.
If I should die, think only this of me: That there's some corner of a foreign field That is for ever England. There shall be In that rich earth a richer dust concealed; A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware, Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam, A body of England's, breathing English air, Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away, A pulse in the eternal mind, no less Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given; Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day; And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness, In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
Analysis of the poem
"The Soldier" is a poem about patriotism, sacrifice, and the immortality of the human spirit. The poem begins with the speaker imagining his own death and how he would like to be remembered. He asks that people only think of him as a part of England, even if he dies in a foreign land.
He then goes on to describe how his body would become a part of the earth where he falls, and how that earth would be richer for having his body in it. He emphasizes the fact that he is English and that his body is a product of the English soil and air.
The speaker then goes on to describe how his heart, after death, will become a part of the eternal mind. He suggests that his thoughts and memories will be given back to England, and that his laughter and gentleness will live on in the hearts of those who knew him.
The poem is a celebration of the human spirit and its ability to overcome death. The speaker suggests that even though he may die, his spirit will live on, and that his memories and experiences will become a part of the eternal consciousness of England.
Hopkins' use of language and imagery in "The Soldier" is masterful. He uses alliteration, assonance, and consonance to create a musicality to the poem. The repetition of sounds and the use of rhyme create a sense of unity and harmony.
The poem is also characterized by its use of metaphors and symbolism. The speaker describes his body as a part of England and suggests that his death will make a foreign land a part of England. This is a powerful symbol of the reach and influence of England and its people.
The idea of the eternal mind is a complex metaphor that suggests the immortality of the human spirit. Hopkins uses this metaphor to suggest that even though the speaker may die, he will live on in the memories and experiences of others.
The spiritual dimension
"The Soldier" is a deeply spiritual poem that celebrates the power of faith and the human spirit. Hopkins was a Jesuit priest, and his poetry is characterized by its religious themes and imagery.
The idea of the eternal mind is an example of Hopkins' religious perspective. He believed that the human spirit was eternal and that death was not the end of life. This idea is expressed in "The Soldier" through the speaker's belief that his spirit will live on after death.
Hopkins' poetry also celebrates the beauty and wonder of nature. He uses the natural world as a symbol of God's love for humanity. In "The Soldier," he describes the English countryside as a place of beauty and peace. This imagery suggests that God's love is present even in the midst of war and death.
"The Soldier" is a masterpiece of poetry that celebrates the human spirit and its ability to overcome death. Hopkins' use of language and imagery creates a sense of harmony and unity. The poem's religious themes and symbolism suggest a belief in the eternal nature of the human spirit and God's love for humanity.
"The Soldier" is a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by those who fought in World War I and of the enduring legacy of their spirit and sacrifice. It is a poem that speaks to the heart and soul of humanity and reminds us of the power of faith and the human spirit.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of the most celebrated poets of the Victorian era, and his poem "The Soldier" is a classic example of his unique style and poetic genius. This poem is a sonnet, which is a fourteen-line poem with a specific rhyme scheme and structure. Hopkins' sonnet is written in the Petrarchan or Italian sonnet form, which consists of an octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines). The rhyme scheme of the octave is ABBAABBA, while the sestet has a more flexible rhyme scheme, such as CDCDCD or CDECDE.
"The Soldier" is a deeply religious poem that reflects Hopkins' Catholic faith and his belief in the sacrifice of Christ. The poem is also a tribute to the soldiers who died in World War I, and it expresses the idea that their sacrifice was not in vain because they died for a noble cause. The poem is written in the voice of a soldier who is about to go to war, and it is filled with powerful imagery and metaphors that convey the soldier's sense of duty and sacrifice.
The poem begins with the soldier addressing his motherland, England, as his "mother" and his "home." He expresses his love for his country and his willingness to die for it, saying that if he dies in battle, his body will become a part of England's soil. The soldier's love for his country is not just a patriotic sentiment, but a deep emotional attachment that is rooted in his identity and his sense of belonging.
The soldier then goes on to describe the beauty of England's countryside, with its "rivers, woods, and fields" that are "lovely as a dream." He describes the "English heaven" that awaits him if he dies in battle, where he will be reunited with his fellow soldiers who have died before him. This vision of heaven is not just a religious idea, but a metaphor for the soldier's sense of camaraderie and brotherhood with his fellow soldiers.
The soldier then turns his attention to the idea of sacrifice, saying that he is willing to give up his life for his country because it is a noble cause. He compares his sacrifice to that of Christ, who died on the cross for the salvation of humanity. This comparison is not just a religious metaphor, but a way of elevating the soldier's sacrifice to a higher level of meaning and significance.
The soldier then addresses his fellow soldiers, urging them to fight bravely and to remember the cause for which they are fighting. He tells them that they are fighting for a noble cause, and that their sacrifice will not be in vain. He also acknowledges the fear and uncertainty that they all feel, but he encourages them to be brave and to trust in God's providence.
The poem ends with a powerful image of the soldier's body becoming a part of England's soil, and his soul ascending to heaven. This image is both beautiful and poignant, conveying the idea that the soldier's sacrifice is not just physical, but spiritual as well. The soldier's body may die, but his soul will live on, and his sacrifice will be remembered and honored by future generations.
In terms of poetic technique, "The Soldier" is a masterful example of Hopkins' unique style. Hopkins was known for his use of "sprung rhythm," which is a poetic meter that emphasizes stressed syllables and creates a sense of energy and movement in the poem. This technique is evident in the opening lines of the poem, where the stressed syllables of "If I should die" and "think only this of me" create a sense of urgency and intensity.
Hopkins also uses alliteration and assonance throughout the poem to create a musical quality that enhances the poem's emotional impact. For example, in the line "A pulse in the eternal mind, no less," the repetition of the "l" sound creates a sense of continuity and eternity that is central to the poem's theme.
In conclusion, "The Soldier" is a classic example of Gerard Manley Hopkins' unique style and poetic genius. The poem is a deeply religious tribute to the soldiers who died in World War I, and it expresses the idea that their sacrifice was not in vain because they died for a noble cause. The poem is filled with powerful imagery and metaphors that convey the soldier's sense of duty and sacrifice, and it is a testament to Hopkins' mastery of poetic technique.
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