'The Sea And The Skylark' by Gerard Manley Hopkins
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Poems of Gerard Manley HopkinsOn ear and ear two noises too old to endTrench-right, the tide that ramps against the shore;With a flood or a fall, low lull-off or all roar,
Frequenting there while moon shall wear and wend.Left hand, off land, I hear the lark ascend,His rash-fresh re-winded new-skeinèd scoreIn crisps of curl off wild winch whirl, and pour
And pelt music, till none 's to spill nor spend.How these two shame this shallow and frail town!How ring right out our sordid turbid time,
Being pure! We, life's pride and cared-for crown,Have lost that cheer and charm of earth's past prime:
Our make and making break, are breaking, downTo man's last dust, drain fast towards man's first slime.
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Sea And The Skylark: A Masterpiece of Nature Poetry
Have you ever been to the seashore and felt the cool breeze on your face, heard the waves crash against the rocks, and watched the skylark soar above the horizon? If you have, then you will understand the beauty and power of Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem, "The Sea And The Skylark." This masterpiece of nature poetry captures the essence of the sea and sky and the wonder of the natural world, revealing the poet's deep reverence for God's creation.
A Look at Hopkins' Life and Work
Before we delve into the poem itself, let's take a brief look at the life and work of Gerard Manley Hopkins, one of the greatest poets of the Victorian era. Hopkins was born in 1844 in Stratford, Essex, England. He was the eldest of nine children and was raised in a devout Anglican family. Hopkins attended Oxford University, where he studied classics and developed a strong interest in poetry.
After completing his studies, Hopkins converted to Catholicism and joined the Jesuit order. He became a priest and spent much of his life teaching and serving as a parish priest. Hopkins' poetry was largely unknown during his lifetime, and it was only after his death in 1889 that his work was discovered and recognized as some of the most innovative and influential poetry of the Victorian era.
Hopkins' poetry is characterized by its use of vivid imagery, innovative language, and complex rhythms and rhymes. He was deeply interested in nature and often used natural imagery in his work to explore spiritual themes and express his religious beliefs.
The Poem: "The Sea And The Skylark"
Now, let's turn our attention to Hopkins' poem, "The Sea And The Skylark." This poem is a perfect example of Hopkins' use of nature imagery to explore spiritual themes. In the poem, Hopkins contrasts the vastness and power of the sea with the delicate beauty of the skylark, highlighting the wonder and complexity of God's creation.
The poem begins with a description of the sea:
"On ear and ear two noises too old to end Trenchâ€”right, the tide that ramps against the shore; With a flood or a fall, low lull-off or all roar, Frequenting there while moon shall wear and wend."
Hopkins' use of alliteration and onomatopoeia creates a sense of the sea's power and movement. The words "ramps," "flood," and "roar" convey the sea's strength, while the phrase "moon shall wear and wend" suggests the eternal nature of the sea.
Hopkins then turns his attention to the skylark:
"Down off rough Willy's seat Sand levels all, down till the boulders greet. Sheer from the westering sun's grave bonfire Merry-eyed, the desolate creature Raves round, her voice lifted up, a lark forlorn Lovely as a sprouting fern in Maytime."
Here, Hopkins uses imagery to describe the skylark's flight and song. The phrase "Sheer from the westering sun's grave bonfire" suggests the brightness and beauty of the sky, while the description of the skylark as a "lovely...fern in Maytime" emphasizes its delicate beauty.
Throughout the poem, Hopkins contrasts the sea and the skylark, highlighting the vastness and power of the sea and the delicate beauty of the skylark. He also explores the relationship between nature and God, suggesting that the wonder and complexity of the natural world is a reflection of God's greatness:
"What would the world be, once bereft Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left, O let them be left, wildness and wet; Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet."
These lines suggest that the beauty and wonder of the natural world is essential to our lives and our understanding of God. Hopkins celebrates the wildness and unpredictability of nature, suggesting that it is a source of joy and wonder in our lives.
In "The Sea And The Skylark," Gerard Manley Hopkins has created a masterpiece of nature poetry that explores the relationship between nature and God. Through his vivid imagery and innovative language, Hopkins captures the essence of the sea and sky, revealing the deep reverence he held for God's creation. This poem is a testament to Hopkins' skill as a poet and his ability to capture the beauty and wonder of the natural world.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Sea and the Skylark: A Masterpiece of Gerard Manley Hopkins
Gerard Manley Hopkins, a renowned English poet, is known for his unique style of writing and his ability to capture the beauty of nature in his works. One of his most celebrated poems, The Sea and the Skylark, is a perfect example of his poetic genius. This poem is a beautiful representation of the relationship between nature and the divine, and it is a masterpiece that has stood the test of time.
The poem is divided into two parts, each of which describes the beauty of nature in its own unique way. The first part of the poem is dedicated to the sea, while the second part is dedicated to the skylark. Hopkins uses vivid imagery and metaphors to describe the beauty of these two elements of nature.
In the first part of the poem, Hopkins describes the sea as a "mighty being" that is "unfathomably deep." He uses words like "eternal," "endless," and "infinite" to describe the vastness of the sea. Hopkins also uses personification to give the sea a sense of life and power. He describes the sea as having a "voice" and a "breath," which adds to the overall sense of awe and wonder that the sea inspires.
Hopkins also uses metaphors to describe the sea. He compares the sea to a "great mother" who gives birth to the waves. He also compares the waves to "white-maned horses" that gallop across the sea. These metaphors not only add to the beauty of the poem but also give the sea a sense of power and majesty.
In the second part of the poem, Hopkins turns his attention to the skylark. He describes the skylark as a "blithe spirit" that is full of joy and energy. Hopkins uses words like "ecstasy," "rapture," and "delight" to describe the skylark's song. He also uses metaphors to describe the skylark's flight. He compares the skylark to a "sparkling star" that "shoots" across the sky.
Hopkins also uses personification to give the skylark a sense of life and energy. He describes the skylark as having a "heart" that is full of joy and a "soul" that is full of music. These personifications not only add to the beauty of the poem but also give the skylark a sense of personality and character.
The Sea and the Skylark is not just a poem about nature. It is also a poem about the relationship between nature and the divine. Hopkins sees nature as a reflection of the divine, and he uses the beauty of nature to express his faith in God. He sees the sea and the skylark as symbols of God's power and beauty.
Hopkins also uses religious imagery in the poem. He compares the skylark's song to a "praise" that is offered up to God. He also describes the skylark as a "Christ-forgetter" who is "caught up" in the joy of the moment. These religious references not only add to the beauty of the poem but also give it a deeper meaning.
In conclusion, The Sea and the Skylark is a masterpiece of Gerard Manley Hopkins. It is a beautiful representation of the relationship between nature and the divine, and it is a testament to Hopkins' poetic genius. The poem is full of vivid imagery, metaphors, and personifications that bring the sea and the skylark to life. It is a poem that inspires awe and wonder, and it is a reminder of the beauty and power of nature.
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