'The Habit Of Perfection' by Gerard Manley Hopkins
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Poems of Gerard Manley HopkinsElected Silence, sing to me
And beat upon my whorlčd ear,
Pipe me to pastures still and be
The music that I care to hear.Shape nothing, lips; be lovely-dumb:
It is the shut, the curfew sent
From there where all surrenders come
Which only makes you eloquent.Be shellčd, eyes, with double dark
And find the uncreated light:
This ruck and reel which you remark
Coils, keeps, and teases simple sight.Palate, the hutch of tasty lust,
Desire not to be rinsed with wine:
The can must be so sweet, the crust
So fresh that come in fasts divine!Nostrils, your careless breath that spend
Upon the stir and keep of pride,
What relish shall the censers send
Along the sanctuary side!O feel-of-primrose hands, O feet
That want the yield of plushy sward,
But you shall walk the golden street
And you unhouse and house the Lord.And, Poverty, be thou the bride
And now the marriage feast begun,
And lily-coloured clothes provide
Your spouse not laboured-at nor spun.
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Habit Of Perfection: A Masterpiece of Poetry
Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of the most celebrated poets of his time, and rightly so. The Habit of Perfection is a poem that showcases his prowess in crafting captivating poetry that is both thought-provoking and aesthetically pleasing. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will delve into the intricacies of this masterpiece and analyze its themes, structure, language, and symbolism.
The Habit of Perfection is a poem that deals with the themes of spirituality, mortality, and the struggle for self-improvement. The speaker in the poem is on a quest for perfection, not just in his spiritual life but in all aspects of his being. He acknowledges that the road to perfection is fraught with challenges and obstacles, but he is determined to persevere. The poem is a meditation on the human condition and the eternal quest for self-improvement.
The Habit of Perfection is a sonnet, which is a 14-line poem with a specific rhyme scheme and meter. The rhyme scheme of the poem is ABBA ABBA CDC DCD. This rhyme scheme is typical of the Petrarchan sonnet, which originated in Italy in the 14th century. The poem is written in iambic pentameter, which is a rhythmic pattern consisting of five iambs per line. This gives the poem a musical quality and makes it easy to read aloud.
Hopkins is known for his innovative use of language and his ability to create vivid imagery through his words. The Habit of Perfection is no exception. The poem is full of rich and complex language that draws the reader in and immerses them in the speaker's world. Hopkins uses alliteration, consonance, and assonance to create a musical effect that adds to the poem's overall beauty. For example, in the opening lines of the poem, Hopkins writes:
Elected Silence, sing to me And beat upon my whorlĂ¨d ear, Pipe me to pastures still and be The music that I care to hear.
Here, Hopkins uses alliteration with the repeated "s" sounds in "silence" and "sing," as well as the repeated "p" sounds in "pipe" and "pastures." This creates a musical effect that is pleasing to the ear and helps to set the tone for the rest of the poem.
The Habit of Perfection is full of symbolic imagery that represents the themes of the poem. One of the most prominent symbols in the poem is the "whorlĂ¨d ear" in the opening lines. This symbolizes the speaker's desire to shut out the distractions of the world and focus on the spiritual. The use of the word "whorlĂ¨d" suggests a twisting and turning motion, as if the speaker's ear is trying to escape the noise of the world and find a place of quiet contemplation.
Another powerful symbol in the poem is the "lute-throated" nightingale. The nightingale is a symbol of beauty and song, but it is also a symbol of mortality. The nightingale's song is fleeting and will eventually come to an end, just as all life eventually comes to an end. The speaker is aware of his own mortality and is striving for spiritual perfection before his time on earth comes to an end.
The Habit of Perfection is a poem that speaks to the eternal struggle for self-improvement and the desire for spiritual enlightenment. The speaker is on a quest to achieve perfection in all aspects of his being, and he acknowledges that this is a difficult and challenging task. The use of symbolism and rich language creates a powerful and moving poem that draws the reader in and immerses them in the speaker's world.
One could interpret the poem as a meditation on the importance of striving for perfection, even in the face of adversity. The speaker acknowledges that the road to perfection is fraught with difficulties, but he remains determined to persevere. This could be seen as a metaphor for the struggles of life and the importance of never giving up, even when things seem impossible.
Overall, The Habit of Perfection is a masterpiece of poetry that showcases Hopkins' skill as a poet. The themes, structure, language, and symbolism all come together to create a powerful and moving work of art that speaks to the human condition and the eternal quest for self-improvement.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Habit of Perfection: A Masterpiece by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Gerard Manley Hopkins, a renowned English poet, is known for his unique style of writing that combines religious themes with innovative language and imagery. One of his most celebrated works is the poem "The Habit of Perfection," which was written in 1877. This poem is a masterpiece that showcases Hopkins' exceptional talent and creativity. In this article, we will explore the poem's meaning, structure, and literary devices used by Hopkins to convey his message.
The poem "The Habit of Perfection" is a sonnet that consists of fourteen lines. It follows the traditional structure of a sonnet, with three quatrains and a final couplet. The rhyme scheme is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, which is typical of a Petrarchan sonnet. However, Hopkins deviates from the traditional sonnet form by using enjambment, which means that the lines do not end with punctuation but continue into the next line. This technique creates a sense of fluidity and movement in the poem, as if the words are flowing from one line to the next.
The poem's title, "The Habit of Perfection," suggests that the poem is about the pursuit of perfection. Hopkins explores the idea of perfection in a religious context, as he was a Jesuit priest. The poem's opening line, "Elected Silence, sing to me," sets the tone for the rest of the poem. Hopkins is asking for silence to speak to him, which suggests that he is seeking a deeper understanding of God. The word "elected" implies that he has chosen this path of silence and contemplation.
In the first quatrain, Hopkins describes the beauty of nature and how it reflects God's perfection. He uses vivid imagery to describe the "blue-bleak embers" of the sky and the "crimson-cresseted" clouds. The use of hyphenated words creates a sense of unity between the different elements of nature. Hopkins also uses alliteration, such as "blue-bleak" and "crimson-cresseted," to create a musical quality to the poem.
In the second quatrain, Hopkins shifts his focus to the human experience of seeking perfection. He describes the "soul's sap quivers" and the "blood's wild tree" to convey the intensity of the human desire for perfection. The use of natural imagery, such as "sap" and "tree," suggests that the pursuit of perfection is a natural and innate human desire.
In the third quatrain, Hopkins introduces the idea of sacrifice as a means of achieving perfection. He describes the "self-gathering solitude" and the "sacrifice" that is necessary to achieve perfection. The use of the word "self-gathering" suggests that one must turn inward and focus on oneself to achieve perfection. The word "solitude" implies that this process is a solitary one. The word "sacrifice" suggests that there is a cost to achieving perfection, and that one must be willing to give up something in order to attain it.
In the final couplet, Hopkins concludes the poem by stating that the pursuit of perfection is a lifelong journey. He writes, "Enough! the Resurrection,/ A heart's-clarion! Away grief's gasping, / joyless days, dejection." The use of exclamation marks creates a sense of urgency and excitement. Hopkins is suggesting that the Resurrection is the ultimate goal of the pursuit of perfection, and that it is a cause for celebration. The phrase "heart's-clarion" suggests that the Resurrection is a call to action, and that it should inspire us to continue on our journey towards perfection.
Hopkins uses a variety of literary devices in "The Habit of Perfection" to convey his message. One of the most prominent devices is imagery. Hopkins uses vivid and striking imagery throughout the poem to create a sense of beauty and wonder. He also uses alliteration and hyphenated words to create a musical quality to the poem. The use of enjambment creates a sense of fluidity and movement, which adds to the poem's overall sense of energy and vitality.
Another important device that Hopkins uses is symbolism. The natural imagery that he uses throughout the poem, such as the "blue-bleak embers" and the "blood's wild tree," represents the human desire for perfection. The use of the Resurrection as a symbol of ultimate perfection is also significant. Hopkins is suggesting that the pursuit of perfection is a lifelong journey that culminates in the Resurrection.
In conclusion, "The Habit of Perfection" is a masterpiece by Gerard Manley Hopkins that explores the human desire for perfection in a religious context. Hopkins uses vivid imagery, alliteration, and enjambment to create a sense of beauty and wonder in the poem. He also uses symbolism to represent the pursuit of perfection and the ultimate goal of the Resurrection. The poem is a testament to Hopkins' exceptional talent and creativity, and it continues to inspire readers today.
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