'At The Wedding March' by Gerard Manley Hopkins
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Poems of Gerard Manley HopkinsGod with honour hang your head,
Groom, and grace you, bride, your bed
With lissome scions, sweet scions,
Out of hallowed bodies bred.Each be other's comfort kind:
Déep, déeper than divined,
Divine charity, dear charity,
Fast you ever, fast bind.Then let the March tread our ears:
I to him turn with tears
Who to wedlock, his wonder wedlock,
Déals tríumph and immortal years.
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Beauty and Complexity of Gerard Manley Hopkins' "At The Wedding March"
Gerard Manley Hopkins' "At The Wedding March" is a stunning piece of poetry that captures both the joy and solemnity of a wedding ceremony. Written in 1881, it is a poem that remains relevant even today, thanks to the poet's skillful use of language and his ability to convey deep emotions through his words. In this literary criticism and interpretation, I will delve deeper into the themes present in this poem and analyze the different literary devices used by Hopkins to create a masterpiece.
The Theme of Love
The central theme of "At The Wedding March" is undoubtedly love. Hopkins captures the love between the bride and groom through his vivid descriptions of their physical appearances and the emotions they feel on their special day. He describes the bride as "fair", "sweet", and "graceful", while the groom is referred to as "manly", "stalwart", and "strong". Through these descriptions, Hopkins paints a picture of two people who are deeply in love and who complement each other perfectly.
The poet also captures the love that family and friends have for the couple. He describes the "happy women" and the "men of heart" who have gathered to witness the wedding ceremony. He highlights the joy and happiness that the couple's love has brought to those around them. This theme of love is one that is universal and timeless, making this poem relatable to readers even today.
The Use of Religious Imagery
Another significant theme present in "At The Wedding March" is that of religion. Hopkins, who was a Jesuit priest, uses religious imagery throughout the poem to convey the idea that marriage is a sacred institution. He refers to the bride as a "saintly queen", and the groom as a "knightly king", elevating their status to that of royalty. The use of these religious images elevates the wedding ceremony to a higher level, reminding us that it is not just a celebration of the love between two people, but a holy union blessed by God.
Hopkins also uses the image of the "altar" to convey the idea that the wedding ceremony is a religious ritual, just like a mass. The use of this image adds depth and complexity to the poem, reminding readers of the solemnity of the occasion.
The Use of Alliteration and Assonance
One of the most striking things about "At The Wedding March" is the poet's use of alliteration and assonance. Hopkins was known for his use of sound devices in his poetry, and this poem is no exception. The use of these devices adds musicality to the language, making it more pleasing to the ear.
For example, Hopkins describes the bride's "fair" face and "sweet" smile, using alliteration to emphasize her beauty. He also uses assonance in the line "God's spousal hearth and altar", which adds a sense of harmony and balance to the language. These sound devices are not just pleasant to listen to; they also add layers of meaning to the poem, making it richer and more complex.
The Structure of the Poem
Hopkins' use of structure in "At The Wedding March" is also worth noting. The poem is divided into three stanzas, each with a different focus. The first stanza focuses on the bride, the second on the groom, and the third on the wedding ceremony itself. This structure allows Hopkins to explore different aspects of the wedding and to create a sense of progression throughout the poem.
The use of repetition is also present in the structure of the poem. Hopkins repeats the phrase "at the wedding march" three times, once at the beginning of each stanza. This repetition acts as a powerful refrain, emphasizing the importance of the occasion and creating a sense of unity throughout the poem.
Gerard Manley Hopkins' "At The Wedding March" is a beautiful and complex poem that captures the essence of love and the solemnity of a wedding ceremony. Through his use of religious imagery, alliteration and assonance, and a carefully crafted structure, Hopkins creates a masterpiece that remains relevant even today. This poem is a testament to the power of language, and a reminder of the beauty that can be found in even the most commonplace of events.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry At The Wedding March: 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 nature and beauty. One of his most celebrated works is the poem "Poetry At The Wedding March," which is a beautiful and complex piece that explores the themes of love, marriage, and the divine.
The poem is structured in four stanzas, each with six lines, and follows a strict rhyme scheme of ABABCC. The first stanza sets the scene of a wedding march, with the speaker describing the "bridegroom's door" and the "bride's approach." The second stanza introduces the theme of poetry, with the speaker stating that "poetry is the speech of love." The third stanza delves deeper into the idea of poetry, with the speaker describing it as "the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge." The final stanza brings together the themes of love, marriage, and poetry, with the speaker declaring that "love is the crown and poetry the crest."
The poem's title, "Poetry At The Wedding March," immediately sets the tone for the piece. The wedding march is a joyous occasion, filled with love and celebration, and the inclusion of poetry elevates the occasion even further. Hopkins uses the wedding march as a metaphor for life, with the bride and groom representing the journey of two individuals coming together in love and marriage.
The first stanza sets the scene of the wedding march, with the speaker describing the "bridegroom's door" and the "bride's approach." Hopkins uses vivid imagery to paint a picture of the scene, with the "bride's approach" described as "like the moon's effected care." This comparison to the moon creates a sense of beauty and wonder, as the moon is often associated with romance and mystery.
The second stanza introduces the theme of poetry, with the speaker stating that "poetry is the speech of love." This line is significant, as it highlights the importance of poetry in expressing emotions and feelings. Hopkins believed that poetry was a powerful tool for conveying the beauty of the world and the divine, and this line reflects that belief.
The third stanza delves deeper into the idea of poetry, with the speaker describing it as "the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge." This line is particularly interesting, as it suggests that poetry is not just a form of expression, but also a source of knowledge and understanding. Hopkins believed that poetry had the ability to reveal truths about the world and the divine that could not be expressed through other means.
The final stanza brings together the themes of love, marriage, and poetry, with the speaker declaring that "love is the crown and poetry the crest." This line is significant, as it suggests that love and poetry are both essential components of a fulfilling life. Love is the ultimate goal, the "crown" that we all strive for, while poetry is the means by which we express and understand that love.
Overall, "Poetry At The Wedding March" is a beautiful and complex piece that explores the themes of love, marriage, and the divine through the lens of poetry. Hopkins' use of vivid imagery and strict rhyme scheme creates a sense of beauty and wonder, while his belief in the power of poetry to reveal truths about the world and the divine is evident throughout the poem. This piece is a true masterpiece of English literature, and a testament to Hopkins' unique and powerful style of writing.
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