Gerard Manley Hopkins was a Victorian poet but he can’t really be placed in any particular literary school. Poets like T.S. Eliot and Dylan Thomas have both been influenced by him. The Auden generation with poets like Robert Graves held him in high esteem. Hopkins heralds the modernistic poetry. He is famous for his very rhythmic, almost musical, poetry. Consonance, Assonance, alliteration and internal rhymes are important part of his poetry. The use of prepositions, conjunctions and pauses are an instrument of rhythm.

He uses the words like no other. Verbs, often in present participle, is creating a drive, a running feeling in the text, he transforms words to different word classes. For example the verbification: Let him Easter in us. He also often makes use of displacement of meaning, e.g. he can let a predicate belong to two subjects and bring forth simultaneous alternatives of interpretation. He is creating a weave of sounds and rhythm, forming associations and meaning.

As Kingfishers Catch Fire

As king fishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.

I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —
Christ. For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

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