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Thou Art Indeed Just Analysis



Author: Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins Type: Poetry Views: 460



Justus quidem tu es, Domine, si disputem tecum; verumtamen justa loquar ad
te: quare via impiorum prosperatur? |&c.| (Jerem. xii 1.)
Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend
With thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just.
Why do sinners' ways prosper? and why must
Disappointment all I endeavour end?
Wert thou my enemy, O thou my friend,
How wouldst thou worse, I wonder, than thou dost
Defeat, thwart me? Oh, the sots and thralls of lust
Do in spare hours more thrive than I that spend,

Sir, life upon thy cause. See, banks and brakes
Now, leav{`e}d how thick! lac{`e}d they are again
With fretty chervil, look, and fresh wind shakes
Them; birds build -- but not I build; no, but strain,
Time's eunuch, and not breed one work that wakes.
Mine, O thou lord of life, send my roots rain.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||




.: :.

The opening text in Latin
Justus quidem tu es, Domine, si disputem tecum:
verumtamen justa loquar ad te:
Quare via impiorum prosperatur? &c.
is from a Latin version of Jeremaiah 12:1
I want to add a special thanks to the aproved guest, whose post helped me greatly.

| Posted on 2011-12-15 | by a guest


.: :.

انا احبها لدرجة لا يتخيلها احد r+w
..love

| Posted on 2010-11-05 | by a guest


.: :.

This interpretation of Hopkins' sonnet was spot on to what my English professor spoke about. Thank you very much for allowing the process of writing my paper to be easier and less painful.
Many Thanks
MC

| Posted on 2009-01-13 | by a guest


.: :.

This website is amazing! I am now fully prepared to present this poem to my english class with a valid interpretation and full fledged confidence. Thank you so much for making the lives of the poetically inept that much bearable.

Sincerely,
K

| Posted on 2007-12-10 | by a guest


.: Small info and thanks :.

It was written due to frustration over his poems being ignored and his preaching being a disappointment. He explains that even people who do a sin are having a better life. It was just written months before his death.

-This website has really helped me a lot in my projects. I just wanted to contribute:D
I want to convey my gratitude to the owner and moderators:) Thanks!
D.C


| Posted on 2007-06-11 | by a guest


.: Small info and thanks :.

It was written due to frustration over his poems being ignored and his preaching being a disappointment. He explains that even people who do a sin are having a better life. It was just written months before his death.

-This website has really helped me a lot in my projects. I just wanted to contribute:D
I want to convey my gratitude to the owner and moderators:) Thanks!



| Posted on 2007-06-11 | by a guest


.: :.

HOPKINS' POEM IS BASED UPON THE FOLLOWING EXTRACT FROM THE SCRIPTURES:
"You are righteous, O LORD,
when I bring a case before you.
Yet I would speak with you about your justice:
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why do all the faithless live at ease?"
Jeremiah 12:1
________________________________________
INTRODUCTION
This is a sonnet written along classic Italian or Petrarchan lines.
It can be broken into an octave and a sestet, although the actual break occurs in the middle of line 9.
Each line has 10 syllables of iambic pentameters - i there are five feet (pentameters), and each foot contains a short syllable followed by a long one (iambic):
Thou art / in deed / just, Lord, / if I / con tend
With thee; / but, sir, / so what / I plead / is just.
Its rhyming scheme is that of a typical Petrarchan sonnet:
abba cddc / efefef
SENSE
Hopkins was a Jesuit priest with a profoundly mystical nature.
He believed in total obedience to the Word of God and to the will of his spiritual superiors
He suppressed even his poetic ability until such time as the Jesuit Order itself asked him to write a eulogy to honour a group of nuns who were drowned when their ship sank in mid-Atlantic.
Nevertheless, despite following the rules of religion to the letter, Hopkins found himself in a state of deep spiritual depression, or what is sometimes known as the "dark night of the soul".
Essentially, he felt that, despite all his fervent attempts to serve his Lord, God was not responding with any perceivable blessing
on the other hand, those people whom he regarded as sinners appeared to lead very fruitful lives.
CLOSER ANALYSIS
OCTAVE (Note: Hopkins runs the octave into line 9)
Notice that this sonnet begins with a paraphrase of Jeremiah 12:1. (See above.) Thereafter the poet continues in a similar argumentative way, debating the same spiritual issues which confronted Jeremiah and which are also close to Hopkins' heart.
Line 1 to 2, & 5:
Hopkins speaks to God as a superior, but also a friend:
"Lord" and "thee" (his God)
"Sir" (in those days one would have called one's own father "sir")
"Friend"
However, God is also someone with whom one can argue ("if I contend with thee").
Line 3 to 4:
The poet presents to his God the reason for his being troubled:
sinners seem to prosper
whereas he, who devotes his whole life to God, is disappointed in everything he does.
Line 5 to 6:
Although the poet sees God as his friend, he nevertheless believes that God is treating him worse that He would his enemy.
Note the use of the antithesis:
"Wert thou my ENEMY, O thou my FRIEND"
Line 7 to 9:
The worst people the poet can imagine (drunkards and sexual sinners) seem to prosper even in their spare time whereas the poet, who has devoted his entire life to serving God, seems to suffer.
SESTET (Lines 9 to 14):
In the second part of the sonnet, Hopkins looks to the success of nature which is always full of beauty.
Birds build nests in which to breed, whereas the poet fails to accomplish anything worthwhile.
Line 12 - 13:
The eunuch was a castrated male, often left in charge of the king's harem of concubines.
The poet sees himself as a eunuch to Time (the Grim Reaper).
No matter how much he might try, he remains impotent, unable to breed anything worthwhile.
Note: the eunuch imagery is in a purely metaphorical sense.
It does NOT refer to the poet as a celibate priest who is forbidden sex. After all, the priest has chosen to live a celibate life and he is certainly not a eunuch.
The metaphor therefore refers to the poet as a spiritual eunuch, unable to enlighten people with his words of wisdom ("breed one work that wakes")
Line 14:
The final line is a heart-felt appeal (plea) to God to send his roots rain so that, like the plants in nature, he too may grow.
TONE
Melancholy? Despair? Deep spiritual depression?
________________________________________
VOCABULARY
CONTEND - argue
PLEAD - address the court on behalf of someone; make an appeal
ENDEAVOUR - strive to do something
THWART - frustrate, foil, prevent something from happening
SOTS - drunkards
THRALLS - bondage, something that ties one up
LUST - sensuous appetite, passionate enjoyment
SOTS AND THRALLS OF LUST - drunkards and sinful men
BANKS AND BRAKES - undergrowth
LEAVED - full of leaves
FRETTY - chequered, in a pattern that is crisscrossed
CHERVIL - a type of herb
FRETTY CHERVIL - herbs and plants which cause crisscrossed patterns, either with their stems and leaves or by their shadows
EUNUCH - castrated male or, in this case, an impotent person

| Posted on 2006-02-22 | by Approved Guest




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