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Hurrahing In Harvest Analysis

Author: Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins Type: Poetry Views: 616

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Poems of Gerard Manley HopkinsSummer ends now; now, barbarous in beauty, the stooks ariseAround; up above, what wind-walks! what lovely behaviourOf silk-sack clouds! has wilder, wilful-wavier

Meal-drift moulded ever and melted across skies?I walk, I lift up, I lift up heart, eyes,Down all that glory in the heavens to glean our Saviour;And, éyes, heárt, what looks, what lips yet gave you a

Rapturous love's greeting of realer, of rounder replies?And the azurous hung hills are his world-wielding shoulderMajestic-as a stallion stalwart, very-violet-sweet!-

These things, these things were here and but the beholderWanting; which two when they once meet,

The heart rears wings bold and bolderAnd hurls for him, O half hurls earth for him off under his feet.


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Hurrahing in Harvest
This is a sonnet (rhyme scheme - abba abca dedede) written in September 1877 whilst Hopkins was studying for the priesthood at St.Beuno’s, North Wales. In a note he tells us how it was written: “The Hurrahing sonnet was the outcome of half an hour of extreme enthusiasm as I walked home alone one day from fishing in the Elwy”, the Elwy being the river that flows through the Vale of Clwyd in which St.Beuno\'s is situated.
“Barbarous”, a strange companion to “beauty” is a pun: it suggests a wild, almost savage, beauty as well as the bearded and bristly sheaves. Jesus had warned that in the Last Judgment the wheat would be winnowed from the chaff. After seeing the harvest on earth, Hopkins looks to the physical heavens — there is the harvesting, unbeknownst to the men who shock the grain on earth. The skies are “wind-walks”; the clouds are silky sacks grain a-bursting - they spill the meal, flowing away in sudden runnels and siftings and scatterings.
A real gleaning is going on, with the poet as gleaner, walking through the rows of grain: and his instruments are his heart and eyes. He is gleaning the Saviour. No earthly love can match the fullness, even the violence, of God’s love for man, when man lifts up his heart to God. Christ’s is a “real” and a “round” reply, more reverberating than any man’s shout of joy, a kiss more real and warm than the most passionate lover’s embrace. The hills above are the world-wielding shoulder of this God and man who is as “stalwart” as a “stallion,” yet mysteriously as sweet as “very-violet.”
With all this presence here, the one thing wanting is the attention: “the beholder.” If attention beholds the “things”, that heart should once move in love, it will find ravishment, swept away by and from the beauty of the earth to the beauty of Christ.

| Posted on 2012-03-09 | by a guest

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