Personal Choice 60

Gerard Manley Hopkins


Spring and Fall

to a young child


Márgarét, áre you gríeving

Over Goldengrove unleaving?

Leáves like the things of man, you

With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?

Ah! ás the heart grows older

It will come to such sights colder

By and by, nor spare a sigh

Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;

And yet you wíll weep and know why.

Now no matter, child, the name:

Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.

Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed

What heart heard of, ghost guessed:

It ís the blight man was born for,

It is Margaret you mourn for.


Gerard Manley Hopkins


Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ (1844 - 1889) was an English poet and Jesuit priest, whose posthumous fame placed him among leading Victorian poets. His prosody – notably his concept of sprung rhythm – established him as an innovator, as did his praise of God through vivid use of imagery and nature. Only after his death did Robert Bridges publish a few of Hopkins's mature poems in anthologies, hoping to prepare for wider acceptance of his style. By 1930 Hopkins's work was seen as one of the most original literary advances of his century. It intrigued such leading 20th-century poets as T. S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender and Cecil Day-Lewis.



A poem I wish I had written myself and Hopkins understanding of a child’s mind and the sadness at the heart of things never fails to astonish me.

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