Died on this day – 8 June 1889


Reverend Father Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. was born on 28 July 1844. He was an English poet, Roman Catholic convert, and Jesuit priest, whose posthumous fame established him among the leading Victorian poets. His experimental explorations in prosody (especially sprung rhythm) and his use of imagery established him as a daring innovator in a period of largely traditional verse. Hopkins died of typhoid fever whilst on holiday in Montmorillon. There is no truth to the malicious rumour that he contracted the disease whilst handling some of the risque titles in the Glass Key bookshop in the Cité de l’Ecrit. Hopkins had successfully suppressed his homoerotic impulses whilst still a student at Oxford.

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things –
  For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
   For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
  Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow and plough;
   And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
  Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
   With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
     Praise him.

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