Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins Poem Summary & Analysis

Pied Beauty
Pied Beauty


Pied Beauty Summary

The poem opens with an offering: “Glory be to God for dappled things.” within the next five lines, Hopkins elaborates with samples of what things he means to incorporate under this rubric of “dappled.” He includes the mottled white and blue colors of the sky, the “brinded” (brindled or streaked) hide of a cow, and therefore the patches of contrasting color on a trout.

The chestnuts offer a rather more complex image: once they fall they hospitable reveal the meaty interior normally concealed by the hard shell; they’re compared to the coals during a fire, black on the surface and glowing within. The wings of finches are multicolored, as maybe a patchwork of farmland during which sections look different consistent with whether or not they are planted and green, fallow, or freshly plowed. the ultimate example is of the “trades” and activities of man, with their rich diversity of materials and equipment.

In the final five lines, Hopkins goes on to think about more closely the characteristics of those examples he has given, attaching moral qualities now to the concept of variety and variety that he has elaborated so far mostly in terms of physical characteristics. The poem becomes an apology for these unconventional or “strange” things, things which may not normally be valued or thought beautiful. they’re all, he avers, creations of God, which, in their multiplicity, point always to the unity and permanence of His power and encourage us to “Praise Him.”


This is one among Hopkins’s “curtal” (or curtailed) sonnets, during which he miniaturizes the normal sonnet form by reducing the eight lines of the octave to 6 (here two tercets rhyming ABC ABC) and shortening the six lines of the sestet to four and a half. This alteration of the sonnet form is sort of fitting for a poem advocating originality and contrariness. The strikingly musical repetition of sounds throughout the poem (“dappled,” “stipple,” “tackle,” “fickle,” “freckled,” “adazzle,” for instance ) enacts the creative act the poem glorifies: the weaving together of diverse things into a satisfying and coherent whole.


This poem may be a miniature or set-piece, and a sort of formality observance. It begins and ends with variations on the mottoes of the Jesuit order (“to the greater glory of God” and “praise to God always”), which provides it a standard flavor, tempering the unorthodoxy of its appreciations. The parallelism of the start and end correspond to a bigger symmetry within the poem: the primary part (the shortened octave) begins with God then moves to praise his creations. The last four-and-a-half lines reverse this movement, beginning with the characteristics of things within the world then tracing them back to a final affirmation of God.

The delay of the verb during this extended sentence makes this return all the more satisfying when it comes; the long and list-like predicate, which captures the multiplicity of the created world, eventually yields within the penultimate line to a striking verb of creation (fathers-forth) then leads us to acknowledge an absolute subject, God the Creator. The poem is thus a hymn of creation, praising God by praising the created world. It expresses the theological position that the good variety within the wildlife may be a testimony to the right unity of God and therefore the infinitude of His creative power. within the context of a Victorian age that valued uniformity, efficiency, and standardization, this theological notion takes on a tone of protest.

Why does Hopkins prefer to commend “dappled things” in particular? the primary stanza would lead the reader to believe that their significance is an aesthetic one: In showing how contrasts and juxtapositions increase the richness of our surroundings, Hopkins describes variations in color and texture—of the sensory. The mention of the “fresh-fire coal chestnut-falls” within the fourth line, however, introduces an ethical tenor to the list. Though the outline remains physical, the thought of a nugget of goodness imprisoned within a tough exterior invites consideration of essential value during a way that the speckles on a cow, for example, do not. The image transcends the physical, implying how the physical links to the spiritual and meditating on the connection between body and soul. Lines five and 6 then serve to attach these musings to human life and activity.

Hopkins first introduces a landscape whose characteristics derive from man’s alteration (the fields), then includes “trades,” “gear,” “tackle,” and “trim” as diverse items that are man-made. But he then goes on to incorporate this stuff, alongside the preceding list, as a part of God’s work.

Hopkins doesn’t refer explicitly to citizenry themselves, or to the variations that exist among them, in his catalog of the dappled and diverse. But subsequent section opens with an inventory of qualities (“counter, original, spare, strange”) which, though they doggedly ask “things” instead of people, cannot but be considered in moral terms as well; Hopkins’s own life, and particularly his poetry, had at the time been described in those very terms. With “fickle” and “freckled” within the eighth line, Hopkins introduces an ethical and aesthetic quality, each of which might conventionally convey a negative judgment, to fold even the bottom and therefore the ugly back to his worshipful inventory of God’s gloriously “pied” creation.

Pied Beauty Analysis

Analysis Lines 1 – 6

Pied Beauty begins with an immediate, respectful expression of gratitude – to God – for the multitude of things that are dappled, beautiful to the attention in their design and patterning. The speaker announces the presence of God, a mirrored image of the poet’s religious beliefs.

God is that the creator of those natural phenomena and, because the title suggests, expresses beauty through them.

Take the sky, which may be filled with the loose, textured cloud, or blotchy cloud, or a variation on a topic of brindle, a bit like the hides of cows. search at the colors then inspects the cattle within the field. there’s a connection between the 2 consistent with the speaker.

Hopkins was living in North Wales when he wrote this poem and loved to steer from his house to a close-by church through meadows and fields. He was a keen observer of all things natural. In his diary he wrote: ‘ Sunset over oaks, a dapple of rosy clouds blotted with purple….’

A couple-color may be a special alliterative word created by Hopkins to denote a sky with two colors. As you read through the road it’s a part ofthe attention tends to treat this mix together word then the voice alters a touch, the sound changes subtly.
Inline three another combination appears rose-moles, which are reddish spots on the edges of trout. This line has assonance during a 13 syllable mixture of vowels – just like the flow that runs over and hits stones during a stream:

For rose-moles beat a stipple upon trout that swim;

This second hyphenated word reinforces the thought of things being connected/related. From the celestial to the terrestrial to the liquid, air, earth, and water, the three elements, needing only fire to finish the set.

Line four bursts with alliteration and internal half-rhyme:

Fresh-fire coal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

Here is that the fourth element, fire, within the sort of recently fallen chestnuts (either horse or sweet), which tend to shine as if they’re alight when they’re fresh on the bottom. The variegated texture and color of finches’ wings are documented, the goldfinch being especially beautiful.

But could it’s that Hopkins chose the finch to spotlight his discomfort with Darwin’s theory of evolution? Darwin used the finch (and the various sorts of beak/bill shape within a species) to assist form his earth-shattering theory.

Both Darwin and Hopkins were conscious of the bewildering sort of design in nature – Hopkins saw this as evidence of the ‘soul of the deity’ and created his own spiritual poetry to assist express his own inner feelings.

Darwin, on the opposite hand, was above else a scientist and chose to publish his findings during a book, The Origin of Species.

Line five moves the reader out into the countryside, where neat fields fit alongside copse and woodland, where the feel and color vary. Again alliteration is present, as maybe a mini feast of long and short vowels in the fold, fallow, and plow.

Human interaction is brought into the poem for the primary time as line six follows the plow, the speaker suggesting that the work of humankind is additionally to be attributed to the all-encompassing dappledness, God-given.

Trades – all the work is done by people – need tools and equipment and therefore the speaker reaffirms the work of God within the regular their gear and tackles and trim.

So ends the sestet, a packed stanza with heavy punctuation (semi-colons at the top of most lines) and weird rhythms, giving the reader an insight into all things pied, as inspired by the speaker’s God.

Further Analysis Lines 7 – 11

Pied Beauty may be a kind of hymn, a paean, and therefore the next five lines reinforce this notion of a changeless God divinely creating dappledness, complexity, variety, and flux.

Everything that’s a touch bit odd, nuanced, rare and contrary; all fickle things, including humankind, all freckled things (including faces and skin) are mysteriously brought into the planet by God. the entire spectrum of nature altogether its beauty is germinated by Him, who deserves praise.

The alliteration continues right to line 10 and culminates within the six stressed lines 9:

With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;

And the poem involves the imperative conclusion – Praise him.

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