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Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of the greatest poets of inner agony, religion, and nature of the 19th century. According to his point of view, the world seems to be a book written by God.

Pied Beauty is a curtal sonnet written by the English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins in 1877. It was published after 1918.

It was then incorporated in the collection Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Pied Beauty by G Gm Hopkins

Pied Beauty Summary

The poet G M Hopkins describes that all credits should go to God, for his creation. Then he proceeds with describing a list of some natural things such as the sky, bird’s wings, trout.

Hopkins then elaborates the landscape as being ‘dappled,’. Yet it is also harvested by humans.
Moving on the more abstract elements are shown as to how two different things are also for God’s grace. Here a rhetorical question takes place.

Later it says ‘He [God] fathers-forth whose beauty is past change,’ and calls for all for praising God and his magnificence.

Analysis of Pied Beauty

Pied Beauty is a reduced form of the sonnet, which is a curtal sonnet. The word “Curtal” is an archaic term. It praises God’s natural supremacy.

Hopkins has written Pied Beauty in the summer of 1877. He was one of the first Victorian poets to write apart from traditional rhythms and form in verse. While writing this poem Hopkins was in North Wales. He used to walk towards the church. He loved examining nature.

Pied Beauty starts with a clear expression of gratitude and admiration towards God. The speaker deliberately describes the presence of God which is a sign of the poet’s religious perspective.

Pied Beauty is a sort of hymn. The poem shows the notion of the unchangeable God divinely creating Complexity and diversity. The poem is based on natural things.

Hopkins in this poem has contrasted differences or similarities of all the natural things. The Welsh countryside has influenced the poem greatly. God is the ultimate creator of all the natural things. According to the title of the poem, it expresses Beauty through all the natural phenomena.

The poem constructed with sprung rhythm. Hopkins created this new metre to bring out the importance of conventional iambic lines. Pied Beauty is a curtal sonnet consisting of a sestet + quintain, the kind of poem which has shortened its last line.

The sprung rhythm takes place when two consecutive feet are stressed. The usual iambic metre is spoiled with alliteration which enriches naturalistic conversations.

The rhyme scheme is abcabcdbcdc.

A stanza with high-quality punctuation and unusual rhythms, gives the reader awareness about the Pied things, as invented by God. There are many interesting words and internal close rhymes in the poem.

The words combine to create a Pied effect and, multiple the sounds. It is called an aesthetic of contrast.
Hopkins used an alliterative term “couple-colour” to sketch the sky with two colours. The eye sees this two as one and the voice adjusts subtly.

Moving on, to the reddish spotted rose-moles. This line has assonance in a 13 syllable vowels mixed.
Next is the liquid, air, earth and water, the three elements, only need fire to complete the collection.
Then comes the fourth element, fire, in the embodiment of chestnuts which are fallen from the trees very recently.

Line four overflows with alliteration and half-rhyme. Both Darwin and Hopkins were the worshipper of nature. Hopkins formed his own literary works to express his own spiritual thoughts and feelings. Contrarily, the scientist, Darwin published his book, The Origin of Species.

Later on, the speaker shifts focus to the countryside of England. Again comes the alliteration as evidence of tiny and long vowels. Human interaction is also a part in the middle of the poem.

Trades and craft both are done by a human. It needs energy and equipment. It sums up the diversity in unity.
The alliteration keeps continuing to 10th line and peaks in the six stressed lines 9.
The speaker speaks that God has brought into the world all the things whatever is a bit weird, uncommon, odd, rare, all the uncertain things, such as mankind, human nature.

The whole beauty of nature is created by God so he is worthy of praise.
Pied Beauty has varied metre throughout, reflecting the Pied nature of things.

Pied Beauty meaning

“Pied Beauty” is a song of praise to God to some extent. The poem celebrates God’s creations. The word “Pied” means having two or more colours. it is one of the many virtues that the speaker most praises about God’s creation.


Pied Beauty” is a song of admiration for God’s creation. It is contradicted with the unchangeable qualities of God. This is personified as the “dappled things” of nature.

• Spirituality

Hopkins becomes a Jesuit priest in the year of 1877 when the poem was written. This poem shows the religious opinions of Hopkins.
“Pied Beauty” celebrates the natural things created by God trough glorifying the omnipotence of God.

It is confusing if the poem is a personal one or the speaker’s imaginary dialogues.

• Nature

Nature is vividly portrayed throughout the poem by Hopkins. He doesn’t show the images of the kind of nature which has been destroyed by humans and civilizations.

Rather he discovers the beauty of the nature created by God.
The things which are available in the countryside of England, are filled in this poem.

This poem shows the beauty of agriculture and presents the metaphor for diversity in the unity of business and crafts.

• Awe and Amazement

According to Hopkins God has created such a beautiful world and nature so it is justified to praise the Lord. The speaker of this poem confesses in uncertainty that “dappled things” has filled the earth.

Although he has no idea about it he can only describe it through praising. The beautiful effortless nature is created by God.

• Brevity

Hopkins has in his writing the Catholic view that God is the only unit in the world. Everything else just lies on miscellany. According to the speaker of this poem, God is the only ultimate supreme and unchangeable personality.

God brings out changes into the world.
The poem Pied Beauty has shown that the earth is changeable and so is the beauty of the earth.

Now we can visualize every single macro and microscopic elements, using telescopes and microscopes but it looks like only spotted things.

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