Union Jack

     English Wordplay ~ Listen and Enjoy

Hopkins loved Our Lady. I therefore dedicate these pages to her namesake, my beloved daughter, Mary. Hopkins aged 15 Hopkins as a Jesuit Priest

GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS

His Life through his Poetry







Previous Track: Music 2

TRACK 12: Danger

Read by Claire Marchionne
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while you read
The Soldier

YES. Whý do we áll, seeing of a soldier, bless him? bless
Our redcoats, our tars? Both these being, the greater part,
But frail clay, nay but foul clay. Here it is: the heart,
Since, proud, it calls the calling manly, gives a guess
That, hopes that, makesbelieve, the men must be no less;
It fancies, feigns, deems, dears the artist after his art;
And fain will find as sterling all as all is smart,
And scarlet wear the spirit of wár thére express.

Mark Christ our King. He knows war, served this soldiering
     through;
He of all can handle a rope best. There he bides in bliss
Now, and séeing somewhére some mán do all that man can do,
For love he leans forth, needs his neck must fall on, kiss,
And cry 'O Christ-done deed! So God-made-flesh does too:
Were I come o'er again' cries Christ 'it should be this'.

Hopkins wrote: 'I think nobody can admire the beauty of the body more than I do, but this kind of beauty is dangerous.'  Gregory referred to in the next poem is the Pope, who on seeing the blue eyed, fair haired slaves on sale in the Roman forum said 'not Angles, but Angels' and sent St. Augustine to Christianize Britain.

To what serves mortal beauty | dangerous; does set danc-
ing blood the O-seal-that-so | feature, flung prouder form
Than Purcell tune lets tread to? | See: it does this: keeps warm
Men's wits to the things that are; | what good means--where a glance
Master more may than gaze, | gaze out of countenance.
Those lovely lads once, wet-fresh | windfalls of war's storm,
How then should Gregory, a father, | have gleanèd else from swarm-
ed Rome? But God to a nation | dealt that day's dear chance.
   
  To man, that needs would worship | block or barren stone,
Our law says: Love what are | love's worthiest, were all known;
World's loveliest--men's selves. Self | flashes off frame and face.
What do then? how meet beauty? | Merely meet it; own,
Home at heart, heaven's sweet gift; | then leave, let that alone.
Yea, wish that though, wish all, | God's better beauty, grace.

   The next track: Felix Randall, Spring and Fall


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