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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







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TRACK 14: A Verse Drama

Read by Claire Marchionne
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According to Butler's Lives of the Saints, when Winifred refused to sleep with the chieftain Caradoc, he severed her head from her body, and St Beuno restored her to life.  The Well still visited by pilgrims is supposed to have gushed forth from where her head fell.  The next poem is a fragment from a verse drama.

The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo

Maidens' song from St. Winefred's Well

How to keep - is there ány any, is there none such, nowhere
     known some, bow or brooch or braid or brace, láce, latch
     or catch or key to keep
Back beauty, keep it, beauty, beauty, beauty, . . . from vanishing
     away?
 Ó is there no frowning of these wrinkles, rankèd wrinkles deep,
Dówn? no waving off of these most mournful messengers, still
     messengers, sad and stealing messengers of grey?
No there's none, there's none, O no there's none,
Nor can you long be, what you now are, called fair,
Do what you may do, what, do what you may,
And wisdom is early to despair:
Be beginning; since, no, nothing can be done
To keep at bay
Age and age's evils, hoar hair,
Ruck and wrinkle, drooping, dying, death's worst, winding
     sheets, tombs and worms and tumbling to decay;
So be beginning, be beginning to despair.
O there's none; no no no there's none:
Be beginning to despair, to despair,
Despair, despair, despair, despair.

         Spare!
There is one, yes I have one (Hush there!);
Only not within seeing of the sun,
Not within the singeing of the strong sun,
Tall sun's tingeing, or treacherous the tainting of the earth's air.
Somewhere elsewhere there is ah well where! one,
Óne. Yes I can tell such a key, I do know such a place,
Where whatever's prized and passes of us, everything that's
     fresh and fast flying of us, seems to us sweet of us and
     swiftly away with, done away with, undone,
Undone, done with, soon done with, and yet dearly and
     dangerously sweet
Of us, the wimpled-water-dimpled, not-by-morning-matchèd face,
The flower of beauty, fleece of beauty, too too apt to, ah! to fleet,
Never fleets more, fastened with the tenderest truth
To its own best being and its loveliness of youth: it is an ever-
     lastingness of, O it is an all youth!
Come then, your ways and airs and looks, locks, maiden gear,
     gallantry and gaiety and grace,
Winning ways, airs innocent, maiden manners, sweet looks,
     loose locks, long locks, lovelocks, gaygear, going gallant,
     girlgrace--
Resign them, sign them, seal them, send them, motion them
     with breath,
And with sighs soaring, soaring síghs deliver
Them; beauty-in-the-ghost, deliver it, early now, long before
     death
Give beauty back, beauty, beauty, beauty, back to God, beauty's
     self and beauty's giver.
See; not a hair is, not an eyelash, not the least lash lost; every hair
Is, hair of the head, numbered.
Nay, what we had lighthanded left in surly the mere mould
Will have waked and have waxed and have walked with the wind
     what while we slept,
This side, that side hurling a heavyheaded hundredfold
What while we, while we slumbered.
O then, weary then whý should we tread? O why are we so
     haggard at the heart, so care-coiled, care-killed, so fagged,
     so fashed, so cogged, so cumbered,
When the thing we freely fórfeit is kept with fonder a care,
Fonder a care kept than we could have kept it, kept
Far with fonder a care (and we, we should have lost it) finer, fonder
A care kept. Where kept? Do but tell us where kept, where.--
Yonder.--What high as that! We follow, now we follow.--
     Yonder, yes yonder, yonder,
Yonder.

The next track: The Blessed Virgin compared to the Air we Breathe


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