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     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


His Life through his Poetry

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TRACK 17: The Dark Night of the Soul 1

Read by Claire Marchionne
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The final appointment of Hopkins' short life was to the chair of classics at University College, Dublin. In Ireland he felt he was at a third remove, being separated from his Irish colleagues by national allegiance and from his family and English friends by religion.

To seem the stranger lies my lot, my life
Among strangŔrs. Father and mother dear,
Brothers and sisters are in Christ not near
And he my peace my parting, sword and strife.
      England, whose honour O all my heart woos, wife
To my creating thought, would neither hear
Me, were I pleading, plead nor do I: I wear-
y of idle a being but by where wars are rife.
      I am in Ireland now; now I am at a thÝrd
Remove. Not but in all removes I can
Kind love both give and get. Only what word
Wisest my heart breeds dark heaven's baffling ban
Bars or hell's spell thwarts. This to hoard unheard,
Heard unheeded, leaves me a lonely began.

The spiritual dereliction of his later poems is akin the dark night of the soul described by mystics, as an advanced phase in the progress of the soul towards the utter peace of the union with God

I WAKE and feel the fell of dark, not day.
What hours, O what black hoŘrs we have spent
This night! what sights you, heart, saw; ways you went!
And more must, in yet longer light's delay.
     With witness I speak this. But where I say
Hours I mean years, mean life. And my lament
Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent
To dearest him that lives alas! away.

I am gall, I am heartburn. God's most deep decree
Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me;
Bones built in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the curse.
     Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see
The lost are like this, and their scourge to be
As I am mine, their sweating selves; but worse.

The next track: Thou art indeed just Lord

Introduction to this Hopkins Feature

Gerard Manley Hopkins Workshop

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