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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

GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS

His Life through his Poetry







Previous Track: Pied Beauty, The May Magnificat

TRACK 6: BINSEY POPLARS

Read by Claire Marchionne
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while you read
    Binsey Poplars	felled 1879

MY aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,
Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,
All felled, felled, are all felled;
   Of a fresh and following folded rank
               Not spared, not one
               That dandled a sandalled
          Shadow that swam or sank
On meadow and river and wind-wandering weed-winding
   bank.


O if we but knew what we do
      When we delve or hew--
Hack and rack the growing green!
      Since country is so tender
To touch, her being só slender,
That, like this sleek and seeing ball
But a prick will make no eye at all,
Where we, even where we mean
          To mend her we end her,
      When we hew or delve:
After-comers cannot guess the beauty been.
   Ten or twelve, only ten or twelve
      Strokes of havoc únselve
          The sweet especial scene,
      Rural scene, a rural scene,
      Sweet especial rural scene.

The next track: Dun Scotus's Oxford


Introduction to this Hopkins Feature

Gerard Manley Hopkins Workshop

Home Page

We recommend the Oxford Edition and in particular Sean Street's account of The Wreck of the Deutschland, which he was inspired to write from hearing my production of Paul Scofield's reading for BBC Radio 3.  We also highly recommend Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Study of Poetic Idiosyncrasy in Relation to Poetic Tradition by Professor Helen Gardner: