Pied Beauty as a Religious or Devotional Poem
Gerard Manley Hopkins is a distinguished poet of Victorian age. He was influenced by the movement and activities of Victorian period. He was keen observer of socio-political and socio-economic aspects of the society. Nonetheless, he had a great enthusiasm for the sensuous beauty of nature.
In the description of nature Hopkins raises himself to the height of the romantics. More than this, through the glorification of nature, the poet glorifies the majesty and magnificence of God. In this sense, h is a Christian poet or a religious poet.
Hopkins’s world-famous poem Pied Beauty is full of sensuous imagery of nature. It is a poem of eleven lines. Though it is sometimes called a sonnet. In the first stanza the poet has glorified the works of God. The poet describes the pied beauty of nature. Here literal meaning of ‘pied’ is decorated. The poet says that God’s glory has been reflected through his creations. The poet mentions the skies of couple color, the trout with the rose-colored skin spotted with black, the fallen chestnuts, finch wings, the landscape and all trades.
The poet has been charmed with the colorful skies. He compares the sky with brindled cow. A brindled cow is a double-colored cow. Then the poet described the color of the trout. The poet appreciates the rose-spotted fishes, which swim in the water.
Like a romantic poet, Hopkins is highly influenced by the sights and sounds of nature. He describes the fallen chestnuts, the inside of which is as red as the fire of coal. The poet goes on to describe the finches, the singing birds. Thus, the poet has mentioned the marvelous eye-catching beauty of nature and the poet calls upon the readers to pay tribute to God for this wonderful creations on this earth.
Side by side the poet has also appreciated those colorful things which are created by man. The poet very deeply feels the joy when he observes the plots and fields which are created by man. Man has created lots of fields, sheepfold, pasture grounds and the land of standing crops. Thus, the poet not only appreciates the genuine world of nature but also he appreciates human activities and trades and commerce. He can see and feel unlimited joy and pleasure in the commercial world also.
In the second stanza the poet mentions particularly the contrasting things in the midst of nature. Some things are swift and others slow; some are exceptionally bright and others are dark and lifeless. The poet has been overwhelmed at the diverse beauty of nature. The poet opines that God is the source of all this variety of things on this earth. The creation of God is full of mystery. We see changes and changes in the midst of nature. We see beauty of nature is transient. But God, who is the creator, is permanent and his beauty is not changeable. So, we should praise God, the creator of all the colorful things.
Through this poem, Hopkins tries to minimize the tension of human being. Human beings desire for infinite variety and change. The poet says that God’s beauty is unchangeable and is never changed. In the midst of all diversity God maintains discipline and order in nature.
It is a poem of eleven lines. Some lines are shorter and some lines are longer. The diction of the poem is very serious and standard. The magnificence of the diction has been appropriate to describe the magnificence of God. We see the restatement in the poem. The poem opens with the poet’s expression of glory to God, and ends in the same way. The rhyme scheme has been melodious to describe properly the music in the midst of nature behind which the silence of God is the main divine force.
In fine, we can say that Hopkins is essentially a poet of nature. Through the description of nature, he appreciates God based on the principals of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. Pied Beauty is a religious poem indeed.