The Starlight Night

By Gerard Manley Hopkins 1844–1889 Gerard Manley Hopkins
Look at the stars! look, look up at the skies!
   O look at all the fire-folk sitting in the air!
   The bright boroughs, the circle-citadels there!
Down in dim woods the diamond delves! the elves'-eyes!
The grey lawns cold where gold, where quickgold lies!
   Wind-beat whitebeam! airy abeles set on a flare!
   Flake-doves sent floating forth at a farmyard scare! 
Ah well! it is all a purchase, all is a prize.

Buy then! bid then! — What? — Prayer, patience, alms, vows.
Look, look: a May-mess, like on orchard boughs!
   Look! March-bloom, like on mealed-with-yellow sallows!
These are indeed the barn; withindoors house
The shocks. This piece-bright paling shuts the spouse
   Christ home, Christ and his mother and all his hallows.

Source: Gerard Manley Hopkins: Poems and Prose (Penguin Classics, 1985)

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Poet Gerard Manley Hopkins 1844–1889

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Nature, Religion, Stars, Planets, Heavens, Christianity

Poetic Terms Sonnet, Assonance

 Gerard  Manley Hopkins

Biography

Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of the three or four greatest poets of the Victorian era. He is regarded by different readers as the greatest Victorian poet of religion, of nature, or of melancholy. However, because his style was so radically different from that of his contemporaries, his best poems were not accepted for publication during his lifetime, and his achievement was not fully recognized until after World War I.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Religion, Stars, Planets, Heavens, Christianity

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Sonnet, Assonance

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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