With Long Rests

 Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) by Ellen Riley and Cédric Charleuf (2014)

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) by Ellen Riley and Cédric Charleuf (2014)

That portrait of Gerard Hopkins in the Lit. Sup., so quiet, so thoughtful, so almost prettily devout. Strange to think that many, many years ago he actually sat in that position, with folded hands (although they are not there), with secret, slightly hooded eyes, with gentle, posed mouth and soft tongues of hair lying on his forehead, licking sleekly down beside his ear.
Then the verbose article that tells one nothing [plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose] – nothing of the secret from which his genius sprung. It is an insult to hide his secret – to pretend that he was “normal”, in other words ordinary.

The Journals of Denton Welch. Edited by Michael De-la-Noy. Allison and Busby, 1984 (1952)

Remember that its [my poetry’s] performance is not reading aloud with the eye but loud, leisurely, poetical (not rhetorical) recitation, with long rests, long dwells on the rhyme and other marked syllables, and so on.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Felix Randal

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Felix Randal the farrier, O is he dead then? my duty all ended,
Who have watched his mould of man, big-boned and hardy-handsome
Pining, pining, till time when reason rambled in it, and some
Fatal four disorders, fleshed there, all contended?

Sickness broke him. Impatient, he cursed at first, but mended
Being anointed and all; though a heavenlier heart began some
Months earlier, since I had our sweet reprieve and ransom
Tendered to him. Ah well, God rest him all road ever he offended!

This seeing the sick endears them to us, us too it endears.
My tongue had taught thee comfort, touch had quenched thy tears,
Thy tears that touched my heart, child, Felix, poor Felix Randal;

How far from then forethought of, all thy more boisterous years,
When thou at the random grim forge, powerful amidst peers,
Didst fettle for the great grey drayhorse his bright and battering sandal!

An Author, Less Sweet

In Elaine Scarry’s On Beauty and Being Just, I came across a Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem, of what happens when a poem (or book), once considered beautiful, ceases to be so:

Is this made plain? What have I come across
That here will serve me for comparison?
The sceptic disappointment and the loss
A boy feels when the poet he pores upon
Grows less and less sweet to him, and knows no cause.

What are the books or poems you once loved (in adulthood) and now cannot remember what you found beautiful at the time? Is this memory accompanied by a sense of loss and disappointment?