Poetry: Pied Beauty
This poem from the Victorian era by Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of the best examples of his groundbreaking gift for language.
A middle-class Anglican, he felt called to enter the Catholic priesthood. A troubled soul, he was viewed as a literary rebel. A lover of nature, he also sketched.
Pied Beauty has been a literary talisman for me since childhood.
Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Source: Gerard Manley Hopkins: Poems and Prose (Penguin Classics, 1985)