The poem, a hymn and partial sonnet, ‘Pied Beauty’ is initially about praising God due to the beauty of the world as the word ‘pied’ suggests different shades of color which can then lead to a variety. The title itself, Pied Beauty, indicates the variety of beauty. The poem indicates that the beauty in the world is all due to the one ‘whose beauty is past change,’ God, giving us a reason as to why we should ‘praise him. ’ The constant and remaining theme in this poem was praising God.
The poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, delivered his overall message by distinguishing between the variety existing in contrast, especially in the second stanza and ‘whose beauty is past change,’ making it constant, in the first stanza. This poem weighs heavily on religion as it talks about God fathering ‘forth’ beauty that is constant such as natural objects. Hopkins’ point of view on this poem characterizes him to be a very religious man who sees God as the Ultimate. In a world that is ephemeral, Hopkins’ sees God as beyond all of that, giving the readers a sense of stability, as his ‘beauty is past change. The last line ‘praise him,’ slowed the rhythm down from the use of sibilance which created a good balance. Furthermore, in the second stanza of the poem, Hopkins touched on the importance of contrast, as without it, we would not know what is good or bad. Hopkins’ tone for the poem is proud and positive, escalating with the rhythm in the second stanza due to the use of alliteration and sibilance. The overall message Hopkins has conveyed throughout the poem was to ‘praise’ God and delivers it in such as way that creates images and a sense of rhythm throughout the poem.
In the first stanza, the line lengths are mostly the same with the shortest line, in the first stanza being the first line as it creates simplicity. Firstly, the first line, ‘glory be to God for dappled things,’ already show the importance of God and how he deserves praise because he is responsible for all variety in the world. Throughout the first stanza, Hopkins identifies beauty that is constant which is nature such as ‘skies of coupled-color as a brinded cow. ’ ‘Skies of coupled-color’ suggests cloudy blue skies as on a brinded cow, which again touch on variety.
Trouts are then described in the next line to have ‘rose moles’ which could convey their pink scales glistening under water, communicating beauty in different places. Hopkins’ then describe chest nuts in ‘fresh fire coal chest nut falls’ creating a lot of energy and radiating excitement in the tone of the poem. The chest nuts falling from the tree were also used to describe beauty and alongside it, ‘finches wings’ were described due to the elegant variety of colors in it.
The listing starts in the next few lines where in the 5th line describes ‘landscape plotted and pieced’ to show beauty and the words ‘fold, fallow and plough,’ creating simple excitement and having the words come out quicker. Overall, the first stanza consists many language techniques that show the beauty in small, unlikely aspects of nature an in the last line, machinery and man made objects. In the following stanza, more listing is introduced to increase the pace, showing the excitement of the narrator about nature, it’s beauty and overall, praising God for it.
The length of the lines, in general, are shorter than the last, possibly due to the increased rhythm in the poem. The first line in the second stanza already move toward the contrast on aspects in the world stating, ‘All things counter, original, spare, strange. ’ The listing goes on moving toward a climax with ‘whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how? ). ’ the rhetorical question slows the ‘Swift, slow, sweet, sour, adazzle, dim,’ are an example of listing which again creates an explosion of sound and sprung rhythm.
Furthermore, the use of opposing words emphasize the importance of contrast in the world. The next line refers to God as fathering forth ‘whose beauty is past change. ’ This term then gives us a sense of security because despite all of the changes in the world, some remain constant. This gives us a sense of security because the future is unknown and therefore, can be classified as frightening. The previous two lines also create contrast when put together due to the the ‘sift, slow, sweet, sour’ being all opposites and the next line then turns to constant beauty instead of beauty that remains in contrast.
The last stanza summarizes everything into two simple words, ‘praise him. ’ The fast pace then slows down in the two words but the excitement that was built up throughout the poem stayed, making the last line simple yet extremely memorable and powerful. The effect and the poems words were memorable due to the word choice. Firstly, through the use of semantic fields, the overall meaning of the poem was emphasized. In the first line, ‘Glory be to God for dappled things,’ already introduces God and his importance through the use of the words ‘dappled things,’ suggesting variety in colors.
The word, ‘dappled‘ reminds me of sunsets and anything colorful with a touch of movement, as it is constant and yet unique every morning. Hopkins’ word choice leads to the readers into thinking of their own imagery and then leads it up to praising God. Furthermore, along with ‘dappled,’ the words ‘coupled-color’ have also been used to describe variety, making the semantic field to, most likely, be variety in the first few lines. The reference to the ‘finches wings’ create connotations of freedom.
The wings were most likely use to indicate God’s power, and as the author though of him, the ultimate. In the second stanza, sibilance and listing were used to create contrast which was a main subject throughout the poem. Hopkins’ viewpoint in the poem was emphasized on his last line, “praise him,” because of the strength in the two words as it concluded the entire poem. Furthermore, the effect of ‘father’s forth’ shows masculinity and strength with God. Overall, the use of diction throughout the poem have greatly enhanced it.
The use of imagery in ‘Pied Beauty’ emphasized the overall message of the poem itself, and created a clearer picture for the reader. The second line, ‘for skies of coupled-color as a brinded cow’ form the imagery that leads the readers to thinking of open fields with cows grazing the grass because of the sky being cloudy. The juxtaposing of the skies and the cows create a simple setting with cows grazing under the afternoon sky. A simile has been used to describe the sky and a brinded cow creates a stronger picture and overall effect for praising god for unlikely beauty.
The ‘trout that swim’ are described to have ‘rose moles’ which are a metaphor for their scales glowing under the water for appreciation. Going deeper into the ‘rose moles’ the metaphor for that is appreciation as it is unlikely that one may look at a trout’s skin and think of moles the color of roses. Along with the finches’ wings, ‘Fresh-firecoal chest nut falls,’ create a peaceful image of chest nuts falling or a campfire due to the use of words and symbolism. This line also plays with the senses because of the thought of the smell of chest uts burning in the campfire. The ‘landscape; that was ‘plotted and pieced’ most likely would remind the reader of farming which then leads to the next like that really talks about man-made objects. Furthermore, the reference to ‘trades’ refers to the instruments of man such as through farming as they also ‘tackle and trim. ’ Due to this, there is a clear sequence in the first stanza where he mentions natural objects leading to man-made aspects creating an image of nature and slowly moving into synthetic objects.
The second stanza is far more abstract than the first stanza and therefore, imagery was not conveyed as often in this stanza then the last. However, the words in the second stanza do emphasize the descriptions in the first as the readers can think of whatever is ‘swift, slow, sweet, sour; adazzle, dim’ and incorporate it into the first stanza or their own experiences. Overall, language techniques in the poem have also helped highlight the overall message of the poem. Grammatical features are successfully used in the poem to emphasize the poem’s overall meaning.
The use of verbs in the entire poem create a sense of movement and create an image to the imagination. For example, trout swimming was referred to in order to communicate the beauty that is not only on land but under water, all parts of nature. Furthermore, the ‘landscape plotted and pieced’ show how organized aspects are in farming as it refers to that. The verbs ‘plotted and pieced’ emphasize the beauty of nature such as fields. Adjectives are also used throughout the poem to add more color to the piece. The description of ‘rose-moles stipple upon trout that swim’ show the scales in a different way.
Furthermore, the contrast were emphasized through adjectives in the second stanza with: ‘swift, slow, sweet, sour; adazzle, dim’ affect the five senses especially sight and taste. The use of adjectives and verbs have further described Hopkins’ descriptions of aspects leading to why God should be praised. Throughout the poem the rhythm changed because of the excitement that the narrator had. This was conveyed through the length of each line and words chosen. In this poem, rhyme was not used but rhythm played a big part in the sounds of the poems.
The rhythm in the poem started out to be quite slow and escalated in the line: ‘Fresh-firecoal chestnut falls’ because of the ease of the words. Since there were a variety of words that had short vowel sounds, the rushed words created a sense of excitement. In addition, through the last line of the first stanza, the repetition of the word ‘and’ also increase the pace of the poem further while describing farming with ‘all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. ’ In the second stanza, there were many alliteration and sibilance throughout to increase the rhythm.
In the line ‘whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how? ),’ Alliteration is evident, creating an explosion of sound and the rhetorical question then slows the rhythm for a while before moving onto the next line that bombards the readers with contrasting objects, again increasing the pace. In ‘swift, slow, sweet, sour; adazzle, dim,’ the use of sibilance in the line create a never ending feel as it just keeps going with ease and movement. Furthermore, sibilance and short vowel sounds together, greatly increase the pace, moving towards the climax of the poem.
Due to the seriousness and excitement during the poem, strong consonant sounds were used but not so much that it sounded angry, but proud. Hopkins most likely, deliberately did this to create confidence in the narrators voice and tone. Therefore, sound played an important part throughout the poem in controlling the rhythm. Due to the many techniques thought out through the poem it was successful in conveying its’ message. It was successful in a way that the last line had such a strong impact due to its build up throughout the poem.
The words ‘praise him’ were put after the description of beauty in variety and beauty that is ‘past change,’ helping to create an effect on the reader. Personally, it made me want to thank God because of all the small things that were there but never really recognized until reading this poem. However, I am not religious but Hopkins’ strong faith and religious characteristic were really conveyed in the poem. It made the poem rather persuasive as well. In conclusion, the poem made me think in a religious manner by wanting to praise God and it made me think of the small aspects such as the scales of a trout and how beauty can come in a variety.