CONTENTS      BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889).  Poems.  1918.

Notes



Author’s Preface.
This is from B, and must have been written in ’83 or not much later. The punctuation has been exactly followed, except that I have added a comma after the word language, where the omission seemed an oversight.

rove over.
This expression is used here to denote the running on of the sense and sound of the end of a verse into the beginning of the next; but this meaning is not easily to be found in the word.

The two words reeve (pf. rove,—which is also a pf. of rive—) and reave (pf. reft) are both used several times by G. M. H., but they are both spelt reave. In the present context rove and reaving occur in his letters, and the spelling reeve in ‘The Deutschland’, xii. 8, is probably due to the copyists.

There is no doubt that G. M. H. had a wrong notion of the meaning of the nautical term reeve. No. 39 line 10 (the third passage where reeve, spelt reave, occurs, and a nautical meaning is required—see the note there—) would be satisfied by splice (nautical); and if this notion were influenced by weave, wove, that would describe the interweaving of the verses. In the passage referred to in ‘The Deutschland’ reeve is probably intended in its dialectal or common speech significance: see Wright’s ‘English Dialect Dictionary’, where the first sense of the verb given is to bring together the ‘gathers’ of a dress: and in this sense reeve is in common use.

Early Poems.
Two school prize-poems exist; the date of the first, ‘The Escorial’, is Easter ’60, which is before G. M. H. was sixteen years old. It is in Spenserian stanza: the imperfect copy in another hand has the first 15 stanzas omitting the 9th, and the author has written on it his motto, , with an accompanying gloss to explain his allusions. Though wholly lacking the Byronic flush it looks as if influenced by the historical descriptions in ‘Childe Harold’, and might provide a quotation for a tourist’s guide to Spain. The history seems competent, and the artistic knowledge precocious.

Here for a sample is the seventh stanza:
  This was no classic temple order’d round
  With massy pillars of the Doric mood
  Broad-fluted, nor with shafts acanthus-crown’d,
  Pourtray’d along the frieze with Titan’s brood
  That battled Gods for heaven; brilliant-hued,
  With golden fillets and rich blazonry,
  Wherein beneath the cornice, horsemen rode
  With form divine, a fiery chivalry—
Triumph of airy grace and perfect harmony.

The second prize-poem, ‘A Vision of Mermaids’, is dated Xmas ’62. The autograph of this, which is preserved, is headed by a very elaborate circular pen-and-ink drawing, 6 inches in diameter,—a sunset sea-piece with rocks and formal groups of mermaidens, five or six together, singing as they stand (apparently) half-immersed in the shallows as described

‘But most in a half-circle watch’d the sun,’ &c.

This poem is in 143 lines of heroics. It betrays the influence of Keats, and when I introduced the author to the public in Miles’s book, I quoted from it, thinking it useful to show that his difficult later style was not due to inability to excel in established forms. The poem is altogether above the standard of school-prizes. I reprint the extract here:

Soon—as when Summer of his sister Spring
Crushes and tears the rare enjewelling,
And boasting ‘I have fairer things than these’
Plashes amidst the billowy apple-trees
His lusty hands, in gusts of scented wind
Swirling out bloom till all the air is blind
With rosy foam and pelting blossom and mists
Of driving vermeil-rain; and, as he lists,
The dainty onyx-coronals deflowers,
A glorious wanton;—all the wrecks in showers
Crowd down upon a stream, and jostling thick
With bubbles bugle-eyed, struggle and stick
On tangled shoals that bar the brook—a crowd
Of filmy globes and rosy floating cloud:—
So those Mermaidens crowded to my rock.
     *     *     *     *     *
But most in a half-circle watch’d the sun;
And a sweet sadness dwelt on every one;
I knew not why,—but know that sadness dwells
On Mermaids—whether that they ring the knells
Of seamen whelm’d in chasms of the mid-main,
As poets sing; or that it is a pain
To know the dusk depths of the ponderous sea,
The miles profound of solid green, and be
With loath’d cold fishes, far from man—or what;—
I know the sadness but the cause know not.
Then they, thus ranged, gan make full plaintively
A piteous Siren sweetness on the sea,
Withouten instrument, or conch, or bell,
Or stretch’d chords tuneable on turtle’s shell;
Only with utterance of sweet breath they sung
An antique chaunt and in an unknown tongue.
Now melting upward through the sloping scale
Swell’d the sweet strain to a melodious wail;
Now ringing clarion-clear to whence it rose
Slumber’d at last in one sweet, deep, heart-broken close.

1862–1868
After the relics of his school-poems follow the poems written when an undergraduate at Oxford, of which there are four in this book—Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 52, all dating about 1866. Of this period some ten or twelve autograph poems exist, the most successful being religious verses worked in Geo. Herbert’s manner, and these, I think, have been printed: there are two sonnets in Italian form and Shakesperian mood (refused by ‘Cornhill Magazine’); the rest are attempts at lyrical poems, mostly sentimental aspects of death: one of them ‘Winter with the Gulf-stream’ was published in ‘Once a Week’, and reprinted at least in part in some magazine: the autograph copy is dated Aug. 1871, but G. M. H. told me that he wrote it when he was at school; whence I guess that he altered it too much to allow of its early dating. The following is a specimen of his signature at this date.



1868–1875.
After these last-mentioned poems there is a gap of silence which may be accounted for in his own words from a letter to R. W. D. Oct. 5, ’78: ‘What (verses) I had written I burnt before I became a Jesuit (i. e. 1868) and resolved to write no more, as not belonging to my profession, unless it were by the wish of my superiors; so for seven years I wrote nothing but two or three little presentation pieces which occasion called for. But when in the winter of ’75 the Deutschland was wrecked in the mouth of the Thames and five Franciscan nuns, exiles from Germany by the Falck Laws, aboard of her were drowned I was affected by the account and happening to say so to my rector he said that he wished some one would write a poem on the subject. On this hint I set to work and, though my hand was out at first, produced one. I had long had haunting my ear the echo of a new rhythm which now I realised on paper.... I do not say the idea is altogether new ... but no one has professedly used it and made it the principle throughout, that I know of.... However, I had to mark the stresses ... and a great many more oddnesses could not but dismay an editor’s eye, so that when I offered it to our magazine The Month ... they dared not print it.’

Of the two or three presentation pieces here mentioned one is certainly the Marian verses ‘Rosa mystica’, published in the ‘The Irish Monthly’, May ’98, and again in Orby Shipley’s ‘Carmina Mariana’, 2nd series, p. 183: the autograph exists.

Another is supposed to be the ‘Ad Mariam’, printed in the ‘Stonyhurst Magazine’, Feb. ’94. This is in five stanzas of eight lines, in direct and competent imitation of Swinburne: no autograph has been found; and, unless Fr. Hopkins’s views of poetic form had been provisionally deranged or suspended, the verses can hardly be attributed to him without some impeachment of his sincerity; and that being altogether above suspicion, I would not yield to the rather strong presumption which their technical skill supplies in favour of his authorship. It is true that the ‘Rosa mystica’ is somewhat in the same light lilting manner; but that was probably common to most of these festal verses, and ‘Rosa mystica’ is not open to the positive objections of verbal criticism which would reject the ‘Ad Mariam’. He never sent me any copy of either of these pieces, as he did of his severer Marian poems (Nos. 18 and 37), nor mentioned them as productions of his serious Muse. I do not find that in either class of these attempts he met with any appreciation at the time; it was after the publication of Miles’s book in 1894 that his co-religionists began to recognize his possible merits, and their enthusiasm has not perhaps been always wise. It is natural that they should, as some of them openly state they do, prefer the poems that I am rejecting to those which I print; but this edition was undertaken in response to a demand that, both in England and America, has gradually grown up from the genuinely poetic interest felt in the poems which I have gradually introduced to the public:—that interest has been no doubt welcomed and accompanied by the applause of his particular religious associates, but since their purpose is alien to mine I regret that I am unable to indulge it; nor can I put aside the overruling objection that G. M. H. would not have wished these ‘little presentation pieces’ to be set among his more serious artistic work. I do not think that they would please any one who is likely to be pleased with this book.


  1. St. Dorothea. Written when an exhibitioner at Balliol College. Contemporary autograph in A, and another almost identical in H, both undated. Text from A. This poem was afterwards expanded, shedding its relative pronouns, to 48 lines divided among three speakers, ‘an Angel, the protonotary Theophilus, (and) a Catechumen’: the grace and charm of original lost:—there is an autograph in A and other copies exist. This was the first of the poems that I saw, and G. M. H. wrote it out for me (in 1866?).

  2. Heaven Haven. Contemporary autograph, on same page with last, in H. Text is from a slightly later autograph undated in A. The different copies vary.

  3. Habit of Perfection. Two autographs in A; the earlier dated Jan. 18, 19, 1866. The second, which is a good deal altered, is apparently of same date as text of No. 2. Text follows this later version. Published in Miles.

  4. Wreck of the Deutschland. Text from B, title from A (see description of B on p. 94). In ‘The Spirit of Man’ the original first stanza is given from A, and varies; otherwise B was not much corrected. Another transcript, now at St. Aloysius’ College, Glasgow, was made by Rev. F. Bacon after A but before the correction of B. This was collated for me by the Rev. Father Geoffrey Bliss, S.J., and gave one true reading. Its variants are distinguished by G in the notes to the poem.

    The labour spent on this great metrical experiment must have served to establish the poet’s prosody and perhaps his diction: therefore the poem stands logically as well as chronologically in the front of his book, like a great dragon folded in the gate to forbid all entrance, and confident in his strength from past success. This editor advises the reader to circumvent him and attack him later in the rear; for he was himself shamefully worsted in a brave frontal assault, the more easily perhaps because both subject and treatment were distasteful to him. A good method of approach is to read stanza 16 aloud to a chance company. To the metrist and rhythmist the poem will be of interest from the first, and throughout.

    Stanza iv. l. 7. Father Bliss tells me that the Voel is a mountain not far from St. Beuno’s College in N. Wales, where the poem was written: and Dr. Henry Bradley that moel is primarily an adj. meaning bald: it becomes a fem. subst. meaning bare hill, and preceded by the article y becomes voel, in modern Welsh spelt foel. This accounts for its being written without initial capital, the word being used generically; and the meaning, obscured by roped, is that the well is fed by the trickles of water within the flanks of the mountains.—Both A and B read planks for flanks; G gives the correction.

    St. xi. 5. Two of the required stresses are on we dream.

    St. xii. 8. reeve, see note on Author’s Preface.

    St. xiv. 8. these. G has there; but the words between shock and these are probably parenthetical.

    St. xvi. 3. Landsmen may not observe the wrongness: see again No. 17, st. ix, and 39, line 10. I would have corrected this if the euphony had not accidentally forbidden the simplest correction.

    St. xvi. 7. foam-fleece followed by full stop in A and B, by a comma in G.

    St. xix. 3. hawling thus spelt in all three.

    St. xxi. 2. G omits the.

    St. xxvi. 5 and 6. The semicolon is autographic correction in B; the stop at Way is uncertain in A and B, is a comma in G.

    St. xxix. 3. night (sic).
        8. Two of the required stresses are on Tarpeian.

    St. xxxiv. 8. shire. G has shore; but shire is doubtless right; it is the special favoured landscape visited by the shower.

  5. Penmaen Pool. Early copy in A. Text, title, and punctuation from autograph in B, dated ‘Barmouth, Merionethshire. Aug. 1876’. But that autograph writes leisure for pleasure in first line; skulls in stanza 2; and in stanza 8, month has a capital initial. Several copies exist, and vary.

    St. iii. 2. Cadair Idris is written as a note to Giant’s stool.

    St. viii. 4. Several variants. Two good copies read darksome danksome; but the early copy in A has darksome darksome, which B returns to.

    St. ix. 3. A has But praise it, and two good copies But honour it.

  6. The Silver Jubilee: in honour of the Most Reverend James first Bishop of Shrewsbury. St. Beuno’s, Vale of Clwyd. 1876, I think.’ A.—Text and title from autograph in B. It was published with somebody’s sermon on the same occasion. Another copy in H.

  7. God’s Grandeur. Standard rhythm counterpointed.’ Two autographs, Feb. 23, 1877; and March 1877; in A.—Text is from corrections in B. The second version in A has lightning for shining in line 2, explained in a letter of Jan. 4, ’83. B returns to original word.

  8. The Starlight Night. Feb. 24, ’77.’ Autograph in A.—‘Standard rhythm opened and counterpointed. March ’77.’ A.—Later corrected version ‘St. Beuno’s, Feb. ’77’ in B.—Text follows B. The second version in A was published in Miles’s book ‘Poets and Poetry of the Century’.

  9. Spring. (Standard rhythm, opening with sprung leadings), May 1877.’ Autograph in A.—Text from corrections in B, but punctuation from A. Was published in Miles’s book from incomplete correction of A.

  10. The Lantern. (Standard rhythm, with one sprung leading and one line counterpointed.)’ Autograph in A.—Text, title, and accents in lines 13 and 14, from corrections in B, where it is called ‘companion to No. 26, St Beuno’s ’77’.

  11. Walking by the Sea. Standard rhythm, in parts sprung and in others counterpointed, Rhyl, May ’77.’ A. This version deleted in B, and the revision given in text written in with new title.—G. M. H. was not pleased with this sonnet, and wrote the following explanation of it in a letter ’82: ‘Rash fresh more (it is dreadful to explain these things in cold blood) means a headlong and exciting new snatch of singing, resumption by the lark of his song, which by turns he gives over and takes up again all day long, and this goes on, the sonnet says, through all time, without ever losing its first freshness, being a thing both new and old. Repair means the same thing, renewal, resumption. The skein and coil are the lark’s song, which from his height gives the impression of something falling to the earth and not vertically quite but tricklingly or wavingly, something as a skein of silk ribbed by having been tightly wound on a narrow card or a notched holder or as twine or fishing-tackle unwinding from a reel or winch or as pearls strung on a horsehair: the laps or folds are the notes or short measures and bars of them. The same is called a score in the musical sense of score and this score is “writ upon a liquid sky trembling to welcome it”, only not horizontally. The lark in wild glee races the reel round, paying or dealing out and down the turns of the skein or coil right to the earth floor, the ground, where it lies in a heap, as it were, or rather is all wound off on to another winch, reel, bobbin or spool in Fancy’s eye, by the moment the bird touches earth and so is ready for a fresh unwinding at the next flight. Crisp means almost crisped, namely with notes.’

  12. The Windhover. (Falling paeonic rhythm, sprung and outriding.)’ Two contemporary autographs in A.—Text and dedication from corrected B, dated St. Beuno’s, May 30, 1877.—In a letter June 22, ’79: ‘I shall shortly send you an amended copy of The Windhover: the amendment only touches a single line, I think, but as that is the best thing I ever wrote I should like you to have it in its best form.’

  13. Pied Beauty. Curtal Sonnet: sprung paeonic rhythm. St. Beuno’s, Tremeirchion. Summer ’77.’ Autograph in A.—B agrees.

  14. Hurrahing in Harvest: Sonnet (sprung and outriding rhythm. Take notice that the outriding feet are not to be confused with dactyls or paeons, though sometimes the line might be scanned either way. The strong syllable in an outriding foot has always a great stress and after the outrider follows a short pause. The paeon is easier and more flowing). Vale of Clwyd, Sept. 1, 1877.’ Autograph in A. Text is from corrected B, punctuation of original A. In a letter ’78 he wrote: ‘The Hurrahing sonnet was the outcome of half an hour of extreme enthusiasm as I walked home alone one day from fishing in the Elwy.’ A also notes ‘no counterpoint’.

  15. The Caged Skylark. (Falling paeonic rhythm, sprung and outriding.)’ Autograph in A. Text from corrected B which dates St. Beuno’s, 1877. In line 13 B writes úncúmberèd.

  16. In the Valley of the Elwy. (Standard rhythm, sprung and counterpointed.)’ Autograph in A. Text is from corrected B, which dates as contemporary with No. 15, adding ‘for the companion to this see No.’ 35.

  17. The Loss of the Eurydice. A contemporary copy in A has this note: ‘Written in sprung rhythm, the third line has 3 beats, the rest 4. The scanning runs on without break to the end of the stanza, so that each stanza is rather one long line rhymed in passage than four lines with rhymes at the ends.’—B has an autograph of the poem as it came to be corrected (’83 or after), without the above note and dated ‘Mount St. Mary, Derbyshire, Apr. ’78’.—Text follows B.—The injurious rhymes are partly explained in the old note.

    St. 9. Shorten sail. The seamanship at fault: but this expression may be glossed by supposing the boatswain to have sounded that call on his whistle.

    St. 12. Cheer’s death, i. e. despair.

    St. 14. It is even seen. In a letter May 30, ’78, he explains: ‘You mistake the sense of this as I feared it would be mistaken. I believed Hare to be a brave and conscientious man, what I say is that even those who seem unconscientious will act the right part at a great push.... About mortholes I wince a little.’

    St. 26. A starlight-wender, i. e. The island was so Marian that the folk supposed the Milky Way was a fingerpost to guide pilgrims to the shrine of the Virgin at Walsingham. And one, that is Duns Scotus the champion of the Immaculate Conception. See Sonnet No. 20.

    St. 27. Well wept. Grammar is as in ‘Well hit! well run!’ &c. The meaning ‘You do well to weep’.

    St. 28. O Hero savest. Omission of relative pronoun at its worst. = O Hero that savest. The prayer is in a mourner’s mouth, who prays that Christ will have saved her hero, and in stanza 29 the grammar triumphs.

  18. The May Magnificat. (Sprung rhythm, four stresses in each line of the first couplet, three in each of the second. Stonyhurst, May ’78.’ Autograph in A.—Text from later autograph in B. He wrote to me: ‘A Maypiece in which I see little good but the freedom of the rhythm.’ In penult stanza cuckoo-call has its hyphen deleted in B, leaving the words separate.

  19. Binsey Poplars, felled 1879. Oxford, March 1879.’ Autograph in A. Text from B, which alters four places. l. 8 weed-winding: an early draft has weed-wounden.

  20. Duns Scotus’s Oxford. Oxford, March 1879.’ Autograph in A. Copy in B agrees but dates 1878.

  21. Henry Purcell. (Alexandrine: six stresses to the line. Oxford, April 1879.)’ Autograph in A with argument as printed. Copy in B is uncorrected except that it adds the word fresh in last line.

    ‘“Have fair fallen.” Have is the sing. imperative (or optative if you like) of the past, a thing possible and actual both in logic and grammar, but naturally a rare one. As in the 2nd pers. we say “Have done” or in making appointments “Have had your dinner beforehand”, so one can say in the 3rd pers. not only “Fair fall” of what is present or future but also “Have fair fallen” of what is past. The same thought (which plays a great part in my own mind and action) is more clearly expressed in the last stanza but one of the Eurydice, where you remarked it.’ Letter to R. B., Feb. 3, ’83.

    ‘The sestet of the Purcell sonnet is not so clearly worked out as I could wish. The thought is that as the seabird opening his wings with a whiff of wind in your face means the whirr of the motion, but also unaware gives you a whiff of knowledge about his plumage, the marking of which stamps his species, that he does not mean, so Purcell, seemingly intent only on the thought or feeling he is to express or call out, incidentally lets you remark the individualising marks of his own genius.

    ‘Sake is a word I find it convenient to use ... it is the sake of “for the sake of”, forsake, namesake, keepsake. I mean by it the being a thing has outside itself, as a voice by its echo, a face by its reflection, a body by its shadow, a man by his name, fame, or memory, and also that in the thing by virtue of which especially it has this being abroad, and that is something distinctive, marked, specifically or individually speaking, as for a voice and echo clearness; for a reflected image light, brightness; for a shadow-casting body bulk; for a man genius, great achievements, amiability, and so on. In this case it is, as the sonnet says, distinctive quality in genius.... By moonmarks I mean crescent-shaped markings on the quill-feathers, either in the colouring of the feather or made by the overlapping of one on another.’ Letter to R. B., May 26, ’79.

  22. Peace: Oxford, 1879.’ Autograph in B, where a comma after daunting is due to following a deletion. To own my heart = to my own heart. Reaving Peace, i. e. when he reaves or takes Peace away, as No. 35, l. 12. An early draft dated Oct. 2, ’79, has taking for reaving.

  23. The Bugler’s First Communion. (Sprung rhythm, overrove, an outride between the 3rd and 4th foot of the 4th line in each stanza.) Oxford, July 27, (?) 1879.’ A.—My copy of this in B shows three emendations. First draft exists in H. Text is A with the corrections from B. At nine lines from end, Though this, A has Now this, and Now is deliberately preferred in H.—B has some uncorrected miscopyings of A. O for, now, charms of A is already a correction in H. I should like a comma at end of first line of 5th stanza and an interjection-mark at end of that stanza.

  24. Morning Midday and Evening Sacrifice. Oxford, Aug. ’79.’ Autograph in A. The first stanza reproduced after p. 70. Copied by me into B, where it received correction. Text follows B except in lines 19 and 20, where the correction reads What Death half lifts the latch of, What hell hopes soon the snatch of. And punctuation is not all followed: original has comma after the second this in lines 5 and 6. On June 30, ’86, G. M. H. wrote to Canon Dixon, who wished to print the first stanza alone in some anthology, and made ad hoc alterations which I do not follow. The original 17th line was Silk-ashed but core not cooling, and was altered because of its obscurity. ‘I meant (he wrote) to compare grey hairs to the flakes of silky ash which may be seen round wood embers ... and covering a core of heat....’ Your offering, with despatch, of is said like ‘your ticket’, ‘your reasons’, ‘your money or your life...’ It is: ‘Come, your offer of all this (the matured mind), and without delay either!’

  25. Andromeda. Oxford, Aug. 12, ’79.’ A—which B corrects in two places only. Text rejects the first, in line 4 dragon for dragon’s: but follows B in line 10, where A had Air, pillowy air. There is no comma at barebill in any MS., but a gap and sort of caesural mark in A. In a letter Aug. 14, ’79, G. M. H. writes: ‘I enclose a sonnet on which I invite minute criticism. I endeavoured in it at a more Miltonic plainness and severity than I have anywhere else. I cannot say it has turned out severe, still less plain, but it seems almost free from quaintness and in aiming at one excellence I may have hit another.’

  26. The Candle Indoors. (Common rhythm, counterpointed.) Oxford, ’79.’ A. Text takes corrections of B, which adds ‘companion to No.’ 10. A has in line 2 With a yellowy, and 5 At that.

  27. The Handsome Heart. (Common rhythm counterpointed.) Oxford, ’79.’ A1.—In Aug. of the same year he wrote that he was surprised at my liking it, and in deference to my criticism sent a revise, A2.—Subsequently he recast the sonnet mostly in the longer 6-stress lines, and wrote that into B.—In that final version the charm and freshness have disappeared: and his emendation in evading the clash of ply and reply is awkward; also the fourteen lines now contain seven whats. I have therefore taken A1 for the text, and have ventured, in line 8, to restore how to, in the place of what, from the original version which exists in H. In ‘The Spirit of Man’ I gave a mixture of A1 and A2. In line 5 the word soul is in H and A1: but A2 and B have heart. Father in second line was the Rev. Father Gerard himself. He tells the whole story in a letter to me.

  28. At a Wedding. (Sprung rhythm.) Bedford, Lancashire, Oct. 21, ’79.’ A. Autograph uncorrected in B, but title changed to that in text.

  29. Felix Randal. (Sonnet: sprung and outriding rhythm; six-foot lines.) Liverpool, Apr. 28, ’80.’ A. Text from A with the two corrections of B. The comma in line 5 after impatient is omitted in copy in B.

  30. Brothers. (Sprung rhythm; three feet to the line; lines free-ended and not overrove; and reversed or counterpointed rhythm allowed in the first foot.) Hampstead, Aug. 1880.’ Five various drafts exist. A1 and A2 both of Aug. ’80. B was copied by me from A1, and author’s emendations of it overlook those in A2. Text therefore is from A2 except that the first seven lines, being rewritten in margin afresh (and confirmed in letter of Ap. ’81 to Canon Dixon), as also corrections in lines 15–18, these are taken. But the B corrections of lines 22, 23, almost certainly imply forgetfulness of A2. In last line B has correction Dearly thou canst be kind; but the intention of I’ll cry was original, and has four MSS. in its favour.

  31. Spring and Fall. (Sprung rhythm.) Lydiate, Lancashire, Sept. 7, 1880.’ A. Text and title from B, which corrects four lines, and misdates ’81. There is also a copy in D, Jan. ’81, and see again Apr. 6, ’81. In line 2 the last word is unleafing in most of the MSS. An attempt to amend the second rhyme was unsuccessful.

  32. Spelt from Sibyl’s Leaves. (Sonnet: sprung rhythm: a rest of one stress in the first line.)’ Autograph in A—another later in B, which is taken for text. Date unrecorded. Lines 5, 6, astray thus divided to show the rhyme.—6. throughther, an adj., now confined to dialect. It is the speech form of through-other, in which shape it eludes pursuit in the Oxford dictionary. Dr. Murray compares Ger. durch einander. Mr. Craigie tells me that the classical quotation for it is from Burns’s ‘Halloween’, st. 5, They roar an’ cry a’ throughther.—line 8. With, i. e. I suppose, with your warning that, &c.: the heart is speaking.—9. beak-leaved is not hyphened in MS.—11. part, pen, pack, imperatives of the verbs, in the sense of sorting ‘the sheep from the goats’.—12. A has wrong right, but the correction to right wrong in B is intentional.—14. sheathe- in both MSS., but I can only make sense of sheath-, i. e. ‘sheathless and shelterless’. The accents in this poem are a selection from A and B.

  33. Inversnaid. Sept. 28, 1881.’ Autograph in H. I have found no other trace of this poem.

  34. As kingfishers. Text from undated autograph in H, a draft with corrections and variants. In lines 3 and 4 hung and to fling out broad are corrections in same later pencilling as line 5, which occurs only thus with them. In sestet the first three lines have alternatives of regular rhythm, thus:

    Then I say more: the just man justices;
    Keeps grace and that keeps all his goings graces;
    In God’s eye acts, &c.

    Of these lines, in 9 and 10 the version given in text is later than the regular lines just quoted, and probably preferred: in l. 11 the alternatives apparently of same date.

  35. Ribblesdale. Stonyhurst, 1882.’ Autograph in A. Text from later autograph in B, which adds ‘companion to No. 10’ (= 16). There is a third autograph in D, June ’83 with different punctuation which gives the comma between to and with in line 3. The dash after man is from A and D, both of which quote ‘Nam expectatio cresturae’, &c. from Romans viii. 19. In the letter to R. W. D. he writes: ‘Louched is a coinage of mine, and is to mean much the same as slouched, slouching, and I mean throng for an adjective as we use it in Lancashire’. But louch has ample authority, see the ‘English Dialect Dictionary’.

  36. The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo. Stonyhurst, Oct 13, ’82.’ Autograph in A. Copy of this with autograph corrections dated Hampstead ’81 (sic) in B.—Text takes all B’s corrections, but respects punctuation of A, except that I have added the comma after God in last line of p. 56. For the drama of Winefred, see among posthumous fragments, No. 58. In Nov. 1882 he wrote to me: ‘I am somewhat dismayed about that piece and have laid it aside for a while. I cannot satisfy myself about the first line. You must know that words like charm and enchantment will not do: the thought is of beauty as of something that can be physically kept and lost and by physical things only, like keys; then the things must come from the mundus muliebris; and thirdly they must not be markedly oldfashioned. You will see that this limits the choice of words very much indeed. However I shall make some changes. Back is not pretty, but it gives that feeling of physical constraint which I want.’ And in Oct. ’86 to R. W. D., ‘I never did anything more musical’.

  37. Mary Mother of Divine Grace Compared to the Air we Breathe. Stonyhurst, May ’83.’ Autograph in A.—Text and title from later autograph in B. Taken by Dean Beeching into ‘A Book of Christmas Verse’ 1895 and thence, incorrectly, by Orby Shipley in ‘Carmina Mariana’. Stated in a letter to R. W. D. June 25, ’83, to have been written to ‘hang up among the verse compositions in the tongues.... I did a piece in the same metre as Blue in the mists all day.’ Note Chaucer’s account of the physical properties of the air, ‘House of Fame’, ii. 256, seq.

  38. To what serves Mortal Beauty? (Common rhythm highly stressed: sonnet.) Aug. 23, ’85.’ Autograph in A.—Another autograph in B with a few variants from which A was chosen, the deletion of alternatives incomplete. Thirdly a copy sent to R. W. D., apparently later than A, but with errors of copy. The text given is guided by this version in D, and needs in line 9 is substituted there for the once in A and B, probably because of once in line 6.—Original draft exists in H, on same page with 39 and 40. The following is his signature at this date:



  39. Soldier. ‘Clongower, Aug. 1885.’ Autograph in H, with a few corrections which I have taken for lines 6 and 7, of which the first draft runs:

    It fancies; it deems; dears the artist after his art;
    So feigns it finds as, &c.

    The MS. marks the caesural place in ten of the lines: in line 2, between Both and these. l. 3, at the full stop. l. 6, fancies, feigns, deems, take three stresses. l. 11, after man. In line 7 I have added a comma at smart. In l. 10 I have substituted handle for reave of MS.: see note on reave, p. 101; and in l. 13, have hyphened God made flesh. No title in MS.

  40. Carrion Comfort. Autograph in H, in three versions. 1st, deleted draft. 2nd, a complete version, both on same page with 38 and 39. 3rd, with 41 on another sheet, final (?) revision carried only to end of l. 12 (two detached lines on reverse). Text is this last with last two lines from the 2nd version. Date must be 1885, and this is probably the sonnet ‘written in blood’, of which he wrote in May of that year.—I have added the title and the hyphen in heaven-handling.

  41. No worst. Autograph in H, on same page as third draft of 40. One undated draft with corrections embodied in the text here.—l. 5, at end are some marks which look like a hyphen and a comma: no title.

  42. Tom’s Garland. Sonnet: common rhythm, but with hurried feet: two codas. Dromore, Sept. ’87.’ With full title, A.—Another autograph in B is identical. In line 9 there is a strong accent on I.—l. 10, the capital initial of country is doubtful.—Rhythmical marks omitted. The author’s own explanation of this poem may be read in a letter written to me from ‘Dublin, Feb. 10, ’88: ... I laughed outright and often, but very sardonically, to think you and the Canon could not construe my last sonnet; that he had to write to you for a crib. It is plain I must go no further on this road: if you and he cannot understand me who will? Yet, declaimed, the strange constructions would be dramatic and effective. Must I interpret it? It means then that, as St. Paul and Plato and Hobbes and everybody says, the commonwealth or well-ordered human society is like one man; a body with many members and each its function; some higher, some lower, but all honourable, from the honour which belongs to the whole. The head is the sovereign, who has no superior but God and from heaven receives his or her authority: we must then imagine this head as bare (see St. Paul much on this) and covered, so to say, only with the sun and stars, of which the crown is a symbol, which is an ornament but not a covering; it has an enormous hat or skullcap, the vault of heaven. The foot is the day-labourer, and this is armed with hobnail boots, because it has to wear and be worn by the ground; which again is symbolical; for it is navvies or day-labourers who, on the great scale or in gangs and millions, mainly trench, tunnel, blast, and in other ways disfigure, “mammock” the earth and, on a small scale, singly, and superficially stamp it with their footprints. And the “garlands” of nails they wear are therefore the visible badge of the place they fill, the lowest in the commonwealth. But this place still shares the common honour, and if it wants one advantage, glory or public fame, makes up for it by another, ease of mind, absence of care; and these things are symbolised by the gold and the iron garlands. (O, once explained, how clear it all is!) Therefore the scene of the poem is laid at evening, when they are giving over work and one after another pile their picks, with which they earn their living, and swing off home, knocking sparks out of mother earth not now by labour and of choice but by the mere footing, being strongshod and making no hardship of hardness, taking all easy. And so to supper and bed. Here comes a violent but effective hyperbaton or suspension, in which the action of the mind mimics that of the labourer—surveys his lot, low but free from care; then by a sudden strong act throws it over the shoulder or tosses it away as a light matter. The witnessing of which lightheartedness makes me indignant with the fools of Radical Levellers. But presently I remember that this is all very well for those who are in, however low in, the Commonwealth and share in any way the common weal; but that the curse of our times is that many do not share it, that they are outcasts from it and have neither security nor splendour; that they share care with the high and obscurity with the low, but wealth or comfort with neither. And this state of things, I say, is the origin of Loafers, Tramps, Cornerboys, Roughs, Socialists and other pests of society. And I think that it is a very pregnant sonnet, and in point of execution very highly wrought, too much so, I am afraid.... G. M. H.’

  43. Harry Ploughman. Dromore, Sept. 1887.’ Autograph in A.—Autograph in B has several emendations written over without deletion of original. Text is B with these corrections, which are all good.—line 10, features is the verb.—13, ’s is his. I have put a colon at plough, in place of author’s full stop, for the convenience of reader.—15 = his lilylocks windlaced. ‘Saxo cere- comminuit -brum.’—17, Them. These, A.—In the last three lines the grammar intends, ‘How his churl’s grace governs the movement of his booted (in bluff hide) feet, as they are matched in a race with the wet shining furrow overturned by the share’. G. M. H. thought well of this sonnet and wrote on Sept. 28, 1887: ‘I have been touching up some old sonnets you have never seen and have within a few days done the whole of one, I hope, very good one and most of another; the one finished is a direct picture of a ploughman, without afterthought. But when you read it let me know if there is anything like it in Walt Whitman; as perhaps there may be, and I should be sorry for that,’ And again on Oct. 11, ’87: ‘I will enclose the sonnet on Harry Ploughman, in which burden-lines (they might be recited by a chorus) are freely used: there is in this very heavily loaded sprung rhythm a call for their employment. The rhythm of this sonnet, which is altogether for recital, and not for perusal (as by nature verse should be), is very highly studied. From much considering it I can no longer gather any impression of it: perhaps it will strike you as intolerably violent and artificial.’ And again on Nov. 6, ’87: ‘I want Harry Ploughman to be a vivid figure before the mind’s eye; if he is not that the sonnet fails. The difficulties are of syntax no doubt. Dividing a compound word by a clause sandwiched into it was a desperate deed, I feel, and I do not feel that it was an unquestionable success.’

    44, 45, 46, 47. These four sonnets (together with No. 56) are all written undated in a small hand on the two sides of a half-sheet of common sermon-paper, in the order in which they are here printed. They probably date back as early as 1885, and may be all, or some of them, those referred to in a letter of Sept. 1, 1885: ‘I shall shortly have some sonnets to send you, five or more. Four of these came like inspirations unbidden and against my will. And in the life I lead now, which is one of a continually jaded and harassed mind, if in any leisure I try to do anything I make no way—nor with my work, alas! but so it must be.’ I have no certain nor single identification of date.

  44. To seem the stranger. H, with corrections which my text embodies.—l. 14, began. I have no other explanation than to suppose an omitted relative pronoun, like Hero savest in No. 17. The sentence would then stand for ‘leaves me a lonely (one who only) began’. No title.

  45. I wake and feel. H, with corrections which text embodies: no title.

  46. Patience. As 45. l. 2, Patience is. The initial capital is mine, and the comma after ivy in line 6. No title.

  47. My own heart. As 45.—l. 6, I have added the comma after comfortless; that word has the same grammatical value as dark in the following line. ‘I cast for comfort, (which) I can no more find in my comfortless (world) than a blind man in his dark world....’—l. 10, MS. accents let.—13 and 14, the text here from a good correction separately written (as far as mountains) on the top margin of No. 56. There are therefore two writings of betweenpie, a strange word, in which pie apparently makes a compound verb with between, meaning ‘as the sky seen between dark mountains is brightly dappled’, the grammar such as intervariegates would make. This word might have delighted William Barnes, if the verb ‘to pie’ existed. It seems not to exist, and to be forbidden by homophonic absurdities.

  48. Heraclitean Fire. (Sprung rhythm, with many outrides and hurried feet: sonnet with two [sic] codas.) July 26, 1888. Co. Dublin. The last sonnet [this] provisional only.’ Autograph in A.—I have found no other copy nor trace of draft. The title is from A.—line 6, construction obscure. rutpeel may be a compound word, MS. uncertain.—8, ? omitted relative pronoun. If so = ‘the manmarks that treadmire toil foot-fretted in it’. MS. does not hyphen nor quite join up foot with fretted.—12. MS. has no caesural mark.—On Aug. 18, ’88, he wrote: ‘I will now go to bed, the more so as I am going to preach tomorrow and put plainly to a Highland congregation of MacDonalds, Mackintoshes, Mackillops, and the rest what I am putting not at all so plainly to the rest of the world, or rather to you and Canon Dixon, in a sonnet in sprung rhythm with two codas.’ And again on Sept. 25, ’88: ‘Lately I sent you a sonnet on the Heraclitean Fire, in which a great deal of early Greek philosophical thought was distilled; but the liquor of the distillation did not taste very greek, did it? The effect of studying masterpieces is to make me admire and do otherwise. So it must be on every original artist to some degree, on me to a marked degree. Perhaps then more reading would only refine my singularity, which is not what you want.’ Note, that the sonnet has three codas, not two.

  49. Alfonsus. Text from autograph with title and ‘upon the first falling of his feast after his canonisation’ in B. An autograph in A, sent Oct. 3 from Dublin asking for immediate criticism, because the sonnet had to go to Majorca. ‘I ask your opinion of a sonnet written to order on the occasion of the first feast since his canonisation proper of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, a laybrother of our Order, who for 40 years acted as hall porter to the College of Palma in Majorca; he was, it is believed, much favoured by God with heavenly light and much persecuted by evil spirits. The sonnet (I say it snorting) aims at being intelligible.’ And on Oct. 9, ’88, ‘I am obliged for your criticisms, “contents of which noted”, indeed acted on. I have improved the sestet.... (He defends ‘hew’) ... at any rate whatever is markedly featured in stone or what is like stone is most naturally said to be hewn, and to shape, itself, means in old English to hew and the Hebrew bara to create, even, properly means to hew. But life and living things are not naturally said to be hewn: they grow, and their growth is by trickling increment.... The (first) line now stands “Glory is a flame off exploit, so we say”.’

  50. Justus es, &c. Jer. xii. I (for title), March 17, ’89.’ Autograph in A.—Similar autograph in B, which reads line 9, Sir, life on thy great cause. Text from A, which seems the later, being written in the peculiar faint ink of the corrections in B, and embodying them.—Early drafts in H.

  51. To R. B. April 22, ’89.’ Autograph in A. This, the last poem sent to me, came on April 29.—No other copy, but the working drafts in H.—In line 6 the word moulds was substituted by me for combs of original, when the sonnet was published by Miles; and I leave it, having no doubt that G. M. H. would have made some such alteration.

  52. Summa.’ This poem had, I believe, the ambitious design which its title suggests. What was done of it was destroyed, with other things, when he joined the Jesuits. My copy is a contemporary autograph of 16 lines, written when he was still an undergraduate; I give the first four. A.

  53. What being. Two scraps in H. I take the apparently later one, and have inserted the comma in line 3.

  54. On the Portrait, &c. Monastereven, Co. Kildare, Christmas, ’86.’ Autograph with full title, no corrections, in A. Early drafts in H.

  55. The sea took pity. Undated pencil scrap in H.

  56. Ashboughs (my title). In H in two versions; first as a curtal sonnet (like 13 and 22) on same sheet with the four sonnets 44–47, and preceding them: second, an apparently later version in the same metre on a page by itself; with expanded variation from seventh line, making thirteen lines for eleven. I print the whole of this second MS., and have put brackets to show what I think would make the best version of the poem: for if the bracketed words were omitted the original curtal sonnet form would be preserved and carry the good corrections.—The uncomfortable eye in the added portion was perhaps to be worked as a vocative referring to first line (?).

  57. Hope holds. In H, a torn undated scrap which carries a vivid splotch of local colour.—line 4, a variant has A growing burnish brighter than.

  58. St. Winefred. G. M. H. began a tragedy on St. Winefred Oct. ’79, for which he subsequently wrote the chorus, No. 36, above. He was at it again in 1881, and had mentioned the play in his letters, and when, some years later, I determined to write my Feast of Bacchus in six-stressed verse, I sent him a sample of it, and asked him to let me see what he had made of the measure. The MS. which he sent me, April 1, 1885, was copied, and that copy is the text in this book, from A, the original not being discoverable. It may therefore contain copyist’s errors. Twenty years later, when I was writing my Demeter for the lady-students at Somerville College, I remembered the first line of Caradoc’s soliloquy, and made some use of it. On the other hand the broken line I have read her eyes in my 1st part of Nero is proved by date to be a coincidence, and not a reminiscence.—Caradoc was to ‘die impenitent, struck by the finger of God’.

  59. What shall I do. Sent me in a letter with his own melody and a note on the poem. ‘This is not final of course. Perhaps the name of England is too exclusive.’ Date Clongower, Aug. 1885. A.

  60. The times are nightfall. Revised and corrected draft in H. The first two lines are corrected from the original opening in old syllabic verse:

    The times are nightfall and the light grows less;
    The times are winter and a world undone;

  61. Cheery Beggar.’ Undated draft with much correction, in H. Text is the outcome.

    62 and 63. These are my interpretation of the intention of some unfinished disordered verses on a sheet of paper in H. In 63, line 1, furl is I think unmistakable: an apparently rejected earlier version had Soft childhood’s carmine dew-drift down.

  1. The Woodlark.’ Draft on one sheet of small notepaper in H. Fragments in some disorder: the arrangement of them in the text satisfies me. The word sheath is printed for sheaf of MS., and sheaf recurs in corrections. Dating of July 5, ’76.

  2. Moonrise. June 19, 1876.’ H. Note at foot shows intention to rewrite with one stress more in the second half of each line, and the first is thus rewritten ‘in the white of the dusk, in the walk of the morning’.

  3. Cuckoo. From a scrap in H without date or title.

  4. It being impossible to satisfy myself I give this MS. in facsimile as an example, a and b.

  5. The child is father. From a newspaper cutting with another very poor comic triolet sent me by G. M. H. They are signed BRAN. His comic attempts were not generally so successful as this is.

  6. The shepherd’s brow. In H. Various consecutive full drafts on the same sheet as 51, and date April 3, ’89. The text is what seems to be the latest draft: it has no corrections. Thus its date is between 50 and 51. It might be argued that this sonnet has the same right to be recognised as a finished poem with the sonnets 44–47, but those had several years recognition whereas this must have been thrown off one day in a cynical mood, which he could not have wished permanently to intrude among his last serious poems.

  7. To his Watch.’ H. On a sheet by itself; apparently a fair copy with corrections embodied in this text, except that the original 8th line, which is not deleted, is preferred to the alternative suggestion, Is sweetest comfort’s carol or worst woe’s smart.

  8. Strike, churl. H, on same page with a draft of part of No. 45.—l. 4, Have at is a correction for aim at.—This scrap is some evidence for the earlier dating of the four sonnets.

  9. Epithalamion.’ Four sides of pencilled rough sketches, and five sides of quarto first draft, on ‘Royal University of Ireland’ candidates paper, as if G. M. H. had written it while supervising an examination. Fragments in disorder with erasures and corrections; undated. H.—The text, which omits only two disconnected lines, is my arrangement of the fragments, and embodies the latest corrections. It was to have been an Ode on the occasion of his brother’s marriage, which fixes the date as 1888. It is mentioned in a letter of May 25, whence the title comes.—I have printed dene for dean (in two places). In l. 9 of poem cover = covert, which should be in text, as G. M. H. never spelt phonetically.—l. 11, of may be at, MS. uncertain.— l. 38, shoots is, I think, a noun.

  10. Thee, God, I come from. Unfinished draft in H. Undated, probably ’85, on same sheet with first draft of No. 38.—l. 2, day long. MS. as two words with accent on day.—l. 17, above the words before me the words left with me are written as alternative, but text is not deleted. All the rest of this hymn is without question. In l. 19, Yea is right. After the verses printed in text there is some versified credo intended to form part of the complete poem; thus:

    Jesus Christ sacrificed
    On the cross....
    Moulded, he, in maiden’s womb,
    Lived and died and from the tomb
    Rose in power and is our
    Judge that comes to deal our doom.

  11. To him who. Text is an underlined version among working drafts in H.—line 6, freed = got rid of, banished. This sense of the word is obsolete; it occurs twice in Shakespeare, cp. Cymb. III. vi. 79, ‘He wrings at some distress ... would I could free ’t!’.

Finis


CONTENTS      BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD


 
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