Pied Beauty

Pied Beauty

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

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:
Praise him.

Summary of the Poem Pied Beauty

  • Popularity of “Pied Beauty”: Pied Beauty is a famous lyrical poem written by Gerard Hopkins, one of the best Victorian poets. The poem celebrates the unique beauty created by God. It was written in 1877 and first published in 1918 in Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins. The poem acknowledges God’s remarkable creation in this universe and also exemplifies the diversity of things in the universe created by God. The popularity of the poem lies in the fact that it glorifies the infinite power of God for a variety of things diverse yet beautiful.
  • “Pied Beauty” As a Praise to God: As this poem is about the celebration of various things created by God, the speaker praises God for creating spotted and dappled things. He comments on the changeable nature of the world and argues that everything in the universe is destined to alter except God’s beauty.  As an act of prayers, he thanks God and provides a list of things He has created for mankind. He catalogs God’s variety in the creation and symbolically encapsulates the existences of all species on earth. Talking about seas, plants animals, tools and the landscape that humans have altered, he is of the view that God is the father of all these creations. Therefore, he is worthy of all praise.
  • Major Themes in “Pied Beauty”:  Briefness of nature and eternity of God are the major themes of the poem. The writer has incorporated these ideas with classical diction and literary elements. He begins his poem by praising God for creating colorful and multiple things in nature and then provides a list. His discussion about nature and God’s creation reflects that every entity present in the universe is beautiful in its own way. Therefore, he praises God and invites readers to praise him.

Analysis of Literary Devices in “Pied Beauty”

Literary devices are tools used to create meanings in poems. The writers can make their texts distinguished from others with the help of these devices. It is through these devices the writer’s few words can mesmerize the readers. Hopkins, too, has used some literary devices in this poem to project his ideas about God’s creation. The analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem has been given below.

  • Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as /s/ and /d/ sounds in “With swift, slow; sweet, sour; dazzle, dim”.
  • Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between the objects different in nature. The poet has used a metaphor in the third line, “For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim.” Here he compares the spots on a speckled trout to moles.
  • Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as /d/ and /l/ sounds in “Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough.”
  • Rhetorical Question: Rhetorical question is a question that is asked without expecting an answer and to make a point clear. Hopkins has posed a rhetorical question in the second stanza to emphasize his point.
  • Anaphora: It refers to the repetition of a word or expression in the poem. Hopkins has repeated the words “for” in the second and the third lines to emphasize his point.
  • Simile: Simile is a device used to compare something with something else to make the meanings clear to the readers. There is only one simile used in this poem. It is used in the second line where it is stated as, “For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow”, he compares skies to the cow’s skin pattern.
  • Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers feel things with their five senses. Hopkins has used images appealing to the sense of sight such as, “For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow”, “Landscape plotted and pieced” and “Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings”.
  • Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line such as the sound of /o/ in “Glory be to God for dappled things”.

The literary devices used in this poem successfully describes Hopkin’s deep religious beliefs and gratitude towards God’s creation.

Analysis of Poetic Devices in “Pied Beauty”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  • Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There are only two stanzas in this poem.
  • Sonnet: “Pied Beauty” is a unique sonnet consisting of a sestet and quintain, the last line of which is shortened.
  • Sestet: Sestet is the part of the sonnet that is made up of six lines. Here, the first stanza is the sestet.
  • Quintain: A quintain is five-line stanza. Here the second stanza is quintain.
  • Rhyme Scheme: The rhyme scheme is as follows, in Lines 1-6 it is ABCABC and Lines 7-11: DBDCC.
  • Sprung Rhythm: It is a meter in which each foot having one stressed syllable followed by a varying number of unstressed ones. The poem follows sprung rhythm such as, “Fresh fire-coal chest-nut-falls; finches’ ”

Quotes to be Used

The lines quoted below can be used when appreciating the beautiful nature. These lines are also suitable for religious lectures or speeches to glorify God.

“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.”