Summer 1944 • Vol. VI No. 3 Gerard Manley Hopkins |

Sprung Rhythm

A poet's theories are not always the best guide to his poetry. Wordsworth should not be judged solely from the "Preface” to the Lyrical Ballads, nor Sidney Lanier from his Science of English Verse. Many an admirer of Mr. Eliot, the poet, has been more discouraged than aided by the revelations of Mr. Eliot, the critic. Not so with Gerard Manley Hopkins. His is the almost unique case of a poet who preached what he practised and practised what he preached. As the voluminous comments in his Letters show, his verse conforms to a thesis—a metrical thesis. Understand the thesis, and you grasp his poetic purpose; grasp his purpose, and you have the key to his poems. This metrical thesis is no simple question of stressed and unstressed syllables. Far more than modern criticism recognizes, it is a cortical strand in the personal tragedy of Hopkins, the man. At the heart of that tragedy, as his letters show, lies artistic loneliness—loneliness no measure of good will could ever dissip

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The Elusive Word

By Harold Whitehall

A poet's theories are not always the best guide to his poetry. Wordsworth should not be judged solely from the "Preface” to the Lyrical Ballads, nor Sidney Lanier from his […]

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