Eras & Modes in English Poetry

By Josephine Miles | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TEN
HOPKINS: THE SWEET AND LOVELY LANGUAGE

TWO POETS who very differently exemplify this classical middle distance are Gerard Manley Hopkins and William Butler Yeats. Both praise Dryden as a master; both like that achievement of balance between the forces of colloquialism and the forces of ceremony. Yet Hopkins seems consciously to work with sound and structure, easily to assume the richness of the classical and even the sublime traditions; while Yeats assumes sound easily, and consciously struggles with the forces of abstraction. In the following description of Hopkins I stress his difference from Donne, the Pre-Raphaelites, and Browning, and his likeness to the sublime mode, as well as the balanced, because his vocabulary of intense feeling pulls always, away from predication, in the sublime direction.

Gerard Manley Hopkins was a champion and great master of epithet. He expected poetry, including his poetry, to catch and convey vividly

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