Saturday, July 28, 2012

O my chevalier!

Poet and Jesuit priest Gerard Manley Hopkins was born on July 28, 1844 in Stratford, Essex (now part of Greater London). He converted to Roman Catholicism in 1866 and was ordained priest in 1877. He died of typhoid fever in 1889.

 A brilliant man...and so tormented both by his attraction to men and by his love for poetry.  I would have liked to have been his friend.

The Windhover

To Christ our Lord

I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: sheer plod makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

written 1877, published 1918

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