Pied Beauty
Pied Beauty
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Pied Beauty Theme of Awe and Amazement

The speaker admits that he has no idea how the world came to be filled with "dappled things." He can offer no explanation but can only describe and admire. Some religious thinkers would say that nature must be beautiful because it was created by God. Hopkins says that God is praise-worthy because He created such a mysterious and beautiful world. Maybe there's not a huge distinction between the two views, except one of attitude. Hopkins seems to have an appreciation of natural diversity for its own sake, in all things great and small, and regardless of their relation to human ends.

Questions About Awe and Amazement

  1. How does the speaker's awe manifest itself in Hopkins's "sprung rhythm"?
  2. The poem uses "dappled" as an umbrella for a lot of different things. In one sentence, what do all these things have in common?
  3. Can you think of any "dappled things" that maybe aren't so great or beautiful? Does Hopkins purposefully ignore these not-so-great things?
  4. Does the speaker talk more like a priest or a scientist, or maybe both?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The poem is an expression of naïve and childish innocence that could not possibly be sustained.

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Previous Page: Man and the Natural World

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