Pied Beauty
Pied Beauty
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
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Dappled Things

Symbol Analysis

The first line tells us that "dappled things" are the most amazing things in the world. The rest of the poem is devoted mostly to explaining what the speaker means by "dappled things." The beauty of the poem's descriptions is supposed to convey their awesomeness, even if we can't look at a "couple-coloured" sky at the moment we are reading. The examples begin with objects that consist of two colors, but at the end of the first stanza, "dappled" becomes a metaphor for the mixture of different kinds of things.

  • Line 2: The two-colored skies are compared using simile to a "brinded cow."
  • Line 3: The speaker paints a vivid image of the reddish dots on the sides of swimming trout.
  • Line 4: The first half of the line includes an implicit metaphor comparing fallen chestnuts to coals in a fire.
  • Line 5: This line contains imagery related to farming, including the "plotted" land, the sheep-fold, a "fallow" field, and a plough.
  • Line 6: All the trades of humankind are "dappled" only metaphorically. "Dappled" is a word to describe a visual appearance, and jobs don't have a particular appearance. But they are varied and diverse, just like a "dappled thing."
  • Lines 8-9: The speaker uses another implicit metaphor, comparing three sets of contrasts, "swift, slow," "sweet, sour," and "adazzle, dim," to freckles.