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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

So, if ever a poet was interested in Form and Meter, it was our man Hopkins. Let's start with the easier part of the form: the rhyme scheme. It's actually pretty straightforward in this particular...

Speaker

The speaker of "Spring and Fall" might be addressing a "young child," but he sure doesn't baby-talk or condescend to this kid. He treats Margaret with gentleness and respect. He seems to understand...

Setting

"Spring and Fall" takes place during the fall in a forest that the speaker calls "Goldengrove." We can't imagine a more perfect setting for a poem that's all about the eventual cycle (and ending) o...

Sound Check

We're told right from the outset that the poem is addressed "to a young child," and the sound of the poem reflects this. The made-up words (neologisms) like "unleaving" (2) and "leafmeal" (8) sound...

What's Up With the Title?

Ah, Spring. It's that magical time of year when a "young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love" (that would be Tennyson's "Locksley Hall," line 20). Oh wait, wrong Victorian poet. This is a...

Calling Card

Hopkins is famous for making up words that (a) sound like what they mean, and (b) sound like they really ought to be real words. There are some great examples of this in "Spring and Fall." He makes...

Tough-o-Meter

This is one of the easier poems by Hopkins, but that's like saying it's an "easy" 5,000 foot mountain to scale. The topic of the poem is a bit more accessible than some of his more religious poems,...

Trivia

Keepin' it Welsh: Hopkins's ideas about "sprung rhythm" (the special meter he uses in much of his poetry) were inspired by Welsh poetry and the Welsh language. (Source.) When he became a priest, Ho...

Steaminess Rating

Sorry, Shmoopers. The dedication to this poem will probably have tipped you off: it's addressed "to a young child," so there's no sex happening here!
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