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Spring and Fall

Spring and Fall


by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Lines 1-2 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 1-2

Margaret, are you grieving 
Over Goldengrove unleaving?

  • The speaker asks the "young child," whose name must be Margaret, if she is feeling sad about the leaves falling off of the trees in a forest he calls "Goldengrove." "Goldengrove" has a very magical, fairyland kind of sound to it. And the repeated "g" sound in the name also makes some pretty sweet alliteration
  • The first two lines rhyme ("grieving" and "unleaving"), giving the lines a kind of sing-song sound. This seems appropriate, given that it's addressed "to a young child." (For more on rhyme, check out "Form and Meter.") 
  • Hmm. "Unleaving" is kind of a weird word—it's a word that Hopkins made up to describe the leaves falling off of trees, kind of like "undressing," but for trees. It sounds like the kind of made-up word a young child might use. Again, that seems appropriate, given that Margaret is a little kid.

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