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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

As you have probably already gathered, Hopkins really, really liked making up words. He was also fond of taking traditional poetic forms, like the Petrarchan sonnet (which had been around for centu...

Speaker

The speaker of this poem never comes right out and introduces himself, so we have to dig a bit to figure out what makes him tick. We know that he's a morning person—he's apparently the only other...

Setting

"The Windhover" takes place outdoors in the early morning. The speaker, we have to assume, is on the ground, but his attention is entirely focused on the air above him: a windhover (a kind of falco...

Sound Check

The repeated M sounds in the first line of the poem ("I caught this morning morning's minion…") make a kind of humming noise that gets us thinking of the hum of the wind under the windhover's win...

What's Up With the Title?

"The Windhover" is about a bird that can—you guessed it—hover on the wind. In fact, windhover is just a common name for a kind of falcon called the kestrel, but it gets called windhover because...

Calling Card

Hopkins used his poems to demonstrate his own philosophy about the world. He believed that everything in the universe had unique individual characteristics that set every object or person apart fro...

Tough-o-Meter

This is a short poem, but it's a steep climb: Hopkins uses unfamiliar words, mixes up sentence structure, and uses familiar words in totally unexpected and unfamiliar ways. He even makes up words e...

Trivia

Because Hopkins's poems weren't published until 1918, he is often associated more with the modern poets (like Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, etc.) instead of with his fellow Victorians. Though he died you...

Steaminess Rating

This is a poem about a bird in flight. 'Nuff said.

Allusions

Line 2: "Dauphin" is the French word for the crown prince, or the person who is next in line to be king.Line 11: "chevalier" is the French word for a knight. Line 12: "Sillion" is a made-up wo...
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