Study Guide

Binsey Poplars Poem Text

By Gerard Manley Hopkins

Binsey Poplars: Text of the Poem

felled 1879
 
My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,
Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,
All felled, felled, are all felled;
  Of a fresh and following folded rank
  Not spared, not one
  That dandled a sandalled
  Shadow that swam or sank
On meadow and river and wind-wandering weed-winding bank.

O if we but knew what we do
  When we delve or hew—
  Hack and rack the growing green!
  Since country is so tender
  To touch, her being só slender,
  That, like this sleek and seeing ball
  But a prick will make no eye at all,
  Where we, even where we mean
  To mend her we end her,
  When we hew or delve:
After-comers cannot guess the beauty been.
  Ten or twelve, only ten or twelve
  Strokes of havoc únselve
  The sweet especial scene,
  Rural scene, a rural scene,
  Sweet especial rural scene.