“God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Background: Hopkins (1844-89) was an English poet who was educated at Oxford where he converted to Roman Catholicism (1866) and eventually was ordained a Jesuit priest (1877). Hopkins was beset by a profound tension between his religious vocation and his attraction to the world of the senses — a tension that found some release through his introduction to the theology of Scotus which he found a refreshing alternative to the dominant scholasticism of the period. His poetry was an attempt to capture the uniqueness — or inscape as he put it — of natural objects by the use of internal rhyme, alliteration, and compound metaphor. His use of “sprung rhythm” approximated the abrupt stress of natural speech and contravened the running rhythm of poetic conventions of his day. His poetry was not published during his lifetime; it was circulated among friends and not until Robert Bridges brought out an edition in 1918 was any published.
To what is Hopkins referring in lines 1-3? What sort of contrast does he set in lines 5-8? What does he tell about nature in lines 9-12? How does he explain this quality in nature? Note the significance of the metaphor in lines 13-14.
Does this selection have any relationship to the overall theme of this section? How might it relate (if it does) to Bonaventure? What does it contribute to an understanding of the intellectual journey?