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God’s Grandeur

God’s Grandeur | Heritage of Words

Writer : Gerard Manley Hopkins

An Analysis

God’s Grandeur : The first four line of the octave (first eight line stanza in Italian sonnet) describe natural world through which God’s presence runs like an electronic current, becoming momentarily visible in the flashes like the refracted glinting of lights produced by metal foil when rumpled or quickly moved. Alternatively, god’s presence is rich oil, a kind of sap that wells up “to a greatness” which tapped with a certain kind of patient pressure. Given there, clear, strong proof of God’s presence in the world, the poet asks how that human fail to heed (pay attention to; listen to or reck) His divine authority (his rod).

The second quatrain within the octave describes the state of contemporary human life – the blind repetitiveness of human labor, and the sordidness and train of “toil” and “trade”. The landscape in its natural state reflects God and its creator. But industry and the prioritization of the economic over the spiritual have transformed the landscape and robbed humans of their sensitivity to those few beauties of nature still left. The shoes people wear saver physical connection between our feet and the earth they walk on, symbolizing an ever-increasing spiritual alienation from nature.

The septet (the final six lines of the sonnet, enacting a turn or shift in argument) asserts that, in spite of the fallen of Hopkins’s contemporary Victorian world, nature does not cease offering up its spiritual indices (index). Permeating (fill) the world is a deep “freshness” that testifies to the continual renewing power of God’s creation.  This power of renewal is seen in the way morning always waits on the other side of dark night. The source of this constant regeneration is the grace of a God who “broods” over a seemingly lifeless world with the patient nurture of a mother hen. This final image one of the Gods’s guarding the potential of the world and contains with Himself the power and promise of rebirth. With the final exclamation “ah! Bright wings”, Hopkins suggests both an awed intuition (instinct; insight) of the beauty of God’s grace, and the joyful suddenness of a hatching bird emerging out of God loves incubation (hatching).

The world is full of God’s magnificence. The electrical images (charged, shining) convey danger as well as power of God. The poet constantly emphasizes that God’s glory is hidden except to the inquiring eye or on special occasions. In comparing the lightening to’ shaken gold foil, he may possibly have been influenced by the gold-leaf electroscope. The opening lines convey Hopkin’s sense of the power ·and glory of god latent in the world. The question describes what man has done to the world that should shine with God’s grandeur. Next comes the suggestion of ruin and dirtiness with the vowel run seared, bleared, smeared. The process is continued by smudge and smell, which pick up the initial consonant sound ’smear’ and, with new intensification, makes man’s smell indeed foul. One can also notice, in Line 7, the intensifying effect in the rhyme of wears and shares and the repetition of man’s with each: the earth is doubly infected (wears, shares) with man’s filth (dirtiness) as it were. The first four lines thus carry the imagery of the thunderstorm at first, the sense of brooding expectancy and then the burst of lighting. Here, Hopkins is concerned with why other people do not respond as he did, and the answer is suggested in the next four lines, beginning with “Generations have trod, have trod, have trod.” Generations of men, ignoring the miraculous quality of life, have lost touch with the grandeur of god and become callous (heartless) to it. Their efforts have all been away from what is most essential to them. Man has betrayed his inborn nature instead of developing it, and has given himself up to trade, industrialization and materialism. He has isolated himself from the sources of knowledge to be found in nature, allowing his greed to destroy his, natural sensitivity to beauty. The poets sweeping condemnation of 19th century industrialization comes very close to his condemnation of man himself.”Shares man’s smell” ­although it could possibly refer to smells in manufacturing, it suggests physical loathing (hateful). But even at this stage there is hope and faith.

“And for all this, nature is never spent their lives the dearest freshness deep down things”. Natural beauty is still a loving force to him, and a constant reassurance of God’s concern for the world. Explicitly, Hopkins contrasts here the beauty of nature with the ugliness of mankind’s deeds.

Thus, the poem is a protest against the materialism of the Victorian age. Although man is greedy and wasteful, he may still hope to be saved as long as God is there. This is an explicitly religious poem.

Questions/Answers Of  ‘GOD’S GRANDEUR’:

Question No. 1: What does the poet say in the first quatrain and in the second ? ( प्रथम र दोश्रो चार लाइनमा कवि के भन्छन् ? )
Answer: In the first four lines the poet praises the magnificence and glory of god. He says that this world is replete ( ओतप्रोत ) with God’s grandeur which bursts out in sudden flame or reveals itself as when the oil crushed from olive seeds slowly oozes out and gathers into a thick pool. He also wonders why men do not heed ( ध्यान दिनु ) God’s rule and orders. In the second quatrian, the poet gives the reason behind man’s ignorance, indifference and heedlessness ( बेध्यान ) at the full-flowing presence of God. He says that it is because human world is infected with materialistic thinking. As a result, life has become monotonous and a dry routine for them. Men have given themselves completely to profit earning activities and defaced ( बिगारेको ) the beauty of nature by their filth ( फोहोर ) and foul labour ( दुर्गन्ध ). They have grown numb ( संवेदनशील ) to the feel of the earth.

Question No. 2: Summarize the last six lines in a sentence. ( अन्तिम छ पंक्तिको एक वाक्यमा सारांश लेख्नुहोस्। )
Answer: In spite of all the havoc ( विनाश ) around, beauty and freshness flow eternally from the depths of nature because the Holy Ghost protects the world from generation to generation just as a dove protect it’s young ones with the warmth of its breast and wings.

Question No. 3: What is the central idea of the poem. ( कविताको केन्द्रिय विचार के हो ? )
Answer: The central idea of the poem is that the God is glorious. The glory and grandeur of God can be realized sooner and later. God is savior. Although people are carrying out their commercial activities ignoring the command of God and they have destroyed the nature, God will protect us and all the components of nature.

Style and Rhetotics:

Question No. 1: What is the effect of the repetition of the words ‘have trode’ ? ( ‘have trode’ भन्ने शब्दहरु दोहोरिंदा के प्रभाव परेको छ ? )
Answer: “Have trode’ literally means ‘have walked (the same path). The use intensifies the meaning that the generations have followed the same worn out path of worldly pursuits simply ignoring God’s presence and power in the world. The world capture the mechanical quality of human activities largely due to the heavy accents. The repetition emphasizes the fact that generations to generations men have been accustomed to the same monotonous path of materialism and lost touch with God and the loving force of natural beauty.

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