Attitude and Appreciation of the Natural World in Gerard Manley Hopkins and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Poetry

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Attitude and Appreciation of the Natural World in Gerard Manley Hopkins and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Poetry

The simple beauty of nature is an aspect many of us take for granted

in our everyday lives - the endearing sounds of birds welcoming

another day and the powerful gush of a waterfall being some examples

of these. But there are those individuals who have endeavoured to

fully comprehend the marvellous complexity of the world around us.

Such findings are present in the work of many poets - namely Gerard

Manley Hopkins (1844 - 1889)and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1808 -

1882). Hopkins and Longfellow were two contemporary poets from the

nineteenth century from different cultures, English and American

respectively who relished in the gift of nature with all her

attributes. Both of their work is characterised by a deep and personal

sense of appreciation of the beauty of the natural world - work that

when studied makes us truly delight in the wonder that is nature.

The two poems that I feel effectively communicate Hopkins' and

Longfellows' ideas are respectively "Pied Beauty" and "Snowflakes".

Although they are similar in their content concerning their love for

the natural world, the poems do differ in the way in which each poet

relates his ideas.

Hopkins' poem "Pied Beauty" is one of the most famous, characteristic

and linguistically accessible pieces combining the elements of nature

and religion. In it the poet praises the creator for the infinite

range and scope within creation. His appreciation of the natural world

ranges in scale from a rainbow trout to an entire landscape. Even from

its title alone we know that this curtal ...

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...iate the complexity in the

simplicity of snowflakes. But overall I prefer the work of Hopkins.

His exploitation of the verbal subtleties and music of English, of the

use of alliteration, repetition and a highly compressed syntax were

all in the interest of projecting deep personal experiences, including

his sense of God's mystery, grandeur and mercy in "all things

counter". He called the energising prosodic element of his verse

'sprung rhythm' in which each foot may consist of one stressed

syllable instead of the regular number of syllables used in

traditional rhythm. The result is a muscular verse, intense and

vibrant that combines accuracy of observation, daring imagination,

deep feeling and intellectual depth. All in all a wonderful piece that

for me as of yet shall remain one of the most touching I have read.
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