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‘Pied Beauty’ is a poem written by Gerard Manley Hopkins. It is a poem that is written in praise of God.
About the Poet:
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) was an eminent English poet. He was also a Jesuit priest. Famous works of his include ‘God’s Grandeur’, ‘The Wreck of Deutschland’, and ‘The Windhover’.
Glory be to God for dappled things – For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings; Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough; And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
The poem begins with the persona praising God for the creation of “dappled things.” Here, the word ‘dappled’ refers to things that are multicoloured– the same as the meaning of the word ‘pied’ from the title of the poem.
The next few lines give instances of various “dappled things”. Firstly, the persona compares the sky to being coloured like a ‘brindled cow’- a cow whose colour is streaked with a darker colour.
Then, the persona talks about the rose and black mottled colours on a trout that swims and how, upon falling to the ground, a chestnut cracks open to reveal a fiery red nut within as opposed to the bland colouring of its outer shell. Next, the persona evokes the imagery of a finch’s wings which are also multicoloured.
In the last two lines of this stanza, the persona talks about man-made dappled things as well. They refer to the variations in the colours of the land Man fragments– when it is folded, left fallowed or when ploughed. Again, the equipment used by Man to trade is also states to be similarly varied.
All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him.
The second and final stanza begins with the persona musing at the wonder that are the creations of God. They talk about how the things created by God are not one and the same– whether they are ‘counter’ or fake; ‘original’; ‘spare’; or considered weird or ‘strange’.
They go on to muse about how no one can know why some things are ‘fickle’ while some are ‘freckled’ or speckled like these ‘dappled things’.
Again, one has no way of gleaning the mystery behind the creations of God as to why some things are ‘swift’ or ‘slow’ or ‘sweet’ or ‘sour’ or ‘adazzle’ or ‘dim’.
They conclude the poem by stating that the beauty of God– who is the Father of these creations– is beyond change and is eternal. The poet’s persona once again praises God at the end of the poem as they did in the beginning.
This is a beautiful poem. The poet, through the persona, brings out the love and admiration they have for God and all of His creations.