Not highly acclaimed, Gerard’s poetry, earned no praise sadly until after his death “All things counter, original, spare, strange, whatever is fickle, freckled… ” (Gardner, W. H. PG 34) This exact phrase dictates exactly how people criticized Gerard’s poems. But to their surprise, he used their own words and placed them in one of his now highly acclaimed poems “Pied Beauty. ” This displays the perfect example of how Gerard lived his life. Not a major risk taker, but true to himself and his faith. Gerard Manley Hopkins was born July 28, 1844 to Manley and Catherine Smith.
He was the first of nine children, and born into a very artistic family. He parents were strict High Anglicans, but did not force religion upon Gerard. He first attended High Gate Grammar School from 1854-1863 (Gardner, W. H. PG 56). He showed signs of a poet early on. At High Gate he won a prize for one of his first poems “The Escorial. ” (Gardner, W. H. PG 57) This also provided him with a scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford. Which he attended from 1863-1867. He took to heart the teachings of his tutors Walter Peter and Benjamin Jowett. At this college, he also met the man responsible for the publishing of his poems, Robert Bridges.
Gerard took on a soul searching project, looking for a religion that provided him true authority. During his attendance at Oxford, he met John Henry Newman, who provided him with the example he was seeking. He was received into the church and immediately wanted to climb the scale. In 1867 he won the first class degree, and happened to be considered the Star of Balliol. (www. scholars. nus. edu. sg/landow/victorian/authors/hopkins) The next year Gerard entered the society of Jesuits. The conflict soon arose, that he would no longer be able to write his poetry. For the Jesuits found it to be selfish to indulge in ones own admirations.
As tragic as it is, Gerard burned all of his early poems for his religion. Gerard no longer felt whole with out his poems, and sought an answer from God. Soon, he came under the influence of Duns Scotus, who wrote in his texts “individual and particular objects in this world were the only things that man could directly know. ” (Gardner, W. H. PG 101) After reading these studies, Hopkins developed one of his own theories. He believed that what a man did in his own time to relieve stress, or just to feel better, was inscape, being aloud to find your own piece of mind with in your self.
(www. scholars. nus. edu. sg/landow/victorian/authors/hopkins). After returning to his roots of poetry, Gerard spent some time studying in Northern Wales. There he learned Welsh. He strongly admired the rhythms of Welsh poetry and developed his own way of writing poetry. He called it “Sprung Rhythm. ” Sprung Rhythm emphasized that natural flow of ones voice. Gerard used this technique in all of his poetry. One of his first poems displaying this technique was called “The sinking of Deutschland. ” The poems stanzas were detailed with three nuns who were exiled from Germany.
It outrages inquiries were to mature for the Victorian people and was not published. (Gardner, W. H. PG 15) Climbing the scale in the faith of the Jesuits, Hopkins became priest. Teaching then at Stoneyhurst College, He found the work stimulating, but stressful. His next goal marker led him to teach at the University of Dublin. Here he taught Latin and Greek, which was a praised position. It seems as though this successful time in his life would have produced good poetry. But instead he fell into a depression. He produced terrible sonnets especially during the time when he had to grade the failing student exams.
(www. scholars. nus. edu. sg/landow/victorian/authors/hopkins) Hopkins soon lost his strong faith and believed god no longer heard his prayers. Gerard Manley Hopkins died some time later form Typhoid fever on June 8, 1889. Gerard led a successful life, and learned to appreciate and love God in his lifetime. Which is more than most can accomplish. This may be the reason almost all of his poems reflect his religious side. Influences found in his hundreds of poems reflect, the Welsh community, his father’s attempt at writing, his brothers careers as painter poets, and the people he met during his education.
First of all, Gerard comes from a very artistic family. His father had tried his hand at the life of a poet. But fell short when the response to his book of poems was not as sought after as he had wished. Now, although this happened before Gerard was born, he and his brothers still had the arts in his jeans. Two of Gerard’s brothers had become painter poets. At first Gerard wanted to follow in his younger brothers footsteps and become a painter poet too. Just like on of his idols D. G. Rosseti. But what really pulled Hopkins were poems by his elders like George Herbert, and Christina Rosseti.