This is a song cycle that was originally written for my friend Carrie Kirby. It was an absolute delight to finally have an opportunity to perform it with her. There is almost no poet so far ahead of his time in terms of modern sensibility and rhythm as Hopkins. I selected three poems for this cycle. The first is a description of a waterfall in Scotland. In the second, Hopkins finds profound analogies for life while watching a young girl cry about leaves falling from trees. The final poem is Hopkins' expansion of a verse from the prophet Jeremiah. It's wonderful complaining about why everything goes so easily for stupid, immoral people.
3 poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins I. Inversnaid
T HIS darksome burn, horseback brown, His rollrock highroad roaring down, In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam Flutes and low to the lake falls home. A windpuff-bonnet of fáwn-fróth 5 Turns and twindles over the broth Of a pool so pitchblack, féll-frówning, It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning. Degged with dew, dappled with dew Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through, 10 Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern, And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn. What would the world be, once bereft Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left, O let them be left, wildness and wet; 15 Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet. II. Spring and Fall: to a young child
M ÁRGARÉT, áre you gríeving Over Goldengrove unleaving? Leáves, líke the things of man, you With your fresh thoughts care for, can you? Áh! ás the heart grows older 5 It will come to such sights colder By and by, nor spare a sigh Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie; And yet you wíll weep and know why. Now no matter, child, the name: 10 Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same. Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed What heart heard of, ghost guessed: It ís the blight man was born for, It is Margaret you mourn for. III. Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend
Justus quidem tu es, Domine, si disputem tecum: verumtamen justa loquar ad te: Quare via impiorum prosperatur? &c.
T HOU art indeed just, Lord, if I contend With thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just. Why do sinners’ ways prosper? and why must Disappointment all I endeavour end? Wert thou my enemy, O thou my friend, 5 How wouldst thou worse, I wonder, than thou dost Defeat, thwart me? Oh, the sots and thralls of lust Do in spare hours more thrive than I that spend, Sir, life upon thy cause. See, banks and brakes Now leavèd how thick! lacèd they are again 10 With fretty chervil, look, and fresh wind shakes Them; birds build—but not I build; no, but strain, Time’s eunuch, and not breed one work that wakes. Mine, O thou lord of life, send my roots rain.
carrie kirby, Gerard Manley Hopkins, inversnaid, kurt knecht, spring and fall: to a young child, thou art indeed just lord