Gerard Manley Hopkins

July 28, 1844 – June 08, 1889

“And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.”

God’s Grandeur – Gerard Manley Hopkins

Gerard Manley Hopkins was temporally a Victorian poet, but due to his innovative use of language, alliteration, meter and rhyme, he is widely considered one of the first modernist poets. His use of “sprung rhythm” – a term he coined to shake off the restrictive nature of the conventional meters in English poetry at the time – varied the accent syllables in his verses and allowed him to construct and rhyme freely. His work was a precursor to the free verse movements of the 20th century. A Jesuit priest who grew up in an incredibly artistic family, Hopkins’ work regularly focused on religion and nature…often at the same time.

Hopkins wrote throughout most of his life in England, but due to his chosen path as a monastic, he was conflicted on whether to accept praise or adulation for his work. When he first converted to Catholicism, he burned all of his early poems. Only copies which he had previously sent to friends survived. Later on, a key rejection from a publication of his (some would argue, masterpiece) The Wreck of the Deutschland led him to abandon the desire to publish for good. He wrote in anonymity – and increasing melancholy – for the remainder of his life. It wasn’t until after his untimely death of typhoid fever that his friend, poet-laureate Robert Bridges, began circulating Hopkins’ poems. This eventually resulted in publication many years later. The critical reception of his works has extolled him as one of the most influential and ground-breaking poets of his time.

But, time doesn’t work backwards. So it goes that one of the most well-regarded poets of the 19th century spent the last years of his short life in relative obscurity and desolation teaching (a profession he didn’t care for) in Ireland (a country he didn’t care for) only to die and be buried there in a mass plot…several decades before he would become THE Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Burial

Glasnevin Cemetery – Dublin, IRELAND

Specific Location

Jesuit Plot; To the left (west) of the main entrance, past the Parnell monument, Hopkins is buried with his brothers in the enclosed area surrounded by a low iron fence. His name is inscribed on the base of the central cross monument.

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