Gods Grandeur


As a Jesuit priest who had converted to Catholicism in the summer of 1866, Gerard Manley Hopkins’s mind was no doubt saturated with the Bible (Bergonzi 34). Although in "God’s Grandeur" Hopkins does not use any specific quotations from the Bible, he does employ images that evoke a variety of biblical verses and scenes, all of which lend meaning to his poem. Hopkins "creates a powerful form of typological allusion by abstracting the essence--the defining conceit, idea, or structure--from individual scriptural types" (Landow, "Typological" 1). Through its biblical imagery, the poem manages to conjure up, at various points, images of the Creation, the Fall, Christ’s Agony and Crucifixion, ...

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of the Creation, which began with a spark of light, are not far off: "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light" (Gen. 1.3). Yet this "charge" was not a one time occurrence; "[t]he world is charged with the grandeur of God" (Hopkins 1). Or, in the words of Wisdom 1:7, "The spirit of the Lord fills the world" (Boyle 25). This line of the poem also sounds like Wisdom 17:20: "For the whole world shone with brilliant light . . ." Nor does the similarity end with the first part of this biblical verse. The author of Wisdom proceeds to tell us that the light "continued its works without interruption; Over [the Egyptians] alone was spread oppressive night . . . yet they were to themselves more burdensome than the darkness" (Wisd. 17.20-21). Here lies the essence of Hopkins’s poem. In lines five through eight, he will show us the "oppressive night" that men bring upon themselves in their disregard for God and His creation. But he will also show us, in the final sestet of his ...

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foil, flashing out in multiplying rays, so too does the Light of God, which leads men, continue to increase. This image in one way ties into lines three and four of Hopkins’s poem, in which God’s grandeur "gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil / Crushed." Both images demonstrate a process of increase in God’s grandeur. Gethsemane "means the ‘place of the olive-press’" (Landow, "Typological" 6; Boyle 32). It was there that God’s grandeur "gather[ed] to a greatness," for it was there that Christ wrestled with doubt and fear and, gathering His strength, finally made an irrevocable choice to glorify His Father: "not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22.42).
The olive, in itself, is ...

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Added: 11/28/2004 01:31:37 AM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 3610
Pages: 14

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