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Gerard Manley Hopkins

             To what extent do you agree with Robert Bridges view that his poetry is "some of the most musical ever written".
             Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of the greatest 19th-century poets of religion, of nature, and of inner anguish. In his view of nature, the world is like a book written by God. In this book God expresses himself completely, and it is by reading the world that humans can approach God and learn about Him. Many of his poems are about man's destruction of sacred natural and religious order. The poet had an acute interest in the scientific and technological advances of his day.
             Upon reading any of his poetry, it is quite simple to testify that the vocabulary which Hopkins uses contains a quite eccentric musical quality. A book of his selected works enabled me to realise so, his style is referred to as "lyrical" and this I agree with. His choice of words may not make a great deal of sense, however, they still manage to paint a picture for us. For example in "Carrion Comfort" one of his "Sonnets of Desolation" whereby his music is less exuberant and more intense than in previous poems, he creates a sequence of repeated negatives that help reinforce a feeling of struggle, of a grim determination to hang on to his life - " Not, I"ll not carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee- These dark, gruesome images are not apparent in some of his earlier works, where he often accentuates moments of happiness. - " all is a prize- taken from "The Starlight Night".
             One of Hopkins's most famous (and most debated) theories centres on the concept of "inscape." He coined this word to refer to the essential individuality of a thing, but with a focus not on its particularity or uniqueness, but rather on the design that gives a thing its distinctive characteristics and relates it to its context, very much as a melody links to a song. .
             Hopkins wrote most frequently in the sonnet form. While he enjoyed the structure the sonnet form imposes, with its fixed length and rhyme scheme, he nevertheless constantly stretched and tested its limitations as if he were an experimental composer, who might rearrange chord progressions and add or remove harmony in order for it to sound vivid and interesting.

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