Gerard Manley Hopkins

(28 July 1844 – 8 June 1889 / Stratford, Essex)

Brothers


How lovely the elder brother’s
Life all laced in the other’s,
Lóve-laced!—what once I well
Witnessed; so fortune fell.
When Shrovetide, two years gone,
Our boys’ plays brought on
Part was picked for John,
Young Jóhn: then fear, then joy
Ran revel in the elder boy.
Their night was come now; all
Our company thronged the hall;
Henry, by the wall,
Beckoned me beside him:
I came where called, and eyed him
By meanwhiles; making my play
Turn most on tender byplay.
For, wrung all on love’s rack,
My lad, and lost in Jack,
Smiled, blushed, and bit his lip;
Or drove, with a diver’s dip,
Clutched hands down through clasped knees—
Truth’s tokens tricks like these,
Old telltales, with what stress
He hung on the imp’s success.
Now the other was bráss-bóld:
Hé had no work to hold
His heart up at the strain;
Nay, roguish ran the vein.
Two tedious acts were past;
Jack’s call and cue at last;
When Henry, heart-forsook,
Dropped eyes and dared not look.
Eh, how áll rúng!
Young dog, he did give tongue!
But Harry—in his hands he has flung
His tear-tricked cheeks of flame
For fond love and for shame.
Ah Nature, framed in fault,
There ’s comfort then, there ’s salt;
Nature, bad, base, and blind,
Dearly thou canst be kind;
There dearly thén, deárly,
I’ll cry thou canst be kind.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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