Gerard Manley Hopkins

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

To A Young Child

Poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Comments about To A Young Child by Gerard Manley Hopkins

  • Maureen Ledibane (11/24/2009 5:26:00 AM)

    Hopkins has used repetition of the frontal vowel sound [i] that suggests smallness as in words like mini, nickel, giggle, jiffy, little, teensy weensy, etc in the first three lines, to show the reader that, Margaret, a small child, has a very small mind, that is why she is crying over the falling leaves of the Fall /Autumn season.
    The author also uses Confusion which is in conjunction with repetition. It refers to a strange combination of compound words so as to establish a relationship that would not otherwise exist under normal conditions. The idea of 'wanwood' may be confusing to the reader. However it is used in this context to bring out and intensify the amount of sadness that is in Margaret as well as in the branches from which the leaves are falling.(Report)Reply

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  • Karee Miller (2/1/2008 12:55:00 PM)

    This is a lovely poem. It is chiefly characteristic of the Victorian Era as it was meant to teach a moral lesson to children. In this poem, the persona is observing a young girl (Margaret) weeping over the dying leaves of fall. He then proceeds to tell her that she has misplaced her grief. He suggests that life has many graver challenges to face...losses far greater than those which she has experienced in her short life. Hopkins implies that Margaret is projecting her inner fear of death onto the turning leaves. This is evident in the concluding statement, 'It is Margaret you mourn for! '(Report)Reply

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Read poems about / on: sorrow, child, heart, spring, children

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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