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  1. Its always reassurng to discover true literacy, especially among the young. I suspect that I would not be the first, nor even close, to say that the language and sentiments in these essays tend to be a bit stilted, but your overall erudition and perceptiveness far outweighs any of that. I’ve been an addict of Robert Graves, Auden, and Carl Sagan in re language and tone, and I believe that they would welcome your conversation. (Yes, even the latter) Keep pitchin’

  2. John Budan

    Thanks David. I will go out and enjoy my daffodils and perhaps this year attend the Amity Daffodil Festival.

  3. Greetings David,
    In 1964 a girlfriend gave me a copy of “A Shropshire Lad” I was captivated by the ease and beauty in which it flowed but the significant details were missed by me. Soon after I enlisted in the military. The book of poems laid silent for many years, 57 years, and I came upon the copy as I was digging around in a box of books. I was surprised when I realized I understood the poems form a soldier’s point-of-view, a brotherhood that binds men and women together. I am a Vietnam era soldier and this brotherhood crosses all men and women together across all nations. I know the feeling and the emotion kindred to the poems. Thank you for your review as it clarified points I originally missed historically, otherwise, I share those strong ties that bind.

  4. I read your comments as rain makes translucent islands of the remaining snow. Yes, the poem is one-sided, but so was the misreading of Darwin that made his work the justification of so much rapacity and gilded nonsense. Thank you for your ambient thoughts for the one-sided.

  5. Conrad

    As Katherine says “a very mean meaning” in your interpretation of Hopkin’s poem “Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend” imposing as you do the sensibilities of the modern world on a time and culture that really is very easy to understand. All understanding requires in this instance is an awareness of the history of England and some basic religious knowledge, and a little of Hopkins biography.

    God, and Hopkins knew this, is outside of time, not merely timeless. This of course gives rise to “time’s Eunuch” I. e. Not “God’s eunuch”. Imagine instead the bravery of this servant and his confidence in addressing the Creator Who allows His creation free will to choose his own path through life. To imply that the speaker in this poem is in some vile servitude to his creator is to do both an injustice.

    As an aside let me please mention that “wert” (were), “wouldst” (would) and “dost” (do) and “thou” (you) are not “Elizabethean English” although they arose then with a different pronunciation. Milton and James and the Bible had more to do with these words being used in the 1800’s than Elizabeth ever did. They were dialectic in parts of Scotland, most of Northern England, and even in eastern Ontario, which I can attest to having heard them in those places my entire life. (And perhaps they still are if some areas have escaped the influence of television and radio.) The Douay-Rheims bible which used those and many similar phrases was published in Britain only after James became king, and it is unlikely that the French publication in English from the 1500’s was readily available in Britain. (It had to be smuggled in, after all.)

    As a further aside remember the importance of “sprung rhythm” to Hopkins; Just a few to mention for now:

    leavèd …lacèd .
    fretty chervil…fresh wind
    birds build – but not I build
    Mine, … rain.

    And so to the heart of the question the speaker seeks to answer: Why do sinners’ ways prosper?

    Consider the brevity of the “works” of the sots and thralls done in the few hours they can spare from their vices and compare that to the everlasting work that the speaker is accomplishing. Trapped in time as he is, the speaker is nonetheless aware of building for eternity “Mine” has as its antecedent “work” in line 13 and makes the poem somewhat triumphant. And “work” is singular.

    Isn’t this a more hopeful resolution of question every good Jesuit was taught to ask? And doesn’t the Catholic Church teach that man must always ask the Creator for his help to achieve aught?

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