I’m still taken with the idea, new to me earlier this week, that there is a resonance between Sidney Lanier and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Maybe it is old stuff to Those Who Know, but I am not of their number and it is new to me.
But it’s worth thinking on.
“Direct” may not be the first word that comes to mind with
But it isn’t long before you realize that he’s closer to home—or closer to the bone—than you at first noticed. He’s got that uncanny knack of recapitulating all of the history of language in microcosm. I think of Benjamin Britten in, e.g., A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where he makes music that sounds both old and new.
And it is bracing to realize that those quirky, cranky rhythmic markings may bring the style closer to speech rather than (as it may at first appear) further away.
As a delicate counterpoise to Lanier, here is
GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
Fn: I don't seem to know how to recreate Hopkins' line-arrangement, which is a part of the point. Sorry, I'm working on that.