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Gerard Manley Hopkins



Jesuit and poet, born at Stratford, near London, 28 July, 1844; died at Dublin, 8 June, 1889.

His early education was received at Cholmondeley School, Highgate, where he gave evidence of fine intellectual endowments, scholarly tastes, and poetical gifts above the ordinary. The numerous conversions from Anglicanism to the Catholic Church in the middle of the nineteenth century together with the spirit of the Oxford Movement were not without their effect on the young student, and in October, 1866, he was received into the Church. In the following year he entered Balliol College, Oxford, having been prepared for his classical course by Walter Pater. Very soon his religious vocation manifested itself and he left the university, going to the Birmingham Oratory, where he spent a short time with Father Newman. In 1868 he entered the Society of Jesus. After ordination he was sent to Liverpool where his work lay among the poor of the slums of that city. His next post was that of preacher in London, after which he was stationed at St. Aloysius' Church, Oxford, where the Baron and Baroness de Paravicini have erected a memorial to him. In 1884 he was elected fellow of of the Royal University of Ireland and appointed classical examiner at Dublin, where he died of a contagious fever.

While still at school he had written verses of distinctive merit but in his ardour as a novice he destroyed his poems, a single fragment surviving, and he wrote no more for nearly ten years. The poetry which he subsequently wrote at various periods until the year of his death is of a very high quality. It resembles the poetry of Crashaw in its exuberance of language, its lyric qualities, and its daring metaphors. The poems have never been collected, but many of them have been published in various anthologies such as Beeching's "Lyra Sacra" and Miles' "Poets and Poetry of the Century".

BRÉGY, The Poets' Chantry (London, 1912), 70-88. [Note: Hopkins' collected poems were published first by Robert Bridges in 1918, and in an enlarged second edition in 1930. Volumes of his correspondence appeared in 1935 and 1938, his Notebooks and Papers in 1937.]

Blanche M. Kelly.








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