Pied Beauty, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Analysis, Summary, Themes

The "Pied Beauty" by Gerard Manley Hopkins is a vibrant and praise-filled poem that celebrates the diverse and captivating aspects of the natural world. The speaker expresses gratitude to God for the multitude of dappled things, from the variegated skies to the speckled patterns on fish and the vivid hues of nature. The poem highlights the beauty found in the contrasting and unique elements of creation, emphasizing their originality, peculiarity, and splendor. Ultimately, it invites readers to recognize and appreciate the ever-changing and wondrous beauty that emanates from the divine source.

Pied Beauty Poem Text

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.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Critical Analysis

"Pied Beauty" by Gerard Manley Hopkins is a unique and striking poem that explores the beauty and diversity of the natural world. The poem stands out for its innovative use of language and its celebration of the often overlooked aspects of creation. Hopkins employs his characteristic "sprung rhythm" and employs vivid imagery to convey the splendor of dappled things. Through his praise of God for the multitude of colors and patterns found in nature, the poet emphasizes the inherent value of diversity and individuality. The poem's structure, divided into three distinct parts, allows for a focused exploration of the theme. The use of repetition, such as in the phrase "Praise Him," adds a sense of rhythm and emphasis, reinforcing the poem's message of gratitude. Overall, "Pied Beauty" showcases Hopkins' skillful use of language and his ability to find beauty in the ordinary, making it a captivating and thought-provoking piece of poetry.


  • Praising God for his colorful creations
  • Consistent praise for colorfulness of creations
  • Setting: On a farm (5th line)
    Split into three parts according to topic
  • Part 1 = Lines 1-6 (Praising color of animals/things/farm)
  • Part 2 = Lines 7-9 (Praising all things different)
  • Part 3 = Lines 10-11 (Praising Gods ability to create)

    Stanza 1: The speaker expresses their gratitude and praises God for the diversity of dappled things in the world. They mention the skies with colors resembling a brindled cow and the rose-moles, or spots, on swimming trout. The speaker finds beauty in these contrasting and varied aspects of nature.
    Stanza 2: The speaker continues their reflection on the diversity and uniqueness of the world. They acknowledge the fickle and freckled nature of things, with their swift and slow, sweet and sour, bright and dim qualities. The speaker attributes the creation of such diverse beauty to God, emphasizing His role as the ultimate source of unchanging and awe-inspiring beauty. The stanza ends with a call to praise God for His enduring and remarkable creations.

    Major Themes

    The themes present in "Pied Beauty" by Gerard Manley Hopkins include:
  • Appreciation of Diversity: The poem celebrates the beauty and value of diverse and varied things. Hopkins praises the different colors, patterns, and characteristics found in nature, emphasizing the importance of uniqueness and individuality.
  • Gratitude and Praise: The poem is an expression of gratitude and praise towards God, who is credited with creating the diverse and remarkable aspects of the world. The speaker acknowledges the beauty and wonder of God's creations and offers thanks for them.
  • Transience and Impermanence: While not as prominent as the other themes, there is a subtle recognition of the fleeting nature of beauty and the passage of time. The poem mentions various aspects of nature that may change or disappear with time, highlighting the transient nature of earthly beauty.
  • Connection to the Divine: The poem establishes a sense of connection to the divine through the appreciation of nature. By recognizing the hand of God in the creation of diverse and colorful things, the speaker establishes a spiritual connection and finds solace and inspiration in the beauty of the natural world.
  • Awe and Wonder: "Pied Beauty" evokes a sense of awe and wonder at the diversity and intricacy of creation. The poem invites readers to marvel at the richness and complexity of the world, encouraging a deeper appreciation for the beauty found in both the ordinary and extraordinary aspects of life.

    Stylistic Analysis

    The style of "Pied Beauty" by Gerard Manley Hopkins is characterized by its unique poetic techniques and distinctive language. Hopkins is known for his innovative use of language and rhythm, which he refers to as "sprung rhythm." This style involves irregular meter and unexpected stresses on certain syllables, creating a lively and dynamic rhythm throughout the poem. Hopkins also employs vivid and imaginative imagery, using specific and detailed descriptions to capture the essence of the dappled and varied things he celebrates. Additionally, the poem showcases his skillful wordplay and use of alliteration, as seen in phrases like "rose-moles all in stipple" and "swift, slow; sweet, sour." The structure of the poem, with its divided parts and repetition of the phrase "Praise Him," adds a sense of musicality and emphasis to the overall composition. Hopkins' style in "Pied Beauty" is characterized by its musicality, rich imagery, and innovative use of language, making it a distinct and memorable piece of poetry.


  • Very literal language
  • Imagery: 'fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls' & 'all in stipple upon trout that swim’
  • Juxtaposition: 'Rose-moles'
  • Similes: 'as a brinded cow'
  • Sibilance: 'swift, slow, sweet, sour‘


  • Constant rhyme pattern ABC for the first part of poem
  • For parts 2 & 3 of poem, rhyme pattern is lost (Note: all end in ‘C’ – consistent)
  • Part 2: DBC
  • Part 3: DC
  • No enjambment used
  • It is a 'Curtal' Sonnet (invented by Hopkins)

    Sound devices

  • Constant alliteration is found
  • Inconsistent rhyme pattern
  • Soft sibilance ('s‘) used when praising Gods different creations (9th line)


  • Baffled by God's creations: 'who knows how?'
  • Religious impressions: 'Glory be to God', 'Praise him'
  • In awe of God's creation (nature):
  • 'He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change'
  • 'For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow'
  • God is the center of universe

    Linked Poems

  • Summer farm: Both setting are in 'farms‘ and have a centre of universe
  • Summer farm = Persona
  • Horses: Both in awe.
  • Horses = awe of Horses
  • Pike: Both have 3 parts that tell a story/message and are also admiration of the creature
  • Horses: Both setting also on a farm
    Post Image Art

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