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God's Grandeur

Gerard Manley Hopkins

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Alleged use of 'sprung rythm'
Added by: FP Adams
Admirers of Hopkins claim that this poem contains examples of a mysterious poetic device which has been termed 'sprung rythm'. In my humble opinion, 'sprung rythm' is a LOAD of total bollocks!! The proof of this is that nobody, to my knowledge, has ever been able to provide a succinct definition as to what the hell it is!
Sprung Rhythm
Added by: Peter Reynolds
As to the comment by 'FP Adams' - we may have been able to take the comment more seriously if he/she knew how to spell the word 'rhythm'! Get a dictionary you imbecile, before attempting to tackle Hopkins.
Sprung Rhythm, according to Edward Stephenson
Added by: Derek Henderson
Here is a, more or less, "succinct" definition of Sprung Rhythm, according to Edward Stephenson, FROM pages 35-6 of his incredible study "What Sprung Rhythm Really Is" (Alma, Canada: The International Hopkins Association, 1987). Suffice it to say, S.R. is not at all easily graspable -- a fact that makes it all the more delightful for study and reflection. What can be summarized is usually best left to children.

(By the by -- there are more than a few big words in here -- a dictionary is recommended).

1. Falling rhythm – the scansion always beginning with a stressed syllable.

2. Feet of varying numbers of syllables – normally FROM one to four.

3. Feet of approximately equal duration, regardless of the number of syllables in a foot – i.e., isochronous meter.

4. Frequent use of clashing accents – two or more juxtaposed stressed syllables, with no intervening unstressed syllables.

5. Dipodic rhythm – two accented syllables frequently occurring within one foot, with the first HAVING primary stress and the second HAVING secondary stress.

6. Occasional use of “rove-over” lines – in which the last foot of a line does not end with that line but continues without pause INTO the beginning of the following line.

7. Rests, as in music, being allowed to figure in the scansion, taking up apart or (theoretically) all of a foot, but with a rest-beat substituting for the primary stress of the foot.

8. Use of “outrides” – extrametrical syllables that do not count in the scansion.

9. Use of alliteration, assonance, and rhyme (both end-rhyme and internal rhyme) as clues to the proper accentuation of the line.

condensed "sprung" rythms
Added by: Mallory Thornton
The previos commment was very helpful, but slightly cryptic. Here is a condensed definition of
sprung rhythm:
-Gerald Manley Hopkins developed the rhythm in which the major stresses would be released or "sprung" from the line. The primary characteristic of this method is the placement together of one-syllable stressed words all in one line creating heavy stresses which = alliteration often times.

Back groung info on Hopkins:
-He attended Oxford and discovered that he was attracted to men, but rather that pursuing his physical lusts he supresses them and became a Jesuit preist (turned to God for his answers). This deeply felt religious connection resonates in his poetry.
-He died at age 44 of Typhoid.

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