Historical Context in Pied Beauty

Historical Context Examples in Pied Beauty:

Pied Beauty 2

"(who knows how?)..."   (Pied Beauty)

The question “who knows how?” is issued as a parenthetical aside yet is key to the poem. Hopkins honors the beauty found in the imperfect and the ordinary, but he stops short of explanation. The question is an expression of mysterium fidei—or “the mystery of faith”—a concept in the Bible that points to the limits of human understanding. Hopkins seeks simply to praise, not to understand.

"Glory be to God..."   (Pied Beauty)

In addition to his career as a poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins was a Jesuit priest. The questions, longings, and perspectives that arose from his Christian faith are central to his poetry. Often in Hopkins’s work, God is a gateway into an inspired examination of the world. Notice how in “Pied Beauty” the figure of God appears in the opening and closing lines, serving as a bookend to a study of beauty.