Epithalamion

Hark, hearer, hear what I do; lend a thought now, make believe
We are leafwhelmed somewhere with the hood
Of some branchy bunchy bushybowered wood,
Southern dene or Lancashire clough or Devon cleave,
That leans along the loins of hills, where a candycoloured,
    where a gluegold-brown
Marbled river, boisterously beautiful, between
Roots and rocks is danced and dandled, all in froth and
    water-blowballs down.
We are there, when we hear a shout
That the hanging honeysuck, the dogeared hazels in the cover
Makes dither, makes hover
And the riot of a rout
Of, it must be, boys from the town
Bathing: it is summer’s sovereign good.
*
By there comes a listless stranger: beckoned by the noise
He drops towards the river: unseen
Sees the bevy of them, how the boys
With dare and with downdolphinry and bellbright bodies
    huddling out,
Are earthworld, airworld, waterworld thorough hurled, all by
    turn and turn about.
*
This garland of their gambols flashes in his breast
Into such a sudden zest
Of summertime joys
That he hies to a pool neighbouring; sees it is the best
There; sweetest, freshest, shadowiest;
Fairyland; silk-beech, scrolled ash, packed sycamore, wild
    wychelm, hornbeam fretty overstood
By. Rafts and rafts of flake-leaves light, dealt so, painted on
    the air,
Hang as still as hawk or hawkmoth, as the stars or as the angels
    there,
Like the thing that never knew the earth, never off roots
Rose. Here he feasts: lovely all is! No more: offwith – down he
    dings
His bleached both and woolwoven wear:
Careless these in coloured wisp
All lie tumbled-to; then with loop-locks
Forward falling, forehead frowning, lips crisp
Over finger-teasing task, his twiny boots
Fast he opens, last he offwrings
Till walk the world he can with bare his feet
And come where lies a coffer, burly of all blocks
Build of chancequarried, selfquained rocks
And the water warbles over into, filleted with glassy grassy
    quicksilvery shives and shoots
And with heavenfallen freshness down from moorland still
    brims,
Dark or daylight on and on. Here he will then, here he will the
    fleet
Flinty kindcold element let break across his limbs
Long. Where we leave him, froliclavish, while he looks about him, laughs,
    swims.
Enough now; since the sacred matter that I mean
I should be wronging longer leaving it to float
Upon this only gambolling and echoing-of-earth note –
What is…the delightful dene?
Wedlock. What is water? Spousal love…
Father, mother, brothers sisters, friends
Into fairy trees, wild flowers, wood ferns
Ranked around the bower…
***
Gerard Manley Hopkins
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About anna cowan

I look around, and here I am - housewife and aspiring romance novelist. This seems unexpected.
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2 Responses to Epithalamion

  1. Cheryl Nekvapil says:

    Magnificent!

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