Dr. Walhout writes of his first series of Hopkins paraphrases that it contained twenty of his most difficult poems. This second series includes all of the remaining early poetry and unfinished poetry from Hopkin's major poetic period. It is designed to reduce the difficulty in understanding the poems by offering complete paraphrases. The purpose is somewhat similar to that of giving a modern version of the Bible compared with, say, the King James Version. My first series of Hopkins paraphrases contains twenty of the most difficult poems. This second series includes all of the remaining poems from Hopkins's major poetic period beginning with "The Wreck of the Deutschland" in 1875, which was a turning point both in his decision to write poetry and in his distinctive style. The occasional poems, though not ranking high in Hopkins's own estimation, are included here because they reflect the distinctive style. Hopkins produced other poetical work, which is usually classified into early poetry and unfinished poetry. The early poetry seems less urgent for paraphrasing. As for the unfinished poems, it may seem presumptuous to paraphrase poems which Hopkins himself did not perfect.
Nevertheless, several of these later poems seem virtually complete or else have great poetic merit as they stand. So eight of these are included here at the end. Regarding the purpose of the paraphrasing, I shall adapt below several short paragraphs from the Introduction to the first series and then add a final remark in the last paragraph. This book uses an old device in a new way to implement my conviction that no readers should miss out on appreciating Hopkins merely because they cannot figure out what he is saying. New readers of Hopkins are likely to acquire two early impressions: first, that he is by reputation an innovative craftsman influential in modern poetry, and second, that many of his lines are difficult to make sense of. Both impressions have basis in Hopkins' practice of using quaint words, convoluting his syntax, omitting linking words, inventing coinages, condensing complex ideas, and citing unexplained allusions. The present edition is designed to reduce the difficulty in understanding the poems by offering complete paraphrases. The purpose is somewhat similar to that of giving a modern English version of the Bible compared with, say, the King James Version.
Critics have often used paraphrasing as an aid to interpretation and to reader understanding. But paraphrasing has tended to be (a) piecemeal, thus limited to certain passages, and (b) written in ordinary paragraphs rather than in line by line format corresponding to the poetry. The novel presentation in this edition contrasts with both of these trends. Variant 2 paraphrases could, of course, be given by others. I hope that my renderings will be useful both for comparison by scholars and for embarkation by new readers.
The Silver Jubilee... 2 Penmaen Pool... 4 God's Grandeur... 8 Spring... 10 In the Valley of the Elwy... 12 Pied Beauty... 14 Hurrahing in Harvest... 16 The Lantern out of Doors... 18 The Loss of the Eurydice... 20 The Candle Indoors... 30 The May Magnificat... 32 The Handsome Heart... 36 Binsey Poplars... 38 The Bugler's First Communion... 40 Morning, Midday, and Evening Sacrifice... 44 Peace... 46 At the Wedding March... 48 Felix Randal... 50 Brothers... 52 Spring and Fall... 56 The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo... 58 The Blessed Virgin compared to the Air we Breathe... 64 The Soldier... 74 (Carrion Comfort)... 76 'To seem the stranger lies my lot, my life'... 78 'Patience, hard thing! the hard thing but to pray,'... 80 In honour of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez... 82 'Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend'... 84 To R. B.... 86 Moonrise June 19 1876... 88 The Woodlark... 90 'To him who ever thought with love of me'... 94 Cherry Beggar... 94 (On a Piece of Music)... 96 (Ashboughs)... 100 'The times are nightfall, look, their light grows less;'... 102 On the Portrait of Two Beautiful Young People... 104