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About this Poem 

“Binsey Poplars” was written by Hopkins in 1879 and published for the first time in Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins (Humphrey Milford, 1918).

Binsey Poplars

    felled 1879

My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,
   Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,
   All felled, felled, are all felled;
     Of a fresh and following folded rank
                Not spared, not one
                That dandled a sandalled
         Shadow that swam or sank
On meadow and river and wind-wandering weed-winding bank.

   O if we but knew what we do
          When we delve or hew—
     Hack and rack the growing green!
           Since country is so tender
     To touch, her being só slender,
     That, like this sleek and seeing ball
     But a prick will make no eye at all,
     Where we, even where we mean
                To mend her we end her,
           When we hew or delve:
After-comers cannot guess the beauty been.
   Ten or twelve, only ten or twelve
      Strokes of havoc únselve
           The sweet especial scene,
      Rural scene, a rural scene,
      Sweet especial rural scene.

This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Born at Stratford, Essex, England, on July 28, 1844, Gerard Manley Hopkins

by this poet

              to a young child

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet
Not, I'll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist—slack they may be—these last strands of man
In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.

But ah, but O thou terrible, why wouldst thou rude on me
Thy wring-world right foot
When will you ever, Peace, wild wooddove, shy wings shut,
Your round me roaming end, and under be my boughs?
When, when, Peace, will you, Peace? I'll not play hypocrite
To own my heart: I yield you do come sometimes; but
That piecemeal peace is poor peace. What pure peace allows
Alarms of wars, the daunting wars