Gerard Nan ley Hopkins' poem "God's Grandeur", illustrates the relationship connecting man and God. Hopkins uses alliteration and stern tone to compliment the religious content of this morally ambitious poem. The poem's rhythm and flow seem to capture the same sensation of a church sermon. The diction used by Hopkins seems to indicate a condescending attitude towards society. The first stanza states that we are "charged with the grandeur of God", or the direct quality of God's being. This statement begins to express the overall feel or idea of a lecture by stating that society will be held accountable for its actions.
Hopkins exhibits his lack of faith in humanity by stating that God's quality will "flame out" on the account of mankind. He feels mankind will be "crushed" while attempting to bear this burden. He then asks why mankind is not attentive to God's right to rule. The question proposed, changes the final tone of the last stanza from judgment to curiosity.
The second stanza reinforces Hopkins' idea concerning the capability of mankind with undertaking such an enormous commission. He states that "Generations have trod, have trod, have trod" (Hopkins 880). This verbal repetition emphasizes the importance of our generations past; that we have destroyed much of the Earth. The diction used in the second and third lines of this stanza seems to illustrate a furious rant by Hopkins. He states that we are guilty of Earth's pollution and destruction and that society has grown calloused to this fact. Hopkins' diction in this stanza seems to portray a very negative mood; he does this by using words such as "bleared", "smeared", and "smudge." All of these words create a dark visual image for the reader.
Hopkins states that "All is seared in trade" (Hopkins 880). This can be viewed as a possible metaphor for mankind's selfish ambition and greed. He also feels that society experiences a form of desensitization towards the devastation of the land by stating, "The soil is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod" (Hopkins 880). Hopkins' final reflection conveys the apocalypse and the return of God. The application of the words "dearest" and "freshest" in the third stanza suggests a very light and joyous mood. He states that even though mankind destroys the Earth, God will still continue to provide for his people, "And for all this, nature is never spent" (Hopkins 880).
Hopkins now speaks in a tone of reassurance. The diction that Hopkins uses seems to exemplify the forgiving nature of God and describes a very harmonious setting. Hopkins accomplishes this setting by incorporating very positive, uplifting words and being very descriptive. In the final line of the poem, "Ah!" , seems to indicate a response of surprise to seeing God return with his "bright wings." Throughout the poem "God's Grandeur", Hopkins creates a wide range of emotions by using descriptive detail. The first stanza seems to cast judgment and blame on society; the second stanza reiterates this idea with many examples.
Both the first and second stanzas present the impression of a preacher's stern lecture. The last stanza in the poem seems to reinforce assurance, revealing God's mercy and his return. "God's Grandeur", seems to sway society to emulate God and take heed of the repercussions of our lifestyles.