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Gerard Manley Hopkins 1844 (Stratford, London) – 1889 (Dublin)
ACT I. SC. I
Enter Teryth from riding, Winefred following.
T. WHAT is it, Gwen, my girl? why do you hover and haunt me?
W. You came by Caerwys, sir?
T. I came by Caerwys.
Some messenger there might have met you from my uncle.
T. Your uncle met the messenger—met me; and this the message:
Lord Beuno comes to-night.
W. To-night, sir!
T. Soon, now: therefore
Have all things ready in his room.
W. There needs but little doing.
T. Let what there needs be done. Stay! with him one companion,
His deacon, Dirvan Warm: twice over must the welcome be,
But both will share one cell.—This was good news, Gwenvrewi.
W. Ah yes!
T. Why, get thee gone then; tell thy mother I want her.
No man has such a daughter. The fathers of the world
Call no such maiden ‘mine’. The deeper grows her dearness
And more and more times laces round and round my heart,
The more some monstrous hand gropes with clammy fingers there,
Tampering with those sweet bines, draws them out, strains them, strains them;
Meantime some tongue cries ‘What, Teryth! what, thou poor fond father!
How when this bloom, this honeysuckle, that rides the air so rich about thee,
Is all, all sheared away, thus!’ Then I sweat for fear.
Or else a funeral, and yet ’tis not a funeral,
Some pageant which takes tears and I must foot with feeling that
Alive or dead my girl is carried in it, endlessly
Goes marching thro’ my mind. What sense is this? It has none.
This is too much the father; nay the mother. Fanciful!
I here forbid my thoughts to fool themselves with fears.
. . . . . . . .
ACT II.—Scene, a wood ending in a steep bank over a dry dene, Winefred having been murdered within. Re-enter Caradoc with a bloody sword.
C. My heart, where have we been? What have we seen, my mind?
What stroke has Caradoc’s right arm dealt? what done? Head of a rebel
Struck off it has; written upon lovely limbs,
In bloody letters, lessons of earnest, of revenge;
Monuments of my earnest, records of my revenge,
On one that went against me whéreas I had warned her—
Warned her! well she knew. I warned her of this work.
What work? what harm ’s done? There is no harm done, none yet;
Perhaps we struck no blow, Gwenvrewi lives perhaps;
To makebelieve my mood was—mock. O I might think so
But here, here is a workman from his day’s task sweats.
Wiped I am sure this was; it seems not well; for still,
Still the scarlet swings and dances on the blade.
So be it. Thou steel, thou butcher,
I cán scour thee, fresh burnish thee, sheathe thee in thy dark lair; these drops
Never, never, never in their blue banks again.
The woeful, Cradock, O the woeful word! Then what,
What have we seen? Her head, sheared from her shoulders, fall,
And lapped in shining hair, roll to the bank’s edge; then
Down the beetling banks, like water in waterfalls,
It stooped and flashed and fell and ran like water away.
Her eyes, oh and her eyes!
In all her beauty, and sunlight to it is a pit, den, darkness,
Foam-falling is not fresh to it, rainbow by it not beaming,
In all her body, I say, no place was like her eyes,
No piece matched those eyes kept most part much cast down
But, being lifted, immortal, of immortal brightness.
Several times I saw them, thrice or four times turning;
Round and round they came and flashed towards heaven: O there,
There they did appeal. Therefore airy vengeances
Are afoot; heaven-vault fast purpling portends, and what first lightning
Any instant falls means me. And I do not repent;
I do not and I will not repent, not repent.
The blame bear who aroused me. What I have done violent
I have like a lion done, lionlike done,
Honouring an uncontrolled royal wrathful nature,
Mantling passion in a grandeur, crimson grandeur.
Now be my pride then perfect, all one piece. Henceforth
In a wide world of defiance Caradoc lives alone,
Loyal to his own soul, laying his own law down, no law nor
Lord now curb him for ever. O daring! O deep insight!
What is virtue? Valour; only the heart valiant.
And right? Only resolution; will, his will unwavering
Who, like me, knowing his nature to the heart home, nature’s business,
Despatches with no flinching. But will flesh, O can flesh
Second this fiery strain? Not always; O no no!
We cannot live this life out; sometimes we must weary
And in this darksome world what comfort can I find?
Down this darksome world cómfort whére can I find
When ’ts light I quenched; its rose, time’s one rich rose, my hand,
By her bloom, fast by her fresh, her fleecèd bloom,
Hideous dashed down,
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"St. Winefred's Well" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 23 Jul 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/15884/st.-winefred's-well>.