Thou Art Indeed Just, Lord, If I Contend
Justus quidem tu es, Dominie, si disputem tecum
Verumtamen justa ad te:
Quare via impiorum prosperatur? &c.
Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend
With thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just.
Why do sinners’ ways prosper? And why must
Disappointment all I endeavour end?
Wert thou my enemy, O thou my friend,
How wouldst thou worse, I wonder, than thou dost
Defeat, thwart me? Oh, the sots and thralls of lust
Do in spare hours more thrive than I that spend,
Sir, life upon thy cause. See, banks and brakes
Now leavèd how thick! Lacèd they are again
With gritty chervil, look, and fresh wind shakes
Them; birds build — but not I build; no, but strain,
Time’s eunuch, and not breed one work that wakes.
Mine, O thou lord of life, send my roots rain.
Spring and Fall: To a Young Child
Márgarét, are you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, líke 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 you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889) was a British Jesuit priest who was frustrated by what he saw as a conflict beween his religious commitment and his poetic ambitions and, later, by the overwhelming number and deadening nature of student examinations he had to grade as a university administrator. The quote Justus quidem is from Jeremiah 12-1:1, wherein Jeremiah asks God, “Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?” The poem was written a few months before the poet’s death. Although almost none of his poetry was published during his lifetime, Hopkins is now considered a towering figure in English poetry.