Commentary on Hurrahing in Harvest

Looking up

The octave is divided into two quatrains. The first is more concerned with the skyscape than the landscape, echoing the fascination with sky in The Sea and the Skylark and The Windhover. This is picked up in the second quatrain: ‘I lift up, I lift up heart, eyes...', echoing Psalm 121:

‘I will lift my eyes up unto the hills, from whence cometh my help' (Psalms 121:1).

In the sestet, however, he is looking up ‘to glean our Saviour', using a harvest image (‘glean'=gather the left-over grain after the harvesters have finished). A vision of God is what is left after the first glory, the beauty gathered by the eyes, is over.


However, according to the sestet, not every one will necessarily see it: ‘but the beholder / Wanting' (i.e. these things were here, and only (but) the beholder was lacking).

Spectators can not necessarily be ‘beholders'. Yet wherever there is someone there who is able to perceive a revelation or insight of God in this scene, then that person's heart will be lifted even higher in some sort of mystical experience.

Investigating Hurrahing in Harvest
  • What do you think ‘eyes' and ‘heart' symbolise in the sonnet?
  • ll.7,8 are difficult.
    • Can you paraphrase them?
  • Is the poem a quietly contemplative one?
    • If not, which words convey a sense of energy and action?
  • What other poem uses the word ‘hurl'?
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