Synopsis of I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark

Sleepless torment

This is another of the ‘terrible sonnets', written in 1885. It naturally pairs with No Worst, There is None in being about the dark night (of the soul). Whereas that sonnet finishes with the consolation of sleep, this opens with its impossibility. It is also like To Seem the Stranger, in that it is a complaint, though Hopkins calls it a lament. A lament is usually in the form of ‘Woe is....', and although there is an element of ‘Woe is me', here it is also a dialogue with an ‘absent God', disguised as a dialogue with a very present heart, about being in such a wretched state.

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Investigating I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark
  • Can you see any difference between a complaint and a lament?
    • If so, how would you categorise this sonnet?
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