Structure and versification in I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark


The sonnet structure is very similar to Carrion Comfort in its neat division of the octave into two quatrains, and the sestet into two tercets. The rhyming of the sestet is slightly unusual for Hopkins: ccd ccd.

Hopkins' use of sprung rhythm is minimal, preferring regular iambic pentameters. The rhythm is only disturbed twice: in ll.5-7 and ll.11-12. Here, the inner torment disturbs the even rhythm by adding extra stresses.

The enjambement and mid-line breaks are the only things that show real disturbance, producing a definite counterpointing.

Investigating I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark
  • Scan ll.6,11, locating the spondees.
    • Look at the repetition and play on words as well.
      • What effect does this have on the rhythm?
  • In reading the poem aloud, which do you find most effective:
    • to take longer pauses and read it slowly and quietly
    • or to hurry the poem and try to bring out some intensity?
    • Note down your conclusions.
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