Structure and versification in The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo

  • The verse form is an excellent example of sprung rhythm. It is flexible and elastic
  • Hopkins suggests sprung rhythm should basically have a trochaic or falling metre, something that cannot be well maintained in the sonnet form he uses mostly. But in this freer verse, it is much more noticeable
  • Many lines begin with an accented syllable and maintain the falling metre all the way through the line, either as trochee, dactyl or paeon
  • Echo effects help, as in:

    ‘know some, bow or brooch or braid or brace, lace, latch or...' (l.1 ‘Leaden Echo')

    where the rhythm is broken by the rhyming monosyllables ‘brace','lace' as extra spondees

  • The overall effect is incantatory, one of the effects verse drama often aims for
  • Parallelism, important in creating the echo effect, is the main structuring device for the verse.
Investigating The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo
  • Look at some of the alliterations.
    • Do they form a pattern, or are they, like the rhyme, loosely used as a general binding device?
  • Find examples of parallelism.
    • What effect do they create?
  • Despite some very long lines, have you found it difficult to read out loud?
    • Does it seem dramatic to you?
  • What is the relevance in Hopkins' echoing the Bible verse that every hair of our head is numbered (Matthew 10:30) in l.21 ‘Golden Echo'?
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