Commentary on My Own Heart, Let Me Have More Pity On

As in Spelt from Sibyl's Leaves or I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark, Hopkins sets up a dialogue with himself. However, he is not talking to his own heart, but about it, as in Patience, Hard Thing! He talks to himself as ‘poor Jackself', pleading with himself to be kind to his heart, and not to allow his ‘tormented mind' to keep aggravating it. This internally inflicted suffering effectively prevents any sort of relief from being reached.

In the sestet, he sees that if he could only ‘call off thoughts', then there might be some room for comfort to take root. This would have to come from God, and it would need to come unbidden. We can't order comfort from God like ordering a pizza from the shop. However, if such unbidden comfort could come, at least occasionally, it would bring some very welcome relief.

Investigating My Own Heart
  • In what way is Hopkins not being kind to himself?
  • Compare this sonnet with No Worst, There is None.
    • What do you see as essential differences?
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