Themes in My Own Heart, Let Me Have More Pity On

Mental suffering

Mental suffering, and how to find relief from it, is clearly the predominating theme. However, unlike other sonnets, Hopkins does not plead directly with God, choosing, rather, gentle persuasion with himself. Unlike No Worst, he seems to feel he has a choice in his behaviour; there is some minimal sense of control.


There is also a statement of faith: it is God alone, not Hopkins, who can bring comfort, but it will be in God's own way. There is thus a hint of God's sovereignty. Hopkins believes God is in charge and thus his ‘smile's not wrung' or forced from him.

Investigating My Own Heart
  • Pick out words of suffering. Set them side by side with words of comfort.
    • Which group seems the stronger?
  • Is the very act of having pity on his heart not in itself a comfort?
Scan and go

Scan on your mobile for direct link.