Structure and versification in To Seem the Stranger

A straightforward sonnet

This is one of Hopkins' simplest and most straightforward sonnets. As with No Worst, There is None, the octave divides neatly into two quatrains, and the sestet remains undivided, but with almost every line run on to the next. However, there is not even minimal comfort given in the sestet: the complaint runs through with barely a reversal.

The iambic pentameter lines are remarkably regular for Hopkins, barely disturbed even by first foot inversions. The only typical mark of Hopkins' versification in any evidence is the use of enjambement and the caesura to create some counterpointing, as in ll.1,2; ll.6-8; and most of the sestet.

Investigating To Seem the Stranger
  • Scan l.7.
    • What is the rhythmical effect of it?
  • Overall, what do you find most attractive about this sonnet?
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