Synopsis of Harry Ploughman

This extended sonnet is a companion piece to Tom's Garland, being written at the same time in Dromore, Ireland, in September 1887. Tom's Garland is about the urban working man; Harry Ploughman about the rural. Of the two, Hopkins seemed more pleased with this poem, hoping, however, it did not sound too much like Walt Whitman, an American poet of the same period, who had used free verse and long lines in his poetry. Hopkins made it clear in a letter to Robert Bridges, his friend, that he felt some of the difficulties with the word order of the sonnet would be lessened by good reading aloud.

Investigating Harry Ploughman
  • Would you say that was true for yourself - that when you read it out aloud, it makes better sense?
  • Do you think this is a more satisfying poem than Tom's Garland?
    • Can you say why or why not?
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