The Handsome Heart: at a Gracious Answer

A poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins

'But tell me, child, your choice; what shall I buy
You?' - 'Father, what you buy me I like best.'
With the sweetest air that said, still plied and pressed,
He swung to his first poised purport of reply.

What the heart is! which, like carriers let fly -
Doff darkness, homing nature knows the rest -
To its own fine function, wild and self-instressed,
Falls light as ten years long taught how to and why.

Mannerly-hearted! more than handsome face -
Beauty's bearing or muse of mounting vein,
All, in this case, bathed in high hallowing grace . . .

Of heaven what boon to buy you, boy, or gain
Not granted? - Only ... O on that path you pace
Run all your race, O brace sterner that strain!

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