The shepherd's brow

A poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins

The shepherd's brow fronting forked lightning, owns
The horror and the havoc and the glory
Of it. Angels fall, they are towers, from heaven - a story
Of just, majestical, and giant groans.
But man - we, scaffold of score brittle bones;
Who breathe, from groundlong babyhood to hoary
Age gasp; whose breath is our memento mori -
What bass is our viol for tragic tones?
He! Hand to mouth he lives, and voids with shame;
And, blazoned in however bold the name,
Man Jack the man is, just; his mate a hussy.
And I that die these deaths, that feed this flame,
That ... in smooth spoons spy life's masque mirrored: tame
My tempests there, my fire and fever fussy.

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